Thursday, May 29, 2008

A New Show!

Karen and I have just been accepted to do a joint show of recent work at the Carrboro Century Center. We only have two weeks to prepare but we'll be ready. Everyone is invited. There should be 25 or so pieces in the show which will run from June 7 through the end of July.

The opening reception will be during the 2nd Friday Artwalk in Chapel Hill-Carrboro on June 13th from 6 to 9.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One more on Rauschenberg

Tyler Green's blog Modern Art Notes is a great and sometimes contentious journey through the modern art scene.

A recent post discussed the many articles and remembrances of Robert Rauschenberg following his death. Tyler notes the unwillingness of the vast majority of these odes to address RR's homosexuality.

He leads with:

As I read through the news coverage of Robert Rauschenberg's death last week, I noticed a disturbing sameness: Most writers and critics refused to say that Rauschenberg was gay, and all but two critics were unwilling to say why that is important. This is a problem for two reasons: Rauschenberg's frequently referenced his homosexuality in groundbreaking ways in his own work (much of which was autobiographical and even more of which was intensely about the then-immediate present), and because history tends to hetero-wash whenever possible, to ignore or deny homosexuality when it's convenient.

We are much to willing to sweep under the rug race, class, sexual preference and other things that we let divide us.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Snake Charmer

I started a canvas about, oh, six months ago. I created an interesting green background with some gold but then I couldn't figure out what to do next. I came back from the Color Field exhibit with inspiration.

The inspiration stank and I figured I had ruined something that had potential. I started working with it and nothing seemed to work much. Finally I pulled out some paper and started to use collage. It gradually began to make sense. Then some blue lines became snakes before my eyes and viola! inspiration, move me brightly.

Snake Charmer. Acrylics and collage on canvas. 24 x 30

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ode To Robert Rauschenberg

I was first discovering art back in 2006 and one of those artists I discovered was Robert Rauschenberg. I had some interesting found pieces, a Taiwanese Buddhist text, pottery shards from Steven's yard, and an old decaying Persian rug. I had great fun making this and nearly two years later, it may not be finished. The title? "The International Flag of Depression". Go figure.

Mixed media on plywood. Old Oriental rug, acrylics, ink, pieces of china, leaf prints, and cutouts from a Tawainese book on Buddhism.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Art and Economic Sustainability

The Sunday NYT Magazine has an article on the small western Kentucky town of Paducah on how they have used arts and the attraction of artists as an economic development strategy. This strategy is being used across the globe as a way to help struggling communities build a stronger and more sustainable economic base.

The non-profit I work for, Regional Technology Strategies or RTS, specializes in this area in a collaborative called the Alliance for Creative Advantage. We are presently doing work on the creative economy in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, Arkansas, Sheridan, Wyoming and in the Appalachian Region.

Just to add a little color to this post, some locally grown poppies....

Friday, May 16, 2008

My new painting site

My new website on my painting and art in general is finally online at ChrisBeachamPaints.

As a teaser I have posted some more NYT links on Rauschenberg at its Art World blog page.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg: Death of an Open Eye

Untitled 1963

Rauschenberg est morte.

Readers of this space know that my first artistic influence was Dada. So it is not surprising that I felt a kinship to Rauschenberg's "assemblages." I love the way he took the found and random and found composition and beauty (and irreverence).

Here's a quote from the NYT obit:

Mr. Rauschenberg, who knew that not everybody found it easy to grasp the open-endedness of his work, once described to the writer Calvin Tomkins an encounter with a woman who had reacted skeptically to “Monogram” (1955-59) and “Bed” in his 1963 retrospective at the Jewish Museum, one of the events that secured Mr. Rauschenberg’s reputation: “To her, all my decisions seemed absolutely arbitrary — as though I could just as well have selected anything at all — and therefore there was no meaning, and that made it ugly.

“So I told her that if I were to describe the way she was dressed, it might sound very much like what she’d been saying. For instance, she had feathers on her head. And she had this enamel brooch with a picture of ‘The Blue Boy’ on it pinned to her breast. And around her neck she had on what she would call mink but what could also be described as the skin of a dead animal. Well, at first she was a little offended by this, I think, but then later she came back and said she was beginning to understand.”

I'll toast his memory tonight.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Not about art.....

I went into graduate school in economics back in the early 80s for two reasons. First, I didn't really want to go to law school and a nice fellowship offer in the LSU economics department gave me an excuse to bail on that option; and second, Herman Daly was a professor in the economics department there. Herman was the first to explain the economic theory and logic behind sustainable (what he calls steady-state) economics. He built his work on the broad shoulders of the great economist and statistician Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen who first explored the relevance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy) to economics. Daly is funny as well as brilliant; the following story is from "Wisdom for a Livable Planet".

President Harry S. Truman was frustrated by the advice his council of economic advisors was giving him. On the one hand, its members would tell him, you should raise interest rates. On the other hand, they said, you should lower them. In exasperation Truman pronounced, "I'm tired of this one hand, other hand business. What I want is a good one-armed economist." In response to this story, told at a public forum by another panel member, the economist Herman Daly leaned forward in his chair and, with a slight forward motion of his upper body, he propelled his right arm up—his only arm. Placing his hand on the back of his neck, Daly commented, "Well, I was too young for Harry Truman, but I am here now. His prophecy has been fulfilled."

Dr. Daly has worked tirelessly for the last 40 years to promote an economics that respects the planet and its people. He has never lost hope that a Kuhnian paradigm shift might occur within economic thought. Alas that has not yet come true. All this came to mind when I saw a reference to a new book called the Economics of Happiness for which Herman wrote the forward. The book is described as follows:

"Economist Mark Anielski developed a new and practical economic model called Genuine Wealth to measure the real determinants of well-being and help redefine progress.

The Economics of Happiness shows:

* How economics, capitalism, accounting, and banking, which dominate our consciousness, can be reoriented toward the pursuit of genuine happiness
* How to rediscover the original meaning of the language of economics
* How to measure the five capitals of Genuine Wealth: human, social, natural, built, and financial
* How nations, governments, communities, and businesses are using the Genuine Wealth model to build a new economy of well-being
* How you and your family can apply the Genuine Wealth model in your lives"

Sounds sort of familiar doesn't it?

A Google search brought me to a blog by an English bloke named John Grant. Last month he posted a wonderful entry entitled "A Herman Daly Reader". It is worth a look for at least two reasons -- the summary of Daly's work is excellent and second, it links to a multitude of blogs and sources on green issues with a focus on green marketing. Definitely worth a look.

And if this teaser gets you interested in Daly, Amazon has the second edition of his classic book "Steady-State Economics" for $15 bucks used. You get a great book and don't kill a tree.