Saturday, August 30, 2008

Symmetry, Not Literally

Here’s another work in my collection, by Richard Baker. It’s mixed media: photographic print and oil paint on wood. The photo is of a pond that is on his property, and the pelvis bone shape is actually based on a motorcycle part, I think. I’ve always loved his work, which is meditative, and juxtaposes surprising forms and colors. In this series he worked with symmetry. And there’s that red again…

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Amateur vs. Professional—What is Valued in Art

I participated in a neighborhood opening a few days ago. I knew I might be among amateur artists, and that’s fine. But it got me thinking about how art is judged, compared to, say, Olympic sports, or even dance. There are clear standards in sports. The lines are smudgey for ballroom dancing or ice skating, although they are considered sports too. But for visual art, how do we judge what is “professional” compared to what is student or amateur?
And judge we do.
I led a class discussion with brand new students on how quality is determined in the contemporary artworld. The arts scene in my corner of SoCal is not great. We’re a conservative area, a tourist mecca; we’re not into culture, at least not the visual arts. When I talk to my students I understand why better. These are art students, they’re in my classes because they’ve self-selected to study art, and still they feel mostly contempt for contemporary art. The exact word that kept coming up was “crap.” It’s my job to enlighten them, but really, they should already be on that road. Some are not even at the trail-head yet.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eleanor Antin’s New Work

Eleanor Antin
is a conceptual artist, performance artist and educator. I took two courses with her during my graduate studies, and she was the most amazing teacher. I saw some of her work from the 1980s at Documenta in Germany last summer, but was underwhelmed—her nurses and ballerinas are shot in sepia tones, printed small. Polite.
Her new show, Historical Takes, is also rooted in the past, but is vibrant, raunchy and BIG. Huge photos, bright colors, garish make-up, lush scenes. In them she juxtaposes modern SoCal life with that of ancient Roman Pompeii, both civilizations on the brink of disaster. My “Winged Victory” even makes an appearance, on a eucalyptus secluded tennis court.
As with all her work, she’s telling stories, even commenting that these images are her “poor man’s cinema.” The photos are indeed productions; we understand and admire the scale, the amount of effort and time that went into making them. But they are also FUN and FUNNY.
The day I went, the museum was full of wide-eyed kids and old ladies saying, “How interesting.” I love that that there were no warning signs about how randy, sexy, and violent the stuff is. Humor softens it.
Antin still expresses strong feminist ideas about the male gaze, and who literally selects what is beautiful. She allows Helen of Troy to rewrite her history.
Interspersed in the galleries are videos showing Antin producting the work. They show how Eleanor just can’t get out of the picture, and thank God! She’s there, lumpy, short, laughing and cussing, adjusting hands and boobs of beautiful models. At one point she exposes an elderly man’s backside, lifting his toga a bit.
The only drawback for me was the wall text—it tells us too much. Otherwise, I say, get your beautiful tan body down to see this show!

Monday, August 25, 2008

YouTube for Turkey, at Least for Now

YouTube, and a growing number of other sites, have been blocked by the Turkish government in the past few months. Many feared growing censorship. A few days ago Turkish sites that are still up began a protest, and voluntarily banned themselves in solidarity. It worked! Today YouTube is finally back up.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Brown City

Here’s another work in my collection, a lithograph by the dean of my university in Turkey, Atilla Atar. It’s inscribed “for Kloe with love and health.” Isn’t that nice? I just love how old-fashioned it feels, and how rich the browns are, creating a deep Cubist cityscape.
As for Biden... boring.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Studio Search Update

For now I’m making due with painting on my patio. It’s not great. In fact, it sucks. I can only work on small canvases, I can only have one painting up at a time, and I can’t back away from the painting more than 6 feet. I know, I’m just spoiled rotten.
Looked for a new studio space today. Seems I was paying almost $3/square foot, which I knew was too much. The going rate is more like $2/square foot, but I should be able to find a space for less as I want it rough.
I had a lovely encounter. Went into a barbershop that had a real estate sign on it. Inside there was a man who looked like a woman and a woman who sounded like a man. Neither spoke English. So in broken Spanish I told them what I was looking for, and they explained that their rent was also too high and they were leaving. They gave me a lead down the street. I thanked them and left. A block away a car honked at me and it was the woman/man, offering to give me a lift. I trusted, and took it, and she was very gracious.
Sort of made my day...
I love painting on linen. It makes a difference, feels like oil painting, although I’m using acrylics. The shine of acrylics is mitigated by thick, rough linen. Unfortunately, it costs $33/yd. So I’m trying some linen/cotton mix ($15/yd) and a heavy cotton canvas ($11/yd), both from an upholstery store, rather than an art supply.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Roses in the Powder Room

I’m starting a series of posts about my own art collection. Not shooting the work separate on a white wall, but showing how I display it in my house, among books and clutter and toilet paper (yes, I have art in my bathrooms—but not nudes! An image of a nude in the bathroom is one of my pet peeves).
So we’re starting out with one of my newest pieces, a large impasto painting by Jeanette Piranio. It’s in the bathroom, cause the light there is best for it, and as an oil, it can withstand steam. Quite nice, and fits my “red” theme.
Thanks again, G!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Small Greek Torsos

Just posted some photos of my newest paintings on Art of Kloe. Let me know what you think!
PS am just reading that Manny Farber has died. just saw his last show a few weeks ago, multimedia drawings from his garden. it was as always gorgeous and inspiring, to see click and scroll down.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gradual Morph

I haven’t been posting regularly. Kloe Among the Turks seems to be transitioning into another type of blog, one less about everyday stuff and more about my struggles as an artist. I need to be careful about what I write about teaching and about my personal situation.
But to tell you the truth, my life is just not as interesting as it was when I lived in Turkey. Well, at least it’s as uninteresting as any long-haired-blond, wide-blue-eyed, high-heeled doll’s life can be.
So come back and read, just not often, so you won’t be disappointed. Someday I’ll be famous, but for now, I’m just a typical starving artist and over-worked teacher, proud mom and frivolous party girl.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tarkan, Turkish Man

A bit of fun before the summer ends...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fall Semester Starts Soon

I’ll be at three different schools. Filling my gas tank is going to be brutal.
I’m teaching beginning drawing, art history (Ancient to Gothic), color theory, 2D design, and possibly linear perspective or digital imaging. I expect the history survey to be the most work, and it pays the least. But—hear me pledge—I will do a better job, try to complain less, and enjoy learning more about Greek figurative sculpture in particular.
If you’re thinking of going to university, you better sign up now, because classes are almost completely filled. There are going to be many disgruntled students who won’t be able to crash courses in the next few weeks. I hope Arnie Baby hears about it.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Summer school ended this week. It was a great class with one small exception that shall go unnamed. Several students were serious artists already, working on their own. I hope I helped them, and maybe inspired them.
Others were more interested in animation, and we created short consecutive frames in class using live models. It’s sort of fun!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Buying and Selling

Selling work is so seductive. When someone likes your work enough to lay down hard-earned cash, it’s a tremendous feeling of validation. But does it sway the way an artist works? Will the artist consider making more works just like the one that sold, when maybe she wouldn’t have continued with that line of thinking? Would she recreate the exact work that sold, thinking maybe to sell it again? Would other, more challenging work get put aside?
Would she risk relationships with dealers, collaborators, other artists, friends, to sell? I hope not.
I collect art. Usually I trade for it, sometimes I buy it. Sometimes it’s a gift. I love my art collection, not as I love things, but as I love experiences. I have several new pieces, and I love to come home to them.
When I sell a painting I don’t miss it. It’s like it never existed for me, and I’m glad it’s gone. I don't really care to know who has it or where it lives. Leaves space, literally and mentally, to create more work.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Business is Business

I had to move out of my studio. I asked the property manager for a reduction in rent, thinking there was a good chance of it. (I was paying what a home entertainment business had paid previously—the building owner wants to keep artists in residence as opposed to “real” businesses. And yes, I do think artists should get some patronage, we add value to a space…) But the answer was no, Business is business, I understand that. I’m just not successful enough to justify such a monthly expense.
So I was sad, but am going to use this as an opportunity to explore the neighborhood I really love, see if I can find a studio there.
In the meantime, I’ll maybe set up on my patio for a month. This is California, after all.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Missing my Elders

The other day I was in Costco sorting out my membership so I could again purchase way too much stuff and eat a free lunch of food samples. Not to mention buy gas at 30 to 40 cents per gallon below normal. OK, I admit I’m suburban at heart although I fight the good fight.
Anyway, my original membership was with my grandmother. So I’m explaining that she died, and the woman helping me keeps repeating on the phone and to supervisors, “the grandmother passed away.” And every time she said it, I could feel my composure slip a bit. Until I finally started weeping, right there at the Costco membership counter amid crying kids and hotdog eaters.
It makes me realize how much I miss her. Most of my life I spent a night a week with my grandparents, and I haven’t been able to replace that ritual.
I also miss when my parents are out of town, and am thankful when they return.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Studio Rent Due

Soon I have to decide whether or not to keep my little studio. In June I borrowed a large painting studio in a nice building from a friend. I was so productive there that when my friend came back I rented another, smaller space down the hall. Again I used it well.
It’s a luxury. But I’m realizing that to be taken seriously as a painter, I must pay the price and look like one. That means a professional place to work in, where curators can come and refer collectors. I also enjoy the camaraderie among the artists; it feels like we are all working toward something together.
My Greek series continues to grow. Instead of limiting myself to one size for a series, like I’ve done in the past, I’m allowing bigger and smaller paintings to flow as I need to work out problems.
I started four small torsos that are fun and easy, decorative but beautiful, while I’m trying to figure out how to fix the bigger works. The colors are muted but sweet pinks and grayed yellows set against dark purples and brownish blues. I also splurged on linen to see if it affects my work. Yikes, like it, and it’s $33/yd. Will have to check upholstery stores to see if I can find it cheaper.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Yellow Boy

Have I mentioned I’m in love with SpongeBob?