Tag Archives: Jackson Hole Art

As Art and Seasons Turn

"The Connoisseur," by Norman Rockwell.

“The Connoisseur,” by Norman Rockwell. The work appears on American Art Review’s October cover.

Ahhh. It’s Fall. Lovely.

Soon I’ll be returning to Jackson, and for almost everyone this season is a time of reflection. It’s also a time of “buckling down to work” and transition.

When I’m not reading or writing about Jackson Hole’s art scene, I’m often reading about art in other corners of the world, and quite a bit about art across the country. This entry, I’d like to offer up a few stories that recently caught my eye.

The first concerns plein air painting, and a show about a collection of artists, now deceased, whose works were, in their time, considered excellent. But as their lives came to an end, so did their visibility as artists. The show is “Variations on a Theme: American Painters (1850-2000), opening next month at the Rockport Art Association and Museum in Rockport, Massachusetts.

“It is an unfortunate fact that unless an artist has a gallery or family to keep their name in the forefront of the art world, the bulk of their work can be lost in the mists of time,” writes Judith A. Curtis in the latest edition of “American Art Review.” 

Alexander Bower (1875-1952), Cottage on the River

Alexander Bower (1875-1952), Cottage on the River

This is not currently a big problem for Jackson artists~~(housing is another matter)~~a number of artists who didn’t have representation or were faced with a gallery scene refusing to show their work are now front and center. This is incredible, and perhaps because we, collectively, are the polar opposite of the small New England town’s plight, the article spoke to me.

The Rockport’s mission is to feature local painters who are not only considered excellent, but have been “the mainstay of the Association in its fledgling days.” To sum up Curtis’ point, the museum would never have survived without intense dedication, talent, and a consistent “forward momentum.” Until last year, when the Rockport mounted an all-women’s art show  and expanded its reach, the museum was unable to produce a show like “Variations.” In the article about the show (if you can find a hard copy~~I can’t find the article on line) you can read about a number of New England plein air painters who, despite their great talents and breadth of subjects, faded from view. It’s a touching look from a knowing and careful perspective.

Stanley George, proprietor, closing a gate decorated by Jessica Blowers at Stanley’s Pharmacy on Ludlow Street. Credit Santiago Mejia/The New York Times

Stanley George, proprietor, closing a gate decorated by Jessica Blowers at Stanley’s Pharmacy on Ludlow Street. Credit Santiago Mejia/The New York Times

Don’t hurt me, NYT! I loved this article. And I hope that we in Jackson Hole can figure out something like the Lower East Side’s “100 Gates Project.” 

Tamara Best wrote about a street art project that’s transforming a part of Manhattan’s dingy Lower East Side. Although we in Jackson don’t pull down metal doors when we close up for the day, we could paint some fabulous large-scale works and use them as promotion for our local artists. What about that idea for the Public Art Spot, the snaggly “banner” space that juts out over West Broadway? That needs upgrading, up-thinking. 

Or, we could place art on the streets themselves. And create/paint/build/light up huge arrows pointing to the Art Association! Once visitors arrive at the Art Association, they’d find so much affordable local art that they couldn’t help but bring some back home.

Our public art is fabulous, but I feel more thoughtful placement of work is possible. Let’s not crowd small spaces without offering a place to rest, without offering nature and true assimilation of place and object.

I’m in favor of making the Art Association more “public,” a retail operation that draws more tourism dollars. Tourists rarely, if ever, visit and we need a fresh audience. I’m in favor of another project I recently read about, and Jackson has already started: displaying local art, with prices, in every lodging location possible, AND add an artist studio space directly into the lodging structure itself. The artist is always in residence.

Read Best’s article HERE. 

sothebys7-28-16My mom gets newsletters from the Hollis Taggart Gallery in NYC. The gallery sends out an Art Market Report much like our Jackson Hole Real Estate Report. A summation of the latest report says that there has been a “rising tide” of gallery sales and an “ebb in momentum” for auction houses. People are consigning, not selling, in an erratic market. Feels safer, more control.

As the gallery went to press with their newsletter, the SEC reported a 65% reduction in Steve Cohen’s Sotheby’s stockAlmost immediately a Chinese insurer “China Guardian” bought up a 13.5% position in Sotheby’s. And now it’s Sotheby’s largest shareholder…….

“No doubt China Guardian was quietly buying Steve Cohen’s stock position!” exclaims the Report.

Invest in, support and love your local artists. We are a family. An Association.

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Because I do not wish to finish on a “corporate” note, I offer some these observations on the passing of time and transition:

We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” ~Albert Einstein

“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.”~Thich Nhat Hanh

Altamira’s Scottsdale Gallery; Bright Wyoming Arts; New Shows At A.A.

Altamira's Mark Tarrant - Courtesy Southwest Art

Altamira’s Mark Tarrant – Courtesy Southwest Art

Is there any doubt that Altamira Fine Art changes things up as fast as humanly possible?  The gallery is a powerhouse, turning its artists into big stars. This summer Altamira opened a new show every two weeks, and each, save Nieto’s, featured two to three artists.

Now Altamira Fine Art is opening a second gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. A Grand Opening is scheduled for Thursday, November 7th, 7-9:00 pm (taking advantage of Scottsdale’s “Fall for the Arts” ArtWalk). Location: 7038 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ, in the Downtown Arts District. Artists Glenn Dean and R. Tom Gilleon will be featured at the opening.

The new gallery will provide a unique presence in Scottsdale. A boutique gallery, Scottsdale’s Altamira is being designed at a scale of approximately 1800 square feet.

“Our Arizona clients have been asking when we might open a Scottsdale gallery,” Altamira director Mark Tarrant said. “Now we can serve important markets in two locations.” Tarrant founded Jackson’s gallery in 2009, immediately capturing the best of the Western Contemporary art market. Scottsdale’s Altamira Fine Art will focus on the secondary art market—artwork being sold after its initial sale.

Congratulations, Mark! Success breeds success! However: please don’t be a stranger and get to likin’ Scottsdale TOO much!

For more information, phone 307.739.4700. www.altamiraart.com 

Lovell, Wyoming's Hyart Theater

Lovell, Wyoming’s Hyart Theater

A highlight of last week’s Wyoming Arts Council (WAC) annual conference was listening to stories and presentations by artists around the state able to realize projects and gain audiences with the help of WAC. It’s so difficult for us all to be together, and e-communications and conferences offer connectivity and provide perspective. Two WAC state “Bright Spots” are Lovell’s Hyart Film Festival and Wyoming Fiber Trails.

Just over 2,000 people populate Lovell, Wyoming, but that didn’t stop Lovell resident Jason Zeller from founding the Hyart Film Festival. Lovell’s Hyart Theater, the festival’s home, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in the 1950’s, it’s an awesome piece of period architecture, a location scout’s dream. Zeller, a film buff,  has accomplished a feat; he spoke about his festival with infectious passion and humor. Having attended countless film festivals, he found he didn’t like a lot of them. Existing festivals were either overpriced, pretentious, or focused on themes Zeller deemed over-exposed and predictable.

So, he fixed his sights on building his own film festival. Zeller wasn’t interested in exploring other locations; Lovell was it.  There was this really cool theater, after all!  Film-goers love it—-they post testimonials expressing how much the revitalized theater means to them—read those testimonials here. Zeller has shown cultural films produced in Afghanistan and Australia; film categories also include horror, children’s films and dramatic entries. He’d love to see more Wyoming films submit to the Festival, so log on to Hyart’s website here, and get in touch with Zeller.

Lakota Ceremonial Shield, 1880-1900

Lakota Ceremonial Shield, 1880-1900

Everyone enjoy a good trail, but there’s an especially creative, historic trail winding its way around Wyoming. Wyoming’s citizens are mostly separated by big spaces; when you’re alone in a big space creativity reaffirms personal narrative.

Wyoming Fiber Trails is “a treasure trove of individuals who do everything from horsehair hitching to rug braiding, spinning, felting, dolls, horse gear, leather work and a host of unusual activities,” says founder Sue Blakely. Blakely and her partners are chronicling fiber artisans around the state; each artisan, gallery and shop they uncover possess distinct Wyoming voices manifested in fiber.

“How many people knew we had a yak farm in Wyoming and that they had gathered yak fiber and had it commercially spun last year? ” asks Blakely. “A lot of us know about the sheep ranchers, even llama, alpaca and buffalo. But not yak!”

Renee Brown "Azure Lichenite Sun Cluster, Margaretite"

Renee Brown “Azure Lichenite Sun Cluster, Margaretite”

Two new Art Association exhibitions open this week. “Rendezvous: Ceramics Contemporary Invitational” and “Printegrated” share an opening reception at the Art Association on Friday, October 25th, 5:30-7:30 pm.  Both shows remain on exhibit through November 29th, 2013.

Ceramicist Sam Dowd is co-curator for “Ceramics Contemporary,” along with University of Montana associate professor Trey Hill. The show hones in on the themes of utilitarian and sculptural ceramics, and is comprised of selected works from around the country. Hill and Dowd will give a talk on November 22nd, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, at the Art Association Gallery, and a clay demonstration on Saturday, November 23rd, 10am – 5pm in the Art Association’s Clay Studio.

For information, email sam@artassociation.org, or phone 307.733.6379.

“Printegrated,” says the Art Association, “is a local survey of artists making handmade 2-D print work. Pieces include: block prints, lithographs, screen prints, intaglio, posters, books, zines and other printed ephemera.”  Contact Thomas Macker, Art Association Gallery Director, at thomas@artassociation.org, or phone (310) 428.4860 for info.  www.artassociation.org 

 Stephen Wolochowicz "Dots Inflation: Orange Over Lime"

Stephen Wolochowicz “Dots Inflation: Orange Over Lime”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laguna Beach’s Sawdust Art Festival; Rocket Science & Plein Air!

1235327_10201862646150037_273817503_n“All art shows….contribute to our creative sides.”  ~ Tom Klingenmeier, General Manager, Sawdust Art Festival

California Roll.

Thanks to good friends, I was recently lucky enough to visit the city of Laguna Beach, CA . It’s a wonderful arts city, crowded with tourists and locals alike, just as Jackson is during our high summer season. We went to an art fair I’ll never forget: the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival on Laguna Canyon Road. Set against a cliff in a eucalyptus grove, Sawdust is a world unto itself, wildly creative, funky and welcoming. A waterfall splashes off the cliff into a rocky pool.

Sawdust is open two full months during the summer, late June through early September. Participating artists must be from Laguna. Close to 200 artists build their own booths each year. Booths must be constructed of wood frame and roofs, built strictly to code, and they can be as imaginative as artists wish, resulting in a fair that feels like a pop-up fantasy art village. Booth spaces differ in size, so Sawdust artists must scale to fit. Artists are responsible for taking booths down and restoring the three acre grove to its original natural state. Booths come down after Sawdust’s Winter Fantasy Show; a holiday-themed show taking place the last two weekends in November and the first two in December. Offices, meeting rooms, a glass-blowing center and arts education “classrooms” remain up year-round.

A very broad array of price points means there’s affordable art for everyone.

Sawdust blew me away! From the moment I walked in (entry fees for adults are in the $7-$8 range) I wondered how Laguna pulls this fair off; it’s 47 years old. I made a note to contact Sawdust, ask pesky questions about its structure and history, and report to you! Tom Klingenmeier, Sawdust’s general manager sent a generous response. I’ve edited my questions and Tom’s replies for length.

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Tammy Christel: How did Laguna Beach galleries initially respond to Sawdust? Was there trepidation? How do galleries feel about Sawdust today?

Tom Klingenmeier:  When we began only about a third of  the galleries Laguna currently has existed, and there was some resentment. Soon, though, gallery owners, hotels and restaurants realized that Sawdust generated over a half-million visitors in a short time. They quickly adapted and embraced the shows. They now rely heavily on the traffic we generate. Some of our galleries collaborate, featuring local artists in Laguna’s three summer festivals. Some artists conduct co-ops, taking turns being in their space to cut down on sales personnel. It also affords the artists more time to share art experiences with visitors, leading to more affordable art and knowledge for the buyer.

TC: How is Sawdust paid for?

TK: We sell tickets, and if you saw all three shows you had the chance to buy our “Passport to the Arts” ticket for all those shows, all summer long; it includes one-time parking in a large lot served by free tram service that goes all over town. We charge very nominal booth fees, have a retail shop that sells only Sawdust T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, and we charge rent for the five food concessions we lease. We have a saloon, selling wine and beer.

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Art Applications; Soul Spot; Christensen Workshops

Layout 1Tuesday, May 14th, I attended the Town and County funding appeals session at the Teton County Commissioners chamber. Civic process is fascinating. That day the Cultural Council of Jackson Hole defended its appeal to both bodies for greater arts funding. I think it went well!  With our ever-changing leadership, it’s difficult for new civic leaders to be up to speed on the Arts Council’s function. On Tuesday that role was clarified, I hope to the group’s benefit.

Many grant applicants receive funding from other sources. For the Arts Council, that’s not so. Town and County funding is their sole support. Cynthia Huyffer and Lisa Samford made oral presentations to the panel, making several points: Funding for the Arts Council has sunk 40% in recent years; “Americans for the Arts” comprehensive study of the economic impact of the arts here in Teton County stresses art’s key role in our community’s health; tourism is bolstered by a strong arts presence (true in EVERY city!); arts are not “icing on the cake”–they foster new ideas, keep cities exciting and dynamic, reflect history and new arts initiatives, are language tools, build self-esteem, create memorable high-impact experiences; and that the Cultural Council is a “re-granting” group. They use monies provided by Town and County to fund grant requests.

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The Arts Council had, by far, the greatest number of supporters in the room. That sends a strong message in itself, doesn’t it? In addition to the speakers named above, these individuals were present: Cathy Wikoff, Alissa Davies, Emy diGrappa, Gary Silberberg, Carrie Geraci, Amanda Flosbach, Pontier Sackrey, Rachel Pettingill and Mary Lee White. Apologies if I’ve left any names out.

The Arts Council requested $50,000 from the County and $20,000 from the Town. Last year, total funding was approximately $34,000. As the group pointed out, that money has to be distributed, most often, to 20-25 arts groups approved for funding by the Arts Council.

Now that the Arts Council has made its appeal, it’s time for Jackson’s artists to send in their applications. These grants are available to arts and culture organizations as well as individual artists. Your project should be creative, dynamic and beneficial to a broad portion of the community. Ask yourself this: Would I feel confident presenting my request directly to the Town Council or Teton County Commissioners? How would they respond? 

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This is a two-way street, so read your application out loud to yourself. How does it sound? It’s a gift to have the Council go to bat for artists that may not wish to be in chambers; and our civic leaders, overwhelmed with agendas, recognize that the Cultural Council does a huge service by working with arts organizations directly.

alissa-davies-pods-02Grants are now available on the Cultural Council of Jackson Hole website. Here are guidelines: The program distributes social service tax dollars from the Town of Jackson and Teton County for arts education, producing and presenting opportunities, and public projects by individual artists that have strong community benefit. Requests may be up to $6,000, and must be cash-matched at least 1:1 by each applicant. Applications are due June 1, 2013.  No support will be provided to any entity already receiving public support from Town or County funds. 

You can find Arts for All application forms, guidelines and budget at www.culturalcounciljh.org. Contact Alissa Davies at culturalcounciljh@gmail.com. And Alissa: Thank you for your years of balanced, constant, thoughtful and energetic work on behalf of “Arts for All!”  You are one of Jackson’s finest arts representatives. 

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Things Artists Say; Hog Island – Arts Epicenter!

Today’s post is a Jackson art quote quiz…..Fun! Leo d.V. ( NOT from Jackson) might have a quote here, but everyone else is anonymous. Enjoy! 

“I guess I feel wildflowers are worthy of sainthood.”

“process, engagement, collaboration, instigation~~This year is marked by unique collaborations which engage me on ambiguous terrain and with conceptual duality. I exploit the magical/practical, which brims with repetition and surprise. And I continue to work as a bricoleur!”

“Art is not being recycled from one house to the other. There’s a place for all of it, but it’s nice to see more confidence in people about buying art, other than what they think they should be buying because they live in Jackson.” 

“The colt sketch is so loose, but you know what it is; it’s more ethereal.” 

“The only good art is post-referential art!”

“To know what you’re painting, everyone can pick up a tube of paint and squeeze. But to know what you’re squeezing, that takes book learning.”

“If someone innocently pulls into town and parks in the parking lot, needs to use the public facilities, they find my art wrapped around the building!” 

“If I avoid painting the Tetons for fear of their being trite, it would be dishonest.”

“Castellazzo got a piece of all the french roast coffee trucked into town, and he is the main supplier of nudes for life drawing classes.”

“The West is industrialized, it’s not perfect and beautiful…but what is tragic, or could be tragic, you weave that into a beautiful pattern of the landscapes.” 

“Very few people know that those flowers were not there the day that painting was done. I know they weren’t there, and I know the reason Bob painted them in. But I can’t tell you, it’s a secret.” 

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