Blind love for SONG 1: Mixed media outdoor exhibition at the Hirshhorn museum

hirshhorn3For nearly two months the Hirshhorn museum, with its circular shape and unique design, has served as the canvas for an experiential artistic exhibition.  California born and based artist Doug Aitken has transformed the iconic building into a living, 360-degree film reel, projecting his original short film SONG 1 on the entirety of the building every night until May 20th.  The short is set to the tune of the hypnotic “I Only Have Eyes for You” which bellows on repeat from speakers surrounding the museum out onto the National Mall and through the busy streets.

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Beginning at sunset and concluding at midnight, the artist’s vision of “liquid architecture” blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.  He fashions a multimedia outdoor experience that makes the audience feel like they are both watching and a part of the exhibition.

hirshhorn2The song which provides the soundtrack for the exhibition, originally written in 1934 but best remembered for the 1959 recording by The Flamingos, opens with a proclamation of blind love. The kind of jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching tunnel vision that leaves you dangerously enamored and unaware of everything else. The kind of love blindness that would get you run over by a car if you weren’t careful.
2012-04-05_21-22-16_286The characters in the film, who each seem alone in the midst of the same intensely personal journey, traverse the rounded exterior walls of the Hirshhorn in varying ways so that the film cannot be viewed entirely from one vantage point. The singers helplessly pose questions into the night, unsure about their own surroundings, unable to make the simplest conclusions about reality.  In the fog of passion.  Sitting in the sculpture garden, staring up into the projection–or walking around the building for a new perspective, the singers beg us to answer, “Are the stars out tonight?”  We can’t help but look up into the real darkened sky hovering above our heads. They are. And Venus is low. We go off into a tangent conversation about her as we gaze upward, still humming the song to ourselves.

2012-04-05_21-24-56_20In that song I’ve heard a million times but will never hear the same way again, a dizzily delirious lover laments that he’s unsure if he’s in a garden or a crowded avenue.  And as the characters in the film swirl in and out of different urban scenes, the audience too feels the confusion.  At times they are standing in parking lots upon which the actual trees around the Hirshhorn cast perfect shadows, seamlessly bending reality into art. At other times, blaring sirens screech down Independence Avenue disrupting the focus and yet, somehow mimicking the disorienting effects of this blind love by breaking down and building up the substance and content of the piece, itself.

hirshhorn1Like real blind love, the exhibition swirls around its viewer in vibrant colors and perfect harmonies, familiar images cloaked in compellingly provocative newness.  Even loneliness. Its unsteady and surreal.  Sounds from the city seamlessly harmonize with the sobering but sweet vocals.  Crowds may go by, but the art carries on. The images are evolving, twisting, turning, pulling at your heart in a landscape, cinematic spell.

The installation is entering its final week so be sure to swing by the Hisrhhorn so you don’t miss this amazing experience. With its music, imagery and incredibly powerful moments, its never the same thing twice.  A visual and emotional spectacle as delirious, exciting and confusing as love. A kind of blind love.

But who doesn’t appreciate a well-timed “shoo-bop-shoo-bop.”

That’s all for now cats and kittens.



Interview with internationally acclaimed artist Brett Amory

ImageHey there cats and kittens–check out my interview with the very talented and thoughtful artist Brett Amory this week on Warholian.


Brett’s work takes you through the solemn sometimes lonely moments of city living and gives voice to the thing we all do every day: wait.

Waiting 101 explores this and more. Happy reading!


Andy has Landed: Warhol hits the Mall

Washington DC is preparing for the Warholian Rennaissance sweeping the National Mall. Two exhibitions opened Sunday at the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Gallery of Art, both along the National Mall.

The Hirshhorn, a circular building in its design, is the perfect host for Andy Warhol: Shadows. Andy’s 102 silk-screened, handed-painted piece collection of one single repetitive image. Its simply a shadow on the wall in his office. But its been transformed, tweaked, twisted, colored and screened 102 different ways. And it speaks volumes.The exhibit wraps around the circular structure like a film reel. A walk through Andy’s vision.  Its fantastic! And quite a unique glimpse of the artist’s work.The exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, however, is more familiar.  If the Hirshhorn’s exhibit, featuring work created in the last decade of Andy’s life, is high-brow, the exhibit at the National Gallery is good ol’ Warhol.  We see his affinity for pop-culture-trash-talking-tabloid-celebrity-gossip-goodness.  Its entitled Warhol: Headlines and encompasses the mainstreamy ad man art that made the Warhol legend. This exhibit is gossip-y and silly. Tabloidy and terrific. Sensational and satirical.It follows his obsession with news media. Particularly, it opens on his paintings done by projecting front page stories on the wall and diligently tracing over them.  Free-hand lettering, errors and all.  And then–you travel upstairs, taking the extraordinary journey of his progression into different techniques and evolved lettering. Truly epic newsstand masterpieces that stand the length of the room.I love seeing his soup can style, the pop art appeal, in something other than soup cans!My favorite part of the exhibit were the works featuring both Warhol’s headline designs, and Basquiat‘s hand-drawn profound simplicity.  My most beloved piece in the whole exhibit was this divine beauty:I pretty much just love it and could spend an evening and bottle of wine discussing it!  And, from now until next January you CAN get your Warhol fix on a whole assortment of lectures, concerts and screenings.  Check out the schedule here and see my hit list below: the not-to-miss-moments!So go check it out for yourself and we’ll see ya around!  Take a walk on the wild side.

That’s all for now hep-cats.


In the name of civil disobedience: What would YOU stand up for?

Photo by Shaw Thacher

“If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth–certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine.” Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

Last week, on the 48th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech–and  what was supposed to be the dedication to the new monument, hurricane Irene hit the East Coast and the festivities and President’s remarks were postponed. But, in the true spirit of Dr. King’s concept of civil disobedience, there were many who would not let the threat of inclement weather stop them from standing up for what they believe in, right outside the White House.  During a week-long protest outside the White House, 1,252 people were arrested in a sustained act of civil disobedience.

Photo by Shaw Thacher

The deal? The Keystone XL pipeline is an expansion to the already operational Keystone pipeline, that transports synthetic crude oil from Northeastern Alberta, Canada.  According to TransCanada, an energy company creating and operating the energy infrastructure in North America, the pipeline is: “an innovative bullet line that brings the crude oil non-stop from Canada to market hubs in the U.S. Midwest.”

The proposed expansion will run all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. The XL pipeline is a “36-inch crude oil pipeline that would begin at Hardisty, Alberta and extend southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It would incorporate a portion of the Keystone Pipeline (Phase II) through Nebraska and Kansas to serve markets at Cushing, Oklahoma before continuing through Oklahoma to a delivery point near existing terminals in Nederland, Texas to serve the Port Arthur, Texas marketplace.”

Whoaa.  I just have to say, that’s a lot of backyards!  For better or worse–or maybe worser and worserer–there’s no easy way to transport oil. Hence, the civil disobedience.

Photo by Shaw Thacher

Today the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and seven other Nobel laureates sent a letter to President Obama urging him not to approve the pipeline.

Photo by Shaw Thacher

Stay tuned as we try to flush this out a bit more.  I’m living vicariously though our own history.

What does it mean?  How will we remember this? What would YOU get arrested for… anything? I’m curious…


Attack on Art: Crazy and Clueless in Washington, DC

One of the most amazing things about DC is our incredible access to some of the world’s most revered art.  On any given afternoon you can slip into the National Portrait Gallery or the National Gallery of Art and gaze upon the divine work of Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir or Leonardo da Vinci.  All for free. Pop in for a 5 minute stroll or spend hours wandering the halls reading every caption to every piece.Unfortunately, though, the fantastic free for all policy has turned into a real free-for-all!  On August 5th, a 53 year old woman from Alexandria, Virginia was arrested for casually walking into Washington’s National Gallery of Art, allegedly yanking down Henri Matisse’s $2.5 million painting “The Plumed Hat” and repeatedly slamming into the wall.  Mon Dieu! C’est terrible! Read the official court report here.

The Plumed Hat, 1919 Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954)

Although crazy-pants thankfully caused no damage to this incredible work of art (only the original, antique frame) its shocking to discover that this incident comes only four months after a similar attack.  During the first week of April the same woman was arrested for trying to pull Paul Gauguin’s painting “Two Haitian Women” from the wall, beating it with her fists and trying to remove the plastic cover.  This painting is valued at $80 million and while it also suffered no physical damage, the woman could be heard from the adjacent room screaming at the top of her lungs “This is evil!”

Two Haitian Women, 1899 Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903)

According to the Washington Post, the perpetrator later told the court, “I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it’s very homosex­ual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned.”Since art was first conceived there have been those who’ve sought to deface, devalue, discredit it.  I realize this is nothing new.  However, if history has taught ME anything, its that once people start burning books or art… well… you know what’s next.

Let’s embrace it not deface it, cats and kittens.  We should all be so lucky to explore our talents and gracefully share our worldview with any onlooker. Crazy or not…


Interview with Charmaine Olivia for Warholian

Check out the interview with the divine Charmaine Olivia I wrote for the Warholian.  I’ve been a huge fan of Charmaine’s art, her funky style, and the way she uses social media to promote herself.  So it was an honor to interview her.
Charmaine Olivia studio visit and artist interview with Aimee Dewing for Warholian - Photos by Michael CuffeCharmaine Olivia studio visit and artist interview with Aimee Dewing for Warholian - Photos by Michael Cuffe
Check out the full article here.

That’s all for today cats and kittens!


June bugs in July: Some DC Street Art

Found Street art! Hear ye! Hear ye! Watch where you walk for there are little sneaky spots of creativity.  What have YOU seen lately on your trek through the concrete jungle?

Here is “Immigrant Roots Immigrant Rights” in an alley on U Street in between 12th and 13th Streets. I know someone who knows someone who I tried to friend on Facebook but he didn’t accept my request and he’s the guy who does this image.  I guess his name is Cesar Maxit. Anyway, I love it!  Seen it a couple places around the dis-trict.

At the vitaminwater uncapped LIVE event last month.

And, then, I found this on 14th Street.  Great wheatpaste image AND some punk ass graffiti all over it.  Well guess what, dude, your addition to the piece actually became part of the art anyway. In yo face tagger! Anyone know who did this original, Native American image?

That’s all cats and kitties. Namaste for now!