Friday, May 27, 2011

Graffiti: BANSKY, a Portfolio + Spaghetti and Meatballs on a Stick

Graffiti Artist: Bansky

BANSKY is one of the world's favorite artistic rebels. 

Realistically there is graffiti the "art form" and there is graffiti "the crime". The latter is spray-paint illegally and poorly applied to other's property caused by the misplaced thoughts of an immature brain to gain street creds from a peer group. The former, althought still illegal, is thoughtfully designed and executed public art which has become an entree into a career in art and its associated fame.

This article is all about the famous, but notoriously anonymous, British graffiti artist BANSKY. Last year a film titled "Exit Through the Gift Shop" was made about him and about a photographer named Thierry Guetta, who at first took pictures of a hooded BANSKY working, then re-invented himself as "Mr. Brain Wash" a graffiti artist, only in it for the money. You should rent this film, it will make you question what constitutes "Good Art" and how much "Hype" plays into the art market?

For BANSKY I offer to you an abbreviated artist's portfolio: of the street art he has painted. Photos reproduced with the artist's permission, artist BANSKY requests no profiteering from his images.

Portrait of the Anonymous Artist BANSKY


Patience the Lion
The New York City Public Library’s flagship building, now known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, was built on the former site of the Croton Reservoir at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. The immense project of building the Library began in 1899 and lasted 12 years. 

The Stacks under
the Reading Room
At the time it opened in 1911, the Library was the largest marble building ever built in the United States. 

The original
Learn more fun facts about the Main Library building in NYC at the following link:

NYPL Photo Captions: 
Top, Patience the Lion: Patience and Fortitude, the world-renowned pair of marble lions that stand proudly before the majestic NYPL Beaux-Arts building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, have captured the imagination and affection of New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world. Photo from the NYPL website. 
Middle, The Stacks: Cross-sectional view of the stacks at the NYPL main library building on 5th Ave. from the cover of Scientific American, May 27, 1911. Artwork from the NYPL website.
Bottom, Winnie-the-Pooh: Children gathering around the original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals, treasures of the Children's Center at 42nd Street. Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown Photography, from the NYPL website.

Thomas Jefferson's hand written copy of the Declaration of Independence - display up through July 31, 2011.
One of The New York Public Library’s greatest treasures, a full-text version of the Declaration of Independence handwritten by Thomas Jefferson will be on view through July 31 at The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery. The display will be open for a special viewing over the Independence Day weekend, Sunday, July 4 through Monday, July 5. The exhibition also includes early printings of the Declaration as well as a letter from Benjamin Franklin to George Washington mentioning that the Declaration was being drafted. The Library is located at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Admission is free. 
In the days immediately following ratification on July 4, 1776, Jefferson made several copies of the text that had been submitted to the Continental Congress, underlining the passages to which changes had been made. Jefferson was distressed by the alterations made, most notably the removal of his lengthy condemnation of slavery. The Library’s copy is one of two known to survive intact. It is shown together with the first Philadelphia printing and the first New York printing of the final version issued by Congress. These versions are complemented by the earliest newspaper printings; the second official version ordered by Congress, published by a woman printer in Baltimore. 

Photo from the NYPL website.
Foodie and Photographer Matt Armendariz explores Food on a Stick!

Recipe from the Matt Armendariz's cookbook "On a Stick!". 

This idea takes an Italian / American favorite, pops it on a stick, fries it up like something at a State Fair and turns Spaghetti with Marinara sauce into something you can walk around with.

Homemade Meatballs
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg white
2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste

5 cups plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound cooked spaghetti
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 Popsicle sticks
Salt and pepper

1. Line a baking sheet and a shallow baking dish with parchment paper.

2. Make the Meatballs: Place all meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until well combined. Shape into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.

3. Warm 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning to brown all sides, until just cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool.

4. Gently toss meatballs, spaghetti, marinara sauce, and Parmesan in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Place mixture in the prepared baking dish, (push one meat ball into the center of 8 equal sized squares) cover, and refrigerate at least 12 hours and up to overnight.

5. Preheat the remaining 5 cups of oil to 350F. Cut chilled pasta mixture into the 8 equal squares. Remove squares from baking dish and insert a pop stick into each. Carefully place spaghetti sticks in pot, one at a time, and fry about 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm.

Serves 4

Photo and recipe reproduced from the book with the author's permission, but this 

has not been tested by this site.

The book,"On a Stick!", if ordered through will cost you $11, or about the price of a Walt Disney World Corn Dog. The photos are great and Matt packs 80 recipes into this cookbook. If you have been thinking about having a booth at the next street fair, buying a food truck or if you just want a fun surprise for your next pot luck dinner, how about "Spaghetti on a Stick", but please, "No running with your food!"

Until Later, 
ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Born in Bombay India - Anish Kapoor has Conquered the Art World + Pointy Boots + Southwestern Margaritas

IN NEW ZEALAND: Dismemberment Site 1, 2003-09 © Artist Anish KapoorDismemberment Site I is explicitly Land Art, as underscored by its title and the term "site". Its anchoring in the landscape is both spectacular and supernatural; will his artwork "dismember" the hill by appearing as a shape oscillating between muscle and an ancestral trumpet? As is often the case with Anish Kapoor, it is also a "work of passage", giving the singular impression we can enter it to discover an unknown world.
Artist Anish Kapoor 
The Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor is one of the great creative minds of our time. Born and raised in Bombay*, he now lives and works in London. However, for this internationally renowned sculptor, there is no question about him being boxed into a static identity. His career overflows with site specific pieces, all over the globe, in a continual dialogue among visual art traditions. He is an explorer who can make gigantic spaces feel small and can create immensity from a confined space, somehow sidestepping the laws of the material world. Anish Kapoor operates in a space he calls “the in-betweeness”, always staying open to new directions, trying to avoid being pigeon holed in any way
(*Bombay officially changed its name to Mumbai in November of 1995)
IN CHICAGO: Cloud Gate, 2004-2006 © Artist Anish Kapoor
Both bridge and cloud, Cloud Gate appears in the public space as an intriguing, spectacular UFO of a sculpture. Playing on the motif of reflections, Kapoor creates a monumental work that is more that just a reflection of its surroundings. The purity of the sensual, organic form and the shiny surface draws the viewer in, causing the eye to go from one perspective of the world to another. The work is a bridge between several dimensions and it has become a favorite with the locals and a Chicago attraction for tourists.
A universal artist in this time of globalization, Anish Kapoor loathes the thought of being narrowly defined. This is not out of non-conformity, but because it would limit his genius. His art makes us question the very dimensions of matter and Kapoor tirelessly explores unknown places and seeks new contexts. Thus he created Sky Mirror (2001), a gigantic concave mirror reflecting the sky and the animation of NYC installed for a time at New York's Rockefeller Center; and his famous Cloud Gate (in Chicago's Millennium Park, 2004-2006), is an immense polished stainless steel public sculpture absorbing the tall buildings along Michigan Avenue into its horizontality and softening the vertical city. Kapoor has build a dense, living body of work which opens a spectator’s emotions. The artist says, "Nothing in the man is attached to his immediate surroundings or is fixed, because it is in the imagination that humanity truly resides."
Anish Kapoor. Yellow, 1999 © Artist Anish Kapoor
A sculptural monochromatic work mounted into the wall, defying the rules of perception, Yellow is first and foremost a jubilant artwork. The pure solar color draws the eye, which basks in it. What seems flat, also seems mysteriously rounded , but the surface proves to be concave: the eye dizzies and loses itself in this bottomless bath of pure yellow color. 
This artwork that is both thought-provoking and sensational. 

Now Showing
by Anish Kapoor
Up through June 23, 2011
Anish Kapoor – Leviathan – Interior view of the artwork
© MONUMENTA 2011 & Artist Anish Kapoor - Photo: Didier Plowy, all rights reserved by Monumenta 2011 & The French Ministry for Culture and Communication.

MONUMENTA is an ambitious artistic encounter unmatched anywhere in the world, organized by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.  Each year MONUMENTA invites an internationally renowned contemporary artist to fill the 13,500 square meters in the Grand Palais Nave with an artwork specially created for the space.
The Nave of the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées. 
Built for the 1900 World Fair, the Grand Palais was inspired 
by London's Crystal Palace and is now a historic Paris monument 
with the largest glass roof in all of Europe. 
© Photo EMOC / Patrick Tourneboeuf / Farida Bréchemier. 
MONUMENTA's challenge is monumental, to find one of the great artists of our time to create the next remarkable piece of art, both precious and accessible. The venue is the exceptionally beautiful Nave of the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées in Paris. MONUMENTA's efforts for the first three years of this project have been successful and have proven that contemporary art can be appreciated both by the critics and the public at large.

From video by MONUMENTA of 2011 Opening.

This year MONUMENTA commissioned Anish Kapoor to take up the challenge. The Bombay-born / British sculptor fascinates and enchants viewers with his artworks. The simple lines of his recent works, often achieved by state-of-the-art technology, produce a stunning visual impact and his pieces are enjoyed by both the eye, from a distance, and by interacting with them up close. 
MONUMENTA 2011 - Opening
MONUMENTA 2011 - Opening
With Leviathan, the artist uses a deep purple color for the exterior making the piece look like a very oddly shaped eggplant and when viewed from inside, the back-lit shell turns to a deep red color. Working with the light from the glass ceiling, plus filling the height and width of the huge Nave with this sculpture, Kapoor's Leviathan lives up to its title. MONUMENTA 2011 is Anish Kapoor’s return to the "City of Lights" as the "Conquering Hero of the Art World", thirty years after his first exhibition in Paris. (Below are concept drawings showing the shape of the sculpture and how people will interact with it on the exterior and the interior.)

Source: All information and photos in this article came from the press access of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication & MONUMENTA's websites and the formal press release from: 

Dancing with the
Pointy Toed Boots!

MATEHUALA, Mexico – 
Several news websites are reporting a new fashion fad happening in Mexico: "Pointy Toed Boots"! The idea for these awkward looking dancing shoes started when a customer made an odd request to shoemaker, Darlo Calderon, in Matehuala, Mexico. The request was to create a pair of boots with very long pointed toes. Most cowboys in Mexico, have for many years, worn boots with a pointed toe, but nothing very extreme.
These "extreme pointy toed boots" created by Darlo were worn by his customer, to the Mesquite Rodeo Nightclub, where he danced with a handkerchief covering his face, like a bandit. 
Since that night, everyone in town has wanted a pair of Darlo's pointy toed boots. It is said that the ladies will not dance with any man not wearing a pair of pointy boots. 

This boot fashion has been around for about a year and the phenomenon is spreading across Mexico and even to a few US cities.


Serve some Southwestern Margaritas!
Inspired by the cool, blue rivers of the American Southwest this bright blue margarita is as refreshing, as it is lovely.


• 7.5 oz. Tequila
• 4.5 oz. Blue Curacao
• 18 oz. Margarita Mix
• 6 oz. Orange Juice
• Lime twist for garnish


In a shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients and shake vigorously. 
Serve over ice, with or without salt, garnish with a lime twist. 

Then enjoy your Southwestern Margarita while you sit and watch the sunset in the West.

Makes 7 Servings


Sauza ® Gold Tequila & 
Dekuyper ® Blue Curacao

Until Later,
ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pavilions of Venice + Continental Breakfast: Croissants, Confiture and Dark Coffee

The Venice Biennale
June 4 - Nov. 27th
In the last issue I featured the artists selected for the US Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale and in this issue I want to share some of the other art available at this 54th "Worlds Fair of Art" in Venice, Italy. The selection of Pavilions written up here was randomly determined by the venues who sent me press releases for their exhibition. There are over 70 National Pavilions at this year's Biannale and I look forward to checking them all out over the next several months. If I find something extraordinary, I will share that art with you by end of the summer.

54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
The Luxembourg Pavilion with the exhibition Le Cercle Fermé: at Ca' del Duca, 3052 Corte Del Duca Sforza, Venice. 
Martine Feipel & Jean Bechameil, 
"Le Cercle Fermé," exhibition view. 

Anybody interested in the work of Martine Feipel & Jean Bechameil soon realises that the notion of space is central to it. The observer is presented with a single idea: the obvious necessity of finding a "NEW" type of space. They believe space is in crisis today. The space we think of as living space is simultaneously a space for action, orientation and communication and since we live in a period of change, past models no longer work. To remodel a civilization one must modify the "everyday" first, which will lead to completely remodeling the world. That is the message of this art. 

54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation St. Mark's Square Gallery, Piazza San Marco 71/c, Venice
Jompet Kuswidananto, Cortege of the Third Realm, 2010.
A sound & video Installation of 24 human sized objects creating a marching band. 
Courtesy of the artist and Akili Art Museum.

The Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation and Arthub Asia proudly present "Xijing" (pronounced Zhee-zhing) the first institutional exhibition dedicated to the work of the Xijing Men, a unique collaborative team composed of artists Chen Shaoxiong (China), Tsuyoshi Ozawa (Japan) and Gimhongsok (South Korea).  Xijing—the capital of the West—exists upon a fictive geopolitical axis created in correspondence to the real cities of Beijing (capital of the North), Nanjing (capital of the South) and Dongjing/Tokyo (capital of the East).  Developed over the course of the past five years and displayed here at the foundation's venue in Piazza San Marco, the show is a quixotic journey through the creative world of Xijing – a city of encounters, locations and narratives awakened by the above named team. Xijing is revealed through their art, made up of a variety of media and formats.

As a construct of fiction, Xijing is conceived to make the process of ‘situating’ Xijing a participatory and productively instable experience. All of the "Guides to Xijing" created so far: (Do you know Xijing?, Welcome to Xijing, This is Xijing and I Love Xijing) are performances captured on video. Alternating between dark humor and existential eccentricity, the scripts are devised to show Xijing as the other side of all things human. These video-based works and a sound installation will show off the Xijing Men's unique creativity. Commissioned by Arthub Asia and curated by the Beijing-based Beatrice Leanza. This exhibition starts a program of residencies by Bevilacqua La Masa centered on Asian artists and inspired by the ancient link between Venice and the East.

54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
The Pavilion of Turkey is organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. 

"Plan B"
Ayşe Erkmen's sculptural installation draws on the complex relationship Venice has with water. Her project takes as a point of departure that 'Plan A' has already failed.  'Plan B' transforms a room inside the Arsenale into a complex water purification plant where machines perform as sculptures, placing the audience inside the filtration process - which eventually provides clean, drinkable water back to the canal.

Each component of the filtration unit has been separated out, humorously disseminating the machinery throughout the room then reconnecting the elements with extended pipes. The artist choreographs the elegant industrial forms to draw attention to the process of transformation, at the end of which, the purified water is returned to the canal: a courageous, but futile, gesture against the overwhelming odds of creating a fresh water canal out of one fed by the Mediterranean Sea and connected to the Atlantic Ocean. While a reference to the potentiality of change, the work is simultaneously a critique of unrealistic and unsustainable solutions created to solve complex problems.

54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
The Pavilion of Iraq. Gervasuti Foundation Fondamenta S. Ana (Via Garibaldi) Castello 995 Venezia (vaporetto Arsenale or Giardini)
Ahmed Alsoudani - Untitled 2011

Azad Nanakeli - "au" 2011

Iraq's experimental contemporary artists have never had a chance to present their work for an Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale; the first and last major appearance in 1976 outlined only some of their "modern" artists. The Iraq Pavilion for 2011 will indeed show the world an exciting professionally-curated selection of 6 Iraqi artists from two generations, including various artistic media (painting, performance, video, photography, sculpture & installation).

54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia 
The Spanish Pavilion

The work L'Inadeguato, Lo Inadecuado, The Inadequate by the artist Dora García will be a single piece, an ensemble performance and will evolve constantly throughout the six months of the Biennale, involving nearly seventy participants. The performances will be accompanied by a book and a "Guide to the Performance" and will make use of Spanish objects and documents. The artist aims to replace an exhibition with an occupation, an artist's show with a theatre and a pavilion with the essence of Spain and its history.

The concept of inadequacy she explains through words by Erving Goffman in 'Encounters' (1961): "to be awkward or unkempt, to talk or move wrongly is to be a dangerous giant, a destroyer of worlds. As every psychotic and comic ought to know, an accurately improper move can poke through the thin sleeve of immediate reality." The title came to García based on the feeling of inadequacy she felt when given the "news" of her role in the 2011 Biennale's world stage.

"The Inadequate" is a work of joint authorship involving a group of artists, art critics and writers, with artist Dora García as the initiator and host. 

54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia 
The Japan Pavilion

Tabaimo "teleco-soup" (still) 2011. Video installation, 5'27' loop.
© Tabaimo / Courtesy of Gallery Koyanagi and James Cohan Gallery. 
The artist Tabaimo is one of the country's leading young artists. She first received critical acclaim for her multimedia installation Japanese Kitchen (1999), which combined surreal, hand-drawn animations with architectural elements in an unblinking examination of contemporary Japanese society. In Venice, "TABAIMO: teleco-soup" will continue that trajectory. In Japanese the exhibition title, "teleco-soup," connotes the idea of an "inverted" soup, inverting the relations between water and sky, fluid and container, self and world. Coined by the artist, this phrase examines Japan's identity as an isolated island state and the traditional facets of their society, now having to function in an age of globalization. 

The structure of this exhibition further references a proverb attributed to the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi, "A frog in a well cannot conceive of the ocean," and a Japanese addendum, "But it knows the height of the sky." Through the use of a multi-channel animation / projection and mirrored panels, Tabaimo transforms the interior of the Japan Pavilion into a well, open to the sky.

The succession of images will lead to a recognition of the unimaginable breadth of a well—ie: contemporary Japan—and through the installation's anti-gravitational orientation, will connect to an infinite depth / height in a world with the sky below, visible through an aperture in the floor at the Pavilion's center. Extending beyond the confines of the Pavilion, the installation will destabilize relations between up and down, interior and exterior, broad perspectives and narrow perspectives, and immerse the visitors into an experience which asks them to question, "Is the world of a frog, living in a well, really so small?" 

The 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 
The Pavilion of The Republic of Latvia Cannaregio 4118, Palazzo Albrizzi

The Latvian exhibition showcases artist KRISTAPS ĢELZIS, one of the most unique and brilliant personalities in Latvian contemporary art. The title "ARTIFICIAL PEACE (Contemporary Landscape)" strides the borderline between monumental painting and conceptualism while belonging to both. The works are in watercolour technique, using luminescent water-based acrylic paints.

The interaction between colour, light, imagination, and emotion forms the underlying concept. The large format watercolour series "Contemporary Landscape" is the core of the exhibit. These paintings reveal the story of our very personal relationship to our world. The huge pulsating fields of colour represent the striking daily transitions of the artist's emotions, whose further evolution is up to the viewer. Silhouettes of the visitors will interact with the paintings and become a part of the artwork. In the context of "Artificial Peace" light plays a particular role: fluorescent blue lights help to add an endless depth to the layers of the painting, allowing the viewer's gaze to penetrate into deep space. This blue light becomes a kind of emotional binding between the visitor and the artwork while revealing "painted space". 

The 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 
The Romanian Pavilion Giardini di Castello 

Left: Lucia Tkáčová and Anetta Mona Chisa, 2010. Photo: A.M. Chisa.
Right: Ion Grigorescu „Selfportrait as Tuthankamon", 1975 Photo: I. Grigorescu. 
Courtesy JGM Gallery Paris & the Van Sluijs collection Amsterdam.
Eastern European contemporary art has for twenty years had an awkward transition into democracy with artists fighting against a culture left over from the communist era of controlled and suppressed thinking. One part of this pavilion focuses on the essential role played by the work of Ion Grigorescu (born in 1945), an iconic figure of avant-garde thinking in Romania. Grigorescu was a forerunner in his country for conceptual and performance art - using the human body as his artistic medium. 

The art of the younger artists, Anetta Mona Chişa and Lucia Tkáčová, starts with historical references, but sees new meanings - forging liaisons between generations and posing critical and ethical questions for fellow Romanians. The two artists have been working together since 2000 and their art brings with it a global consciousness, a sense of questioning, and an open eyed curiosity about exploring their roots. The work deals with the complex eastern European mindset in regards to relationships between the individual and the collective, the differences between the older generation and the younger generation and what it means to be young and free in Romania, today. 

The 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 
The Pavilion of the Republic of Macedonia

"Zarko Baseski in his workshop."
Photo by Tristan JEANNE-VALES.
LEAP is a story based on the ideas of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche about man's struggle to surpass himself, the possibility to grow beyond himself, to leap beyond the limits of reality he himself creates. It can also be understood as a metaphor of the current conditions in Macedonia and the world.

The installation consists of three complex, hyper-realistic and larger than life size sculptures of the same man in three situations. The connection between the sculptures—a man carrying himself, a man leaping over himself and a man rising above himself—is man's eternal strife to transcend himself. The author of these sculptures is Žarko Bašeski.

Bašeski is a sculptor whose monumental bronze such as "Alexander the Great" and "The Horseman" decorate Macedonian civic centers.

The 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 
The French Pavilion

Christian Boltanski, "Chance," 2011. Photo © Didier Plowy
Christian Boltanski, a leading figure in the international art scene, is representing France at the Biennial; for the French pavilion, he is featuring an installation entitled "Chance." It deals with good luck, bad luck and chance - forces that fascinate us and rewrite our lives. 

"Chance" marks an important stage in the evolution of Christian Boltanski's work. Unlike the rest of his work, which is dominated by disappearance and death, here he opens himself up to a broader examination of fate. The unfolding of life and the rhythm of births and deaths raise the question of the universal and the individual in a new form, of what distinguishes one being from another. Far from being grim, the ambiance here is welcoming. Even though the brutality of an industrial and mechanical installation serves to thwart the building's Neoclassical harmony, filtered light shines down and illumines the pictures of newborns. Periodically, one of them will be chosen, and although nothing distinguishes him from the other babies in appearance, he may yet be the one whose power and fame leave a mark on history. 

His experience in theatre opened up a unique path for this artist. Even without a stage, Christian Boltanski knows how to make his exhibits theatrical and ow to get the audience intimately involved.
NOTE: A game drawn on this work is being featured on the Internet for the entire duration of the Biennial. You can try your luck and receive a gift from the artist. To play: 

The 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 
Hungarian Pavilion Giardini di Castello, Venice

Hajnal Németh: Crash - Passive Interview.
Photo: Tihanyi-Bakos Photo Studio, Museum Kiscell – Municipal Picture Gallery, Budapest, 2010. 
Hajnal Németh’s installation "Crash – Passive Interview" will be on show in the Hungarian Pavilion. The skeleton of the work is an experimental opera that takes place on the stage of life, relating, and reflecting on the stories of car crashes: the critical moment is slowed down by memory and recounted in utmost detail; the drive and the course of events leading up to that moment; as well as the complex relation of man to driving, in view of his inclination to have a car fetish. 

Filling the space is an acoustic experience, and a musical film. The installation is complemented with the librettos of the dialogues, namely the written records of the passive interviews, as well as a wrecked car, totalled in a crash, which occupies the space as an evocative artefact. Beyond how we react to the sights and sounds of a crash, the installation brings up the question of destiny.

"The sight of a totalled car is indeed shocking, as the energy of the crash is imprinted in its creases and distortions. Most of us are probably interested in the underlying story: How did the accident happen and what was the fate of the people inside?"

The 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 
The Ukrainian Pavilion 
Venue: CHIESA DI SAN FANTIN, Sestiere San Marco, Venice
Tiara of Ghent Altar, made from 12,800 handpainted wooden eggs. (size 6x6m)
Part of Post-vs-Proto-Renaissance, by Oksana Mas

Artist: Oksana Mas
Project: Post-vs-Proto-Renaissance
Art is an attempt to mend a bereavement, the loss of completeness in this fragmented world. In this regard, creation is a healing process where the artist show us evidence of a new found hope. The sphere, in the history of art, creates a circular motion, it makes our eyes flow and brings shapes together. Ever since the Middle Ages, the sphere has helped to combine reason with instinct, rationality with spirituality and for several years now, Oksana Mas has been working to reclaiming the sphere. She sees it as a geometric shape holding within itself, a principle of universal oneness. The artist began this thought process through the Ukrainian folk custom of decorated eggs covered in traditional Ukrainian designs to celebrate Easter. She decided to give blank spherical wooden eggs to inmates in women’s penitentiaries, intellectuals and people working in various fields from forty-two different countries, asking them to paint them. 

The installation, titled "Post-vs.-Proto-Renaissance" is a section of her monumental work composed of 3.640,000 wooden eggs. The iconographic reference for the work are the Van Eyck brothers, who painted "The gardens of paradise," on the famous Ghent Altar Piece. The eggs form a mosaic in which the ancient and the modern merge into an image embracing the "stories of sins" and "dreams of redemption"... "hope", and "a yearning for purity". Depending on your distance from the work, it breaks down into a digital file of pixels, each egg representing a dramatic mix of destiny and mankind. Contemplating the work of Oksana Mas brings with it an inspiration for renewal.

The 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 
The Danish Pavilion  
Freedom of Speech - A Curated Group Exhibition features 18 international artists of different generations from 12 countries. 13  installations and works commissioned specially for the exhibition.
Danish Artist Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen
"The Artist's Song"  2007
photo: Lasse Bak Mejlvang

The Danish Pavilion will host an international group exhibition, curated by Katerina Gregos, which will explore the very timely and complex issue of freedom of speech. The question of freedom of speech is one that is being increasingly contested in light of transformations taking place globally, both in authoritarian regimes and in democracies, where civil liberties seem to be increasingly under threat. Apart from the fact that it relates to Denmark specifically, it is also highly relevant in relation to much of what is happening in many countries in the world today, from: press intimidation and censorship in Russia; to Google's issues in China; current events in North Africa; changes to media law in Hungary; and other factors such as increased surveillance everywhere, and highly charged debates about the limits of freedom of speech in several European countries, such as the Netherlands. The notions of freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression also are interrelated with, freedom of the press, government censorship and self-censorship, plus all sorts of judicial, legal, lifestyle and human rights issues. The exhibition in the Danish Pavilion aims to shine a light on the issue of freedom of speech. Denmark has been at the forefront of the public debate, but it has also suffered the so-called 'trauma of free speech,' making it even more appropriate to use the Danish Pavilion this summer as a springboard for debate on this issue. 

The 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia starts in previews on June 1, 2011, with aa Gala Opening on June 3 and will open to the public from June 4 through November 27, 2011.  A list of all nations participating in this year's fair is at the end of this issue. Information Sources: the Venice Biannale's official website; E-Flux press releases for each national Pavilion featured; and the web sites of the national pavilions.

Continental Breakfast:
Croissants, Confiture and Rich Dark Coffee

After thinking about Europe for a week, I found myself craving a "Continental Breakfast" of croissants, confiture and dark coffee. We all know what croissants are and what European roast coffee looks like, but some of you might not know that Jam in French is 'la confiture', Jelly is 'la gelée' and preserves are 'les conserves'.

What are America's options for a good Continental Breakfast?
Many coffee shops, breakfast specialty restaurants and hotel restaurants offer very good bakery made croissants and Starbucks has set the standard for good dark coffee so high, even McDonald's sells a good strong cup of coffee these days. Also your local larger grocery chain sells croissants in their bakery departments and Starbucks and European bold coffee beans and ground coffee to take home. The Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are an American fast food version which Americans were raised on but I am certain crescent rolls would upset most people from France where they take their Croissants seriously. (In Paris if you see a straight Croissant it was made using butter, if the one you select is curved it was made using margarine. This is a French law specifying this distinction.)

Recently I found another option that is much more "Continental"! Williams-Sonoma has contracted with French pastry chef Jean-Yves Charon to premake croissants in the French tradition, laboriously folding and cutting the croissants by hand, rolling, packing, freezing and shipping them fresh to your doorstep. They come in Plain, Mini Plain, with Chocolate Chunks inside, and Chocolate Croissants with Chocolate Chunks. Keep them in your freezer, when ready to indulge, let the frozen croissants rise for 9 hours (overnight) in your kitchen. In the morning bake and enjoy the real thing from France! Jean-Yves Charon also offers to ship to you Apple & Cherry Turnovers, Sticky Buns, Morning Buns and petite versions of these pastries at the site. The company recommends that once at their web site, click on the Catalog Quick Shop link (under Shop at the bottom of the page) and enter the item 47-4276309 to go directly to to Jean-Yves Charon's croissants. The Williams-Sonoma toll free number is (800) 541.2233.

For a good cup of rich European coffee, most coffee lovers would recommend a French Press Pot available everywhere these days (add 4 well rounded tablespoons of regular grind, dark roast coffee) add boiling water and press. Or try the new single cup coffee brewing machines with a selection of coffee strengths from very strong espresso to mild - success guaranteed!
A French favorite,
Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves,
is available at most of America's local supermarkets
 and is usually less expensive in the US, than it is in France.

So now it is up to you. Stock up for a Sunday in the near future: order your croissants and bake; brew some rich coffee in your press pot; have some real butter and raspberry preserves ready to dab on the warm croissants with your silver butter spreader; buy a New York Times Sunday edition and Enjoy a "Continental Breakfast" while reading the paper. This is my idea of the good life and it's available to everyone with a just a little bit of planning.

Until Later,

ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.
The 54th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 
This years Biennale is titled ILLUMInations 
The Biennial will take place in June and was organized by the art historian and critic Bice Curiger:
- Preview: 1-2-3 June 2011 
- Official Opening: 3 June 2011 
- Opening to the public: 4 June > 27 November 2011
List of Pavilions 2011 Venice Biennale:

ALBANIA Geopathies