Friday, July 29, 2011

Rockwell at the White House & a Chelsea Group Show + "Coney Islands" Go Turkey!

Norman Rockwell 
at The White House
The famous Norman Rockwell painting, "The Problem We All Live With", shows a young black girl, Ruby Bridges, on her way to start first grade in New Orleans, after the school board mandated desegregation of two New Orleans schools. This depicts an actual event which happened in 1960. The painting has just been hung in the White House on a wall leading to the Oval Office and will stay on loan to our nation until the end of October. Another Rockwell painting depicting the Statue of Liberty was donated to the White House by Steven Spielberg in 1994 and currently hangs in the same room.

To commemorate the temporary installation, President Obama invited Ms. Bridges and representatives of the Norman Rockwell Museum to the White House to discuss the painting's impact as an icon of that turbulent era and what impact the actual experience had on Ruby as a young child.
Ms. Bridges described her experience: “Driving up I could see the crowd," but being 6 years old and growing up in New Orleans, "I actually thought it was Mardi Gras. There was a large crowd of people outside of the school.... throwing things and shouting... that sort of goes on in New Orleans at Mardi Gras!" A classmate later told her that his mother had instructed him not to play with her. She asked why. He told her, because she was black. That is when she realized that all the fuss, crowds and noise was about her. "...we should never look at a person and judge them by the color of their skin, that is the lesson I learned in First Grade!"

Group Show
at BravinLee Programs 
in Gallery 1
Fabian Marcaccio 

Fabian Marcaccio 

Chuck Close

Chuck Close

Thomas Nozkowski

Thomas Nozkowski

Thomas Nozkowski

Oaths? Questions? Bookness! 

at BravinLee Programs 

BravinLee programs, in NY's Chelsea Arts District, is presenting a selection of pages from the art book titled: “Oaths? Questions?” in Gallery 2. Visuals by Marjorie Welish & words by James Siena.

From the outset, the concept of this art book was to place transparent text pages interleaved on top of opaque pages of art. With "Oaths? Questions?" the object is not so much a book as the art of seeing. The viewer must constantly focus and refocus from seeing to reading. The artwork is seen through a verbal screen which redefines poetry. Words, images, images, words, all enriched by the confusing exchange. 

This collaboration between Marjorie Welish and James Siena was an urgent desire to make a unique work, unlike art or a book. So this work takes both apart and puts them back together, certainly not the same as before the marriage. What is the TRUTH? (Oaths require Questions.) The art is made up of words and wordless communications combined.

Oaths? Questions? was published by Granary Books in early 2009. Ruth Lingen in New York City printed the images on Somerset Book. The typographic layout, by Marjorie Welish and James Siena, was printed letterpress by Art Larson at Horton Tank Graphics in Hadley, MA. Oaths? Questions? was bound in printed cloth over boards. The binding structure was designed by Daniel E. Kelm and Kylin Lee at the Wide Awake Garage in Easthampton, MA and produced by Kylin Lee at the  Blue Eyed Cicada Studio also in Easthampton. Steve Clay, Philip Gallo, and Judy Tobar provided additional assistance.

BravinLee Programs
526 West 26th Street Suite 211, 
New York, New York, USA
Tue - Sat 10 AM - 6 PM
Director - John Lee
Fax: +1.212.462.4406
Phone: +1.212.462.4404

Hot Dogs
with Turkey Chili 

  • Hot dog buns
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • One 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon favorite mustard, plus more for topping
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • Pork, chicken & turkey hot dogs
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Wrap the hot dog rolls in foil. In a large skillet, cook half of the onions and the garlic over medium-high heat in a small amount of oil, for 2-3 minutes, add the turkey, breaking it up, until the pink is almost all gone, onions should be soft. Stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 more minutes. Stir in 1 cup water, the tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until thickened - about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile place hot dogs in a pot of water and bring to a boil, cook for 8 minutes. Place the rolls in the oven to heat through. Place a hot dog in a roll and top with mustard & chili. Spread some onions on top and extra mustard if desired. (This recipe is adapted from a chili dog preparation at

Recommended Mustards:

Best Dijon: 
   Grey Poupon Dijon
Best Honey: 
   Honeycup, Uniquely Sharp Mustard
Best Ballpark: 
   Raye's Mustard Top Dog
Best Deli: 
   Hellmann's Deli Mustard
Best Hot: 
   Silver Spring Beer 'n Brat Horseradish Mustard
Best Oddball: 
   Inglehoffer Creamy Dill Mustard with Capers
(Source: Everyday Magazine)

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, July 21, 2011

Frank Gehry's late success + What makes a GREAT restaurant?

Aerial view of Gehry's Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

The Fun Architecture 
of Frank Gehry
Architect Frank Gehry thought his long career was coming to a graceful end before lightening struck, when he designed a single building in a relatively unknown city in Spain. The year was 1997 and the city was Bilbao, Spain when Gehry's titanium wrapped, modern expressionist and curvaceous Guggenheim Museum took the world by storm.

Photos from the Artifice Collection

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (pictured above) single handedly put Bilbao, Spain on the map and Frank Gehry became the most talked about architect of 1997-98! Gehry had hinted at free-form design on previous projects, but with the Guggenheim Bilbao the vision of his signature style matured and he designed his now famous curving titanium shapes with reckless abandon. The result was and still is stunning! Gehry's next big project was the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the city where he lives and works.

The Disney commission was filled with "public project" politics and problems, but upon completion the building made another publicity splash for the architect. Commissions started pouring in from all over the world with institutions begging for his titanium and curvilinear touch.

The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College
The New Yorker magazine called it "the best small concert hall in the United States".

Frank Gehry was born into a very poor immigrant family with the last name Goldberg (he changed his name to Gehry in the 1950's). His father raised his large family in the Hell's Kitchen section of NYC, when the area actually "was" its literal meaning. Although he considers himself as being from New York City, Gehry has had few projects in the city during his career - until recently when high profile commissions have come his way, in this toughest of markets for any architect. 

His IAC Offices in Chelsea is an amazing work of curved and tinted glass. Each pane of glass is custom made to size, to shape and with a unique pattern of the gradient white tint. The huge 16 building Atlantic Yards Project, proposed for Brooklyn, was put on hold due to economic conditions and because of the public outcry over the negative impact it might have on Brooklyn's neighborhoods. Today his monument of a skyscraper has just been completed in Manhattan near City Hall and overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. "8 Spruce Street" is a 76 story tower of undulating ripples, flowing up the sides. Seeing it makes me wonder, how did they build that? The following video gives some insight.

Gehry, now 82, has had a third act like few others. His career came on so strong after most architects would have retired. We should all say: "Thank you Mr. Gehry for the fun architecture you have given the world."


Midwest-Based Artist Kay Rosen's
6 story hand painted mural.

Artist Kay Rosen
inspires Chicago to
Painted in bright yellow on the exterior of a building inside "The Loop" in Chicago, artist Kay Rosen uses graphic typography to make an even larger point about taking action to "DO GOOD" through gestures large and small, public and private on a daily basis. The work can also be appreciated as abstract art, repetitive black letter forms on a yellow field. This mural and other related pieces will remain up until September. Chicago has built a whole "GO DO GOOD" campaign around this artwork, seeing it as an opportunity for volunteer groups to create events - with the goal of inspiring 100,000 "organized acts of goodness" this summer. This commission is the second annual Art Loop Public Art Installation installed to create interest in the central Loop area. Last year's Art Loop installation centered around an "EYE" sculpture by Tony Tasset. 

Summer vacations continue!

It seems in today's mixed up world, we are most a family when we are all on vacation together. That is the reason this creative image depicting the 2 parent, 2 kids & a dog American family, originally published in the New Yorker magazine, spoke to me at this time. The image came from the wonderful mind of cartoonist Saul Steinberg. A quality print is available for purchase along with many other New Yorker cartoons through

Who is in the kitchen?

What makes for a great restaurant, the food?, the decor?, who eats there?, location? marketing & publicity? or trendiness? Only occasionally when one dines out do you sit back after taking a bite and say "Wow, that is Unbelievable". For me the dining experience starts and ends with the food and who is preparing it in the kitchen whether it is a Mom & Pop diner or a 4 star restaurant. A great meal starts at the top, the owner's / manager's view of the restaurant they want to create and in the best case scenario, that results in a great chef and staff in the kitchen. As compared to the restaurant who's manager believes that average is good enough and hires simply a competent staff. The kitchen staff must WANT to create great food and be willing to pay attention to details in order to do it. At one time I worked at Holiday Inns, International's home office as the Art Director. There I learned that we could design and build the most incredible restaurant interior, produce a great marketing and branding logo program, have world class chefs design the menu, which included a manual on how to prepare each dish and still the dining experience was almost always disappointing. Why? Because the on site manager hired the staff based on a different objective, that being to fill the kitchen positions as inexpensively and as conveniently as possible. Many of these managers would hire untalented and uninterested staff to prepare the food. Aha! That proved to me: "WHO is in the kitchen" IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT when it comes to creating a great restaurant with outstanding food.

In Colorado and last night we were dining at a small Denver restaurant formerly named Cafe Star, now it is called Trattoria Stella. Admittedly we have dined there many times because the owner is a friend of ours and over time the meals have been consistently good. The difference between "Unbelievably Good" and "Good" is vast. In my mind the meals which were simply "Good" were the short periods when the restaurant was between excellent chefs (a talented chef is notoriously hard to find and to keep).

Recently, for Sunday brunch, we dined on shrimp and grits which included a finishing touch of honey/chorizo reduction around the edges. Last night it was pan seared scallops with a salad made up of Asian flavored sticky rice topped with apple, carrot & fennel-root slices and finished with a light citrus dressing - the side was grilled white asparagus and to drink we had watermelon lemonade. Wow, wow and wow! Both meals were shake-your-head good. The chef, a young man named Valentino, is currently heading up Trattoria Stella's kitchen. Valentino trained under Mario Batali in New York and his assistant chef, Lorenz Hartmann, was the personal chef for a major sports figure.

Trattoria Stella is not an expensive restaurant, our total bill was very reasonable. AGAIN: For me, great food = great restaurants and great food all depends on who is in the kitchen! A talented chef does not disappoint, because for them each dish has "their good name" attached to everything sent to the tables!

Trattoria Stella,
Owner: Tom Sumners,
3201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, Colorado 80206

Review in "Westword" an alternative newspaper, Denver: "At Stella, the experimentation is most aggressive: spinach spaghetti amatriciana with pancetta, sweet onions and brown sugar; mustard-brie sauce over portobello mushrooms and pasta; handmade ravioli stuffed with bacon and white-bean purée; tiger shrimp with goat cheese, red-pepper-and-lemon aglio olio, and sun-dried cherries. While these combinations sound weird, they work. Stella is a shining star...."

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, July 14, 2011

How to Collect Art, an insider's guide + Summer Beet Salad

"Blow-Ups" - ink on art paper - Art as Journalism "painting  from life as it unfolds in front of me" - by Jack Atkinson

Dr. David Holcombe
on Art Collecting

1 BREAKING NEWS: Original Art and original editioned art is better than museum posters. Even bad original art is better than a museum poster. But museum posters are in many nice homes and the money people spend on those posters and framing them is huge! - BUT at the end of their useful life most museum posters are worthless! 

2 You don't have to be rich to be a collector. You can collect student art, insider art, mid level art or excellent emerging art OR bid against the museums for the top pieces at auction. 

3 Never buy art as an a financial investment. Art is a social investment, an investment in the artist, an investment in "The Arts" - you become a part of the cultural, social structure. Art is also a human investment, an investment in the quality of your life and an investment in your happiness. Life is better when you enjoy "what" is around you every day - (endorphins are released every time you look at art you love). 

4. If you don't have big money to invest, don't buy anything created by dead artists, buy from living artists. It is a pleasure to meet the artists, to have an interaction with them, to get to know them. You then build social capital with with those artists. 

5. There is not "one" gold standard in art. In the art world, many people think art has to be this certain thing or it has to be that certain thing, but there are just two major things to consider. Some works of art are "pure passion" and some works of art are "pure technique". Technique on one end of the scale and passion on the other. There is art all along that spectrum - but works which have both technique and passion - those pieces are magical!

6. When your house gets full of art, don't stop buying. Change things out, store what you cannot show. Some pieces, you get tired of, or your income improves, allowing you to buy new. You always want to buy "good" art, art you think should be in a museum - you can then give the art to a museum.

If you are looking at a piece of art, which your gallerist is telling you will probabaly be the next big thing, but something in the pit of your stomach is telling you no - trust your gut! Even at the top level of museum qaulity investing in art, it is never a sure thing. Some old master's paintings have lost value in recent years, because today's buyers enjoy the new art made by living artists more.

So in art, buy with your heart not with your head OR you will regret your purchase.

Dan Addington
on Art Collecting

Relate visual arts to music: classical, western, 60's pop, easy listening, acid rock, rap, heavy metal, electronic music or the latest feedback music. You can like parts of the music scene and you can dislike others - different strokes for different folks. The same goes for the visual arts market.

It is very different to listen to a CD than it is to listen to live music. Going to an art show, you bring some of that energy home with you.

Real art is so satisfying because as you grow, it grows - it has the potential to grow with you. Partly because art has meaning in IT, it also has meaning to you. It is a great experience to live with art in your house and even means more to you the longer you live with it. With art, investment comes naturally - good artists usually see their prices going up - but if you own a valuable piece of art you love, you are not going to want to sell it. For the best values in art, it is usually best to buy from emerging artists.

Galleries have biographical information, how many shows they have done. If they are in it for the long hall. When you buy art you are participating in that artist's carreer.  If you like one artist at a gallery, you will probably like other artists at that gallery, because the sensibilities of the gallerist and you are the same. When you buy art, you are participating in that artist's creative act, by appreciating the work. It is hard for artists just to get shown - just to get their art out in front of people.

People should think of art as more than decoration on the wall. Think of the meaning of the art to the artist and to the collector. 

Most of the arts are time based, you invest your time and you are entertained.
In the visual arts, the pleasure comes a few seconds at a time, over and over through out your life. Art is whispering to us, not bombarding us.


Ten things to remember when starting to collect art!

Tips for beginning art collectors as well as for experienced art collectors.
Good reminders for anyone interested in art or already collecting art.
  • Buy art because you like it and because it moves you, and because it will enhance your life.
  • Visit as many art galleries as you can, gallery staff can be helpful guides in your art education.
  • Get on gallery mailing lists so you'll be invited to openings and special events.

  • Curators sometimes give lectures on collecting art.
  • Attend National and International Art Fairs and Art Expos whenever possible.
  • If you know art collectors, talk to them and find out what they know and what they've learned about collecting art.
  • Read books on art history and books about collecting art.
  • Subscribe to a few art magazines.
  • Read reviews by local and national art critics, keeping in mind that reviews usually just reflect one person's opinion.
  • Working with a professional art advisor / art consultant is a good way to learn about art collecting, and they will guide you through the process of purchasing art.
  • Once you've educated yourself and have fallen in love with a work of art, buy it, take it home and enjoy it.
    How to Protect Your Art Investment

  • When purchasing art, consider the following related to your purchase. Make sure that you receive a full and detailed receipt, documenting each artwork purchased. Take care to protect your artwork from damage while transporting it to your home or office. What are your plans for the artwork and where will it hang? Is the artwork automatically covered by your insurance or do you need to contact your insurance company? What are your responsibilities as an art owner? This page provides you with information and tips that will help protect your art investment.
  • Documentation from the Gallery
  • Bill of Sale
    You should always receive one, and keep a copy with the artwork.
  • Letter of Authenticity
    Be sure to get one especially if the piece is limited edition.
  • Artist Resume and Biographical Information
    Always have a current and updated artist information.
  • Artist Statement
    Attach all of your artist information on the back of the artwork.
  • Type of artwork
    It may seem obvious but find out if it's an original, limited edition, or reproduction.
  • Special Care and Handling Instructions
    Make sure that you know how to protect and take care of your artwork.
  • Meet The Artist
    Openings are a good place to meet the artist. You might also take the artist to dinner or drinks, or invite them to your home to see their work on your walls.
  • Gallery and Artist Mailing Lists
    This is an easy way to follow artists career.
Transporting Artworks Home
  • Car / Van / Truck
    Make sure you have a vehicle large enough to get the artwork home.
  • Supplies Needed
    Cardboard and blankets can be used to protect the artwork.
  • Transportation Insurance
    Does your auto or homeowner's insurance protect the artwork, while it is being transported home?
Shipping Artwork
  • Gallery Advice and Recommendations
    Your best source of information will come from the gallery.
  • Art Transportation Companies
    You will find this type of art service in large cities.
  • Crating and Packaging Services
    Make sure they know how correctly package and protect artworks for shipping.
    The gallery may have a service they use, be sure to ask them if needed.
  • Federal Express and Other Carriers
    Be safe and go with a trusted carrier like Federal Express.

  • Archival Framing
    Make sure your artwork is framed and protected with archival framing.
  • Glass or Plexiglass?
    Glass breaks, but it's easier to clean and take care of.
    If the artwork is expensive go with the added safety and protection of Plexiglass.
Hanging or Storage
  • Where to Safely Hang Artworks
    Never hang expensive art over a fireplace.
    Always protect it from heat and direct sunlight.
  • How to Hang
    Use the appropriate type of art hangers. Go with a professional service when the artwork is expensive and you can afford it.
  • Type of Hangers Needed
    There are special types of picture hangers for artworks, ask the gallery about best type.
    Professional framing stores and shops usually have hangers available for purchase.
  • Professional Installation Services
    These are usually available in large cities and galleries can refer if needed.
  • Storage Options
    Your walls might be already covered with artworks, so where do you put it?
    Be careful with wet basements, and always keep artworks 3 inches off the floor.
    Temperature and humidity, make sure the storage area is stable year around.
Artwork Documentation
  • Artwork Details
    Document your artwork fully, be sure to include size, current condition, type of Artwork.
    Also, makes notes about any identifying numbers or markings on the artwork and make sure you know the correct title and date of the artwork. How's it framed and what's the prominent subject matter of the art?
  • Photographs of Artwork
    Digital cameras work well, make sure to photograph from different angles.
  • Artwork Information and Records
    Keep in a safe place like a safe deposit box or in a separate building in case of fire.
    Other documentation to protect include your bill of sale, artist statements, appraisals, articles about the artist, etc. should be together in a safe place.
  • Books about the Artist
    Purchase copies of all publications related to the artist.

Insurance Needs
  • Types of Insurance Coverage Available
    Ask you insurance agent or the gallery you are purchasing from.
  • Homeowners vs Other Types of Coverage
    Homeowners policies frequently cover art but check with your broker, you might have to list your artwork as a separate item.
  • Current Insurance Information
    Keep you insurance company updated with current artwork value.
    This should be done yearly or whenever the value of the artwork changes.
  • What Insurance Companies Pay?
    Are you protected from damage or loss due to an earthquake and water damage?
  • Partial or Total Loss.
    Will you be covered for the full value of the artwork or only a partial value?

    We'll be adding additional insurance information in the near future.
Keep in Touch with the Artist
  • Loan Artwork to the Artist
    Someday the artist might want to borrow your artwork for a major retrospective.
  • What Galleries Represent the Artist
    Know the names of other galleries selling and representing the artist's works.
  • Artist Mailing List
    Contact the artist and ask to be added to their mailing and email list.
  • Artist News and Articles
    Learn how to use "Google News Alerts" for information about the artist.

When You're on Vacation
  • Artwork Storage
    You might consider placing the artwork in storage if you're away for long period of time.
  • Cover the Artwork
    Ultraviolet light is one of artworks biggest enemies, covering it helps keep it from fading.
Artwork Appraisals
  • Professional Appraisals
    You will need one when selling or donating the work to a museum.
    Find Professional Art Appraisers online or ask your gallery.
  • Finding price information online
    The Internet will direct you to artist's information, search for the artist name on Google.
    Look for the artists website, next check for galleries representing the artist.
  • Auction Price Results
    There are several companies who provide major auction results.
    One of the largest online price resources is:
(Sources: All information was obtained online, ie: YouTube, Wikipedia & photo from

Ten Best Practices
in Art Collecting
Artzizzle, a contemporary art site, announced the publication of a new art guide, “Ten Best Practices in Art Collecting”. The guide, available free in pdf format, is a useful art collecting resource recommended for both the novice and professional art collector. (The Artzizzle Guide -PDF- is FREE, but you must register your email at their site to download it.)

Roasted Beet,
Red Onion, 
Green Bean
and Radicchio
Summer Salad 

  • 1 large red onion, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 large beets (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 pounds slender green beans, trimmed, cut in half crosswise
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 large head of radicchio
  • Place onion, 1/4 cup vinegar, and bay leaf in large jar or medium bowl. Add just enough water to cover. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and chill overnight. DO AHEAD Can be prepared 3 days ahead.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place large piece of foil on baking sheet. Place beets in center of foil. Drizzle beets with 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons water. Top with another piece of foil; crimp edges to seal tightly. Roast beets until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  • Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Rinse under cold water to cool. Drain and pat dry.
  • Whisk remaining 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup oil, shallots, and thyme in small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Beets, beans, and dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.
  • Peel and cut beets into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange large radicchio leaves over very large platter to cover (reserve small leaves for another use). Drain red onions; scatter over radicchio. Arrange beans over onions. Arrange beet slices decoratively over beans. Pour dressing over salad and serve.
(Source Bon Appetit online, 
© June 2004. 
Recipe by Jeanne Thiel Kelley photograph by Luca Trovat
permission requested.)

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.