Daily Archives: January 10, 2010

Annette Lemieux

Annette Lemieux, “Twelve”, 2009. Acrylic silkscreen ink on wood panels.  Photo: Paul Kasmin Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- The cow is both subject and vehicle in Annette Lemieux’s latest foray into the folklore and symbolism of the American farm. Imagery culled from 1950’s livestock books opens itself to multiple interpretations, associating freely with ideas from religion, art history and popular culture.

In these new works, golden calves, angelic milkmaids, and holy straw hats playfully invoke the iconography of religious traditions. Together, they form a dialogue that evolves as it travels from piece to piece. For example, in “Mary with Holy Figure”, a young woman appears next to a cow wearing a straw hat. The idea that the hat might constitute a halo led Lemieux to make another work – a gold gilded straw sombrero. These two works were also linked by Lemieux’s discovery that the early etymology of “halo” includes the crop circle created by threshing oxen. The young woman makes a repeat appearance, literally, in “Twenty-Five Hail Marys”, without the straw-hatted cow, silkscreened into a grid of twenty-five that are nearly identical other than the natural variations generated by the printmaking process.

This exhibition continues an investigation that began in 2008, when Lemieux created a stand for the Armory Show that moved from art fair to country fair. Playing off of the context of the event, Lemieux’s installation employed such elements as a best-in-show cow, walls made from old barn boards, vernacular signage, and fresh apple pie. In the body of work that followed, images of pigs referenced both George Orwell and the homespun rhetoric of the campaign trail. ()


Though she’s been called a conceptual artist, “That’s just for lack of a better term,” says Annette Lemieux, professor of the practice of studio arts in the department of visual and environmental studies. Maybe “mixed-media artist” comes closer; think Robert Rauschenberg. Lemieux’s pieces range from Two Vistas, a 17-by-67-foot mural of clouds, to Hey Joe, eight wooden charger rifles grouped in a vertical bouquet with pink carnations stuck in their barrels. Her works tend to be life-sized, like The Great Outdoors (1989), an old black-and-white postcard enlarged into a background vista for an actual Adirondack chair, table, and lamp. “I want to break down the barrier between the viewer and the work, and take you to the actual space and time of the piece,” she explains. “I’m not interested in illusions.” (…)



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Ruhr Inaugurated as European Capital of Culture



The stairway of the Ruhr museum is illuminated to look like glowing steel during the opening of the European Cultural Capital Ruhr 2010 at the former coalmine ‘ Zeche Zollverein’ in Essen, western Germany on Saturday Jan.9, 2010.

ESSEN (AP).- The Ruhr area in western Germany, with its 53 cities and 5.3 million inhabitants, has been officially inaugurated as European Capital of culture 2010 — the first time an entire region was chosen for the title. German President Horst Koehler said Saturday at the opening ceremony in Essen that in the Ruhr area, which is known for its history of coal mining and steel production, “culture is not an elite event, but it is providing vivid strength for everybody.” Thousands of art and cultural events are planned for the year and more than five million visitors are expected. ()


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Jim Morrison’s long lost poetry cafe


The space that was once the Venice West Cafe, where Ray Manzarek says he and friend Jim Morrison drank coffee, dropped acid and read Camus and Sartre, is poised to become a historic-cultural monument. The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission is expected to make its decision today about the Venice Boardwalk building, which housed the Venice West Cafe from 1958 to 1966.

Update: the building was recommended for historic-cultural monument status. The nomination is subject to review by the LA City Council.

In today’s paper, Martha Groves reports:

The Beat Generation in Venice had evolved in part in response to disillusionment with the Korean War, particularly among veterans. At 7 Dudley Ave., they found an escape from established norms where they could write and recite poetry, explore jazz and generally avoid what they deemed the soul-stifling workaday existence of their peers. The movement was analogous to the celebrated North Beach Beat scene in San Francisco. …

John Haag bought the cafe in 1962 and ran it with his wife, Anna, as a haven for underground artists. Haag, who died in 2006 at 75, co-founded the leftist Peace and Freedom Party in 1967.

Soon after buying the cafe, Haag was arrested for holding poetry readings without a city permit. The case was later thrown out. After the building’s owner attempted to evict the coffeehouse, Haag quietly closed it in 1966.

If the loss of the cafe made an impact on alternative culture in Los Angeles, it wasn’t all bad — if his hangout for poetry readings hadn’t closed down, Jim Morrison might never have invested his energies in fronting a rock band.

— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: A scene from the film “Venice: Lost and Found”

via L.A. Times

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