As reported in the Santa Monica Daily Press, the plans for an overhaul of Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station have finally been unveiled. The gallery complex has gotten pretty snoozy (save for a handful of the better galleries there) since arguably being the heart of the LA gallery scene in the 90s. But crafty developers, perhaps responding to the nearby Hines mega-project Bergamot Transit Village, want to fluff the old Station with a “swanky” hotel, office space, and perhaps most importantly, a new 4-storey home for the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
Image via the San Diego Union Tribune
San Diego artist and longtime UCSD professor Ernest Silva died suddenly last week at the age of 65. In a tribute posted to culturebuzz, Robert Pincus remembers Silva’s illustrative painting style that explored a dark side of suburban life. As a longtime supporter of the San Diego art scene, Silva’s influence was perhaps most felt through his work as a teacher. Tributes from Silva’s former students have been piling up on his Facebook page, where his humor and generosity of spirit are celebrated. A memorial service will be held in the Atkinson Pavilion of the Faculty Club on the UCSD campus on Tuesday, March 4 at 4 p.m.
Mike Russell Parker, legendary typographer, type designer and type historian, has died at the age of 85. Credited with the development of over 1,100 typefaces, Parker is perhaps best known for introducing Helvetica to the world.
As director of the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, Parker was a fan of the “rational” Swiss style of letter design, in which, he said, “you draw the counters and let the black fall where it will.” reports Fast Company. Parker and his team took the font Neue Haas Grotesk and reworked it for Linotype’s machines, The font eventually became known as Helvetica, one of the most popular fonts in the world (used by McDonald’s, Verizon, NYC subway signs, and NASA, to name a tiny fraction). In 2007, the year of the font’s 50th anniversary, it was celebrated and strangely debated in the critically acclaimed documentary Helvetica and was the subject of the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition 50 Years of Helvetica.
Parker was born in London and originally planned to become a geologist like his father, but then decided to become a painter, but discovered he was colorblind. He graduated from Yale with an undergraduate degree in architecture and master’s in design. After working at Linotype, he co-founded Bitstream, the first company dedicated to producing digital fonts, according to CNN.com. He also founded Pages Software and served as historian for the Font Bureau. Parker died on Sunday, four days after suffering a stroke, after a long fight with Alzheimer’s. According to his caregiver and ex-wife, his ashes will be scattered at his family home in Massachusetts, without a tombstone.
Photo via typophile.com
NYC artist Jon Burgerman has created a series of photographs in which he is “shot” by movie posters. A comment on gun violence in America and the violent imagery promoted by the movie industry, Burgerman’s series “Head Shots” nonetheless has a comical tinge to it — there’s no CGI realism here, but rather the ketchupy fake blood of old B movies, with Burgerman always in a yellow puffer jacket, presumably for contrast. Don’t miss the ones of him being shot by arrows from posters for Catching Fire and The Hobbit. [via the Guardian]
While the legendary smog in Los Angeles is reportedly on the decline, it’s still a problem elsewhere in the state: witness Bakersfield, where the air quality is reportedly the worst in the nation (which has some stiff competition). In a new photo essay on Art F City, Bakersfield-based artist Jesse Sugarmann records the “form and beauty” of the city’s persistent haze.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, the oldest privately supported art museum in the US, has reached a preliminary agreement with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University (GWU) to take stewardship of its art collection, college and landmark Washington, DC building. Under the proposed three-way agreement, the Corcoran’s College of Art and Design, as well as its Beaux-Arts home near the White House, would fall to GWU.
The Corcoran’s collection of some 17,000 world-class artworks would go to the National Gallery, who will oversee exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in the building under the name Corcoran Contemporary, National Gallery of Art. They will also maintain a Corcoran Legacy Gallery, featuring works closely associated with the Corcoran’s history. The plan is that the National Gallery will absorb as much of the collection as possible, especially in areas in which it is lacking (such as the Corcoran’s excellent contemporary collection) and redistribute the rest to other museum collections, with a preference for DC area museums. But, as the Washington Post reports, “much of the collection could end up in Tennessee or Alaska.”
Most involved in the proposal seem to be trying to put a positive spin on it (The National Gallery is free and more accessible! GWU will pay for the building’s much-needed renovation! Most of the art will stay in DC!), yet most comments include a tinge of sadness at the loss of the Corcoran’s 140-year-old independent spirit. “There is no way to continue the Corcoran as we knew it or as we know it,” Peggy Loar, interim director and president of the Corcoran told the Washington Post. “That’s going to be the kernel of pain for some people.”
If you like charming oddball drawings, and you like crafty things but have no craft skills/inclinations yourself, you’re in luck: Jenny Hart of Sublime Stiching has turned the drawings of Machine Project‘s impresario Mark Allen into cute pillows (and patterns, for the craft-ambitious)! They’ll be showing their wares at Alias Books in Atwater Village this Friday, 2/21/14 from 7-9 pm!
As reported in the LA Times, movie stars George Clooney, Bill Murray and Matt Damon recently made statements around the launch of their movie “Monuments Men” that the British Museum should return the Elgin Marbles back to Greece.
But what, you say, would that mean for all the Egyptian stuff at the Louvre that was carted off by Napoleon at around the same time? Damon reasonably dismisses British protests that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he’s an American, but cultural patrimony is not a black-and-white issue. The argument can be made that cultural property laws restrict international trade in antiquities, and that if they had always existed, the world’s great border-crossing encyclopedic museums wouldn’t be nearly so great, or so border-crossing. So what’s more important, George et al.: stewardship, or ownership?
Responding to the urgent national cries for a statue commemorating Ronald Reagan as a hot young lifeguard, the town of Dixon, IL is commissioning a life-sized bronze of the former movie star and President to complement the other two statues the town already has, reports the LA Times. If only the statue would be like one of artist Omri Amrani’s sports figures in motion — maybe of Reagan jogging along the edge of the lake, Baywatch-style?
Rest easy, America: your nagging itch is about to be scratched, handsomely!
CEO Louise Blouin
Louise Blouin seems to be in trouble these days. Her reputation as an employer is so clouded that when the CEO of Blouin Media, publisher of Artinfo.com and Art + Auction, called a snow day yesterday, Dan Duray of the Gallerist suggested that it was simply because it was payday and, since Monday is a holiday, the company could avoid paying its employees until at least Tuesday.
The snow day came only a day after Blouin and the company president were served with lawsuit papers, filed by two former top executives who claim that they were fired after complaining about missing paychecks and commissions. A Blouin spokesperson said “there were disputed commissions that did not belong to them, and that is why they were terminated,” but the lawsuit claims that Blouin explained to other staff members that the plaintiffs were “greedy,” “evil,” and “stole” money, clients and commissions. The New York Post reports that the two plaintiffs are among a number of former Blouin staffers who have left to join Artnet News, a digital publication that aims to compete with Artinfo.com.
Blouin’s reputation as a fair employer has been nose-diving for a while now. Last month, C-Monster Carolina A. Miranda, freelance arts writer, launched a relentless Twitter campaign called #BlouinShaming:
The two plaintiffs also charge that, despite many years of service at Blouin Media, they were classified as independent contractors when they should have been classified as full-time employees. It should be noted that all Glasstire writers are part-time freelancers, which, as Glasstire contributor Laura Lark explains in her recent article “The Lark Guide to Artworld Behaviors,” makes it “not a ‘real’ job, but then here is a little bit more of that sentence (the all caps are hers):
…it really boils down to money—and though Glasstire PAYS ITS WRITERS BETTER THAN ANY PUBLICATION I’VE EVER WORKED FOR, it’s not a “real” job…