Monday, August 29, 2011

Thinking inside the Box

We have plenty of shipping containers considering we import everything now
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So, how appropriate is it that a tower of shipping containters spell out the letters USA on one side, and on the other side, which happens to face the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, it spells out IOU.  Shipping containers are an appropriate medium in which to convey the message.  For one thing, the source of the shipping containers, and probably the biggest creditor to the mounting US debt is China.  I'm sure many of these containers have spent some time there being loaded with cheap goods bound for the US -- Goods which the US used to produce and ship around the world, but now, they come here from the world.
Tima and I visited the dawg park, and having my camera handy, I decided to get some shots of the park to the north as well.  It was then, I remembered the shipping container tower.  I was not the only one.  Another photographer was there taking stills for Grand Arts, one of the sponsors of this monumental work of art.
Double entendres echo out of this project like the twangs of a country song.  There are many monuments and statues in this park bounded to the north and east by the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.  IOU takes on new meaning when you can juxtapose one of the statues of a soldier dedicated to the Spanish American conflict through to the pre-cursor to the Vietnam Conflict -- the war in the Philippines between American troops and filipino insurgents.  My wife is filipino so the meaning of this monument rings poiniently though most americans have forgotten this conflict.  I O U indeed!
As for the other, intended meanings -- USA IOU, amidst the monuments of soldiers and wars which cost many of these troops much more than money, begs the question are we sending everything down the drain so that we can buy cheap crap at Wal*Mart?  No amount of Kenesyan economic pushing, prodding and tugging are going to change the mind sets that are making debtors of a once proud free society.
So I'm going to copy and paste some info here from the Grand Arts Website, since a link will only be temporary...

John Salvest                                                                          
September 2 – October 16, 2011
A Two-Part Project:
A temporary public monument in Penn Valley/Memorial Hill Park, open 24 hours
New Cornucopia
A sculptural work at Grand Arts, open during regular gallery hours
Opening Reception: Friday, September 2, 6-9pm, at Grand Arts and Memorial Hill Park. Free shuttle service will be provided between these sites throughout the evening.
Gallery talk with the artist: Saturday, September 3rd, 2pm at Grand Arts
Grand Arts is pleased to announce the upcoming project, New Cornucopia and The Big IOU by sculptor John Salvest. New Cornucopia and The Big IOU consists of two separate but related artworks: IOU/USA, a temporary public monument in Memorial Hill/Penn Valley Park, and New Cornucopia, a sculpture at Grand Arts.
Towering over visitors at a height of almost seven stories, IOU/USA is comprised of 105 multi-colored steel shipping containers, stacked seven high and fifteen across. The containers will be used as mosaic tesserae, with “I O U” spelled out on one side of the massive structure, and “U S A” on the other. Developed over the course of the past year, this striking installation is unfolding in Kansas City at a moment of exceptionally divisive national politics and public discourse. Says Salvest of IOU/USA:
“The placement of the project near a regional branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, one of the main components of national economic policy, comes at a time when concern about the United States’ ballooning federal budget and foreign trade deficits is a major part of the national conversation. Its location between the Fed and the Pioneer Mother Memorial is also fitting in that, whereas the permanent public monument rightfully celebrates America’s and Kansas City’s triumphant past, the temporary public sculpture may generate meaningful discussion about where we, as a nation, are heading.”
Grand Arts Artistic Director and project curator Stacy Switzer describes how the project is designed to embrace a multiplicity of viewpoints:
“While some may interpret its site and orientation in proximity to the Kansas City Federal Reserve as a direct critique aimed at the activities of the central bank, others may view the project as a cathartic response—perhaps defiant, perhaps submissive—to the stresses of mounting personal debt which millions of us know intimately. Of course neither of these takes is exclusive of another, and activists of most any persuasion could read the work as a rallying cry for their own ideals. This multivalence is what makes IOU/USA so potent as a work of art in the public sphere.”
At Grand  Arts, New Cornucopia will feature a single shipping container with its contents spilling out into the gallery space. Harkening back to Flemish still life paintings of the 17th century, New Cornucopia offers a revised vision of plentitude and decay for our era of globalized trade.
Installation of IOU/USA at Memorial Hill Park will begin August 15, 2011, and the project will open to the public on Friday, September 2, 2011 at 6pm. Thereafter, the installation will be accessible to visitors 24 hours a day, seven days a week through October 16, 2011.
New Cornucopia will open on Friday, September 2 at 6pm, and can be viewed thereafter during regular gallery hours, Th-F 10am-5pm, and Sat 11am-5pm.
Grand Arts will convene several public programs and workshops in connection with the project. Check back here for more information soon.
Inquiries may be directed to:
Seth Johnson
Communications and Public Programs Coordinator
Grand Arts
1819 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
Ph. 816.421.6887
Fx. 816.421.1561
John Salvest's work has been presented in exhibitions throughout the United States, including one-person exhibitions at New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Phoenix Art Museum; Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; Salina Art Center, Salina, Kansas; Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis and many more. Salvest is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in 1991 and 1993 and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1998. He has completed public art projects for the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Memphis and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, among others. The Cannon Center project was cited as one of the country’s best public art projects by Americans for the Arts Public Art Network’s 2004 Public Art Year in Review. His work has been reviewed and featured in publications such as Art in America, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Sculpture, Art Papers, The New Art Examiner and more.
John Salvest is Professor of Sculpture at Arkansas State University. He is represented by Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York; Rudolph Blume Fine Art, Houston; and Endemica Gallery, Rome, Italy.
Thank you to Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation and the Municipal Art Commission for their cooperation. We would also like to offer a special thank you to Belger Cartage Service, Inc. for their support of this project. The following individuals and corporations have also offered generous assistance with the realization of this work: Porter Arneill, Les Christensen, Adam Hogan, Arkansas State University, Destiny Vinley, Rhei, Kate Hackman, David Hughes, Action Sales and Rental Inc., CEO Structural Engineers, RGB Mechanical, Pac-Van, A Box 4 U, Mod-Space, A-1 Rentals, Mather Trailer and Container Storage, Kansas City Piggyback Inc., and Hurst Construction.

Some people blame the fed for our current economic mess.  Like I said, the ironic opportunities abounded with or without a tower of steel spelling it out...
Click here for the photo set.

A Few Creative news links....
*A band review in the Crossroads
*Jazz in Chicago
*Great Basin Survey on Display
*A must read about downtowns that is near and dear to my heart -- Keys to a liveable City!

Here is a money quote...
"Over the years, I’ve figured out the best ways to evaluate a downtown: Walk around at 10 or 11 a.m. – after the office workers are in place and before the lunchtime rush – and again at about 9 or 10 p.m. – after everyone has eaten dinner."

*New KC Ballet home

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June 4, 2009 at 8.06am PDT
If you are interested in expressing your opinion about art, or this blog, or if you have ideas, calender updates or even blog entries, send me a message at TMI, BRD

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Garbage for a Cause

I usually rail against this kind of stuff
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Found art usually consists of stuff that is randomly discovered them put into an art piece as a medium, hopefully to convey a coherent message or idea to an audience.  I find that the randomness of a lot of it overwhelms the message, and usually that message is the same -- decay of some sort as a statement about society as a whole.
Tonight, however, the message was the randomness of what nature can do to human lives, and using the artistic talents of many creative hands to lend a hand to a town stricken by a tornado.  The found objects in question was not trash, but was rather the broken remnants of real peoples normal existance found in the debris fields of Joplin Missouri and incorporated into art pieces and auctioned off as a benefit for the victims of the tornado that hit in late May 2011.
I found myself in conversations about the randomness of nature, and how some of the things that a tornado might do could even be considered bueatiful, if it weren't also tragic.  The way some of the artists built on that, and formed it into a message about human tragedy and need truely did give me pause when I looked at the art objects.
Many pieces were touching, actually, and many of the ideas conveyed had much more impact than normal.  So often we find artists doing this kind of thing, it almost becomes a cliche.  Tonight however, was different in the spirit, idea, intent and in the final finished products -- many pieces of which were fetching prices in the hundreds, and some that I heard, went for nearly a thousand dollars.
This was an impressive performance by the artists, and by the Leedy-Volkos gallery.
twist and shout

A Few Creative news links....

Fly-er Wall

Of course, as always, support this blog by reading it, and emailing the link to your family and friends and support your local creatives by attending one, many or all of these fine events. Don't Just be a Fly on the Wall!


A daily diary through Photos
Tuesday 23 August 2011
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Six Months Ago on Svoboda

One Year Ago on Svoboda

Daytripping Plattsburg Missouri
June 4, 2009 at 8.06am PDT
If you are interested in expressing your opinion about art, or this blog, or if you have ideas, calender updates or even blog entries, send me a message at TMI, BRD

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