A graffiti enthusiast under the Flickr name Satori has documented graffiti and street art in Cincinnati. Click the above image to visit his Flickr site.
Photo courtesy of Satori.
In a renowned 1999 experiment by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons at Harvard University, viewers were asked to count the times a team of white-shirted players threw a ball to each other while ignoring the efforts of a similar team in black shirts. The final count was actually irrelevant. The test aimed to see how many viewers were aware of a silly intervention: a person in a gorilla suit wandered across the middle of the screen, pounded his chest, and then exited. Half of the viewers, in fact, did not see the gorilla, even though it had passed through their field of vision. The highly quoted results have since been used for the analysis of diverse phenomenon, from the blindness of cell phone users to the inattention of people under the influence of alcohol.
The goal of writing (the term used for the creation of graffiti) on public spaces is to gain recognition for the 'tag' (the particular moniker of the graffiti artist, rendered in his or her unique style). But due to selective attention, graffiti is something that the general public simply doesn't see'see' defined as more than having a quick glimpse of something. For example, the bright burst of paint along the highway wall in the form of mutated lettering is (for the average person) dismissed as vandalism before it is properly observed. The colors may make the work stand out and be lightly acknowledged, but the form, tag name, etc. will rarely register; the work is not considered in its individuality. If people do not see the graffiti on its own termsthe particular artists' work as an evolution of the style's aestheticthen they cannot be expected to appreciate it. Any discussion of graffiti must begin with this simple fact: it is not looked at by anyone save a small minority, despite the expectation of the people making it.
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Karen Hackenmiller. Liminal Interplay #1
(2009). Etching, 18x12 in. Photo Courtesy of Manifest Gallery.
In the past decade or so, drawing has witnessed a remarkable resurgence in public interest. 2003's Drawing Now show at MoMA, the 2005 publication of Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing and the Boston Center for the Arts Drawing Show, just to name a few, all attest to drawing's enduring quality to fixate our imagination.
For much of the last one hundred years drawing has been viewed by the art world primarily through a lens of research and process; a view that sees drawing as a means to an end rather than an end unto itself. 20th century drawing in particular has been described by artist Richard Serra as having the character of a verb. Laura Hoptman, curator of 2003's Drawing Now, contends that as opposed to Serra's view, drawing in the 21st century has repositioned itself firmly as noun. Contemporary drawing, in her view, is now more in line with the approach of artists to the medium prior to the advent of modernism. Hoptman's assertion is not an airtight argument, but provides a useful framework for which to consider the fluctuating relationship of drawing to contemporary art. Weighing into this new/old appreciation of drawing as creative pursuit is Manifest Gallery's International Drawing Annual (INDA).
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Jimmy Baker, Gold Teeth
(2010). Three color silkscreen (mockup), 14x17in. Photo Courtesy of the artist.
In recognition of his impact on the art world, the Cincinnati Art Museum is honoring Jim Dine with the inaugural Cincinnati Art Award during a gala hosted by the museum on April 17th.
Born in Cincinnati, Jim Dine is a Pop Artist recognized internationally for his Happenings. According to the Hollis Taggart Gallery site, Jim Dine was noted for 1960s "performances such as Smiling Workman, The Vaudeville Show, and Car Crash [which] drew on personal events, found materials, and a sense of collaboration shared by others, such as Alan Kaprow and Claes Oldenburg. It is the found materials and objects of everyday life, like hearts and robes that continued in his painting and sculpture."