Ed Fuentes takes a break from documenting the murals of Vegas’ Arts District, a role he also performed in LA.
By Danielle Kelly, Las Vegas Weekly
Photo: Sun File
Ed Fuentes would have written the hell out of this essay. He wouldn’t have hemmed and hawed over the formulaic niceties of a who/what/when/where, gently guiding readers into the respectable reflection of a life well lived. Nope. Ed would have accelerated from 0 to 50 mph, driving right into the heart of a person, artwork or idea, trusting his readers to use his generous words, imagery and images as traction along the way. There were no seat belts provided for the breakneck speed of Ed Fuente’s insatiable curiosity, in life or in art.
Font of enthusiasm and encouragement. A witness to our world. Imbued with a sense of purpose and conscience. Big brother to us all. Champion of Latinx art. Champion of Chicano art. Champion of art. Force of nature. This is how those who orbited Ed Fuentes describe him.
Most of Las Vegas knows Ed for Paint This Desert, the blog that began as an Andy Warhol Foundation grant-funded platform for exploring Las Vegas murals and public art. In Ed’s hands, it evolved into a living archive of the Las Vegas arts community, a home for showing the world the city’s vibrant creative ecosystem. Few realize that he started in LA with another successful blog, View From a Loft, the scope of his influence felt deeply in art communities across Nevada and Southern California. Or that, in coming to Las Vegas, the journalist and designer began another career as a student, finishing undergraduate and graduate degrees while immersing himself in the cultural community of his new home. Ed was a diviner of energy and ideas, insatiable in his thirst to inspire and be inspired.
As a shape-shifting arts instigator, Ed Fuentes, who died last week at age 59, is perhaps best summoned by the memories of his collaborators. Former Clark County Cultural Program Supervisor Patrick Gaffey remembers the day Ed asked him why on earth Clark County didn’t have a poet laureate. Five plus years later, Clark County is currently seeking its third poet laureate. Susan Boskoff, former executive director of Nevada Arts Council, recalls the passion and vision with which Ed advocated for the arts, serving as an arts delegate to the State Legislature and working with the National Endowment for the Arts on behalf of Nevada. Angela Brommel, director of arts and culture at Nevada State College, treasures the memory of a student whose restless intellect drove him to find the stories that hadn’t yet been told. UNLV Galleries Director Jerry Shefcik knew Ed the UNLV MFA art student, Chicano artist, and co-curator for ¡Americanx!, Las Vegas’ first-ever art exhibition celebrating its fertile Latinx art community. Co-curator Checko Salgado embraced Ed like a big brother, compelled to galvanize the LA and Las Vegas Latinx art communities. Artist Gig Depio remembers a beloved co-conspirator, dreaming up ways of infiltrating and challenging the Las Vegas arts status quo. For artist Brent Holmes, Ed was a constant source of creativity and influence in a town that desperately needed just such a voice: “Sometimes you don’t know how big a space a person fills until it’s empty.”
Through it all, there was Ed the archivist, camera in tow, tirelessly documenting the multitude of moments that coalesce into an art community. This is perhaps his greatest legacy and Las Vegas’ greatest loss, the daily documentation of people, objects, places and ideas that populate the ever-shifting art scene of a desert oasis.
If Ed were writing this piece, he wouldn’t indulge in sappy ruminations about stars, and how they burn so bright in the Mojave, and wonder why they must all too often burn out. He wouldn’t grow maudlin obsessing over the locomotion of this human Hadron Collider, drawn to and thriving in the beautiful electric chaos of Las Vegas. Nope. Ed would have picked up his camera and set about finishing the work that had been started: documenting the people and places he loved so well. Perhaps the most succinct measure of a person is the inspiration they leave behind.
Cultural journalist Ed Fuentes poses in front of artwork by Colette Miller at the 2016 Los Angeles Art Show. (Isabel Rojas-Williams / Courtesy)
By SUHAUNA HUSSAIN
Los Angeles Times
Wherever Ed Fuentes went, whether it was an art gallery or community meeting, he had his camera hanging around his neck.
Both Fuentes and his camera became fixtures of the downtown Los Angeles Arts District, as he meticulously and lovingly documented the neighborhood and its transformation in photos and writing on his blog, View From a Loft, starting in 2006.
Fuentes, who emerged as a voice and staunch advocate for the local arts scene, died Thursday morning at the age of 59 after suffering a heart attack, according to his father Edward Fuentes Sr.
In addition to his role as a local historian, Fuentes was a muralist, blogger, poet, photographer, graphic designer and comedian. Larry Harnisch described Fuentes in an LA Times column as a “human cyclone” because he wore so many hats.
"He really had his finger on the pulse of the art community downtown. There are so few voices like Ed's out there,” said Maria Margarita Lopez, who met Fuentes while he was doing graphic design work at Variety more than 20 years ago.
A big guy with a scruffy beard, Fuentes was frequently described as “larger than life,” both in the physical sense and in personality, said cultural producer and photographer Melissa Richardson Banks. He was outgoing, funny, knowledgeable and passionate, said art curator Isabel Rojas-Williams.
And he could talk for hours. He would always play the devil's advocate, pushing conversations in unexpected ways, said Alex Poli, an L.A. artist also known as Man One.
"If you gave him a microphone, he probably wouldn't give it back to you,” she said.
Born and raised in Riverside, Fuentes lived there until the late ’90s. Fuentes was always artistic growing up; he won a graphic design contest in his hometown paper, the Press-Enterprise, when he was just 6 years old, his father said.
When he moved to L.A., he worked almost feverishly to document downtown public art and buildings. "You never know what's going to be gone next," Fuentes told Harnisch in 2013.
Fuentes’ championing of Latino artists helped fill a void in the Los Angeles art scene and his death is a searing loss, Lopez said.
“He used to tell me he was people's worst nightmare because he was a Chicano who knew how to write," Alex Poli said.
Fuentes’ writing brought much-needed visibility to historic murals, Rojas-Williams said, and to her own advocacy for an ordinance removing a ban on public murals that the city eventually passed 2013.
People should look to Latino street artists, such as those in East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights, who use "paint as a protest tool, a practice that came from the barrios, where villagers rose up with brushes for pitchforks and paint as torches," Fuentes wrote in 2017.Underserved communities have “always spoken up by writing on the walls of their neighborhoods, demanding for better education and shared civic liberties."
Murals, he wrote, redefined what art can be for a city, but work to recognize art from neglected communities is ongoing.
Although Fuentes left Los Angeles in 2012 to earn his MFA at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he continued to write for LA's KCET and dove into documenting similar movements in Las Vegas. Fuentes chronicled downtown Las Vegas murals and street art on another blog, Paint This Desert which he launched in 2013 with money from a Warhol Foundation grant.
In Las Vegas, Fuentes branched out into teaching and curating art exhibits. He was planning to open “Homeboy Fauxism,” an exhibit on an imaginary Chicano political artist from the early ‘80s ("Bunko”) and his influence on contemporary (also fictional) street art at Riverside Art Museum this month.
Fuentes saw what he loved about L.A. echoed in Las Vegas, and told Joe Schoenmann of Las Vegas Weekly that public art helps a city become a community.
“I watched it happen in downtown L.A.,” Fuentes said, according to the Las Vegas Weekly. “Street art and murals help people feel engaged in the streets. And that gray line of what is legal and illegal will never be agreed upon, but the art attracts people and allows them to experience a city as a city.”
Fuentes is survived by his mother, Dora Fuentes, and father, Edward Fuentes and brother Ron Fuentes.
ARTIST PORTRAIT: HEIDI RIDER
Heidi Rider’s personality keeps her stage presence always on, or at least warming on a back burner. You can see how it is adapted for everyday life (At a local coffee house she is using her indoor voice). Her creative rap sheet is known. She trained within the studies of physical theater with a nefariously rough crowd of clowns at CUNY Hunter College and Dell’Arte International School. She came to Las Vegas when invited to co-curate Small Space Fest, then later found solid local gigs. Another reason she stayed was because the city was a source of material for both setting a mood and as a muse.
But Rider did not take up a Las Vegas residency just to transform the region. She wanted the big, bright and theatrical city to influence her. Las Vegas is an oversized shiny object waiting to shape her work as a clown.
That is what she considers herself first: a clown. There should be no confusion of thinking she’s a mime, physical actor, or performance artist, although each of those styles are sourced by Rider for the sake of her clown-ness. Even over a latte her physical timing and use of different accents leaves no ambiguity as to which craft she is dedicated. Yer Rider isn't brash. She is gracefully animated.
The clear expectations of what we expect from a stage clown give her performances clarity. It also prompts Rider. Knowing how to focus movement when there is chaos and disorder can add impact to a gesture or a glance.
That is not to say there is no artistic social practice in her work, as is expected in anything weaving performance in today’s fine art lane. Rider credits Daniel Bozhkov and Carrie Moyer as artists who have given her low-brow work some high-brow attitude. When thinking if there is a connection in producing feminist art, Rider recalls a statement by Moyer: “[T]he mere act of a woman making art – that alone is feminist.” Sometimes that is all that is needed for a contemporary layer. Then there was the time Moyer affectionately referred to one of Rider’s paintings as “white trash”. That is when things became even clearer: it gave Rider a direct path toward creating her own kitsch aesthetic.
It isn’t always subtle; Rider dwells in character and gags that play off the subculture of “white trash.” It fits with her style of responding to traits that are, as she says, an “amplification of faults”. Since Rider is tuned in to the physical, and she is conscious of a light crookedness in her own teeth, she is known to black one out to bring attention to what she calls a flaw. With details like that, Rider is an artist who reveals human vulnerabilities through the basics of clowning and comedy, and her characters become unheroic, yet cool.
Mixed with art-minded practice, Rider’s clowning is well-crafted abstract performance art. Yet the real focus is her distinct physical timing that has her own the stage aura of vaudeville, British Music hall, and Vegas stages. It is also combined with a post-modern Mack Sennett cinematic presence, a link to television comics during a cold war culture. Rider wants to keep changing the concept of clown as a skill-based expression of physical optimism where idea, emotion and impulse guide an audience to a place that is dangerous to all: clown meets performance art. “I want to break through walls,” Rider says while talking about ways to expand the forms of improvisational clown performance. It would be unscripted, working in an unstructured use of space, mimicking the well crafted epic spontaneity of Las Vegas. Says Rider, “I knew Las Vegas would change me as an artist.”
In 2017, KCET selected contributors to post an essay in response to “how the incoming president will shape, change, and redefine the future.” This was first published on January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day. A year later this contribution was on my mind while planning my MFA exhibition at UNLV. The above work was seen at The Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery and will soon to be revisited at the Riverside Art Museum.
If things don’t go as planned and jobs don’t come to the Rust Belt, those who voted for Donald Trump may want to look to Latino street artists. They can ask them to share techniques — how to use paint as a protest tool, a practice that came from the barrios, where villagers rose up with brushes for pitchforks and paint as torches.
They can get advice from those in underserved communities who have always spoken up by writing on the walls of their neighborhoods, demanding for better education and shared civic liberties. Those artists know how to operate under a long legacy of Chicano muralists and the visual conversations seen in places like East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights, methods that reinterpreted David Alfaro Siqueiros’ “America Tropical” and expanded a movement championed by the Chicago Mural Group and Antonio Bernal who painted the wall of El Teatro Campesino's building in Del Rey, California.
At that time murals became a representation of an alternative and real Los Angeles and redefined what art could be for a city. That work is ongoing.
Art on the border fence depicting the struggle between the U.S. Border Patrol and migrants, on the Mexican side of the wall separating the United States and Mexico. As many as 2000 migrants a day, most from Mexico, cross the border illegally into the USA by going around, over, and through the fence between the two countries. This feat is made easier by the fact that in some places the fence is no more than a single strand of barb wire. Referred to as "illegal aliens" by some in the USA, economic hardship drives many Mexicans, and Central Americans, to risk their lives for a chance at to thrive in the United States.
It’s now all hands on deck to withstand a presidency that branded itself as a movement, rebranded media coverage as a failure, and keeps tossing in social media chatter to add complexity to “truth.” These realities all give street artists more causes to focus on. Of course, this is not to say every piece of art in public space must have intentions of protest infiltrating its composition. The world needs beauty, a break from chaos. But if there is a message to be found in an artwork, there is an obligation to focus on an issue with informed thoughts, be it in murals with long-form storytelling, or the small pieces of street art that mirror assertions in repetition.
And it’s the stencil that may be best suited to match the masterful regurgitations of Trump surrogates who target, state, rinse, then repeat.
If the fears become real, count on artists to find ways to vent frustration through visual symbols in the streets. It’s a First Amendment right that is shared with the press but has the privilege to send a direct message of grievance. It is strong opposition when used with calm and robust thinking.
If voters from the Rust Belt, or anywhere across America [including roughly 800,000 federal workers in 2019] grow dissatisfied from being ignored again and again and want to join in, a spot on the wall can be saved for them.
ARTIST PORTRAIT: DAVID ROWE
This looks like the hands of a working sculptor who migrated from the Midwest; thick with nicks. They are the paws of David Rowe and one recent evening they looked a little worn. That is no surprise. He has been busy with projects since last summer. When he is not making big wooden or resin things in between teaching undergrads about art objects, his ideas and projects dispatch him out of state.
Back in September at Ball State University, Rowe lectured on how those big wooden things “exist at the intersections of landscape, history and the transitory spaces within the American psyche.” His sculptures were also seen in “Someday, Everything” at Dairy Arts Center (McMahon Gallery) this past October and November. Going even further back to the summer of 2018, he was a PlySpace Summer term artist-in-residence where he created work “focused on documenting social, political and environmental change on the American landscape.”
These hands of a tinker and thinker also have the grip of a poacher. Rowe is not shy about recruiting the right students from the constant pool of painters and designers who take his sculpting courses. I will admit that "poach" is too severe a word. Instead, we can call him an “arts educator encouraging students to expand their practice”. Either way, many have dived in, a response by how he teaches. Some stayed in his material world.
Soon after we first met he made the pitch to me. Nice try. Yet, I liked the way he thought about art. It had me begin to look at all work through a different lens, as an artist and as a writer, so I invited him to be the chair of my committee. It was a legitimate reason to talk, debate, disagree and agree about exhibitions, the state of contemporary art in Nevada and other related issues.
These informal aesthetic debriefings often came with a side of wings and were held at what I call the underground art legacy table. In the evening, Rowe and I sit where some UNLV alums were known to gather occasionally on selected late mornings. That was a habit passed on since their earlier days as grad students, when they migrated from across the street after hearing a lecture by art critic and pirate Dave Hickey, who preferred to pontificate in a former retail space in a small strip mall.
When Rowe and I talked about meeting somewhere off campus to think deeply on ideas and art, I suggested this place. It reeks of anti-academic, pro-art talk. It also has disruptive creative mojo on tap.
LINK + INK: EXIT 2018 EDITION
"Love Las Vegas Arts" October-November 2018. Artists: Trenton Larsen and Based Glass with Phillip Limon and Dana Anderson. Design by Arts Factory. Curator was ISI Group
'18 OUT: In November I created a masthead so I could list Jim Daichendt and Andrea Lepage as contributors since we share an interest in street art, murals, and Latino/a art. I first contacted them when I was recruiting guest authors for "Writing on the Wall, " my former column at KCET . . . They hit the keyboard whenever they can for Paint This Desert. A masthead is a way to thank them.
If you don't already know him, Daichendt is Professor of Art History, Dean, College of Arts and Humanities of Point Loma University, and an author, including "The Urban Canvas: Street Art Around the World " and "Shepard Fairey Inc: Artist/Professional/Vandal. " He started reporting on art for San Diego Union-Tribune, something else for his long CV. You may recall his July 2018 post about Bansky on the West Bank. I'm always glad to have his insight on these virtual pages.
Lepage is an Art History professor at Washington & Lee University doing extraordinary work as an educator, curator, and essayist; such as her introduction to "BACA: Art, Collaboration & Mural Making " She is a scholar of public art and Latino/Chicano art in, of all places, the deep south. Her recent PtD post took a long look at Xavier Tavera's "Borderland" series.
They continue to grace Paint This Desert with thoughts on street, public art, Latino/a Art in relation to the broader West. We reserve the right to switch subjects at any time.
Since I am on a year-end thank you binge, let me note others who have jumped in. Maria Margarita Lopez, a former colleague from "Variety," and now filmmaker, has kept an eye on L.A. Jian Huang has also helped cover art points east of the World's Tallest Thermometer. Also, a thank you to Angela Brommel, Heather Lang, and DK Sole, all who penned prose underpinned with poetry. During MFA coursework there was back-up by Jamie Sontany, armed with coffee brewed in Nashville, a big red pen, and a bag of Oxford commas. Plus, I love that young artist, Jess Vanessa Alvarez just made her writing debut here. I met her when she was an undergrad and always thought she was a solid writer. Why not develop artist/writer skills early?
During a most unusual fall semester I kept asking myself if this experiment ran its course. Yet, its purpose was polished when another guest contributor, Scott Bennett, who covered JRâ€™s street art at the border for PtD, tossed me a statement. I noted that the photo and word essay he posted here was listed in his bio for another publication. He referred to Paint This Desert as an "Arts Journal. " Bennett had a critique of my archaic word. "The vision and critical scope of Paint This Desert go way beyond a blog." He wrote. "We need to keep legitimizing art and the critical study of art in the academic sphere. " So be it. ONLINE ARTS JOURNAL was added to the masthead. PtD is not done yet. I am still in town for now. Happy New Year. Onward to 2019.
OUTSIDE POV: "Overwhelming, poetic, a feast for the eyes - why, then, has Las Vegas not left a bigger footprint in the visual arts?" Wrote Jackson Arn at Artsy. "It's hard to think of the Impressionists without picturing the grand boulevards of late-19th-century Paris, or Expressionism without imagining the smoky alleyways of Weimar Berlin. So where is the Edgar Degas, or the Otto Dix, of Sin City?" . . . First: You have to go where the resident artists are working. Locals don't produce works on the Strip. That part of town is for the imports, the celebrity artists. I agree that temporary residency of art stars is a high-profile way to raise the local art bar, yet what really makes a reputation for a region is when good work is exported by locals.
ELSEWHERE AROUND TOWN
Wayne Littlejohn's model of his public art project being watched at the CSN Art and Art History Faculty Exhibition.
Info Sharing: As staff preps the space for Axis Mundo, UNLV's Barrick Museum of Art is dark. Someone there tossed out on Twitter that if you are in Las Vegas looking for art, consider take cues from Settlers and Nomads, Eat More Art, and here. Granted, it will be great for local print and broadcast media to dispatch more arts writers and reporters. Until that happens, we online scribes, and the internal social media staffers of institutions, will try to fill the gap.
Challenge Taken: Allow me expand on my original Twitter trigger-finger response. Hanging out in the Hallways: There is a solid collection of works by local artists that still roam the halls of Nevada State College, curated by Angela Brommel . . . Piece Maker: The collage/ installation at Delano Vegas by Jo Russhas been extended through the end of January 2019. . . . No Grading Allowed: There are still ceramics, digital media, printmaking, photography, mixed media on display in the 2018-2019 CSN Art and Art History Faculty Exhibition at the College of Southern Nevada. Through Saturday, January 26, 2019 . . . CITY: Windows on First: "In Flight: Energy Liberated" features the work of Nova May at Las Vegas City Hall, Windows on First (495 S. Main Street, along First Street). Through March 31 .
Radial Symmetry, December 2018.
ON THE MEDIUM: Luis Varela-Ricoâ€™s "Radial Symmetry" expanded his work with metal structures with this public art reference to the woven basket art of the Southern Paiute Tribe. It's on Main and Commerce. Metal Morning: The 16-by-16-foot public art is a stunning installation, dedicated in September, embedded within an industrial environment. Yet, if I worked at nearby City Hall and drove these two intersecting metal monoliths on my morning commute, it would remind me to pick up two bagels.
As seen Sunday morning at the Summerlin Barnes & Noble.
"Beyond the Stairs" by David Roberts is making the Clark County Library tour. The current stop for the exhibition of drawings made on different sized Etch-A-Sketches is still up at Enterprise Library. Through January 22.
SELFIE LOVE AND HATE: Yayoi Kusama's abstract occupancy of space has become a selfie point of reference, much to her surprise, yet thought to be calculated. The New York Times' Roberta Smith called her "a bit of a charlatan" who "stoops to conquer with mirrored 'infinity' rooms that attract hordes of selfie-seekers". The LA Times went further: "The most interesting feature of the rooms is that looking at the ubiquitous photos of them is as fulfilling as actually being there." And The Guardian once reported Kusama reignited the art-selfie bait debate: Kusama, "who has been making infinity rooms since the 1960s and has lived voluntarily in a Tokyo mental health facility since 1977, saw a resurgence in interest in her work in the late 2000s, right around the time smartphones were rising to ubiquity, that catapulted her into global superstardom."
I saw an infinity light room at The Broad, and the experience works well at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, and fits in the thematic "Immersion Experience" that MGM Resorts aspires to. If you time a visit right you won't have the same long lines seen in other cities. That all said, the Kusama Instagram effect is now a Las Vegas phenomenon. "Infinity Mirrored Room-Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity" and "Narcissus Garden" runs through April 2.
MORE READING: Klash, Veronica. "Searching for Insight in the Bellagio Gallery's Room of Light." Desert Companion, Jan. 2019.
Photo by Tranquilo Tropical.
BACK FROM BASEL: Artist Clarice Tara Cuda asked Las Vegas to give a shout-out for her creative and Art Basel Miami partner, Amanda Keating, who built a performance art / installation site "from nothing, [and with Clarice] performed for over 24 hours in five days for over 10,000 people." The project was titled "Still Life" and created for â€‹Art Basel Miami through the curation of RAW POP UP. It had a pre-show run at Core Contemporary on November 4. Consider this a PtD shout-out for both Amanda and Clarice, and Nancy Good of Core Contemporary for giving the two Basel bound artists a one-night stay to practice the performance art piece.
AND ANOTHER THING: "Las Vegans are tired of hearing that their home doesn't have culture" wrote Leslie Ventura earlier this month. She notes that Luxury French perfumery Diptyque features "a permanent installation by French textile artist Janaina Milheiro. Her piece, comprising thousands of hand-cut yellow turkey, goose and iridescent acrylic faux-feathers, is an interpretation of Diptyque's 'ol factory landscape' and a nod to Las Vegas' feather-adorned history." I Las Vegas Weekly
BY THE WAY: On December 14 Nevada Arts Council announced 3rd Quarter Jackpot grants were awarded to Cameron Crain and Joseph Galata, both from Reno; and Joan Robinson of Boulder City. Las Vegas grantees are Douglas Jablin, Bonnie Kelso, Making Music Matter Foundation, Nevada Women's Film Collective, Big Four Educational Theatre Foundation/Las Vegas Little Theatre, and myself. We thank NAC for the support.
Courtesy Tim Burton.
BURTON BUZZ: You can expect to see this exhibition on many local year end "Best Of" lists in 2019. Tim Burton's large-scale sculptures have invaded other cities and galleries and will occupy the Neon museum's outdoor Boneyard exhibition space, its adjacent North Gallery and the visitors' center. The former animator, who became a stylized filmmaker we now know, returns to Las Vegas, his muse, his spirit animal city, his film location. In "Mar's Attacks!" (1996), the amusing yet macabre post-modern "Vegas as B-Movie Location" film, Burton set a tone how to revel in the imploding visual circus that is the Strip. The four-month run of "Tim Burton @ the Neon Museum" will also include new works. It opens October 15, just in time for Halloween.
'Trevor Paglen, 'Orbital Reflector', rendering. Trevor Paglen/Nevada Museum of Ar
"The Nevada Museum of Art's $1.5 million satell-art successfully hitched a ride on a crowded Space X Falcon 9 rocket Monday morning from southern California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. 'I had sweaty palms, but I donâ€™t think I have ever been more excited,' said museum Executive Director David Walker. The 'Orbital Reflector,' a 100-foot-long, diamond-shaped balloon that's taken about two years to coordinate, claims the title as the first-ever satellite orbiting our planet simply for art's sake." - As reported by the Reno Gazette Journal back on December 3. The balloon was designed by contemporary geopolitical artist Trevor Paglen.
BANSKY CHRISTMAS: Artist unknown. But I am stealing this.
POWER LIST OF ONE: The divisive'Hannah Gadsby: Nanette seems so long ago, yet the Netflix special from the Australian comedian changed standup. Her dry pokes about gender (and how males in art history repeat culture privilege), told us how a broken person can regain their power, even when facing those who may judge her. Gadsby changed our expectations from standup in the same way those privileged male art icons changed how we see forms made with paint.
GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: "Google released a virtual recreation of the National Museum of Brazil, which was gutted by a catastrophic fire in September. The virtual tour is powered by Museum View, the result of a project between Google and the Brazilian museum. Google Arts & Culture had begun working with the museum to bring their collection online. Now it is about exploring ancient artifacts lost to a fire.
DEADLINE MET: On Sunday morning, Maria Margarita Lopez was behind the scenes at the Rose Parade float building site in Pasadena. "Want some shots?" She asked. "Yes," said I. She was right on cue for this post.
LIST OF LISTS
Callum Morton Monument # 32: Helter Shelteâ€‹r Polyurethane, fast coat, timber, acrylic lacquer Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
"For the third year running, the art-and-design studio and foundry UAP has compiled a list of the most compelling public artworks and initiatives around the globe . . . With the help of international curators, UAP has highlighted 12 public works that captured the worldâ€™s imagination in 2018. We present their selections here, with exclusive commentary on each project from the curators who nominated the projects in question" I Artsy
- Year in Review 2018: Money and Art Clash I LATimes
- Best Art Stories of 2018 I NYTimesStyleMagazine
- Street Art Globe On The Best Art Insta Accounts To Follow I Forbes
- Here Are the 10 Absolute Best Works of Art We Saw Around the World in 2018 I ArtNet
- The Top 10 Queer Art Moments of 2018 I THEM
- Best of Art 2018 I NYTimes
- Best books of 2018 I Smithsonian Magazine
- Best of Art Books I NYTimes
- Top Ten Photography Shows I The Guardian
- The Year in, and Beyond, New York's Galleriesâ€”Plus a Top 10 From All Over I Art News
- From 'Best of 2018: Our Top 20 Exhibitions Around the World' I Hyperallergic: At number six is Game Changers from Public Art Munich, curated by Joanna Warsza, the work "demonstrates artâ€™s capacity to camouflage as social praxis, signaling an experiential turn in public art toward affect and experience . . . Public Art Munich reminded me that, in such remarkably bleak and desperate times, there has never been a greater need for radical, insurrectionary public art," writes Dorian Batycka.
POD: "The podcasting scene is booming, which can be both a blessing and a curse - while there are more shows than ever to fuel those beneficial hours on the treadmill, the loudest and most privileged voices always risk potentially drowning out those lesser-known ones. But marginalized podcasters are more than deserving of your listening time and a little promotion to help you find hidden gems," writes SYFY. Making the list at number seven is Latinos Who Lunch, yet another way to export the Las Vegas experience.
EXTRA: Ten best culture podcasts of 2018 I BBC
LAST WORDS: "We lost many beloved artists in 2018. The list includes the creator of possibly the most iconic work of Pop art; a pathbreaking ceramicist; a tireless documentary photographer; and a pioneer of Photorealism. Some lived into their nineties; others died tragically young. As the year comes to a close, we take a look back at some of the most impactful artists who died in 2018â€”and the timeless works for which they'll be remembered." I Artsy
"All great art is a visual form of prayer.
Sister Wendy Beckett
February 25, 1930 - December 26, 2018
Bunko to slip past the California/Nevada border.
Some of you know of my solo exhibition at the Riverside Art Museum (RAM) in February. The artist reception and gallery talk date is now set. It will be on Sunday, February 10, 2019, from 4 p.m.–7 p.m. I will share table time with Michael Alvarez [Mama's Boys (and Other Stories)] and artists from the group show Beast. I am looking forward to the chat-up on all the exhibitions. From the RAM website:
If you are coming in from Las Vegas, I can easily recommend you use a trip into Riverside to not just see works at the Riverside Art Museum, but also take part of the day to check out UCR ARTS, just a few blocks away. It houses the California Museum of Photography, the Jack and Marilyn Sweeney Art Gallery and the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts
California Museum of Photography
The Riverside Art Museum has been the lead guardian in the development of The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture, and Industry, and has brought in artists to introduce new museum initiatives.
In between the Riverside Art Museum and UCR ARTS is the The Mission Inn, a great place to visit...or even stay. Anyone coming from Los Angeles can plan a day trip via Metrolink. There are runs between Union Station and the Riverside stop, which is an easy enough walk to the Riverside Art Museum. Call it the Bunko Express.
Ed Fuentes: Homeboy Fauxism
Exhibition: February 2 – March 31, 2019
Artist Reception and Gallery Talk:
Sunday, February 10, 2019, 4 p.m.
TAMALADA HOLIDAY WRAPPING
Over the weekend I was in a warm kitchen stuffed with Christmas décor and emerging matriarchs doing their first tamale-making session: a tamalada. In artspeak, that is an Allan Kaprow “Happening” of participating performance artists sharing spontaneous spoken word narrative while practicing an assemblage of mixed organic materials that are a reference to ephemera Holiday folk traditions. In family-speak, it is gossip while prepping for dinner.
Helming the stove was my cousin, around my age, talking her daughters (and one high school age granddaughter) through the assembly line, a holiday wrapping tradition. It was their first attempt doing it as a team.
My Dad and my Tia (Aunt) supervised the passing of “the leaves,” the family nickname for husks. The head chef/ curator cousin offering me a sample of the roasted pork that had a long simmer in a homemade sauce the day before. "Good? Yea?" She asked. I nodded. The chili bit me back a bit, yet pulled out a deeply embedded flashback of a familiar flavor.
I asked my cousin if the sauce was her recipe. While sipping her beer during her ten second break from the heat, she gave a head nod toward my Aunt, her mom, my Dad's sister-in-law. Queen Tia was sitting down with a regal aura, and looked at me to say with a practiced casual authority, "It's your grandma's recipe."
"Is it written down?" I asked, hopefully. The Tia looked around kitchen of noise and masa, her eyes counted the brood of daughters that came after her: "No, but the girls got it now."
Next year I plan to smuggle the family secret across the California-Nevada border.
Carmen Lomas Garza, Tamalada, 1990, color lithograph, Smithsonian American Art Museum, (c) 1990, Carmen Lomas Garza, Museum purchase made possible by John B. Turner, 1997.5
José Guadalupe Posada, The Tamale, woodcut, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Jack Lord, 1971.439.7
MFA OPEN STUDIOS ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7
On behalf of my former MFA colleagues I break from PaintThisDesert protocol of not just sticking up a flyer. The UNLV Department of Art presents another edition of MFA Open Studios on Friday, December 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. From the release:
LAST DAYS OF ¡AMERICANX!
¡Americanx! art objects frame Green Hornet, a 1970 Schwinn Stingray Bicycle modified by REYMUNDO “STINGREY” MORALES .
All photos by Ed Fuentes
While ¡Americanx! was extended, we are counting down the last days of the exhibition. It closes November 21. Here are a few shots of the first exhibition with works by local Latino/a/x contemporary artists. They are hanging out at the Donna Beam Gallery of Fine Art at UNLV. Call 702-895-3893 for hours. The original press release is below
LUIS VARELA-RICO Security Blanket
J. ANTONIO GÓMEZ-MORALES Hasta Con Alzheimer’s te Amare 2018 Mixed Media
CHECKO SALGADO CMYQue 2018 Recycled cardboard labels (Foreground).
JESS VANESSA Entre Espinas Florece Esperanza 2018 Mixed media installation (Background).
YASMINA CHAVEZ Untitled 2018 Video
ABOVE: Gig Depio
“Through the Muddy”
2017-18 480” x 144”
Oil on Canvas
An Online Arts Journal
FOUNDER + WRITER
G. James Daichendt
February 2 – March 31, 2019
and Gallery Talk:
Sunday, February 10, 2019,
4 p.m.–7 p.m.