Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Movie Update: Swing Vote and Kites

Kevin Costner Swing VoteKevin Costner's Swing Vote opens on August 1. Last September, during its New Mexico filming, I had the opportunity to be an extra in five hours of filming at the Santa Fe Rodeo Grounds. So look for me (haha) in the stands at the Rodeo--behind Kevin Costner (but waaay up and over) as he questions the candidates on stage.

Click here and here to read my two previous posts on the filming of this movie.

I also read in Sunday's paper that the Bollywood film Kites, with Hrithik Rosan, is scheduled to start filming in Santa Fe this week. Click here to see my previous post on this film, featuring photos and video of Hrithik, who some call "the Brad Pitt of India".

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chihuly in San Francisco

Chihuly PersiansLast week I traveled to San Francisco, ostensibly to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the MOMA, which was lovely. Since we were there in the city, we went the next day to the DeYoung to see the Dale Chihuly glass exhibit, and I was truly blown away by this show, which is the largest he's ever done. We were treated to eleven rooms of spectacularly colored glass in fantastic formations, with a theatrical presentation that included lots of dark backdrops, mirrors, and lights.

We were encouraged to take photos (sans flash) and I took quite a few, though the flat representations don't quite do justice to the impact of each of the rooms. I just wanted to lose myself in each space!

Chihuly Tabac Baksets
The photos above and below were taken in the "Tabac Baskets" room which showcases Chihuly's enormous collection of Pendleton blankets (rows and rows on ascending dowels) and woven Northwest coast native baskets, displayed with pieces of glass that echo the styles, shapes, and colors of the baskets.

Chihuly Tabac Baskets
The next two photos were taken in a room where two antique rowboats from Chihuly's collection(s) were filled with glass and displayed on a mirrored surface in a darkened room. One is full of glass balls inspired by Japanese fishing floats, the other with phantasmagorical glass beings--like some outer space craft!

Chihuly Float Boat
Chihuly Float Boat
This next piece was hung in a roomful of hanging chandeliers. Each piece had been shipped to the site disassembled--and then assembled in place (something like putting together an artificial Christmas tree).

Chihuly Chandelier
A roomful of black glass.....

Chihuly Black Glass
In the next room, shown in the photo below, the ceiling had been lowered and then glass installed and lit above it. Apparently, Chihuly has a swimming pool at his studio where glass is mounted in the same way at the bottom of the pool--fantastic! It's hard to show in a photo but there are all sizes and shapes of glass including cherubs and starfish who float peacefully among the other elements. On the audio tour for this room, Chihuly said he didn't know how many pieces of glass were mounted there--maybe a thousand? Wow!

Chihuly Glass Ceiling
In a film accompanying the exhibit, Chilhuly talked about how he started making the "putti"--click here to see a bit more about the process on Chihuly's website.

My last two exhibit photos are of a 56-foot long glass garden called "Mille Fiori" (1,000 Flowers). Chihuly is apparently inspired by his mother's garden in Tacoma when he creates these floral exhibitions. (I love tributes to Moms!)

Chihuly Mille Fiori
Chihuly Mille Fiori
So given my obvious enthusiasm for this exhibit, imagine my surprise on finding the quite snotty review in the San Francisco Chronicle. The reviewer calls the show an example of "empty virtuosity", and surmises that it is probably not art because it has no intellectual content and does not hold the attention of "educated viewers". In his view, the art is simply a collection of knickknacks. Ouch!

Dale ChihulyChihuly, who is originally from Tacoma, Washington, holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (yeah for RI--my home state!) and studied Venetian glass techniques on a Fulbright Fellowship in Murano after graduating. He currently lives and works in a 25,000 square foot studio, a former boathouse on Lake Union in Seattle. (I imagine this must be a spectacular place--with the collections discussed above, the swimming pool with glass at the bottom, and all the glassmaking activities going on.)

He lost his eyesight in one eye in an auto accident in 1976, and wears an eye patch which gives him the air of a cheerful pirate. Because of the resulting depth perception problems, he can no longer handle the molten glass himself. He conceptualizes his ideas on canvas (some of which were shown in the exhibit), and then works with teams of glass blowers to execute the compositions.

According to a tour guide, the glass for the DeYoung exhibit arrived in 10 semi trucks, and took 19 people to assemble. The exhibit is only at the DeYoung--it's not traveling--and it will only be there until September 28.

Photo Credits

Photo of Dale Chihuly courtesy of Chihuly's website.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mermaids at the Market

Santa Fe Folk Art MarketThis weekend was the fifth annual International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe. Another beautiful day on Museum Hill! According to today's newspaper, the market attracted 10,000 visitors yesterday, and sales are expected to exceed last year's.

I wrote extensively about the market last year and this year was equally wonderful. Bus service (from the state parking lots downtown out to the museum grounds) was significantly improved, and more buses and better traffic patterns meant shorter waits and happier customers! (I love it when something doesn't go that well, and people actually pay attention and fix the problem next time around!)

Santa Fe Folk Art MarketThis year's market included folks from countries not previously represented, including Mongolia, Rwanda, Kenya, and El Salvador. According to the market brochure, artists are able to "participate in a series of pre-market workshops on sales, pricing, packaging, and marketing, with a new focus on Internet marketing."

In addition, the market has created an internship program that this year trained four African women to lead markets in their own countries. The women are discussing the possibility of collaborating on a combined southern African market.

The market estimates that an average of $15,000 goes home with each artist or coop represented. Surveys show that profits from the market have paid for clean water, teachers and school supplies, plows and goats, buildings and soccer uniforms.

This year's purchases included two Ecuadorean beaded collars made by FundaciĆ³n Warmipak Wasi, a women's cooperative of Saraguros in highland southern Ecuador.

Santa Fe Folk Art Market  Beading
According to their handout, the Saraguros are "descended from the Incas and are characterized by distinctive clothing and cultural traditions. They grow most of their own food . . . and herd cattle to support their daily life. But the 21st century requires that they also earn money to pay for their family needs and the education of their children. Warmipak Wasi is the Kichwa rendering of The Women's House or Casa de la Mujer. This is a shelter home for abused women from the Saraguro area, and offers services to women of all origins: indigenous, white, and mestizo. . . . Many of the women who come to the shelter learn to support themselves through the making of embroidered blouses and beadwork pieces worn traditionally by indigenous women."
Flor Maria Cartuche, EcuadorFlor Maria Cartuche, whose picture is shown here, is representing the cooperative at this year's market. She designed and sold bead collars to help fund her college education, and is now studying law.

I also purchased two Uzbek pottery pieces which are made in the village of Rishtan from local clay. According to the market brochure, these blue Santa Fe Folk Art Market, Uzbek Ceramic Potteryceramics "have been famous for centuries. Forms are made on a foot-kicked pottery wheel, then hand painted and glazed with metal oxide. When the collapse of the Soviet Union closed the local factory in 1998, Rustam Usmanov, Rustam Usamov, Uzbek Potter who designed patterns there, continued production in his home workshop. . . . Usmanov and his workers combine traditional forms and designs with original shapes and motifs. His work is exhibited at the Hermitage Museum."

My final purchase was another oil drum sculpture made by artist Winzor Gouin. I wrote about Winzor in last year's post; this year I purchased three diving mermaids--I plan to hang them over my bathtub so they look like they're diving in!

Winzor Gouin oil drum sculpture

Photo Credits

I loved the Brazilian dolls (note in the photo at the top of this entry that the three women are black, white, and indigenous!) but they were out of my price range. Maybe another year!

The second photo is a small section of a large silk rug which was on display.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Butterfly on Canyon Road

Butterfly, Canyon Road GalleryYesterday, Peggy, Ralph, and I went up to Canyon Road to explore a few art galleries and have lunch at The Compound. So many of the galleries have beautiful gardens--some in front where they are visible from the street, some in back--little hidden gems.

Patricia Carlisle Fine Art has both--a series of little gardens in the back with sculptures and fountains, and a lush fragrant garden in the front. On my way out, I stopped to admire this beautiful butterfly; as I watched, it folded itself up tight and went about half-way down into a day lily to take its fill of nectar.

The Gallery was just finishing mounting a fun display of art by Melinda Hall. Click here to see the artworks.