Give an Extraordinary Gift

Still searching for that perfect holiday gift for your special someone?
It's not too late for a most excellent gift, one that is unique, expressive, fun to look at/play with/listen to, a sweet reminder of the giver for those we love.
Give a gift of art.
Jeremy Mayer's Delilah sculpture gets ready for Christmas

Don't hesitate because you're not certain he/she will like it. Most artists & galleries are happy to swap a piece.

But more importantly: it's nice to agree with your s.o. on art you purchase. But it isn't necessary.
Or even good.
Not all the time.

My not-art-trained, techie husband has gotten some works I would NEVER have picked myself.
But I went along with it, because he really liked them.
And--you guessed it--those very works have become some of my most FAVORITE over time.

It's healthy to move out of your comfort zone, expand your aesthetic range.
It's oh so nice if an s.o. takes you there.

Merry Holidays, Happy Art Shopping!

OMG Tim's Vermeer

For break from football this weekend, for just hecka fun, rent the movie "Tim's Vermeer."
Remember the Hockney exhibit?? When I wrote that the art establishment thought Hockney was nuts for suggesting that some of the great Renaissance painters used mirrors & devices to paint in the new realism style...

Tim Jenison decided to devote 5 years to proving this is true, at least for Vermeer's art.  Tim is a computer graphics expert, who noticed several key things about Vermeer's art that led him on an amazing journey of trials and discovery. In the end, Tim is able to paint an exact replica of "The Music Lesson." It's tech & art all tied up together in a gorgeous bow -- my favorite kind.
"The Music Lesson" by Johannes Vermeer
One of the many cool things in Tim's story--besides interviews and meetings with Hockney himself-- is that Tim is not a painter. Or an artist.  But he is a truly great see-er. The details that Tim sees in Vermeer's art lead him to understand and investigate the artist's process. Learning to see is the #1 important skill for appreciating art.

That "seeing" skill, btw, also helped Tim build a wildly successful business. So it's not just for art.

The evidence is overwhelmingly in Tim's favor: Vermeer was one very clever dude, who used mirrors and mechanical devices he invented, to create stunning artwork.

Does this diminish the beauty, artistry, or renown of Vermeer or his work?
HECK NO! If anything, this elevates Vermeer to perhaps one of the greatest inventor/artists, on par with the likes of Leonardo da Vinci.  Vermeer was a true Renaissance man combining several disciplines to accomplish breathtaking beauty.

You'll have a ball watching the movie, check out the trailer:
Trailer of the movie, Tim's Vermeer:

The High and Low?

Very interesting day recently, extremes that I completely enjoyed.
First, I went to the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show, "one of the five most renowned art and antiques shows in the world." Not only did I see some rarefied art and objects (at some rarefied prices), they had a SIX pound gold nugget. Yeow!

That evening I went to an opening for several artists from the Artist in Residence program sponsored by Recology, our local waste disposal company  -- that is, art made from trash. While the source material (and, frankly, the prices) are rather lower at the Recology show than at the Antiques Show, the ART sure is every bit as wonderful, in some ways even more so.
Click here for more info on the artists and works in the show.
Click here for more on Recology's excellent Artist in Residence program

Quite a day of contrasts, no? Ones man's trash is another man's treasure... well duh.
The Antiques Show will be back next fall.
But you can still visit the Recology Artists show hosted at the Lost & Foundry Studios in Oakland through Nov 22. Don't miss it, you'll find loads of treasures.
Contact The Lost & Foundry to make an appointment to see any of the works:
Lost & Foundry contact page

Here's just some of what caught my eye --
First the Recology Show at Lost & Foundry Studios:
"Chaotic Progression" kinetic scuplture by Ben Cowden; wall art on right by Barbara Holmes.

Sculpture by Nemo Gould; watch out for that mosquito!

"Monster Without" by Ferris Plock
soft sculpture by Lauren DiCioccio

tables, wood & metal, by Hannah Quinn
"Brotherhood of Basket Cases" by Micah Gibson
Next, the SF Fall Antiques Show:
Nice Rock! Over SIX pounds of Gold.

Love the faux-furry mid-century Italian Lounge Chairs
There's even some weird at the Antiques Show.

One dealer brought loads of  fantastic 19c animal prints, small, very affordable.
Would love to hang a series of them in a child's room!
Also well priced, delicious Italian vases.
This kid had better things to do than admire antiques.
Totally cool, optometrist eye testing scope.
Would fit right in at Lost & Foundry's Recology Show.

I always love pieces by Fornasetti
These were carved on Pitcairn Island to sell to tourists. 
Talk about a great souvenir!
Pug anyone?

I met this Beautiful Lady

I had a very special visit recently to Jeremy Mayer's studio to meet his completed Theia sculpture.

What a stunning goddess she is! At over 7ft tall, she is towering and elegant, caught just at the moment when her toes barely touch the earth, her hands are flexed, as the wings on her head lift her entire body into flight.
Theia was commissioned by Oculus VR, a company very recently acquired by Facebook. I'm jazzed that Theia will be moving near me, into office space on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park.
Jeremy is a mind-boggling talent, who creates his sculptures entirely from typewriter parts, every single piece.

Detail of Theia's hand

Theia's toes are one of my favorite parts of her body.
Jeremy has great projects underway for the next many monthsClick here for Jeremy's website.

I've seen Theia during her development, in visits and in images Jeremy has shared. But what really struck me on seeing her this time is how powerful it is to see art in person.
Looking at images of art, usually a teensy jpeg, maybe on the computer screen (like here), just doesn't do it.
The aura, the emotional impact--for sculpture especially--is exponentially greater in person.

Most of us these days prefer to shop from our keyboards. But with art, you are liable to miss some great opportunities (and make some bad choices) if you don't get out there and visit art in person.
Some folks have said they feel awkward seeing art with the artist standing right there.
Get over it.
You'll miss out on so much if you don't.
Plus seeing it in person is the best way to learn more about art, what you like, what you want to collect for yourself.

There are raft of open studio events in the Bay Area coming up, and all over the country. Fall is a great time to do a little nesting before the holidays.
Be sure to take the kids. Young kids totally dig their experience with art; they will see things that will just delight you. And inform you. With teenagers, it's a great outing together.  If you listen carefully, you'll hear some intriguing input during the car ride home.

Make a plan. Go out and look at art!

On Oct 25, The Lost & Foundry Studio in Oakland is showing works from the Recology Artists in Residence Program, including art by Nemo Gould:
Click here for info on Lost & Foundry's Recology Artists event

Starting this Sat Oct 11, there are open studios EVERY weekend in San Francisco through Nov 9:
Click here for SF Open Studio info

Thanks Jeremy!

Something to Get Excited About!

If you live in the Bay Area, you are sooooo lucky: on Sept 21 the Anderson Collection opens at Stanford University, in its own new building.  Over 50 years the Anderson family--dad Hunk, mom Moo, daughter Putter--have built one of the most amazing art collections IN THE WORLD.
Plan to go see it at Stanford, soon.

My dear friend Lea Feinstein has written an inspiring story of the family's journey collecting art:
click here for Lea's Art Ltd. Magazine article

Here's my FAVORITE part:
Hunk says "We didn't know it couldn't be done so we just went ahead and did it."
"People helped us, and we learned. We educated our eyes," says Moo.

The Andersons went from knowing literally zippo, from buying stuff they later ditched, to amassing one of the greatest collections of all time.  Along the way they became close friends with artists, professors, dealers. They kept LEARNING. They kept honing their eyeballs. They kept having fun--their passion and pleasure are evident all over this collection.
So what's holding you back?!
Dive in, learn as much as you can. Buy stuff. If you decide later it doesn't suit you, move on & try some more!

In college I had the huge pleasure of visiting the Anderson's home. They were pals with my professors and always generous about sharing their art to educate other people. (They've been giving back on this score from the beginning.) As a designer, I especially want you to see images of their art at home, wonderfully shot by Adrian Gaut.  The house is a low slung rancher, not an obvious choice to contain a vast collection of modern art. But the house came first, and over time the Andersons made it work, beautifully.
Their home illustrates that it doesn't matter where you live, what your walls, light, space are like.
If you keep at what you really love, it can work.  Beautifully.
Wowza. So much amazing work in this shot of Entry Hall. Note how many SCULPTURES they've fit so nicely.  Yet you can see around them even close to a wall! Sculptures l to r by Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Saul Baizerman.
I love the traditional Chippendale-style chairs with the very large painting by Clyfford Still. The MIX of traditional & modern gives each so much more life, a mix that many Europeans do soooo well. 
I remember well this skinny hallway packed with large scale masters, like Ellsworth Kelly on near left.
The painting by Robert Motherwell has NOTHING to do with the fabrics--and isn't that fabulous!
I could sure look at this Jackson Pollock every night over dinner. I bet they let guests sit on the side facing his painting. Again note that wonderful mix of traditional furniture and modern art, so yin-yang.

Fannie's Picks from Burning Man

(There are a lotta pictures in this post, be patient for the load, you'll enjoy them...)

Here's why Burning Man is a truly fabulous art festival: the art runs the gamut from great to just plain silly; and because one of the 10 principles of BM is to provide a safe place for "radical self-expression," judgment is left at home.

So what happens is this: you really & truly experience the art: you interact with it, you play with it, you climb it, you strike its pose, you sit in its shade, you are awed by its beauty, size, sadness, humor. You meditate inside it. You are inspired to propose marriage in front of it. You put your deceased father's shoes in it & release your angst as the piece burns up. You sift through ashes the next day and contemplate the meaning of time and living in the moment.
This is the joy of art at its absolute best.

Burning Man is whatever experience you want to have (with a fair amount of dust on top). Yes there is drinking, partying, techno music, and of course nudity (after all, it is really hot in the desert). There is also a classical symphony. This year a gorgeous Olympic skater performed a tribute to a friend at a roller rink. An opera singer broke out in an aria for a group of burners sheltering inside a piece of art while a dust storm raged outside.

You simply can't categorize 65,000 people having their own adventure in the desert.
Same goes for the art: all shapes, sizes, and experiences.
I just loved it.
The art, the art cars ("mutant vehicles"), the camps--all a feast for the eyes and senses.

Qualifier: Although I was at Burning Man for many glorious days, I missed so many pieces of art.  The SCALE of the place is mindblowingly VAST, both the art space and the "city" itself. I'm offering up a FEW images of pieces I was able to seek out or to stumble upon (literally--the dust can blow pretty hard).

"Embrace" by Matt Schultz & the Pier Group. Definitely a highlight for me & for many others. An amazing work of engineering as well as art: there were stairs up into both heads, a series of decorated rooms, and a huge heart sculpture in each. I was sorry it was one of the many artworks that was burned.

My favorite time to be out was just before & after sunrise, enjoying beautiful light, a calm on the desert. And watching the last of the party crowd straggle home to their tents.
Why does the Man need a prostate exam if he's going to be burned anyway??
Another of my favorites: Peter Hudson & team's "Eternal Return." The entire sculpture spins when several viewers row on the erg machines attached at the base. At night, a strobe light gives the effect of a single gymnast executing a glorious flip over a bar, as the strobe shines on the spinning gold figures. Quite breathtaking. 
Mark Lottar's Pear Cloud was very fun at night.
This was a wonderful cardboard construction & provided a nice shade spot (even sleeping bench, see feet).
Even these bike racks were beautifully designed.

Yep, a fair amount of that out on the Playa.
Evening view onto the Playa through the eye of "Embrace."

Artwork on walls inside "Embrace."

The 2 Beating Hearts inside "Embrace." These were removed just before the burn and  preserved.

Early morning burn of "Embrace."

"Embrace" site day after its burn.
Most Burners get around on bikes...
...not everyone though.
The Temple of Grace was extraordinary -- an intricate, lace, ephemeral structure that held thousands of remembrances by the end of the week just before its burn.

Visitors left messages, images, all sorts of momentos to mark a loss, passing, or release.

This lady made (appropriate) comments depending on where you touched her as you received your Free Hug.

"Add a stick, make art." Not impressive art, but good random participation.

On my way to the Lingere Party with Burner pals.
A bit of gender bending does go on.

Some of the Art Cars, or Mutant Vehicles, are fantastic works of art themselves. There are a few hundred cruising the Playa day and night.

"El Pulpo Mecanico" --another of my favorites. Especially at night when fire jets out of the tips of his arms.

Note the comfy seats this dragon holds in his claws.
Even Porta Potties get artful attention.

We entered the "city" just at sunrise, pretty glorious timing (after driving all night and 4.5hr wait in line).
The bacchanal for the Man's burn gets under way.

I can't wait to go back.