RIP, Maurice Sendak

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Two really sad loses over the past 5 days, as yesterday we have lost Where the Wild Things Are author, Maurice Sendak, at the age of 83. He was seeing a bit of resurgence with his legacy over the past 4 years, with retrospectives in museums such as the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, as well as Spike Jonze taking his masterful children’s book to the screen with a wonderful, heartfelt interpretation.

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First Friday: PJ Harvey “Let England Shake”

Any album that is a conceived upon researching Eliot, Pinter, and the history of conflict, including the British’s Gallipoli Campaign is worth a major listen. And PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake was one of the great triumphs of the past 5 years in music. One of our contemporary treasures.

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Banksy takes on the Church, uses bathroom tiles to do it

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Banksy has unveiled a new sculpture, Cardinal Sin, in response to the Church’s ongoing, lasting, constant child abuse cases. It can now be seen at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery. As Banksy noted in a statement, from the BBC, “I’m never sure who deserves to be put on a pedestal or crushed under one. I love everything about the Walker Gallery – the Old Masters, the contemporary art, the rude girl in the cafe. And when I found out Mr Walker built it with beer money it became my favourite gallery. The statue? I guess you could call it a Christmas present. At this time of year it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Christianity – the lies, the corruption, the abuse.”

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Houdini: Art and Magic at Contemporary Jewish Museum in SF

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Ooohh, this one looks really good. The Contemporary Jewish Museum in SF has really had some interesting shows over the past few years but we are really excited about checking out the Houdini: Art and Magic show up through January 16, 2012.

Handcuffs, shackles, straitjackets, milk cans, packing trunks – nothing could hold Harry Houdini (1874-1926), the renowned magician and escape artist who became one of the 20th century’s most legendary performers. With a talent for self-promotion and provocation, this immigrant son of a poor Hungarian rabbi rocketed to international fame and grabbed front page headlines with his gripping theatrical presentations and heart-stopping outdoor spectacles – often dangling high above huge crowds or being lowered dramatically into an icy river locked inside a crate.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum presents the first major exhibition to examine Houdini’s life, legend, and enduring cultural influence. Houdini: Art and Magic includes more than 160 objects including magic apparatus, a recreation of the famous Water Torture Cell, historic photographs, dramatic art nouveau-era posters, theater ephemera, and archival and silent films that allow visitors to fully explore the career and legacy of the celebrated entertainer. The exhibition also features 26 contemporary works of art by Jane Hammond, Vik Muniz, Raymond Pettibon and more that bring to light Houdini’s lasting impact on contemporary art and culture.

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Jonas Wood

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Sometimes we think that nostalgia gets a bad wrap, especially in the contemporary art world. Not in terms of who we talk about, or who paints, but in terms of what gets painted, applied to canvas, etc. Sure, there are artists that take Sponge Bob and reappropriate and reimagine, and artists like the great painter Ron English can turn a pop icon upside down, but we are thinking straight painting of memories of youth and young adulthood. Jonas Wood, the Boston-born fine artist, has been exhibiting throughout the world for years now, mixing both conscious and subconscious memories onto canvas. Sports subjects, bedrooms, offices, neighborhoods get Wood’s attention. Sometimes just a colored pattern suffices.

But what is most important to us when we look at Wood’s work is that his sports icons are not always the most-well known, or the most well-remembered players from the late 1980s and early 1990s. He paints the odd man out from history, the Oil Can Boyds, the Muggsy Bogues, the Paul Gibsons, the ones of which you owned the baseball card, threw it in a pile in your junk drawer or in your bicycle spoke. But you have memories of that certain ’90 Donruss card because you bought 10 packs at the local baseball card shop, ran home, opened each pack on your bedroom floor, hoping to get a Griffey, or a Frank Thomas, or Mark McGwire… anything but Paul Gibson. But really, as it turned out so many times, sometimes all you ever get is the Gibson. And that memory is almost more important. —Raymond Brown / The Citrus Report Staff.

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HUSH @ New Image Art Gallery

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UK-artist HUSH is back in the USA with a solo show, TWIN, at New Image Art Gallery this weekend. There is a lot of hype around the show, as HUSH has garnered a larger audience here in the States with each show he has had here (FIFTY24, White Walls, etc).

Here is the New Image press: “Absorbing cultural and visual influences from his extensive travels, Hush found a striking connection to the mark making, tagging and graffiti he had encountered along the way. He observed each ephemeral mark as evidence of another’s action or creative expression, despite its gradual degradation over time. He found the remnants of previous marks left on the ever-changing street surfaces to be progressive where accidental layering often evolved into something beautiful. Hush seeks to capture the beauty that years of decayed tagging can create and magnify the value of these actions through his contemporary paintings. The artist’s canvases mimic city walls once adorned with wheat pasted images, tags and painting that overtime are repeatedly layered upon image after image. The technique for his highly involved mixed-media pieces is an amalgamation of painting, screen printing, spray-painting as well as layering and collaging of graphic novels and old comics. The culmination of the pieces is brought about as the diaphanous layers are strategically torn away to reveal the ultimate vision “letting the canvas and marks take their own path.” The central focus of Hush’s work is images of iconic and pop art renditions of the female form, particularly of the geisha and the anime manga. As the artist manipulates his canvases he finds figurative elements and allows the form to emerge to the surface. It is here that the artist confronts and debates the power, innocence, beauty and cunning of feminine sexuality.”

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The “Cold Cuts” Coaster

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This awesome coaster set comes from Brooklyn’s Chen Chen, which is being called a “multi-material collaboration with Kai Tsien-Williams, will be available at the Sight Unseen pop-up shop in the Noho Design District.” Since we like to use words like dope, and cool, go here to read more about the International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

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