Friday, March 29, 2013

Fresh Art Friday: Collecting with Herb and Dorothy Vogel

Today's Fresh Art Friday is going to go off script a little bit because I just have to share with you the inspiring story of collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel explored in an independent film by the same name.

Herb and Dorothy, both new york natives, married in 1962. Early in their marriage, they made a commitment to purchasing works of art that they loved- on their salary. Over the course of their marriage, the librarian and the postal worker acquired over 4,500 works of art.

And boy were their works gorgeous.

Untitled, 1962 by John Chamberlain

Little Pinch, 1978 by Lynda Benglis

Loose Leaf Notebook Drawings, Box 8, Group 28 by Richard Tuttle

Their collection focused on minimal and conceptual art because they liked it aesthetically and could afford it at the time. As the film points out, while the world was going gaga over Warhol and pop, the Vogel's actively sought out work that challenged them.

Pathways, 1990 by Edda Renouf

Clause: A Rose is At it is At it is At it, 1993, by Martin Johnson

Thornton Willis (American, born 1936) "Little Canarsie," 1981. Oil on canvas. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States. Photo: Travis Fullerton © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
LIttle Canarsie, 1981 by Thornton Willis

More than being collectors, theVogel's were champions for the arts. They supported what and who they cared deeply about. They had lifelong friendships with artists, calling many of them at least once a week for lengthy catch up chats their entire adult lives. And then they turned around to do even more.

In 1992 the Vogel's transferred their entire collection to the National Gallery of the Art. They decided that the work should go to and be seen by the public. The NGA was the perfect fit because of it's free admission and mission of public engagement. It didn't hurt that the Vogel's had honeymooned there some 32 years earlier either!

Their gift was documented in the film Herb and Dorothy by Megumi Sasaki, which went on to sweep the independent film festivals. You can watch the film for FREE here. It's incredible. While watching the film I was so struck by their drive to actually LOOK at the works and think about them in a critical way. The film also brought home the value of developing relationships with artists that you appreciate and the joy of watching them grow in their medium.

In 2008, the Vogel's started their next project: with the agreement of the National Gallery they donated 2,500 of the original works to 50 institutions in 50 states, which became known as the 50x50 Project. Included was Texas' own Blanton Museum of Arts, housed on the UT Campus. You can see the full list of recipient museums here. This project was also documented by Sasaki, who hopes to release the follow up documentary in honor of Herb and Dorothy's 50th wedding anniversary. 

In watching the original film, I took away lessons in art collecting that are invaluable to a young collector and was reminded of the importance of giving back to your community. I hope you'll take some time to watch this documentary and I hope it moves you too.

Happy weekend,

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Weekend plans: Hoppy Easter!

As this is Easter Weekend, I didn't expect too many major openings or events. But that doesn't mean we can't wrangle up something fun to do anyway! Here are my picks: 

When: Saturday at 10 or 1 and Sunday at 2
Where: Grapevine Vintage Railroad 
The Scoop: The Easter Bunny will be available for photos on all trips plus there will be an egg hunt and special prizes along the way!

When: Friday at 7:30 
Where: Fort Worth Community Arts Center 
Cost: $15 for general admission: 
The Scoop: Presented by the Dallas Black Dance Theater, Dancing Beyond Borders will feature choreography by David Parsons, Rennie Harris and Darryl Sneed. 

When: Saturday at 8:00
Where: Annette Strauss Square, 1800 Leonard Street, Dallas 
Cost: Free!
The Scoop: Searching for Sugar Man is a documentary following 2 South African fans of 70's rock icon Rodriguez setting out to figure out what happened to him. The Dallas Film Society is presenting this free outdoor show and RSVP's are encouraged. 200 lawn chairs are first come/first served, but you can also bring your own :0) 

Have a happy, hoppy weekend!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

High Level Happy Hour: Lori and her eco house!

Today's high level happy hour is with my friend Lori (pictured below with her husband Chuck). 

I've known Lori for about 6 years and was very excited to learn more about their newest adventure- building their eco friendly dream home! Here's our chat: 

Q: What city do you presently live in? 

Q: What was your lifestyle/home like in your former residence? 
A: Our previous home was the typical 2 story brick cookie cutter home you can find in most North Texas neighborhoods. It had 5 energy sucking bedrooms and was 3,400+ square feet. 

Q: How would you describe the type of home you recently built?
A: Eco-friendly with a mid-century modern twist

Q: What inspired you to build an eco-friendly home?
A: My husband (Chuck) and I had previously discussed putting solar panels up on our old home, but our HOA was not accommodating as is usually the case, so when an eco-friendly home was built in Lewisville, Texas and opened for tours in November 2009 we jumped at the chance to see it. From that day on we knew we wanted to build a home and include as many energy efficient and earth friendly aspects as we could afford. 

Q: When did you officially start the process of building an eco-friendly home?
A: We started the search for a lot in the summer of 2010. We were very particular because we wanted to have a north facing lot so it would be easy to orient the house with the back to the south (where the solar panels would be). We bought a lot in July of 2011, started meeting with our architect, William Peck, in August, picked our builder in November and the foundation was poured in mid-February 2012. 


Q: What were you looking for in a builder? 
A: An expertise in building with energy efficiency and eco-friendly materials. 

Q: Who did you end up using? 
A: Chris Miles of Green Craft Builders 

Q: What do you think is the most critical attribute when determining your builder? 
A: Good communication skills. We had never built a house before and we had a million questions. Our builder took the "there is no stupid question" approach very seriously. 

Q: Was there anything the surprised you about the process? 
A: How long it took to get some of the building permits! Argyle is a small town and they do not have a dedicated permitting department, so they had to send everything out to a 3rd party which caused a later start date than we would have liked. 


Q: What was the best part of your building process? 
A: Watching and participating in every step of the process and seeing it all come together as I had envisioned. 

Q: What was the most difficult part of your building process?
A: Finding earth friendly products that were also made in America, local if available. It took some digging, but they ARE out there. WE were determined to build not only eco-friendly, but made in the USA!
Q: What are some of the eco-friendly features you incorporated into your home? 
A: Polished aggregate flooring, non-formaldehyde building materials, high efficiency appliances including hot water heater and AC, low flow toilets, non VOC paint and stain, metal roofing, blown foam insulation, a 6 kilowatt solar system, a water capture tank and drought tolerant landscaping. 


Q: How did you plan for the future in your new home? 
A: We scaled down in size since we are empty nesters and we built it one story and handicapped accessible in case we need to care for a parent or use it for ourselves as we get older. 

Q: How efficient is your home now?
A: Our electric bill is about 1/4th what it was in our old house (admittedly this house is smaller) and as long as the water capture tank has water we save 2,000 gallons of water each time we water the lawn (we now have a whole new perspective on a good thunderstorm!)


Q: What is the most indispensable item in your home? 
A: Not sure I would call it an item, but I adore my polished aggregate flooring! It's eco-friendly, non allergenic, easy to clean, hides dirt and is not as cold as most people think!

Q: What's your biggest pet peeve regarding eco friendly homes or green living? 
A: My biggest pet peeve is that it's not more mainstream to build this way. People we meet that find out what we have done say "oh I'd never do that, it's too much work or too expensive or weird" or "I've never heard of that". If people would just do one or two of the things we've done they would be surprised at the difference it makes!


Q: What under-appreciated green item do you think everyone should own? 
A: Blown foam insulation, hands down. The house was being built during a Texas summer and after the insulation was blown, despite there being no A/C hooked up, the inside of the house was a good 15 degrees cooler than outside. I'm sure the workers were almost as excited about it as we were. 

Q: How did the price per square foot compare to a more traditionally built home?
A: It was definitely more costly upfront to be eco-friendly, but it's difficult to quanitfy. If comparing to a premium custom built home there's not much of a difference. If comparing to a home in a ready built development, like our previous home, there will be a significant difference. 

Q: Do you think that building an eco-friendly home was worth it? 
A: Absolutely! I would do it again. 

Q: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? 
A: Chicken!

Wanna learn more? Follow Chuck and Lori on their blog.

Thanks for sharing your adventures!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Because it's Tuesday.......

and I love Pentatonix

This is GORGEOUS. 

But I also couldn't resist a little throwback. C'mon, it's Tuesday- your boss won't mind if you watch 'em both. 

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend Re-Cap: Art and reading and more art.

This weekend was full to the brim with art! Hooray!! Here's what we did:
On Friday, we joined the Modern Contemporaries for the opening of Focus: Barry McGee. McGee began his artitic ventures doing unsanctioned works under the name Twist in public spaces. McGee moved into the gallery space after graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1991. He presently has a midcareer survey happening at UC Berkeley Art Museum and it was clear that there were some serious fan boys present at the Modern on Friday. Hooray for reaching new audiences! It's my understanding that our installation is very pared down from McGee's usual installation style, and demonstrating a matrure style was important to him in this show. I'm still learning more about his work and hope to post about it soon, but in the mean time you can check it out for yourself at the museum.

On Saturday morning I read and read and read some more on my Kindle (review coming). When I finally decided to give my eyes a break, we hopped over to Calloways to pick up some new flowers for the window box. I loved the ornamental kale, but it was looking a little limp around the edges because of our warm weather- of course as soon as I got the new plans in though it froze so we'll see if they survive!
Saturday evening was one of my favorite spring events: Spring Gallery Night! Our first stop was the community arts center where we were delighted to find the Fort Worth Opera singing their hearts out for the visitors.
They are gearing up for the 2013 Festival Season, and if you're local it's not one to be missed.
My favorite art detour of the evening was the William Campbell Contemporary, currently exhibiting Tom Hollenback's work.
We had the opportunity to meet Tom at the event and he could not have been nicer. If you have a chance to pop over there I'd encourage you to do so- the cast pieces (like the orange piece immediately above) just cannot be photographed in a way that do them justice.
We rounded out our evening with a late dinner at Lili's. Funny enough, even though commented on the gorgonzola fries being our favorite things on the planet, no one ordered them! If you haven't tried Lili's do yourself a favor and run there now. I don't think you'll be dissapointed.
So what did you do this weekend?
Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hometown Props: JCP

Confession: I've shopped at JCP. Recently. And not because I was coerced. 

    go to homepage

I've kept a watchful eye on the recently overhauled retailer the last few years- mostly because it's based in DFW and we have several friends who work for them- and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by the direction JCP is heading. 

What I think they're doing right:

A renewed focus on fit and pattern (hooray)

Better quality fabrics

Prices so reasonable it's entirely possible to purchase a new spring wardrobe 

Worthington® Belted Fit-and-Flare Dress

03.17 | book cover

03.24 | book cover

Awesome designer collabs
See Pantone
See Sephora
See Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler (gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous)

What I think they can still improve on: 
Their web site is still a cumbersome and it's just not attractive
It's time to just cut their losses and clear out some of the frumpier old merch

Have you popped into a JCP recently? What did you think?


Please note this is not a sponsored post and I do not work for JCP, I'm just interested in watching them change for the better. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ted Talk: The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong

Give. Give mightily. Time, talents, funds but most of all, your consideration.

Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend -- not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let's change the way we think about changing the world.
Everything the donating public has been taught about giving is dysfunctional, says AIDS Ride founder Dan Pallotta. He aims to transform the way society thinks about charity and giving and change.
Friday, March 22, 2013

Fresh Art Friday: Cindy Sherman

Today's Fresh Art Friday is one of my favorite currently working artists, Cindy Sherman. Here are a few key things that you probably need to know about Sherman: She works only in photography, she is always the model of her work but rarely if ever the subject of her work, she's a cornerstone for post-modern photography

In the words of the DMA, 'throughout her career, Sherman has presented a sustained, eloquent and provocative exploration of the construction of contemporary identity and the nature of representation, drawn from the unlimited supply of images from movies, TV, magazines, the Internet and art History'. 

In honor of the Cindy Sherman Retrospective curated by MOMA and currently on view at the DMA , I thought I'd pull some of my favorite images and talk a little bit about her various series. Please note that this re-cap does not include the Sex Pictures or the Clowns series (2002-2004) because well, clowns creep me out, I eventually may run for politics and this is my blog. Otherwise enjoy!

The Film Still Series 

Sherman's Film Still Series dates from 1977-1980 and consists of 69 black and white photographs. For this series Sherman posed as various characters all of which feel familiar in a 1940's film noir kind of way. Although they are completely made up characters, the viewer often feels like we know the story of this character- who this woman is, what she's doing, and where she's going. Largely viewed as the photographs that 'put her on the map', this body of work is still relevant today as we explore stereotypes of women. My favorite quote regarding this work is that Sherman stopped the series because she 'ran out of cliches'. 

Untitled Film Still #6, 1977 from the Film Still Series

Untitled Film Still #65, 1980 from the Film Still Series (I'm in the Modern's Collection!)

The History Portrait Series 
Sherman created this body of work largely between 1989-1990. It is comprised of 35 large color photographs re staging European portraits from the 15th-early 19th centuries. This is really the first time Sherman uses obvious props and prosthetics, often quite humorously. The is also the first time that we see Sherman blurring the gender line and becoming a male subject. 

Untitled, 1988 from the History Portrait Series

Untitled #201, 1989 from the History Portrait Series

Untitled #207, 1989 from the History Portrait Series (I'm in the Modern's collection)

The Fashion Series 

In 1982 and again in 1993 Sherman created a series of works featuring the clothing of Dianne Benson and Dorothee Bis. The fashion shoots were meant to be the antitheses of glamour found in the fashion world- often featuring a model who was silly, exhausted, dirty or otherwise disturbed. The series ran in Harper's Bazaar in 1993. 

Untitled #276, 1993 from the Fashion Series 

The Headshot Series 

If I'm being honest, this is probably the most interesting series for me. In the 2000's Sherman again explored stereotypes, but lent it a hefty dose of satire. Here, Sherman models as women that we all know and probably cringe at. How realistic is the soccer mom in #396? I'm pretty sure you can still find her living in Midland, Texas! I really hope that the DMA explores this particular series more. 

Untitled #355, 2000 from the Headshot Series 

Untitled #396, 2000 from the Headshot Series

Society Series 
In 2008, Sherman drew her attention to society women. In earlier interviews she has been careful to point out that the women portrayed are not based on an actual person, but like her Film Stills were feel entirely familiar with them. In researching #463, I thought it was so interesting that she modeled it after young women vying for the spotlight, not unlike certain Housewives we've all become familiar with. The resulting image comes off at once appealing and desperate. 

Untitled #463, 2007-2008, from the Society Series 

Untitled, 2008 from Society Portraits

Balenciaga Series 

In 2008 Sherman collaborated with design house Balenciaga to create a 6 image series. I LOVE these images, they are just too wacky not to share. The prints actually ran in 2010, but they are just as fab today in 2013. 

Untitled (Balenciaga), 2008

Current Work 

This exhibit premiered Sherman's photographic mural pieces, which represent her first public exhibition of work using photoshop. In these pieces, Sherman models standing before various landscapes in mostly vintage Chanel. She has used photoshop to edit the landscape or her face. The work is very large, so it's a distinct departure from her previous work in that respect too. I can't wait to see them in person. 

Untitled #512, 2011, from the site specific photographic mural made in 2011-2012

Love Cindy's work? Great me too!

In Dallas? 
Visit the show through June 9th. 
Tickets are $16 for adults (this exhibition requires a ticket in addition to the DMA free general ticket) 

Happy Friday to you!


The Star Telegram ran this informative article about the Sherman retro in the 3/24 paper. Enjoy!

Fresh Art Friday posts are intended for the sole purpose of promoting excellence in the arts community. The author of these posts is honored to share interesting, innovative and high quality art with Almond Milk & Honey readers. The author in no way intends to deprive the originating artist of his or her copyright status and readers are encouraged to respect the copyright status of all works posted. 
Thursday, March 21, 2013

Weekend Plans: March 22nd-24th

It's Thursday, so here's my roundup of fun things to do this weekend: 


When: Saturday at 7:00 or Sunday at 2:00 
Where: W.E Scott Theater (in the Community Arts Center)
Cost: Tickets are $20, buy them here
The Scoop: Ballet Frontier is a non-profit ballet company who's mission is to give young dancers the opportunity to perform in full length ballets. 

When: March 21-24th (the 24th is half price day!)
Where: Meadowbrook Rec Center, 1400 E. Dugan, Arlington TX
The Scoop: Who doesn't love cheap books! Looking for some community service hours? They are also looking for volunteers to prepare for and staff the sale. 

When: Showing from March 20th-30th, Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 & 7:30
Cost: $35-$80 depending on your day and seating choice 
The Scoop: Really? Do we need to discuss the amazingness of Mary Poppins? Cute side note: our friend's son E wants to be a chimney sweep when he grows up because of this movie :0) 

My pick for the weekend:
When: Saturday from 12-9pm 
Where: Participating venues throughout Tarrant County, check them all out here
Cost: Free!
The Scoop: We LOVE gallery night and have gone for the last several years. Our favorite is almost always the Community Arts Center installation but I'm really excited to see what SiNaCa has been up to!

So, what are you doing this weekend? 

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