Museum Monday: Whitney Museum

Recently, Jill went to NYC to visit she and Steve’s oldest daughter, Molly, who lives and works in the city with her husband. While there, the duo visited the Whitney Museum, which is now located in an amazing new building (designed by Renzo Piano) in the Meatpacking District, at the start of the High Line.
Whitney Museum
Whitney Museum

Some of the highlights of the museum/their visit…

  • It’s not too big, not too small – an ideal size to feel as if you can take the time to enjoy everything, while still making a bit of a special trip.
  • The museum features American art, along with public exhibits that will change out. While there, Jill and Molly enjoyed Laura Poitras’ “Astro Noise.”

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  • There are lovely outdoor spaces, where you can experience the neighborhood, which includes One World Trade and the Empire State buildings.
  • Fantastic for families for all of the above, plus food is available within the museum with several food cart options right outside on the street.

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  • It’s very accessible for all – including those who use wheelchairs or strollers.
  • There are plenty of very pleasant and knowledgeable staff members circulating throughout the Whitney Museum, who are happy to answer any questions.
  • The pair’s favorite viewings included all the Edward Hopper works, George Bellows and the Calder Circus!

If you’re planning a vacation to the Big Apple, or are fortunate enough to reside there, but haven’t yet been to the new Whitney Museum, we highly recommend planning a visit – enjoy!!

Vik Muniz at The High Museum

There is a fantastic exhibit currently on show at the High Museum here in Atlanta – featuring the amazingly creative works of Vik Muniz. Known as one of the world’s most innovative artists of the 21st century, Vik Muniz, works with unconventional materials, such as sugar, tomato suace, magazine clippings, dust, and junk to create what he calls “photographic delusions.”

Vik Muniz, self portrait
Vik Muniz, self portrait

Once his artworks are complete, he records many of them with his camera, often resulting in images that quote those from popular culture and the history of art.

Although this appears to be a line drawing, it's actually a work created using a single piece of wire. By Vik Muniz
Although this appears to be a line drawing, it’s actually a work created using a single piece of wire. By Vik Muniz

For Vik Muniz, it’s all about the power of the viewer’s process of perception. He explores matter in a way no one ever has before.

Vik Muniz's Mona Lisa, made from peanut butter and jelly!
Vik Muniz’s Mona Lisa, made from peanut butter and jelly!

This is an ideal exhibit to view with the family, as there’s something for everyone! The kids will love the unique use of materials, while expanding their cultural horizons. The Vik Muniz exhibit will run through August 21, 2016, and we strongly suggest making a goal of seeing it before it’s gone – it’s unforgettable!

Library Friday – Jackson Pollock: A Biography

For this Library Friday feature, steve mckenzie’s team member, Xavier Neuner is back – and this time he brings a debate!

Xavier Neuner
Xavier Neuner

Xavier selected “Jackson Pollock: A Biography,” as his choice this Library Friday, and offers some unique insight into the work of this timeless artist…

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Hello avid steve mckenzie’s readers, This week’s Library Friday topic brings us a debate that has been going on for years –  Jackson Pollock! Is his work a breath-taking, original idea, or a product of a lazy man’s way to fame?

I personally believe Pollock’s work is ground breaking for the time. The definition “to paint” is to cover a surface or object with paint.  Nowhere did the definition state that an artist needs a paintbrush to apply paint on a surface.

Jackson Pollock was the first artist to fully grasp this concept.  As his painting styles evolved he began to experiment with dripping the paint onto canvas.

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Jackson Pollock – One Number 31, 1950

My friends and family know how I act when we go to a museum or art gallery.  Rarely do I stop and stair at artwork during an exhibit, unless I am engulfed in the technique of the piece.  When I saw Pollock’s “One Number 31, 1950” for the first time, I felt like Cameron Frye, Ferris Bueller’s best friend.  I couldn’t help but observe how many layers of paint make up the texture on the canvas. He truly understood in order to paint all a person needs is paint and a surface.

We love learning Xavier’s take on some of our favorite works in the steve mckenzie’s library! What are your thoughts  – do you agree with Xavier, or have an alternate point of view?! Please share in the comments, we’d love to know your thoughts!

Art on the Beltline: Lantern Creative Session at steve mckenzie’s

Each year, a fabulous lantern parade lights up the Atlanta skyline in preparation of the Art on the Atlanta Beltline event… And this year, steve mckenzie’s is excited to participate by hosting a Lantern Creative session!

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Join us Saturday, August 29th at the steve mckenzie’s showroom to decorate a paper lantern for the Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade, taking place September 12th.

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Xavier Neuner, our resident paper & party expert will guide you through the lantern creation process.

Xavier Neuner
Xavier Neuner

You’ll get a paper lantern, a battery operated light to hang inside the lantern, a rod for hanging your lantern, and decorating supplies.

When you leave, you’ll be ready to participate in the parade!

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It’s an evening unlike any other, with a true sense of magic humming through the city.

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We hope to see you soon, ready to make your own paper lantern and look forward to walking the parade route with you and your fantastic creation! Click here for lantern creative session tickets – they’re going quickly!

Please contact the steve mckenzie’s team with any questions about this fun event.

Library Friday – Giorgio Morandi: The Art of Silence

Last month, we asked steve mckenzie’s team member, Xavier Neuner, to share his thoughts on a Library Friday post, featuring “Rex Ray, Art + Design.” It was such a hit, we’ve asked him once again to select a book and share his insights about it with us. Lucky for us all, he agreed and chose “Giorgio Morandi: The Art of Silence” as this pick for Library Friday.

Xavier Neuner
Xavier Neuner

As you may remember from a previous Library Friday post, Steve has been an appreciator of Morandi and his work for quite some time. What a coincidence Xavier would be just as moved by an artist, as to select a book on their life and work for a feature post here?! We knew we liked Xavier for some reason…

Without further delay, we give you his thoughts on “Giorgio Morandi: The Art of Silence:”

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My pick for this Library Friday is “Giorgio Morandi: The Art of Silence.”

Giorgio Morandi
Giorgio Morandi

Morandi was an Italian painter and printmaker who specialized in still life. His landscapes are what captivated me even before I found the book in the library.

Morandi

While in art school, I took a painting class and we had to recreate a master copy.  I chose one of his landscapes based on his use of soft tones and thin layers that portray an incredible texture. My mother still has that painting hanging in her home to this day.

What a fantastic story – and, of course, an excellent selection for this Library Friday – thank you Xavier!

Please give Xavier a big hello next time you’re in the steve mckenzie’s showroom, he’s such a great addition to our team and we’re so glad to be working with him!

Wanderlust Wednesday: NYC Art Scene

One of the biggest ways Steve finds inspiration for his own art is to view other artist’s work; after all, art is all about providing inspiration! Recently, he was in NYC for the opening of a show that featured two of his works and while there, took the day with his daughter, Molly, who lives in the city, to experience a bit of the city’s amazing art scene…

Their day started on the Upper East Side at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Ave to see one of Steve’s favorite artists, Cy Twombly. The confidence and power Twombly exhibits is a constant source of inspiration for Steve. Though small, only 5 overscaled paintings and a few sculptures, the exhibit was beautiful.

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“Cy Twombly” Installation View Artwork © Cy Twombly Foundation. Collection Cy Twombly Foundation. Photo by Rob McKeever
"Cy Twombly" Instillation View Artwork © Cy Twombly Foundation. Collection Cy Twombly Foundation. Photo by Rob McKeever
“Cy Twombly” Installation View Artwork © Cy Twombly Foundation. Collection Cy Twombly Foundation. Photo by Rob McKeever

Next, it was off to the Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, to see the Bjork Retrospective. This was especially meaningful because Steve and Jill’s son-in-law, Jim, and the architectural firm he works for, The Living, designed and installed the space for the new performance piece by Bjork, Black Lake. The piece and the space were incredible, and it was a very proud moment for Steve when Jim’s name rolled by in the credits of the video:

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Here is a trailer for the piece:

For Steve, a trip to MOMA would not be complete without visiting a couple of works of art that are perennial sources of inspiration.

Two of the combine series by Robert Rauschenberg created in the 50’s provide such a source of inspiration to create work without fear or limits.

Robert Rauschenberg combine “Canyon” 1959
Robert Rauschenberg combine “Canyon” 1959
Robert Rauschenberg “Bed” 1955
Robert Rauschenberg “Bed” 1955

The Franz Klein Painting, “Chief,” exudes the raw energy and scale Steve seeks when he is in the studio…

Franz Klein “Chief” 1950
Franz Klein “Chief” 1950

Chelsea was next on the list, to see the latest work by Richard Serra, “Equal,” at the David Zwirner Gallery. These monolithic heroic forged weather proof steel pieces confront the viewer and give you pause to contemplate your role in the bigger universe.

Richard Serra “Equal” at the David Zwirner gallery

Here is a view of Molly beside a piece for scale:

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When strolling through Chelsea, you are bound to see something through the window of a gallery you just must take in. This was the case with McCaffrey Fine Art and the Kazuo Shiraga monumental paintings.

Kazou Shiraga monumental paintings

The brush strokes were huge on these enormous paintings, which lead Steve yearning to know how they were created. He was astonished to learn they were painted with the artists feet swinging from a rope. Here is a brief video of the artist working:

The day closed with Steve feeling inspired and ready to return to the studio to create.

Flux Projects Presents Nick Cave!

Artistic dance, cultural symbolism, and unique storytelling. That’s what artist Nick Cave‘s latest performance, Up Right: Atlanta is all about.

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About Nick Cave:

Nick Cave is an African-American artist and dancer, famous for his embellished costumes, called Soundsuits, which he often stages in public spectacle. Though influenced by a vibrant palette of African art, armor, found objects, fashion and textile design, the Soundsuits are rooted in social critique. Cave first created a suit in the aftermath of the Rodney King beatings in 1991, envisioning an emotional shield that protects one’s race or gender while still expressing individuality.

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Nick Cave

And we’re so lucky to have the opportunity to experience the art of Nick Cave in Atlanta! Our friend and talented designer, Kristen V. Cahill, met Nick Cave at Art Basel Miami in 2012 and has been working ever since to bring his work to our city, through Flux Projects.

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Kristen is a member of the board for Flux Projects, and works with other members to bring new art and cultural experiences for us to enjoy right here in our city!

Here’s some info on Nick’s upcoming performances:

Up Right: Atlanta is a “call to arms, head and heart” for Cave initiates—the lead characters of this work. Through the performance, they are prepared mind, body and spirit to face the forces that stand in the way of self-hood, to enter a world over which they have complete control. Initiates become warriors of their own destiny. Cave is working with T. Lang, assistant professor of dance at Spelman College and artistic director of T. Lang Dance

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Photos by James Prinz Photography. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

And if the ticket reservations and images associated with this performance’s promotion are any indication, it is not to be missed! The performances, starting today and over the next two days at Ponce City Market, are actually already sold out, but, as with many free performances, spaces may become available as reservation holders don’t show up, so consider coming out! In addition, Nick is preparing for future performances at his alma mater, the Cranbrook Academy for Art in Detroit.

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Photos by James Prinz Photography. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

If you’ll be missing out on this performance, Flux Projects is always working to bring innovative and captivating art-centered events to Atlanta, so be sure to subscribe to their mailing list. And mark your calendars for the next Flux Night, a night of art and experimentation, taking place October 5, 2015.

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Here’s Flux Project’s mission:

Flux Projects produces exceptional and surprising temporary public art to galvanize Atlanta’s cultural curiosity.

We aspire to produce the most innovative art experiences in the world. We provide contemporary artists with financial, production, and marketing support to create aesthetically and conceptually rich work. These projects engage people in their daily lives, outside of traditional arts venues, and instill a sense of wonder. Our projects last from a few hours to a few months and demand the scale, duration, and visibility required to have a meaningful impact on a broad audience.

We seed Atlanta with creativity to foster cultural curiosity and a spirit of experimentation. We shift perceptions of people inside and outside the city to see the creative energy that is already here and imagine a future where that creativity is central to Atlanta’s official identity. We seek an ecosystem of risk-taking artists and an engaged audience that desires and supports innovative works of public art.

We’re all about that – a BIG thank you to Flux Projects for introducing us to the work of Nick Cave and for all you do for Atlanta!

The Art and Inspiration of Local Atlanta Artist, Britt Bass

We’re so honored to share a bit here with you about local artist, and our new found friend, Britt Bass. We’ll be highlighting Britt’s works in the steve mckenzie’s showroom, with a kickoff party taking place tomorrow evening (3/26) from 5-8pm. But, for those of you who’d like a little preview into who Britt Bass is and what her work is all about – or if you’re unable to make it to tomorrow evening’s event, we’ve pulled together a bit of a Britt Bass studio tour post for you:

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Britt Bass in the studio with her favorite furry friend. Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

Britt Bass’ work is about process and intuition. She’s interested in the juxtaposition of medium, texture, color, and shape and is ever searching for ways to create subtleties and surprises through fine details and passageways.

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Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

Through layering, adding and omitting Britt Bass explore this artistic relationship until it culminates into a whole, finished piece.

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Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

Britt Bass’ paintings are made for the home – each work with the intent of it creating or solidifying a given space. Her hope is the finished piece will be a playful and fun accessory in a child’s room, a small pop of color on a bookshelf, or a bright and bold statement piece in living space.

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Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

She paints what makes her happy, and what, at the given time, is inspiring her.

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Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

Britt Bass grew up in Milton, a suburb north of Atlanta where she fell in love with color and design at a young age by way of her interior designer mother.

Photo by Kathryn McCrary.
Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

She graduated from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in May of 2011 with a degree in Art Education with an emphasis on painting.

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Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

She’s been exploring color and design within her paintings since then, making paintings and installations full time, working out of her Buckhead studio.

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Photo by Kathryn McCrary.

We’re so excited to offer Britt’s works to our friends and clients in the form of small and large paintings, and even coasters and iPhone covers! Plan to stop by the showroom, meet Britt Bass and check out her works in person Thursday evening at steve mckenzie’s.

"Gryffindor"  44" x 50"  acrylic on canvas
“Gryffindor” 44″ x 50″ acrylic on canvas

And a big shout out to Britt for being such a fabulous person to work with, with such wonderful pieces to feature!

The Art of Winston Churchill Comes to Atlanta

Becoming a true mecca for culture, the latest exhibit to grace our fine city is, simply stated, one of a kind.

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The Art of Diplomacy: Winston Churchill and the Pursuit of Painting,” an exhibit of Winston Churchill’s paintings is on view now, through February, 1, 2015, at Atlantic Station’s Millennium Museum. A venue as unique as the work on show – and right in our own neighborhood! Sometimes we pinch ourselves, just to make sure this is real life – that we live in a location attracting these kinds of exhibits. Fantastic!

Winston Churchill

Here’s some information, from the exhibit site, on what brought Churchill’s work to Atlanta and what you can expect to see:

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death (January 24, 2015), The Millennium Gate Museum and the Churchill family have jointly organized an exhibition of the iconic statesman, war-time hero, and Nobel-prize winning historian’s lesser known but equally vibrant triumphs: his paintings, better and more humbly known among his friends and in his writings as his “daubs.”

Curated in part from the never-before exhibited, personal family holdings of several descendants, The Art of Diplomacy explores the relationship between Churchill’s strategic decision-making and his evolving practice as an artist. How did his strengths as an historic leader, innovator, and policymaker affect his painting, and how in turn did his development as an artist influence his decisions and overall perspective? Churchill, who picked up painting in the wake of his resignation as First Lord of the Admiralty following 1915’s disastrous Battle of Gallipoli, embraced art as a source of great enjoyment. But beyond his love of what he called a “joy-ride in a paint-box,” he saw painting as testing grounds for leadership strengths like audacity, humility, foresight, and strength of memory. Painting a picture, he wrote, “is like fighting a battle; and trying to paint a picture is, I suppose, like trying to fight a battle.”

The Art of Diplomacy thus brings together over thirty of Churchill’s paintings, photographs, letters, films, and personal belongings as it guides the viewer from Churchill’s early artistic career in the late 1910’s to his prodigious, inter-war period and, finally, to his late works leading up to his passing in 1965. Divided into eight sequences, the exhibition will span the Millennium Gate’s three major galleries, two period rooms, and its technology center, including sections on: Origins, Mentors, and Political Rebirth, 1915-1921; Technique and Tactics, 1922-1930; Hobbies, Political Wastelands, and the Rise of the Nazi Party, 1930-1939; World War II and a Sunset in Marrakech, 1939-1945; Art as Diplomacy in the Post-War Era, 1945-1965; Legacy, 1965-Now; Chartwell and Chequers; and Churchill and Georgia. The Millennium Gate additionally hopes to borrow two paintings that Churchill gave to his closest World War II allies – President Franklin Roosevelt and President Dwight Eisenhower – representing the first time that these works would ever be showcased together.

In comparison to previous exhibitions of Churchill’s work, The Art of Diplomacy presents a novel interpretation that places the act of painting at the center of Churchill’s evolving leadership – and, by extension, at the heart of twentieth century history. As Churchill wrote, “If it weren’t for painting I could not live. I couldn’t bear the strain of things.” If he was right – in the words of esteemed art historian Ernst Gombrich – “his painting may have helped to save Western civilization.”

If this has intrigued you as much as it has us, click here for event tickets and make a point to visit the Millennium Museum soon. We can’t wait to experience this exhibit for ourselves!