5. “1915-2015: Tradition, Legacy, Culture”
The first of many events planned to help raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide of 1915. One-point-five million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Turkish government.
“Levitate Mass” (which Fresno Filmworks screens next Friday at the Tower Theatre) is a film about the enduring question of what makes art, art? The documentary, from filmmaker Doug Pray (“Art & Copy,” “Surfwise”), follows the literal journey of a 340-ton granite boulder as it becomes a conceptual “land sculpture.”
Based on the trailer, the film will surely be a conversation starter. There will be discussion circle after the 5:30 p.m. showing with visiting filmmaker Katie McNeill, who was a co-producer on the film.
We have a tickets to give away to a couple Beehive readers. To enter to win, leave a common on this post. Give us your definition of art. You have until noon Wednesday, Nov. 12. Winners will be chosen at random, notified via email (so check yours if you enter) and must be able to pick the tickets up at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. St.) during normal business hours.
Watch the trailer (and get the complete contest rules) on the jump.
In ultimate proof that you should never (ever) take anything you on the Internet at face value, word comes today that Bansky was arrested.
He wasn’t actually arrested, but someone concocted the story, which was instantly picked up (add shared around via social media as these things are wont to do). It popped up several times on my Facebook feed today.
Bansky (check him out here) is an illusive street-art icon who is wanted by law enforcement. If he ever were arrested, there’s no doubt it would be news. Add to that, this cultural obsession we have with consuming mass amounts of information and regurgitating it as quickly as possibly (it’s actually a lucrative busy model) and you can see why people taking a quick read might pass it along as real news.
And this is the world in which we live. Every scrap of news has to be vetted for authenticity, because even the obvious fake news gets mistaken as fact.
There’s an intriguing underpinning to the new exhibition of works by famed Fresno watercolorist Rollin Pickford at Fresno State’s Madden Library. From my 7 cover story:
Collectors are an integral part of the artistic process. When they buy, the artist eats. Through the decades, the prolific Pickford always appreciated the people who supported him (and his family) by buying his art. The artist’s son Joel, who curated the show, tracked down 21 watercolors from 21 different collectors for the exhibition, held in the library’s Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery.
I’m making this my weekend pick, but there’s plenty of time to see the show: It runs through Jan. 16.
Above: one of my favorites from the show, a 1948 watercolor of the unfinished Friant-Kern Canal.
Founded in 2006, the annual event brings locally created visual and performing arts to the community of Cutler-Orosi with the hope that it will inspire the youth in the area on their own artistic paths.
Dozens of local visual and performing artist will put their work on display 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Orosi Memorial Hall. All festival proceeds go toward funding Orosi High School scholarships, commissioning new works from local artists and ensuring the continuation of the event in the future.
Over the years, organizers Cristobal Carrillo and Israel Flores have developed a knack for spotting new local talent — such as Visalia psyche blues band Slow Season and the Dinuba hip hop collective, Roach Collection. Both play this year, along with local heavy hitters Patrick Contreras and the rock duo Strange Vine.
I emailed with Carrillo to find out more about growing up as an artist in a small, rural town and why this year’s lineup of musicians seems so great.
Fresno lost a major figure in its art history last week when painter B.J. McCoon died at age 82 after a long illness. From the Bee obituary I prepared for Thursday’s print edition:
For decades she was an integral part of the local art scene, and her paintings made their way into many local collections — and some around the world. Her friends were a who’s who of Fresno artistic talent, including Rollin Pickford, Darwin Musselman, Stan Bitters, Pat Hopper, Jean Ray Laury and Clement Renzi.
Mrs. McCoon was prolific, and her interests were so varied that she never stuck to just one medium.
Cathy Craycroft-Glenn, a longtime family friend, remembers visiting Mrs. McCoon as a young girl and seeing works in various states of completion scattered about her house: drawings in one room, a huge portrait in oil in another, a just finished watercolor drying on the back porch with the paints still left out on the table.
The scene: Quinn Gomez-Heitzeberg and Astri Swendsrud, curators of the performance-art exhibition “God Will Not Have His Work Made Manifest by Cowards,” stand surrounded by a circle of several dozen art enthusiasts. Dressed in somber black attire, the pair holds between them a small framed chalkboard upon which is written the words “Extinguish the Candle, Unbuild the Fire, Clean the Slate.” A simple wooden holder shaped like a pyramid adorned with thin lighted candles sits at their feet. They ask the audience to recite the chalkboard mantra — it sounds like a ritual response in a church worship service — and they put out the candles. Then they “break” the triangle of the pyramid by separating the pieces of wood.
The setting: We’re in the big, sprawling, dilapidated interior of the Hatchery, former home to the Church of Synanon, the 1970s era drug-rehabilitation program that morphed into a cult. Located about 80 miles or so east of Fresno in the mountain town of Badger, near the entrance to Sequoia National Park, the compound is a weird and restless feeling space. Most of the windows are broken, ceiling insulation dangles precariously over our heads, walls and joints ominously sag, and about a third of the vast, airplane-hanger-sized space is structurally unsound and off-limits. (You have to sign a liability waiver before entering.) With the sun streaming in on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the feeling isn’t so much ominous as unsettling. But I wouldn’t want to be there after dark. Knowing that this was the command center of a famous cult — and reading about some of the activities that took place here – you can’t help but sense the history.
Utopian ideas often sound so good … and so easy. But actually implementing them in the real world can be trickier than it seems.
In a collection of performance pieces titled “God Will Not Have His Work Made Manifest by Cowards,” a group of artists — mostly from Los Angeles — on Sunday will gather at a Valley location well known for its history with utopian movements: the Hatchery, located in Badger near the entrance to Sequoia National Park. The program starts at 2 p.m., with arrival suggested by 1:45 p.m. The Hatchery’s address is 50616 Highway 245 in Badger. Check out the details online so you know what you’ll be getting into: No open-toed shoes allowed, watch out for rattlesnakes, watch out for broken glass, and you have to sign a liability waiver before entering the property.
If you’ve never been able to experience the Hatchery, it’s a really interesting place. I was last there in 2011 for a big and wonderful art exhibition titled “The Hatchery: East of Fresno.” 40 artists from around the world displayed their work in a vast building that used to be an aircraft hanger from the days of the Church of Synanon, the 1970s era drug-rehabilitation program that morphed into a cult. Most of the site-specific works riffed off the Synanon theme.
Later the compound was converted into an Islamic community known as Baladullah.
Mechem taught art at McLane High School for 36 years. After playing football for Fresno State, Mechem says he felt “dazed and confused” about his future after coming to the end of his player eligibility.
He sold his car, took the few hundred dollars he had saved loading trucks at night for Pepsi and bought a round-trip ticket to Europe.
After visiting the great museums there, he returned to Fresno determined to be an artist and teacher. While he was at McLane, he taught a painting class at Fresno City College for 28 years, and after retirement he has for 10 years been teaching a drawing class at Reedley College.
Mechem calls himself a figurative painter who comments on the social, political, cultural and religious aspects of human nature. “Satire and humor are important components of my expression as I attempt to lampoon and ridicule the vices, follies and shortcomings of contemporary society,” he says.
More ArtHop picks are attached to the end of the story. For a complete list of venues, go to the Fresno Arts Council’s ArtHop update.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing Sierra Art Trails, perhaps this is the year for you. The annual open house of studios and galleries in the mountain communities of eastern Madera and Mariposa counties is a wonderfully relaxed and friendly way to meet some very nice artists — and perhaps pick up an original piece of art.
In advance of this year’s 12th installment of the event, which runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday through Sunday, I feature an interview in Thursday’s Life section with Kathy Marks, who will be showing her assemblage works in Ahwahnee. Here’s an extended version of the interview:
Question: Set the scene for us in terms of your participation in Sierra Art Trails. What can people expect at your Ahwahnee venue? What is the ambiance like? Do you find that lots of people engage you in conversation?
Answer: Kris Kessey’s studio is warm and welcoming! Since I showed at Kris’s studio last year, it’s easy to ‘set the scene’. First of all, there is plenty of parking, with easy-to-read signs. There will be five of us this year including Kris, Norma Rogers, Edward Gillum & Adam Longatti. All of us are displaying our work inside. Adam will only be showing Sat. & Sun. The rest of us will be there all 3 days. There are all types of people that visit us. Some are more outgoing & curious, so they will be more engaging. I like to greet our guests with a friendly ‘hello’, inviting them to come in. I introduce myself, and the others who are nearby. When people show an interest in my work, I then let them know my process and any other details they are curious about.
Along with my Beehive interview with Sierra Art Trails artist Kathy Marks, here’s a promotional video by Michael J. Costa. It’s an interesting profile of Martin Shapiro, another of the participating artists in this weekend’s big event:
I swung by the Viral Boutique in the Tower District while working on my retail column this week, and couldn’t help but notice what is painted on the wall outside. This is on the building that used to be Tom’s Trains at 1476 N. Van Ness Ave. that faces a dirt lot. The mural is much bigger than what’s shown here, so keep scrolling to see more.
Shop owner Omar Yanez tells me he didn’t like the original look of the wall, which was a patchwork of paint colors due to efforts to cover up graffiti. He put out a call on Craigslist for artists to come paint it and three or four people responded. Normally, we would always give credit to artists at the Bee, but when I asked Omar for their names, he called back to say they didn’t want their names published. “They call themselves collectively the ‘Remainders,’” he says. Since I’ve been sitting here wondering what to call this art (Graffiti art? Street art? Hip hop art as Omar says?), the fact that the artists don’t want their names might be a clue. What do you think about the murals?
Los Angeles artist Oscar Magallanes will be in town for an exhibition of his work, which Arte Americas executive director Frank Delgado describes as “seriously powerful and large scale.” From Magallanes’ bio:
Magallanes was raised in the Azusa barrio. His artwork is influenced by the cultural and social elements of his upbringing. After a troubled youth at the age of fifteen, he was expelled from high school but was accepted into the Ryman Arts program which he credits with encouraging him to become a professional artist. Magallanes’ work which is primarily of wood panels is used as a vehicle to allow the viewer to gain insight of societal injustices and further understanding of diverse cultures and struggles on even the subtle level and in this way pay homage to the journey he has traveled.
Also at Arte: Jeannette Herrera, an acrylic/oil painter, has had work featured at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the New Mexico Museum of Art and Chimmaya Gallery in Los Angeles. She writes:
After an attack in 2004 I recovered from a skull fracture and sending attacker to prison for 7 years. I started to paint again and have found it to be the only therapy that works for me.
Both shows continue through Aug. 17. Pictured above: a work by Oscar Magallanes.
Marcos Dorado, known for his classical realist drawings, has been a fixture on the Fresno-area art scene for years. It’s hard to imagine he’s leaving for good. But that’s his plan, and he’s marking his departure with an exhibition titled “Leave Art in Fresno (My Farewell Exhibit)” at Peeve’s Public House on the Fulton Mall. It opens at ArtHop and runs through July 28.
I highlight Dorado’s show in Thursday’s Life section as the anchor of this month’s ArtHop coverage. Here’s the extended version of my interview with him.
When did you first realize you could draw?
In fourth grade. A family friend (David) was visiting my parents. As they talked, out of nowhere, I had the instinct that I could draw David’s portrait. When I finished scribbling, everyone was impressed. From then on, I drew all the time until I was in high school. Then, I became interested in other subjects, such as literature and languages. As a result, I put drawing aside until 15 years later, when I was thirty. I was recently divorced then, and I was rediscovering my old self.
Jordan Wiebe and his wife Channelle follow the Arsenal.
Like, to the point of organizing an Arsenal fan club so every Gooner (that’s the official term) has a a proper pub to go to for those 4 a.m. matches. There’s no better way to watch a match than with a beer in one hand and a coffee in the other.
They’re also packing up the car for a 6,000-mile road trip to New York City to watch the club take on the New York Red Bulls this summer. Arsenal fans being what they are, the Wiebes will make a point to stop in at pubs along the way and meet (and stay) with as many Gooners as possible. They’re documenting the whole ordeal for a 30-page Arsenal-inspired design, photography and printmaking book.
If any of this seems cool to you, the book (along with other Arsenal-inspired art) will be available through Kickstarter. The proceeds will fund the trip (and the project).
The campaign has actually been fully funded already, but there are still some backer spots available (and 14-days left to pledge). Get Jordon Wiebe’s pitch for the project on the jump:
Two Fresno arts organizations are part of a program that will bring the arts to prisoners after a 10-year absence. The Arts-in-Corrections pilot program is in partnership with the California Arts Council. The state will spend $2.5 million over the next two years to bring the arts to 14 state prisons.
The last time the California Arts Council provided official funding for arts in prisons programs was 2003, the Orange County Register reports. The actual money is coming from the corrections department’s budget.
The Arts-in-Corrections programs will offer a variety of performing, literary and visual arts disciplines, such as theater, music, dance, creative writing, poetry, storytelling, painting, drawing, and sculpture.
In Fresno, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts will receive $90,621 to provide programs to Kern Valley State Prison and the California State Prison at Corcoran. Master artists will focus on Chicano theater and music; Mexican Jarcho music, dance, and verse; drawing; and storytelling.
The Fresno Arts Council will help provide instruction in music, visual arts, theater and storytelling as part of a 468,764 grant covering six regions of the state. Locally those prisons include Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga and the California State Prison at Corcoran.