Sunday, October 8, 2017

Tacit Approval



Art in a contemporary sense can take on a different significance in the context of its location. Such is the case with the installations of Tony Tasset monumental works encountered in the setting of Laumeier Sculpture Park in the Saint Louis suburban community of Sunset Hills.

Master of the vernacular, mixed-media artist Tony Tasset sends-up Americana and the American dream in his sardonic, psychedelic sculptures, installations, films, and photographs, which he describes as “Pop Conceptual.” He generates works that he sends across the country and abroad - A giant Paul Bunyan with uncharacteristically drooping shoulders; trompe l’oeil snowmen and smashed jack-o-lanterns; abstract compositions on panel of colored blotches spilling from various consumer products and fast foods; and a grotesque, cartoonish figure composed of hotdogs. Citing Norman Rockwell and Walt Disney as influences, Tasset aims to tap into—and twist—iconic American imagery, asking: “Could I take something that's so banal, so quoted, that everybody has kind of made, and could I treat it like a Giacometti? Could I give it that pathos and existential angst?”

Tony Tasset (b. 1960, Cincinnati, Ohio, based in Chicago, Illinois) is proudly featured at Laumeier with his Eye (a favorite of visitors – especially kids) and recently added Deer 2015 which first caught the attention of sculpture park board members at Miami’s Art Basel celebration. Meanwhile in Chicago The Year of Public Art was kicked into gear this past summer on the Chicago Riverwalk with public art installations that included a most noticeable sculpture by Tony Tasset - a deer (between Franklin and Lake Streets) for a limited time. The giant lifelike deer gazed into the distance as boat tours and selfie-takers pass in front of it. At Laumeier a Tony Tasset deer seems so very at home for visitors to enjoy as it was introduced formally at the Big Dinner fundraising event in September 2017.

The Eye and the Deer can be seen, in this context, matter-of-factly and with a greater sense of permanence. It is, perhaps an important differentiator of what it means to have such works on view in our own backyard.  





Drawing by young girl who was visiting the park on Family Fun Day on 10-08-17



Sunday, September 24, 2017

Big Dinner, Big Deer, Big Deal


September 23, 2017

Ramsey Maune, the president of the Board of Directors of Laumeier Sculpture Park welcomes supporters of the park and marked the milestone of its 40th anniversary year with a unique celebration of a world class contemporary art on a beautiful evening. Dinner is served in the heart of the south lawn. It is a coming out for Tony Tasset’s monumental sculpture, Deer, 2015 which is positioned adjacent to Way Field. (Board members Mary Ann Srenco and Allison Ferring led the effort to acquire the Deer after becoming acquainted with is at Miami’s Art Basel.) On this night, the sculpture seems to enjoy the festivities complete with an agenda for the evening that includes the artist and a remarkable musical performance of Ten Thousand Birds by a troop of 20 musicians who challenged those in attendance to be in this moment in this fantastic setting and contemplate the natural surroundings among the sculptures. (Ten Thousand Birds was written by Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Luther Adams.)

Maune is happy about reflecting on the past but is, more importantly, looking to the future for Laumeier. Interim Director Stephanie Riven is pleased to note how the staffers, volunteers, and organizers of the night have unified in producing this memorable evening. She too is engaged in strategic process of projecting the direction for the future of this incredible institution. Naturally, the event includes calls for financial support and a collection of pledges. It is no secret that now we could entering the most important decade for this public-private partnership of art and nature in our region.

It is a private party in a public space. Those fortunate enough to enjoy this grand event are automatically bestowed with membership. It is a convenient way to assure this quality group of prospects will be invited back next year for continued support. In attendance too is Yvonne Osei, whose exhibition Tailored Landscapes will be on view beginning November 4 in the Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center supported by Nancy and Ken Kranzberg. Art needs champions and Laumeier enjoys some of the best. This planned exhibition and The Deer are indication of our going concern. And that is a big deal. Thank You. 




Saturday, September 16, 2017

Alone Amongst Them


To better see the sky
The people thronged into the street
I stood amongst them
Gazing at my feet
The light shone down upon them
And basking in its grace
Thousands danced to the singing of a million lips
I stood along amongst them
Gazing at my finger tips
So while led onto while
And I stood among them so
Their faces yearning toward the light
My head still hanging low
And then one day the light went out
The crush of people died
Raising my eyes to the heavens I wept
The ground firmly beneath my feet
For I along amongst them
Could stand upon the street


© 1977 by David P Drimer and published in Ibis Yearbook

Photo: In front of the Ashe Administration Building at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL --- left to right unknown student (background), Wes Morgan and Dave Drimer 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Marketing Marketing

The premiere organization in Saint Louis for advancing the study and practice of marketing as a professional discipline is the American Marketing Association. Membership in the Saint Louis chapter is a powerful way to join forces in thought leadership and get connected with more than 30,000 individuals who work, teach and study marketing.

This is an age of dramatic shifts in the professional practice of what used to be summarized in broad terms as managing the 4Ps (Product, Promotion, Price and Place) with Madison Avenue advertising guiding post-war industrial age manufacturers. The goal was to convince mass market consumers with a unique selling proposition. The battle often was among brands seeking to differentiate and win market share. Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said: “The consumer isn’t a moron, she is your wife”.
       
Marketers today must be digital savvy, read metrics and have a comfort level with big data. Today’s marketer must be entrepreneurial in a region that is now much less about being home to Fortune 500 headquarters and more about being tech incubator for ventures that are likely to radically reinvent business segments. And they will need to be successful swimming in a sea of social media turbulence.

Change is good. But it is happening faster than ever. You need to be plugged in. Here’s how:
Programming – a moveable feast of topics that serve up take-away nuggets that will serve you and your company in everything from insights to practical applications. Programs range from monthly topical luncheons to special interest groups to networking opportunities. Be a part of the conversation.

Thought Leadership – AMA is proud of its place as the world’s largest association of marketers. AMA.ORG is a gateway to a wealth of information. The resource is even more powerful if you are member. AMA hosts annual conferences that are outstanding opportunities for professional development.  It takes effort to be the smartest in the room.

Marketing Leadership – Wisdom doesn’t live exclusively in major metropolitan areas, ivy league classrooms or in giant corporate boardrooms. Declare yourself a marketing leader by participating in AMA Saint Louis chapter programs and events. (Visit ama-stl.org for details). Join AMA and connect with 30,000 marketers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and around the world. (See details at ama.org)


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Punchline


So, Saint Peter says: there are no lawyers in heaven!
Most seasoned lawyers recognize this as the punchline of any number of jokes about their profession. They typically change the subject and move on to some other conversation suitable to a cocktail gathering. It is likely the lawyer doesn’t like to be the butt of such humor but they know it is an occupational hazard. 

The skeleton didn’t go to the prom because … He had no body to dance with! The bartender says to the horse: Why the long face? The bartender, upon seeing a priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into the bar says: What is this some kind of joke?   

A joke is only as good as its punchline. It’s torture listening to a yarn that takes way too long to get there. Some people just don’t have the dramatic or wordsmithing skills to make that journey worthwhile. The payoff ends up being more a grown than the desired smile.  This is an age of social media and tweets with no time to savor the journey. It's tougher than ever to hold attention with details of a story. The would-be impromptu comedian might not want to venture the risk of dying once they have taken the stage. You can avoid performance anxiety and still get a chuckle while keeping come classic comedy alive by simply keeping the punchlines in your pocket.

So the economist looks at the canned stew and tells his colleges (of two other professions): First, assume a can opener… 

Wow, for a fat girl, you sure don’t sweat much.

When she sits around the house… She sits around the house.

The blond saw a sign that read - Airport left… so she went home.

Read the directions on the box (How you make Elephant Jello). Time to get a new fence. (What time is it when an Elephant sits on your fence?) You don’t get down from an elephant, you get down from a duck.

He threw the alarm clock out the window because he wanted to see time fly.  A newspaper…is black & white and red all over (Does anybody even know what a newspaper is anymore?) The snail knocks on the door and says: What did you do that for? (Snail is referring to being kicked to the curb two weeks prior.) So the golfer in the lightning storm says: Even God can’t hit a 2-iron.

Your momma is so ugly that when she walks into a bank, they turn off the security cameras

She is so ugly, she walked into a haunted house and came out with a paycheck



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ansel Elgort is Baby Driver


Actor Ansel Elgort is the title character in the action thriller Baby Driver(2017) which was directed and written by Edgar Wright. My brother thinks this actor is going to be a big star. He was star in  The Fault in Our Stars (2014). In this movie, Elgort’s character, because of a longstanding debt to
criminal named Doc played by Kevin Spacey, has one last heist to complete. He wants “to head west… in a car I can’t afford with a plan I don’t have” with a love interest/waitress, Debora played by Lily James. Heist mates Buddy, Darling and Bats played by Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzales and Jamie Foxx (respectively) are not going to make that easy. Edgar Wright stitches together wildly inventive scenes with a soundtrack that seems to be one of the obsessive hero deejaying his own life. Baby Driver is a Sony Pictures release of a TriStar Pictures, MRC presentation of a Working Title, Big Talk Pictures production.

Son of famed fashion photographer Arthur Elgort and Grethe Barrett Holby, an opera director. His siblings are photographer Sophie Elgort and filmmaker Warren Elgort. Ansel's paternal grandfather, Harry Elgort, was a Russian Jewish immigrant, while Ansel's paternal grandmother, Sophie Didimamoff, was born in New York, to parents from Russia. Ansel's maternal grandfather, Warren Barrett Holby, was a prominent Westchester real estate developer, and had English, Scots Irish/Northern Irish, and German ancestry. Ansel's maternal grandmother, Aase Grethe, was Norwegian; during World War II, she served in the Resistance for the Norwegian Government in exile, and helped save Jews in Norway from the Holocaust. Because of these activities, Aase Grethe was imprisoned in a concentration camp by the Nazis (from 1943 to 1944).

“I got into movies watching old films my dad had, the old Elia Kazan movies. It was those old movies, actually, that really got me started. Marlon Brando, Paul Newman - straight-up legends” says the 23 year old Actor, Ansel Elgort.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017


On Monday, August 21, 2017, the U.S. will be treated to a total eclipse of the sun. The eclipse will be visible -- weather permitting -- across all of North America. The entire continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting two to three hours. Anyone within a 70-milewide path that stretches through 14 states from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a total eclipse. During those brief moments -- when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face for about two minutes -- day will turn into night, making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere. Bright stars and planets will become visible as well. Birds will fly to their nighttime roosts. Nocturnal insects such as cicadas and crickets will buzz and chirp. This is truly one of nature’s most wondrous experiences.

The only safe way to look directly at an uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection (e.g. cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. Do not look at your hands, but at the shadow of your hands on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse).

• The last total eclipse in the United States occurred on February 26, 1979. The last total eclipse that crossed the entire continent occurred on June 8, 1918.The last time a total solar eclipse occurred exclusively in the U.S. was in 1778.

• Experiencing a total solar eclipse where you live happens on average about once in 375 years.

• 12.2 million Americans live in the path of the total eclipse. Of course, with visitors, that number will be much higher on August 21!

• About 200 million people (a little less than 2⁄3 the nation's population) live within one day's drive of the path of this total eclipse. In addition, millions of Americans will be able to view a partial eclipse, weather permitting.

• Carbondale, Illinois will experience the longest eclipse duration, clocking in at two minutes, 43 seconds, beginning at 1:20 p.m. CDT.



Eclipse Seeker glasses can be purchased via http://eclipseseeker.com/buy-big.html