Saturday, December 2, 2017

Wonder, Roman, A Who Done It and Lady Bird

Wonder (based on the R.J. Palacio novel) is a movie targeting tweens that follows a year in fifth grade with Auggie who was born with a genetic abnormality which required him to undergo surgeries and medical treatments. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson play the parents and the movie is saccharin sweet with too many tear jerking moments and spoon fed life lessons. Predictable and formulaic. Sheesh, even the family dog dies. In the end, we get a full school auditorium applauding the brave young Auggie. An emotional lift but maybe the world is not all that kind. 
Roman J. Israel, Esq.  is the kind of movie you expect to have redeeming value but it misses the mark. Denzel Washington chose this lifeless story as his follow-up to his Oscar-nominated performance in August Wilson’s Fences. Denzel is Roman, a lawyer in a two-man criminal defense law firm in Los Angeles when his partner, William Jackson is admitted to the hospital. Roman now is front man in criminal cases in the face of an uncertain future. And, oh yeah, he has well researched idea about a movement for landmark legal reform.    

Murder on the Orient Express is star studded production with Kenneth Branagh as the world-famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s novel. Branagh, the star and director behind the digitally-enhanced stab at bringing this ensemble vehicle back to life. Who done it? Well, everyone is guilty in this one.
Lady Bird is written and directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Saoirse Ronan as 17-year-old Christine, aka the self-proclaimed Lady Bird, who impatiently expresses her post-graduation intention to flee from her staid Sacramento and take off to the East Coast “where the culture is.” She derides her hometown as the “Midwest of California”. She lands her opportunity to go to college in NYC and only then does she fully appreciate her home town and her mom.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Yvonne Osei

The 2017 Kransberg Exhibition Series presents Tailored Landscapes at the Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center at Laumeier Sculpture Park. The opening on Saturday November 4, 2017 is a treat. The exhibition is installed in a way this space has yet to have experienced. Minutes before the doors opened the artist was cutting pieces of the large scale photography based installation on the ceiling in the entryway. But as people arrive there is a joy in the room that leverages Osei’s “Tailored Landscapes” that allow visitors to step into the work and engage. Families and art enthusiasts are challenged to see the textures of the sculpture park in new ways.

Yvyonne Osei was born in Germany of Ghanaian parentage. She got her MFA at Washington University in 2016. Her exhibition here cannot project fully what this artist will accomplish in her lifetime. But it is for certain that she is the sort of personality that helps us see the beauty in texture, patterns and repetition. The sort of critical eye that sees a sculpture park as a pallet that can be repurposed and applied to atmosphere and apparel.

I am planning to visit the Lambert Airport to see evidence of what this artist has to say in Africa Clothe Me Bare, Saint Louis IV 2017 which will be on view at the St. Louis Lambert Airport somewhere near the baggage claim while so many travelers will be looking to get somewhere for Thanksgiving. Thanks to Osei, some people will stop and see.

I was especially inspired by the impression Yvonne Osei had on young visitor to the exhibition who instinctively understood the art and iconic imagery and how we see ourselves and how we see the world around us.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Playground Bugs by Huck

Tom Huck has owned and operated Evil Prints since 1995. Huck (b. December 9, 1971 in Farmington, MO grew up in Potosi) received a BFA in drawing from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1993. He lives in St. Louis. He is best known for his large scale woodcuts. His imagery draws heavily upon the influence of Albrecht Durer, Jose Guadalupe Posada, R. Crumb and Honore Daumier. Huck’s woodcut prints are included in numerous public and private collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Spencer Museum of Art, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, St. Louis Art Museum. Milwaukee Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Fogg Art Museum and New York Public Library
So it makes all the sense in the world to commission Huck to make some playground equipment for Laumeier Sculpture Park – not a place known for swing sets and slides, right? Maybe not, but here sits three of Huck’s Bugs adjacent to the children’s pavilion and not more than a hundred yards from works by Donald Lipski, Fletcher Benton and Donald Judd.

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 for details). Join AMA and connect with 30,000 marketers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and around the world. (See details at