Susan R. Kirshenbaum

art and life - both the cherries and the pits

May in Spain

Susan KirshenbaumComment

Fresh Inspiration

Selfie with reflections of Madrid in a groovy fixture store window. I'm wearing a pastel pink neoprene jacket from a shop in Girona.

SPAIN'S CENTER, SOUTH, & NORTH

For three magnificent weeks my husband and I roamed through some of our favorite cities in Central, Southern, and Northeastern Spain.

We flew into Madrid then took a fast train into deep Andalusia, where we visited a new destination for us - Cadiz. It's always fun to explore a new destination on our frequent trips to Spain. Cadiz, founded around 1104 BC by Phoenicians, is regarded as the most ancient city still standing in Western Europe. Our Bay Area friends go there frequently and invited us to meet up. In Cadiz the Bakers showed us around their favorite sites, made sure we were extremely well-fed and entertained for close to a week, including a day-trip to Jerez.

We flew from Jerez to Barcelona and took a high-speed train (only 30 minutes) to Girona. After several days in our "sister city", another SF friend, Fred, came to visit, so we rented a car to drive north up the Costa Brava.

We wrapped up our travels in Madrid with several days of museums (some of the best in Europe), touring, and a visit with an old friend, Adin. Visiting so many friends in Spain takes up a big part of our time there (almost as much as eating and drinking), but also keeps Spain feeling like our second home.

On Day 1 we wandered through squares and quarters, snapping and snacking.

On Day 1 we wandered through squares and quarters, snapping and snacking.

andaluSia: HISTORIC PORT OF CADIZ 

Our archeological tour guide's genetic history is telling. It reveals her ancient roots: Phoenician, Roman, Moorish, and Iberian. The blue tube in the photo is the original ancient plumbing (with strange lighting).

While digging the new theatre foundation the original Phoenician city was revealed and restored.

While digging the new theatre foundation the original Phoenician city was revealed and restored.

Cadiz is a charming maize of town squares and narrow cobblestone streets. And well-lit at night. All very clean. And many old watch towers.

Cadiz is a charming maize of town squares and narrow cobblestone streets. And well-lit at night. All very clean. And many old watch towers.

Sailors' travels to the New World brought exotic plants to Cadiz.

Sailors' travels to the New World brought exotic plants to Cadiz.

Sculptural tree roots.

Sculptural tree roots.

Oyster shell beds became stone, then became the building blocks of choice in and around Cadiz.

Oyster shell beds became stone, then became the building blocks of choice in and around Cadiz.

The staples and heart make this wall an ideal background/surface.

Collage with life drawing and Cadiz wall.

I collaged photos with drawings on my iPad while on the road. This heart = a tattoo

Shades of pink charred with soot. It's a painting already.

WALL ART

I love the walls, gates, and doors of Spain. Whether it's graffiti, layers of paint, or peeling posters, it all looks great and lends itself perfectly to become part of my collages.

Here's some cool and arty graffiti on a gate. Most gates, grates, and screens are covered with graffiti. 

Here's some cool and arty graffiti on a gate. Most gates, grates, and screens are covered with graffiti. 

This amuse bouche was one of many delicious taste surprises in Cadiz. It looks like olives, but when you pop it into your mouth and bite down, gazpacho fills your mouth.

This amuse bouche was one of many delicious taste surprises in Cadiz. It looks like olives, but when you pop it into your mouth and bite down, gazpacho fills your mouth.

FOOD & DRINK IN THE DEEP SOUTH

We had so many wonderful taste treats throughout the trip. Coffees are very good and very, very cheap. Wine is also quite good and inexpensive too - the best in my opinion is in Catalonia and I'm a huge fan of Catalan cava. People who enjoy sherry would be delighted by the varieties made in Jerez and Cadiz, but I don't care for it. Excellent cocktails have also taken hold. The meat, fish, and seafood are generally fresh and well prepared. There are more vegetables and salads each year we return. And the olives are still some of the best in the world. I enjoy the meal schedule too - breakfast late, a large main meal in the afternoon, tapas or a light meal at night, QUITE late.

Spanish food has evolved tremendously since my first visit in the 80s. There's greater variety and better efforts at fusion. There's not quite as much fried food - bathed in olive oil. We lived in Barcelona and Girona from 2004-06 and we could see a shift underway then - toward a more international and eclectic cuisine. Spain continues to emerge from the dark decades of Franco's reign and with so much tourism these days the demand for variety is high.

Imaginative cocktails in Cadiz at a beautiful indoor/outdoor bar - this became our ritual.

Imaginative cocktails in Cadiz at a beautiful indoor/outdoor bar - this became our ritual.

Croquettas are one of the most popular tapas all around Spain. The best are crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. They're filled with creamy mushroom/ham that explodes in your mouth. 

Jerez HORSE FAIR

At the end of our stay in Cadiz we took a taxi to the Jerez Horse Fair (Feria de Caballo). Here we saw the gorgeous horses of Jerez - as synonymous with the city as sherry and flamenco. Eating fried food and drinking sherry or beer in casetas is a big part of the fun.

The lights as yet unlit at the Horse Fair in Jerez - everything here contributed to a visual banquet!

The lights as yet unlit at the Horse Fair in Jerez - everything here contributed to a visual banquet!

Riders at the fair

Riders at the fair

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I loved seeing whole families in matching colors and patterns. The women, from toddlers to seniors, dressed in tight ruffled flamenco dresses, bold stripes and polka dots, fabric flowers in their hair, jangly jewelry and embroidered, fringed shawls...and great dance moves. The slick caballeros and their decorated horse and buggies were colorful and elegant. Everyone seemed to want to take a spin around the fair grounds to see and be seen.

RELIGIOUS ART

Churches were built on top of mosques which were built on top of Roman ruins. Somewhere in there a buried synagogue may even exist. We saw so many layers of history and a wild mix of architecture, art, and design.

I'm particularly fascinated by the faces and hands of the statues in the churches we visited. 

Note the hands gently lifting back the hair in this carved stone head, with the woman above looking down with a grimace.

Her tears, so real. Her hands, so graceful.

We listened to a free concert at this graceful church in Barcelona.

We listened to a free concert at this graceful church in Barcelona.

CATALONIA: Barcelona, Girona & costa brava

Classic view of Girona with the Onyar River running through it. On the right is the Old Quarter and the left side is the newer part of the city.

Esglesia de Sant Feli's s  teps in the square (right by our apartment) are decorated with flowers for Flor de Temps, the Catalan name for the annual Flower Festival.

Esglesia de Sant Feli's steps in the square (right by our apartment) are decorated with flowers for Flor de Temps, the Catalan name for the annual Flower Festival.

Flowers festoon the the old Jewish Quarter (Call). It is one of the best preserved in Europe.

We had several lively, often emotional conversations around Catalan independence with Catalans, expats, mixed couples (Catalan and Spanish), and Spaniards. I came away with a slightly better understanding of the arguments for and against\. One thing is for sure - you can't ignore this powerful, popular desire for independence. These movements have solidarity - for example - Scotland is very supportive ( I hear) of the Catalan independence movement.

You know that you're in Catalonia when you see the Catalan flags, yellow ribbons, and independence posters. 

You know that you're in Catalonia when you see the Catalan flags, yellow ribbons, and independence posters. 

Who doesn't love Marcona almonds? Even better when presented in local pottery from Bisbal.

Who doesn't love Marcona almonds? Even better when presented in local pottery from Bisbal.

Lovely lunch at a local friend's home with SF-friend, Fred. Miquel's artwork on the wall - he's the most prolific artist I know.

Lovely lunch at a local friend's home with SF-friend, Fred. Miquel's artwork on the wall - he's the most prolific artist I know.

Local art popsicles in shapes and colors of important sites and symbols! So imaginative.    \

Local art popsicles in shapes and colors of important sites and symbols! So imaginative.

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Just five minutes walk from our place via   medieval cobblestone roads we arrived at our friend Shelley's apartment roof deck and this view.

Just five minutes walk from our place via medieval cobblestone roads we arrived at our friend Shelley's apartment roof deck and this view.

Just beyond girona

Girona is a great base for us. Only 20 minutes from the sea and 45 minutes from France, there's so much of the Costa Brava to see north and south of us. We've explored much of it by now, but there's always more to discover.

Even in the off-season we found an open "chiringita" for great coffees on our favorite beach, Sant Marti d' Empuries. This is the other part of Spain where the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans traded and left beautiful intact ruins.

Even in the off-season we found an open "chiringita" for great coffees on our favorite beach, Sant Marti d' Empuries. This is the other part of Spain where the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans traded and left beautiful intact ruins.

My favorite meal in Spain, sepia a la plancha in Sant Marti.

Because our favorite monastery Sant Pere de Rodes (12th-14th C) was already closed, we wandered into a nearby site where we'd never ventured. We found Verdera Castle (Sant Salvador de Verdera) ruins at the highest peak in Serra de Rodes. From here we watched sunset over l'Alt Empordà, the Golf of Roses, the Montgrí mountains, and the Medes islands.

A short drive north of Girona took us here for sunset.

A short drive north of Girona took us here for sunset.

Day Trip to BCN

Knife, scissors, and shaving supply shop window in El Born.

Knife, scissors, and shaving supply shop window in El Born.

Here's a charming map of food in the hood in El Born, in Barcelona.

Here's a charming map of food in the hood in El Born, in Barcelona.

Madrid is Underrated

The colors are spectacular. With intermittent rain we were treated to fabulous skies during our entire trip. Although the country was cooler than usual, it was very pleasant and not dissimilar to San Francisco weather.

The Prado is right near the smaller Botanical Garden, and was a refreshing break from urbanity. May is my favorite flower season On Day 1 we saw and smelled Lilacs around Madrid, then at the end of our trip we were treated to Peonies and Irises.

After the a rain shower in the Madrid Botanical Garden right by the Prado.

Madrid flower market

My colors = Spain's colors.

My colors = Spain's colors.

Rental bikes here too.

Rental bikes here too.

View of the Prado from above.

View of the Prado from the side while waiting in line.

THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE OF ART

Madrid's three art museums are:

Prado Museum: pre-20th-century art

Reina Sofía Museum: mainly 20th century art and yes we saw Picasso's Guernica

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: fills the historical gaps in its counterparts' collections

I loved these museums and need to return again and again...

Toward the end of our last day in Madrid at the Reina Sophia Museum looking toward the train station, Atocha. We saw so many dramatic skies!

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A GRAND CITY

Big and beautiful, Madrid is a grand dame. Her museums rival Paris'. And if you haven't done a "hop on hop off" bus tour of a major city, this place is ideally suited. To get your bearings and to see things from a high perch - these are two great reasons to take the bus!

Close-up of one of Madrid's artist-made statues (there are many different ones all around town) - a collage of Spanish stamps.

Close-up of one of Madrid's artist-made statues (there are many different ones all around town) - a collage of Spanish stamps.

So many gorgeous doors and brass knockers. So long, Spain!

We'll return to Girona next year, and we only need to figure out where else we want to discover on our next trip to Spain.

Three Art Events in Three Days

Susan KirshenbaumComment

International Women's Day

Last week was so busy! I started gallery reception hopping on Thursday, March 8, International Women's Day. Appropriately enough, my first stop was at San Francisco Women Artists Gallery (SFWA), where I'm an active member and frequently show my work in their juried monthly exhibitions.

HOMAGE AT sfwa

SFWA's March theme is "Homage". Fiesta, a metal print, is my piece selected for the promo postcard! This theme title is just a bit ironic for us word people due to the maleness of its origins.

Middle English: Old French, from medieval Latin hominaticum, from Latin homo, homin-  ‘man’ (the original use of the word denoted the ceremony by which a vassal declared himself to be his lord's “man”).

SECRET AGENT ART & BIRTHDAY 

From SFWA I sped across town to a seriously fun bash at Secret Agent Salon in PacifIc Heights. They hold quarterly art shows and the space is quite attractive.

Partners Steve and Melissa on either side of me at our reception and birthday party for Melissa in our glitzy photo booth.

Partners Steve and Melissa on either side of me at our reception and birthday party for Melissa in our glitzy photo booth.

March 8 Continues

Our opening night reception and combo birthday party for my solo show, titled "Reveals" filled the entire salon. We even made a custom candle with my art on the label for the show. 

I've been seeing Melissa (birthday girl) for years. In fact all of our roots (!) together go way back, to DiPietro Todd Salon when she and her business partner Steve were just starting out.

Some of the delicious food at the salon reception.

Some of the delicious food at the salon reception.

The salon team put together a beautiful spring-themed, colorful spread, with plentiful trays of food and a wonderful assortment of wines served by the owner from the new restaurant Copo DiVino just across the street.

There were all kinds of photo booth shenanigans, festive clothing, and a great crowd of folks making observant comments and asking thoughtful questions about my work.

Close-up of our co-branded candle on sale now at the salon!

Close-up of our co-branded candle on sale now at the salon!

I took over the display shelves for the evening with an array of my art merchandise. My art greeting cards are staying at the shop so you can browse when you stop by.

I took over the display shelves for the evening with an array of my art merchandise. My art greeting cards are staying at the shop so you can browse when you stop by.

Art is above each station as you can see here plus back and front walls.

Art is above each station as you can see here plus back and front walls.

Here's the cool crew at Secret Agent!

Here's the cool crew at Secret Agent!

This show is up from March through May so stop by Secret Agent Salon and have a look around!

 

This is the postcard for the SFWA show this month with Fiesta featured.

ARC'S ANNUAL LIFE/LIVE EVENT

The "Life/Live" Drawing Event fell on the Saturday after these two receptions. Now in its eighth year, this event features five figurative artists selected by Arc's managing partner Michael Yochum.

The invited artists: Arlene Diehl, Susan R. Kirshenbaum, Gail Ragains, Eric Saint Georges, & Julianne Wallace Sterling 

Our models: Titine and Titania

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All Angles & Curves

Tight, Together

Tight, Together

A Still Strut

A Still Strut

We participated in an intense life drawing session with two models and eight 7.5 minute poses. Since I draw on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, I had a unique set up, with a printer by my side. This was my first time being a part of this event, and my first time working publicly on my iPad with a printer. The moment the pose ends the drawings are taken away for sale at $100. With a large audience watching the drawings take shape, they were often sold before they hit the sale table, sometimes with multiple offers.

Precarious Reach

Precarious Reach

I was quite nervous, fearing technical difficulties, an audience, and an off night of drawing. But I felt completely in the moment, and as the evening wore on, I relaxed a little into the pleasure of performance. It was bonding and thrilling. People observing me gained insight into my process, and into what it is that I am trying to capture - more than a figure, a human being with a powerful identity. Half the drawings I made sold right away. So I think it helps for people to see me at work, and I'd love to do this more! 

Warming up on my iPad before the event officially started.

Warming up on my iPad before the event officially started.

The accompanying "Life/Live" exhibit of work by the five invited artists is at Arc Gallery through April 14. Come by and see our work during gallery hours or at the Closing Reception on Saturday, April 14.

That's my new printer set up next to me so I could print out my drawings immediately and get them to the sale table with the others.

That's my new printer set up next to me so I could print out my drawings immediately and get them to the sale table with the others.

Introducing My Aluminum Prints

Susan Kirshenbaum1 Comment

MAKING METAL PRINTS

I decided to try a new substrate for printing my art. Instead of printing on fine art paper mounted and behind glass or adhered to bamboo, I wanted to find a durable, light-weight, easy to hang (each piece has a gallery "mount"-a frame behind the art, creating space between the wall and the art), and it's easy to ship. It's a fresh, contemporary solution that suits my digitally created artwork. Working with the my trusted vendor, Scale Up in SF, I produced my first print on metal (dye-infused aluminum), called "Inside the Walls". Here's some background on how this particular piece developed:

"By combining a photo of an ancient temple in Burma with a life drawing, I'm melding time, place, and media. With irony, I'm placing a nude female in a sacred Buddhist context. She is escaping, contorting, and climbing out - emerging from a traditional society and suggesting we consider the oppressive impact of religion on the Rohingya minority in Burma." 
Inside the Walls  is the piece that was selected by the juror for  Discover , the January 2018 theme at SFWA. This work is an 18 x 24 inch dye-sublimation print on aluminum with gallery backing, produced by  Scaleupart.com . Ed 1/1. ©2017srkirshenbaum

Inside the Walls is the piece that was selected by the juror for Discover, the January 2018 theme at SFWA. This work is an 18 x 24 inch dye-sublimation print on aluminum with gallery backing, produced by Scaleupart.com. Ed 1/1. ©2017srkirshenbaum

When I look at my work to determine which pieces might fit within an exhibition theme as a juror might see it, I reconsider my intentions and outcomes. What do I think is effective about this piece and how does it relate to the theme?

"Looking Over and In is about self-reflection and our relationship to the the world around us. How are we seen? What do we see? In our world of selfies we are now more than ever - self-observing and self-absorbed."
LOOKING OVER AND IN  is one of two pieces that was selected by the juror for  Eye of the Beholder , the February 2018 theme at SFWA. This work is a 16 x 24 inch dye-sublimation print on aluminum with gallery backing, produced by  Scaleupart.com . Ed 1/1. ©2017srkirshenbaum

LOOKING OVER AND IN is one of two pieces that was selected by the juror for Eye of the Beholder, the February 2018 theme at SFWA. This work is a 16 x 24 inch dye-sublimation print on aluminum with gallery backing, produced by Scaleupart.com. Ed 1/1. ©2017srkirshenbaum

I go through my work to determine which pieces are most appropriate for an exhibition theme as seen through a juror's eyes.  I look for my work that is most relevant. Because I create all my art digitally, this helps me determine how I'll produce it as a finished piece ready to hang in a gallery. Currently I am exploring metal prints, which are archival, durable, light-weight, and easy to hang and ship.

"Of the Forest" is about my desire for people to interact and appreciate nature and feel a part of it. In my neighborhood, which is called a cloud forest (Forest Knolls), neighbors are clear-cutting their hillsides. I have tried to get through to them about how important it is to allow our landscape to thrive and not see nature as danger. I see our trees as our sustenance, but what one person sees as a treasure, another sees as a nuisance."
OF THE FOREST  is one of two pieces that was selected by the juror for  Eye of the Beholder , the February 2018 theme at SFWA. This work is a 16 x 24 inch dye-sublimation print on aluminum with gallery backing, produced by  Scaleupart.com . Ed 1/1. © 2017srkirshenbaum

OF THE FOREST is one of two pieces that was selected by the juror for Eye of the Beholder, the February 2018 theme at SFWA. This work is a 16 x 24 inch dye-sublimation print on aluminum with gallery backing, produced by Scaleupart.com. Ed 1/1. © 2017srkirshenbaum

Why Choose Metal Prints?

Fade Resistant

ChromaLuxe Achieves Three Times the Print Display Permanence Rating Compared to Silver-Halide Color Papers.

Moisture Resistant

Our Metal Prints are resistant to moisture, making them the perfect choice for any environment.

Lightweight

Easy to transport, ship and hang.

Scratch and Abrasion Resistant

Chromaluxe Metal has incredible scratch and abrasion resistance, like no other print media.

Color Brilliance

Ink is infused directly into the aluminum sheet rendering a deep color brilliance and stunning vibrancy.

Easy to Clean

The chemical resistant aluminum surfaces can be cleaned with ammonia, bleach, acetone or any all-purpose cleaners.  This makes Metal Prints great for hospitality, healthcare and corporate display.

100% Recyclable

We only use aluminum backing for our metal prints so the finish product is 100% aluminum.

Fire Resistant

Our metal prints meet ASTM standards for flame spread and smoke development.

Info provided by Scaleupart.com

SF ART FAIRS – NOT MIAMI BUT OUR SPECIAL FLAVOR

Susan KirshenbaumComment

Fog Art & Design and Untitled were art fair highlights in SF this past weekend. What a dramatic departure from the experience we had at Miami Art Week (see my last blog post). Just being able to pop in for a couple of hours at my local shows was a real treat. Having one ticket for one price for multiple days of each show was something I enjoyed taking advantage of (although they required two tickets, one for each fair). I attended on a few different days and saw a couple of interesting art talks too. 

There were also special art events taking place simultaneously at the Minnesota Street Project and the new, local East Cut Art Fair with a handful of participating galleries: Chandra Cerrito Contemporary (Oakland), George Lawson Gallery  (San Francisco), Seager Gray Gallery (Mill Valley), and SLATE Contemporary (Oakland). I wanted to get to these shows (and parties!) too but I didn't make it. Do tell me what you thought if you got there!

Fort Mason is always such a beautiful venue. I love the light on the water. The new SFAI Graduate Art School that shares the Cowell Theatre Pier now is an exciting visual art addition here. 

Fort Mason is always such a beautiful venue. I love the light on the water. The new SFAI Graduate Art School that shares the Cowell Theatre Pier now is an exciting visual art addition here. 

Here are a few of my personal top-notes from Fog and Untitled:

PEOPLE

People watching was very good (for SF). The crowd at Fog appeared to be more buyers where the crowd at Untitled appeared to be more artists.

DISPLAY

Display, especially at Fog, was beautiful.

SHUTTLES & PARKING

Things are picking up here. There were shuttles to take you to various art events!  Free parking was easy to find, too.

COST

It’s still relatively expensive at $30 per ticket (just slightly less online). Tickets were good for multiple days but not multiple venues. Not much is free at Fog or Untitled except art and design  publications so we all loaded up on them.

VENUES

Beautiful! But for newbies, the venues needed more directional signage.

FOG VS UNTITLED

The work was funkier at Untitled, slicker at Fog as was the crowd. Compared to Art Basel and Miami Art Week, there was far less figurative work (my area of particular interest).

And at Fog, there's that strong emphasis on design – especially hand-crafted and vintage home furnishings. More than last year? Next time (always thinking about that) - I’d love to see more shows come to SF  to keep building our week out to a San Francisco Art Week! Let's bring in Form (sculpture and jewelry art), Design (separating design from art is not a bad thing), and the new all-women’s art fair: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/14/arts/design/an-all-woman-art-fair-during-art-basel-miami-beach.html?_r=

Speaking of women and art, the panel Women Rising (at Fog on Thursday), was quite strong and inspiring. Planning by YBCA in collaboration with SFMOMA for shows featuring living/working women artists include one of my personal mentors, Suzanne Lacy.

But the recent stats on numbers of women showing in galleries and institutions were disturbingly low and the Bay Area is as weak as the rest of the USA.

San Francisco's magical Palace of Fine Art - a fantastic art fair venue.

San Francisco's magical Palace of Fine Art - a fantastic art fair venue.

David Ireland performance art piece at Untitled.

David Ireland performance art piece at Untitled.

An inspiring talk by    Theaster Gates , Artist as Social Activists,   was followed by an uninspiring panel discussion based loosely on the same topic.

An inspiring talk by Theaster Gates, Artist as Social Activists, was followed by an uninspiring panel discussion based loosely on the same topic.

Untitled SF reflects a local fashion flavor twist.

Untitled SF reflects a local fashion flavor twist.

Untitled SF reflects a local art fashion sensibility.

Untitled SF reflects a local art fashion sensibility.

By Chiharu Shiota, these ghostly large photographic images reach into gauzy floating panels from both sides at Untitled.

By Chiharu Shiota, these ghostly large photographic images reach into gauzy floating panels from both sides at Untitled.

The video portion of this gallery-wide installation. All pieces are for sale individually. At Untitled in the Zilberman Gallery (Istanbul and Berlin) work by Burcak Bingol.

The video portion of this gallery-wide installation. All pieces are for sale individually. At Untitled in the Zilberman Gallery (Istanbul and Berlin) work by Burcak Bingol.

A thick layered ceramic chunk is part of the installation.

A thick layered ceramic chunk is part of the installation.

Individual elements are all related to the theme.

Individual elements are all related to the theme.

 Don't miss THIS art SHOW

PARADISE LOST

An invitational group figure show

Back to the Picture, Valencia Street

But even if you missed the opening you can still see the show! It continues through the closing party (which will be another good one!) on

Feb. 24!

 

 

 

 

 

These are gem-like underwater-looking ceramic sculptures at Fog.

These are gem-like underwater-looking ceramic sculptures at Fog.

Here's a fun Fog booth filled with over-sized ceramic objects from another era.

Here's a fun Fog booth filled with over-sized ceramic objects from another era.

Such creepy elegance in this glass snake candelabra. At Fog.

Such creepy elegance in this glass snake candelabra. At Fog.

I saw these at Fog - I simply love these darkly humorous candle holder sculptures!

I saw these at Fog - I simply love these darkly humorous candle holder sculptures!

This Fog booth had a master collection of ceramics and furniture, plus someone I observed who knew just what they were doing when it comes to arranging objects in the most elegant way. 

This Fog booth had a master collection of ceramics and furniture, plus someone I observed who knew just what they were doing when it comes to arranging objects in the most elegant way. 

Ceramics and steel with a fantastic reflection. Each of these pieces was simply luscious. At Fog.

Ceramics and steel with a fantastic reflection. Each of these pieces was simply luscious. At Fog.

I know I was attracted this day to circles and pink. This piece feels just right to me. At Fog.

I know I was attracted this day to circles and pink. This piece feels just right to me. At Fog.

A painted pink dot wall makes for a delightful background for these perfect prints at Fog.

A painted pink dot wall makes for a delightful background for these perfect prints at Fog.

Here I am in pink,   in the  Starn  bamboo furniture gallery show with a delightful gallerist at Fog Art & Design 2018.

Here I am in pink, in the Starn bamboo furniture gallery show with a delightful gallerist at Fog Art & Design 2018.

At Fog you could see this huge and sumptuous diptych which is marbleized and "spread" onto canvas.

At Fog you could see this huge and sumptuous diptych which is marbleized and "spread" onto canvas.

Geoffrey Pugen's work, called  Wellness III , was shown at Untitled. There were several in this series that appealed to me - although I saw a great many collages - this monoprint technique is rougher and more painterly, yet digitally printed. 

Geoffrey Pugen's work, called Wellness III, was shown at Untitled. There were several in this series that appealed to me - although I saw a great many collages - this monoprint technique is rougher and more painterly, yet digitally printed. 

Seen at Untitled, this painting is composed of cut and scratched paint and canvas.

Seen at Untitled, this painting is composed of cut and scratched paint and canvas.

I enjoyed this painting (at Untitled) which is hard-edged perfectly wed with elements of light and softness. By Michael Boyd, Bijou, 1970, Eric Firestone Gallery.

I enjoyed this painting (at Untitled) which is hard-edged perfectly wed with elements of light and softness. By Michael Boyd, Bijou, 1970, Eric Firestone Gallery.

ART BASEL MIAMI - INITIAL THOUGHTS

Susan KirshenbaumComment
Weaving combined with a variety of other techniques.

Weaving combined with a variety of other techniques.

MIAMI MARATHON

So excited to share my first Art Basel experiences! But, as predicted by experienced Art Basel aficionados, I’ve been sick in bed with a cold for a week. Not a surprise after the literal art marathon in Miami last week. But I’m still considering returning next year, and possibly for years to come. We have nothing to compare (so vast and grand) in San Francisco. So for me and for you, I’m writing up some tit bits of what I learned and observed, some trends that I noticed, and a few side comments about the people, food and drink.

This summary should help put a trip together for next year, even though there are always changes. I’m hoping to draw in my friends and family, as well as gallerists, curators, jurors, artists, collectors, and fun-seekers who attended, to share their experiences and insights here too.

The fairs are a marathon because there are so many (23+), and there's so much traffic to navigate. One wants to do and see as much as one can, so it’s hard not to over-fill the days and nights. Traveling with a pack (ranging from 3-10), with a van and a driver on some days, helped to keep us on a schedule.

Colorful couple in the center reminded me of the 80s.

Colorful couple in the center reminded me of the 80s.

People wear their artwear, and just about everything else too.

People wear their artwear, and just about everything else too.

What not to do

Wear uncomfortable clothes and shoes. Most likely will be wearing the same thing day and night (unless you can figure out a midway R&R stop). The floors are mostly concrete. There are very few chairs or rest and recharge areas. Don’t waste your money on fair-bought champagne and water. The temperature varies wildly – it’s quite warm but it gets chilly when it rains. So you can pack light but bring weather gear. Don’t rent a car, get sunburned, drink too much alcohol. If you can afford it, a driver and vehicle is a great addition.

What to do

Fly direct. Take a flight into/out of either Miami OR Ft. Lauderdale. Pack light. Stay somewhere central or at least close to some shows. Prepare in advance. Try to be well rested to begin with. Study up on the different fairs and galleries. Have a schedule in mind. Don’t try to coordinate with too many people. Follow a plan but remain flexible. Spend most of your time with the art...don't get too sidetracked into parties and beach scenes. Study a map and plan your time accordingly. Take Uber, Lyft, taxis, etc. Wear a small-ish light-weight backpack that converts to a shoulder bag. Collect invitations to VIP events and areas. Take advantage of their lounges.

WHAT TO Bring

Business cards, phone chargers, rain gear, a bathing suit, a notepad and pen (take notes), artwear, a change of comfortable shoes, and layers. Bring and drink water. Eat breakfast. Stop to eat a quick lunch and dinner. Bring snacks like nuts and bars. Eat “on the Beach” and get a real Cuban meal. Also Miami pizza is very good and so is the coffee.

Our art posse stops to figure out next moves during the last night - at the Wynwood Art Walk.

Our art posse stops to figure out next moves during the last night - at the Wynwood Art Walk.

Don’t miss

Design Basel (has a separate fee).

Form

One full day, on either a Thursday or Friday, at Art Basel

Wynwood Art Walk at night

PULSE

ArtMiami

Scope

INK

ICA

Rubell Collection

The Rubell Collection always proves alarming. Work by Frank Benson, 2011.

The Rubell Collection always proves alarming. Work by Frank Benson, 2011.

Faena (the gorgeous hotel) is worth a visit to see the golden mastodon.

Faena (the gorgeous hotel) is worth a visit to see the golden mastodon.

Brunches and parties

We had a great time at Casa Lin's brunch but missed all the others. They are worth going to for a chance to meet people and talk, relax, and fuel up.

"You are what you eat" is a piece of student performance art in the Casa Lin garden.

"You are what you eat" is a piece of student performance art in the Casa Lin garden.

I think I could have missed Aqua and NADA. Read details: https://news.artnet.com/market/art-basel-miami-beach-guide-1032611 

Materials, techniques, topics and display trends

We (my little art posse) saw lots of variations of layers and reflections, on clear acrylic, Mylar, Lucite, etc. Another popular shiny substrate we saw lots of is Resin. Techniques from fiberarts were very popular, including weaving, knitting, crochet, and embroidery. Plus we noted lots of stitched canvases and patterned fabric used as a canvas. Some used buttons or bones or beads - traditional materials identified with women's work.

Wax was used in these book art pieces by Jessica Drenk, 2017, Galleri Urbane Dallas.

Wax was used in these book art pieces by Jessica Drenk, 2017, Galleri Urbane Dallas.

Figurative - Deconstructed

I look for figurative work as that's what I do and I want to see what's out there. I like these surreal figurative works by Dario Maglionico.

I look for figurative work as that's what I do and I want to see what's out there. I like these surreal figurative works by Dario Maglionico.

Elaborate 100% embroidered artwork.

Elaborate 100% embroidered artwork.

Woven mens' belts appear very heavy and solid.

Woven mens' belts appear very heavy and solid.

Weaving all types of materials was a big theme this year. This is an example of an unusual material woven together to great effect. I noticed people using raw linen now, too. And there were a number of pieces made with delicately etched and scratched metal.

Graphite sculpture

This artist had quite a few pieces in quite a few shows. Each is mundane subject matter and perfectly rendered in life-size.   605 E. 132nd St., Bronx , by Adam McEwen, 2016, The Modern Institute

This artist had quite a few pieces in quite a few shows. Each is mundane subject matter and perfectly rendered in life-size.  605 E. 132nd St., Bronx, by Adam McEwen, 2016, The Modern Institute

Paintings were often on fabric used as a paint surface, including heavily patterned fabric. Many pieces were presented as a series or an installation with sculpture and other artforms. It was not uncommon to see multiple panels making up a single work. There were also lots of shaped canvases, especially round ones. Super-realism lives on. So does pretty - with birds, butterflies, flowers, fairies, patterns, and luscious colors. People like to interact with the art. So many selfies and photo ops for eachother. With the kinetic pieces you could play around. With the reflective pieces you could catch sight of yourself.

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A large circle composed of used clothes tightly packed together. By Manish Nai, Kavi Gupta Gallery.

A large circle composed of used clothes tightly packed together. By Manish Nai, Kavi Gupta Gallery.

Fabric and clothing have become an art material. Wallpaper has become an extension of the art for sale.

Beautiful and fun, yes? Works by Jason DeMarte, shown by Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM.

Beautiful and fun, yes? Works by Jason DeMarte, shown by Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM.

Quilting has reached a complex art form. This was a very popular series.

Personal story-telling combined with old world quilting taken to new heights.  Family  by Bisa Butler.

Personal story-telling combined with old world quilting taken to new heights. Family by Bisa Butler.

Collage of every type, in tiny to grand scale. Old masters redux is always in. Layers and layers with shadow-play and reflections and along with optical illusions were a noticeable trend. 

Monofilament + acrylic paint are combined in this very handsome piece by Chris Dorosz, R.O.S.H. Series, 2017, Muriel Guepin Gallery.

Monofilament + acrylic paint are combined in this very handsome piece by Chris Dorosz, R.O.S.H. Series, 2017, Muriel Guepin Gallery.

3-D printing was used to create a wall of these small sculptures. When I saw them they were all being packed up since they'd just been purchased.  Mister Nobody  is by Igor Gusev, Voloshyn Gallery, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2017.

3-D printing was used to create a wall of these small sculptures. When I saw them they were all being packed up since they'd just been purchased. Mister Nobody is by Igor Gusev, Voloshyn Gallery, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2017.

Installation art and composed vignettes. Heavy patterns for backgrounds. So many grids. New uses for lint and felt. And it's glitzy Miami and Miami Beach, so of course so much silver and gold leaf. Performance art popping up here and there was a refreshing change.

Installation + performance art were the scene at this booth. Not an easy way to spend the four or so art fair days.

Installation + performance art were the scene at this booth. Not an easy way to spend the four or so art fair days.

Cut paper and books

This fantastic book is carved like rock with a portal entry.

This fantastic book is carved like rock with a portal entry.

A mosaic of sorts, made of ceramic chips with a subtle image in the center. More obvious in the photo than in life. By Park Sung Wook, 2017.

A mosaic of sorts, made of ceramic chips with a subtle image in the center. More obvious in the photo than in life. By Park Sung Wook, 2017.

Scenes from the graphic design world: letterpress, typography, signage-style words and messages. Words and statements. Not my favorite.

Scenes from the graphic design world: letterpress, typography, signage-style words and messages. Words and statements. Not my favorite.

What they wore (or didn’t) - Women

Lots of skin and major underwear showing; beachwear – diaphanous white; running/workout gear; ripped pants; white; sneakers or really high heels, and long and short together...

There's a letterpress studio set-up in the background and a concrete installation to the right of this pair.

There's a letterpress studio set-up in the background and a concrete installation to the right of this pair.

More scenes from the graphic design world: PMS colors and large digital duotones and and monotones.

More scenes from the graphic design world: PMS colors and large digital duotones and and monotones.

More trends: monochrome as a theme, manipulated photos, video inserted, deconstruction, burning and smoke as an art-making tool, concrete, sparkles, mirrors, hair, body parts, and hermaphrodites.

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Crumpled

In conte crayon on rag paper,  Crushed Roses , 2017, by Josph Stashkevetch, Von Lintel Gallery, LA, CA.

In conte crayon on rag paper, Crushed Roses, 2017, by Josph Stashkevetch, Von Lintel Gallery, LA, CA.

And the trends continue: being black, black women and families, climate change, pretty, guns, breasts, penises, and mundane objects made of precious materials.

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Painted and graduated walls

Design Miami - this was a beautiful series of sets...

Design Miami - this was a beautiful series of sets...

What's next?

SF is trying! Note what's coming up January 11-14 - our own Fog Art and Design Fair, joined for the first time this year by Untitled-SF at Pier 70, All on the same dates SF Art Week? .  https://untitledartfairs.com/san-francisco/ and https://fogfair.com/

Want to dig deeper? Find out about women artists at Miami Art Week. https://hyperallergic.com/416340/timely-exciting-work-by-women-artists-at-miami-art-week/?

Patterns in Paintings and Textiles

Susan KirshenbaumComment
My second dress prototype is now in the collection of interior designer  Vicki Simon .

My second dress prototype is now in the collection of interior designer Vicki Simon.

Red Hair Curly and Straight  is a life-sized scroll on silk crepe de chine. There are four in this series.

Red Hair Curly and Straight is a life-sized scroll on silk crepe de chine. There are four in this series.


WHAT TO DO WITH THE SCARF

Don't you always need to get better at tying a scarf? I do. I make them, collect them, and wear them. But I still have "French person envy" when it comes to styling my scarves...So I've searched for some helpful tips. There are loads of them, including demos. Great for travel. And ideal for extra warmth, a splash of color, and a pop of style. Here are two helpful links on more ways than you might imagine: http://www.instyle.com/how-tos/how-to-tie-scarf-gifs 

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeC2ZC6Us_8

THE ART SCARF

Have you seen my art scarves yet? Each one is unique and is made of microbatch fabric. I create the original single digital drawing from a model, then I design the repeat pattern, and have it printed on silk. The scarves are all finished by hand. I sell them at occasional pop-up shows and my art show receptions. They're available online here too. "Buy it and tie it".

Kat needed to buy a scarf for her upcoming trip to Paris. So French!

Kat needed to buy a scarf for her upcoming trip to Paris. So French!

Another friend bought that scarf, pictured to the left (all one of a kind) and she wore it out that same night, tied in this unique way. 

Another friend bought that scarf, pictured to the left (all one of a kind) and she wore it out that same night, tied in this unique way. 

I'm wearing this long 2-sided scarf wrapped once around.  

I'm wearing this long 2-sided scarf wrapped once around.  

One of my silk infinity art scarves, worn by jewelry designer Sunday Tirio. 

One of my silk infinity art scarves, worn by jewelry designer Sunday Tirio. 

Ava Doppelt wears a newly acquired scarf.

Ava Doppelt wears a newly acquired scarf.

"When I discovered making art on the iPad, my world changed."

Never a techy, I've been enjoying re-learning my art making process by navigating new tools, apps, and online resources. Working as a digital and figurative artist I can create an original that has multiple variations, like monoprints, and I can abstract the images further using layers of colors, paintings, drawings, and photos, making complex digital collages. What freedom!

At some point I realized I could also make patterns (using online apps) that I could turn into microbatch textiles and papers. So I started making scarves, dresses, and cocktail napkins  you name it. Beginning with small prototypes, I morphed my textile ideas into large-scale single image scrolls and soft sculpture. All the while learning how to design, make, and sew.

Eventually I created a site-specific installation piece composed of four huge sheer, hanging panels of nude female gesture drawings in colors cascading and overlapping – from chrome yellow to indigo violet (pictured below).

Installation at the Troll House, Pier 26, SF, Aug. 2017

Installation at the Troll House, Pier 26, SF, Aug. 2017

Textile design has changed so much and become so accessible. At some point I also discovered that art on fabric can become body art. Maybe you saw my lycra legging art in a previous blog?

Pure Barre West Portal  instructor Kelly wearing my art leggings.

Pure Barre West Portal instructor Kelly wearing my art leggings.

MAD ABOUT PATTERN

I remain fascinated by patterns. They add a stunning complexity to art. At present we are enjoying a Klimt (& Rodin) show at San Francisco's Legion of Honor which presents a wonderful example of the rich use of pattern in painting.

ARTISTS I KNOW

Three contemporary artist friends come to mind when talking about patterns in art.  Pola Wickham is highly skilled in drawing and painting gorgeous patterns, people, and objects. We used to draw together occasionally in her Barcelona apartment on her beautiful old Spanish tile floors. Two artists I worked with as a creative director and who both have a wonderful and whimsical use of pattern in their illustration, design, and fine art are Ilene Lederer and Julie Paschkis

Julie is a pro at turning a little square scarf into a functional headband/sweatband. She wears her scarf rolled tight on her hair (with friend at right wearing a cut paper art crown by Julie).

Julie is a pro at turning a little square scarf into a functional headband/sweatband. She wears her scarf rolled tight on her hair (with friend at right wearing a cut paper art crown by Julie).

DISRUPTIVE Patterns

I've heard that there's something disruptive about wearing my nudes...a sort of discrete secret that might or might not be noticed. I love this!

"My subjects are naked but are completely comfortable in their skins. Are you? Do you want to be? There should be something liberating in seeing my work. It's blunt. Nudity is not an issue. Body love is."

The drawing in the pattern is easier to make out on this art fabric!

The drawing in the pattern is easier to make out on this art fabric!

One of my fav color palettes - I use it often in my work.

One of my fav color palettes - I use it often in my work.

This pattern is waiting to be made into wrapping paper or fabric.

This pattern is waiting to be made into wrapping paper or fabric.

An image from my design studio. I made this pattern into wrapping paper but not fabric (yet). From my Red, White, and Blue series.

An image from my design studio. I made this pattern into wrapping paper but not fabric (yet). From my Red, White, and Blue series.