Monthly Archives: March 2017

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Magazine Summer 1993

KCAC Forum Magazine Summer 1993

ARTS ENVIRONMENT N THE CLINTON ERA

“Hostile and Violent.” That’s the way George Thorn, co-director of Art Action Research and Director of the Graduate Program in Arts Administration at Virginia Tech in Blackburg, Va., described the current environment for the arts in our country during his presentation to the recent Missouri Arts Council conference.

After spending four days with artists and arts administrators at the Missouri Arts Council Conference “Next in the Arts” (held May 16-17 St. Louis, Mo.) and the National Association of Artists’ organizations of the Midwest Conference (held May 21-22, Chicago, Ill.) I’d have to say most the participants agree with his assessment.

Even the most optimistic feel that change for the better is still a long way off. The economy of the 1980s and early 1990s has taken its toll with many art organizations caught in the fall-out of severe cuts in state and local funding to the arts. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA’s) willingness to censor artists rather than support freedom of expression and its own panel process has created an overwhelming in the field about the future role of this once revered federal agency. And while no one expected President Clinton to make culture his number one priority, it was hoped that the “bully pulp” of the presidency would be used to lift the air of hostility and suspicion that has settled around the arts. Instead, Clinton has delayed appointing a strong chairperson to lead the NEA through its re-authorization this summer, and what is worse, has chosen to appeal Judge Tashima’s 1992 ruling that found the NEA decency clause violated the First and Fifth Amendments. The fresh air we had hoped for turned out to be more of the same.

And in Missouri, the state legislature’s recent move to ban public nudity is another indication of the desire of government to regulate and abridge our civil rights rather than protect and preserve them.

Perhaps, as artists we have grown a bit cavalier about the suspicion and disdain our chosen profession brings us, relishing even in the outsider status it affords. But the status quo is every bit as hostile and damaging to individual artists as it is to arts organizations. Today most artists cannot expect to make a livable wage, or have the luxury of health insurance, sick leave, or retirement benefits. It is not surprising that many leave the field, taking their unique expression out of the public dialogue forever.

But artists want to have a positive impact in their communities and in the nation’s culture and demonstrate leadership and courage when the arts and artists have been attacked. When the Corcoran Gallery bowed to political pressure and would not exhibit the Mapplethorpe retrospective, the Washington Project for the Arts exhibited the work. To bring attention to the AIDS crisis, Visual Aids started the red ribbon campaign. And the National Association of Artists’ Organizations initiated the lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the decency clause of the 1990 NEA re-authorization legislation. These are just a few acts by artists and their organizations, many other choices in defense of
culture and freedom of expression are made daily.

The artistic climate in our country is not going to change to one more favorable to arts and culture unless all artists and supporters of the arts take an active role. We must use every means available to us to inform the public of the life-affirming value of the arts. We must tell them even difficult expressions inform and enlarge our understanding of what it is to be human. Judge Tashima stated, “The right of artists to challenge conventional wisdom and values is a cornerstone of artistic and academic freedom.” Unless we support that freedom, the arts will lose their ability to illuminate our lives.

When I go into artist-run spaces around the country I see vibrant viable works of contemporary artistic expression. We must protect this expression, these venues, our culture.

christina erives

Those April Showers are kicking in a bit earlier here in Kansas City, but we are here to chase away those gloomy days with another KC based artist on the KCAC Artist Lifestyle this week! For the next six days we are excited to be able to share the amazing ceramic work from Christina Erives (@christinamargaritaerives) with all you fine fellows and gals. The very first time we saw Christina’s tiny ceramic cacti at Belger Crane Yard Studios we were hooked! We grabbed a little cactus, took it home, and have loved it ever since. Christina beat us to the punch on the IG Takeover and asked US if she could join in on the fun. We knew right off the bat that we needed to include her in our Instagram project and have her share her ceramic sculptures with all of you.

Christina received her Bachelor of Arts from California State University Northridge and her Master of Fine Arts at Pennsylvania State University. She then embarked on various residencies across the country and beyond! She has most recently landed as an artist in residence at the Red Star Studios here in Kansas City, Missouri.

We are very excited to see what Christina has in store for us this week with her artwork and day to day inspiration, so let’s get things kicked off here today with a few words from Christina about her work and motivation…

“My Mexican heritage and family traditions inform my work through narratives about the distance between today’s Mexican societies and its cultural history. Using traditional tools and processes can be labor intensive, and many people prefer the convenience of purchasing tortillas at the grocery store rather than performing the labor required to make each tortilla by hand.  Traditions are lost as a result of this convenience, and American culture becomes homogenized. I create clay-based objects to celebrate these customs in an effort to prevent  the collective forgetting and loss of history. Authentic Mexican culture has progressively faded from my own family’s practices through the generations. I struggle to discover and maintain the language, heritage, and customs, my work attempts to embrace, preserve, and honor these traditions.

Ceramic material has permanence; it is a tangible means to learn about ancient cultures.  I borrow on the beauty of these traditions making lasting objects that hold cultural information for future generations. Through my own lens with a contemporary twist, my ceramic work explores both tradition and modern day utility. I draw on traditional Mexican cuisine, highlighting its societal importance by creating both utilitarian and sculptural vessels.  These conventions have become points of departure, and my forms are a chronicle of the processes and tools themselves.

My work operates as a reminder of the value of traditions, painting a picture of my family’s heritage and giving permanence to cultural items.  Through use of objects & words I hope to render a narrative that seeks to celebrate these rituals of past & present generations.”

We are very excited to see what the world looks like through Christina’s eyes and to see what she will be sharing with us on her Instagram journey. Here are a few images of her artwork and past Instagram photos to get things kicked off…

Erives_Christina_Image-2_AL_3_17     Erives_Christina_Image-1_AL_3_17     Erives_Christina_Image-3_AL_3_17

Be sure to follow Christina on her KCAC Instagram story starting tomorrow Thursday, March 30th – Tuesday, April 4th!

If you missed any of our previous Artist Lifestyle Artists you can always catch up on the KCAC Instagram (@kcartistscoalition) to see what has been happening or search social media with the hashtags: #kcartistlifestyle #kcacartistlifestyle

krista jo mustain

The art keeps coming and the KC Artist Lifestyle just wont slow down! We are back this week and heading on a little trip over to Tulsa to hang out with the incredibly talented, Krista Jo Mustain (@printpartyprintparty)! We first came along Krista a few months back when we happened across her bold, bright and incredibly fun Instagram page. Her Instagram lead us to her website, which featured beautifully hand created quilts and art pieces all joined together with the charm and humor that seems to wrap up Krista and her artwork. We knew pretty quickly that we needed to include Krista in our Instagram project and have her share her world with all of us.

Krista attended The University of Kansas, where she discovered the mystical 5th floor of the Art and Design building, and quickly developed a passion for hand dyeing quilts and felting rugs. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Art in Textile Design with a Minor in Art History, Krista moved to Kansas City where she had a studio residency at The Drugstore and further developed her obsession with covering every surface in head to toe pattern. In 2015 she was awarded a grant through Art in The Loop to cover a Kansas City Metro bus stop in vinyl renderings of her quilts and hand cut confetti. Krista has since relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma where she is currently looking for the next public space in need of confetti and Print Party makeover.

We are very excited to see what Krista has in store for us this week about her artwork and day to day inspiration, so let’s get things kicked off here today with a few words from Krista about her work and motivation…

“I am a fiber artist and textile enthusiast who specializes in hand-dyed quilts for people who are serious about fun.

PRINT PARTY is the celebration of traditional textiles techniques, executed in unexpected colors and patterns, for people who are unafraid of all encompassing color. The process starts with 100% unbleached cotton, and is fueled by inspiration coming from a love of 80’s graffiti and vivid video game-esque dreams. PRINT PARTY is bold and bright; layering colors over each other and bringing to the surface pattern combinations that are often unexpected. My work, whether it be quilts, wall hangings or confetti, is all driven by an obsession with covering every surface in head to toe pattern, and a desire to celebrate everyday activities. I strive to create transformative environments, starting with your bed, to make everyday life a dreamlike oasis. Take a nap under a PRINT PARTY quilt and you’ll have the best dreams of your life.”

We are very excited to see what the world looks like through Krista’s eyes and to see what she will be sharing with us on her Instagram journey. Here are a few images of her artwork and past Instagram photos to get things kicked off…

Mustain_Krista-Jo_Image-1_WEB_AL_3_17     Mustain_Krista-Jo_Image-5_WEB_AL_3_17     Mustain_Krista-Jo_Image-4_WEB_AL_3_17

Be sure to follow Krista on her KCAC Instagram story starting tomorrow Thursday, March 23rd – Tuesday, March 28th!

If you missed any of our previous Artist Lifestyle Artists you can always catch up on the KCAC Instagram (@kcartistscoalition) to see what has been happening or search social media with the hashtags: #kcartistlifestyle #kcacartistlifestyle

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Magazine Spring 1993

KCAC Forum Magazine Spring 1993

PROPOSED SCULPTURES ARE A SAFE RISK
by Deanne Pearson

Much has been said lately about the proposed installation of a Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen collaboration project on the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The project involves installing four 18-foot badminton shuttlecocks in various positions along the north-south axis of the museum grounds, inferring that the museum building is something of a net in an imaginary badminton game. Not all that has been said has been positive.

All art has its detractors; it goes without saying that beauty, and often artistic merit, lies in the eye of the beholder. But to consider refusing an opportunity because the art is risky and doesn’t conform to the traditional, conservative idea of sculpture is to miss out on a wonderful opportunity to expand those ideas in a relatively safe and meaningful way.

Look at the proposal. It was initiated upon the invitation of an anonymous donor, who would presumably foot the bill for fabrication and installation of the sculptures. Hence it would expand local artistic offerings without the use of any public funding and without compromising other projects or straining any already tight budgets

It would fit in well with the Nelson-Atkins Museum’s modern sculpture initiative begun last year, which seeks to build a strong collection of 20th century sculpture. And because the pieces would be built for outdoor display, the collection would then include a monumental sculpture without sacrificing a monumental amount of limited gallery
space. Oldenburg is considered one of the best known artists of the Pop movement of the 1960s; two of his small scale soft sculptures are already part of the museum permanent collection. By adding a recent, monumental collaborative sculpture, the museum would round out their holdings by this artist, enabling them to show the depth of his work as well as its breadth. They would also join the ranks of such institutions as Yale University in New Haven, Conn., the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Dallas Museum of Art, all of which display large-scale projects by Oldenburg and van Bruggen.

Taking on this project would have educational results as well. By accepting and displaying the sculpture proudly, the Nelson Atkins Museum would show that art doesn’t have to be all oil paints and still lifes; there is room within art for humor, whimsy and work that goes beyond the traditional boundaries that so often limit local tastes. And the sculptures do so in a relatively benign way. They avoid the entanglements of politics, religion, sex and morality that are so often tied to “controversial” modern art. If you want a safe risk, this is it.

And of course the sculptures would bring more attention to the already well-thought-of museum, and would attract new visitors to the area. Those of us who live in Kansas City and regularly partake of its culture are aware of its richness. But beyond about a 200-mile radius the city is often thought of as a backwards cow-town with little to offer anyone. This proposed addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum’s holding when joined with its already strong collection and the new Kemper Museum of Contemporary
Art and Design being built on the grounds of Kansas City Art Institute, will build on Kansas City’s reputation for fine arts. How can the city lose by continuing to expand its culture to include new attractions and thereby attract new visitors?

The old saying goes “Opportunity knocks but once.” When you consider the positives included in this particular artistic opportunity, it would be a crime for Kansas City to close its curtains and pretend that nobody is home, or worse yet, to slam the door shouting, “We don’t want any.” Instead it should answer the knock, welcome the opportunity, and use it as an impetus to educate and expand the tastesof the local public.