Spolight On: Swoon

I’ve been horrible about posting lately but with some pushing from a friend, I’m trying to pick up the slack!

One new thing I’m going to try out is a series where I put the spotlight on a new artist that has caught my eye and that is worthy of you checking out.

So being inside for hours on end doesn’t seem like the most exciting way to discover new art, but it actually is a great way. Luckily enough for us art lovers thirsting for new art but unable to go exploring Los Angeles 24/7, there are people dedicated to creating books that focus on one artist in particular.

And whilst shelving away inside the fine arts library, I came  upon a book with one word on it: Swoon.

Legally, this street artist is known as Caledonia Dance Curry. She’s a Florida native who attended Pratt Institute and whose quirky personality and undeniable talent has left an imprint on the art world, including “Art in the Streets” curator Jeffrey Deitch. She took her name from a past boyfriend’s dream, created a collective called Toy Shop and got around a city permit by having a band named Japanther play out of a truck in the streets during the opening of an exhibition.

She works with paper, creating pieces that will make you look twice.

 

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

 

Yeah, she’s a pretty cool gal. At least, I think so.

And if that’s not enough to get you swooning over her (GET IT?!), she’s also very politically engaged, at one point creating a piece entitled “Portrait of Silvia Elena,” based on the photograph of a missing girl in Mexico. She created it to raise awareness of the femicide going on in Mexico, even traveling there to speak with the people experiencing it.

So keep an eye out next time you’re out on the street exploring Los Angeles. You might come across a Swoon creation.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

 

Click here to check out the book.

 

 

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The Joys of a Good Art Book

There’s nothing like the smell of new book and pretty pictures to get an art lover’s head spinning.

Feeling blue over the fact that I have YET to attend “Art in the Streets,” MOCA’S history-making, society-shaking street art exhibition curated by Jeffrey Deitch, I was more than happy to stumble upon a book called Art in the Streets. Basically the companion to the exhibition, the book contains articles from well-versed art figures and even includes interviews with artists themselves, like Lee Quinones and Fab 5 Freddy.

Not the book cover on my library copy, but one of the covers. Creative Commons.

The book steeps you in the innovative, wild origins of graffiti and street art and includes photos of gnarly works and the madmen and women that created them.

Carlo McCormick, curator and critic, makes a significant argument about street art and the way society views it:

“With a visual landscape so polluted by come-ons and coercions, we should stop asking ourselves why kids attack these spaces and instead wonder why we do not join them. This, then, is the nature of the writing on the wall today: It is  not only about what is written but also fundamentally about reading what is already there.”

Spot on.

Art in the Streets is another important installment in the history of an art form that is mostly ephemeral. The photos are plentiful, the writings are thoughtful and engaging and input from the artists just puts icing on the cake. There are other books out there on graffiti art (1984’s Subway Art was once a Bible to street artists), but this one manages to show graffiti and street art over a period of decades and spanning many locations. It even includes a chronology section. It is this attention to the history of art, as is evident in the exhibit as well, that is putting graffiti and street art under more attention and giving it more and more credit.

This is a paperback/hardcover you won’t want to miss out on.

“Art in the Streets” runs until August 8 at the MOCA Geffen Contemporary museum.