Two New Art Prints by Randy Ortiz from THE VACVVM (Onsale Info)

THE VACVVM will release two new art prints by Randy Ortiz tomorrow. “Ardeidae” is a 7″ x 11″ giclee, has an edition of 50, and will cost $25. “Altar” is a 9″ x 12″ giclee, has an edition of 40, and will cost $30. These go up tomorrow (Friday, November 18th) at 2pm Central Time. Visit

Randy Ortiz

Randy Ortiz

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New Concert Posters by Ken Taylor and Arno Kiss (Onsale Info)

You’ll get a shot at some artist copies of two new concert posters tomorrow. Ken Taylor’s Blink-182 poster is an 18″ x 24″ screenprint, has an artist edition of 100, and will cost $30. Arno Kiss’s Bob Weir poster is an 18″ x 24″ screenprint, has an edition of 575 (much less online), and will cost $40. These go up tomorrow (Friday, November 18th) at 2pm Central Time. Visit

Ken Taylor

Arno Kiss

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Happy Accident: Scientists Give the World A New Blue

YinMn Blue Pigment

The color known as YInMn blue was accidentally discovered in 2009 at the University of Oregon

A happy accident that occurred in 2009 is about to color the world a ravishing new shade of blue—and, well, lucky us!  YInMn blue (named for the pigment’s primary elements of Yttrium, Indium and Manganese), a deep and dazzling pigment, has just been licensed for commercial use—and artists, designers, and creatives the world over are, no doubt, taking note. Discovered in the labs of the University of Oregon, YInMn blue was the result of a serendipitous mingling of chemicals—including black manganese oxide—which, when heated to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, miraculously resulted in a blue of uncommon vibrancy and a number of other key properties. Imbued, it turned out, with fade-resistance and durability rarely present in other vivid blues (like indigo, ultramarine, cobalt, and Prussian blue), YInMn carries potentially wide-ranging implications beyond the esthetic world.

University of Oregon scientist, Mas Subramanian, whose 2009 experiments with electronics resulted in the accidental discovery of YInMn blue, explains: “Ever since the early Egyptians developed some of the first blue pigments, the pigment industry has been struggling to address problems with safety, toxicity and durability.” YInMn blue, luckily, is relatively easy to produce, non-toxic, durable even in the face of water and oil, and happens to be good at deflecting infrared light—making it a potential ally in fostering energy efficiency.

While the pigment is not widely available yet, the commercial pigment manufacturer, The Shepard Color Company, has smartly snapped up the color’s licensing rights, and, according to Subramanian, other commercial companies and artists are showing plenty of interest. One artist with inside knowledge, OSU visual arts major Madelaine Corbin, who interns in Subramanian’s lab, is using YInMn blue in her artwork, happy, one imagines, to join the stellar list of famous blue fixated artists—like conceptual artist Anish Kapoor and French painter Yves Klein. “Maddy is the first undergraduate non-science major who is interested in doing hands-on chemistry in our group,” notes Subramanian. Local Oregon artist Carol Chapel has also worked YInMn into her drypoint etchings. The most valuable accolade for YInMn, though, comes from the Forbes Pigment Collection, keeper and historian of the world’s oldest pigments, which has added YInMn to its storied collection. How often does that happen? Only once in a…blue…moon, it turns out.

Carol Chapel YInMn Blue Drypoint Print

Oregon artist Carol Chapel’s monochromatic drypoint etching showcases YInMn blue.


Via Art News

For Shellshocked New Yorkers, Post-Election Subway Therapy


In Manhattan’s Union Square subway station, a display of Post-It notes became a visual protest against the results of the November 8 Presidential election.

Say this for psychic turmoil: it stirs the creative soul. From Hemingway to Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf to Frida Kahlo, the most powerful artistic expression rarely emanates from a place of equilibrium and serenity. For many Americans—New Yorkers, in particular—neither equilibrium nor serenity comes easily, and, in the days and weeks following the Presidential election, emotional dissonance reached an apex not seen since 9/11. And so, Subway Therapy provided a highly original, if ultimately feeble, salve. Matthew ‘Levee’ Chavez, a New York-based artist, is the founder of the Subway Therapy project, a collaborative endeavor which requires the participation of passing strangers, and which predates the election—but sticks to its original premise: give frustrated and perpetually vexed subway riders Post-It notes and a pen, and they will write.


The brainchild of Matthew ‘Levee’ Chavez, the post-election Subway Therapy project encouraged New Yorkers to voice their dissent over the election outcome.

“When people are overflowing with emotion, help channel their energy into something good,” explains Chavez. “Subway Therapy is about making people smile, laugh, and feel less stress. I believe people grow and learn through dynamic conversation.” With stress at its zenith on November 9th, Levee parked himself in the tunnel of the 14th Street subway stop in Manhattan, and encouraged New Yorkers of disparate origins—but an overwhelmingly single worldview—to record their outrage and sorrow, dissension and shock on tiny colored paper squares; and then, one by one, adhere them to an endless expanse of tiled subway wall.


Stretching the length of a wall in Union Square station in Manhattan, a mosaic of Post-It notes containing personal expressions about the Presidential election.

Part art piece, part theatre, part protest movement, the post-Election Subway Therapy project remained, ultimately a classic New York City enterprise: a spontaneous collective experience, a portrait in resourcefulness, an imaginative stab at quelling the chaos of an unthinkable moment. It was also, surprisingly enough, quite pretty, presenting a vivid mosaic of color that, for a few dreary weeks, enlivened the grey and harsh florescence of subterranean city life, while beckoning even the most harried subway traveler to stop and read, if not write.


Messages of affirmation and hope mingled with less optimistic declarations.

Sticky notes spread to other subway stops, most notably the Union Square station, one of downtown’s major hubs, which played canvas to an ever-thickening paper display of aphorisms and affirmations, exhortations and exclamations, each hastily scribbled in marker or pen or pencil. Governor Andrew Cuomo made a visit (and a written contribution), and scores of tourists took it all in, jaws dropped, reading, filming, saturating their Instagram feeds. Like many a New York City experience, Subway Therapy proved ephemeral, the notes methodically taken down in mid-December, their impact duly noted and recorded for posterity. The New-York Historical Society stepped in to preserve a portion of the Union Square display, and then offered up its own entrance wall to keep the project alive through Inauguration Day. Only in New York.


Post-It notes form a mosaic of color in an otherwise grey NYC subway station.

Images: Promila Shastri

Pantone 2017 Color of the Year: Greenery


Calling it a refreshing and revitalizing shade, Pantone has selected Greenery as its 2017 Color of the Year.

After choosing TWO colors as its 2016 Color of the Year, Pantone went the traditional route this year, selecting Pantone 15-0343, better known as Greenery, as its 2017 Color of the Year. “Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings…a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew,” explained the color authority, adding that “Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”

While last year’s dual selection of Rose Quartz and Serenity—pink and blue—brought with it distinct political and social overtones related to gender roles and gender itself, Greenery makes a more subtle inference to current events. “The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world,” Pantone announced. Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman was more specific: “Greenery bursts forth to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment…satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize.” My, don’t we all wish a color could do all that?


Pantone 15-0343, or Greenery, is the 2017 Color of the Year

Via Pantone

In London, Contemporary Christmas Tree Art Installations


In the newly refurbished rotunda of London’s Tate Britain, an upside-down Christmas tree installation by artist Shirazeh Houshiary.

London’s gone mad for Christmas trees. How else to explain what’s happneing all over town with evergreens—namely, a trio of festive installations that pay homage to the pine tree in ways best described as unusual.

To begin with, there’s the Tate Britain’s upside down Christmas tree, an installation by the Iranian-born artist Shirazeh Houshiary, currently on view in the gallery’s refurbished rotunda. Centered and held aloft by wires, the tree is natural and unadorned, save its roots, which, having been given a gold-dipped makeover, remain the installation’s falshiest and most ornamental part. Explains the artist, “I would like us to contemplate that the pine tree is one of the oldest species and recognize the roots are the source of its continued stability, nourishment and longevity,” Houshiary, a celebrated sculptor, continues a Tate tradition of artist-commissioned Christmas tree interpretations—a tradition started in 1988, and put on hold in 2013 as a massive renovation project commenced. Tate Britain’s Director, Alex Farquharson, is pleased. “This tree fits the new space perfectly, allowing a different generation to experience the majesty of Houshiary’s work in the striking setting of the new entrance and staircase.”


In the lobby of London’s Claridige’s hotel, a Christmas Tree installation by designers Jony Ive and Marc Newson greet visitors.

Across town in tony Mayfair, the Claridge’s hotel lobby has been given over to an immersive Christmas tree experience created by Apple’s design gurus, Jony Ive and Marc Newson. “Our aim was to create an all-enveloping magical experience that celebrates our enormous respect for tradition while recognizing our excitement about the future and things to come,” say the designers. To that end, Ive and Newson leverage both mother nature and modern technology for their seasonal installation: an ethereal forest of real birch trees, glowing boxes of photographed birch trees, artificial snow, and an orchestra of colored lights, all of which converge for a moody, magical tableau which visitors can traverse for a fleeeting few weeks.


British artist Alex Chinneck has created a sculpture that appears to show a Christmas tree ensconced in a block of ice.

Elsewhere in London—in the city’s King’s Cross neighborhood, to be exact—British artist Alex Chinneck has created another art piece in which a Christmas Tree figures prominently. Fighting Fire with Ice Cream is, in typical Chinneck fashion, an optical illusion in which a real Christmas tree, measuring 17 feet high, appears to be encased in a huge block of ice. The ice, in question, however, is actually a carved resin sculpture into which the tree is ensconced, and the melted section at the installation’s bottom is fashioned from wax. Explains the artist, “I was thinking about a seasonally relevant material and landed on the idea, like a fly-in-an-ice-cube.”

Via Dezeen

Time Magazine Names Iconic Stahl House Photograph Amongst its Most Influential


Named one of the most influential photographs in history by Time Magazine, this image of Stahl House was created by Julius Shulman in 1960.

A ravishing black-and-white photograph of Stahl House—an enduring symbol of modernist architecture—takes its place amongst portraits of Che Guevara and Demi Moore in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Images of All Time. One of only 3 man-made objects featured in Time’s 100 selections (the Hindenberg airship and Montana’s Fort Peck Damn are the other two), Stahl House is also one of the few aspirational shots featured in a roundup of painfully potent landmark moments extracted from America’s story—replete with wars, political unrest, famine, AIDS, and 9/11. In such weighty company, this iconic image of Stahl House—the most famous and widely disseminated photo from Julius Shulman’s architectural portfolio —is a welcome respite of breathtaking beauty, one that, according to Time,  ‘… perfected the art of aspirational staging, turning a house into the embodiment of the Good Life…’

It is, of course, hard to imagine anything but a good life being lived in Stahl House, aka Case Study House 22, architect Pierre Koenig’s Mid Century masterwork designed for Clarence ‘Buck’ Stahl in 1959 as part of Southern California’s Case Study Program. Nestled into the Hollywood Hills, it remains the apotheosis of modernism’s love affair with glass and concrete, geometry and elegance, killer views and steely glamour. While it may be impossible to take a bad photo of a house this camera-ready, in 1960, Julius Shulman found a way to make the penultimate Stahl House statement. Says Time, “To show the essence of this air-breaking cantilevered building, Shulman set two glamorous women in cocktail dresses inside the house, where they appear to be floating above a mythic, twinkling city. The photo…is the most successful real estate image ever taken.”


Another 1960 image of Stahl House by Julius Shulman

via Time Magazine