Congratulations to John Johnson of Fort Worth, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest. This is the fourth time John has won our little contest. His last win was back in November. He follows last week’s winner, Kan He.
If you would like to participate in the Flickr Photo of the Week contest, all you need to do is upload your photo to our our Flickr group page. It’s fine to submit a photo you took earlier than the current week, but we are hoping that the contest will inspire you to go out and shoot something fantastic this week to share with Art&Seek users. If the picture you take involves a facet of the arts, even better. The contest week will run from Tuesday to Monday, and the Art&Seek staff will pick a winner on Friday afternoon. We’ll notify the winner through Flickr Mail (so be sure to check those inboxes) and ask you to fill out a short survey to tell us a little more about yourself and the photo you took. We’ll post the winners’ photo on Tuesday.
Now here’s more from John.
Title of photo: I Wish He Could Read
Equipment: Canon EOS-M
Tell us more about your photo: I took this image after a job in Key West. Chickens run wild there and this one was nice enough to pause a moment to allow me time to grab my camera. The text on the sign with the main ingredient walking beneath it was too funny to pass up.
An explosion in a Cubist car factory: Francisco Moreno’s Washington Crossing the Delaware. Photo: courtesy of the artist
Soluna, the Dallas Symphony’s first international music and arts festival, has opened this week. Concerts, performances and art shows will be held through May 24th in the Arts District. But one of Soluna’s more unusual events will happen outside the district. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports it involves a car parked in a warehouse in West Dallas.
It seems the sound of George Washington crossing the Delaware is the chest-rattling rumble of a classic Chevy V8 engine.
Of course, we all know the historic painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware, by the German-American artist Emanuel Leutze — currently in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. General Washington stands heroically, if precariously, in a boat as his army pushes through the frozen Delaware River. It was the most dangerous, amphibious part of Washington’s daring attack on the British garrison in Trenton, New Jersey, late on Christmas Day in 1776.
Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, oil on canvas, 1850.
Fun fact: The Met’s painting — the only surviving version of the three Leutze created — has gone on loan only twice, one of which was to Dallas in the early ’50s.
But back to that 350 cubic inch V8 engine, which was dropped into the stripped-out shell of a Datsun 280Z sports car, and is almost deafening me. I have to yell at Pablo Moreno to be heard: “That. Thing. Sounds. Awesome.”
He kindly shuts it off.
So why choose the 350 engine — from a Suburban of all things — for the Datsun?
Moreno laughs, “It’s the one we found.”
Meaning, as large-scale and ambitious as this is, it was a classic scrounge-what-you-can, use-what-you’ve got art project. (A Ford Mustang was the original plan — couldn’t afford one.) Moreno is owner of Tandem Automotive in Fort Worth and found the shell, finagled the engine and transmission, installed the roll bar and the racing seat, assembled the vehicle. But he’s not the person to ask about what a modified 1975 sports car has to do with Washington Crossing the Delaware? That would be Pablo’s older brother, Francisco Moreno, the idea man behind this automotive version of an epic tableau. The Dallas artist moved here from Mexico in 2007, got his bachelor’s in fine arts from UT-Arlington, then his master’s at the Rhode Island School of Design. Last year, he won a $3,500 grant from the Dallas Museum of Art for his proposed art installation. It would include the car in front of a life-size, 12 foot-high-by-20-foot-wide re-imagining of Leutze’s painting.
Francisco Moreno in front of an incomplete section of Washington Crossing the Delaware. Photo: Jerome Weeks
OK, so why the car?
The heart of Leutze’s painting, Francisco notes, is Washington and his troops “on this boat, this vessel. So I became interested in incorporating some kind of vessel into the project, but a real vessel that was more connected to our everyday routines. I then became fascinated with the idea of incorporating a car.”
Because: America. Because: North Texas. Because: Have you seen our commute times?
So the 280Z — Delorean-like, Back-to-the-Future-like — is meant to transport Washington directly into our own age. But Moreno’s 280Z doesn’t look like any other 280Z ever made. Francisco painted both the car and Leutze’s famous image using black and white stripes and jagged, fragmented patterns. It looks a little like Cubism with a migraine. The style is inspired by what was called dazzle (or razzle dazzle). It was a type of naval camouflage developed by the British during World War I. Remember, this was before sonar: Dazzle didn’t actually hide a warship; it merely confused enemy observers trying to target it with their guns, calibrating the ship’s distance and speed.
“It disrupts the profile of the ship,” says Moreno. “And it’s hard to see if it’s turning or which way it’s going. So it’d be difficult to tell how far a ship is just because of the hard-edged abstraction.”
The Cubism reference wasn’t an idle joke: Picasso once claimed his Cubist paintings had inspired dazzle. And it certainly is an irony of history that just as Picasso and Braque were using geometric abstractions to overturn the way people viewed painting, the Admiralty was painting its warships into abstract jigsaw puzzles.
But still, why pick on Leutze’s painting like this, breaking it into shards and parking a noisy car in front of it? The theme of the Soluna festival, Moreno points out, is ‘Destination America,’ and Washington Crossing the Delaware is not just an American icon; it’s a globally recognized one. Leutze painted it in 1850 to inspire Europeans to unite and rebel against their own kings and emperors. So he re-figured Washington’s Continental Army as a heroic, idealized cross-section of the new country. There’s an African-American soldier in Washington’s boat, a native American, another man wears a Scottish tam o’ shanter cap.
Moreno wanted to create an artwork, he says, that didn’t specifically reflect his own Mexican background but addressed the wider nature of American identity. So he adapted a British camouflage technique to re-paint a work by a German-American artist that included a Japanese car — and “by working on this with my Mexican brothers, I wanted to do something that highlights the melting pot.”
In fact, the 280Z itself may be Japanese, but inside – Pablo pops the racing hood locks and opens up the engine compartment — inside, it’s another story.
“The engine is from a Suburban,” he notes. “The transmission is from an ’85 Camaro, the filter is from a Mustang. And then wiring up the car: I took all the factory wiring off, and I made my own wiring harness.”
The car is as improvised and stitched-together as the United States is. Plus, it’s got Firestone Firehawk tires, and a line-lock — a device for keeping the brakes set on the front wheels but freeing up the rear ones, the better to ‘drift’ (a controlled slide) or pull doughnuts. Needless to say, all this took a lot more than the DMA’s $3,500. Moreno raised another $17,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, and much of his brother’s labor is still coming in gratis.
This means Moreno’s art installation is also a performance piece. Or a high-performance piece. The car and the painting will be displayed for two weeks in the warehouse at 2900 Bataan Street in West Dallas, a couple blocks from Trinity Groves. Then, for one evening, May 23rd, in front of the painting, the 280Z will do what it was built to do.
Cue the squealing and the smoke. George Washington won’t be battling ice or the British. He’ll burn rubber.
Flying gods and goddesses? Or Imperial Walkers? Photos: Lynn Lane
HOUSTON — The Houston Grand Opera’s Die Walküre is a triumph, of sorts — a triumph of voice over gimmickry. Some of the gimmicks are interesting, some are irritating, but the musical performance is always the dominant, and sometimes saving, factor.
Die Walküre, which closes Sunday, is Round 2 of the Houston Grand Opera’s four-year cycle of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung. Round 1, Das Rheingold, was presented last year. Rounds 3 and 4, Siegfried and Die Götterdämmerung, respectively, will come in 2016 and 2017.
To deal with a couple of Walküre’s irritations first, director Carlus Padrissa has Siegmund and Sieglinde crouching down in a kind of frog posture, hamstrung by ropes and wearing something resembling animal — or perhaps cavemen — costumes.
The Nasher Sculpture Center‘s artist microgrants will be announced twice a year — in the spring and fall — but these are the first: $1000 for artists and arts groups with studio-based projects in mind — like Margaret Meehan, who works in ceramics and needs her new kiln installed and wired up in her studio. Or the Brick Haus Collective in Denton, which is establishing affordable and collaborative studio spaces for artists. Look down below for the full press release.
Earlier this week also saw the Community Foundation of North Texas announced $285,000 of what it calls Tool Box Grants. They’re designed to help Tarrant County children with after-school or outreach projects. Most of the recipients are ones you might expect — educational centers, family counselors, health care outfits — but some cultural groups received grants as well, including the Fort Worth Opera for developing a children’s opera theater program. Again, see below for the full list.
Today in the Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re checking out art and music at the Cottonwood Art Festival in Cottonwood Park in Richardson. The festival is a juried art show featuring art in every media imaginable. This year’s event also includes an art performance show with speed-painting, choreography, and music. Relax by the lake and enjoy a show by a local band, or head to the ArtStop Children’s Area where kids make sculpture hats and practice on the potter’s wheel.
Anton Cepka, brooch, silver and plastic, 1976. Photo: courtesy of the DMA
Dallas philanthropist and longtime Dallas Museum of Art supporter Deedie Potter Rose has been collecting “wearable art” for years. In 2012, Rose was in Vienna, visiting the gallery of Paul Asenbaum to see the Wiener Werkstätte furniture he deals in. He learned of Rose’s interest in contemporary jewelry — and proceeded to take her to his storage room and open drawer after drawer of his mother’s collection. Viennese gallerist and arts supporter Inge Asenbaum purchased jewelry pieces from the 1960s on — works by major designers, including Peter Skubic, Georg Dobler, William Harper and Wendy Ramshaw. In 2014, Rose purchased the collection.
Next year, the DMA will add the two-year position of Jewelry Research Associate to its staff — now that it has this important addition to the holdings it already has in Greek, Etruscan, African and pre-Columbian jewelry. The Rose-Asenbaum Collection will go on display this summer as part of the ongoing exhibition, Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present.
Bob Mondello’s movie reviews have aired on NPR for more than 30 years. In this week’s Big Screen, he talks about the challenges of reviewing for radio, why he doesn’t take notes and whether or not he’s looking forward to those pending summer blockbusters.
Be sure to subscribe to The Big Screen on iTunes. Stream this week’s episode below or download it.
Newsiesruns through May 10 at the Winspear Opera House.
“Open the gates and seize the day
Open the gates and seize the day
Don’t be afraid and don’t delay
Don’t be afraid and don’t delay
Nothing can break us
No one can make us give our rights away…”
These song lyrics have been stuck in my head since I was eight years old — as have the dance moves from Newsies. I loved every little bit of that Disney movie about a bunch of rag-tag newsboys striking against the inhumane and irresponsible business practices of the newspaper industry. Everything from Jack Kelly (a young Christian Bale) and his dreams of going to Santa Fe to that scene in the newsroom when the newspaper boys — the “newsies” — swing from ceiling fans. And don’t think I didn’t try that at home, much to the chagrin of my parents.
For the Fort Worth Symphony’s Rach 2 concert the featured artist will be Irish pianist Barry Douglas. Douglas won the Bronze Medal at the 1985 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He then followed that up the next year winning the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow, the only non-Russian since Van Cliburn to the win the award. He is a renowned soloist, chamber musician, conductor, and festival director. The program for Rach 2 will include Christopher Theofanidis’ Rainbow Body, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18, and Revueltas’ La noche de los mayas. The winner of this Big Deal will be awarded a pair of orchestra section seats for the May 15 concert at Bass Performance Hall.
PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to see Rach 2 presented by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. .
The Dallas Music District Festival will take place May 16 and 17 down by the riverside. The two day outdoor music and art festival will be held in tandem with the Trinity Wind Festival. The DMD Fest folks will be pitching their tent at 401 N. Riverfront Blvd., right smack between the east levee and the Commerce Street Bridge. DMD Fest will feature some favorites from the local music scene including Gollay, ISHI, Jessie Frye, Jonathan Tyler, Leopold and His Fiction, and Somebody’s Darling – just to drop a few names. Also, making an electrifying appearance is the audio-visual performance group from Austin, ArcAttack. Not bad for an inaugural music festival. You will also be able to indulge your art sensibilities with various interactive art installations and artisans’ booths.
Win this Big Deal and you and your partner will both receive a VIP 2-day pass that will entitle you to: quick entry and re-entry both days; reserved parking and unlimited shuttle service to venue; luxury restroom facilities; exclusive rest area with cell phone charging station; and draw string bag and collectible DMD wristband.
PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to sport a VIP Two-Day pass at this year’s DMD Fest.