Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

October 19, 2018

That Steampunk T-Rex named Sue

It was big news in paleontology circles in the 1990s when private fossil hunters in western South Dakota unearthed an outstanding Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that was given the name of Sue, after  discoverer Sue Hendrikson.

A lengthy custody battle ensued (hah), with an FBI raid and a state-private-tribal-federal kerfuffle, since the site where Sue was found was managed by the Department of the Interior in trust for the Sioux nation. Ultimately, the private fossil hunters lost, and the skeleton was auctioned by Sotheby's and bought by the Field Museum in Chicago for $7.6 million.

"Sue" by John Lopez.
So Sue is in Chicago and now quite famous, but in Faith, South Dakota, the little town nearest the site, she is also created in a very fine and sort of steampunk-ish sculpture by South Dakota sculptor John Lopez (here is his studio website with other examples).
Built to last. Note the heavy drive chain.



February 26, 2017

A Kid, a Dog (?), and the World's Greatest Cave Art

What he or she saw: lions and prey at Chauvet
Sometime, say 26,000 years ago or more, a kid and a canid (wolf? dog? wolf-dog?) went exploring  underground.
The human prints are of a barefooted child aged eight to ten years old and standing about 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) tall. The child was walking, not running, although at one point it appears that he or she slipped a little in the soft clay. Researchers know that the child carried a torch because there is evidence of him/her stopping at one point to clean the torch, leaving behind a stain of charcoal.

It is amazing to think of a Paleolithic kid exploring this ancient cave, examining the paintings and bear skulls that were placed reverently at the back of the cave. Even more amazing is that accompanying (not stalking) the child’s footprints are the paw prints of a wolf (or possibly a large dog). This timeless image of a child and dog shatters the notion that dogs were only domesticated 15,000 years ago. More importantly, the new time period radically alters the answer to how dogs became man’s best friend.
OTHER NEWS: 

There are more prairie dog towns in Colorado than we thought. But I am still sorry that my sister did not ever follow up on her plan to clandestinely reintroduce them in South Park, from where, she said, they had all been poisoned in the mid-20th century.

• Hunting writer Dave Petersen of Durango interviewed in High Country News.
When I interviewed Western writer David Petersen for a magazine article several years ago, I really only had one question to ask him: Could hunting be morally defended in the 21st century?

At a time when few people seem concerned about that question — either they’re already convinced that hunting is barbaric, or just the opposite, that it’s a right that ought to be exercised with as few restrictions and as easily as possible — Petersen has spent much of his life examining what it means to kill in order to eat.
More about his hunting-ethics documentary here.

New study revises tree-ring dating of archaeological sites.
Currently, archaeologists have to rely on relatively sparse evidence for dating the history of Western civilisation before 763 BCE, with Chinese history also only widely agreed from 841 BCE. For example, they depend on ancient records of rare astronomical phenomena, such as the solar eclipse during the ninth year of Ashur Dan III of Assyria, to determine the age of historical events. In the absence of such records, standard radiocarbon measurements provide the best estimates, but these are still often only accurate to within 200 to 300 calendar years. If the radiocarbon spikes in the tree-ring data were also found in archaeological items attributable to specific historical periods, the information could be used to anchor exactly when events occurred, says the paper.

January 26, 2017

Trout 1, High Art 0: The Arkansas River Will Remain Undraped

Christo and his late wife and collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, in 2009
with a sketch of how "Over the River" would look (Keystone/Dominic Favre).
Zee artiste Christo has canceled his plan to drape miles of the Arkansas River in plastic sheets. 

He blamed Donald Trump of course, but locals who have fought the project since 1992 want some of the credit for his decision.
The controversial project that was first conceived in 1992 by Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, has been mired in legal battles as opponents feared the environmental impacts of the 14-day installation above the river between Salida and Cañon City that would take 2½ years to build.
Opponents' bumper sticks are often seen.
The Arkansas River is heavily used for whitewater kayaking and rafting, and many boaters (but not all) were not happy about the project.

The Denver Post quotes one opponent:
Colorado river activist Gary Wockner was equally excited, although more snarky. “This may be the first good thing Trump has done for Colorado’s environment,” he wrote in an e-mail.
The New York Times called the Colorado opposition the world's largest art protest, quoting Christo as blaming President Trump for his decision. In other words, from their point of view, it is not about Coloradans protesting Christo's decision to hang plastic over the river, it is about his protest of Trump's election.

Maybe that is just an excuse, and local opponents ran out the clock. In a Wednesday announcement, it was reported elsewhere, Christo did not mention President Trump but said, "After pursuing Over The River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado, for 20 years and going through 5 years of legal arguments, I no longer wish to wait on the outcome."

June 20, 2016

Venomous and Nonvenomous Links

In El Castillo cave, hand stencils join a red disk (not pictured)
that may be Earth's oldest cave art (Science/AAS)
Arizona wants to kill you. I thought the rattlesnakes were bad; now this: "Arizona Hiker Dies After Being Stung by 1,000 Bees."

Americans don't visit national parks anymore — that was the message a couple of years ago. (See the graph for early 2000s.) Now it's "The National Parks Have Never Been More Popular."  Free admission for the 100th anniversary helps, so does cheaper fuel. Or is this just one of those "fat is bad for you / fat is good for you" deals? Will M. and make it to Yellowstone this fall?

In case you missed it — although we are not talking about Chauvet-type art, still the evidence is that the Neanderthal people made art. And of course it's older than the Cro-Magnon stuff.

April 04, 2016

Christo Wraps Rail Cars?

Zee artiste Christo, currently thwarted by legal challenges from commencing his huge project of draping plastic sheets across the Arkansas River, had apparently chosen to work on a smaller scale, "wrapping" (one of his signature techniques) antique narrow-guage rail cars at the Cimarron Canyon Rail Exhibit on US 50 in western Colorado.

August 05, 2015

Trinidad, Not Yet a Center for the Arts

Trinidad, Colorado, streetview (Pueblo Chieftain).
Colorado's governor is backing a plan to make the town of Trinidad some kind of artists' colony, reports the Pueblo Chieftain. (Story behind paywall.)
The red brick streets, historical buildings and gorgeous mountains to the west are just a few characteristics that make this small town a place that catches the eye.

Because of that, Gov. John Hickenlooper has chosen Trinidad to be the first town to participate in the first state-driven initiative in the nation for affordable housing and workspace for artists and arts organizations.

The Space to Create Colorado program also will position Colorado as the nation’s leader in artist-led community transformation in rural creative place-making.

“The feeling is amazing. The change and excitement is palpable. It’s all over,” said Marilyn Leuszier, chair of the newly formed Corazon de Trinidad Creative District.
This is the "X is magic" school of economic development, where X is semiconductors, Christian ministries, rockets, artists, outdoor recreation, information technology, marijuana . . .

Yes, Trinidad has lots of Victorian commercial architectures (cheap rents) and brick streets, but to some southern Coloradans  that it also has a certain reputation, as in, it helps to have a few cousins to cover your back.

A former co-worker, once a varsity basketball player at Cañon City High School, claimed that when they played in Trinidad, the players left without showering — just got onto the bus in their sweaty uniforms and hit the road, rather than stay longer and invite some kind of trouble.

Sadly, this reminds me a little of Las Vegas, New Mexico, which for the last few decades has been heralded as "the next Santa Fe," but which still is not.

Given that Pueblo, ninety miles north, now has a genuine "creative district" — if putting up street signs makes it so — maybe Trinidad will be the next Pueblo?

May 25, 2015

A Last Chance to ROAR?

Opponents of zee artiste Christo's plan to cover miles of the Arkansas River with fabric have one more court date, and then they have run out of legal options.

Rags Over the Arkansas River, the organized opponents, are appealing to the Colorado Supreme Court after losing an earlier appeal:
The Court of Appeals on Feb. 12 rejected ROAR's request to reverse the Colorado State Parks' approval of Christo's plan to suspend fabric across 5.9 miles of the Arkansas River between Salida and Cañon City. The group argued the parks division — now Colorado Parks and Wildlife — failed to follow its own regulations when it approved Over The River in 2011, a week shy of its merger with the Colorado Wildlife Commission, which opposed the installation.

The appeals court agreed that the parks division's decision to approve the project through a cooperative agreement instead of a special activities permit violated procedure, calling the permitting shift "arbitrary and capricious."
Christo has spent a lot on this project, but then he also makes mllions by selling drawings, documents, etc.,  related to his projects.

The motel owners have been salivating for years over this one. I am not sure what the owners of the whitewater rafting companies are saying. Maybe they think that people will line up to pay for the "greenhouse effect" of floating under the panels if the project is built. 

October 06, 2014

"Someone" Was Living in that Hole

Nine years after the big fire.
Monday we hiked one of our favorite old trails, severely burned over in 2005. That fire was followed by a flash flood the same summer, wiping out parts of the trail, and then came an influx of invasive weeds. The weeds are not so bad now — there is more grass — but you still have to pick your way over trunks of dead trees that have toppled in the intervening years.

More linkage

M. is enough of an animist that of course she would say, "Someone is living in that hole," as opposed to "an animal of some sort." Isn't an animal "someone"? (It's the second item under "Sept. 15.")

Recent severe forest fires in Colorado are not a "departure from the norm," say University of Colorado researchers. " Modern fires in these Front Range forests are not radically different from the fire severity of the region prior to any effects of fire suppression." In other words, we are still feeling the effects of the 1910–present regime of fire suppression.

Bicycle commuting supposedly skyrockets — but in Colorado Springs, it's all about fun, not about going to work. "The Springs is probably the best city along the Front Range for mountain biking," said Tim Halfpop, manager of Old Town Bike Shop on South Tejon Street. "But we're the worst for road riding and getting around town."

The founder of Wiggy's, the low-profile but respected outdoor gear maker in Grand Junction, is promoting lamilite, a continuous-fiber synthelic insulation. I am just re-reading Ernest Hemingway's novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, set in the mid-1930s during the Spanish Civil War, in which the American protagonist, Robert Jordan, extolls the virtues of his eiderdown-insulated "robe," for which he paid $65 — more than $1,000 today, according to one calculator. Makes Wiggy's bags look like a deal.

Rich French diners are still chowing down on endangered birds. It's tradition, you see. "Captured Ortolans are kept and fed heavily for at least three weeks until they resemble a small fat ball. Once they reach a specific weight, the unfortunate birds are drowned in a French liqueur called Armagnac, before being prepared or sold. In France, the price for such a peculiar 'delicacy' easily reaches 150 Euros ($189 US)."

Did I mention that ze artiste Christo has admitted that his plan to hang plastic panels over the Arkansas River is "at a standstill"? No doubt some art auction house will sell copies of his legal filings. It's all conceptual, you see.

June 03, 2014

He Digs Caves in New Mexico

One of Ra Paulette's hand-dug caves (courtesy of the artist)
I cannot embed the video due to privacy restrictions, but follow this link to a brief trailer to a short documentary about artist/cave digger Ra Paulette.
Ra Paulette creates cathedral-like "eighth wonder of the world" sculptural caves using nothing but hand tools. Working in the malleable sandstone cliffs of Northern New Mexico, his creations rival the work of the great earth artists — Goldsworthy, Heiser, Smithson.

But Ra’s work has gone unrecognized. Patrons who commission caves often cut him off due to artistic differences or lack of funds, leaving Ra struggling.

Following his passion has cost him almost everything. Undaunted, at age 65, he’s decided to pursue his 10-year magnum opus on public land, without permission [really?!], working for no one but himself.
Visit the artist's website for a slideshow and more information.

April 02, 2013

'36 Views of Pike's Peak'

Credit: KRCC, Colorado College
This item is from January, but it appears that entries are still accepted.

An homage to the Japanese artist Hokusai, of course.

Yes, in homage to the late Ed Quillen, I keep the apostrophe in the name Pike's Peak.

August 07, 2012

Blog Stew with Ingredients that You Don't Want to Know About

Off-topic but fascinating. Sewer-diving in Mexico City (with video). Sewer-cleaning the "fatbergs"  in London (with video). More sewer history.  The good old days of scavenging in sewers.

The Humane Society of the United States is sued for racketeering and other issues.

District judge Emmet G. Sullivan did dismiss allegations of mail and wire fraud, but he did so only because Feld didn't have standing to file this charge. His ruling all but set the stage for a class-action RICO lawsuit against HSUS for misrepresenting itself in its fundraising campaigns across the nation. This lawsuit easily could bankrupt HSUS, put it out of business and send some of its top executives to prison.
Funny, isn't it, that you have to go to a blogger to hear about this.

Ze artiste Christo has pushed back the construction of "Over the River" yet again. Tourism-industry types are dismayed, try to find silver lining.

I understand the argument that asks how pristine is a canyon with a highway(US 50) and a railroad in it already. But I do think that the Bureau of Land Management should have restricted OTR to the stretch between Texas Creek and Parkdale, because if there are highway blockages — and there will be — one could detour around on Colorado highways 96 and 69.

Upstream of Texas Creek, there are no detours, except very long, twisty, gravel roads through the mountains such as Fremont County Road 2 or an even longer highway detour up to Hartsel and Antero Junction.

It doesn't take much to close US 50 now: a little roadside fire, a car going into the river, a truck hitting a bridge abutment — I have seen all of these.

• Oh yes, and this: tracking coyotes with GPS collars in urban Chicago.

March 17, 2012

Still Carving Crazy Horse

As a Forest Service district ranger in the Black Hills, Dad was present for the creation of Korczak Ziolkowski's huge Crazy Horse monument. I remember seeing it as a little boy, when it was just a ridge with a notch in it created by dynamite and earth-moving. I was familiar with Mount Rushmore, and I could not see how this ridge and notch would ever be anything like that.

From Crazy Horse Memorial website.
Dad always dismissed Ziokowski himself as a nut.

Fast forward twenty years: I go back as an adult and yes, I can see where the warrior's head, his outstretched arm, and the horse's head are supposed to be.

When I visited two years ago, there was a face.

The New York Times visits the Ziokowski family's ongoing project, now in its sixty-fifth year, to build the world's largest sculpture. It's a little like one family deciding to build a Gothic cathedral. Progress is slow.

The Indians' own response has been mixed over the years.
“I’ve never heard a single Native American, not one, ever say I’m proud of that mountain,” said Tim Giago, the founder of Native Sun News, based in nearby Rapid City. 

Thomas Shortbull, president of Oglala Lakota College, which receives a number of scholarships from the foundation, acknowledged the discontent. “But most people see the positive of filling the void of the lack of recognition that we have in this country for Indian people,” he added. 
Giago is a longtime journalist, and I expect that he knows whereof he speaks.  On the other hand, the Ziokowskis say they got a sort of tribal go-ahead back in the 1930s:
Although the idea originated with Indian leaders — “this is to be entirely an Indian project under my direction,” Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota chief, wrote in a 1939 letter to the sculptor — Mr. Ziolkowski discovered after his arrival that the local tribes had little to give, either in money or labor, Ms. Ziolkowski said.
Dad last visited the Black Hills in 1999, a few years before his death. We did not visit Crazy Horse—his agenda of people and places to see was more personal to him. I go by it now when I am in the Hills and realize that as a boy I underestimated the Ziolkowskis' tenacity. Maybe one day the Crazy Horse Memorial will be seen as an important American site.

The motto of "Never Forget Your Dreams" has wide appeal, and meanwhile, Crazy Horse has a webcam.

February 02, 2012

Environmental Law Students Sue to Stop 'Over the River'

As the Fremont County commissioners began public hearings yesterday on the industrial-art project "Over the River," law students at the University of Denver's Environmental Law Clinic filed suit against it on behalf of the opposition group, Rags Over the Arkansas River, says the ABA Journal:
Christo plans to stretch fabric over the Arkansas River for two weeks in August 2014, an effort that critics who've dubbed themselves "ROAR," or Rags Over The Arkansas River, maintain is as risky as mineral development.

The installation would cover some 5.9 miles of the river and require the drilling of more than 9,000 bore holes, some 35 feet deep, in a critically sensitive wildlife area, according to a suit filed by the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law(PDF).

The suit against the Bureau of Land Management maintains Christo's project "requires the use of equipment commonly used in mining and road building, such as hydraulic drill masts mounted on Cat 320-330 long-reach excavators, Cat M313D—M322D wheeled excavators, boom truck cranes, grouters, air compressors, water tanks, grout mixers, support trailers, steel rock anchors, and anchor frames."
So ROAR has roared. Their website links to more news stories.

The BLM, which approved the project, says that it was "thoroughly analyzed."

December 15, 2011

Why Not Occupy "Over The River"?

Although there is still a lawsuit pending, and some regulatory hurdles to be jumped, it appears that zee artiste Christo is well on the way to disrupting life for many people in Fremont, Chaffee, and Custer counties for two and a half years.

Nothing but fawning in the local news media.

This Franco-Bulgarian multi-millionaire has gotten the feds, the state government, and local governments to give him use of public lands with which to make more money.

It's a bail-out for "art."

Is there any better definition of being part of the "1%," as the Occupy protesters say?

Of course, "Over The River" will benefit us poor peasants by raising our artistic consciousness. Or something.

Motel owners stumble around mumbling "400,000 visitors, 400,000 visitors." Yay for them.

February 10, 2011

Blog Stew, according to George Leonard Herter's Celebrated Recipe

• A Web guide to the cult of George Leonard Herter, expert on hunting, fishing, cooking, surviving nuclear war, and living with a bitch. (Thanks for the link!)

• And George Herter would have had some pungent things to say about death by GPS! (Hat tip: Odious & Peculiar).

Two Colorado state parks win environmental education awards, one for an art class in the spirit of Andy Goldsworthy (whose work, believe me, is not as simple as it looks).
Since 2009, the Art in Nature Program has been a terrific vehicle to engage youth from the juvenile justice system's probation department. The young people start out yawning, uninterested and fidgety, but once they get outdoors, that attitude changes. As they gather the natural materials, including leaves, rocks and branches from the ground, to create a piece of art, they become engaged both physically and emotionally. They become children again, laughing and playing in nature. A sense of pride and community develops within the young people as they build their sculptures and work together.

January 29, 2011

Colorado Seeks Duck Stamp Artist

News release:

DENVER, Colo. - The Colorado Division of Wildlife is soliciting original artwork entries for the 2011 Colorado Waterfowl Stamp Art Contest. This year's species of focus is the green-winged teal (Anas crecca). The deadline for artists to submit entries is 4 p.m., Friday, March 4.

"It is amazing every year to see what the artists come up with and to see the new artists that are starting out in this specialized category of art," said judging committee member Tilman Bishop, a former state senator who sponsored the legislation that created the waterfowl stamp in Colorado.

The Colorado Waterfowl Stamp program was implemented in 1990 and provides funding to conserve wetlands for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife. Waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older are required by state law to purchase a waterfowl stamp validation annually before hunting. In addition to hunters, many collectors aid in wetland conservation by purchasing collector stamps and prints that are created from the winning entry.

"We are all beneficiaries of the Waterfowl Stamp," Bishop added. "Whether you are a hunter, a bird watcher or just a citizen that likes seeing birds around the house, every one of us gets the benefit of this terrific program."

The green-winged teal is a colorful duck found in Colorado primarily during fall and spring migration, with lower numbers during the breeding season and winter. The vocal and often noisy duck is the smallest North American 'dabbling duck', which feed on the surface of waters instead of diving for food. It is one of the most frequently harvested ducks taken by Colorado waterfowl hunters, and is known as excellent table fare.

Artists must submit a 13-inch high by-18 inch wide, full color original artwork for the contest. There is a $50 fee for each entry. Complete requirements are explained in the application packet.

April 13, 2010

Clifton Wins Duck Stamp Contest

No relation to this writer: Delaware artist Richard Clifton won the contest with a painting of flying pintails (4.6 MB .jpg file).
Hunters age 16 or older are required to purchase a stamp to hunt waterfowl in Colorado.  Hunters receive an electronic stamp, validating their license, but they may also request a traditional "gum-back" stamp, featuring the artist's rendition, at the time of purchase.  Gum-back stamps are mailed upon request, and a $2.50 fee is charged to cover stamp mailing and processing. 
I have been wanting to watch Fargo again, and now I definitely do.

March 23, 2010

'Last Supper' Paintings Show Agricultural Gains

I have always been fascinated by the work of those who study the backgrounds and details of historic paintings in search of information on culture, environment, and so on.

In this case, researchers claim that changing food portions on the table in front of Jesus and his disciples demonstrate agricultural improvements:
American academics analysed 52 of the most famous depictions of the Last Supper, painted between 1000 and 2000 AD, and found that the appetites of the Apostles have become increasingly prodigious.

The size of the main dish grew 69.2 per cent over the millenium, while plates grew by 65.6 per cent and bread portions by 23.1 per cent.
 One of the researchers, Brian Wansick of Cornell University, is a supporter of the Small Plate Movement, according to his web page.

January 12, 2008

Git Yer Western Art Here

Mary Scriver delightfully dissects the house organs of the Industrial Cowboy Art Cartel.

So now back to the newer ‘zines. Western Art Collector is a frank guide to the Industrial Cowboy Art Cartel. Same familiar ads, same subject matter, but now more than ever like a race horse guide. What auctions are coming, what artists are promising, and -- most important -- constant attention to the prices: the estimated worth, the auction total, the rate of increase over the years of an artist’s career. Lots of “society” photos of customers and dealers partying in their fancy dress, champagne glasses in hand as they celebrate snatching a “masterpiece” from the jaws of some other white-haired matron who offered them five figure checks to give it up because it is her “heart’s desire.”

Read the whole thing. She has been doing some more critical work in the field as well: a biography/memoir of Western artist Bob Scriver, to whom she was married, and comments on the issue of artistic legacy as well.