Sally J. Bright began collecting baskets as a teenager, searching for unusual examples in local shops. As an artist, she strives “to continue pushing the definition of •basketry.’ ” In her Fenton, Mich., studio, Bright grows each sizable basket from rattan and palm, sometimes including metal or plastic, then applies up to 50 layers of acrylic paint. “Entropy Overcome,” which incorporates copper, is a whopping 4 1/2 by 6 1/2 feet. Bright’s work, ranging in price from $1,800-$15,000, will be at the Brookside Art Annual in Kansas City, Mo., April 30-May 2.
Lanny Bergner transforms the industrial into the organic-coiling, fraying, twisting, wrapping and knotting materials like screen, wire, silicone and monofilament into “works that appear to have grown into being.” “Space Botanical 4,” standing just over 1 foot high, is crafted of bronze mesh, glass frit and wire. The Anacortes, Wash., artist’s work, ranging in price from $2,500-$9,000, is available at Pacini Lubel Gallery in Seattle and Trudy Labell Fine Art in Naples, Fla.
- The leaf pattern in Lori Gottlieb’s “Flowing Leaf” cuff bracelet from her “Life Cycles” series explores the imperfections of leaves. Credit: Ralph Gabriner
Lori Gottlieb’s signature “Curly Bark” necklace looks like it would be quite heavy, with layers and layers of silver and gold curls accented in shades of blue. But appearances can be deceiving. In a process as organic as the resulting necklace, Gottlieb hammers, cuts, polishes and assembles each piece of “Curly Bark” from a thin sheet of silver, adds 22kt gold accents and then patinas it with liver of sulfur and ammonia. The resulting necklace flows with the grace and movement—and weightlessness—of real bark.
- Lori Gottlieb focuses on shapes she can create and re-create, repeating each until she masters the curves.
“Jewelry can be very intellectual in terms of its engineering,” Gottlieb says. “There’s no formula for anything. You have to figure out what’s the best way to set a stone, to put pieces together.”
Gottlieb refers to some of her work—particularly the “Life Cycles” series—as “sketches.” Her goal isn’t to execute a perfectly straight line or capture a flower exactly as it blooms. It’s to be representational, to be true to the slight variations found in nature.
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Meet 11 basket masters who’ve found that the best way to honor tradition is to push boundaries, challenge stereotypes and redefine techniques.
Blue sky, bright sun and an icy cold perch. Artist Hongtao Zhou created a very inventive spot to enjoy a cup of coffee atop frozen Lake Mendota at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last winter. His table and chairs, made solely from ice and snow, are arguably the very first completely green furniture. “I was trying to create furniture with minimum environmental impact,” says Zhou, who is earning his master’s degree in sculpture and furniture at the university. “I regarded the cold winter, snow, water and lake surface as my energy source, raw material and factory. I worked only with my hands.” As temperatures climbed, Zhou’s temporary installation began to melt and collapse. He often caught passersby attempting to make repairs, but inevitably, they were no match for the weather. The furniture eventually returned to the lake, and, as Zhou says, now provides drink for the fish. He will be making more icy furniture this January at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and plans to put together a video series documenting the rise and fall of his work.
Cars and culture will collide in January, as the Miami Design Preservation League’s annual Art Deco Weekend spotlights automobiles of the era.
In conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the Antique Automobile Club of America, Art Deco Weekend will feature more than 85 events, including tours, films, lectures and performances. A wide variety of vendors, selling paintings, sculpture, jewelry and photography, will set up along Miami Beach’s famed Ocean Drive.
Designed to increase awareness and appreciation for the city’s Art Deco Historic District, Art Deco Weekend takes place Jan. 15-17. The event, one
of South Florida’s most well-known and well-attended festivals, attracts more than 400,000 people each year. For more information, log on to www.mdpl.org.
Think of it as a walking classroom—you can now learn about Philadelphia’s art, culture and history by foot.
Context Travel, which introduced its walking tours in Philadelphia this summer, offers programs in a number of cities, including New York, London, Rome, Paris and Venice. The company is a network of experts and scholars, including art historians, writers and architects, who organize and lead themed tours.
Docents in Philadelphia are leading four different tours, including “American Art in Philadelphia,” “Colonial City in Context,” and “Temple on the Hill,” which focuses on the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Most tours last three hours and cost approximately $65 per person. Tours are limited to six people, and can be arranged for private groups. For additional information, visit www.contexttravel.com.
Travelers in the United States are getting back on the road, according to the recent Ypartnership/Yankelovich National Travel Monitor survey.
More than half the respondents indicated that they planned to take at least one overnight trip in the next six months, up from 50 percent from the same time last year.
Warm weather locales topped travelers’ wish lists. Thirty-four percent of the respondents said they would like to visit Florida within the next two years, followed by California, which ranked at 30 percent, along with Arizona and Hawaii, which each received 16 percent of the votes.
Once you’ve lost all your cash at the craps table, you will be able to view—for free—an impressive collection of museum-quality sculpture at Las Vegas’ new CityCenter, a massive hotel-gaming-retail development scheduled to open mid-December.
The developer, MGM Mirage, devoted $40 million to a Public Fine Art Program, purchasing works by major artists, including Maya Lin, Jenny Holzer, Frank Stella and Claes Oldenburg.
Some works are site-specific installations, including an 84-foot silver cast of the Colorado River by Maya Lin and a 50-foot high composition of watercraft by Nancy Rubins, which sits outside one of CityCenter’s four hotel properties. For more information, visit www.citycenter.com.
After the historic fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, dozens of artists celebrated by painting large-scale murals on the east side of the structure.
The wall was placed under preservation in 1992, but time, pollution, weather and graffiti have taken their toll on the artworks. This summer, the three-quarter-mile “East Side Gallery” was steamed and scrubbed clean so that each mural could be repainted by the original artists.
The $3 million project, funded by lottery revenues and government grants, honors the 20th anniversary of the wall’s collapse on Nov. 9 by restoring
105 paintings exactly as they were originally created, but this time with high-quality paints and a varnish that will allow for graffiti removal.
The holiday season has the power to both soothe and stimulate. Whether you prefer to snuggle up in layers of blankets, or walk out into the warm desert air, we have four perfect winter destinations you can’t afford to skip this season.
Phoenix, Ariz., lights up for the holidays. Follow the sounds of sweet music through the Desert Botanical Garden during “Las Noches de las Luminarias” Dec. 10-30, when thousands of hand-lit luminaries cast a soft glow on 18 monumental sculptures by Allan Houser. To get a taste of Native American art, check out the Heard Museum’s “Holidays at the Heard” Dec. 26-31 and Jan. 2-3, which includes artist demonstrations, performances and American Indian music. Visit www.scottsdalecvb.com for the full list of local events.
Chicago, Ill., embraces the holidays with a series of annual traditions—including the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in November, Caroling at Cloud Gate through Dec. 18, and the Christkindlmarket Chicago at Daley Plaza through Dec. 24. You won’t want to miss the eighth annual Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier Dec. 4-Jan. 3, where more than 750,000 ornaments, hundreds of decorated trees, carolers and an indoor Ferris wheel tantalize your senses. Also mark your calendar for the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies’ “Latke Battle and Brunch! A Potato Pancake ‘Throw-Down’ ” Dec. 13. Bring your best latke recipe or watch as others compete for the prize, judged by a panel of Jewish Kitchen Divas. Go to www.explorechicago.org for all the details.
Chapel Hill, N.C., offers a more traditional approach to the holidays—expect fresh greenery and brightly lit homes and inns. Begin your shopping at the Daniel Boone Village Big Barn Convention Center during its 31st annual Christmas Craft Show Dec. 5-6, which showcases handmade works by regional artisans. Then explore elegant local homes on the 2009 Chapel Hill Holiday House Tour Dec. 12-13, and celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas with a self-guided tour of elaborate decorations and holiday blue grass music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Inn through Jan. 3. For information, go to www.visitchapelhill.org.