Think of it as Research Club with a speed-dating hustle. Or Pictures of Fireworks with an artsy edge. Nashville's list of nonfiction sharing seminars is getting longer by the minute, and this Thursday from 6-9 p.m., there's another one to add to the list: Nashville Artists Drinking Beer is having its inaugural meeting at Craft Brewed Nashville on Franklin Pike.
Nashville Artists Drinking Beer is Coop Gallery's new project that borrows its "artist karaoke" model from PechaKucha, another nonfiction series that also has a Nashville satellite, thanks to the Civic Design Center. But Nashville Artists Drinking Beer is worth note simply because of its simplicity, like an organized barroom summit where all your favorite artists are hanging out and talking about their work.
There's no need to sign up, and it's free — just bring a jump drive with a couple minutes worth of PowerPoint about the topic of your choice. Can't think of any? Here's some freebies: Huxtable Style (From Lisa Bonet to Koos Van Den Akker); A Comprehensive Guide to Nashville's Public Art; What I Did Last Summer; How to Make a Perfect Quiche (Seriously, I Want to Know).
There's no website yet, but you can read the full description of the event after the jump.
It's over! Private Lives of Nashville Wives Season One has come to an end, and what have we learned? We have learned that Middle Tennessee summers are verdant wonderlands, that Chicago is a bus-ride away, that people get divorced, and that tall people are aggressive. We've seen guns, adoptions, questionable jewelry, and occasional children. We've heard songs we are supposed to find very fab indeed, and witnessed scenarios that were meant to look spontaneous. It's over, and I'm glad. But before we go...
Here's a quick Studio Visit post with an artist we'll definitely be featuring more of soon: Brandon Donahue. Donahue is originally from Memphis, and went to UTK for his MFA after he graduated from TSU in 2009. He's currently working out of Michael McBride's spacious Chestnut Square studio, and he showed me his artmaking process when I visited him there last week.
The piece that immediately stood out was one he'd just started on that morning: The reimagined religious altar that Donahue will eventually complete along the lines of his 2013 sculpture "Voodoo Child." His description of airbrushing as a low-culture mainstay he's used to represent something sacred was eye-opening.
One thing that bears mention: The vacuum-formed plastic works that you'll see here are ingenious, and Donahue showed me how he makes them (but not how he thought of it; that's a conversation that's bound to happen on our next meeting). It involves a shop-vac, a space heater and a homemade box that's about as close to a postmodern torture chamber as you're likely to get.
My dad was the first Libertarian I ever knew, and he used to sing “Ron Paaaaaul!” to the tune of “Heigh-Ho” every time the man’s name was mentioned. I’d like to think that, regardless of political sway, he would have appreciated Joseph Seigenthaler’s mounted Ron Paul head, because it sort of visually approximates the absurd reverence that drives someone to sing a name like it’s a battle cry. Seigenthaler’s ceramic heads also include figures such as Nikola Tesla and Shel Silverstein, and his skill comes from years as a wax worker in the Country Music Wax Museum.
Jeff Danley’s work, on paper at least, couldn’t be more different. A self-taught painter, Danley makes oils on canvas of solitary female figures. In his artist’s statement, he says, “I’ve always been interested in the language of the body and what is being expressed through posture and movement, as well as the marks of time on the body itself.” Think of this as a choreographed dance between Danley’s women in the forest of Seigenthaler’s busts.
Courtney Adair Johnson says she's been a "reuse artist" since 2008 — that means she hasn't paid for art supplies in almost eight years, instead salvaging unused scraps and recycled materials to make work from. The results could be completely mixed, and I'll admit I was suspicious of the concept when I first heard it mentioned — in the wrong hands it could very easily become contrived, and bring a bunch of rules that have nothing to do with quality into an artist's practice.
But Johnson's work consistently surprised me for reasons that have nothing to do with whether or not her materials were paid for. The layered elements remind me of the Royal Art Lodge, and the repurposed surfaces at times recall outsider artists like Bill Traylor.
Look through some images of Johnson's East Nashville studio after the jump.
There are two or three different reasons that on their own make Finding Vivian Maier a film worthy of your attention. It is an outstanding mystery that unfolds as it's being filmed; it's a celebration of extraordinary photos by a singular artist; and it's a fully realized biography that contains all the highs and lows that come from in-depth examinations of eccentric personalities. If it were only one of these things, it would be worth seeing. But this film happens to be all of those things at once, and it will absolutely overwhelm you.
In 2007, Chicago-based filmmaker John Maloof needed images for a book he was writing about his neighborhood. So he bid on a box of unmarked photo negatives from the auction house across the street, hoping he'd be able to use something he found. He paid $380 for the lot but ended up not being able to work the shots into the book project, and for a while the box just sat in his closet, collecting dust. But the photos were good — really good. Maloof eventually took the box of negatives to local photographers and gallerists to ask their opinion. And just like that, the world started falling for Vivian Maier.
Photographer Mary Ellen Mark describes Maier's work as "Robert Frank with a square format," before running down a laundry list of great 20th century street photographers to compare Maier to, like Lisette Model, Helen Levitt and Diane Arbus. As Mark says each name, an iconic work by that photographer is juxtaposed onscreen with a similar work by Maier — and Maier's photos don't just hold up, but in some cases (as in Arbus' "Identical Twins," arguably the photographer's most iconic shot), Maier's photo seems to come out ahead. "Had she made herself known she would have become a famous photographer," Mark says with exasperated certainty, like someone who knows just how rare that kind of gift is.
Find out why Maier didn't make herself known in the rest of the story from this week's Scene.
Tickets are on sale now for the Nashville Film Festival, running April 17-26 at Regal's Green Hills 16 and Walk of Fame Park downtown, and if you don't want to be shut out of screenings, we strongly encourage you to get your tickets now. Especially if the selection you want to see a) shows on opening night; b) has stars attending or in the cast; c) was made locally; d) has filmmakers present; e) concerns a musician who will be on hand for the premiere; f) is titled Boulevard or The Identical. Go to nashvillefilmfestival.org, and watch next week's Scene for our annual festival preview and guide.
The streets of East Nashville will reek of exhaust and roar with revving motors Saturday night as the Cult Fiction Underground — the grindhouse bunker located under Logue's Black Raven Emporium at 2915 Gallatin Road — screens a legend in biker cinema, Down Under division: Sandy Harbutt's Stone.
If you saw the great Ozploitation documentary Not Quite Hollywood, you left with a Harley-sized hankering to see this 1974 biker epic (a Tarantino favorite, duh) about an undercover cop who rides hard and goes down harder to find out who's killing off members of the Grave Diggers motorcycle club. Admission is $5; stash your Kawasaki 900 out back.
If your tastes run more to silver bullets than steel horses, Friday night's feature is John Landis' An American Werewolf in London.
Vanderbilt’s “International Lens” series, the city’s safety net for foreign films, indie features and documentaries that slip past commercial cinemas, winds down its spring semester over the coming week with a pair of free screenings at Sarratt Cinema open to the public.
Tonight at 7:30 p.m., Vanderbilt German and film studies professor Lutz Koepnick introduces Julian Pölsler’s Die Wand (The Wall), which stars Martina Gedeck from The Lives of Others and Mostly Martha in an adaptation of Marlen Haushofer’s allegorical novel about a woman prevented from leaving a mountain area by a mysterious force.
The season closes Wednesday as Tatiana Filimonova, assistant professor of Russian, introduces 1989’s Time of the Gypsies, a manic Balkan wedding party of a movie by the boisterous Serbian auteur Emir Kusturica (Underground); it happens to be the cinema’s first largely Romani-language film.
Thanks, Sarratt — and if you’re socking away titles for the fall semester, here’s a gentle reminder (sound of cocking gun) that Nashville’s never had screenings of Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day, Roy Andersson’s Songs From the Second Floor, Claire Denis’ Bastards, Sion Sono’s Love Exposure or Jiang Wen’s Devils on the Doorstep.
In April's Crawl Space column, Joe Nolan had this to say about Greely Myatt's solo show at David Lusk: "Having Said That is a solo exhibit by longtime Lusk artist Greely Myatt. The gallery's press release promises a show packed with work featuring the sculptor's takes on iconic comic book devices like thought bubbles and dialogue balloons. The best example is an 8-foot-tall steel comic book with flippable pages that begs viewers to fill in the blanks and create their own adventure."
But for some of us, even Joe's tempered praise couldn't pry us away from our other Art Crawl and Fashion Week obligations, and we missed Saturday's opening reception. The news that just hit my inbox is music to my overbooked, comics-loving ears: Myatt himself will be leading a gallery talk at David Lusk at 11 a.m. this Saturday, April 12. (Which also happens to be National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, for whatever that's worth.) So bring your Velveeta and your love of Myatt-like artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Kenny Scharf and David Shrigley — you too can jump aboard the late-to-the-party bandwagon. Full press release below.
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