• Dale Chihuly Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
    Ruminations

    Celebrating Art in the Season of Celebration

    It seems to me that it must not be an accident that the big celebration holidays – Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice — all come toward the end of the Gregorian calendar year.  The end of a year and the start of a new year create an imaginary line between the past and the future. Many of us use it as an opportunity to take stock of the past year and create some goals, commitments and visions for the next.  So, I’d like to take the opportunity of this season to celebrate today’s art and to celebrate the fact that art continues to be created. When I take a moment…

  • Tidbits

    How the Book Was Born

    I got interested many years ago in what it would take to give everyone access to the awe-inspiring experience available through modern art. Docent tours, art history courses and art appreciation courses give people useful historical background information and help familiarize them with such aspects of art as design concepts. But they don’t provide what people need to be completely transported by art. They don’t open up people to the sheer wonder of modern art.  Using my own way of approaching art viewing as the model, I created a modern (and contemporary) art tour, called The Magic of Modern Art Tour and found it very effective for getting past the…

  • Ruminations

    In Search of Great Venues

    It was while I was working at the modern museum in Fort Worth that I acquired the itch to turn everyone on to the glories of modern and contemporary art. Then, I lived in Dallas and worked as an artist for 18 years. Both Fort Worth and Dallas are excellent cities for art lovers (and pretty good for artists, too). I moved to Austin 20 years ago. I was attracted to its laid-back atmosphere and hill-country beauty. Before moving here, I knew that Austin was a live music center. I quickly discovered that it also has a very healthy theater and film scene. However, I didn’t know that it’s not…

  • Ruminations

    Arts or Crafts?

    I’m thinking about the difference between art and craft. There’s a reason why those classes are called “arts and crafts.” The words “arts” and “crafts” are not synonymous. I’ll start with craft. Crafts are functional. A craft object is made by hand and is both useful and aesthetically pleasing. Great attention is given to making it aesthetically pleasing. Although they are hand-crafted, crafts don’t have to be one-of-a-kind. Especially exquisite crafts are often referred to as “fine crafts.” For twelve years starting in the early 1980s, I made my living creating both functional and non-functional ceramic objects. Most of them were one-of-a-kind commissioned works of fine craft. But I also…

  • The Guardian
    Artists

    The Visitors, Ragnar Kjartansson

    One of the most mesmerizing works of contemporary art I’ve seen lately was a video installation called The Visitors by Icelandic artist, Ragnar Kjartansson, at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco two years ago. I went to MoMA not knowing what would be shown. Had I known this piece would be there, I would have gone just for that. It was that good. I was in San Francisco for a group showing that included my artwork. My art dealer, an all-around delightful guy and modern-art lover (well all art lover, really) and I went to MoMA together and we were both transfixed as we watched the entire 64…