“Artists supporting artists” is the motto Squeak Carnwath and Viola Frey chose for the Artist Legacy Foundation when they started it in 2000. At Frey’s death, her estate passed to the Foundation to jump-start no-strings-attached awards to painters or sculptors selected by their peers. Yesterday the fourth annual award went to sculptor John Outterbridge, who was chosen by a jury comprised of sculptor Mildred Howard, critic Barbara MacAdam, and sculptor and writer Robert Taplin from a pool of ten artists nominated by five anonymous invitees. The work pictured above, Ragged Bar Code, exemplifies the agile use of found objects for which Outterbridge is known. The artist’s soft voice could barely be heard as he spoke to the crowd of his colleagues gathered for the occasion in Carnwath’s Oakland loft, but his words rode a tide of good feeling that was audible enough.
Friday night Internet prophet Ted Nelson presented his new self-published autobiography, Possiplex: Movies, Intellect, Creative Control, My Computer Life and the Fight for Civilization as the first public event in the grand sanctuary of the new Internet Archive space on Funston Avenue in San Francisco. The former church, an imposing pastiche of pillars, arches, and other architectural signifiers of the establishment, made a cultural about-face with the help of one hundred or so Nelson fans, including the legendary inventor Doug Englebart. Whether or not Nelson’s life-long quest to realize Xanadu, his vision for cyberspace, is implemented, he serves all Internet users by keeping an alternative vision of its possibilities alive. He’s clearly kept his spirits up with a sense of humor, and has written a book with a tang of the unique structures he discerns in digital information. Check it out at lulu.com
Thursday night, as a sold-out crowd settled in for a performance by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company (MJDC) at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco, a quick survey showed that the audience mixed dance aficionados, new music buffs, and art patrons. The draw for the art crowd was a video set by painter Naomie Kremer, who has been showing impressive paint/video hybrid works for the past five years. The second half of the program, Light Moves, was billed as a collaboration between MJDC, Kremer, composer Paul Dresher, and poet Michael Palmer and offered a chance to see what Kremer could do with stage space. Her work is more than a setting for the dancers; in the most successful passages lighting erases the barrier between the video and stage spaces so that dancers and projections become one. In the climactic scene, pictured here, painted-videoed-danced movements dart in and out of a particolored ground, offering the sensuous pleasure of a light show heightened with the dancers’ precise articulations of shifting emotions. This is a collaboration that makes sense. Unlike many interesting-sounding interdisciplinary collaborations that never get off the ground, Light Moves flies. Last night’s presentation was a preview of the work that will debut at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts next year…watch for the next opportunity to see it.
Rene di Rosa, founder of Di Rosa, a public museum and sculpture park, died at home at the age 91 on the evening of October 3, 2010. His legacy of support for artists in Northern California is carried on through his extensive art collection and 217 acre estate in the Carneros region of the Napa Valley. A legendary philanthropist, art collector, and vineyardist, Rene di Rosa was born May 14, 1919 in Boston. He graduated from Yale University where he served as editor of the Yale Daily News. After serving in the US Navy, Rene moved to Paris where he hoped to write the “great American novel.” The book failed to materialize, but life on the Left Bank sparked his lifelong admiration for artists, and he purchased his first painting before returning to America and settling in San Francisco, where he took a job as general assignment reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.
During the late 1950’s, Rene took a lively interest in the North Beach art community associated with “the Beats” in San Francisco, the beginning of five decades of acquiring what is now considered the most significant holding of Bay Area art in the world. During his life he served on the board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Advisory Board of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and was the recipient of many honors and awards for his patronage, including an Honorary Doctorate from the San Francisco Art Institute.
Friends and supporters are invited to bring messages and additions to an “ofrenda” altar installation by Diane Dame Shepp in the Di Rosa’s Gatehouse Gallery open during gallery hours (Wednesday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) through November 2.