Archive for art

Art Films about the path of Art

Posted in Movie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2010 by michaelchernoff

This year in my opinion was a horrible year for great movies…I’ve only seen 2 and heard of 5 that were good and that is probably how many on average a country makes. But I guess it seems like there is an over saturation of really bad romantic and comedy movies. We maybe be in denial about the economic depression of the world as much as the depression of 2010’s filmography but at least we can delve back into the past productions that were the true cinematic gems of their season. When I watch movie it can only be a favorite of mine if I can watch numerous times and not be bored with it. Typically intense human dramas, indirect science fiction, and poor quality but funny movies are my prefered stories. However as an aspiring artist I think a lot about what it takes to make art…the time, events, and effort that compose an art piece.

“The medium is the message” as said by Mcluhan and there are few films that aren’t biographies or pop driven that explore the process of art without being predictable and forced. I liked Pollock but it’s about Pollocks ego and psyche not his process only progression and Factory Girl isn’t really about Andy Warhol it’s a caricature. Since the criteria is high the three movies I say that fit into this exploration are Charlie Kaufman’s (any film written by him also but specifically) Synecdoche New York, David Mamet’s Red Belt, and the recent Black Swan by Aronofsky.

Synecdoche New York is the story of the frustrated and failing theater director Caden Cotard. The movie is highly complex both in writing and pictorially due to the length of Caden’s masterpiece play that is meant to be true and real to the fullest. He is also convinced he is dying and wants to create a great play before he dies.  Through out Caden’s life from age 40-? he uses every significant happening in his life and transforms it into a play piece that is composed of an epic huge play that is a recreation of places he’s been in a warehouse in NYC recreated in another warehouse that holds neighborhoods of NYC recreated in another warehouse that envelopes the city blocks around the old warehouse…baffling logic. However the work never ends it keeps manifesting with no end in sight and never comes into fruition because Caden can’t stop creating and his life’s work becomes his life work ending with his death. The film zeros in on the fears and abilities of an artist. No matter how much they work and achieve they will never be satisfied and will die unfulfilled and feel insignificant. It’s hard to talk about this movie in without spoiling and detailing so much about it and that the plot is always in flux. Overall it is a prime example of what art is, how its made, and what happens to artists in their life. I don’t think its a guide-book to how everyone life is…but this is a near bulls eye to me.

Red Belt is simply a about Mike Terry a Jujitsu teacher trying to be a good person in a world where martial arts revolves around media spectacle for money. Yet the film reaches a dark level of corruption when Terry’s handicap lesson is stolen by fight promoters in order to fix fights without the fighters ever knowing the match was predetermined by the chance handicap. Fights are pumped up by racial and nationalistic sentiments all in order to raise profits and maintain an illusion of warrior spirit. What is most compelling to me is the contrast between the commercial and pure paths of martial arts. In everything I believe that there are two divisions between art and commercialism. Despite Terry staying out of competitions and maintaining the honor of his dojo and style he has no money and through a series of events the people who followed his code of honor are helpless in our society where money is necessary to survive. It is a narrative of how money degrades the and mutates the ideas and image of martial arts from a science in training the body and mind into a function of monetary value. Fighters must choose whether they are in it for the money or honor the style itself. Basically an entity similar to the UFC industry as the commercial entity has brought the martial “Artist” to his knees and pressures him into fighting for money in a tournament and breaking his principles in order to save the victims of his code. Mike Terry concludes the movie by seeking to expose the fixing of the matches to tournament audience. The ending is one of most powerful scenes I’ve ever viewed in a theater.

The Black Swan illustrates what is necessary to make an art ballet rendition of Swan Lake. Nina a timid and conservative but talented dancer is chosen as the lead for the play as the Swan Queen. Due to her fragile and timid dancing she is ideal for the white swan but under qualified to match the mood of the black swan. However due to the sexual pressures of her teacher, her rivalry, rebellion against her mother, and strains of envy and hate against Nina she undergoes a personal transformation. She becomes of loose, violent, and paranoid of everyone. Nina essentially becomes the Swan Queen as she fears other dancers who threaten her role and she also revels in her status as queen. She becomes so involved that she begins to transform into a swan. I’m not going to go into what was and wasn’t a hallucination on Nina’s part but this film showed all the suffering and challenge a person must overcome to be truely great. Behind every performance are events that shape the mood, quality, and interaction of performers. An audience never knows from behind the scenes who fucked who, who hates who, who inspired who…it’s all undocumented interaction that leads to either a supreme or dull product. Other films by Kaufman I think nearly fit in are Being John Malcavich and Adaptation for the record. If another person were to follow this I guess Amadeus could fit but it was too fabricated for me to base an opinion on it and no look into the process other than his perfect note scribing. Art described in documentary can be dulled and in a movie feature is subject to be distorted for entertainment value. Movies like the ones listed above I think are uncompromising to let their ideas be drowned in hollywood glamour but at the same time are compelling stories. I hope the directors will keep writing and finding scripts that can be copuled with their visionary expertise to make true art films. On that note No Country for Old Men might fit into this category too.

Budget Surplus

Posted in Art Industry with tags , , , , , on December 17, 2010 by michaelchernoff

Although I am ill with a runny nose I came to Harder Hall today to do some last-minute work before leaving for Albany. It occurred to me that on a small break I should look around the studios for any left over or abandoned tools or material. Did I find much? Mostly half a dozen brushes, scrap paper, two tiny tubes of paint, test  prints, failed prints, canvas, and 3 paper paintings. If there is ever a time a person needs discount art supplies you only need to do one thing…find out when schools out at the nearest art college near you. There probably could be a whole industry devoted to saving these misfit items if someone undertook it.  At the end of each semester there must be the equivalent of mountain of assorted junk and it’s still usable. Before the semester began I found free pallet knives and paper in the print shop. Are the students here rich enough they can just buy new stuff every semester or are they just too drunk to remember they left half their studio supplies behind. I’m paying so much to be here at Alfred that it’s a big bonus to receive free material and the delivery fee being my arms carrying stuff through halls and up elevators. I’m not encouraging people to steal…but take the left overs its worth hanging around another week after classes end.

Art Scenery

Posted in Art Industry, Music, Politics, Projects with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2010 by michaelchernoff

When I googled Albany NY artwork…one of the 3rd image that came up was the one above. It pretty much sums up what the visual arts environment is in the city as dull. There is practically nothing exciting here even-though NY state is a powerhouse supporter of American and international art efforts. Buffalo and Rochester seem to have more going on there than the state capitol. Even small towns in Massachusetts like the Clarke Institute and Mass MoCA exist there and yet Albany has nothing close to a contemporary art museum. The Art History Museum in Albany has a bunch of early American imitation Romantic sculpture and painting but almost never new art except for regional competitions. A lot of the private galleries in Albany seem stuck on themselves and give exclusive shows but guess what? They are located in Albany so nobody cares that much about their prestige. In the end there is no scene here and if there are people in the city that think there is they had better high tale it somewhere else if they want a career. Troy NY has the actual scene and everyone in Albany doesn’t comprehend that they have real contemporary institutes. They have an Arts Center and but its named the Capitol Region Arts Center…I know where it belongs.

After graduation I have no intentions of looking for work in Albany because there is not a future. There is no fertile support from city government or any grand institution…just Lark Fest. Aside from a few intelligent entrepreneurial artisans the rest are a rabble of makers who can’t get over how unwanted their bad pen drawings and acrylic paintings are. Sometimes I see the same drawings up in galleries and stands for consecutive years. Usually after a years time it’s a sign to stop promoting your failing work and make something better and hide it away for the day you become a superstar and have retrospective show in 20 years. The only gallery I affiliate with is the UAG on Lark Street. They are open and nice people and its fine for a quick show. But I don’t get the sense that anyone is building a major career there even among the names of the makers I appreciate. I don’t where publicity can come from in Albany that is outside its bubble. I haven’t had a major show yet solo or group wise but there seems to be some seriousness missing in the landscape.

There are no public competitions which is sad. Another sign of poor quality thinking in the city is all the unimaginative and juvenile graffiti all over Albany. In Spain they had more great graffiti than the cities could handle. Business owners pay artists to muralise their store fronts so that they don’t get vandalized out of respect. Some sites have been eliminated by Spanish government with so much excess. A little could stand to come over here. Instead of allowing hacks to tag the walls of Albany juried graffiti and mural contests could happen. There is so much available space in Albany. Work would be encouraged and paid for and the city would get a face lift.

Even UAG slackens a little as much as I consider the best open gallery in Albany (there are only 2 in the city I haven’t visited). Last night for a second time I went to the gallery to hear live music from rock and noise bands. On the one hand its positive that the gallery lets these young musicians use the small space as a free venue. And yet…the sound system is terrible, there is no one from the gallery supervising the event, the room itself probably isn’t the best for listening, and there is no advertising. I guess that’s a good deal for a band that isn’t paid for the event. Also you cannot really mosh or dance in an area where you might knock work of the walls and shatter glass frames from Michaels. I did hear some good bands like


LOFI Kabuki

X.N.T. (Jazz Trio: They do a lot of improvising but they sounded better than the last time I heard them perform)

Unfortunately I would not encourage bands to play at the gallery. There is not much profit unless you can really attract a crowd through a posse. In the end the creative world of Albany is a bad joke. Maybe if build a new arts museum, a public school that excels in visual arts instead of theater and music, have a real gallery district with regular hours, and city art competitions; then there could be a start for something better than half-assed attempts of pretending their a cosmopolitan air in the city of Albany.

Perfect Bodily Waves

Posted in Amusing Eroticism, Image Discovery!, Photography with tags , , , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by michaelchernoff

It doesn’t cease to amaze me how Czech photographers are coupled with great Czech models. It’s material like this that completely overshadows the American glam, fashion, and nude photography. This model Lizzie featured in body paint was featured in Watch 4 Beauty: Erotic Art Magazine (W4B) for Dec 24 2009 Issue. Lizzie’s poses match up to her paint job so well in this series that I consider the best representation of body paint photos I have seen. The only downside is that the space around her isn’t as exciting as her posture.

Dmitry Puzyrev

Posted in Amusing Eroticism, Artist, Image Discovery!, Photography, website with tags , , , , , on December 22, 2009 by michaelchernoff

Dimitry is a video and photo design artists I found through my myartspace account. It wasn’t until just now that explored his website and was astounded at how much more work was there than his account page. I am also writing about him because it seems like nobody knows who he is myartspace. I am the only person to comment on his page in months. He sticks mostly to female nudes and does now a lot of digital manipulation and photo lighting. It’s amazing how well he incorporates drawing and photo into one product. He is currently my favorite surrealist nude photographer.

For more work by him visit his website at

Gallery Showing Announcement

Posted in Photography, Projects, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 17, 2009 by michaelchernoff

I just got word today that my Topless photo series have been selected to be shown in the Upstate Artists Guild on Lark St. in Albany NY. The show runs Jan 1-23 with the reception being the first night of the opening on First Friday. It will be a group show but I do not know how many other artists are showing. I encourage everyone to come see the show if they can. This will also be my second showing with UAG.

Turn off the tv idea

Posted in Dick Heads, Illustration, Projects, television with tags , , , , , , on December 17, 2009 by michaelchernoff

Besides taking into account image making style and technique I also take note of themes in work. At my school in the print department it seems like a lot of people enjoy making shamanistic items like deer skulls and bones, old men in general, tools, and basically everything from the 19th century…or ugly 70’s decoration.

But no matter where I go I always see a recurring image. Get ready for it folks because apparently no one can get past the consumer commentary of the 80’s and 90’s that is television. Or more precisely television’s replacing the human head. Analogy tv does our thinking, a good observation. I have no problem with that or whoever initially began the design trend, I haven’t bothered to research the history of tv heads.

What is stupid is that people continue to create this decade spanning archetype and I wonder if they think they are the firsts to do this, or that there aren’t many others doing it as well. Well surprise world its true there are hundreds of people making the same tv heads either standing or slouching alone against a wall. Basically I’m saying cut it out guys. We’re way past this era its 2009 not 1989.

Now in terms of tv developing humans I have no debate. I’m sure tv imagery has changed the way humans process information from pre tv humans to post. People born in the 1800’s and early 1900’s saw tv as a luxury and had radio…a linear thinking process for absorbing information. TV is scattered, multiple, constant, and visual…time follows no line on tv except on tv guide. But this is even more charismatic of people growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. In the 80’s we have more in common with cable tv than an actual tv set because it was the start of wiring people in their homes to a constant electronic source. Maybe we should have cable boxes for stomaches instead or as well.

Point is the tv age has practically peaked…we are in an age of something even less time constraining. Uh, have any of these people heard of youtube? Yes this is the youtube/Hulu whatever streaming era where people watch what they want to watch at anytime at their own discretion. And whats more is people broadcast themselves now too. So for all those bohemian losers inking a tv head drawing stop it. It’s over its done or at least start drawing flat screen tv heads. Oh wait they’re not as cool looking.