Category Archives: art

Magic City Art Connection extends 2015 artist application deadline to November 15

3734546376_671a051b84_zArtists thinking they’d missed the deadline to apply to participate in the 2015 Magic City Art Connection can stop worrying. Organizers for the annual event announced on Monday, November 10, that the regular application deadline had been extended from October 31 to this Friday — November 15.

Those interested in participating in the 32nd annual event, currently scheduled for April 24-26, 2015 in downtown Birmingham’s Linn Park, will want to take advantage of the extension if they can. Currently, the application fee is $25; there is an additional booth fee (ranging from $185 + 15% commission to $600 for a double + an additional $125 added for premium placement near the fountain located in the center of the park).

According to the event website, late applications may be submitted for any remaining space or the (eventual) wait list.  The application fee rises to $30 for those spaces if they are open, with the booth fees increasing on February 1 and March 1. By the way, the photo we’re using is from the 2009 installation for the festival, “Artist’s Fire” by Christopher Fennell.

Art museum holds Community Chat Thursday evening to discuss its future

birminghammuseumonasThursday evening the Birmingham Museum of Art will bring a public feedback event to Ona’s Music Room in Lakeview’s Pepper Place as part of an effort to plan the institution’s future. The gathering starts at 7 p.m. with it most likely ending before a jazz performance scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. Those in attendance will be rewarded with free beer and an opportunity to participate in the public input portion of an information gathering process with potentially significant effects on what’s becoming a culturally focused section of the city.

The gathering is being done in conjunction with a feasibility study undertaken by the museum and wHY Architecture, a firm with offices in Los Angeles, CA and Louisville, KY.  They were awarded the project after an RFP process slightly delayed by the unexpected effects of last winter’s late January snowfall. wHY has already started conducting focus groups, online surveys, and additional community feedback events to learn more about what the community may want to see from the museum going forward in terms of both programming and physical space.  The museum has found ways to raise awareness about current community outreach via a section on their website highlighting those efforts.

According to an email from the museum’s director of marketing and communications, Cate McCusker Boehm, “the feasibility study will produce options for potential renovations and expansion of the Museum on its current footprint.”

“I am John Fields and I just ate a hamburger.”

SealbetashowTonight’s opening reception for John Fields’s Diegesis marks the first show for Fields in three years, and his second at beta pictoris gallery in the city’s Second Avenue district. It is one of two shows opening that evening; the second, Chasing the Ghost, features work by Stephen Bindernagel.

Fields’s show is a group of original works based on film stills. He selected scenes from a number of motion pictures, printed and painted the images, then imposed a mask of his own face onto the protagonists. Each of the films depicted has been influential to Fields, who has a background in both art and filmmaking. The titles of each work come from the movie’s dialogue – sometimes verbatim, sometimes more of a paraphrase or how Fields remembers the line being spoken.

Fields says his art is informed more by pop culture rather than fine art. He works from instinct, often finding themes after a finishing a series. He has previously used the idea of the mask in his art, but Diegesis is the first time the face on the mask was his own.

Imposing his own image onto the film scenes was inspired by his 30th birthday party. When Fields entered the room, the guests were each wearing printed masks of his face.

He develops his exhibitions through a process of elimination rather than with a specific goal in mind. Sometimes, he says, it is “more about what it’s not about,” but he tends towards universal themes. Fields allows the view to their own interpretations instead of  leading the viewer with a heavy explanation.

In addition to scenes from films such as The Deer Hunter, Manhattan, Last Tango in Paris, and Godzilla, Fields pays homage to Andy Warhol in a video recreation of the iconic pop artist eating a hamburger.

John Fields: Diegesis will run from June 21-July 26, 2013 at beta pictoris gallery (2411 2nd Ave. N.). Opening reception: Friday, June 21, 6-9 p.m.

Photo above: Love is the blackest of all plagues. Acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 40″. Courtesy of the artist.


Art on the Rocks turns 8

It’s been eight years since the Birmingham Museum of Art decided to try holding a monthly mixer one Friday a month during the summer. This year’s Art on the Rocks lineup is not as influenced by any one exhibit as last year’s installment was at the largest municipal art museum in the Southeastern United States, though it’s still impressive.

Some folks will no doubt be in attendance to check out the current Warhol & Cars: American Icons exhibit, but others will be there for the sounds overlooking the sculpture garden. We thought it only appropriate to take a look at this year’s lineup below via their music…

Tickets are available for $10 (members) and $20 (non-members).

Christopher Davis illustrates Black History Month

Thurgood Marshall icon by Christopher DavisChristopher Davis likes to stay busy. He’s a member of the Extemporaneous Theatre Company comedy troupe and the guy behind Fresh Ground Comics (fan page on Facebook). He’s also a regular contributor to Birmingham Weekly, a freelance designer and an actor.

He’s also an illustrator who decided he’d leverage his Facebook presence and his artistic skills during Black History Month. Each day during February, Davis has posted an icon to a photo album on the popular social networking site that “represents moments in not just Black History, but American History.”

He’s done pieces illustrating everything from the Underground Railroad to the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth to Bessie Coleman, the 1st African American woman to stage a public flight in America. He’s still got six days to go.

Who knows, you may encourage him to do some other stuff too…

Play hooky at the Museum this Wednesday, Friday

Birmingham Museum of Art logoNo, that’s not their idea, it’s ours. Considering how nice the weather is outside right now, you can’t not be thinking the same thing (even if it’s late in the day)…

Besides, today’s International Museum Day. Yep, according to the museum’s website:

International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Day in 1977 to encourage public awareness on the role of museums in the development of society.

You’ve got until 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon (May 18) to take advantage of special discounts on memberships, discounts on museum store purchases and opportunities to take special tours of the museum’s collection with members of its staff. Admission – as always – is free. You’ll have another opportunity to check out the museum this Friday as BMA Speaks! returns, though you’ll have to wait another month for this year’s Art on the Rocks series to begin.

Kresge Arts in Birmingham launches

Birmingham has been chosen as one of five communities participating in the Kresge Community Arts grants pilot program. The Kresge Foundation hopes that the program, “encourages residents to use art and culture as a tool to address issues in their communities.”

The Magic City will participate alongside St. Louis, MOBaltimore, MDDetroit, MI;  and Tucson, AZ. The first three have been participating since last summer – Birmingham and Tuscon’s participation was first announced late last year. Each community will receive $200,000 during the course of two years.

The Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham will be the agency awarding the grants here in metropolitan area. Amounts between $2,500 and $10,000 will be provided to “community arts projects that strive to address Birmingham’s pressing issues as determined by its citizens.

Cultural Alliance president Buddy Palmer spoke with The Birmingham News recently about the organization’s hopes for the program as well as specifics about informational sessions to be held on February 22, March 10 and March 16.

ONB Magic City Art Connection this weekend!

mccThis year the ONB Magic City Art Connection (MCAC) is celebrating 26 years. It will take place April 24 – 26 at Linn Park in downtown Birmingham, going from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day.

For those not familiar with MCAC, it is a free contemporary art festival that will showcase more than 200 exhibiting artists, children’s art activities, music, food and other great events.

If you join their Facebook group you can find out about their Twitter contest, where they are giving away tickets for their prestigious Corks and Chefs food and wine tasting event that will be held during the festival (a $30 value).

Get into downtown and check out lots of great art this weekend!

Alabama’s invading HGTV’s That’s Clever

After learning about Charles’ appearance on HGTV’s That’s Clever tomorrow morning, we figured that it would be nice to see if there were any other local or regional artists (or ones with a connection to the area) that were going to make the cut and be able to appear in the coming weeks. Well, here’s a list, courtesy of Mr. Buchanan himself:

Date Artist
January 15 Kristin Mathis
January 23 Kristen Farmer Hall
January 26 Joyce Vance
January 27 Charles Buchanan
February 2 David Hammock (Arab)
February 6 Cindy Cail (West Blocton)
February 9 Amy Lucas McClure
February 11 Mike Hawkins

It sounds as though he’ll be sharing more information on his blog as he gets it about other artists making appearances (plus if you’ve already missed the artist’s premiere, it just means you’ve got a reason to check out repeats)!

Peppermags talks to Merrilee

Merrilee Challiss of The Bottletree that is. The “blog about design” did a sit down with the owner of the popular music venue to talk about her other passion – her artwork.

Image: Lungs by Merrilee Challiss