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Jeff Soto: Trip to the Norton Simon

Written by Jeff Soto   
Saturday, 20 January 2007 12:59
Last week Jeff Soto and his friend Aaron went to do a little art watching at one of the nicest lil' art museums in Southern California

Last week my friend Aaron Mason and I went to do a little art watching at one of the nicest lil' art museums in Southern California. The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is smallish but has some real beautiful work hanging in it's halls. I studied there a lot during my art school years, so I know all the paintings pretty well. They still give me ideas and inspiration, despite seeing them so many times. I've been going through a little bit of artists' block, and sometimes all it takes to get out of the funk is to see some work hanging in museums or galleries.

I don't remember all the artists' names, but I tried to take pictures of some of my favorite pieces. There is an awesome feature on the museum's web site that lets you zoom in on the paintings, so if you really want to check things out, go to www.nortonsimon.org/

Aaron checking out a gothic version of Adam and Eve.

This is a painting by Matthias Stom, a student (?) of Carravaggio. My photo just doesn't do it justice. By the way, sorry for the blurry pictures- no flashes allowed.

A Rembrandt self portrait. I like that some of his paintings were very tight and some were very loose. I believe (and I may be wrong) that his work loosened up as he got older.

Aaron checking out a painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. It was originally mounted on the ceiling in a French palace.

A portrait by Marie-Louise-Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun. I love the way she painted the eyes. This artist's story is very interesting as she was a successful female in a male dominated profession. She was the royal portraitist to Marie-Antoinette and the French royal family. One of my favorite pieces at the museum.

I think it's cool that back in the 17th Century hiring an artist to paint some ass was acceptable as long as there was some biblical story involved. It's a nice painting but it sorta comes off as pornographic in an old fashioned way, amirite? The Norton Simon website doesn't have this image in their collections page, I wonder why? Are they slightly ashamed?

Art changed with the invention of the camera and artists started experimenting with how color and light worked in their paintings. This was the beginning of a big change in all the arts, which is still in some ways flowing into our contemporaries. The museum seems to change drastically with the work the Impressionists were doing. Most of these paintings are about the color and light and texture, which my camera just didn't capture. Here are a few that turned out...

Van Gogh's mother. I love this painting. The colors are so strange and vibrant, and you can see the affection he had for her in his brush strokes.

The texture on this Van Gogh is crazy. Looks like he used whole tubes of paint squirted out onto the canvas.

Amedeo Modigliani's death mask. Do they still make these? Modigliani is one of my favorite painters.

Diego Rivera. This has always been one of my favorites.

Picasso to me has always been hit or miss. I either love it or am not too into it. I've always liked this one, something about the colors make me feel good.

The museum also has a few nice Kandinsky's that my camera didn't get good shots of. There is a Henri Rousseau that's pretty cool. And some Paul Klee work. And an Ed Ruscha. Good stuff. They had a photography show downstairs that looked pretty good. No photos cause photos of photos= bad photos. They also have a good Southeast Asian sculpture collection (once again, photos of these turned out bad).

We'll see if this trip helps the artist's block.... {moscomment}

John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.


FRENCH in Melbourne

London based illustrator FRENCH recently held a show of new works at the Melbourne based Mild Manners


Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.


Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

Mario Wagner (Berkeley) opened his new solo show A Glow that Transfers Creativity last Saturday night at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.


Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.


Sun Milk in Vienna

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"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle


Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.


Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.


Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.


The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


Flavio Samelo's Downtown Sao Paulo Murals

Our buddy Flavio Samelo down there in Brazil does all kinds of great work including this recent mural project in downtown Sao Paulo in front of one of the most important modern buildings of Oscar Niemeyer from the 60's, THE COPAN.


John Trippe, FFDG and Fecalface.com Founder, Stepping Down From Daily Operations

John Trippe, founder, owner and curator of FecalFace.com and the Mission District art gallery FFDG, announced today that he will stepping down from daily operations of the two ventures to seek new career opportunities.


High 5s - Get Your Feet Wet

I purchased one of the first digital cameras when Fecal Face went online in 2000. It was a massive Kodak with 2 mega pixels


"Touching Base" by Schuyler Beecroft

San Francisco based Schuyler Beecroft emailed over the great new series of paintings he's completed entitled "Touching Base", 16x20in on mounted wood panel. Like them.


Flume - Space Cadet (ft. Ghostface Killah & Autre Ne Veut)

Buddies Jay Howell & Jim Dirschberger did this great video produced by Forest City Rockers.


Fire Shelter for Papay Gyro Nights 2014

Last year we posted photos from another one of Simon Hjermind Jensen's Fire Shelters he's made in Copenhagen. This time around the Copenhagen based artist/ designer created one for the Papay Gyro Nights 2014 way up in on the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland.


"Portrait of a Slugger 19" by Hiro Kurata

Beautiful painting by NYC based Hiro Kurata now on display at SF's FFDG through April 19th as part of the group show "Salt the Skies".


"Veins of Octulen" by Curiot at FFDG

"Salt the Skies" opened on the 21st at FFDG and features this great piece by Mexico City based Curiot (Favio Martinez) whose sold out 2013 show Age of Omuktlans ran at FFDG. His forthcoming solo show is slated for March 2015.


Rome's Alice Pasquini ~Mural+

Rome based multimedia artist Alice Pasquini emailed over a recent mural completed in the historic working class neighborhood of Rome called Tufello.


Project M/3 in Berlin curated by NUART

BERLIN --- Project M is a temporary art project with the objective to improve the neighborhood, to push creativity and to connect people. At regular intervals Urban Nation with director Yasha Young invites a group of internationally reclaimed contemporary urban artists to re-design the facade and shop windows of a prominent residential building in Berlin, while it is being reconstructed.


John French with Hasselblad by Lola Dupre

"John French with Hasselblad", photo collage/ hand cut paper on wooden panel, by Lola Dupre which will be part of tomorrow's opening of "Salt the Skies" at FFDG in San Francisco. 2277 Mission St. (6-9pm) - RSVP here.


"Salt the Skies" at FFDG Opening Fri, Mar 21st

FFDG's spring show "Salt the Skies" is set to open on Friday, March 21st (6-9pm) -- Featuring works by Brett Amory, John Felix Arnold, Mario Ayala, Jud Bergeron, Curiot (Favio Martinez), Christopher Burch, Lola Dupre, Michelle Fleck, Matt Gonzalez, Hiro Kurata, Marty Machado, Mark Mulroney, and Nicomi Nix Turner


Brian Barneclo's 225' Food Chain Mural

San Francisco based Brian Barneclo was commissioned in 2006 to paint a HUGE mural on the side of Foods Co on Shotwell at 14th Streets. After some time on its own, it got pretty taxed by misc graffiti and pigeon shit.


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