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Clear the actual surroundings associated with clutter, gloomy decor items, old-fashioned canvas wall structure art, plus frilly furnishings. Hold a new garage sale to aid you to still generate income off good old unwanted parts. You may also use the cash you earn in the garage sale to acquire new modern style types. Some furniture might be refurbished to take a look new along with simple.
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Repaint your walls by using neutral shades too. When you have a displayed brick wall structure, strip there are various paint for you to expose that bricks' normal finish. Check that ceilings once they are however good. Once they look harmful and broken, tear your ceiling decrease and paint spots exposed pipes with all the same color as being the wall or which has a complementing coloring.
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Visitors get feel for Japan with museum's touchscreen
Minneapolis - Japanese screens may be only moderately interesting to the infrequent visitor of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
But those screens take on more meaning when the same visitor reaches out to a 20-inch Microtouch Clear Polished Screen (from Microtouch Systems Inc. of Wilmington, Mass.) and immediately begins a five-minute guided 3-D walk through a traditional Japanese home. The use of movable walls and folding or sliding screens as dividers allows the rooms to be rearranged as needed.
The museum's Interactive Multimedia Department created the full-screen walk-through on Alias Upfront, a CAD program from Toronto-based Alias Research Inc. Wall textures, lighting and object placement from the museum's gallery within the house were rendered in Macromedia Three-D by Macromedia Inc. of San Francisco and transferred to video.
Actual footage of Japanese countryside, provided by NHK, Japan's national video archive, leads the viewer to the front door. The door opens, you step inside, turn around and begin your entirely manufactured guided house tour. An unseen narrator, accompanied by traditional Japanese music, explains what you are seeing.
This is the fifth of 15 multimedia interactive programs planned for various galleries. It took about nine months and $50,000 to produce. The next three programs, due in 1994, were funded by a General Mills Foundation grant and will lend context to exhibits of 17th century paintings and ancient and Native American art.
"They're really popular with viewers," said Scott Sayre, manager of interactive media for the museum. "Up to five can watch at a time. We find visitors are not at all intimidated by the technology."
The viewing screen combines an Apple Macintosh IIci with a Pioneer LD-V8000 LaserDisc player. Interactivity is handled by Version 1.7.1 of Macromedia's Authorware Professional. The video appears on a Sony GDM-1936 color 20-inch multisync display using a RasterOps 24STV board.
Graphics had always been a form of self-expression used spontaneously by young Chicanos, who would cover walls with graffiti and with "places" - words or symbols that identified themselves and their gangs. It was easy to dismiss this activity as vandalism, but in fact it expressed the frustration of marginalized groups and frustrated individuals. In the same way, the mural artists began, via their support for the Chicano political and cultural movement, to speak out for a culture that had long been forgotten.
The young Chicano artists got together to work with the local barrio communities. Pascal Letellier describes the great frescoes that resulted as "a savage, mystical, realistic, flamboyant iconography that links up with the great tradition of Mexican mural art of the 1930s, with Orozco, Rivera and Siqueiros". They also set up group workshops. Cultural centres of the "raza" (race of ethnic group), Hispanic America's unifying concept, became more and more common. This was a golden age of community art, art in the street.
Two California communities provide good illustration of what was going on. The murals produced in each were the results of close collaboration between the residents, both young and not so young, and the artists. One is Estrada Courts, an East Los Angeles barrio-ghetto that consists of small public-housing blocks and has the highest concentration of Chicanos and Mexicans in California. The other is Chicano Park in southern San Diego a district at the intersection of two freeways that cut the Chicano barrio in two.
The appearance of Estrada Courts improved noticeably between 1973 and 1976, when murals were painted on a number of blind walls. Directed by artist Gato Felix, this renewal project was originally intended not just to make the barrio more attractive but also to provide an outlet for the energy and talents of young, out-of-work Chicanos who were drawing graffiti that were in many cases destructive. The murals depicted Mexican subjects, boosting local people's confidence by putting them back in touch with the roots of a culture that was largely ignored in North American school curricula. In this way aesthetics and culture were brought together.
Pre-Columbian themes, intended to remind Chicanos of their noble origins, are common. There are motifs from the Aztec codices, gods from the Aztec pantheon, allusions to the Spanish conquest and images of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a cherished Mexican icon.
Two murals represent important moments in the history of the Chicano movement, linking Estrada Courts to recent history. Protest banners of the years 1965-75 float of one facade over a bucolic scene representing the life of a poor Mexican agricultural labourer before his arrival in the United States. Another splendidly recalls the Chicanos' ethnic and cultural origins: it shows an Aztec, a conquistador, a Mexican, a mestizo and a Chicano, recognizable from the scarf he wears round his head, descending from a pyramid to join hands in planting the flag of the Chicano movement, a black eagle on a red background on American soil.
Apart from these few exceptions, which reflect the political concerns of the Mexican minority in the United States, nearly all the fine murals in Estrada Courts are purely decorative, depicting jungle animals, fish, mountain landscapes and similar subjects.
The Chicano Park paintings are very different in the sense that they have a special place in the history of the district where they were produced. They represent some of the finest examples of popular mural art, directly inheriting the great Mexican tradition of the 1920s and the 1930s.
On two occasions the inhabitants of the San Diego barrio were evicted and expropriated to make way for the building of new roads. They resisted actively, and in 1970 their campaign to prevent the heart of the barrio from being dehumanized or destroyed was supported by militants of the Chicano movement. In the same year the city authorities abandoned their attempts to locate a scrap-iron depot there and restored the district to its inhabitants.
In these circumstances a historical monument was born. What had been a hideous forest of concrete pillars soon became a pleasant and attractive place, a park decorated with paintings of remarkable beauty whose subject-matter was critical, even subversive. Each year the 1970 victory is commemorated by a festival and political meetings, which provide an opportunity to start new paintings.
Here too pre-Columbian motifs are plentiful, among them an extraordinary pillar representing the Aztec earth-goddess Coatlicue. Such images are not merely decorative: they increase the prestige of Aztec and Mayan culture, notably through depictions of pyramids, a recurrent symbol of the great Meso-American civilizations, and of muscular Indians crowned with feathers, emblems of nobility and wisdom.
The murals also reflect a budding political consciousness. The two frescoes decorating the freeway access ramps are veritable gallery of portraits of revolutionary heroes, featuring important moments in Mexican and Chicano history. They provide a selective vision of recent international history. Alongside Cesar Chavez, the non-violent defender of the rights of Mexican agricultural workers, who is shown addressing Chicano crowds, there are landscapes and episodes from the Mexican revolution interspersed with portraits of Picasso, Santana, Che Guevara, Diego Rivera, Benito Juarez, Hidalgo and Fidel Castro.
Pictures of the struggles of peasants and workers from the Mexican past, among them Zapata's guerrillas, are an incitement to resists discrimination. Some of the motifs are given a Chicano gloss: putting Mexican images in the new North American environment helps reinforce Chicano social cohesion. Two symbols that are ubiquitous at Chicano Park have a similar function. One is the Virgin of Guadalupe, who plays a unifying role for Chicanos and for Mexican immigrants. The other is the flag of Cesar Chavez movement, bearing the black Aztec eagle. Images reflecting another Chicano concern, for an educational system suited to the needs of their children and of Mexican immigrants, are also common.
An authentic pictorial tradition and a set of historic circumstances have come together to make the walls of Los Angeles and of San Diego, new cities of seemingly limitless growth, canvases that express vibrantly the long-standing and ever-growing Mexican presence in the United States.
Sisley, who was born in France of British parents, is often called "the English Impressionist". This is a put-down, like "the Peruvian Cubist" or "the Swabian pre-Raphaelite". It reeks of the second-rate, the imitator. It is the judgment of a world that has taken this long to give Sisley his first proper retrospective exhibition.
The Sisley problem was that this talented and thoughtful landscapist did not produce enough material to fill out doctorates and learned monographs. He fitted the Impressionist technique perfectly, and having found his style, stayed securely put. The first paintings exhibited here are exactly what one would expect the works of a young proto-Impressionist to look like: rather too gloomy and solid landscapes, but showing a fluency of brushstrokes and fidelity to the ordinary that hint at greater things.
Quite suddenly, in 1870, his paintings become recognisably Impressionist. Almost magically there appear the characteristic light palette and sketchy stabs of the brush, conveying exhilarating movement and colour in quiet streets and suburbs--the poetry of the mundane. His final paintings of the 1890s are not so different as to shock.
He did not do what art historians like painters to do. He did not constantly push, and twist, and extend his range. He stuck conservatively to classical compositions and the small scale (almost all the paintings in the exhibition in London, which moves on the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and then to the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, are roughly the same size). He showed little of Monet's colour-theory and none of Pissarro's social conscience. He just hung around small French towns and the suburbs of London. And painted.
And how: anyone who does not feel a sudden flush of pleasure when confronted with a classic Sisley needs to take his soul in for a service. The great achievement of the exhibition is to rescue Sisley from the context of a hundred glossy Impressionist anthologies and make his individual talent clearer. And where he differs from the other Impressionists is in his fluid, at times almost water-colourish, use of oil paint, his rapid sketchiness and his immediacy. He had a special interest in loose, scrambled but almost cartoon-specific strokes, and had his particular colour interests, notably sourish and acidic greens, and luminous greys.
A hole in the retrospective is any proper selection of his last works. These include some fabulous coastline paintings of Wales. In the last paintings, the soapy, ecstatic paintwork is reminiscent of Kokoschka--and curiously, his final crayon works are a little Russian too, rather like those of the young Kandinsky. But perhaps such what-would-have-happened-next? speculation is in itself alien to the spirit of Sisley. A painter who can draw the people and delight them with every canvas can afford to turn his nose up at the art world's ever-clever obsession.
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Artist and designer Maya Lin, famous for Washington, DC's Vietnam Veterans Memorial, has been busy creating other public monuments, sculpture and architecture. She carefully protects her privacy and performs her architectural works in association with established architects. Lin infuses her architectural designs with intuitive sculptural qualities.
But if Lin is "doing architecture," she is doing it on her own terms. She keeps a minimal studio, with only one assistant; she affiliates with firms for her architectural projects. Although she has a Master of Architecture degree from Yale and has completed her internship requirements, she has not taken the registration exam to become an architect. "I don't know why I haven't taken the exam," she says. "One reason is that I've been really busy and haven't had time to study. But also, being registered wouldn't change the way I work. I would still want to have a firm to back me up, because it allows me the freedom to stay small."
It's not just in her professional status that Lin differs from some of her former classmates. She also has a penchant for introducing the intuitive, sculptural quality of her art into her architectural works. This shows up in her predilection for irregular, handmade (or at least hand-drawn) forms: she drew the curves of the Museum for African Art's two staircases on site, and called out every joist height for the hand-drawn, irregularly curving roofs of the Weber House. "Ifs like the difference between a freehand drawing and a CAD drawing", she explains. "It makes you feel the presence of another person."
Given Lin's upbringing, her artistic streak is less surprising than the fact she ever strayed to the more rationalized world of architecture. She was born in Athens, Ohio, in 1959, the daughter of a pair of professors at Ohio University. Her mother, Julia Chang Lin, still teaches Asian literature there. Her father, the late Henry Huan Lin, was a potter and later Dean of Fine Arts at the university.
"When I was growing up there, there was a kind of American arts and crafts movement going on, very clean, very simple, but with an acknowledgment of artisans. My father made a lot of the furniture in our house, and all our professor friends were making things. That was definitely an influence."
After flirting with biology as an undergraduate, Lin chose a major in architecture. Like many architects, she was drawn to the discipline for its blend of sciences ("not that I'm good at them, but I do like them") and art. It was her senior studio at Yale, which focused on funerary architecture, that led to her entry in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial competition.
When her design was chosen from more than 1,400 entries, her elation was quickly overtaken by frustration as politicians, artists, architects, veterans, and others fought -- sometimes viciously -- over her design. Now that "the Wall" has become a place of pilgrimage and an icon of national healing, it is easy to forget the forces who once tried to stop it. H. Ross Perot, Phyllis Schlafly, Tom Wolfe, and Interior Secretary James Watt all spoke out against Lin's deceptively simple plan to engrave the names of all the Americans who died in Vietnam on a sunken, V-shaped wall of black granite. Lin spent her first year out of college shuttling to Washington, defending the design and fighting proposed alterations. (In the end, a sculpture by Frederick Hart of three soldiers was added, but at a reasonable distance from the Wall.
"It was insane in D.C.," recalls Lin. "It was the kind of pressure that no architect should ever have to witness, especially a 22-year-old." She found her refuge in architecture school, first at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she spent less than a term, then at Yale, where she got her Master's. "I thought that school would be the best remedy, the best way to get over D.C. And it did work, but I was pretty tired. In fact, it took a few years after grad school to get my pace back and do the work I'm doing now."
Graduate school held its own frustrations for Lin, who often bridled at professors' attempts to "make her draw," when she preferred to work in three dimensions. "I was brought up in a ceramics studio; models are my sketches. I think the Vietnam memorial was first laid out in mashed potatoes or something. The saddest thing I went through in school was professors who couldn't accept that."
Lin also found her education lacking when it came to non-European cultures, an omission she tried to remedy by working for Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki one summer. She came back with an admiration not only for the gardens of Kyoto, but also for the Japanese approach to design and construction. "Even as the building was going up, Maki was still exploring ideas and changing things as he went. We're kind of prevented from doing that in the States with the change-order system, unlike an art installation, which goes in, and then you get to manipulate it a bit."
After graduate school, Lin set up her studio in Manhattan, and has since been working on an extraordinary range of projects -- from her sensuous, highly personal sculptures to an installation of 12-foot spherical holly bushes in Charlotte, North Carolina, to the memorials in Montgomery and at Yale.
There is no such thing as a typical Maya Lin commission. She has been hired to shape the earth (in a current project called "Wave Field" at the University of Michigan), to build a house on someone else's abandoned foundation and structure (for a Santa Monica couple currently making a documentary film about her), and to help design a supercomputer (the Thinking Machine CM-5, for which she was brought onto the design team as a sculptor). Currently, she is working as the lead designer on a paper recycling plant in the Bronx proposed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and a coalition of community groups and corporations.
Lin tries to have only one or two of these projects in the design phase at any given time. Still, the constraints on her time are great, as she is in great demand for committees, boards, and the like. She continually yearns for more time with her sculptures, which are typically blocks of beeswax with lead embedded inside them. Over a long period of time, she uses a heat gun to reveal the lead and shape the wax into contours she thinks of as "miniature landscapes." She completes one or two pieces a year.
Despite the diversity of her work, Lin felt until recently that she had been "typecast" as a designer of monuments, a stereotype she encouraged by following up the Vietnam Memorial with her second-best-known work, the Civil Rights Memorial, in 1988. Commissioned by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the memorial honors those killed in the fight for racial justice in the South. Her design, a wall of water next to a round granite "water table," that documents major events in the civil rights movement, won public acclaim without any of the attendant controversy of the Vietnam Memorial. A third memorial, commissioned by Yale University to honor its women students, is a similar "water table" with a spiral of numbers representing the female enrollment at the university from its founding through 1993, when the monument was dedicated.
All three of the memorial projects combine abstract form with text; Lin believes that the text performs a teaching function while the form invites a more visceral, emotional reaction. Asked if she could foresee the cathartic power that the Vietnam Memorial has turned out to possess, Lin says simply, "I knew that when you saw it, you would cry." The reaction has something to do with the names and something to do with the form, but the necessary third element, what makes the piece whole, is the presence of people. One of the most startling things about the memorial is its reflective surface; the viewer confronts himself when he stands before the names.
Lin describes her memorials as the place where her architecture and sculpture come together, and that is especially true if one sees her sculptures as essentially self-contained objects and her architecture as narrative, experiential spaces that, like the memorials, require a human presence to be complete.
Lin consciously constructed a narrative of the passage of time in her design of the Museum for African Art, completed last year in the first floor and basement of a SoHo loft building. Visitors enter and descend to the basement in a dark stairwell representing night. They ascend again through a bright yellow "day" stairwell.
Whether or not one consciously catches the metaphor, the museum is a warm, inviting space, in part due to the color palette: rich grays and blues for gallery walls, and an ocean blue-green for the stained wood floors. Just as the freehand curves suggest a sculptor's presence, these colors seem especially painterly.
While the stairwells of the museum and the curved roofs and ceilings of the Weber House begin to suggest an attempt to shape space the way she has successfully shaped earth and object-forms, her architecture does not quite match the transcendent power of some of her public and private art. That may be inevitable: she likens art to poetry and architecture to prose, and her architecture sometimes seems prosaic by comparison. But there is reason to hope that her continuous trips across the border between the disciplines will further inform and enrich her architectural paintings. Lin has already quieted skeptics who thought she was just a kid who got lucky with the Vietnam memorial, who -- as she puts it -- thought "she just drew a black line." Lin has managed to build on her early success and become what she should be about now: a 34-year-old architect-in-progress.
After living for decades in the suburbs of Bellevue, Washington, painter Lois Graham and her husband, physician Gene Graham, became involved in the development of the Union Art Cooperative in part to provide themselves with a new residence and studio in an urban environment. However, for the Grahams the move from traditional single-family house to big city loft in an artists' cooperative was not what you'd expect: The house they left was an eight-level, open-plan hillside dwelling with a bare minimum of interior walls and doors and a total of 44 stairs between the highest level and the lowest. And so, although their new third-floor residence at Union Art, designed by Patricia Brennan Architects, includes a spacious painting studio for Lois Graham and an open kitchen/living/dining area, the layout of the 3,000-square-foot interior, with all the rooms on the same level and divided by floor-to-ceiling walls, actually bears more resemblance to that of a typical house than did the house they left.
Architect Patricia Brennan originally presented the Grahams with three floor plan options. Ultimately, it was the need to place Lois Graham's studio on the light-rich northwest side of the loft, and the open-plan living and dining rooms on the city-view-oriented southwest side which determined the layout, with rooms wrapped around a central gallery and circulation corridor. Brennan's willingness to consult with her clients, evident in the core building design, was a factor here as well. She credits both Lois and Gene Graham for their involvement in "every aspect of the design," from the galvanized metal walls in Gene Graham's bathroom to the modified theater lights (by the Grahams' son Andrew) in the gallery.
The gallery, linked to the entry foyer by an art-filled corridor (the shift from narrow hall to wider, vaulted gallery is a dramatic one), is the crossroads of the residence. From this central volume five portals access the foyer, Lois Graham's painting studio, the kitchen, the dining area, and Gene Graham's office, as well as the more private bed- and bathrooms. Crowned with a high, groinvaulted ceiling from which an elegant antique pendant fixture is suspended, the gallery and its corridor extensions are a neutral, white-walled backdrop for the Grahams' artworks, particularly Lois Graham's colorful abstract canvases--with an unusual textural counterpoint provided by industrial-grade diamond plate flooring (flooring through the rest of the unit is Medex, a composition wood material, hand-stained and scored in a grid pattern.)
Lois Graham's studio is a high-ceilinged, multi-windowed workspace, with architectural impact provided, as in so many of the Union Art units, by the exposed original posts and beams. Graham's canvases often run large, and so Brennan's plan provided her with wall space enough to hang her works in progress, and room enough to stand back and see them, along with sufficient natural and artificial light and plenty of storage shelving.
On the west and southwest sides of the unit, the living and dining areas form a loose L around the kitchen, and the single volume containing the three spaces is flooded with abundant natural light from the banks of enormous windows installed as part of the core building renovation. The living and dining areas also contain built-in shelving beneath the windows, with art display or seating platforms atop the shelves. New and recycled furnishings--a comfortable mix of modern and antique pieces, which blend easily in this large, unadorned volume--were selected by the Grahams.
Under 13-foot-high ceilings scaled down with a Unistrut tracklighting system, the kitchen is set off from the living and dining areas by posts and beams above and a pair of counters--one flat, the other with a convex facade and top--below. Counterpointed by raw wood posts and countertops of copper and concrete, the kitchen's open wood shelving and cabinets have been aniline-dyed in rich, deeply saturated colors--blue, gray-green, wine red, and lemon yellow--in an elegant, understated collage. Against this powerfully patterned backdrop, the Grahams' extensive collection of kitchen and dining ware is artfully arrayed on the open shelving, transforming an open-plan kitchen, the heart of this lively, colorful home, into a dynamic visual feast.
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