Sunday, May 21, 2006

Detroit Institute of Arts

This is one of my favorite Cezanne paintings. These three human skulls alone are a good reason to go to the DIA. Cezanne explores the organic shapes of the real human skulls exaggerating the shapes to their fullest potential.
This Donald Sultan painting was a tough one to install after a recent cleaning.
That's me standing by the Franz Kline to show the scale of the work. This was my last day at work.
Giovanni Bellini was an important Venetian painter of the Renaissance. The Bellini family revolutionized figurative painting. This is really beautiful, go check it out.
Giocametti, Fuseli's Nightmare, and Frances Bacon stand out in the scary theme room of the DIA.
Jean Dubuffet
Rauschenberg and Matisse
Mark Rothko is one of the most important modernist painters of the last century. It's hung a little too high but always a powerful experience to behold.
These are a some highlights of the DIA's collection.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Caged Creatures

This is a project consisting of Tim vulgar, P lot and myself where we play very new songs and improvise a bit. We played last Friday at the Painted Lady. These pictures were taken by photographer Tim Meeks.

Friday, May 19, 2006


In the eighties Pygoya was one of the first digital artists. He was influenced by grainy computer monitor graphics. In his oil paintings he paints squares of color referencing the pixillated computer screen. Pygoya coined the word "webism" which refers to art created for display over the internet. On his website you can view work by other webist artists and vast achives of Pygoya paintings. Pygoya is one of the most prolific artists I have met, he paints about two paintings a day!
Absolute Arts.
Pygoya's report on Santa Fe.
Web site since 97.
Pygoya is an experimental artist as well as a dentist, psychologist and an author and many other things. I met Pygoya last night over the phone, we are talking about opening an art gallery together in Santa Fe.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Davin shares Pictures from Lauren Casteel's show and the Toledo Museum

Hello Bill
Here's some pix from Lauren Casteel's show BEAR LOVIES at the PURE DETROIT DESIGN LAB...

1. Lauren Casteel just loves to draw bears on plates. The plates were very reasonably priced and I think that she sold a bunch!!!
2. This plate was painted with a can of INSTANT BLACKBOARD and drawn on with chalk. Don't spill your drink on this one!!! (I'm not kidding, there really is such a thing as INSTANT BLACKBOARD. Check it out at ACE Hardware!!!).
2.1 Here's what Lauren looks like. Look at those cool tights!!! That's Sarah Lurtz hiking up her skirt.
3. Lauren made a tea set too. Here's Sarah Lurtz and Crispy having a tea party. (Lauren's opening marked Sarah's last day as director of the Design Lab and Samantha Bullock's first day as director. Good luck to the both of them!!!)
4. They look nice but I think that Sarah replaced her tea with something a little stronger. Whoop's!!! You can see more of Lauren's work here:
5. The next day my wife and I decided to go to the artmuseum in Toledo, Ohio. Here's a supercool Sol Lewitt mural that goes all around something (maybe an auditorium).
6. The museum guards told us that we couldn't take any pictures of the Matisse ceramic installation or any contemporary art. That was really sad but luckily I snapped a pic of the Matisse before he told us that we couldn't. That's my story anyway!!! They had some really cool stuff down there, it's a fun Saturday afternoon trip. They have a great Stella and a really nice Morris Lewis and a bunch of other cool junk. Check it out, admission is FREE (well it's really "donations" but you know what that means...)!!!

John Richardson

John Richardson has worked in a variety of media including cast and welded metals, wood, and stone. Richardson investigates the complications of communication in his art. Working with an oval like format for some time now, Richardson continues to change things about the form. John's latest work has developed into a form that resembles a hook.
As this form subtly changes, the work suggests different possible physical objectives.

"Hook (2)," cast iron and cord, metal component is about 20" in length, 2006.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin was an influential minimalist painter, she worked with subtle earth colors and often a symetrical grid format. She differed in philosophy from the other minimalists with her spiritual approach seeking out the sublime and the beauty of the natural world. Zwiner and Wirth recently held an exhibition spanning the majority of her career. To view more click on the Agnes Martin title at the top.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Susan York

Susan York is a sculptor in Santa Fe New Mexico who has been influenced by the painter Agnes Martin. These are pieces from her shards body of work. Following in Agnes Martin's tradition, York uses earth pigments for color. Susan York's work focuses on the subject of color as a transcendent experience. A former professor of mine suggested that I look at Susan York, I can see a similarity in our varied edges.
York's web page covers her installation projects and includes some writing about the artist. Click on the title to see Susan York's webpage.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

X! Records

X! records is a Detroit record label run by Scott Dunkerley. Scott is also the drummer for the Frusterations. X! records is putting out 45s' of some of the best up and coming talent in the Detroit/ Ann Arbor area. You can meet Scott at any show running the merch for the bands on his label. There is a listing of shows on the X! records myspace.
Tyvek has one of those clever names that you see everywhere there is construction therefore you are constantly reminded of the band. This band is lyrically goofy but sonically speaking just right.
The Frustrations are an explosive band from Detroit. On the 45the song"Nerves are Fried" has some cool running descending and asending lines between the bass and guitar. This is another great band that you will hear about if you haven't already.
The Terrible Twos 45 is a fast paced musical journey through late 70's punk into the future. This Ann Arbor based band is a look into the future of what's happening to music. I predict difficult music will become the standard of the future. The Terrible Twos are challenging but still accessible. I have seen them many times and they have never let me down.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Photos from the Doll Rods/ Alex White Show

This was a lot of fun. A couple of our favorite bands playing together. My camera broke, its getting fixed so I asked a fellow with a camera if he could send me some pics from the show. Tim Meeks shot these sweet rock poster style photos. You can see some more of his work if you click at the top.
Miss Alex White and the Red Orchestra I have seen and played shows with a bunch of times and they are a great band. Their grooves are good for dancing. Same thing with the Doll Rods, with Tia on drums and fresh from their european tour they are super energetic and solid. There is always something to be said for the visual musicians. They are often more intune with or interested in performance. Like Mick Jagger has said that "the only performance that really makes it all the way is the one that achieves madness!...Right?" Both of these rock acts performed naturally magically and doing so helped me to lose myself for a while and dance to their grooves.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Fifth Period Fever

Five past twelve
This album creeped up on me, after the third or fifth listen I am hooked on the voice of the big man that fronts this band Steve McCauley. The strength in his voice bends the notes in a sweet way. The girls are gonna be crazy about this band. I really take comfort in albums like this that will stay with me. Since it's recorded at 4731 it's a hometown original. Check them out at the Lager House May 26th. listen

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Metro Times

Thanks Rebecca!

Diary of marks
William Hafer puts beat to canvas

by Rebecca Mazzei

When you talk to William Hafer about his paintings, thank God he doesn't give you some lip about color theory. You won't have to endure a conversation about spectra or schemes, color wheels, chromophobia or chakra balancing. This is a good thing. Any conversation about aesthetics or "lite" energy healing, and he might have to physically defend his art from hostility. As it is, taking in a spacious studio full of his art is almost enough to make you vibrate right out of the place.

He's chosen a color palette that screams at you in rocket red, fire orange and key lime green, but the more glaring question is how this sweet, mild-mannered guy came to make such loud art. Hafer says he used to paint nudes — in the straightforward style of realist portraiture — but his models were always late to studio sessions. So he'd kill the wait by painting a corner of a room where the chair meets a wall. Then Hafer, who graduated from Wayne State University's MFA program two years ago, expanded his view of the world around him, painting abstract blocks of architecture as color fields. He'll talk about Mark Rothko's work for a while, but he shrugs when you ask for details about how his style evolved after that.
A better explanation is one he unintentionally slips into conversation, as he's putting on a record (early Bowie): "I think I started working with these colors when I joined Human Eye."

That'll explain the intensity. Hafer is well-known around town as a drummer for various Detroit rock bands. Through the years he's held down the stool with Bogue, the Paybacks, and, for a hot minute, the Sights; he's playing with Odu Afrobeat Orchestra now. But his work for the past few years as a primal pound-out-the-flesh stickman for Human Eye best reflects the profound panic in his art. Set against the walls of his home and studio, his striped canvases could be stretched from outer space, visually depicting the best of what's up there and the worst of what's down here, like the sound of Human Eye's "psychedelic alien punk."

"I want to overcome the viewer with feeling, to become really absorbed, full body and mind," the 29-year-old says about his paintings. "I want it to be all they see." He hasn't really given viewers a choice about that because, at about 8 feet tall, his art is human in scale, but just big enough to impose upon you. Each piece, which he creates in series, features about seven 4-inch-wide bars that either stretch down the entire length or stop short at graduated lengths. The stripes repeat in a rhythmic pattern that speed up and slow down as they break. It's almost like reading music as your eyes move from left to right and coast up and down; the hues push and pull against each other like tense musical notes that depend on their context for song. The slivers of white space in between each color act as pauses that allow your eyes to rest. Your perception of his work changes, it gets relaxing — even his cat Alice Cooper seems to dig it.
Whether or not the music metaphor makes sense, Hafer says he doesn't want to tell people how to read his work. And he's right. Music isn't the only comparison that can be drawn. His unstretched canvases are reminiscent of African-American textiles that play with perspective, with flat abstract shapes reading like topographical maps. Similarly, staring straight on at Hafer's stripes is like staring straight down, at wood flooring or a piano keyboard.

Through modern art history, most painters who take the trouble to go long and lean like that — a laborious process requiring them to climb up and down the ladder — make damn sure to tape off the lines so they steer a straight path. It would certainly be easier for Hafer if he followed suit. He works a day gig at the Detroit Institute for Arts, and when he comes home, he updates his blog ( His only time for painting is after band practice, some time between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., when his hands are still shaky.

"I don't mind," Hafer says, about his accidental slow waves. "It's like a diary of marks." His art is evidence of an impromptu dialogue; each line is an answer to the question posed before it, an instant qualification of color. Seeing the imperfect process in the final piece, you can tell Hafer is loose and forgiving with himself. But he isn't lawless.

Hafer lays out pages from his sketchbook on a drafting table. He pauses to glance at each one, turning some of them right side up. That's the thing. With skilled artists, it may not always look or sound like it, but make no mistake, there is always a right side up.

Maria Castro and William Hafer Paintings opens 7 p.m., Saturday, May 6, and runs through June 1, at Bohemian National Home, 3009 Tillman St., Detroit; 313-737-6606.

Photos by Cybelle Codish

Rebecca Mazzei is Metro Times arts editor. Send comments to

Monday, May 01, 2006

Opening This Saturday

William Hafer is a painter who recieved his MFA at Wayne State in 2004. Maria Castro is a painter who studied painting and printmaking in Colombia, South America. William paints large color compositions while Maria's work is representational and more intimate in scale. The paintings complement eachother much like the painters themselves.