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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ARTING About...? Montgomery Woods State National Reserve: Old Growth Redwoods.

Image of Robin Scott Peters  by Robin Scott Peters

In 1995 Mendocino College hired me, your humble artist, to direct the production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  The 20th Century Russian master theater director Vsevolod Meyerhold was a major influence in my approach to theater.  His working theory of Biomechanics intrigue me because it unlocked the slavish connection between having to "feel" what your character was "experiencing."  I rejected "Method" acting.  Biomechanics gave me a "method" to character development through physicalization.  It does not matter if an actor feels anything.  What matters is if the AUDIENCE feels. Biomechanics engaged the art of physical communication.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ARTING About...? Neil Young and The Bridge School Benefit Concert--Music Speaks!!!

Image of Robin Scott Peters

by Robin Scott Peters

The Bridge Concert:

My buddy Larry is a Technical Director of Theater at a California college.  He is a professional Light Designer and has a deep history in Rock & Roll concert lighting.  He also has attended more concerts than anyone I know. This past few months alone he consumed the Stones, Robert Plant, Stephan Stills and...he will chastise me because I know I have missed a slew of others.  I should pay more attention. And for close to two decades Larry has asked me to go to this supposed "amazing" event called The Bridge School Benefit Concert.  This year's Bridge School Benefit Concert (27th Annual) will be Larry's 17th in 18 years.  For most of those 17 years Larry has asked me to attend the concert with him. Trying to coordinate my life to see this supposed "amazing" event proved to never move up the "Things To Do" list.  Until last October, 2012.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

ARTING About...? Crocker Art Museum "The Takeover: An Art Jam by and for Youth."

Image of Robin Scott Petersby Robin Scott Peters

When I was in seventh grade I came upon a teacher named Ms. Betty.  She took our after-school drama club--which met in the foyer of the auditorium convening underneath the overhang of a large stairway leading to the second floor balcony--to see Godspell at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston. We sat in the very last row of seats far in the back of the balcony.

Life Changing Experience?

Yet, that mattered not.  When I walked out of that theater two plus hours later, my life had been-- and still is-- altered permanently.   Art is potent.  It can change lives.

The Crocker Art Museum held an event, 5pm to 9pm, this past-Thursday, August 1, 2013 called "The Takeover: An Art Jam By & for Youth."  And that is exactly what happened.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thunder Moon

Dear Friends on July 22, 2013 I shot the following amazing lightning show during the full moon, or Thunder Moon as it is called.  Enjoy the show!!

Please visit:Twitter: @FilmRobin for up-to-date info on where I am travelling for ART.LinkedIn: for complete resume & work and look for Dr. Robin Scott Peters Ebooks now available.YouTube: for all my video work.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ARTING About...? The Art of Business - MAXIMIZE YOUR VALUABLE TIME major tool for success.

Image of Robin Scott Petersby Robin Scott Peters


Maximizing Your Time -- You got to give some to get some!

     I need to find a way to polish my skills. I want to maximize the potential of the programs I use in my day to day business.  I need something that respects the time I am giving to it; because time is money and time is precious.  I look for ways to pinpoint the information I need.  Not spend endless minutes --which feel like hours when you have a dead line and you are busy trying to solve a problem, or figure out advanced keystrokes to apply serious professional quality to your work product.  I demand quality instruction, depth of examination, variety of instructors--certified professionals and a way to certify that my investment of time is of significance.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

ARTING About...? The National Gallery, London, England: ART is: Charing Cross, Michael Landy and Earl Grey!!!

Image of Rose Bell looking quiet spectacularRose Bell: 

June 25, 2013

From Kilburn to Sainthood – Exploring London’s creative side                  

A persistent shade of blue is tearing apart London’s notoriously grey skies and beckoning me out. A native Californian, even in London I never go out without sunglasses. This garners me a welcome collection of smiles from curious unshaded onlookers. A friendly “that’s all right dear,” from a friendly passerby as I click photos of my neighborhood, a Britishism applicable most anytime, forces me to respond with my own charmed smile. And leads me to reflect on one of the reasons I love England so.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

ARTING About...? Kansas City 18th & Vine, here I come: The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum

Image of Robin Scott Peters


Me and My Canon 550D

     I awoke in cool white sheets pillows tossed and a stream of morning splashing west as east.  Day two in Kansas City.  So much on the agenda--capture the feel of the city with my 550d.  Subject: The 18th Street & Vine Museums.  I was going to soak up some serious info. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum housed in one location, nirvana right?
     1148 was my room number. I faced north from the Westin towards downtown.  A spectacular view.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ARTING About...? Five Formative Theatre Experiences (Bitten By the Bug!)

by Brian Bozanich, MFA

Five Formative Theatre Experiences

I have spent the last few weeks discussing my own work. I wanted to share the moments which spoke to me as an audience member, honor the craft of others, and explain how it shaped my work.

Les Miserables

You never forget your first.  In July, 1987 I saw Les Miserables in Los Angeles. It was the first professional musical I had ever seen. I knew the complete soundtrack before attending, but it did nothing to lessen the impact of the piece. There were two specific moments:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

ARTING About...? The 4 Ways to Advocate for Theatre Education


The 4 Ways to Advocate for Theatre Education

Over the last twenty-five years I participated in many discussions about drama education, some of them were, shall we say, highly animated. In an atmosphere of common core, standardized tests, and authentic assessment, we are often asked to justify our existence as part of the curriculum and school community.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Smashwords Ebook Coupon Codes: For all you Fantastic Readers (UDATED 4/25/13)

Dear Readers:


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ARTING About...? Go Forth Among The Young Talented People and You Will Find...Greatness!!


 If you see me outside the theatre after a performance, parents will tell me they enjoyed the show, or thank me, or praise some aspect of the production. My response is always the same, "I work with the best kids in the world." No one should ever confuse the repetition for insincerity; I have meant it every day for the last twelve years.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

ARTING About...? Thou Shall Do Great Theatre! Brian's "10 Commandments" -- Must DO!!


My Ten Commandments
I tried to distill some of the guiding educational principles of my program.  Below I try and dissect them by theme rather than mirroring the Biblical structure.
1. You shall watch all your firsts.
2. You shall have big, big fun.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

ARTING About...? Picasso and Africa -- Art Institute of Chicago - "The Picasso Effect - A museum-wide celebration of Pablo Picasso's legacy and influence"

by Robin Scott Peters

Image of Robin Scott Peters
When I first entered the Art Institute of Chicago I dashed to Gallery 137.  The program for The Picasso Effect listed it under RELATED EXHIBITIONS.  I was on edge due to a phone conversation I just had with a close friend.  He said Picasso was a racist because he never acknowledged the influence of Africa upon his art.

Image of an African Mask reminiscent of Picasso's Piece in Chicago
Gallery 137
Picasso, Paris, and African Art
"Comparable to works once owned by Picasso, these African artworks provide a catalyst for considering Picasso's collecting taste and the early development of an international African art market."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ARTING About...? "Creating Community..."


Creating Community
If you examine theatre history of the last century, you will find the names of passionate individuals who wanted to share their vision with the world. I suspect this has always been the case. The medieval tinker with a civic bent probably help nurture the York cycle into an annual tourist event. The early Kabuki dancers shared techniques and poses which helped codify the art form. These unnamed practitioners communicated their ideas and other people joined their cause. Theatre is an act of community. A single individual, whether actor, director, designer, or producer can initiate an idea, but then, they must have others join their endeavor; A single performer in a dark room emoting to no one will be acting, but not create theatre. Theatre only happens when concentric circles of community are engaged. 

My current experience as artistic director, stage director, and designer for a high school program often means that the idea starts with me. There have been times when students bring me a show that excites them and we mount that production, but often the choice is mine. I choose based on creating a solid educational and audience experience. I will expand on some of my criteria for show choice in a future post, but for now, I always start from the student experience. Once I cast the show, a small community begins the process of discovery. My passion is seeing the moments of discovery on young actor's faces. When they make connections to the script, to each other, and especially when they find those connections to the people of the past who conceived the show and were there for its debut. 

While this community of performers continues to discover the play, another group is crafting the physical production. Student designers generate ideas and bring those thoughts into the physical world. After thirty years in theatre, I still get the hitch in my breath when a idea of mine is made manifest, or a bit of stage composition matches a thin memory of my first encounter with the play. These two small communities must explore the ideas together for a successful production. They join forces in dress rehearsal and prepare for the last circle of community, the audience.

(A) Community
In The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, playwright Jane Wagner introduces Lilly Tomlin's bag lady character, Trudy, who talks to aliens. Near the end of the show, her extra terrestrial friends join Trudy in the theatre and they get goosebumps, a uniquely human experience. "They said it wasn't the play gave 'em goosebumps, it was the audience. I forgot to tell 'em to watch the play; they had been watching the audience! Yeah, to see a group of strangers sitting together in the dark, laughing and crying about the same things...that just knocked them out."

This final layer of community, the audience, closes the circle. Most theatre folks know about the growth of a show once it reaches an audience. The further discovery of meaning when you hear the feedback from the house. The meaningful silences or uncomfortable shifting in the chairs when pacing is an issue. I always run shows two weekends, even with an active school calendar, because students spend so much time and energy getting to opening night and through the first weekend of performances. If we closed then, they would not have the time to walk away, get a couple of good nights of sleep, analyze what they did, and then repeat the experiment of performance with better results. To me, this is essential learning.

Now that I have outlined my particular focus and passions, I will move on and explore the process of creating educational theatre. If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. 

Brian Bozanich, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator -- Saint Joseph High School

Please visit: Twitter: @FilmRobin for up-to-date info on where I am travelling for ART. LinkedIn: for complete resume & work history. and look for Dr. Robin Scott Peters Ebooks now available. YouTube: for all my video work.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

ARTING About...? "I Had A Monkey In My House..."


I had a monkey in my house…
I have told this story a hundred times; this is how I always start it in my Drama 1 class. I then stop and answer the two questions that always appear. First, it was 1993 in suburban Los Angeles and second the story is absolutely true. For the next fifteen minutes I tell them how it all happened that Sunday afternoon. How the monkey walked in the back door, took refuge in the bathroom, sampled lipstick, and created a rainbow of Kleenex. The story follows our attempts to cage the monkey, multiple calls to a skeptical animal control, the newly caged monkey eating dry cat food and loquats, his eventual pickup, and the epilogue involving the return of an upgraded cage and the fine paid by the monkey’s owner. It really is a fun story.

I did not tell this story for the first time until six months after the event. When I finished, my brother’s response was, “How did you not call everyone you know and tell them?” I started to understand power of this story. I have honed the telling of it into a teaching performance which demonstrates vocal variety, physicality on stage, and the creation of word pictures in the audience’s mind. Students who complete my class will always remember “The Monkey Story” and a group of alum even acted it out at my 40th birthday party. The stories we tell leave imprints on the listener. Sharing stories formed the core of my MFA thesis production Crow and Weasel by Jim Leonard Jr. Badger, the matriarch of the animal people says, “if something of value has happened to you, and you cannot find a dignified way to express it. Then what do you have to bring home to your people?” In theatre we have the obligation to share good stories well.

My passion has always been family theatre. Not children’s theatre, not theatre for young audiences, but theatre for all audiences. Susan Zeder summed up my view saying she writes for an audience which does not exclude young people. Like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons or Pixar films, theatre which layers meaning for different ages is compelling. That type of family theatre in 2013 is a challenge. Both kids and adults come to the theatre with a background in film and television. Mass media deals with a reality bias, theatre often works in symbolism. Audiences know a twenty-two minute sitcom or forty-four minute drama, the two-hour two-act time frame of theatre is the exception to their experience. A tweet or status update cannot explain the nuance found in good theatre. In the coming weeks I will speak about my ideas for audience engagement, for now, I just want to lay bare some of the challenges theatre artists face in sharing stories to a broad audience.

One of the successes of my program is a commitment to only working with good material. My view of family theatre is, admittedly, a bit broad. I have worked with children’s literature adaptations (The Phantom TollboothSeussical), but I have also successfully presented Medea to a high school audience. The hunt for quality plays and the focus on a great theatrical experience for the production team and audience means reading many, many scripts.  The amount of low-quality youth theatre plays is staggering. Plays with stilted dialogue, poor structure, and simplistic ideas populate many family theatre catalogs. Even adaptations of great literature can produce mediocre scripts when playwrights try and talk down to a younger audience. I have never met a child who enjoys condescension. Another obstacle is that most of the top playwrights write plays which, because of content, exclude the broader audience. The economic realities of commercial theatre and professional pressure to avoid the label "children's playwright" conspire in the dearth of quality.

I love a good story, both the telling and the hearing. My Daughter's First Trip to the Emergency Room... The Scar on My Shoulder Blade...There Was a Monkey in My House...The closing number of Once on This Island  gives voice to this idea  “Out of what we live, and we believe, our lives become the stories that we weave.” Feel free to share any quality scripts for a family audience in the comments. In my next post, I will explore the results of these experiences, creating community.

Brian Bozanich
MFA Youth Theatre- University of Hawaii, Manoa
Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, Saint Joseph High School

Please visit: Twitter: @FilmRobin for up-to-date info on where I am travelling for ART. LinkedIn: for complete resume & work history. and look for Dr. Robin Scott Peters Ebooks now available. YouTube: for all my video work.

Cleveland Rocks!!! My first photographs at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

by Robin Scott Peters

Image of Dr. Robin Scott Peters

Just wanted to share the photographs I took at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  I arrived at the site just past 6:00 PM, too late to take the tour as it was closed.  I walked around the complex. Looking at the city skyline.  Looking at the waterfront.  I thought, wow, Cleveland Rocks.  So me and my Canon 550D went to work.  Hope you like what I captured.  Drop me a line and let me know what photograph was your favorite!

Please visit: Twitter: @FilmRobin for up-to-date info on where I am travelling for ART. LinkedIn: for complete resume & work history. and look for Dr. Robin Scott Peters Ebooks now available. YouTube: for all my video work.

The Week in Review: Ms. Alison Saar at the Figge Museum

I spent the last four days reviewing 3100+ pictures I took during my week in Cape Cod.  Also, I reviewed the week driving across country.  I want to share my experiences in a deeper level.  So, over the next few blogs I will pick the highlights of the trip and break down why it moved me to photograph and write.  Today, I write about Alison Saar's exhibit at the Figge Museum, Davenport, IA.

First, the photograph:

Since my visit to the Figge Museum this particular sculpture has haunted me.  I wondered how the antlers played into the artistic message of the artist.  So I did some research.  I looked up the significance of antlers. My initial reaction to this piece was the antlers represented the "crown" of the woman.  The antlers all around her feet represent other females such as the subject.  Others subjugated to social brutality.  Her hand grasping her breast and the position suggests--sustaining the culture almost an act of breast feeding to maintain the future, or to sustain those still in the struggle.  The woman tied--self, entangled in social constructs which abuses the native, natural being.  She carries her tied bound self capable of a super strength to find fullness, as defined by the stance of the subject.  This sculpture cast the sense of nihilism and hope together in an odd cacophony of life.

My research on antlers uncovered the following: Spiritual antennae, tuning of feminine energies.  The Greek's Artemis, the virginal huntress.  The Hellenic goddess of the hunt. The protector of young girls.  The reliever of disease.  There is a gentleness attached to the image of antlers.  When one sees antlers, it is a time of reflection, a time of gentleness, a time to contemplate peace.

After my research I thought my initial interpretation of Ms.Saar's piece may be off mark.  But as I contemplate, I find there is a symbolic paralleling. The "crown" of the woman -- her spiritual antennae in tact, huge and expansive, able to carry and protect against the brutal social constructs woman attempt to navigate.  The myriad of antlers scattered at her feet call for gentleness, and peace.  The subject standing among the antlers that obviously were part of others such as herself.  Yes, there is a need for peace and gentleness, protection and basic human compassion folded in to the darkness that hoovers heavy above this piece.

I love this piece because it makes me think.  It makes me emotionally aware.  It slips from my intellectual grappling and pins me to the mat. Thank you Ms. Saar, again. for your voice.


Please visit: Twitter: @FilmRobin for up-to-date info on where I am travelling for ART. LinkedIn: for complete resume & work history. and look for Dr. Robin Scott Peters Ebooks now available. YouTube: for all my video work.

Friday, March 29, 2013

ARTING About...? Think Theatre, Share Stories, Create Community


Think Theatre, Share Stories, Create Community
What do you do? Short answer, I am a high school theatre teacher. Longer answer, I unite young people in common purpose to create a unified artistic product combining words, actions, and imagination. I am not a failed actor, I am not teaching until something better comes along, and my production program is not a therapy group for a band of misfits and their damaged instructor.  I work with smart, young people, committed to quality productions judged by the standards of good theatre, not merely good high school theatre. The six word title of this article defines my approach.

The brain must be fully engaged to create theatre.  If a school wants a serious cross-curricular activity, they should fund the theatre program like the athletic department.  Actors engage the language, motor, and emotional centers of the brain to create a role.  Designers study history and literature to imagine the world of the play and then apply math and engineering to bring that vision into the day.  A good production program examines a range of human experience, exploring diversity in concrete ways beyond a lecture in a history class.

I choose to work in theatre rather than film because the performers and audience occupy the same space and time. The space between the actor and audience fascinates me.  Any adult worried about the disconnection of young people in a digital age should put them on stage.  I create productions which challenge both actors and audience by blurring the lines between the groups.  Not many high schools mount musicals in the round (Once on This Island, Into the Woods, and Seussical) or tennis courts (Loves Labor’s Lost, Selkie) or choose to move the audience during the show (Medea, Night of the Living Dead, Shakespeare in the Park.) Growtowski and Brooks examined that space, because, in that gap, is where theatre happens.  My students enjoy the effects of proximity and interaction on young people.  During our production of Night of the Living Dead, the student zombie horde roamed the aisles of the theater, amplifying the stakes for the characters.  
I would like to hear from other theatre people about what high school theatre programs should do to create stronger artists, larger audiences, and better human beings. I will save my thoughts sharing stories in my next post because I wanted to tell you, I had a monkey in my house one day….

Brian Bozanich
Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator
MFA Youth Theatre- University of Hawaii, Manoa

Please visit and look for Dr. Robin Scott Peters Ebooks now available.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Art of Life--A Short Story?

A strange week indeed.  Two extended family members passed away.  I was informed of the first passing last Tuesday.  I attended the wake just yesterday.  As I was walking out of the wake I received a text from my mother telling me of the passing of another family member.  How apropos.  During my trip across country I stopped at a cemetery and monuments raised to honor the dead and here I am surrounded by the reality of what awaits each of us.  I tweeted something about the wake and how I would write about the Art of Life.

Art captures life in all forms.  It codifies a specific moment in time.  Whether a still life painting, sculpture or photograph, something captured the artist's attention.  Moved to manifest the internal infestation of this "muse," a creation is born.  Life and death.  Hand in hand.  One does not come without its tethered twin.  Some art examines the idealism of life; some the pessimistic nadir that pommels our hopes and dreams.  All the "isms" of our infinite ability to construct paradigms revealed, manifest throughout the history of humanness.

Morning.  After promising to blog about such lofty ideas as Art and Life, I took to the streets to find art.  Maybe some inspiration out there could help me define these two pillars of existence. As I drove around Falmouth, Cape Cod, MA I didn't find any outward monuments to life.  No symbolic statues reaching toward the heavens.  I contacted my producer.  Lula, help!  She got to our favorite "savior" Google.  "Go to Cotuit Center of the Arts."  Okay, GPS do your thing...bleep, bleep. drive 13.5 miles east.  So with the big eye in the sky assisting me I followed the directions being harped at me and settled into the single lane traffic. I glanced at the Cape Cod homes with the slate grey, deep blues and rustic reds weathered and tested by mother nature.  Look at all the people "ant-ing" about.  Teeming life all around.  People going about doing their thing as if death wasn't even a possibility.  "2.5 miles, your destination will be on your left" the sweet British-voiced GPS guided lady prompted.  I looked to my left and I saw a barn red building -- Cahoon Museum of American Art.  Big American flag waving, banners calling out their "Campaign for the Cahoon."  Yup, just like art, always trying to raise money.  I thought, "we artists always struggle with money."  I passed the Cahoon and arrived at my scheduled destination.  It was a theater complex.  A large theater and a black box.  Not what I was expecting.  Oh wait, there is an art gallery...oh darn, it's closed.  Okay, obviously not in the cards for me today.  My stress level beginning to peak, I have to write about art and life, right?

Back in my truck, I moved out the parking lot to the street.  Guess I better head back to Falmouth. I jumped into the thickening traffic and was quickly upon the Cahoon again.  I drove past it thinking "well that's a museum.  Must be art in there."  "American art...boring!  Hmmm what is American art?"  Tap tap tap on my shoulder came my artistic alter-ego.  "Turn around -- NO. I am not interested!  Tap tap tap, turn around!"  No, no, no, but somehow my fire red Nissan Frontier managed to listen to the internal me and not the external me and I found myself parking.

At the entrance was one of those fundraising thermometers.  Showing how well -- or not-- the management campaign for cash was going.  "Did it say $1.5 million raised?  Can't be right. This little community raised that much money for some unknown museum?"  I looked closer.  "What, they are trying to raise $2.5 million?  Lofty dreams for such a seemingly small organization."  As I  reached for the door I saw the sign saying "American Art"  I had this immediate reaction to turn and run, run fast and far.  I rejected and over powered the response, pushed through the entrance, and came upon a nice young lady sitting quietly at a small letter desk.

I looked about.  It was a typical New England styled home built in 1775.  Wainscoting, strong paneled doors, planked flooring, yes, seen this before.  I introduced myself ... blogger, art, California, travelling about, can I photograph, blah, blah, blah.  The young woman disappeared quickly to get the appropriate person to allow me access to...?  I grabbed a postcard on the desk that advertised the current display.  March 26, 2013 -- just opened yesterday.  "ARTIST AND BARTENDER: The Extraordinary Works of Captain Joe Miron." Well that has potential" I quipped to myself.  I walked around the small room thinking, "this will be a quick visit.  Nothing interesting here. Just quaint small town artists happy to see their work on walls other than their own."

From behind me I heard "I understand you have questions regarding our exhibit?"  I turned to find this very tall brunette, big eyed and pretty smile, extending her hand. "I am Stephanie, I run the gift shop.  I will try to answer your questions.  I am new here, but if I don't know the answer, I can certainly find out."  I took out my cell, turned on my tape recorder and peppered her with questions --who, what, where, why, when ... public art?  We wandered into the second room.  I immediately realized the building was much larger than the outside indicates.  Stephanie was a bit nervous at first, but as we chatted her knowledge and love of the arts spilled out and our conversation took on a comfort that allows for a reporter to get some good 411.

"We are really excited about our newest exhibit. Captain Joe Miron.  "Stephanie led me into another room and began to talk about Captain Joe Miron.  "He is from Falmouth originally."  "Really," I interrupted.  "I grew up in Falmouth, I never heard his name?" Stephanie leaned in and said, "he was a bartender at a bar called the Captain Kidd in Woodshole."  "What!  That was my hangout back in the 70's.  I wonder if he ever served me a beer?"  Stephanie moved into a long hallway running behind the rooms we had just occupied.  "I really like this new exhibit, full of life."  Hmmmm, life and art.  Just what I am looking for.

I listened to Stephanie and as I moved to the second and third work, I realized I was rushing through.  Not really looking, more like on auto pilot.  I took a breath.  "Self, you got some chip on your shoulder, give the work its due.  Stop glancing, work the work."   So that's what I did.

I looked at composition and setting first.  I noticed that Captain Joe Miron really liked crowd scenes.  People everywhere in all of his work.  Groups small and large.  I examined what was happening in the crowds.  This is where I fell for the work of Captain Joe Miron.  People, enjoying, partying, stealing, grabbing, drinking, cavorting, carousing, and canoodling!!!  Captain Joe Miron was capturing real life.  He had mastered the art of life.  Slap! Right across my face it all began to make sense.  The colors vibrant, not brash.  Juxtaposed with the subject matter.  Color of life.  The application wasn't flat.  Captain Joe Miron's use of strong line against the simple application created a bold depth that I obviously missed with my first glance. There was immense humor -- a caricature of the living, but one which also revealed.  I could see those wrongly-coined "cartoonish" characters as full living beings.  Occupying the same space.  And all wrapped up in bawdy behavior--living life, making a living, loving friends and sharing the very precious time we get to be on this earth.  Bravo, Captain Joe Miron!

I looked down this hidden hallway and I spied a well quaffed gentleman with a handful of boxes and the like. He turned and smiled and Stephanie, right on time, made the introduction. "This is our Museum Director, Richard Waterhouse."  I pounced!  "Richard, what do you think of...."  And I began to gush over the dramatic turn within me regarding Captain Joe Miron.  A chorus of  "I almost missed this and that," and "his subject matter..." and "the power of the every day existence."  Yes that 's what Captain Joe Miron captured the seamy everyday deep beautiful side of life in all its forms.

Toulouse Lautrec, came screaming into my head, but it was stuck in there, you know, on the tip of your tongue sort of thing.  I spoke "who is  that French painter who painted the bawdy side of life?  This work so reminds me of that in its style."  Richard was right on it... "oh, yes, Toulouse Lautrec.  Yes, I suppose so."  Stephanie cordially agreed and Richard excused himself.  A director's work is never done, and by the looks of the few works I reviewed, so far so good.

Alas Alack, my guides were gone.  And I was left to explore.  Captain Joe Miron is deep, traveled the world and he captured it magnificently.  Nassau, Italy, Spain, France and more.  Each painting examining life that is right in front of him.  The taste for living and the zest of life he conjured is quite remarkable.  The longer I lingered at each work, there is a plethora, I marveled and chuckled out loud, at the creative mastery Captain Joe Miron conducted by capturing "us" in the stroke of life. 

So you would think that this is the end of the story. And it was.  Until I met Joan Lynch whom dropped some serious knowledge on this PhD fathead.  A bit of back story here: After my conversation with Stephanie and Richard, I was alone.  I, being a jovial extrovert, engaged Joan immediately and we basically--stranger to stranger--viewed the complete exhibit (Art is communal).  We bantered back and forth about everything.  The art makes you think.  Joan was well traveled abroad and she immediately verified the accuracy of the depictions of the locations.  With the Captain Joe Miron  spin.  Joan volunteer's and works with clients afflicted with Alzheimer's   Joan was involved with classes that were held on Cape Cod which trained home health care professionals to use art in the treatment of Alzheimer's.  The classes where headed by none other than MOMA.  This program which Cahoon Museum of American Art participates allows groups to come to view art when the museum is closed allowing the Alzheimer's clients full interaction with the art.  Joan stated, "you would be amazed to see what they notice and remember and comment on" regarding the art they see during the visit.  And as quickly as we had become art partners walking, enjoying together, she put forth a firm hand and flashed her smile  perfectly displayed with her silver head of hair.  And our encounter was over.

I said my goodbye's and walked out of the museum.  I took some pictures of the outside of the building because I wasn't allowed any photographs of the art.  But now it was okay not to have it, again, in the irony of this whole visit, it only seemed right not to have them.  Better to tantalize, makes it all the more sweet when you visit and see America's Toulouse Lautrec.

These last few days I pondered Life and Art. Captain Joe Miron has the answer.  Be in the moment my friends.  MOMA has the answer: art as facilitation for the community.  Cahoon Museum of American Art has the answer: make art accessible to everyone--art renews.  Joan Lynch has the answer: give, love, help--art heals.

A lesson learned?  Join me won't you?

Typical New England 

The Art World's nemesis -- MONEY

Did you find the line about Toulouse Lautrec?  I stumbled upon this poem by the grandson of Captain Joe Miron.  He called his grandfather the "American Toulouse Lautrec."  This is in the last room I visited.  Over an hour after I mentioned the work had T.L. flavor!!!

Cahoon Museum of American Art

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Public Art -The Figge Museum and Ms.Alison Saar

The fluid is black oil.  The facial features unmistakable. Racial affects defined so simply.
The fluid is black oil.  The facial features unmistakable.  What do you think the artist is saying about public "treatment?" 

Photograph of sculpture of nude female with antlers, suspended upside down.
The first work I saw, I was floored.

Photograph by Robin Peters of a sculptured nude female form with antlers suspended upside down from the ceiling tied at the feet.
I was so wanting to talk to someone about the antlers?  I have a few thoughts on it.  Lets debate.

Photograph by Robin Peters of a Sink filled with a black liquid.  Above the sink, suspended by metal "still-like" tubing is a glass heart and above that a glass head half filled with black liquid.  A bar of white soap and black soap on the old styled sink.
Notice the black soap and the white?  Direct dichotomy of color?  The heart is?

Photograph of the glass boxing gloves, mop, bucket from the front.
A Battle for Life and Respect?

Alison Saar metal sculpture of a woman nude, with antlers carrying another woman curled in the fetal position bound.  Antlers are all around the standing figures feet.  She holds her left breast with her right hand.
I so want to speak to the artist! Carrying self.  Shackled/tied and immobilized.

Photograph close up of glass Boxing Gloves. Blood red liquid inside.
Blood Red -- A fight for life?

Photograph by Robin Peters of Glass Boxing Gloves 3/4 full of red liquid, a mop and a bucket with a metal tube draining the liquid downward.
The blood drips into the cleaning bucket.  This was chilling standing in its aura!

Photograph of the Introduction of the Saar exhibit details.
The amazing artist.  Public art?  Communal accusations?

An Exhibit piece of a horse frame.
The material and color, I didn't do it justice.

Stained Glass Exhibit at the Figge Museum, Davenport, Iowa.
You can see the depth as if it is jumping out at you.  In person, the effect was so wild.  Had to try to capture it. How did I do?

A large wood carving of an African woman adorn.
Much larger then it appears in the photograph.  Scroll down for the  full reveal.

African wood carving by artist Acius Joseph
A Star in the East.  A Child is Born?

African Wood Carving by Artist Acius Joseph.
A  holy Child is born!

Photograph close up of African art wood carving face at the Figge Museum.
There is a sense of contemplation, comfort and resolution/acceptance?

Photograph of small sculpture wood carvings representing the nativity scene.

Photograph of African Art wood carvings with exaggerated extended body and neck.  See my article the Picasso Effect to compare Picasso's fascination with the same use of exaggerated form.
Magnificent.  The artwork in the background is the piece I mentioned above about 4' tall.

Photograph taken by Robin Peters of the interior of Figge Museum. Stairs leading down.
Third floor to second floor.  Blending art and space?  Hey SFMOMA,  Your  Twitterchat on building design opened my eyes.  Before I stepped in to the Figge I stood outside and walked around the complete building.  Inside I focused on lighting and layout.  Thanks for the motivation to look at the "whole."

Photograph by Robin Peters of a series of looped bridges crossing the Mississippi River, Davenport, Iowa.
The Mississippi.  Bridges public art?  

Photograph taken by Robin Peters in a glass walkway which crosses to a casino in Davenport, Iowa near the Figge Museum.
Bridge Walkway to Casino on the Mississipi.  Escher!!!

Photograph from a fourth story walkway of the Mississippi River and the water control system.
The Mighty Mississippi!

Figge Museum, Davenport, Iowa.  You folk's have got it going on!!!  Thank you Ms. Lula, my producer, for all your homework and telling me this place was a must stop.

When I arrived at 225 W. 2nd the first glimpse of the Figge and its glass building portended what was about to occur me.  I walked to the front and stood looking at myself in the glass.  My image altered.  And the short time there affected my internal image.  I was not expecting such mind altering art.  Alison Saar, artist of the African art above, I want to interview you!  I love when I run into unexpected emotional interaction with art.  I mean, that is the point right?  You Figge'n Rock!!!

I took over 100 pictures while at the Figge.  Trying to not put all 100 here was a great struggle.  Ms. Saar, what else do you have for us hungry souls looking for more than flaccid art!  We art lovers looking for art that brings us to that point of personal internal confrontation? Make us struggle, and hurt, feel guilt or pity, exploring emotions untapped or even unknown to us.  We humans that watch American Idol and MTV foolishness.  So afraid of engaging life, we hide among the vapidness of "entertainment."  Not you Ms. Saar.  Your voice ringing loud and clear.  You are engaged and challenge us to do the same.

Anyone near the Figge, anyone that has a desire to see powerful work -- get up!  Drive, run, walk, bus, fly whatever...get to the Figge and see this.  Take a friend, share (public art) communicate, express your emotions and dig deep.  And for holy sake turn off the idiot box and walk into a world waiting to give you so much more.  If you can't get to the Figge, then go to a museum near you.  Every place I have stopped along this journey has delivered such surprise.  I am sure, right next to you, is an amazing adventure awaiting.  Ahhhh public art.  I want to devour all of you.

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