Tag Archives: Racism

Aimless Winter Wandering

Wandering with wandering eyes brought us some fine amusements and nourishing reflections recently.

Marco Razo’s work at the Decatur branch library is worth pondering. The brush work suggests long experience, while the paintings’ forms seem to limit themselves to rudimentary symbolism.

Marco Razo, "Las Sandias"

Marco Razo, “Las Sandias”

Across the street from the library, Georgia Perimeter College’s 2-D design class is carrying out a participatory project consisting of two large chalkboards with writing prompts. See more at decaturseedthoughts.tumblr.com. Magnet for floating thoughts.

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Perimeter College design class project

Up in Buckhead, the relatively new Buckhead Atlanta development offers pleasing locations for selfies. Significant facade yardage is given to tasteful if unchallenging art. But then, you’re probably not there to be challenged except in your personal finance.

At Buckhead Atlanta on Buckhead Avenue near the Hermes store

At Buckhead Atlanta on Buckhead Avenue near the Hermes store

A pop-up gallery at Peachtree Road and East Paces Ferry looked promising but was closed temporarily, or perhaps they were “pop-down.” If the website is still up, you might see something useful at starkartpopupgallery.com. We could only peer through the glass door.

Just inside the pop-up appears to be a piece by Karl Kroeppler of Woodstock, GA.

Just inside the pop-up appears to be a piece by Karl Kroeppler of Woodstock, GA.

At the Alan Avery Gallery, Margaret Bowland’s oil paintings were exquisite and challenging. Her pictures of African American girls explore problems of human aesthetics, race, and the construction of identity. High-quality representational technique! On Bowland’s website she says, “I believe in that space—outside the golden circle inhabited by the princess.” We wish Bowland had stayed in the South.

Margaret Bowland, "The Tea Party"

Margaret Bowland, “The Tea Party”

The Bowland experience was heightened by our visit to Jackson Fine Art, with its preview of Gordon Parks’ photographs. Parks’ works are intimate, loving, unflinching, and therefore capture all sorts of dynamic beauties and contradictions.

Gordon Parks, "Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama"

Gordon Parks, “Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama”

We in these parts still have a lot of healing to do. Bless the healing image-makers and those who allow us to appreciate them in this place.

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Looking at Atlanta’s Art with the “Creative Class”

On the subject of exploring for art in Atlanta, the first question is, What do you mean by Atlanta? Well that question is related to our identity at Atlanta Art Blog. On our “About” page we make reference to “metropolitan Atlanta.” That means we go outside the Atlanta city limits. We venture into Decatur. We sneak into Jonesboro. We’ve heard that there may be some art in Chamblee, hidden behind some antiques.

Poster by unknown artist. Private collection. Location: Sandy Springs, white couple 40-45 years old.

Poster by unknown artist. Private collection. Location: Sandy Springs, white couple 40-45 years old.

In the snow-induced apocalypse of January 28, 2014, it became very clear to the world that our “area,” that is, the “Atlanta area” is divided, as Maria Saporta reported. She’s talking about politics. It’s also true that we’re divided by race, and divided by socio-economic class.

Is the Atlanta area divided by art? Good question. In wealthier households you might expect to find higher-end art. The more interesting question would be, how does socio-economic class affect how a household views and uses the art that it has?

RA MIller, "Blow Oskar," image courtesy of ramiller.us/art.html. A version was observed in PIne Hills home, white couple 50-60 years old.

RA MIller, “Blow Oskar,” image courtesy of ramiller.us/art.html. A version was observed in PIne Hills home, white couple 50-60 years old.

Richard Florida has gained renown in recent years for his socio-economic studies, and his identification of something called the “creative class,” as distinguished from the “working class” and the “service class.” Florida defines the creative class as the people “who work in science and technology, business and management, arts, culture, media, and entertainment, law and healthcare professions.”

In a story last year, Florida used census data to show that in Atlanta, members of the creative class “make up 36.3 percent of the metro’s workers (above the national average of 32.6 percent). They average $73,272 in wages and salaries, better than the national average of $70,890, and over $25,000 more than the average wages ($46,442) for the metro.”

Al Jacobs, "Kosher" (detail). Private Collection. Location: PIne Hills home, white couple 45-55 years old.

Al Jacobs, “Kosher” (detail). Private Collection. Location: PIne Hills home, white couple 45-55 years old.

So where is this creative class? Answer: north. Florida mapped out, by census tract, where each of the classes resides in metro Atlanta. You can see the map here.

Of course it’s highly significant that the classes are somewhat separated from each other. The area directly southeast of downtown (around East Atlanta) is clearly a place of the creative class, but most of that class lives to the north of middle Atlanta, ranging from midtown Atlanta into a wide swath from Kennesaw to Suwanee and up into Alpharetta. Combining population density with this class-based map, the center of the creative class may be around Dunwoody or Sandy Springs. (In case you were wondering, Atlanta Art Blog’s offices are not in a creative part of town.)

It so happens that we checked out some of the art we saw in the homes of the creative class over the past several weeks. For the sake of having fodder for speculation, this post includes images that we observed.

Clark Atlanta University Art Collection: Ivory Tower or Battlefield?

Perhaps this is old news to many, but Atlanta Art Blog insists on repeating the news: There’s a luscious book out about Clark Atlanta University’s collection of art!

It’s called In the Eye of the Muses, is edited by Tina Dunkley, and contains beautiful color plates displaying the art that the University has collected over the past seventy years.

Enough said.

No, not yet.

Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta) began collecting the art in conjunction with holding its . . . . brace yourself for a string of adjectives . . . . annual national juried art competition and exhibition. That event came to an end in 1970, the year that the jury was all black for the first time at this all black competition.

“The Black Knight,” by Geraldine McCullough. The image above is a scan from the book, which was published by Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries.

“The Black Knight,” by Geraldine McCullough. The image above is a scan from the book, which was published by Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries.

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