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Since we've no place to go, Let's Make Art, Let's Make Art, Let's Make Art!

This week in ART YARD Advanced Studio Teaching Artist Halli Beaudoin presented a fascinating and thought provoking lesson titled: The Luxury and Bombast of Society’s Symbols: Portraiture and Dress In Community.

Halli taught us about the use and significance of dress and accessories in portraiture to reflect an “ideal” social standing in a community. Challenging us to create our own work to investigate this topic in our work as inspiration for how individuals choose to be visually remembered by current and future communities.

In her Power Point presentation Halli shared portraiture from the 1600’s to the present, examining what dress meant then, and how these similar themes are still at play today in the work of contemporary artists. Artists discussed included Kehinde Wiley, Johannes Vermeer, Ralph Wolfe Cowan, John Singer Sargent, Saint-Mémin, Jacob Waben, Frans Pourbus the Younger, and Jean-Étienne Liotard.

Paintings by Johannes Vermeer & Kehinde Wiley
Charles Balthazar and Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin, Osage Warrior 1805 by and Payouska (Pawhuska, c. 1752–1832), Chief of the Great Osage, 1804
Ralph Wolfe Cowan, H.H. Crown Prince Abdullah, H.H. President Shaikh Zayed of the Emirates, Oil on canvas

Halli explains: “Using the medium of their choice, Advanced Studio Artists created self-portraits that included items that represent how they’d like to be remembered in their chosen community. Some students chose jewelry gifted to them by family (Meridith and Wayne) while others focused on unexpected elements like medical and religious masks (Vera and Sarah). Some students chose accessories that show the history of their development (Marylin with her pins, Ed with his paintings / trees). Lastly, other students (me and Jacob) painted themselves how they'd like to be remembered-more glamorous and social than perhaps how they normally act.”

Meridith McNeal, Rings and Hoop, watercolor and glitter on paper, 12x12"
Wayne Gross, Watch, pencil on paper
Wayne Gross, Medalion, pencil on paper
Vera Tineo, Head Scarf, mixed media on paper
Vera Tineo, Head Scarf with Mask, mixed media on paper
Sarah Gumgumji, Self Portrait in Traditional Pre-Wedding Regalia, marker on paper

Marilyn tells us more about her piece: “My friends know me for “dressing up” and for sharing vintage clothes and costumes for various events. I’m also known for my pin collection, which dates back to childhood. The ones in the self-portrait include some from recent travels, some inherited, and some gifts that I’ve had for many years.”

Marilyn August, Tiara and Pins, watercolor and marker on paper
Halli Beaudoin, Glamerous Self With Colored Hair, paint on paper

Jacob describes his work: “This is my self-portrait for Halli's class. I'm not sure I'll be able to get a background done this week. I'm wearing an outfit that I have worn many times to a dance night in Minneapolis called "Transmission." It's named after the Joy Division song "Transmission," and it focuses on post-punk, and other music of the 80s. As a status symbol, this outfit demonstrates my knowledge of various fashion styles of the 80s. The shirt and beads allow me to move my shoulders in more expressive ways, which is characteristic of dancing to new wave music. Wearing this outfit helped me understand the way that music, dance, and clothing relate to each other.”

Jacob Rath, Self Portrait at Transmission, pencil and watercolor on paper

Kevin chose to focus on the T-Shirt from his Ecology based-club addressing issues of Climate Change at St. Joseph’s College where he is currently enrolled and working hard on his finals. I will add in Kevin’s completed drawing after finals!

Kevin Andrerson describing his concept for his drawing during critique

Claude’s work reminded us of a fantastic Samson-like Action Figure. Ed commenting: “This is one of the weirdest drawings I have seen in a while, and I mean as a huge and sincere compliment!”

Claude Viaud Peralta, Hair and Fire, work in progress, pencil on paper

Eden taught us about the concept of bi-lighting [the simultaneous use of pink, purple, and blue lighting to represent bisexual characters which is used in studio lighting for film and television.] and taking inspiration from Sarah who often branches out into new mediums in our sessions added a three-dimensional fiber aspect to her piece.

Eden Moore, shows work on progress during critique

Ed and Akash both focused on their snazzy spectacles.

Ed Rath, Designer Glasses, sumi ink on paper

Akash Wilmont, Every Day Wear with Glasses, pen on paper

After our session Jacob invited us to stay on Zoom to celebrate Hanukkah together! Those of us with Menorahs brought them to our screens. Jacob intoned the prayers and taught us how to wish someone happy holidays in Hebrew. It was a lovely way to share the holiday.

Jacob, Marilyn and Ed, Lighted Menorahs

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s office has pertinent snow storm related information posted along with a short schools update. We very much look forward to getting back in action with ART YARD Partnership School PS 6 in Jersey City!!


Sarah has a thread about Holiday cards underway on ART YARD CREATE. Please join the conversation!


In must see exhibitions, I was deeply moved and so impressed by Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration at PS1 in Long Island City. The work on view is some of the most profound and genuine that I have seen in while. The range and depth of the stylistic approaches and personal content is astounding and powerful. The show is beautifully curated and installed with finesse.

I wrote a fan letter to the Curator and author of book of the same title, Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood, Professor of American Studies and Art History, Rutgers University and was so pleased to hear back from her. She has put us in touch with the folks at PS1 and now we are dreaming up ways to collaborate in the new year.

Some of my snapshots from the exhibition:

Mark Loughney, Pyrrhic Defeat: A Visual Study of Mass Incarceration, 2014-present, graphite on paper, (installation detail)
Mark Loughney, Pyrrhic Defeat: A Visual Study of Mass Incarceration, 2014- present (partial installation view)
Gilberto Rivera, An Institutional Nightmare, 2012, federal prison uniform, commisary papers, floor wax, prison reports, newspaper and acrylic paint on canvas
James "Yaya" Hough, From Untitled 2011-2017, watercolor, pen and pencil on paper
William B. Livingston lll, Hrishikesh Hirway, 2016, acrylic on canvas
George Anthony Morton, Mars, 2016, graphite and white chalk on paper (with my reflection in the glass of the frame.)

That Brooklyn snowfall was an added bonus to our art-filled week!

P.S. This is on the window at the Grand Army Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library:

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