Coming Back to the Blog

I can’t believe that it has been almost a year since my last post. Despite my passion for art and seeing copious amounts of shows with my son, I have found blogging to be a tad overwhelming to keep up with alongside my other work. I hope all of my readers have kept up with our art journey at Brooklyn Based where I write often about our gallery visits. 

I’ve had to rethink what I want to accomplish with this blog and how to separate it from my other work. The question I ultimately came to, was what is my unique perspective and how best to share it with my readers? I’d love any suggestions on what you’d like to hear about, I’m all ears. I have some great brainstorms for upcoming posts, continuing my family’s art path, as well as my personal creative life learning. In the meantime, I’d like to share my week’s media (reading and podcast links).

Podcast on Heritage Radio— Lisa Congdon, author of Art, Inc— I just found out about this wonderful Inc. series by Chronicle Books which gives practical advice to start your own business in crafts, as a mom, or this one, as an artist.  I’ll definitely be ordering a few of these books (Blog, Inc for one!). But today, I enjoyed listening to this podcast with the San Francisco- based artist and author of Art, Inc.

Creative Block by Danielle Krysa— This book is by one of my favorite art bloggers, Danielle Krysa aka The Jealous Curator. I found it in the Whitney bookstore, after visiting the Jeff Koons show this summer. Although I’m only a few projects in, I can already tell that this book is potentially life changing. It’s like a project based graduate school in a book, with over 50 cool projects suggested by the coolest artists. I’ll be posting more about this in the future, and will be documenting part of my own creative process. I’m just seeing that this is also published by Chronicle, so obviously I need to explore their website for more great discoveries.

Art History Course on Khan Academy- If you are a big nerd like me, you will LOVE this free course in art history at Khan Academy. I hope this is just the beginning of their curriculum, because I would love to even dive deeper. The format with some reading, and lots of videos, makes the learning fun— and very different than sitting in a dark room looking at slides (which is what my college art history experience was.)

Your Moment of Zen, in Queens

Your Moment of Zen, in Queens

100 Great Children’s Books

The New York Public Library published a list of the 100 Best Children’s Books of all time.  We’ve read about 1/3 of them (33 out of 100).   Some of our current faves are Frog and ToadMillions of Cats and Pink and Say.

This definitely gives us some inspiration for our library visits.  At our library, we order our materials online and have them delivered to our local branch.  I’m emailed when the order arrives and I can just pick them up.  It’s such a wonderful system and I think without it, we wouldn’t be such avid readers!  What’s your reading & book buying style?


A few weeks ago, we went to Chinatown for the day.  Before we left the house, we read “The Story About Ping” by Marjorie Flack which takes place on the Yangtze River in China.  This story about a duck that gets lost from his crew, set the stage for an adventure filled day.  (Just a forewarning though— the book is from an time long long ago where the word “spanking” is used without a second thought.  But the illustrations and story are so classic that I have to recommend it anyways.)  Just like Ping, we got lost in a new neighborhood and saw all sorts of strange birds- and other delicious treats and eats!  You can read all about our exploration at Brooklyn Based.



Get an extra 20% off…see how at the end of the post

One thing about visiting so many museums with my preschooler, is that he’s just at the cusp of stroller versus no stroller.  For long treks, I usually opt for the stroller and let him walk when we arrive.  As a born and bred New Yorker, he usually has a pretty good attitude about doing a hefty amount of walking.  But it usually means, I have to go overboard in making sure that his clothes, shoes, sun protection are in tip top shape and he is well fed to prevent potential meltdowns.  This week we test drove the new line of adorable shoes from Plae (see my earlier post about the brand here) and went to the most exhausting museum of all, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This behometh monster of a museum can bring the average tourist to their knees, so I knew it would be a good test of both shoe and stamina!


My son is already enamored with the sneakers.  Although they look cute in the photos, they look even hipper in real life.  The best part is they come in different colors with remove-able velcro tabs (straps) that can be swapped out to match any mood.  We were pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to change these tabs out.  For a control obsessed toddler, this is a dream come true.  On this fine summer day, my son color coordinated with his Michael Jackson shirt and away we went to check out the Ken Price sculpture retrospective at the Met.



This Frank Gehry designed exhibit (he was a BFF of the late artist), is a retrospective of Ken Price’s life’s work: mostly organically shaped ceramic sculptures that look almost other worldly in their smoothness.  The glazed objects are beautiful and are basically begging to be touched by little dirty fingers.  To avoid this, my son got a piggy back ride through the exhibit to prevent a disaster of epic proportions.   



The key to the Met is taking frequent breaks and not looking at too much art in one day.  After the beauty of Ken Price, we decided to take a snack break on the roof.  Champagne for mom and dad, and water and pretzels for Lincoln, helped keep up our energy levels.  Our son is currently taking hip-hop dance lessons, and he showed off some of his moves for us (and the scores of out of towner onlookers.)  Before he started busking, we took a bathroom break and finished off with the modern wing at the Met.  While my sandals were already starting to pinch, Lincoln seemed to be bouncing off the walls in his Plae kicks.  Modern greats Giacometti, Picasso, Bacon are all represented here.  It’s easy to forget that the Met even has a modern collection, but given it’s size and scope, it really does have everything under one roof.  A few hours in the museum was enough for us, but surprisingly Lincoln still had energy to burn.  We headed into the great lawn at Central Park and let him run loose as he zig zagged across the meadow.  Eventually, he tired himself out and joined us where we lay exhausted on the ground.  Even when we got home though, he refused to take off the new shoes.  


P.S. The folk at Plae are extending their Back-to-School offer for readers.  Through 9/2, you can get your child their own pair of these fly new sneaks for an extra 20% off just by using the code AS76 at check out.  

Lions and Tigers and Meter Maids, Oh My!

Last week, we checked out the Prospect Park Zoo for the website, Brooklyn Based.  Temperatures were running high, and we realized that it might be a good time for summer to come to a close.  Check out a review of out time here.  My son is really really really into animals, and we have enough Schleich animal figurines to appease Noah and his ark.  All day long we make animal noises, sort what habitats animals live, and make up animal yoga poses.  I’m looking forward to the day we can study mammals closer with The Burgess Animal Book, which I’ve had so many people recommend to me.  We tried listening to it (free on LibriVox!) and Lincoln was bored to tears.  But for those with older animal lovers- it’s a free resource, in the form of an audiobook, that teaches about all sorts of mammals.  Additionally, there are websites that have accompanying coloring pages, etc.  

*An interesting project is being funded by the artist Marina Abramovic on Kickstarter.  (If you haven’t already donated to the campaign, the kickstarter is now closed.)  But since the money was raised ($661,452!!!) we can look forward to the Marina Abramovic Institute: a Performance and Education Center that will be located in Hudson, NY.  For those unfamiliar with the performance artist, I suggest an evening with the recent documentary Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, that can be rented from Netflix.  People who saw her eye gazing performance at the MOMA retrospective have called it an almost religious experience.  After watching the film, I was definitely sipping the Kool Aid!  It’s not a film for kids (there is nudity and adult content), but it does have some good perspective on the eternal burning question “What is Art?”  If art is making the viewer feel something, then Marina Abramovic may be one of the greatest artist of our times.  People were leaving the MOMA weeping and many, many people came back to see her again and again even with lines that wrapped around the block for hours.  I’m looking forward to seeing what grows out of Hudson.  


This week’s NY Times Magazine had a beautifully written article about a naturalist artist who happens to be a close family friend of my husband’s.  Beyond the personal connection, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of Carmen Almon’s art.  For anyone interested in nature or beauty, this is a wonderful read.  Children of all ages will be enthralled by the pure magic of her flowers.  And what inspiration for going on a nature walk to enjoy the upcoming autumn months and the botany that arrives with the changing of the seasons!



My son and I are always on the move checking out museums and now that he is getting to be too big for the stroller, his footwear is on the forefront of my mind.  Currently, he’s rocking some navy Natives, which look like Croc boat shoes.  He calls them his “tapshoes” but if he ever tried dancing in them, they would fall right off his feet.  So, when the nice peeps at PLAE asked if we wanted to roadtest their line of mixable matchable shoes, we were psyched!  Founder Ryan Ringholz (who designed for Puma, Diesel and Uggs) enlisted an orthopedic surgeon to ensure a line of kids’s shoes that were not just cool, but also will assist developing feet.  I’ll give a full update of the test run, but in the meantime to celebrate their launch, they are giving readers a 20% deal starting today on all shoes and accompanying fashion tabs.  Our readers can use the code AS76 for 20% off al shoes through 8/30 9/2 to celebrate Back-T0-School!  If you love the idea as much as we do, join their facebook page and tell your friends.  

Bruce High Quality Foundation University

We recently explored the Bruce High Quality Foundation exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum for Brooklyn Based.  One of the things that really intrigued me about their show was the BHHQ University that the collective started on Avenue.  Folks, this is FREE arts education completely funded by the collective and their supporters.  Since other people have also asked for more information on this crazy avant garde idea, I wanted to post a few links for those who want to delve deeper and research this extraordinary opportunity.  The Fall classes will be starting soon and information will be up soon on the site.  Check it out and see if it’s right for you or anyone you know.  I fully support anyone doing anything with free quality education of any form, but these guys seem to have a handle on how to run the art world- so learning from them would send you to the top of the class.  Start shining those apples.

Bruce High Quality Foundation University Fall 2013 information

Galleryist checks out a class and lives to tell about it

A Photo Student blog has a lot of information

Phaidon article about BHQU


via Brooklyn Based/The American Museum of Natural History


Summer heat is stifling in New York and sometimes it’s impossible to get out of town.  For weekends like this, we get our beach fix by heading to the American Museum of Natural History.  Last month I wrote all about our trip for Brooklyn Based.  


Additionally, starting in September your child can enter the essay contest about the exhibit.  It’s a great opportunity for your child to show off their non-fiction writing chops and the winners are divided by grade so they will all be competing against their peers.  The child will have to visit between September and January and submit the essay with school signatures.  But, this may be a good thing to get a start on the school year and ease out of the summer slump!


The LeFrak Class of the Month Essay Contest invites New York City students in grades K-8 to submit essays about their Museum visit to the LeFrak Family Gallery, where this fall they can experience Whales: Giants of the Deep.

This week is National Lighthouse Day!  These beautiful, regal structures always make me think of summer.  So, here’s a few of my favorite paintings on the subject.
This week is National Lighthouse Day!  These beautiful, regal structures always make me think of summer.  So, here’s a few of my favorite paintings on the subject.
This week is National Lighthouse Day!  These beautiful, regal structures always make me think of summer.  So, here’s a few of my favorite paintings on the subject.
This week is National Lighthouse Day!  These beautiful, regal structures always make me think of summer.  So, here’s a few of my favorite paintings on the subject.
This week is National Lighthouse Day!  These beautiful, regal structures always make me think of summer.  So, here’s a few of my favorite paintings on the subject.

This week is National Lighthouse Day!  These beautiful, regal structures always make me think of summer.  So, here’s a few of my favorite paintings on the subject.


Joe Bradley, Lotus Beaters (Installation View), courtesy of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise



A month ago Joe Bradley had a mostly abstract show at the Gavin Brown Enterprises Gallery.  His body of work is mostly known for being unlike any of his previous work— Lego robot paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphics, cave paintings, and now abstract blobs on stitched together canvases that are complete with footprints and other studio debris.  Additionally, a wall of crude line drawings that taken together feel like looking at visual jazz.  


1. What do you think the artist was trying to portray with these drawings?

2. How do these drawings make you feel?

3. How many of these drawings can you call “figurative”?

4. The artist uses a technique to make these crude— he is not untrained.  Yet, he captures a childlike spirit of an untrained artist.  Talk about that dynamic.


*An interview between Interview Magazine and Joe Bradley

*Gavin Brown Enterprise 


The original crude art was found in paleolithic caves.  Most of these examples featured animals and hunting.  They painted about the world around them and what was most important to their everyday lives.  Cave artists used twigs and berries to paint these primitive explorations on the walls.  Work with your children to make their own cave drawings.  What topic is most important to your child?  Encourage them to choose subjects that are important to them and can be used to communicate something to the viewer.  Ann Arbor Art Center has some ideas about materials to use to emulate an actual cave drawing.  But as Joe Bradley shows us, it’s not necessary to be on a cave to have the full impact of a crude sketch.  


Photo: Ilona Szwarc

Read about my family’s sweaty walk through the new “al fresco” THE FENCE at Photoville Art Exhibit that I wrote for the website Brooklyn Based Kids.  Definitely see the show this summer, but bring water and sunscreen!


Photos: Alabama Deafblind Project

In celebration of Helen Keller’s birthday, I wanted to write about the Helen Keller International Art Show, which is sponsored by the Council for Exceptional Children Division on Visual Impairments and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Vision Science Research Center and School of Education.  The Alabama Deafblind Project claims it “was established in 1983 as a cooperative project between agencies serving children with visual impairments.”  The emphasis is on creativity and tactile mediums— and the results are interesting in their diversity and assumed therapy.  The winning pieces go on to travel around galleries in Alabama.