Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Throwing Christains to the lions

About a million or so years ago, back when the Romans were throwing Christians to the lions, (which should have been reported to the ASPCA cause all that fatty Mediterranean could not have been proper nutrition for growing cats and having such sensitive ears the crying and pleading as they were torn limb from limb probably scared the tar out of kitty, so let’s all get those nasty Romans), a fellow came to Dallas from Neuw Yark City. Yeah that guy the one who gets his hot sauce from Neuw Yark City and he knew just about as much about Dallas as the guy in those commercials knows about hot sauce.

He was so slow he went out and leased 37 acres of property way out in the wilderness beyond Loop 12. Now being as ya’ll are Oregonians and not familiar with Dallas, Loop 12 was a roadway built as an outside loop around the city so that truck traffic wouldn’t disturb the natives and everyone knew that no one would ever live outside the Loop.

But not the Neuw Yark City guy and even worse he contacted the best local architect and drew up plans for a brand new, completely different kind of shopping center way out there in the boondocks.

If you ever travel through Texas on your way South to Mexico or North from the Gulf to Oklahoma although why anyone would want to go to Oklahoma is beyond me, you’ll see that place on the side of Central Expressway, just drive till you see Jerusalem.

It does kinda look that way, but for those who don’t want to have to ask stupid questions, its name is Northpark Center.

And for heaven’s sake don’t call it a mall. Mr. Nasher designed it to be the town hall for a Southwestern city without a town hall, or even a city center.

And that is just what it became. When it opened in 1965 it was the premier shopping address in all of North America. For the first ten years Northpark Center out sold by the square foot all of the other retail shopping spaces combined, now it just outsells all of the retail spaces in Texas.

Every year someone comes along and says they are going to build a Nothpark killer. A store so big, a shopping center so grand, a destination address so fantastic that Northpark Center will just be a memory, yeah right, and Santa’s sleigh will be pulled by flying pigs.

One of the many things which set Northpark Center apart from the beginning was Mr. Nasher’s belief that art had to be shared. Those who through industry, zeal and dedication had become wealthy enough to acquire Fine Art must not hide it away, but must share it with the public even if the Public might not want it shared or care what it was.

Now way back in 1963 two years before Northpark Center opened for the public I got my first look at it and as a sixteen year old boy, growing up in Texas, with nothing, but babes and football and cars on my mind I was not impressed. (How did I manage a pre-view? My dad was the job captain for Northpark Center. He was for forty years the senior architectural building supervisor in Dallas and he happened to work for the firm which designed and planned Northpark.)

I was even less impressed when it opened and Mr. Nasher hung his art. Why he put up scarves in frames and called that art. Much later when the worst of the testosterone poisoning had passed I learned that they were in deed art, Miro scarves and much desired by rich and fashion conscious folks around the world. (Sorry Mr. Nasher, you tried to tell me.)

That was my first introduction to textile art. It took a long time to become a part of my artistic life, but I have to say that it is now and will never be set aside. And I’m wondering how many of you have considered making your art into textiles?

Why not? Great beauty can be found in all aspects of life. MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art has brought in many things not ordinarily considered Fine Art and the hard-a**ed, excuse me, bitten critics of New York City have embraced MOMA with a passion. I have to admit that I always thought the beautiful brute, the 1963 Ferrari GTO was one of the most incredible sculptures ever made and it’s impact on vehicle design has influenced cars great and small ever since.

But let’s get back to fabrics; they ain’t just Joanne’s any more.

Do you have something that you’ve done which might make a great textile? Why haven’t you given a thought to working it up and letting the market tell you if it is a great design or just art?

I’ve been thinking about a show coming up at Oregon State University, it’s called Ancient Americas; it’s for art inspired by ancient American works of art. We have a wealth of art from primitive peoples all along this great land mass we live on, from the Inuit culture in the far North to the Native Americans of the South continent. Yes, they are Native Americans, they just aren’t North Americans.

The Maya, Aztec and Incas had culture while Europeans were still refusing to bathe and bleeding sick people as a sovereign cure for every disease. Course that sort of treatment killed off a lot of Europeans so maybe it was a good thing we weren’t more advanced and able to spread our influence on other peoples so that some of them could survive to be the folks we live and work with today.

I’ve been looking at some Native American art and I think I’ve found what might just fit the prospectus for the Oregon State show. Oh and by the way I think it makes a pretty good design for fabric.

 That’s it. I’m pretty happy with it and I hope it fits the show regulations. I’ll let you know when I get the prospectus. I’ll publish it right here and maybe some of the South Coast artists will take a swing at the show.

But if you don’t want to enter the show and still have a good print that could become a great fabric maybe you’d like to do something about it?

 Spoonflower will make up your art into fabric and let you test it out on those wonderful people who make so many beautiful things, the quilters and sewers who do so much for the craft of art.

Karma Kraft does the same sort of thing on a larger scale. So maybe you want to run up a sample on Spoonflower and then take the proofed fabric to Karma Kraft and get a bunch run off?

Textiles have played a huge part in the story of art. Artists in this century have largely forgotten them but they still serve and useful purpose or artists. You know you aren’t going to get a commission to re-do the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, you know that don’t you? But maybe you can work with some other heavenly body like Jlo or Gwen Stephanie. Think about it, no paint in your eyes or a crick in your neck and within a week more people will see your art textile than ole Michelangelo got in the first three hundred years.

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