Sep 30, 2010
Sep 27, 2010
The FAC Music Room
Admission: Free. No reservations required.
In the Great Depression, while hundreds of thousands survived by wielding picks and shovels on WPA jobs, a smaller cadre used pen, paper, and the spirit of invention. Their task: create America's first-ever self-portrait in the WPA guides.
This documentary offers a compelling window into that experience.
[Above: Ken Robinson, Tim Muldrew, Tariana Navas-Nieves, Lester Nieves]
The FAC museum and theatre company were honored by no less than five nominations for this year's Pikes Peak Arts Council awards. You'll also notice that we not-so-quietly slipped in our connection to the winning "Artist of the year" Chris Weed, who had a major exhibition at the FAC, and nominated "Oustanding group" in popular music, The Haunted Windchimes, who opened for Arlo Guthrie at this year's Labor Day on the Lawn concert.
Outstanding performance by an Actor
– (Nominated) Bob Moore, Joe Keller in “All My Sons,” FAC
Outstanding Performance by an Actress
– (Nominated)Eryn Carman, Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” FAC
– Tim Muldrew, “Crazy for You,” FAC
– (Nominated) Alan Osburn, ”Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” FAC
Excellence in Curatorship
– Tariana Navas-Nieves, FAC
Artist of the year
– Christopher Weed (Spores appeared at the FAC as part of Conflict|Resolution)
– (Nominated) Haunted Windchimes (opened for the FAC's inaugural concert, Arlo Guthrie: Labor Day on the Lawn)
Whether as a director, actor, or designer, there is no moment to compare with walking into an empty theater with an empty stage, just one “work light” glowing, the ghosts of past performances and the overwhelming excitement of the performances yet to be created.
That excitement filled me when I walked into a dark theater at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London as the first student in the history of RADA to be allowed to study directing as well as acting, or years later in the Teatru Manoel in Valetta, Malta, off the coast of North Africa, the oldest theater in the British Commonwealth ablaze with gilt boxes in three tiers coming clear onto the stage, where I would play the most difficult role of my career as Thomas Mendip in Fry’s The Lady’s Not For Burning. When directing and teaching at the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theater Arts it didn’t matter whether the space was a tiny Balcony Theater or the Mainstage, the excitement was the same. The thrill standing on the back lawn of George Bernard Shaw’s home in Ayot-St.-Lawrence knowing that in a few hours that lawn and garden would be the setting for my “Tarleton” in Shaw’s Misalliance. Directing the inaugural production for White Oak Theater in Carmel, or Actor’s Alley Equity Workshop in Hollywood, or creating the Pasadena Theater Company… each is the excitement of unknown things to come.
In An Ideal Husband (playing at the FAC Oct. 8-24), I play the butler “Mason.” From the script I get an idea for a “Mason,” a butler in that place and time who can truthfully speak the playwright’s words. From there, any success of my character will be largely due to the skill of the Director in blending the creative talent of all the actors and staff. The Set Designer gives Mason a place to come to life; the Costume Designer an outfit which tells of Mason’s movements; the Lighting Designer light and shadow to communicate mood and moment; the Sound Designer adds the birds and bells which complete the setting; the Stage Manager smoothly coordinates every activity; and the House Manager provides a venue without distraction, preparing an audience to step into a new time and place, to believe in, to share in, and to delight in An Ideal Husband.
As I watch the brilliantly talented fellow actors rehearse, I know the production will be outstanding. And I hope my “Mason” will also be to your liking.
Sep 23, 2010
Like last season, with cast members ranging from recent art school graduates to artists with gallery representation and pieces in the permanent collections of internationally recognized museums, the producers invite artists from all career levels to come out for this potentially life- and career-changing opportunity.
To select season two's participants, the producers needed expert help in choosing artists with the right mix of talent, technique, and personality.
The FAC's Tariana Navas-Nieves, Curator of Hispanic and Native American Art, was one of about nine curators and gallery representatives from around the country invited to review hundreds of candidates in California.
The reviews took place in five minute blocks--similar to speed dating--inside a massive Santa Monica warehouse gallery used by the studio. Over 300 artists stood in a line that wrapped around the building and through the parking lot to share their portfolios, canvases, sculptures, and hopes with the review team.
"It was a unique opportunity and a great honor," said Navas-Nieves.
"To experience the behind the scenes and meeting the host, China Chow was a treat. Chow (who grew up in New York around the best of the 1980s art scene including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel among many) is quite charming. She truly cares about the artists and sees the show as an important opportunity for them. I absolutely agree." [Above: Photo of Tariana Navas-Nieves and China Chow]
For Navas-Nieves, it was also a chance to represent the FAC and Colorado, and to share her expertise in contemporary American art with a nation-wide art community.
"That was the greatest part. I love contemporary art and this also allowed me to play a role in making a difference in an artist’s life, perhaps the next great artist!"
Also representing Colorado in the review process was local artist Atomic Elroy, who made the first cut.
Sep 17, 2010
There are always lines, whether yours or others, that define your character. You use them to create and mold your attitude, your interactions, your presentation of self.
So, I admit that I am struggling with how to define Sir Robert Chiltern.
After all, he is a politician. How could it be easy? I don’t think that cliché requires explanation. The play is called “An Ideal Husband.” Whose ideal? The concept of an ideal itself is debatable. Each of the ladies have their own views, just as the men have their own opinions, and everybody’s perceptions differ. So much of what Sir Robert Chiltern says is shrouded in the past, in how he used to be. But, after all, “no one should be entirely judged by their past.”
Oh… wait… that’s it.
There you go, Aaron. The answer to your question.
Sep 16, 2010
I wasn't too worried, because some of these roles were filled with familiar faces. I've worked with Brantley Haines, our stage manager, before, and I know Halle Towne from way back, but that still left many question marks.
While my character Lord Goring may be known to opine that "the only possible society is oneself," he couldn't be more wrong in regards to the cast and production team working on An Ideal Husband.
5:30-6:30 p.m. starting in the IDEA Space, finishing in the FAC's Deco Lounge.
May Stevens: Crossing Time (IDEA Space,
6:00 – 6:20 pm: William Kentridge: The World is Process (Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center)
6:30 pm: Tying it all together with a drink: discussion in the FAC’s Deco Lounge
Two of this autumn’s most engaging exhibitions are right across the street from each other at
The exhibitions May Stevens: Crossing Time and William Kentridge: The World is Process celebrate two artists who have profoundly affected their respective genres, and yet remain under-recognized names in the
May Stevens has been involved in benchmark contemporary social justice movements throughout her career. Her work has protested wars, stood up for civil rights, promoted equal rights, and decried child abuse. Now in her eighties, Stevens continues to defy expectations by creating monumental landscape paintings that subtly, yet powerfully, connect her personal experience to larger social and philosophical questions. Working under the radar of the contemporary art world for the last three decades, Stevens’ recognition as an American master is long overdue.
South African artist William Kentridge (born 1955) creates works that exist somewhere between film, drawing, and theater and sometimes as a combination of all three. Kentridge's drawings and stop-motion animated videos have a subtly reflective political undertone, often investigating the cultural dualities of
Sep 14, 2010
I suppose I tend to have eccentric tastes when it comes to fashion and clothing….or so I’ve been told. “I think I have some rather weird choices in clothing,” I once said to a Coloradan acquaintance of mine who promptly replied, “Yeah ya do!”
But, I say, is this not what the world of theatre needs; bit of extreme theatrics to draw us away from our mundane, pathetic lives?!?! “Take me away Lady Gaga, take me away!”
And yet, my design has been stifled, smothered, kicked in the hip, and I am forced to recoil back to normalcy.
Back to the room full of visionary theatre artists:
Caption: Lady GaGa (Picture) The Dome 49 at TUI Arena - Red carpet arrivals Hannover, Germany from contactmusic.com
Sep 13, 2010
Bemis Fall Session starts Monday, Sept. 20! Now is the time to sign up for art classes if you haven't already.
Explore Medieval and Chinese dragons; use a variety of techniques and materials including clay, paper, colored pencils, watercolors and more.
Y32 Hutton $106 (Members $91)
Tue 6-wks 9/21-10/26 4:15-5:45pm
Sep 9, 2010
As an actor, I've been incredibly fortunate to play some amazing characters over the years, but every once in a while, a role comes along that is not just a great character, but a fascinating challenge. Lady Gertrude Chiltern in Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband is one of those roles.
Right now my character work feels like an archeological dig—each day I make new discoveries that reveal a bit more of who she is as a whole. One of the exciting challenges of Lady Chiltern is that on first review, she seems quite one dimensional, one might even say boring. I would imagine there have been many productions in which she is played as nothing more than a pretty ornament, a woman whose written words are what she actually thinks and means. I am here to tell you she is anything but. She is terrifically complex—interesting subtext, rich history, underlying motivations—an actor's dream.
Sep 8, 2010
Wed., Oct. 13, 2010 | 5-7 p.m.
Lewis-Palmer High School
Moses, 2007, bronze, 19 x 6 x 6"
Courtesy of the Singleton-Biss Museum of Fine Art, from the collection of Tia
Sep 7, 2010
[Update] Here's our film--with no sound.
To complete it, we need your help!
In the spirit of this truly collaborative, community-animated film, We want to know:
Mango Fan Django/Gypsy Jazz
John Cage/Experimental Instrumental
Marimba (latin or island-type), steel drums
Chris Sheley, Production Manager for the FAC, took some time to share his set design concept for An Ideal Husband. To keep the audience engaged, the set is designed for quick, quiet changes.
Sep 2, 2010
The day of auditions is the first time you will meet your actors, even though at that time nothing can or will be cast. Of course, you will also meet a lot of other actors who, for whatever reason, don't seem to fit into what you envisage the show to be. So you watch people say their monologues, look at how they've internalized the character, how they say the lines. Is this someone who recites, or who makes you believe in what they are saying? Does this person make eye contact or are they not confident enough to do so? Are they willing to take control of the audition stage or are they stuck like deer in the headlights?
On the day of callbacks, your vision gets more concrete. Suddenly you are seeing this person against that person. Assuming they pick up on the character implied in their lines, does the height difference work, does the vivacity of person A work well against the stolidity of person B, do they interact together well and are inventive? Your mind starts seeing possibilities: he would be good for this character because he plays well against her, who would do equally as well as his wife. You try guiding the actors to see how they take to suggestions and instruction.
Finally, you have to make your choice. Her, him, him, her, etc. This cast will make the play work, make it zing. They're the chosen ones.
But of course, at rehearsal, you ultimately discover how they do work together, how they look together, how they act off each other.
And it's a miraculous thing.
Your cast will make you look at your vision again. Their interactions will make you realize that your concept was too limited: your actors make the play come alive -- these characters are no longer lines on a pages, they're human -- and they give you more possibilities for bringing out the possibilities and the nuances of the play.
You, as director, then merely channel their own visions and desires about their characters into the overall structure of the play. You no longer have to be all-knowing: the plot just comes alive.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have that cast for An Ideal Husband.
Sep 1, 2010
Blake: Balancing presentation of the fullest range of art concepts, styles, media, etc. with audience desires and expectations. New technologies expand possibilities for the ways art itself communicates and for curatorial interpretation of the art.
Q. @museumuse: Good morning curators! What are the most difficult objects for your to conserve? #askacurator
Tariana: I would say bultos & retablos since there is a delicate balance between restoring paint loss and allowing the natural aging of the piece.
Blake: We have certainly cut back on packaged travelling shows, but we continue to exhibit local and international artists as we focus on originating our own exhibitions and scholarship.
Blake: I can never pick just one, but three that I keep coming back to at the Fine Arts Center are Richard Diebenkorn’s Urbana #4, 1953, Arthur Dove’s Foghorns, 1929, Marisol’s John Wayne, 1963, and Floyd Tunson’s Untitled #108, 2003.
Tariana: I can’t say I have a favorite piece since that would be like choosing which of your children you love more, but Cuban artist Luis Cruz Azaceta’s Involuntary Kamikaze and Venezuelan Marisol’s John Wayne are definitively on my list.
Tariana: The exhibit of Mexican printmaker Leopoldo Méndez, which features works dealing with powerful social themes, and a special show devoted to the striking bronze sculptures of famous sculptor Gib Singleton…the cross that tops the crosier of the late John Paul II and is now carried by Pope Benedict XVI was created by Singleton.
Blake: Send a written proposal with images.
Blake: Different paths, but for me: Bachelors degree in studio art, Masters in art history/museum studies, museum intern, curatorial assistant, full curator.
Tariana: In my case, BA in Art History, Museum Assistant, MA in Art History, Gallery curator, Museum Curator, Consulting Curator, Private Collection curator, now back to Museum Curator.
Tariana: I would say no; the art world is so competitive and challenging that if there is the opportunity to exhibit early on, they should definitively grab it. Ideally, exhibiting and making art would go hand in hand.
Blake: Entirely depends on the artist’s individual processes, motivations, and goals. As a young exhibiting artist (long ago) I found it important, while making the work, to think about how it would communicate through exhibition. For me, it felt like a healthy part of my process to think about ways (and act on them when I could) to get my work out into the world.
Q. OCDSS: @FineArtsCenter Then why is the wait-to-exhibit meme so prevalent? (although in fairness maybe that's one for #askcritics ) #askcurators
Tariana: I don’t see any advantage to waiting. Exhibiting the work will give the artist the opportunity to receive feedback, recognition of course and, it will build their professional career. Most artists want to be able to make a living doing what they are meant to do, and if the work is not exhibited it would be extremely difficult.
Tariana: The first retrospective exhibition of contemporary artist Emilio Lobato. Stunning and thought-provoking work.
Blake: Fine Arts Center’s 75th Anniversary exhibitions (spring 2011) and Floyd Tunson: Son of Pop (Spring 2012)
Blake: There are immense new places to be explored in all media, but I am particularly drawn to new work being done in video and computer-based media. We put together an exhibition last spring called Conflict|Resolution with powerful works by Bill Viola, Harrell Fletcher, Walid Raad, Lorna Simpson, and Carlos Aguirre. At the moment we have organized an exhibition of William Kentridge’s drawings and films.
Q. @Marplesmarbles: #askcurators If money no object, what would you buy for your museum?
Blake: A James Turrell Skyspace, a Kiki Smith sculpture, an Alexander Calder piece, some Stieglitz photographs, a Louise Bourgeois sculpture, a complete portfolio of Robert Frank’s The Americans, and Thomas Moran Mountain of the Holy Cross painting. I could keep going.
Blake: Yes. There are aspects of aesthetics, connoisseurship, and scholarship practiced by curators that contribute immensely to public discourse around art. That said, there are growing examples of art that originates in the public realm, on the internet, etc. for which curatorial practice may be irrelevant.
Blake: Yes. I would add: Aesthete, Connoisseur, Diplomat, Teacher, and Weather Forecaster. All constitute the best job in the world.
Tariana: All of the above; and you forgot storyteller.