Sep 28, 2012

Murals, Frescoes, Oh My!

Parking Lot Mural. Emanuel Martinez, Arte Mestiza, 1986, acrylic on concrete. Martinez has completed many public works of art around the American Southwest, as well as internationally in Auvillar, France. 

The FAC has 7 different murals in all different areas, including the parking lot! You could take a visit to the FAC just for all its murals, they may be in places you have never been or knew were there (maybe like the Lower Level Lounge?).

Courtyard Mural. Frank Mechau, Wild Horses, ca. 1936, fresco (detail).

What is the difference between a mural and a frescoe
A mural is painted directly onto a wall, or other architectural surface. Some wall paintings are painted on canvases which are then attached to the wall — so although not technically a mural, Bransby's Anniversary piece uses this technique that has been common since the late 19th century. Sometimes murals will incorporate the natural architectural elements, like the curved surface of Bransby's The History of Navigation mural. This mural was designed for the planetarium atrium at Air Force Academy, so the panels are slightly curved.

The word "fresco" comes from the Italian word affresco, which comes from the Latin word meaning "fresh." Fresco(e)s (both spellings work) fall into two categories, buon fresco and secco painting. Buon fresco translates to "true fresco" because it is the original fresco medium where alkaline-resistant pigments are applied to a wet plaster surface. Secco fresco uses pigment like buon fresco, but they are applied to a finished and dried surface that is slightly moistened for the fresco process. This makes them less durable because the paints do not become part of the wall like in true fresco.

Here's a video of the FAC staff installing Boardman Robinson's mural, The History of Commerce for the 75th Anniversary. Robinson also made the Entrance Facade fresco in 1936, with restoration by Eric Bransby in 1985. 

Lower Level Lounge mural. This is a very delicately colored mural by Archie Musick (1902-1978). This dates from 1936, with restoration done by Mary Ann Bransby, wife of Eric Bransby, in 1985. Archie Musick, Untitled, 1936, dry pigment and pencil.

The four pictures below can all be found around 
Café 36, formerly the Theatre Lounge. Enjoy tasty food at the cafe, Sunday brunch, or half off wine on Saturdays while taking in the historic art work.
Café 36, formerly Theatre Lounge. One of four murals in this space. Kenneth Adams, Dancers or The Ballet, ca. 1936, oil on canvas mounted to wall. 

Café 36, formerly Theatre Lounge. One of four murals in this space. Kenneth Adams, Dancers or The Ballet, ca. 1936, oil on canvas mounted to wall. 

Café 36, formerly Theatre Lounge. One of four murals in this space. Andrew Dasburg, Untitled, 1937, fresco.

Café 36, formerly Theatre Lounge. One of four murals in this space. Andrew Dasburg, Untitled, 1937, fresco.

Sep 27, 2012

Want FREE Admission?

What could this be? You'll have to visit us and find out
(image source).

Then come join us THIS SATURDAY for Smithsonian-sponsored Museum Day Live! The Smithsonian is offering free admission for two (per household) to any participating museum, and the FAC is one of them. Thanks Smithsonian! Just fill out the form on the Museum Day site and you'll get your tickets via e-mail.

Other Colorado Springs participants include:

For a full list of Colorado participants, click here. For all the participating institutions, here.

Not only will you get FREE admission to all the FAC exhibits, but it will be one of your last chances to experience, or experience again, the Light and Space exhibits by James Turrell and Scott Johnson. 

James Turrell | Trace Elements: Light into Space
Scott Johnson | Places Apart

Sep 26, 2012

Bees(wax) in the Galleries!

Have you EXPERIENCED the exhibitions by James Turrell and Scott Johnson? If not, more than just your visual senses are missing out. Colorado Springs artist Scott Johnson challenges the audience's standard conception of gallery art that only hangs on the wall.

Beeswax is an example of the versatility of nature, having cosmetic, religious, aesthetic, musical uses among many others. Of the uses shown below... which one can you find in the museum? ;)

Come visit these shows ... and see how many times you can sense beeswax in the galleries!

James Turrell | Trace Elements: Light into Space
Scott Johnson | Places Apart
July 14 - Sept. 30

Burlesque Icons Through the Ages

Victorian Burlesque also known as, “extravaganza” became popular in the London theaters in the mid 19th century. At the time burlesque was characterized as musical theater parody--adaptations of plays the likes of Shakespeare. Actress Madame Vestris  became famous for producing some of the first burlesques in London.
Madame Vestris dressed as six of her favorite characters (Apollo, Page, Don Giovanni, 
Captain Macheath, Maria Darlington, and Mandane)  (image source)

Theater port card of the British Blonde
Burlesque troupe (image source)

American Burlesque was an offshoot of Victorian burlesque, first popularized in the 1860’s in New York, by the British burlesque troop the “British Blondes." American Burlesque quickly evolved into a performance genre unlike its predecessor, assimilating lewd humor, decadent costume, and the strip tease into the acts. By the 20th century burlesque could be found in establishments throughout the United States. As its popularity grew, stars of burlesque emerged, including Josephine Baker, Mae West, Gypsy Rose Lee, Bettie Page, and our most contemporary burlesque icon, Dita Von Tesse.

American Burlesque Icons 

Josephine Baker, American-born French singer, dancer,
and actress, she rose to fame in the 1930's. (image source)
Mae West, American actress, and sex symbol.
She rose to fame in the 1930's in vaudeville and 
on the stage in New York. (image source)


Gypsy Rose Lee. American Burlesque performer famous for her strip tease,
and witty humor. Lee rose to fame in the late 1930's,  her 1957 memoir was
adapted into the acclaimed musical Gypsy(image source)

Bettie Page, American-born model best known
for her "pin-ups". She rose to fame in the 1950's 
when she appeared in Playboy magazine as 
"Miss January 1955".   (image source)
Dita Von Teese. American Burlesque dancer, costume designer, 
and model,  dubbed the "Queen of Burlesque". Von Teese 
played a major role in reviving burlesque in the 1990's.  
(image source)

Sep 25, 2012

NEW Acquisition: William Kentridge's "Drawing from Tide Table"

William Kentridge, Drawing from Tide Table (Feet), charcoal on paper, 2003 .
An example of Kentridge's apartheid-informed art.
Casspirs serve as a reference to the military
response to anti-apartheid activists;
casspirs are armored cars that were used
to suppress riots. William Kentridge,
Casspirs Full of Love, drypoint,
1989-2000 (image source)
Contemporary South African artist William Kentridge's emphasis on the PROCESS behind his art sets him apart from artists who focus on the finished product. Kentridge will photograph the process behind his charcoal drawings or paper collages as they develop. He translates this photography to his animation process, where he records every change or addition towards the final film. He exhibits the recordings of his process alongside the finished pieces of art, believing the steps leading up to the final stage are instrumental in understanding art.

Kentridge works in a variety of mediums, including film, drawing, tapestry sculpture, animation, opera, and performance. As an expressionist, the form his art takes complements the subject matter. 

“The drawings don’t start with ‘a beautiful mark’. It has to be a mark of something out there in the world. It doesn’t have to be an accurate drawing, but it has to stand for an observation, not something that is abstract, like an emotion.”

Many of Kentridge's works are informed by his growing up during the fall of apartheid in South Africa. Of Lithuanian-Jewish heritage, Kentridge was born in 1955 in Johannesburg to prominent South African civil rights lawyer Sydney Kentridge. His father fought against apartheid and defended many victims of apartheid, like Stephen Biko

PBS's Art21 featured Kentridge and his very different video projection process featuring an opera singer and torn paper choreography. Here's a link. In 2009, the San Francisco MoMA held a Kentridge exhibition, a year before the FAC's William Kentridge, The World is Process.

"The job of the artist is to fight against entropy – to keep on taking these fragments and say, ‘What can they become?’ To take the fragments and construct something provisionally new. And that’s the link from memory, to fragments, to the activity of making."

Sculpture by William Kentridge,
from the SF MoMA
exhibition (image source).
William Kentridge, Office Love, tapestry weave with
embroidery: mohair, acrylic and polyester, 2001. From
Philadelphia Museum of Art (image source).

Stop by the galleries to check out this new acquisition, along with the EIGHT other exhibitions we have going on!

Tues. - Sun. | 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sep 24, 2012

John James Wallace Interactive Map

View John James Wallace in a larger map

You've probably seen John James Wallace's architectural works all around Colorado Springs, without even realizing who is behind the design! Wallace's works epitomize mid-century modernism, and he was an integral figure in bringing this style to Colorado. A graduate of Cornell University School of Architecture, Wallace traveled around Western Europe after graduation and was equally inspired by great classics such as Le Corbusier, van der Rohe and Sarrinen and Breuer while adding his own modern American twist.

Notable buildings by Wallace include the Pikes Peak Center, Centennial Hall, the Visitor Center at the Air Force Academy, among many others.

John James Wallace
Closing soon!

Sep 21, 2012

A History of American Burlesque Fashions

Kicking off our Silver Season of Theatre is Gypsy, America's most acclaimed musical that follows the life of burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee and is full of comedy, honest drama, and vivacious musical numbers.

Burlesque got its start in America in 1868, with Lydia Thompson and her troupe of "British Blondes." Their costumes were much more modest than we are used to today, but did serve to highlight the female form.

Lydia Thompson (image source)

Pauline Markham of the British Blondes (image source)

Vintage postcard of a burlesque dancer (image source)

Burlesque really took off in the 1930s and 1940s with dancers like Sally Rand, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Lili St. Cyr. Their costumes were much more revealing than the earlier ones, often with details like sequins, ruffles and feathers.

Sally Randy (image source)
Gypsy Rose Lee and a fellow burlesque dance (image source)
Lili St. Cyr (image source)

Today, Burlesque has seen a big resurgence. Dita Von Teese is a very well-known modern burlesque dancer, and we even have our own burlesque troupe in Colorado Springs, Peaks and Pasties! Today, burlesque dancers are free to wear almost anything they'd like, but are often inspired by the costumes of the 30s and 40s. It is also popular for dancers to craft their own costumes and pasties (nipple covers).

Dita Von Teese (image source)
Ruby Sparkles of Colorado Springs' Peaks and Pasties (image source)

...In the Community (Sept 20 - Oct 4)

Pikes Peak Derby Dames (image source).
We're featuring a bi-monthly glance at some exciting upcoming local events — some art, some outdoors, some music... hopefully you'll find a little bit of everything. Share your experience of these events in the comments section, Facebook, or Twitter (use #inthecommunity) if you go to any of these! Please note: phone numbers listed are for the event, not necessarily the venue. 

A map of constellations you might be able to spot from
Colorado (image source).

Star Light-Star Bright Observatory Public Viewing Night
Fri., 9/21 | 7 - 9:30 p.m.
Free at Star Light-Star Bright Observatory (map— 719.964.8327
Weather-permitting (depends on both cloud cover and cold weather), the Colorado Springs observatory at Trailblazer Elementary School will be open to the public. No reservations required. 

Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony
Sat., 9/22 | 8 p.m.
$19 at Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts (map) — 719.520.SHOW
A classical symphonic spin on the rock music of Led Zeppelin. See the video (below) that shows what the London Philharmonic's take is on Led Zeppelin's classic, "Stairway to Heaven".

Colorado Springs Walk Now for Autism Speaks
Sat., 9/22 | 10 a.m. (Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.) 
Free at Grace Center for Athletics (map) — 720.443.7999
A family friendly event that fundraises for Autism research. Volunteer opportunities are also available. 

100 Thousand Poets and Musicians for Change
Sat., 9/29 | 3 - 6 p.m.
Free at Movement Arts Community Studio (map) — 719.481.1316
Join 800 locations around the world in celebrating local music and arts at an open mic potluck. Sponsored by Poetry West, Poetry 719 and UCCS Free Expression.

Pikes Peak Derby Dames Home Season Opener 
Sat., 9/29 | 7 p.m. (Doors at 6 p.m.)
$10 advance general admission at Colorado Springs City Auditorium (map) — 719.385.5969
Welcome to the world of female roller derby with the Pikes Peak Derby Dames' season opener that pits the Danger Dolls against the Candy Snipers

Eric Tillinghast, "Rain Machine" installation (image source).

H20: Water, Culture and Politics
9/6 - 10/11 | see gallery site for hours
Free at GOCA 1420 (map) — 719.255.3504
Huge-scale rain machine installation by Eric Tillinghast serves as the center piece of this interdisciplinary exhibit. Inspired by the concerns raised by Colorado Water 2012, a state-wide initiative to raise awareness of the importance of water and its current status. 

...In the Community runs on the first and third Thursdays of each month on the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Blog.

Sep 20, 2012

By The Numbers: Iraq and Vietnam Wars

Vietnam War
1961 the start of Vietnam

19,395,369  the total amount of Agent Orange* spray used over the 9-year period of Vietnam

3,000,000 the amount of soldiers who served in Vietnam

1,500,000 the amount of soldiers who served during the heaviest spraying of Agent Orange

1991 – when the United States Government passed the Agent Orange Act. Admitting that there was a link between Agent Orange and certain types of cancer.

506,184 – the total amount of medical examinations done on soldiers returning from Vietnam.

Iraq War
2003 was the start of the Iraq war.

70% of all American causalities in Iraq have been the result of Improvised Explosive Devices

143,434 cases to Traumatic Brain Injury diagnosed since American involvement in Iraq

50-100 IEDs reportedly go off monthly*

6 months the crucial period of diagnoses in Traumatic Brain Injuries.

12-15 months the average length of a single tour** in Iraq.

*statistics reported in 2010.
** due to military constraints, officers often complete 2+ tours of duty.

Make Sure It’s Me revolves around veterans of the Iraq War and the effect that exposure to Improvised Explosive Devices can have on their brain and other soft tissue organs. Make Sure It’s Me continuously references the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam and the effect that that also had on the body.

Make Sure It's Me
Thurs. - Sat., Sept. 13-23 | 7:30 p.m. (Thurs - Sat), 2 p.m. (Sun)
TICKETS: $15, $10 for active military
Buy Tickets Online

Invite your friends