Several of our friendly and gracious readers have expressed an interest in seeing more of the artwork that appeared in the Space Camp show that Russell and Jon Donaldson put together for the Bushwick Open Studios event. Russell has posted some photos of the artwork and the installation at spacecamp13.tumblr.com. It’s worth a gander. As a football fan, I particularly like Russell’s three lighted juxtapositions of professional football players with bingo numbers and free spaces, words, and photos, and his use of space in putting them all together. One of those pieces appears above.
Posts Tagged ‘Russell Webner’
The Village Voice website has a nice slide show of photos from the Bushwick Open Studios weekend. There, at number 7 of 46, you will find Russell and his friend, Jon Donaldson, standing in front of their Space Camp artwork in their space at the Loom Building, looking very artistic, indeed. Congratulations, Russell and Jon! (I’m also glad to see that Russell decided to represent his status as a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder with his choice of t-shirt.)
The photo above is of one of Russell’s very cool pieces from their show. He thought their participation in Bushwick Open Studios was great, and we do, too.
Edited to add: Kish points out that slide number 8 is of a visitor to Russell and Jon’s show checking out the piece shown above.
A reminder for our friends in the NYC area: today is the opening day for Space Camp, the show Russell and his friend Jon are putting on as part of the Bushwick Open Studios weekend. You can find the show from noon to 7 p.m. today and tomorrow on the ground floor of the Loom Building, unit 114, 1087 Flushing Ave., in Brooklyn.
Good luck today and tomorrow, Russell and Jon! What you are doing is pretty cool, if a proud Dad can say so.
I’ve got a bit more information to share about Russell’s participation in the Bushwick Open Studios project.
Russell and his friend Jonathan Donaldson (or JonDon, as Kish likes to call him) will present their show Space Camp in unit 114 on the ground floor of the Loom Building, shown at right, on June 1 and 2 from noon to 7 p.m. The Loom Building is found at the intersection of Flushing Avenue, Thames Street, and Porter Avenue in Brooklyn.
Their show is described as involving “installation, New Media, painting, Photography, Sculpture, and Works on Paper” and the web page for their show indicates that it will involve “Technology/Electronics/Computers.” Jon was a classmate of Russell’s at Vassar, and his pieces are really interesting, too. It goes without saying, of course, that I love Russell’s creative works.
If your orbit puts you in or around NYC on June 1 or 2, I’m sure that a visit to Space Camp would be worth your while.
If you’re in the New York City area on June 1 or 2, please drop by the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn and bring your keenest sense of artistic appreciation.
Russell and his friend Jon will be participating in the Bushwick Open Studios free form art show that weekend. The concept of Bushwick Open Studios is pretty cool. Artists rent vacant storefronts in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn and fill them with their art for the weekend. Visitors then can walk from store to store, checking out the artwork and seeing what the artistic community in Brooklyn has to offer. Russell and Jon and some of this other artist friends will be displaying their recent work in some of the storefronts. I’ll post more information about exactly where their storefront will be located as we get closer to the BOS weekend.
Bushwick Open Studios is organized by Arts in Bushwick, “all-volunteer, non-hierarchical” organization in which anyone with time and energy and an interest can take on a leadership role. Also pretty cool!
For the past few months Russell has been deciding where to go to get a Master’s in Fine Arts degree — and yesterday he decided.
This fall he’ll be going to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It’s an interesting place with an interesting history. The Academy is part of the 315-acre Cranbrook Educational Community that was founded by Detroit newspaper owner George Gough Booth and Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen. The Academy of Art has been home to many artists who have had a significant impact on modern art and culture.
Cranbrook’s mission statement says it offers “an intense studio-based experience where artists-in-residence mentor students in art, architecture and design to creatively influence contemporary culture.” The painting program “stresses self-exploration and independent work in an atmosphere of ongoing critical discussion involving social, political, and artistic concerns” and “is grounded in the assumption that each student arrives exceptionally motivated and committed to creating art.” In short: “The students themselves give form and vitality to the working environment through their energy, diversity, and interaction.”
Life always brings new challenges, and this fall Russell and his artistic vision will welcome the challenge of Cranbrook. Such new challenges are what make life interesting — and from the parental viewpoint, the fact that he’ll be much closer and we’ll have the chance to visit him on a campus that is a National Historic Landmark isn’t a bad thing, either.
Russell has posted some of his new pieces on Tumblr. I’m sure I’m biased, but I think his new stuff is really quite good. If you’re so inclined, take a gander.
Given my recent travels, any piece called “Tray Table” — the piece above — is automatically going to be one of my favorites.
Tomorrow night Russell comes home for a class reunion and a few days at home. The sense of excitement and anticipation at the Webner household is palpable.
Their favorite foods are culled from a mother’s loving memory, purchased at the neighborhood grocery store, and made available for ready consumption. (Hey, does Russell really still like Fruit Roll-Ups?) Their rooms are carefully cleaned, sheets are freshly laundered, and beds are made with a precision that would make a drill sergeant smile. Ample supplies of beer and snacks are laid in for the duration. And, typically, a few new decorative touches get added to the household mix.
Phone calls and text messages are nice ways to keep in touch, and an occasional, surreptitious look at a Facebook page might provide some useful information about how things are going, but nothing satisfies that parental itch like an in-person visit. How else are you supposed to really know whether your child seems to be eating enough and looks healthy and happy with his life? Even if your kids aren’t big soul-confiding talkers — and boys tend not to be — you can still glean so much from random quiet moments, a dinner at the kitchen table, and a few smiling, sidelong glances at the strapping young men who used to be the tow-headed little boys fooling around on the front step.
We used to have a nice metal mirror over our fireplace. When Kish found this huge charcoal and ink piece that Russell did, however, we both liked it so much we wanted to put it in a prominent spot, so the mirror came down and Russell’s art went up in its place. We think it makes our family room a lot more interesting.
The Webner House encompasses a broad range of political views, most of which (unfortunately) don’t get expressed in our blog.
But there are other ways of making your views known. Russell has been using his tumblr account to create some interesting political pieces, along with his photographic treatments of duality in the world. The piece accompanying this post is just one of several political commentary pieces that Russell has posted lately. From looking at them, I think it’s safe to say that Russell is not a big fan of Mitt Romney — or, for that matter, many of the standard symbols of American consumer culture.
Whether we agree or disagree on the candidates or the presidential campaign, I think Russell’s unique artistic creations — bold and colorful, pungent and direct in their viewpoint, and rich in symbolism — are pretty darned interesting. They also show how art can be an effective and intriguing communications medium.
We may not agree on every political topic, but I’ll always applaud the ingenuity underlying Russell’s creations.
Privacy advocates seem to hate Google Maps. They think the photos of buildings and houses and people going about their daily business are intrusive.
As a parent, though, I think Google Maps is a very useful resource.
Here’s what I mean. Russell is moving to his third apartment in Brooklyn. We can’t go there to see what it looks like. But, using Google Maps, we can see that his new place is above the JR’s Furniture on Broadway in Brooklyn, next door to what looks like a very intriguing meat market — literally, the Broadway Meat Market, which features “lamb, pork, poultry, dairy products, deli” — as well as Angel Fish and a discount store. Elevated train tracks run down the avenue at the second story level, and across the street is a Chinese restaurant, a pawn shop, and another deli. In short, it seems to be a classic urban Brooklyn neighborhood.
I haven’t seen Russell’s new digs, and probably won’t for a while. But thanks to Google Maps, I feel like a have a better sense of where he is and what he is likely doing — and a parent, that’s what I really want.
One of the many benefits of trying to clean out our basement is that I’ve uncovered a lot of Russell’s artwork.
For a year or so, Russell used our basement as a studio, and if he felt like creating some art on the walls, he just did it. Since he’s left home, the artwork has been covered up by the other things we’ve stored down there.
Now, as we are trying to get rid of the clutter and moving out the debris, we’re happily discovering that terrific artwork anew. It’s like removing cheap linoleum tiles and finding beautiful wood flooring underneath.
The portrait at right was painted directly onto the side of the stairs leading down into the basement.
Russell’s artistic reach has expanded from paper and canvas to video. He’s posted a few videos of his creation on the Vimeo website.
The video below is about 2 1/2 minutes long and is set to an instrumental version of The Doors’ Hello, I Love You. It features images of Brooklyn, trains, the Vietnam War, a shoot-’em-up video game, and even a brief peek at the venerable Webner House itself. I think it’s pretty darned good.
His apartment includes access to the roof by steel ladder up a narrow passageway. On a hot day, the rooftop affords better access to the cooling breeze, but you also feel the heat pulsing from the black tar roof. And there is no railing, which is a bit disconcerting when you need to walk to the edge of the roof to get the view of the lower Manhattan skyline that appears in the far distance in the photo above.
Today we witnessed the Vassar Commencement. This year is Vassar’s sesquicentennial (i.e., its 150th birthday) and it was a special day for everyone who attended.
At Vassar, the commencements are held outdoors in a beautiful setting. The stage is set up in a natural amphitheater with the Vassar lake in the background and tall pines framing the stage, and the chairs for the graduates and guests are set up on a gently sloping hillside. As a result, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house — unless you get stuck behind one of those annoying parents who won’t sit down.
The skies were threatening but the rain, thankfully, held off. We got to see many Vassar traditions, such as the “Daisy Chain” carried in by Vassar undergrads in white dresses, which has been a commencement staple for decades, and we learned about a number of other traditions in a speech given by Vassar’s president.
In fact, all of the speakers at the commencement did a good job. There wasn’t a real clinker in the bunch, which means that the Vassar commencement is different from every other commencement I can remember. The main speaker — Chip Reid of CBS news, himself a Vassar grad and the first male alum to be a commencement speaker — was especially good, and struck exactly the right note with a speech that was encouraging, funny, interesting, and not overlong. (Great job, Chip!) And, of course, we got to see Russell cross the stage and get his diploma.
Commencements are, of course, memorable for the graduates and their parents. As a parent, I feel great pride and satisfaction about Russell’s accomplishment, and it was a real pleasure to meet his professors and fellow students. But the emotions felt by parents, I think, pale in comparison to the confusing mix of emotions felt by the graduates. There is relief at having stayed the course and happiness about your achievement, but also a certain wistfulness at realizing that your friends of the last four years will never again be so close and so close by — and, likely, trepidation about what will happen next.
Because commencements are so charged with emotion, I think the appreciation of the accomplishment may be get lost somewhat, only to be found in coming days when things have settled down. That’s a good thing, in a way, because graduating from a fine school like Vassar College is an accomplishment to be savored. Congratulations, Russell!