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Archive for June, 2015

30 June
Comments Off on Artistic Corruption and Argentine Populism as Art at the Maison Rouge in Paris

Artistic Corruption and Argentine Populism as Art at the Maison Rouge in Paris

I am spending some time in my hometown, Buenos Aires, giving a few talks and coaching local artists. None of the big names in the art world are here these days but at the Maison Rouge in Paris where a show called My Buenos Aires is taking place. Although ambitious, including more than 60 artists working in all media from installation to painting, sculpture, video and photography and spanning almost four generations, from its inception, this show embodies the contradictions of a country where corruption has been naturalised even by its artists.

This show unknowingly continues the ideas of Latin American Art Today, an exhibition that took place at the Guggenheim Museum last year and which included a series of pieces chosen by Mexican curator Pablo Leon de la Barra, ultimately, added to the museums permanent collection. While the New York show emphasised the playful inversion of low over high that the art of the region allegedly embodies, the Parisian show states that Argentine art is, as a practice, an allegory of the social and economical decomposition that started in 2001 with the financial collapse and was institutionalised by the Peronist regime of Presidents Nestor and Cristina Kirchner. The fascination with Argentine social decomposition as something exotic comes across as ironic in a city like Paris where social unrest is probably more evident than in South America.

The Parisian show, however, takes place in the middle of the electoral campaign in which all executive positions in Argentine government are at stake. This might help us understand why the Mayor of Buenos Aires has decided to pick up the bill and cover all costs for the 60 artists and the many journalists from the national press who would not write reviews but paid articles pontificating the generosity and importance of the whole enterprise.

Although established names such as León Ferrari, Guillermo Kuitca or Jorge Macchi are included, the artistic source of value of this show lies in the fact that it includes works that visually represent the culture of the slums of Buenos Aires. Rejecting formalism and the modernist object as something from the past, these installations construct an experience of decay and precariousness. Lets take as an example the work of Ana Gallardo who gathered all her worldly belonging on a trolley which she pulls with a bicycle or Tomas Espina, Luciana Lamotthe and Eduardo Basualdo who manipulate decaying building structures as a conceptual proxy for the villa miseria. The problem with this is that artists like Gallardo and Espina have been for years outspoken supporters of the Kirchnerist regime and its populist levelling-downwards anti-institutional policies. Thematising dispossession and precariousness, their works become allegories of the Kirchnerist-era national culture.

This is also a kind of art that cannot be purchased by individuals for private collections but only by public institutions for they are ridiculously expensive to transport and maintain (due to their precariousness). That has been precisely the way through which the Argentine government has channelled tax payers money to successfully commercial art galleries that represent these artists under the belief that they are opening new markets when it is actually the only market for these works.

Having said this, the Parisian show is not financed by the Kirchner regime but by Mauricio Macri, the right-wing mayor of the City of Buenos Aires. That might be the reason for the inclusion of one of Macris favourite artists, 70-year-old Martha Minujin who shone during the late sixties with her pop performative installations. Out of context, her Pop works appear as another allegory of the Buenos Aires slums when, in fact, they were originally a derivative and de-politicised right wing-ish copy of Helio Oticicas Penetravels.

It is ironic that the City of Buenos Aires has decided to draw attention to itself as a supporter of the arts by canonizing the same culture that it says it opposes. Do they realize this? Of course not. No one is really looking at the art, after all. They are just visiting Europe with tax payers money. J A T

30 June
Comments Off on Matterport raises $30M for virtual reality real estate tours and more

Matterport raises $30M for virtual reality real estate tours and more

Matterport has raised $30 million in growth funding from Qualcomm and Singapores GIC to expand its virtual reality and augmented reality content creation platform.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Matterport makes a $4,500 Pro Camera that can capture an environment in 360 degrees. It also makes the cloud software to stitch the content into a virtual reality or augmented reality experience. The target market has been realtors looking to show off homes for sale in 3D.

We have gone through a growth period and we are looking to further fuel that growth, said Bill Brown, chief executive of Matterport, in an interview with VentureBeat. Were making very good progress on our applications platform.

The VR videos are easy to embed in any web site. When someone clicks on it, they see a still image that captures the view from a particular part of a home or tourist location, akin to Google Street View. But you can move on to another point inside the location quickly, just by clicking on the environment.

Matterport began selling the application platform for realtors in July 2014. So far, Brown said that the company has sold thousands of VR cameras to real estate agents, and those videos are getting about 1.2 million unique views per month. Most of the major brokerage companies are customers.

Over time, Brown hopes to reduce the cost of content creation and eventually enable consumers with 3D-sensor-enabled smartphones to record and publish their own virtual reality visual experiences. A consumer could, for instance, create a virtual tour of their own home.

Matterport has raised $56 million to date, and it now has more than 80 employees. And Brown said the company is starting to target other markets for its technology, such as e-commerce, advertising, retail, architecture, travel, construction, insurance, entertainment media, and journalism.

Brown said that the macroeconomic environment for raising money for a virtual reality company is strong.

Its the development of a new medium, and its important to establish a position within that ecosystem, Brown said.

Existing investors include Lux Capital, DCM Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Greylock Partners, Navitas Capital, AMD Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, iGlobe Partners, Rothenberg Ventures, Sling Media founder Blake Krikorian, and Crate amp; Barrel founder Gordon Segal.

Matterport Spaces, as the VR experience is called, works on VR platforms such as Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard, as well as through its browser-based app, called 3D Showcase, which allows all of Matterport’s immersive content to be viewed today on PC and mobile.

Ive seen how it looks, and it definitely gives you a feeling for what a place looks like. If you want to see the inside of a house, Matterport can save you a trip. But it can also take you some place youve always dreamed of going. If Matterport can build on that, then it could have a bright future.

The company is also on the cusp of enabling more user-generated immersive content. These types of trends and the frontier nature of VR and its cousin augmented reality are why Matterport has gotten such a large round of funding.

Since early 2014, Matterport has been a partner on Google’s Project Tango and separately with Intel on RealSense, and it has collaborated with several mobile technology providers and tech equipment makers.

More information:

30 June
Comments Off on Graffiti Artists and Real-Estate Developers Convert Former Auto Shop Into Art …

Graffiti Artists and Real-Estate Developers Convert Former Auto Shop Into Art …

This former Pep Boys auto store in New Jersey is covered inside and out with graffiti, all by area artists. The project is the result of a collaboration between Jersey City art production company Green Villain and real-estate developers Forest City Enterprises and Gamp;S Investors.
Mark Abramson for The Wall Street Journal

30 June
Comments Off on Science with an Artistic Flare: How Laura Goyer Uses Photography to Better Lives

Science with an Artistic Flare: How Laura Goyer Uses Photography to Better Lives

Vienna resident Laura Goyer spent more than two decades working as a Physician Assistant, but left medicine because her favorite part of the job had fallen out of favor in the industry: forming relationships with patients.

“In medicine, there were no more opportunities to build relationships anymore, which is why I got into medicine,” Goyer said. “It got to the point where I was being chastised for spending too much time with patients.”

So Goyer left medicine, invested herself in her passion for photography, and quickly found she was getting out of photography exactly what she’d hoped to get out of medicine.

“People see I was in medicine and assume photography fulfills this artistic side, which it does, but to me to do photography well it’s a science with an artistic flare,” Goyer explained. “Understanding ratios, understanding the mechanics of the camera, things like that. And I feel like our community was more open to medicine being a similar sort of combination of science mixed in with an art form. Twenty years ago, your experience and your flare with medical knowledge was appropriate. Now it’s more decision trees and it doesn’t allow for artistic part anymore.”

With photography, she’s been able to add her own artistic flare to the science, and more importantly she’s been able to form relationships through the job again, something she said brings her a great amount of joy.

Goyer said she especially loves to work with newborn photography, which allows her to connect with a new mother the same way she would have as a pediatric Physician Assistant. In that same vein, Goyer isn’t a “posey” photographer, and instead prefers to be a fly on the wall to allow her subjects to know exactly what and how they were feeling in that moment.

But she’s done much more than just form relationships through her work — she’s bettered lives.

Goyer hasn’t just built relationships, but has instead shared her craft with others, teaching the science of photography while allowing others to find their own artistic flare.

She participated in a program at Jammin’ Java in Vienna called Elephant Sessions, where she shared her love for art with a predominantly adult crowd, even generating a very positive response to an exercise involving drawing with crayons.

Goyer also began a program two years ago for teenage girls called My Beautiful Selfie. Girls take selfies of themselves and their mothers, and display them in a gallery where others can leave positive thoughts and comments via post-it notes stuck to various photos. The project encouraged teenage girls to find ways to express themselves, and provided them with positive reinforcement as they aimed to do so.

And it was through that project that Robbie Schaefer from the organization One Voice realized once and for all that Goyer could, and should, share her gift abroad.

Last week, Vienna Patch detailed Goyer’s upcoming trip to Nicaragua, where she will teach photography to local kids, along with the art of journaling, but more importantly will teach these kids to feel like individuals and to have their own proud identities.

“Robbie said the kids don’t always see themselves individuals because they’re so absorbed in community,” Goyer said. “Kids are sometimes unable to answer questions like ‘What is love to you,’ or ‘Who am I as an individual?’ My hope is to show the kids they can ground themselves, pick themselves up from anything and move forward.”

Goyer said she had an epiphany as she was preparing for her trip that if you provide these kids with simple tools and skills, like showing them how they can use a camera and what they can get out of it, those who are passionate will develop skills on their own.

That’s what Goyer is hoping to accomplish — teach the kids the basics, and more importantly how photography can impact their lives — and from there let them find their own artistic flare. And that’s why Goyer hopes to be able to leave behind a camera and some journaling supplies after her trip draws to a close.

“If you give kids enough info to explore and develop their passions, they’ll find their passions and find ways to fill in gaps,” she said.

Goyer’s trip to Nicaragua begins in August, and she will continue raising money toward the trip on her GoFundMe page until mid-July.

30 June
Comments Off on Real estate technology accelerator program Motive to launch in Dallas

Real estate technology accelerator program Motive to launch in Dallas

Another accelerator will launch soon in Dallas to bolster technology startups in one of the hottest markets in the city: real estate.

Motive, the brainchild of RealTech founder John Backes and his three co-founders, is a 12-week program that will offer real estate technology startups an initial investment of $40,000, free work space at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and a network of real estate technology mentors. The accelerator program is slated to begin Sept. 1.

30 June
Comments Off on Your 10-point UAE car insurance checklist

Your 10-point UAE car insurance checklist

Riva Menon, a PR consultant from India, was driving to work when she suddenly noticed her fuel tank was empty. She quickly parked the car and stepped out, but in her nervousness left the keys inside the car and locked the door. Menon called her boss to explain why she hadn’t reached work on time. He bailed her out. “There must be a sticker with an emergency dial-in number on the left side of your windshield given by your insurance company,” he said. Menon checked immediately. It was there.

A roadside assistance vehicle arrived with fuel for her car in 15 minutes. The technicians also opened the locked door.”I had no clue that my auto insurance provides such quick roadside assistance,” she says. Like Menon, many people tend to treat their auto insurance as a mere formality that needs to be completed in order to drive a vehicle in the UAE, so they rarely check what benefits they’re entitled to.

“For off-road coverage one will have to pay an extra premium and pay a compulsory excess of Dh1,500.”

-Sharfa Rizvi, Sales Representative, AIG Insurance

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Here is a checklist of ten things you need to know.

Roadside assistance

The emergency number might be on the insurance card that you are expected to carry whenever you are driving, or on a sticker on the left side of the windshield.
Most insurance companies tie up with companies such as AAA Middle East. They handle mechanical repairs, vehicle towing, battery boost, flat tyres, lockout and emergency fuel delivery, which are applicable across all GCC countries.

Cover the GCC

Robert Mitchen, a British national and an engineer working with an oil company, was travelling with his family by road to Muscat from Dubai. “A day before [I was to] travel I was told I needed car insurance in Oman. I panicked only to find out later that I was already covered.”
From all GCC countries to only a few, the cover varies according to the insurance company. Mahnoor Malik, Customer Service Representative of Oman Insurance Company, says, “We cover insurance for damage to your own car in Oman and Qatar but if you want third-party coverage, the easiest way is to buy insurance at the border. It costs around Dh90 for five days.”

Agency repair coverage

After an accident, Deepak Patel, an Indian businessman based in Bur Dubai, realised that the premium he had paid entitled him to garage repair but did not cover him for agency repair (which means you get it repaired from the manufacturer’s workshop). Usually, under comprehensive coverage, a car is entitled to agency repair for five years from the date of manufacture but this differs from company to company.
Sharfa Rizvi, Sales Representative at AIG Insurance Company, says, “After the car is two years old one needs to pay a slightly higher premium to avail agency repair.”

Off-road travel

Only 4x4s such as a Prado, Jeep or Land Cruiser can be insured for off-road travel but this does not cover activities like dune or wadi bashing. “By off-road travel we mean travelling on an unmarked road,” says Rizvi. “For off-road coverage one will have to pay an extra premium and pay a compulsory excess of Dh1,500.”

Windscreen cover

Malik says Oman Insurance Company’s comprehensive insurance covers the windscreen for Dh3,000 and doesn’t charge any extra premium, but Rizvi says that for an extra Dh10, the AIG Insurance Company covers the windscreen for Dh5,000. Drivers don’t need a police report to claim insurance for windscreen repair.
Age of the car and policyholder While some companies maintain a strict policy of not insuring older cars, others do not offer comprehensive coverage once the car is 10 years old. After that, the premium depends on the condition of the car.
There are also some restrictions on the age of the person applying for car insurance in the UAE. “Usually people above 25 years are eligible but we extend policies to people between 21 and 24,” says Rizvi. “The premium is decided according to a person’s driving experience.”

No-claims bonus

No-claims bonus is a special discount given on the premium to people with an accident-free record for over a year. If you are coming from overseas and settling down in the UAE, it is sensible to bring a no-claims bonus certificate with you. This might help you secure a discount of up to 40 per cent on the premium.
Rizvi says, “Many people from the UK with no-claims bonus certificates avail competitive prices here.”

Personal accident benefit cover for driver and passengers

A personal accident benefit for the driver and his or her family or co-passengers is usually available up to around Dh200,000 but you have to pay an extra premium for that. “It usually [costs] an additional Dh60 for the driver, and then for each extra member it is an additional Dh15,” says Malik.

Comprehensive insurance versus third-party liability

Third-party liability is the basic insurance you need according to UAE law. With this you are not covered for any damage to your vehicle unless there is another party at fault, and they are insured, and a claim can be made against them. But it does cover death or bodily injury to any third party as well as property damage caused by the insuree’s vehicle.
A comprehensive insurance policy will cover you against your own loss or damage as well as third-party property damage. This policy also ideally offers emergency medical expenses and insures against theft, fire and natural disasters.

Compulsory excess

“I always ensure that the premium I pay covers the complete value of the car and there’s minimum compulsory excess,” says Sujoy Banerjee, Director of Finance of a hotel chain in Dubai.
Malik says, “We charge the excess according to the vehicle model and value. For instance, if it is a 2009 Nissan Sunny then the voluntary excess will be around Dh200 and if it is a brand-new Honda Accord the excess charged will be around Dh300.”

29 June
Comments Off on A JOYOUS EXCHANGE: Artists combine talents for artistic project

A JOYOUS EXCHANGE: Artists combine talents for artistic project

BY Jaine Treadwell and Scottie Brown

A crazy quilt, a thread that runs so true and written words that read like a song came together in such “A Joyous Exchange” that the hearts and souls of the master composers were moved to nearly to tears.

“The Art of Collaboration: A Joyous Exchange” art exhibit is the collaborative work of Troy University professor of design, Jerry R. Johnson; choral conductor Diane Orlofsky and associate professor of art Pam Allen.

The exchange was rooted in a meeting over coffee between Johnson and Orlofsky. Her desire was for him to illustrate her book of “Meditations.” But, in reading the book, Johnson was so moved that his commitment was not to just illustrate the book for Orlofsky but to illuminate the words she had penned in such a way that both the artwork and the words would take on a spiritual quality and that the words would be illuminated through the joyous exchange from artist to artist.

“It’s become less about the original focus of the meditations and it’s become more about the exchange of artists,” Orlofsky said. “Working with the artists that you respect and the relationships of trust, co-creating something that didn’t exits before. It went from this place, and now it’s here. It embodies a joyous exchange. There has been nothing not fun about this whole project.”

“The Art of Collaboration: A Joyous Exchange” opened at the Johnson Center for the Arts on June 17. An ArtTalk by the artists followed a reception in their honor Thursday night at the art center.

“I think people responded really well and asked terrific questions, and that’s the best you can hope for with art,” Johnson said. “That people will think and I saw a few teary eyes. So, I think it was successful. I loved the turnout. The fact that we had a lot of guests,

I’m 100 percent excited about it.”

Collaborating with another artist is an entire experience within itself, as both Orlofsky and Johnson agreed. It’s an experience like no other to allow someone else to take their personal thoughts and interpret them for themselves.

“It’s cool. It’s like nothing I could have predicted,” Orlofsky said. “The whole is better than the sum of its parts. When you read this and then see this…you could look at these and revisit them many times and bring your own meaning, experience and layers to it.”

Johnson agreed, saying that they worked well together for the project.

“She let me do whatever style I wanted and I love that old renaissance baroque, very strong light,” Johnson said. “But I like that even in photography. I like the playfulness of using twine or any arbitrary item. If I wanted to throw a fork there, I could. It was just any element that I thought was interesting or had a meaning to me. It wasn’t going to spoil it for her as long as it had a relevance or purpose to it.”

For Allen, painting has always been a solitary activity and she never really thought about the parallels her work might have with others until she was asked to join the “Joyous Exchange” with Johnson and Orlofsky.

“Reflecting, I cannot ignore the collaboration my most recent work addresses that began 35 years ago when Grandma Odom and I started building squares to make a crazy quilt,” Allen said. “My goal for the project was to keep Grandma active. She sewed by hand the bits and pieces of fabrics from three generations of family clothes. My contribution was to do the embroidered stitching on top.”

Allen said, when she and her grandmother began their adventure, she only knew how to sew a chain stitch.

“Today, I know how to do 27 different stitches,” she said. “Grandma Odom passed in 1988 and my mother, Margaret Odom Standridge, took up the task of finishing the squares. My mother is now in her 80s. When I finally put the pieces together to make the crazy quilt, there were a number of squares left over. Consequently the Quilt Series was born.”

When asked, Allen said she usually says her work is about her life, which is a little narcissistic.

“But in truth, it’s about family and the deeply rooted values passed from generations,” she said.

Johnson’s image of Allen’s crazy quilt is illuminated in his digital artwork and the essence of the stitchery is captured in Orlofsky’s “Meditations.”

“A quilt begins with a square. Each square, a thing of beauty. Each square is stitched with love and intention and meaning. Some squares tell their own story; others merely allude to the hands and the history of the seamstress.”

Johnson expressed that this may not be a one-time affair.

“We certainly want to have this exhibit at two or three other venues within driving distance,” Johnson said. “No further than, say Atlanta. And there’s probably a lot of galleries in that kind of radius that we could do a show. In the meantime, we would like to keep producing and create the book. I’ll design the book and make it a beautiful piece of art in itself, but also write the content. Not just the meditations and the images, but I’d love to have a chapter in the book about copiation.”

Orlofsky is already cooking up some new ideas for the future.

“We’ll have to add to it and grow it,” Orlofsky said. “And I think Jerry may want to start painting some things and I will paint new things, so there is a new piece of the journey yet to be experienced. I have the idea for the next two pieces. It never ends.”

Together, Allen, Johnson and Orlofsky create “A Joyous Exchange.”

29 June
Comments Off on Amanda Seyfried Shows Off Her Artistic Talents In A Game Of Word Association

Amanda Seyfried Shows Off Her Artistic Talents In A Game Of Word Association

Amanda Seyfried won our love after her performance as Karen in Mean Girls. Her dog, Finn, won our love after the very first time we saw him. Together, they are a perfect pair. And while Finn could be talked about for hours on end, this is about Amanda, so back to her.

Now Seyfried stars in Ted 2 –in theaters today! –alongside Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane. We sat down to get her opinion on a bunch of random things, and what we learned is that not only did Channing Tatum pee on her once (and we have questions about that), but also that Amanda is one hella artistic person. Here’s what happened.

29 June
Comments Off on Real-Estate Developers Retain Clout in Albany

Real-Estate Developers Retain Clout in Albany

New York City real-estate developers continued to exert their power in the state capital this year even after their industry was associated with a series of political scandals.

A long-running tax break for real-estate development known as 421-a will be renewed for four years, but with the catch that the real-estate industry and labor unions will help shape the policy in the next six months, according to legislators. A formal vote on…

29 June
Comments Off on Mom ‘Horrified’ at the Artistic ‘Impression’ Found on Her 3-Year-Old Daughter …

Mom ‘Horrified’ at the Artistic ‘Impression’ Found on Her 3-Year-Old Daughter …

A proud mom ordered a christening cake for her three-year-old daughter, but what she found on the cake shocked and angered her. The Mirror reports:

Sharon Green says she was horrified when she picked up the cake for her three-year-old daughter Tahlia Rose’s christening and saw that it had a crease that makes the teddy look like it has female genitals.

Mrs Green complained and demanded a refund, but she has not been given her money back.

Here’s the cake:

And here’s a close-up picture of the bears in question:

The Manchester Evening News reports that the bakery dismisses such claims:

But Occasion Cakes has responded by saying Mrs Green was ‘seeing something that wasn’t there’ and it was simply a representation of the seam found on toy teddies. And the same style was used for ‘boy’ teddies on their cakes.

The firm said it had been inundated with messages of support from across the world. A spokesman said: It is obvious to all of them that what is claimed is ridiculous and bizarre and we would like to thank everyone for their support.

Here’s another cake they’ve made: