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Ric and Roll

Special things are undeniable. Whether it is visual art or music, the best work jumps out at you and sticks with you. That’s how I felt about The Cars when I heard their music for the first time. So sad to hear of Ric Ocasek’s passing and I want to share some Monday Thoughts about…

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Learning Life From Artists

When I set out to learn all I could about contemporary art, I decided that I needed to get to know as many working artists as possible and study not just the work that they made, but also take a closer look into how they approached their lives. I was interested in developing connoisseurship for…

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Letting Go

As we move from summer into fall, there are so many things that we all are dealing with today. The world is complicated and noisy…quite often when I talk with people these days, they are overwhelmed and fearful. My natural orientation is to guide people to look through another lens and focus on what they…

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My Eyes Are Fixed on Creative Expression

I often walk through our schools and get stopped in my tracks by an artwork on the wall or in a studio that demonstrates profound skill and creative expression. Last week it happened during my visit to Millburn, NJ. The image that you see above is from our Teen Manga class and this artwork is…

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Looking at Art

In a world where our senses are bombarded and overwhelmed to the point of submission, I have found that looking at art provides a profound meditative experience that more people need to experience. But, in a world of intense noise, on demand video, sound and social engagement, a painting has a hard time competing with…

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Yasmeen Abdallah Part 2

Yasmeen Abdallah Part 2   The following is a conversation I had with Yasmeen about her work, life, and influences, along with images of her new works.   John: To get started, could you tell us something about your work and background as an artist, and if there’s any advice you could give young artists?…

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Drawing Hoaxes

Drawing Hoaxes   In our current political environment, fundamental scientific truths are often called into question for political gain, through propaganda fueled by a biased media and the proliferation of journalistic sensationalism. The president says something that is blatantly untrue, and people believe it, despite the facts. When something false is repeated often enough, it…

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Leslie Roberts – ‘Drawing Instructions”

Leslie Roberts – ‘Drawing Instructions”   Leslie Roberts makes diagrammatic works that revel in the space between drawing and painting. They also excitingly explore the spaces between looking, seeing, and thinking (or decoding, problem solving, “figuring out”). Her works translate often serendipitously found texts into patterns. Within the parameters of each work exists every aspect…

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The Purpose of One River

This morning we kicked off another week of summer camps across our twelve locations and I rushed into our school in Englewood, NJ to deal with a minor crisis.  My friend texted me to tell me he was in the hospital and his son was starting his first camp today with the typical trepidation that…

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Yasmeen Abdallah: Fettuccine, Linguine, Martini, Bikini

When I first met Yasmeen Abdallah at Pratt Institute in the mid-2000’s, she was lugging gallon jugs of water from her thesis exhibition. Why she was doing this? Was it part of her work? A labor of the everyday that would result in an exquisitely tough piece of art? Or was she just cleaning up…

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