Friday, June 07, 2019

Charles Leslie's Queer Art Collection

Thursday, June 06, 2019

History is a Weapon - Alison Saar's "Grow'd"

by Gregg Chadwick

“I spect I grow’d. Don’t think nobody ever made me.” 
- Topsy from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Alison Saar's Grow’d sits majestically in L.A. Louver’s open-air Skyroom. Last night, I was privileged to chat with Ms. Saar about her life and work in front of her haunting bronze sculpture. Saar has reimagined Topsy as a strong, fully aware woman. The cotton bale that she sits on has become a throne. And the sickle in her hand has become a harbinger of justice to come. Cotton stalks tied to her hair float like a firmament of earthly stars. 

Alison Saar
2019 / cast bronze / 78 1/2 x 39 x 38 3/4 in. (199.4 x 99.1 x 98.4 cm)
L.A. Louver - June 5, 2019
(photo by Gregg Chadwick)

In 2017-18, Saar created a body of artwork featured in a 2018 solo show at L.A. Louver centered around the character of Topsy. Saar's exhibition entitled Topsy Turvy dove headfirst into the legacy of slavery in America. Douglas Messerli wrote, " Topsy becomes a black heroine threatening patriarchal ideas and seriously challenging male privilege—in short setting the world, as the show’s title suggests, Topsy Turvy." 

Saar said to us last night at L.A. Louver that she considers Topsy Turvy an angry show. 
I replied - echoing Spike Lee's 1619 hat - "400 years of built up anger." In 1619 the first enslaved people stolen from Africa were brought to colonial Virginia. Saar's artwork digs into this painful American origin story and brings to light the literal skeletons buried in our soil. For Saar, her artwork summons the collected rage and frustration of our current time. Saar references poet and activist Audre Lorde

“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time… I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.”


Saar said that she sees her latest sculpture Grow'd as a hopeful artwork that takes Topsy to a new place. The naïve enslaved girl has grown into a regal presence. She is now in control of her own destiny. Looking at Grow'd I am reminded of Tomi Adeyemi's recent novel Children of Blood and Bone. Shammara Lawrence in Teen Vogue describes Adeyemi's book as a "tale of triumph, that chronicles the journey of Zélie Adebola, a powerful young woman fighting to return magic to her people in the land of Orïsha after it was eradicated by a ruthless king, hell-bent on wiping them out completely." Both Zélie and Topsy fight back against injustice.  

Alison Saar
2019 / cast bronze / 78 1/2 x 39 x 38 3/4 in. (199.4 x 99.1 x 98.4 cm)
L.A. Louver - June 5, 2019
(photo by Gregg Chadwick)

Saar in her artwork takes back forms and stories from African art that were appropriated by Picasso and his circle as they attempted to find a new path but remained trapped in their colonial history. In 2016, Saar's solo exhibit at L.A. Louver Silt, Soot and Smut struck a deep chord with art writer Christopher Knight. He wrote Saar "reminds us that European Modern art in the early 20th century is unthinkable without its profound, complex relationship to Africa. She brings artistic diaspora into play." 

I agree with Christopher Knight that "Saar has been making exceptional work for quite some time. A full museum retrospective is overdue."

Alison Saar's Grow'd is on exhibit at L.A. Louver through June 8, 2019.

L.A. Louver
45 North Venice Boulevard
Venice, California 90291
T: 310.822.4955
F: 310.821.7529

Alison Saar
L.A. Louver - June 5, 2019
(photo by Gregg Chadwick)

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

19th Amendment at 100

100 years ago today: the U.S. Senate in 56-25 vote adopted what would become the 19th amendment “The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Bruce Springsteen - Tucson Train (Official Video)

Gregg Chadwick
Love in Vain ('Frisco)
16"x20" oil on linen 2016

Tucson Train

Bruce Springsteen 

I got so down and out in 'Frisco
Tired of the pills and the rain
I picked up, headed for the sunshine
I left a good thing behind
Seemed all of our love was in vain
My baby's coming in on the Tucson train

I come here looking for a new life
One I wouldn't have to explain
To that voice that keeps me awake at night
When a little peace would make everything right
If I could just turn off my brain
Now my baby's coming in on the Tucson train

We fought hard over nothing
We fought till nothing remained
I've carried that nothing for a long time
Now I carry my operator's license
And spend my days just running this crane
My baby's coming in on the Tucson train

Hard work'll clear your mind and body
The hard sun will burn out the pain
If they're looking for me, tell 'em buddy
I'm wailing down at the station
Just praying to the five-fifteen
I'll wait all God's creation
Just to show her a man can change
Now my baby's coming in on the Tucson train

On the Tucson train
On the Tucson train
Waiting on the five-fifteen
Here she comes

Gregg Chadwick
Sunset Limited (Tucson Train)
40x40" oil on linen 2016

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Nazikeule im Dritten Reich

Funny, frightening, and perfectly on point in the 21st century.

"Very fine people" as some misguided politicians would say.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

See You at the Venice Art Walk!

by Gregg Chadwick


Don't let the passing inclement weather change your plans -- join us!

It may be raining right now, but the weather report says it will stop soon, just in time for the 40th anniversary Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction to open. And even if it doesn't, the silent auction is 100% indoors, which means you can view and bid on amazing contemporary art in dry comfort.

Come what may (and we predict sunshine), the music will be playing, the beer and wine will be flowing, the studio tours will be on, and the community celebration will be in full swing under tents to protect everyone from the elements. We just need you to make the day complete.

See you there! 

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Bruce Springsteen Live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2006

"We came down the day before and we went down to the Lower Ninth Ward and saw a lot of the devastation. Rock 'n' roll is at its best when there are high stakes on the table. That's when something much, much larger than yourself can happen. It's music that's meant to push up against things, whatever they may be: against troubles, against hard times. It's a lovely and fortuitous day to be able perform a small service for people… it's one of my favorites, one of the Top Five of my lifelong musical experiences."
-Bruce Springsteen

Gregg Chadwick
Belle Ville (Katrina)
11"x11" oil on linen 2005 

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Blinded by the Light - The Film

From writer/director/producer Gurinder Chadha (“Bend It Like Beckham”) comes the inspirational drama “Blinded by the Light,” set to the music and lyrics of Bruce Springsteen’s timeless songs.

“Blinded by the Light” tells the story of Javed (Viveik Kalra) a British teen of Pakistani descent, growing up in the town of Luton, England, in 1987. Amidst the racial and economic turmoil of the times, he writes poetry as a means to escape the intolerance of his hometown and the inflexibility of his traditional father. But when a classmate introduces him to the music of “the Boss,” Javed sees parallels to his working-class life in Springsteen’s powerful lyrics.

As Javed discovers a cathartic outlet for his own pent-up dreams, he also begins to find the courage to express himself in his own unique voice.

Based on Sarfraz Manzoor’s acclaimed memoir Greetings from Bury Park, “Blinded by the Light” is a joyful story of courage, love, hope, family and the unique ability of music to lift the human spirit.

Chadha directed and produced the film, which was written by Manzoor, Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges. The story is underscored by the music and poetic lyrics of Springsteen, who gave Chadha his blessing from the film’s inception.

“Blinded by the Light” stars Viveik Kalra, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Kulvinder Ghir, Nell Williams, Dean-Charles Chapman, and Aaron Phagura. The film was directed by Gurinder Chadha from a screenplay by Sarfraz Manzoor, Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges. Jane Barclay, Chadha, and Jamal Daniel produced the film. Paul Mayeda Berges, Hannah Leader, Tory Metzger, Tracy Nurse, Stephen Spence, Peter Touche, and Renee Witt served as executive producers.

Chadha’s behind-the-scenes creative team included director of photography Ben Smithard, production designer Nick Ellis, editor Justin Krish, and costume designer Annie Hardinge.

The original score music is by A.R. Rahman. A presentation of New Line Cinema, “Blinded by the Light” is slated for release on August 14, 2019 and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Inspired by Sarfraz Manzoor's Greetings from Bury Park 


The inspiration for the smash Sundance hit, soon to be a major motion picture, “Blinded by the Light”: The acclaimed memoir about the power of Bruce Springsteen’s music on a young Pakistani boy growing up in Britain in the 1970s. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hello Sunshine from Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars

by Gregg Chadwick

“This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements. It's a jewel box of a record."
- Bruce Springsteen 

Gregg Chadwick
Las Piedras del Cielo
16"x20" oil on linen 2010
Under blue skies on a California Spring day, I am listening to Bruce Springsteen's new song Hello Sunshine from his forthcoming album Western Stars. It is a country tinged song reminiscent of Harry Nilsson's Everybody's Talkin' from the movie, Midnight Cowboy.  

Over the years I have driven thousands of miles under wide open skies across the American west. Scanning the radio dial as I drove, I was searching for the sound of the western road. Today I found that cinematic sound in Springsteen's new work.  A rhythmic wash like a distant train running in the distance underlies the song. Pedal steel brings us into the west and the strings add a wide open sonic vista. Bruce's vocals are world weary but not defeated. 

"Hello Sunshine" and an accompanying video will be released just after midnight ET tonight - April 25, 2019.
You can listen to the song now on E Street Radio - Link here.

Hello Sunshine
Had enough of heartbreak and pain
I had a little sweet spot for the rain
For the rain and skies of gray
Hello sunshine, won't you stay

You know I always liked my walking shoes
But you can get a little too fond of the blues
You walk too far, you walk away
Hello sunshine, won't you stay

You know I always loved a lonely town
Those empty streets, no one around
You fall in love with lonely, you end up that way
Hello sunshine, won't you stay

You know I always liked that empty road
No place to be and miles to go
But miles to go is miles away
Hello sunshine, won't you stay
And miles to go is miles away
Hello sunshine, won't you stay
Hello sunshine, won't you stay
Hello sunshine
℗ 2019 Bruce Springsteen

Released on: 2019-04-26

Drums: Matt Chamberlain
Steel Guitar: Marc Muller
Conductor: Rob Mathes
Other: Sandy Park
Violin: Lisa Kim
Violin: Hyunju Lee
Violin: Joanna Maurer
Violin: Sharon Yamada
Violin: Annaliesa Place
Violin: Suzanne Ornstein
Violin: Liz Lim
Violin: Jung Sun Yoo
Violin: Emily Popham
Viola: Robert Rinehart
Viola: Vivek Kamath
Viola: Desiree Elsevier
Cello: Alan Stepansky
Cello: Nathan Vickery
Engineer, Producer: Ron Aniello
Engineer: Rob Lebret
Engineer: Ross Petersen
Engineer: Toby Scott
Mixing Engineer: Tom Elmhirst
Assistant Engineer: Joe Visciano

Mastering Engineer: Bob Ludwig

Bruce Springsteen’s  new studio album Western Stars takes his music to the American West, drawing inspiration in part from the Southern California pop records of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The 13 tracks of Western Stars encompass a sweeping range of American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope.

The album was recorded primarily at Springsteen’s home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York. Ron Aniello produced the album with Springsteen and plays bass, keyboard, and other instruments. Patti Scialfa provides vocals and contributes vocal arrangements on four tracks. The musical arrangements include strings, horns, pedal steel and contributions from more than 20 other players including Jon Brion (who plays celeste, Moog, and farfisa), as well as guest appearances by David Sancious, Charlie Giordano, and Soozie Tyrell. The album was mixed by Tom Elmhirst.
Columbia Records will release Springsteen’s 19th studio album on June 14. 
Western Stars will be available for pre-order on Friday, April 26.

Western Stars Song Titles
1. Hitch Hikin’
2. The Wayfarer
3. Tucson Train
4. Western Stars
5. Sleepy Joe’s Café
6. Drive Fast (The Stuntman)
7. Chasin’ Wild Horses
8. Sundown
9. Somewhere North of Nashville
10. Stones
11. There Goes My Miracle
12. Hello Sunshine
13. Moonlight Motel
All songs written by Bruce Springsteen

For more info click here:

Western Stars

by Gregg Chadwick

Gregg Chadwick
Rio Grande
30"x40" oil on linen 2015

 Under blue skies on a California Spring day, I am listening to Bruce Springsteen's new song Hello Sunshine from his forthcoming album Western Stars. It is a country tinged song reminiscent of Harry Nilsson's Everybody's Talkin' from the movie, Midnight Cowboy.  
Over the years I have driven thousands of miles under wide open skies across the American west. Scanning the radio dial as I drove, I was searching for the sound of the western road. Today I found that cinematic sound in Springsteen's new song. A rhythmic wash like a distant train running in the distance underlies Hello SunshinePedal steel brings us into the west and the strings add a wide open sonic vista. Bruce's vocals are world weary but not defeated. 
Last September I ventured solo from Southern California to Chicago for a show of my artwork at The Other Art Fair in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. The 2,000 mile drive took me across the western desert scapes of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Western Colorado. The espresso fueled hours brought back memories of cross country trips with my family when I was a kid. At night under western stars, my dad drove with the window open to keep him alert. My brother and I would scan the license plates on the trucks and autos around us, hoping to get all 50.  The rushing sounds of wind and tires on the road muted my parent's conversation to a sort of road trip lullaby. I looked out the window as if I was in a movie. Each passing place, every passing car played a role in our family film. We drove from coast to coast - California to New Jersey and back. The last miles were always the most exciting. Driving up the New Jersey turnpike we could feel the power of Manhattan reaching out across the Hudson river. And on the return journey to California, we could see the glow of L.A. on the horizon as we grew close to home. 
Years later when I got out of college, the wanderlust remained. On nights when I didn't have to work the next day, I would take my car out on the road and drive hundreds of miles into the desert and back. As the pink light of sunrise glowed around me I would pull my car in back home. With the engine off, the car would lightly rumble like a horse after a run. I would pick up the morning paper from the driveway. I could taste fresh coffee already. 
Gregg Chadwick
Road Movie
48"x48" oil on linen 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Broken Poet

BROKEN POET - TRAILER from Emilio Ruiz Barrachina on Vimeo.

Trailer of the movie "Broken Poet". Directed by Emilio J Ruiz and starring Elliott Murphy, Joana Preiss, Michael O'Keeffe, Marisa Berenson, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Paris - Fluctuat nec Mergitur

by Gregg Chadwick

Gregg Chadwick
Bookseller's Night
oil on linen 2018
After the Notre Dame Cathedral Fire - in the light of day- Our Lady is scarred but standing resiliently!
Angela Merkel’s spokesperson responded with the Parisian motto: a Latin phrase that personifies Paris and Notre Dame as a ship: “Fluctuat nec mergitur”—“she is tossed by the waves but does not sink.” The saying has been Paris’ motto since the 14th century, about the time when Notre Dame was completed.
With grateful feelings about Notre Dame and Paris, I am pleased to let you know that my Parisian inspired painting "Bookseller's Night" has been chosen by Rebecca Wilson, Chief Curator and VP, Art Advisory at Saatchi Art, for the New This Week collection. 

My oil on linen painting "Bookseller's Night" was inspired by a sojourn in Paris near Montmartre. That summer the light hung on late into the evening until the sky rolled into a blue hour. While walking the Parisian streets under those deep blue skies, I would often stop to glance at books spread out like magical treatises on art and life. We lived that summer in the shadow of Monet, Manet, and Caillebotte. Two of Manet's last studios were on our street and nearby on the Place de Dublin, Caillebotte set his magical painting "Paris Street; Rainy Day" ("Rue de Paris, temps de pluie"). Nearby was the Gare Saint-Lazare which inspired Monet to create Turneresque images of trains and steam.
I carried those memories with me as I painted "Bookseller's Night" along with time traveling thoughts of San Francisco and New York.
A few years ago, I stood outside in a clearing of a Monterey, California forest near the coast in the middle of the night with my brother and René Boitelle, a painting conservator at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Unlike the skies in Los Angeles, we were able to see the stars in the night sky and of course thought of Vincent Van Gogh’s painterly evocations of the glittering night. Van Gogh was able to capture the night in his paintings with his skillful use of midnight blue and starry yellow. Gazing at a Van Gogh painting of a star filled sky, it seems as if he knew that the lights he saw in the dark night sky had traveled from the deepest reaches of time. According to physicists, as we gaze at the stars, in essence we are looking back towards the beginning of time.
Later that week, I stood with René and another conservator, Devi Ormond, before a Van Gogh painting of a weaver; the painting was laid out like a patient on a table in the Getty Museum’s conservation lab. The work seemed so fragile, yet at the same time sturdy and timeless hearkening back to an era of firelight, candlelight, and moonlight. Soon after Van Gogh painted his weavers, the advent of electricity would completely alter the character of the night. Perhaps in every painting of the night there is a hint of this loss, echoing the shadowed forms in the artwork. I am reminded of the nights many years ago when, before painting, I would put Miles Davis on the record player. I would drop the needle on the first track and listen to the hiss and crackle as ‘Round Midnight began to play– the music always muted, blurred as if it emerged from a smoke filled room.