Sunday, January 19, 2014

What we learned from Snipe Hunt

Pop culture, super-heros worship, magic, and 1960's era futurism! These are favorite subjects for Matthew Lord and Kent Smith.  Creating and scheming, they collaborate on imaginative projects. Recent undertakings include a specialized art car and an ongoing monthly drawing event using burlesque performers as models. 

Their latest art show, Snipe Hunt, had its closing reception yesterday. 
This absurdist exhibit proved to be fun stuff. SNIPE HUNT is an acronym for Society of the Never Ending inquest to prove Existence and Hopefully uncover Non-typical Terrestrials. Here is the set-up.:  The Percolator gallery is now a government laboratory whose mission is to "uncover non-typical terrestrials" such as Sasquatch and the Loch Ness-monster.  The laboratory includes scientific specimens with labels, summery of encounters on clip boards with sensitive material redacted, maps pinpointing encounters, and raw footage film of "sightings" on the walls.  The show is interactive with a case number assigned to each sighting that could be found on a map, and submissions from the public. 

What next for Smith and Lord? They have a Naked Lunch spot at the Arts Center on February 14 where they will "most likely talk about cryptic phenomena OR focus on awesome portraits of Christopher Walken, OR other such nonsense. "

Chupacabra, stuffed animal

Moth Man
Matthew Lord, mixed media

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Crowd Reaction to the Art of William Burroughs

Part of his garage
William Burroughs

If Lawrence ever had a celebrity to its claim, it would be William S. Burroughs.  Although known to many as a writer, Burroughs' artwork is currently featured at The Lawrence Arts Center in the new show "The Creative Observer." Observation and creative process are a focus to the presentation of the show which provides 3-D glasses and kaleidoscopes to view work.  Placement of holes made by fired bullets allow viewers to look to another side.

viewing artwork with two kaleidoscopes

The range of reaction to the show from the crowd at the opening reception was polarizing.  Some loved the show. Wayne Probst declared that The Creative Observer is probably the most important art show Lawrence has ever had.  We heard words such as "explorative." Other remarks were more critical; "He was a great writer....end" and "Not bad, but undergraduate ( art school) quality work."

Regardless of the Lawrence crowd reactions to the art of Burroughs, his art has made quite a name for itself worldwide. Major shows in Europe and the US have found impressive sales, and there is much buzz about his work in international art circles.

What are we to make of the Burroughs art star phenomena? Is his art  a name brand with no substance? After all, one doesn't have to go to art school to shoot a bullet through found wood. On closer look, however, Burroughs' artwork can be tied to his writing.  Burroughs was deeply impressed by collage, a technique of cutting things up and putting them back together. He applied this technique to his writing. His art also reflects his personal interests and ways of tapping into the unconscious.  If you are a Burroughs fan, these are important elements in understanding Burroughs' approach to finding the "it."

The organizers of "The Creative Observer" did a great job curating and packaging.  After the opening, our bartender Nate did a great job choosing a scotch for us to make a toast. "To William S. Burroughs, one of the founders of our beloved beat generation. "

objects to aid viewers to look at "The Creative Observer"

Read More:
We love what George Pendle writes about the art of Burroughs in Art in America:
“If you are famous you can get away with anything!” So declared Allen Ginsberg in a 1991 interview while discussing the artworks of William S. Burroughs. Ginsberg didn’t mean it as an explicit criticism of the work, he was simply marveling at the fact that Burroughs was making more money selling his paintings than he ever had from his groundbreaking writing. (Ginsberg was doing the same thing with the sale of his own photographs.) Nevertheless a lingering suspicion has persisted that Burroughs’s art was simply a cash cow. 
Read more of the article here....

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The New Generation of Nerd Nite

It's a new year, and new faces are in charge of the Lawrence chapter of Nerd Nite.  The new co-bosses are very excited for their new adventures. To learn more about what the Nerd leaders have in store for us,  Larryville Artists arranged a private interview scoop with co-boss Chad O'Bryhim.  Here is what O'Bryhim had to say in our interview. 

I decided I wanted to become a Co-Boss just minutes into my first Nerd Nite.  After two months of being denied entry due to capacity, I finally stole a seat and it took just one presentation-on quantum mechanics and art - for me to know that this is the sort of community I could get down with. 

Now that I'm officially a Co-Boss,  I'm absolutely full of make believe power and Pachamama;s spiked punch.  And it tastes good. 

Amy, Peter, and I have had a lot of frustration already over the last two months sorting out how to best host Nerd Nite Lawrence.  We resolved that by moving our meetings to a bar.  

What can Nerd Niters expect in 2014?  More special traveling guest speakers, some high profile guest talking about unexpected subjects, a Nerd Nite presence in more community events, and some surprise swag for attendees.  We've had fun brainstorming ways to stretch your dollar door charge to impractical awesome goals. 

Check out the next Nerd Nite Number 23 "Cracking Cultural Codes."  Doors open at 7:00 and presentation are at 8:00.  More information can be found here:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Photography: Travis Moore

"Barn in the Snow" by Travis Moore

Travis Moore's photos of Kansas barns caught our eye.  We liked the simplicity and the elegance of the architecture. 
In a statement about his work, Travis told us " I like to capture the intrinsic beauty of the natural landscape. Photography allows me to focus on the beauty of the world, capturing a moment in time, and making it last forever.

"DeSoto Barn" by Travis Moore

Artist Statement: 
In my on-going series, Kansas Barns, I'm seeking out a diversity of barns. Everything from restored barns, to barns withering away, untended. The majority of barns in Kansas are no longer in use, and many of them are rotting away, falling down, being torn down. These barns are an integral symbol of Kansas's history, and I aim at documenting many of them in order to preserve the history that each of them behold, in a beautiful way. Many of these barns once stored the livelihood of the people who tended the land, and as more of these barns become victims of neglect their rich history also subsides.

You can see Moore's work in a small gallery in J. Lynn Bridal located Downtown. You can also view his work on Facebook ( see link here),  Twitter (@TMPhotographs), and Instagram (TravisCMoore). Travis hopes to show work this summer at Final Friday events. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

The staff of Larryville Artists are huddled together in our drafty offices during this cold snap.  Some are drinking coffee to stay warm, others are wrapped in blankets.  One brave staff member has gone outside to shovel snow.  However cold it may be outside, our hearts are warm inside. We are always prepared to bring you wonderful news about the art and literature scene of Lawrence.

Sketch Oddity on Monday
The gang is planning another wonderful drawing event at Fatso's.  Monday,  January 6th, is a night for an intergalactic evening of life drawing!Posing and a performance by our resident rocket girl, Devi Du'Ville!
Be sure to bring drawing supplies. 

Fatso's at 7:00 ( they always have wonderful drink specials for us!!!)

Door $5
Calls & Bottles $
Here is the Facebook invite for all the details:

Good Reads
Now is a wonderful time to snuggle with a book while drinking cocoa.  Here are a few suggestions that made some lists for top best art books of 2013:

"The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti"

(Artwork by Tec, Pedro Perelman, Chu/Photo by Tec)
The ambitious street art book sets out to become the definitive reference guide on international street art, covering artists hiding in all corners of the globe. From Shepard Fairey's iconic work in California to Tima Radya's political musings across Russia to Os Gemeos' magical characters sprinkled around Brazil, the anthology of murals and more illuminates the visual beauty of street art, as well as the rich history behind it.

Golden Plague, 2004, Tim Biskup, Personal work; cel-vinyl acrylic and gold leaf on panel
"100 Illustrators"
Edited by Steven Heller and Julius Wiedemann, "100 Illustrators" is based off the Illustration Now! series, which profiles draftsmen across the world, exploring the career trajectories and oeuvres of illustration's finest. For "100 Illustrators," Heller narrowed a list of 600 possible artists included in the series over the years to a final roster of names like Mirko Ilić, Anita Kunz, and Christoph Niemann.

We love this photo of Catherine Ries.  Ries is the gallery manager of the Strecker-Nelson Gallery in Manhattan, Kansas. She studied studio art at Concordia in St. Paul and currently lives in Manhattan, Kansas. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Things we are loving right now.

Here are some things we are loving right now. 

Photography by Tony Peterson

Work by Tony Peterson at The Community Mercantile
( Yes, we said it, the Community Mercantile!). Tony's large photographs at the Merc reflect his long time East Lawrence hood cred, such as his beautiful photo of the train depot.  One of our favorite photos is of snail shells Tony found in a neighbor's garden.  The shells were dyed like Easter eggs, then photographed.  Check this exhibit out if you are at the Merc.  The whole show looks fantastic.
The show will travel to the KPR radio studios for January and February.

The Current PBR Book Club Book

The current PBR Book Club Book is "The Good Lord Bird" by James McBride.  This looney fictitious book takes a look at the failed raid by abolitionist John Brown on Harper's Ferry.  Check out the PBR Book Club site at

Horn Chair on Craig's List

What every living room needs! The Craig's list ad says it is even comfortable!