National Academy: Beyond the Classical

The National Academy Museum & School has put on a rather EXCEPTIONAL show: Beyond the Classical. What I was thinking what the should would be composed of … well let’s just say I was ABSOLUTELY wrong. I was thinking I would be looking at Ancient Greek Sculptures contrasted with contemporary versions. That was not the case. AT ALL.

What I saw before me was INCREDIBLE. A FASCINATING mix of MODERN and CONTEMPORARY works that draw on classical works and themes. This show is a MUST SEE. From Rauschenberg to Duchamp, to Kiki Smith, Mickalene Thomas and more… the list goes on and on. And the works you are presented works are not necessarily typical for what you would normally associate with each artist (especially Mickalene Thomas).

Check out a few snaps of works below that are in the show… but we did not include them all because we ENCOURAGE you all to go and check it out! (Images from Top to Bottom: Yinka Shonibare, “Fake Death Picture,” 2011 – Susan Solano, “Memoria,” 1992-93 – Marcel Duchamp, “L.H.O.O.Q.,” 1964 – Mickalene Thomas, “Carmen: Standing Reaching, Standing Twisting, Standing with Back to Artist,” 2011.)









Lower East Side NYC Graffiti

If you are around the Lower East Side/Chinatown look up, look down, look all around – but actually. There is so much STREET ART to be seen. And this is just to lead you in the the direction of more FABULOUS urban works… From the notorious Kenny Scharf (first image) to Curtis Kulig (second image), and Invader (third image)… there is a full day of hunting down there (and it is a good time to go when it is cold to avoid the chinatown fish smell – yuck). But seriously, there are some EPIC pieces!





Happy Hunting!



Rachel Feinstein’s “Folly” at Its Finest

Cliff House

Rachel Feinstein, Cliff House, 2014

Supermodel, sculptor, set-designer artist, and a muse of many, Rachel Feinstein has conquered several aspects of the creative industry. Mrs. Feinstein (married to artist John Currin) has now become an even greater cultural international sensation, with her FIRST US public art installation, in New York City, Folly.

Feinstein’s latest creations can be found in Madison Square Park. These whimsical like set pieces, reminiscent in construction to the set designed for Marc Jacobs for his Fall/Winter 2012 show however, smaller, brings a fantastical sense to the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.

What appear to be cardboard cut-outs with hand drawn accents, these site-specific sculptures are contoured aluminium panels concealed with vinyl decals with graphite like doodle accents. These hand-like touches, to me, can develop a more personal connection between the viewer and each sculpture. Look at these non-functioning architectural fairy tale esque works and imagine them as drawings in a book you read as a child. Think Anastasia, Cinderella, Snow White, maybe even Alice in Wonderland – and now put a Rococo and Baroque twist on them. While these are not her references – these are what I recall.

“Flying Ship,” “Rococo Hut,” and “Cliff House” are the titles of the three works that you can find staged in the park until September 7th.

We highly suggest you see these before they are taken down!




Heidi Horowitz: The Photographer’s View

CHC: Well hello there, Heidi. How are you doing today?

HH: Today is like all days, I am so grateful for it!

CHC: Brilliant! Let’s begin with the basics, how did you get started with photography? Was art always in your background?

HH: While growing up I was constantly exposed (no pun intended) to my father’s lens. He was a great photography enthusiast, always searching for new equipment or the best buy in film. I am now in possession of the many photos he took while serving in World War II overseas, during the time he spent traveling as a comedian with “The Major Bowes Amateur Hour”, and of course the thousands of family photos he took. My entire family is creative. My sister, Jane Simonson is a fine art painter, whose works have been shown in various galleries and museums. I couldn’t (and still cannot) draw a stick figure. I knew what I wanted to express on paper or perhaps even in words, yet I just didn’t have that gene. This, my favorite photography quote pretty much sums that up: “The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things in words.” – Elliott Erwitt

CHC: When did your photography really come into play as a serious passion to pursue?

HH: Around 5 years ago, I was constantly taking poor quality pictures with my blackberry (ancient!). Everywhere I went, I documented events as they happened in my life, in order to preserve my memories. On one particular birthday, my kids bought me a “real” camera, a ‘point n shoot’ so that at least I could have better quality pictures.

That was it for me. I signed up for lessons, upgraded to a DSLR, added lenses, more equipment, more camera bodies, even more lenses, and went out on the streets.

CHC: You photograph the everyday. Why People, the title of one of your series? How do you relate as the artist to your subject?

HH: You are correct I photograph the everyday. In my series, People, I look for a ‘story’. I don’t necessarily care what the “true” story is, as I am not a photojournalist. I relate what I call a good photo to a good ballet. I have been a patron of the New York City Ballet for over 30 years. The reason I adore the ballet so much is that for the most part, there is no “story”. Unless it is intended to have one, such as Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake, (which I still love to see for the pure athleticism of the dancers), but those are not nearly as interesting or fun for me. The same holds true in my photography, whether it is of People or of the dolls in my Mirror Mirror series. The normal stress that comes with everyday life will show on people’s faces and body language, good and bad, whether it is because they are rushed, busy, hot, cold, hungry, tired, happy, distraught, in pain, frustrated because they have to wait for something or for someone, or excited because they are waiting for something or someone!

Rarely do I find a relaxed human on the streets of New York. I relate more to people on the beach. The beach is a wonderful “street”. The public beaches are so much fun for me because there is so much diversity, from very young to very old, the eccentrics, the vast array of body types and so many tattooed bodies! It is their “day off”, time to relax, maybe meditate, exercise, play or simply sleep.

CHC: Your series Mirror Mirror is all about the use of Barbie in eerie, mysterious, evocative and humorous situations in your works (please feel free to agree or disagree), I ABSOLUTELY ADORE these photographs. From what I’ve previously seen as what I like to call “Barbie Art,” I have never been so entertained and fascinated, even in the most mellow situations pictorially. How did Barbie enter your oeuvre? Why Barbie? What does this plastic ICONIC doll mean to you?

HH: Are you sitting down? With all due respect to Mattel © and to collectors, the Barbie doll means absolutely NOTHING to me. [CHC SURPRISED!!!] I do not collect them, “iconic” and as beautifully made as some of them may be. I do not keep the boxes for the “future”. I am not promoting the doll as a product. I do not see the doll as anything more than a plastic “model” that I use to represent the emotional side of me. I find some of the dolls have just the right facial expression or body language that I can maneuver to meet my needs for a certain message I want to send photographically.

CHC: Explain how you shoot your Mirror Mirror series if you don’t mind. Do you pick out which Barbie you will use, choose the location, and have an idea of what you want the picture to turn out like…or do you bring Barbie somewhere with you, have your camera and just go with the flow?

HH: I use both methods, and sometimes will combine the two. A shoot can take anywhere from half a second while on the run or “in the moment,” to weeks for the staged pieces, where I conjure up an idea, make sure the lighting is just right, the props are proportioned well, and the doll in use is clean and ready for work! But, I always have a camera with me anyway, and more often than not, depending upon the day, there will be a random doll in my bag.

This is an example of an unstaged, “I happened to have the right doll in my bag” moment. I had to work out the right proportion, hand and leg position, lighting all of the faces and direction of movement in a matter of seconds while holding my camera steady with one hand. Very difficult!!! The “story” here is  as if she is trying to “blend in” with the crowd, which apparently, she did, as not one person even noticed what I was doing. This is telling of what New York City is, to me. People are distracted by nothing other than themselves. -Heidi Horowitz

This is an example of an unstaged, “I happened to have the right doll in my bag” moment. I had to work out the right proportion, hand and leg position, lighting all of the faces and direction of movement in a matter of seconds while holding my camera steady with one hand. Very difficult!!! The “story” here is as if she is trying to “blend in” with the crowd, which apparently, she did, as not one person even noticed what I was doing. This is telling of what New York City is, to me. People are distracted by nothing other than themselves. -Heidi Horowitz

CHC: Unlike your “Barbie” photographs, do you stage the photographs you take of those in your People series? Do you ever interact with the people before of after you shoot, or is it all about the story the picture tells, and for people to leave the rest up to their imagination?

HH: I never stage a photo on the streets. As I mentioned previously, I am not actually interested in getting to know a perfect stranger’s story. That is none of my business, and it is not my job to report. It is more fun, and way more interesting to me to have the viewer make that up in their own mind, based upon all of the elements that go into a shot.

I normally do not photograph children, but sometimes it is necessary. This is about the interaction between the small child and the large adult, both dressed in costume, but only one of them knows that. As I saw this scene unfolding I literally ran to catch up to it. The “story” I made up in my head was this adorable little girl thinking “OMG I think I just saw the real spiderman! Nobody is going to believe me!” And she is utterly amazed that he is looking directly at her, as if to say, “Yeah, kid, it’s me. Don’t you worry, I am watching out for you.. go ahead and take your daddy trick or treating..and by the way, "Nice job on the feathers.” - Heidi Horowitz

I normally do not photograph children, but sometimes it is necessary. This is about the interaction between the small child and the large adult, both dressed in costume, but only one of them knows that. As I saw this scene unfolding I literally ran to catch up to it. The “story” I made up in my head was this adorable little girl thinking “OMG I think I just saw the real spiderman! Nobody is going to believe me!” And she is utterly amazed that he is looking directly at her, as if to say, “Yeah, kid, it’s me. Don’t you worry, I am watching out for you.. go ahead and take your daddy trick or treating..and by the way, “Nice job on the feathers.” – Heidi Horowitz

CHC: Who would you say are your artistic idols? Whether it be iconic artists, photo journalists, family, anyone…Moreover, whose works do you admire most and draw inspiration from? Do you have a muse?

HH: My most influential artistic idol is my sister, Jane Simonson. Because of her, I was surrounded by art in some form or another throughout my life. There are so many artists that I admire, and I am thankful to have made some amazingly talented friends in the photographic community, but I especially look up to Lori Nix, who’s creative process requires enormous patience, as she not only builds her own sets, but then photographs them in the most beautiful way, each one depicting a sense of emotion, without the use of a doll! David Carol, my teacher and mentor, has been incredibly inspirational to me. He introduced me to the “world of photography” as he himself lives it. He has had me study lists upon lists of who’s who in photography, past and present. If I am in a “slump”, he takes me on “field trips” to places I’ve never been, makes me run to “get closer” to a shot, and reminds me to check my exposure! Whether it is below freezing or stifling hot outside, we will walk and shoot for miles, and at the end of the day I will have learned something new, not only about photography, but about myself.

As for having a “muse”, yes I do have one. Me! I use my own PERSONAL life experiences, whether happy, sad, dark or funny, as inspiration for and representation of ALL women.

CHC: Where can we find and purchase your work?

HH: Some of my work can be seen on my website, Facebook or Instagram. Although, there are many more photographs that I do not choose to show online, I always try to arrange a private showing of my work when requested. Each photograph is produced in limited editions usually of only 12, signed (en verso) and numbered. Sizes will vary, but the Mirror Mirror series always shows best when printed 30” x 40” or larger. All inquiries can go to my “contact” page on the website to email me directly.

My work has also been featured in: Rangefinder Magazine, December, 2013 issue, Best of 2013 ‘Our Pics of the Year’ page 68, also featured as the background for the ‘Contents’ page; Musee Magazine, issue #2 page 47; Musee Magazine, issue #2 page 82; Lenscratch “Family” Exhibition; Lenscratch “Toy Camera” Exhibition; Lenscratch “Backyard” Exhibition; Lenscratch “Summer Fun” Exhibition; Musee Magazine’s Instagram “pic of the day.”

To see further through the eyes of Heidi check out:





Seriously… It’s Jeff Koons – “Made in Heaven”… Come On.



I have recently been posting pictures of Jeff Koons’ first museum RETROspective and BOOOM. I have been blocked, warned, written to about the vulgarity I have been presenting to the public (no it was not this image above that has created a stir).

Many of you know Koons’ work even if you don’t think you do… well now you do. That shiny balloon dog – that is his creation.

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Others may know Koons’ work from before this/his campy craziness – if ever there was such a period.

Koons was once married to a porn star turned a Italian politician – a porn star who was making hard core porn videos while she was a member of Italian parliament… and she was not kicked out. Weird?

The artist’s Made in Heaven series are what many see as pornographic ads. He is fully exposed in many, as is she. But people, my friends, are calling this obscene and say it is inappropriate? Is it? Is posting it on Instagram or Facebook more inappropriate than seeing it in a museum with children? I’m not saying it is right or wrong – what I am saying is that this is a major part of what is becoming our culture and many have not explored outside the “traditional” art scene until these retrospectives and biennales etc. come up.

Art. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I may not be the biggest Koons fan but his RETROspective was fun, entertaining, Koonsy, kitsch, camp… typical. But I still had fun regardless of how I feel about his work.

But the appalled attention the photos I have been posting to show another side of his work that many are not familiar with is just shocking.

Get CULTURED. Being naked, having sex, being sexual, exposed, is nothing new to art. If anything, in a sense it is traditional. Think of some of the first female figures that were created like the Venus of Willendorf (below) from the Palaeolithic era… PALAEOLITHIC – aka DINOSAURS. she was their SEX symbol. She was their Marilyn.


Koons once made his body, his ex wife’s body, their story, into art – however sexual it may be it is a familiar symbol to the art world, putting sex on display with no shame… so why are you freaking out?

There is more to Koons than inflatables… G-d forbid to let the cat come out of the bag (Koons – Cat on a Clothesline below).


Go to the Whitney. Make your own opinion. But don’t judge me or the exhibition before you experience it for yourself. This was a part of his past, a part of his oeuvre, a part of his history… we all have one – his is just exposed – literally.

Help Support Our Troops – FIDF

Dear Friends,

As the IDF are now in Gaza, they need our support more than ever.

Please give me three minutes of your time. For the first minute I want you to take a break and think about whatever comes to your mind. Maybe you are thinking about what you are going to have for your next meal or what your plans are for the weekend.

For the next minute, I want you to think about Israel. Imagine the tens of the thousands of soldiers now in Gaza whose job it is to defend Israel from Hamas terrorists whose aim, as descried in their charter, is to kill every Jew and destroy Israel. The IDF soldiers defending Israel are people between the ages of 18-21 and people in the Reserve Army who will not be seeing their family and will not be spending time with their friends because they are putting their lives on the line in order to defend Israel.

Please take the next minute to show your support. I just ask that you please give any contribution you feel you comfortable with. Big or small, I promise it makes a difference.

I recently returned from spending 10 days with Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) visiting various bases and getting to know the people who were sent to Gaza to protect Israeli civilians from a terror group trying to destroy Israel. There are no words to describe my respect, admiration and awe for the young generation, people our age, and the reserve army, who leave their family behind, to defend Israel. I had to run to a bomb shelter when the siren went off in Ashkelon. I cannot image what it must be like for Israelis to live in constant fear as to when the next siren will sound. Together we can help to support (click on link to donate), say thank you, and show our love in this time of need.

Thank you for your time and support.




Pop Culture Portraits – Don’t Hate Me Cuz You Ain’t Me

There one time was a CRAZE when celebrities got photoshopped or posed as icons into photographs. For example

1.Kevin Bacon transformed into George Washington by the presidential painter Gilbert Stuart.enhanced-buzz-2975-1387791418-14

2. Mr. Bean posing in the Death of Marat by David.


3. HOV and Queen B as seen in American Gothic, by American artist Grant Wood. tumblr_msqpuw1UQF1shj7flo1_1280

4. Nicole Kidman as Lady with an Ermine by Italiano master extraordinaire, Leonardo da Vinci.

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Could this give a new meaning to Pop Culture? Is the current finally appreciating the past? Is David, Wood, da Vinci and more part of the everyday vernacular? Maybe not. But at least there is a some form of recognition.

And with today’s technology, citizens of Snapchat have taken pop culture and history to a whole new level. You won’t believe it.

Apparently much madness can be attributed to some SNAPCHATTER by the name Lyxdelsic, in captioning King Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud (b. 1701)… just took this game to a whole new level. “Don’t Hate Me Cuz You Ain’t Me.”


It just went there. And it does not stop:


I say keep on popping. Spread the word. Why not? To all you one liner Snapchatters, “may the odds be ever in your favour.”

Ai Weiwei’s #Gunleg – The Current Political Trend, Art Activism

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The first thing I do when I wake up is groggily reach out for my iPhone for the time, my morning news updates, messages and emails…. AND what has become a vital part of my day, my INSTAGRAM feed. This is where I get my real news, most importantly including the THE CURRENT HAPPENINGS OF THE ART WORLD.

Naturally I assumed I would get a variety of posts when I woke up last week; however, what stared back at me from my rectangular mobile screen was a series of legs aimed like guns about to be fired into my retinas. I kept scrolling down, anxious for a family picture or a meal post, but all I kept getting were these limbs raised as if ready for WAR.

It took me a moment to realize it was the doing of NOTORIOUS Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, who posted the first picture wearing nothing than his underwear a traditional straw hat and sticking his leg out like a gun (pictured above), the artist created a visual stimulation that may address so many underlying factors, with the caption “Beijing Anti-terrorist Series”.

Naturally before overthinking this, I felt the need to JOIN IN. That evening, I took my first #gunleg photo and posted it on my Instagram, within 5 minutes, as I was checking for my followers responses, I realized that Ai Weiwei had reposted my picture. It literally made me jump with joy, as this LEGEND reposted my #GUNLEG.

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Here I am in my home in London with the artist being literally across continents, and within a space of minutes he has seen my picture and acknowledged it (see image above). Thus my OBSESSION began, and #GUNLEG is a current trend I have still not gotten enough of.

Being confined to one country has NOT stopped the artist from spreading his ideas globally. Like anyone living in our world, Weiwei took to SOCIAL MEDIA to create one of the fastest growing meme’s that may finally ‘out-post’ grumpy cat photos … This time it happens to be in the form of one of the FEW social media platforms that is UNBLOCKED and UNBANNED in China – Instagram. Now, you have the POWER to take politically charged selfles, and to get legit recognition for

Ever since several articles on the Guardian, Washington Post and BBC News to name a few have written articles trying to deduce Weiwei’s ultimate connotation, since his team have refused to respond to any inquiries. Some say it has drawn inspiration from The Red Detachment of Women, a state-sanctioned ballet that was famously shown to President Richard Nixon during his 1972 visit to China as a portrayal of women’s rise in the communist party. While others claim it is in direct correlation with the 25-year anniversary of the protests in the Tiananmen Square, satirically commenting on China’s onerous Cultural Control (The Guardian).

Although refusing to answer press questions, when pressed by the Washington Post, Weiwei replied with this ambiguous and rather mischievous answer: “It is a pure use of social media. To pick up public notions on mixed issues — the power to control individuals…terror, arms, many issues… to use the body as weapon,” he said. “You cannot do this with a novel or movie or in theater. It’s more like poetry… Some are so empty; some are so profound.”

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As we at CH say… Stand up for what you believe in. Follow your he(ART). Join the movement. Be PROACTIVE.



LACMA and The Getty: LA – “If you don’t know, now you know.” -Biggie

1369545754094.cachedIn what was my first OFFICIAL visit to LA I can say that I was definitely IMPRESSED with both the LACMA and the Getty museums. Both institutions have been mentioned throughout my studies and to get to experience them in person was well worth the visits.

Being more partial to art of the contemporary persuasion I had an especially great time at the LACMA. The James Turrell Retrospective (see image above) in particular was a HIGHLIGHT (no pun intended), something that I strongly recommend to anyone living in the area or heading out that way – it runs through April 6th. The works span Turrell’s lengthy career, from early works all the way through plans for a yet-to-be-executed project at the Roden Crater in Flagstaff, Arizona. The temporal and spatial affects of Turrell’s works can hardly be described in words, one really must be there in person to engage with them. In order to experience the energy and power emanating from these works, immersion is vital and the effects are unforgettable.


The Getty Museum (see image above) is one of the most beautiful institutions I’ve visited to date. High up on a hill overlooking the city of Los Angeles, you definitely gain a sense of the extreme wealth of the museum (J.Paul Getty left no shortage of cash). Like the LACMA it’s split up into different buildings housing different styles of art throughout various periods in history. The highlight for me here was Hearsay of the Soul, a 5 channel video installation created by one of my favorite directors, Werner Herzog (see image below). The film is a compilation of etchings by Dutch artist Hercules Segers complimented by the music of composer/cellist Ernst Reijseger (also Dutch). I found this piece to be both unsettling and beautiful, capturing the sublime through the coupling of the etchings and the pure emotive power of Reijseger as he played. It’s as if he was translating the artworks through his music. This was for me, definitely a must see! 4.-Herzog

If you have the opportunity to get to LA and visit these institutions, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

In the words of Biggie, “if you don’t know, now you know”…so go!



MILLIE BROWN: Gross, Grotesque, or Gorgeous? (Warning, Viewer Discretion Advised)


Millie Brown. You may have heard of her. You may have not. You may have seen her in LADY GAGA’s music video (see clip below), and been like “WHO IS THIS YOUNG LADY WHO STICKS HER FINGERS DOWN HER THROAT TO VOMIT (LITERALLY VOMIT) BLUE GLITTER MILK ONTO GAGA’s GOWN?!!!” in her video “Exorcist Interlude.” Some critics are even calling her the next Jackson Pollock (read this article – I swear I am not making up this connection). Is this real life?! Sadly, yes.

She has gotten her art down to a perfection. Brown starves herself for two days. By resisting any form of nutrients, she makes sure there is nothing inside of her that would contribute negatively (if this is not sending a negative message in itself) to her abstract painting (see example through image below).

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After two days, she is ready to put on her performance. If this isn’t gross enough, you may want to STOP here. THANK YOU FOR READING, TRULY I APPRECIATE IT HOWEVER, WARNING: I GET INTO MORE DETAIL…


Anyways, MB dyes the milk colours of her choice for the canvas. She typically sits and drinks, once in a while stands, but only drinks one colour at a time. She then regurgitates this one colour onto the canvas (see image above) until she feels it is completely out of her system. She will force her fingers down her throat multiple times. Again. And Again. And Again. Literally, until the last drop is out of that colour… And then restarts. ONTO THE NEXT COLOUR.


While Pollock may have been a drunk, and died because of his disease, he was creating these FANTASTIC performances pieces in themselves through his movements seen by the traces of paint dripped and splattered onto the canvas.

Brown, on the other hand, who is getting LOADS of attention, and sadly I’m just feeding into it here, is, breaking away from “traditional” performance art, but is she? Think Yoko Ono “Cut Piece,” any of Marina Abramović’s “Rhythm” series, Joseph Beuys’ “I like America and America Likes Me…”All of these artists have put themselves in harm’s way. And willingly. But they were not making themselves throw up on command. Especially now, in a society that is pressured by “looks” – i’m so sorry to say this, but “WHAT THE EF?!”

What kind of a message is she sending to all societies and their youth? What message is GAGA sending?! We know GAGA is all about the arts, but she has a tremendous youth following! HOW IS THIS OK? It is one thing to test your body to the limits through strength and endurance, but it is another thing to be bulimic and be making money off of such a sick process, literally. Personally, i’d prefer one of Warhol’s “Piss” pieces. At least it was a natural bodily function.

Well CultureHe(ART)s, sorry for the disturbance, but I wanted you to be “in the know” should anyone be taking about this “new girl on the block” that vom.coms to make art.

Now it’s LADA GAGA vs. LADY GAG. OY. If you would like to see a true performance piece feel free to look it up on YouTube. I truly do not believe in sharing any more of her videos, because I believe it is sending a completely dysfunctional message, even though the finished product may be viewed to some as “beautiful” and “gorgeous.” What do you think?


Gross, Grotesque, or Gorgeous?

XX, CHC (p.s. Like our Facebook page! Or Follow us on Instagram @CultureHeARTs)