Week Fifty Two

Fashion Meets Art III

Posted in Fashion Meets Art by sarahbakerhansen on 16 June 2011

Top to bottom: Buckminster Fuller, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Henri Rousseau and John Singer Sargent meet some modern day fashionistas. Hope you enjoy. 

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Fashion meets Art 2

Posted in Fashion by sarahbakerhansen on 17 April 2011

Too fun not to do again.

Top to bottom: Warhol + Dior, street style + Damien Hirst, street style + Lichtenstein detail, Anna Della Russo + YSL + Madame X (I like to imagine Madame X wearing those shoes underneath her gown), The Sartorialist + Picasso, Tom Ford + Stella Tenant + Lautrec.

Fashion meets Art.

Posted in Fashion by sarahbakerhansen on 15 April 2011

Abbey Lee’s coat–as unmistakable in its bold pattern as a Jun Kaneko ceramic head–is what inspired this post. I enjoyed it so much it might become an ongoing series.

Top to bottom: Model Abbey Lee + ceramicist Jun Kaneko, Street style + Nebraska landscape painter Keith Jacobshagen, Street style + Robert Rauschenberg, Elisa Nalin + Mark Rothko

Style Icon: Garance Dore

Posted in Fashion by sarahbakerhansen on 9 December 2010

So I know she’s mostly known for taking street style photos of other people, but how cool is Garance Dore‘s personal style? I love her menswear inspired look that somehow still seems feminine. I love how she freely repeats pairs of pants, scarves, shoes, jackets and two statement handbags, one wine (Sofia Coppola for Louis Vuitton) and one black (Givenchy.) Clearly, her wardrobe is real. I love how sometimes she shots photographs wearing heels, capes and other items that don’t seem utilitarian but that can be made utilitarian with a bit of creativity. I love her muted color palette that’s still sexy and how she sometimes glams it up with a shot of red lipstick. It also doesn’t hurt that the Sartorialist is probably shooting most of these photos, but we’ll forgive her that much.

Before and After

Posted in general interest, Home design by sarahbakerhansen on 18 November 2010

I know this is usually an art blog, but I’m awfully excited about our new house and so I figured I’d devote a few posts to “house stuff.” Please excuse the interruption if you find “house stuff” boring, but I kind of cant’ help it. I spend way too much time perusing Design Sponge and my new obsession is its “Before and After” section. I have a couple of pieces in my home – namely a dark stained wood desk and dresser – that I’m itching to transform. How great is this piece of glass transformed with mirrored paint?

I also love the idea of transforming lighting with spray paint.

Once we get settled after the move, I plan to devote some time to my own “Before and After” projects. In the meantime, check out Design*Sponge for some more inspiration.


Posted in general interest by sarahbakerhansen on 14 November 2010

The past few weeks in my life have been literally ripe with changes.

I cut my hair off.

I’m in my very first art exhibition, opening next Friday at the Bemis Underground.

I’m closing in on the home stretch for a project I’ve been working on for months (more on that very soon.)

Oh, and my husband and I bought a house. We’re leaving our Old Market loft – which has been an absolutely lovely rental – for Dundee. Moving day is next weekend.

I’m also writing my first blog post in (blush) literally months.

Change is scary. But it’s also very good.

Happy Thanksgiving! Because it’s officially the holiday season, this week’s Mixed Media will be devoted to all things holiday, beginning with the Durham Museum’s annual tree lighting ceremony. The ceremony itself begins at 4 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, Friday, Nov. 26, and runs until 7. Vocalist and local KIOS radio personality Michael Lyon will give a performance, and visitors can decorate cookies, create holiday gifts and share their list with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Durham’s annual holiday trees exhibit also opens Nov. 26. The exhibition explores holiday traditions from around the world and is created by Omaha community groups. The show includes a selection of holiday trees decorated with diverse holiday customs. The show continues through Jan. 2.


On Saturday, Nov, 27, ten studio locations in Benson will be part of one big holiday art show. “Get Gifty” includes work from more than 40 artists – including Wanda Ewing, Julie Conway, Andrew Hershey and Jason Gerber, among many others. The event starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 6; galleries include Studio Illuminata, 2725 N. 62nd St.; Adventure in Art, 6001 Maple St.; Pizza Shoppe Collective, 6056 Maple St.; Justin Beller Studio, 6110 ½ Maple St.; Silver of Oz, 6115 Maple St.; Ying Zhu Studio, 62nd and Maple streets; Blue Pomegranate Gallery, 6570 Maple St.; and JD Gerber Photography, 6572 Maple St. A portion of all the art sold during the event will go to support Omaha Youth Emergency Services, which offers a safe place for at-risk young people in the Omaha area.


On Friday, Dec. 3, the Artists Cooperative Gallery opens its annual holiday show. The show has a theme – this year’s is “quarters only” – and the members of the space will be showing work that fits into that theme, but with their own personal interpretation. The artists will play host to two openings during the run of the show: one of Friday, Dec. 3 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and a second on Sunday. Dec. 5 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.


The Annual Hot Shops Open House is slated for Saturday, Dec. 4. and Sunday, Dec. 5 From noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Hot Shops artists and galleries will be open for business. Studio visits, art displays, live music and a huge variety of work – including the ever popular blown glass holiday ornaments – make the weekend one not to miss. The event takes place at the Hot Shops, 1301 Nicholas St. in North Downtown Omaha.


And one final note this week: The Joslyn Art Museum has free admission all weekend. The museum will be free Friday Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 27 from 10 to 4 and Sunday, Nov. 28 from noon to 4. All the Joslyn permanent collection and special exhibition galleries will be open, as will the museum shop, café and sculpture gardens.






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A different kind of artist

Posted in Fashion, general interest by sarahbakerhansen on 8 August 2010

Last winter, over Christmas, we had a flood in our apartment. Snow burst through the roof of our six-story building and water found its way through the four floors above us and into our apartment; the leak was partially over our closet. It missed a Chanel suit by mere inches; one of my bags, a Bottega Veneta, wasn’t so lucky.

Even though it was in a dust bag and stuffed with paper, dank water-soaked through both sides and into the woven leather and the silk lining. The leather, once buttery soft, became stiff and crusty. The darker portion in the picture above left a distinct water mark on the purse. Even though I knew it was likely ruined, I didn’t have the heart to give it up and it sat around my apartment, in a very sad state, for six months.

I made some calls to local cobblers and none of them wanted to touch it – they said the woven nature of the bag – Bottega’s signature “intrecciato” technique – made dying, cleaning or fixing it in any way basically impossible. I decided to take it to Andy’s Shoe Repair in Omaha and simply show it to the owner in person to see what he thought. I trust this shop with my best shoes and I’ve never been let down, so I figured it was worth a try. While he didn’t have a lot of hope, he said he’d do what he could. He had it for close to three months – partially because he did a number of treatments on it and partially because he misplaced my customer tag inside the bag and didn’t have my phone number.

Long story short, after cleaning and treating my bag, it looks like this.

It’s not entirely perfect – there’s still a few stiff, darker spots, but I’m so thrilled to have it back. If anything, I think the darker spots, the patina of the handle and the deluge this bag survived make it even more special.

A fashion moment

Posted in Fashion by sarahbakerhansen on 28 July 2010

A few things I’m swooning over, thanks to this morning’s email from Net-a-Porter.

3.1 Phillip Lim Silk Crepe Coat

3.1 Phillip Lim Waxed Leather Biker Jacket

3.1 Phillip Lim Sequin Embellished Silk Dress

Acne Amon Printed Chiffon Blouse

Marc by Marc Jacobs Suede Wedge Boots

Tom Binns Silver Plated Swarovski Crystal Safety Pin Earrings

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Work of Art: The Next Great Artist episode seven

Posted in Art news, Art review by sarahbakerhansen on 21 July 2010

So after last week’s rather dramatic cuss-word laden public art challenge, and the also rather dramatic exit of Erik, we join the artists for a fresh challenge. The preview clues us in that this week, the good-looking Miles is the target of ire.

In the first few minutes of the show, the contestants talk about Erik’s dramatic exit and how they’re alternatively sad and relieved. They all go up to the roof and enjoy breakfast together as a tension reliever. It’s a gorgeous roof deck, to be sure, and the seven remaining contestants spend some time getting to know each other, and topics like Ryan’s religion (He was raised a Jehovah’s Witness) come up.

Simon comes in and tells the artists they’re going on a trip to a surprise art destination, which turns out to be Soho’s Children’s Museum of the Arts. It’s not what they expected, but it’s clearly going to reflect their challenge. The challenge asks the artists to dig deep and create a piece inspired by what made them become an artist. They have to use the materials in the museum: things like pipe cleaners, crayons and paint. Simon urges them to be bold.

The artists begin to work with kid materials at kid-sized tables. Nicole talks about how her twin sister does art therapy, and decides she wants to pull specific childhood memories for her piece. She’s making frames and exploring her quest for perfection. Abdi begins to create a comic book scene about his mother, who raised him as a single parent. Art, he says, kept him on the right track.

Miles decides to re-work a piece that he’s done in the past; it’s not reminiscent of his childhood, but he’s pleased with it.

Jaclyn is stumped on what to make. She doesn’t want to explore her childhood, which she describes as lonely, when she ate lunch alone at school in the bathroom stall. It seems like she’s already exploring a lot of these themes of isolation in her other work, so it’s unclear why things have become so hard now.


The materials are both challenging and inspiring to the artists. Some are finding creative freedom in the material while others are hindered. Peregrine talks about how she was raised in an artist commune in San Francisco and she thinks of herself as a child at an adult’s party. Her sculptural piece is inspired by those experiences. So far, her piece is a lot different from anyone else’s. It’s much bolder.

All of the artists begin to deal with memories – times when they were left out, experiences they had with family members, difficult moments. The hardest part seems for many to be realizing that much of their inspiration – even in real life – comes from their past.

Meanwhile, Miles and Nicole continue their flirtation in a box of giant balls. Simon arrives a few minutes later with snacks.

Simon starts his reviews with Ryan, who is making a drawing akin to one a child would make, using his left hand. Simon says again: too literal. Abdi’s comic book painting looks “like an 11-year-old” did it, and the artist is concerned. Jaclyn’s abstract paintings don’t look like much – Simon said he liked the idea of using pipe cleaners more, but she’s divided.

Simon is more impressed with the conceptual, adult works that deal with memory: Nicole’s set of mixed media pieces that represent layers of memory, Peregrine’s candy-like sculptural pieces that evoke her awakening as an artist.

Miles’ piece has nothing to do with his childhood, and Simon thinks this is a big problem. Miles says he doesn’t think he’s a fully developed artist yet, and this makes the other artists mad: they think he’s cheating by referring back to another piece he made in the past.

Overall, Simon says he’s concerned and unimpressed with most of what he saw. He also tells the artists that the days of immunity are over.


After Simon leaves, Abdi scraps his piece. He starts interviewing the other artists and asking them what people asked them to draw. Ryan decides to add another level of complexity to his piece, and Jaclyn starts playing with pipe cleaners. Miles starts making rubber band balls and decides to add them to his piece. Ryan calls Ryan a douche bag, and it’s clear that Miles is pretty much ignoring the challenge and just making whatever he feels like.

The next day the artists get ready to install the show, and Nicole says she thinks it’s going to be one of the most personal gallery shows so far, and it’s going to be hard to hear what the judges have to say.

Ryan and Jaclyn both change their pieces a lot, and Jaclyn does end up using the pipe cleaners and pom-poms, as Simon suggested. She’s done well in the past listening to what he said, and it will be interesting to see if this is any exception.

Mark finishes his piece – a children’s book – and Ryan urges him not to talk about it too literally. I guess he’s learning from experience.


The guest judge for the challenge this week is painter Will Cotton. The judges like Abdi’s images that describe the role of the artist. Mark’s book – while very literal – shows a new side of his artwork. Peregrine’s piece, “Rainbow,” is described by Cotton as “ballsy.” Ryan’s piece tries hard to get into his childhood mind, and the judges seem into it. Miles’ piece ends up looking like a grid, and Cotton says it reminds him of space invaders. I can see that, too, but knowing his attitude during the challenge turns me off the piece.

Abdi, Nicole, Peregrine, Ryan and Jaclyn get pulled up for the critique, while Miles and Mark are safe.

Ryan said when he was trying to draw a like a child,it brought up memories, and the judges see that his experience was intense. The work he didn’t like is torn up on the floor, and the judges find that more interesting than the finished piece, which just looks like a child’s work.

Peregrine describes her chalk cigarettes and party remnants as her childhood experience, and how later in life many of those people she knew as a child died of AIDS. The piece is a mix of candy and drugs, and the judges can see both experience and innocence in the piece. The details, they say, tell the story.

Jaclyn describes her final piece – a black and white tree painting  mixed with strings – as her own secret world. But the judges don’t see that in the work. They say there’s no risk in the stark piece and that she tried to hard to make it relatable to others.

Nicole’s sculptural mobile is meant to convey memories from her childhood. The judges like that it created a mystery, and she’d done that before. They like the level of obscurity, and that it’s deeply personal.

Finally, Abdi’s piece. His collection of drawings aren’t personal. They ask him which drawings connect to him and he points out the superhero drawings. The judges say that’s his theme, but he removed himself from the piece when he asked other people for their ideas.


The judges think the work either works or comes off as amateurish. THey like Peregrine because she created a risky work that’s deeply personal. Nicole brought mystery into the work and they liked how she made the materials her own. Ryan’s piece didn’t let the judges know him and the drawings were too generic. The substance wasn’t there. They wonder if he’s learning anything from week to week. Jaclyn couldn’t make herself vulnerable this week as she has in past weeks and the judges are disappointed. Abdi’s piece was dull, safe and random. It’s commercial and cliché.

Nicole and Peregrine are the top two, and Peregrine takes home the prize this week for her risky choice.

The bottom three are Abdi, Jaclyn and Ryan. Their work, the judges say didn’t make them feel anything: the ideas were under-developed, guarded, amateurish and bland. Abdi is safe and the elimination comes down to Jaclyn and Ryan.

Ryan, who didn’t take the judge’s past criticisms to heart, gets the boot.

He said he stands by his piece and wishes he could stay, but is also glad to go home and make what he loves: realistic oil paintings that he doesn’t have to explain to anyone.

Next week: another team challenge. Looks like some portraits are in our future.

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On watching the first few episodes of “Work of Art”

Posted in Art news, Art review by sarahbakerhansen on 20 July 2010

My sister Lindsey posted a really insightful comment on my recap post from episode five of Bravo’s “Work of Art.” I liked it so much that I thought it was worth a post of its own, and figured I’d finish this post in advance of tonight’s episode.

Here’s what she wrote:

“This show is so strange to watch. It’s one thing to see someone crank out a dress with limited resources and stylistic constraints in a short period of time, but for me, the idea is not jiving with the creation of a piece of visual art (it actually makes the most sense to me in terms of writing–free writing or timed writing with a theme or set of arbitrary rules isn’t a new idea, but would probably make for boring TV).

Maybe I have a skewed perception of fashion as art, or art as art, or the exploitation of the creative process that goes into both. I do believe fashion is art, of course, and that it can be high art…still, I don’t put Consuelo Castiglioni, say, in the same category as Matthew Barney, even if I could easily see wearing Marni to a Barney opening.

It’s an interesting concept.”

I agree that it’s an interesting concept, though I can’t say I really like it. As the weeks go on, I find myself less interested in watching the show. I’ve always enjoyed the part of my job that lets me get into artist studios, see their work, watch them create and talk about process. More often than not, I leave with some real insight. But “Work of Art” takes that situation – often intimate, always a result of a certain level of trust between viewer and artist – and makes it seem cheap. I don’t think it would be bad for “just anyone” – including the millions of Bravo viewers out there – to see what happens in an artist’s studio; to the contrary, I wish more people could have that experience, which leads to a deeper understanding of art. What “reality” television specializes in, though, is the bastardizing of reality in neat, drama filled, hour-long chunks that aren’t really real at all. I know this. I do. But it’s harder for me to swallow when it concerns art.

The other thing that bothers me about the show is that artists are being constrained to work under a theme – an idea that historically doesn’t lead to very good art. Last week’s episode, which focused on public art, was an exception – they got to go any way they wanted, but had to work in teams, which is another unfortunate reality show construct, because team challenges equate bickering, and usually bad art/food/fashion, depending on the program.

I think Lindsey’s comment is spot-on in terms of what this show does with creativity. Making a piece of visual art with a budget of $25 in two hours is probably going to lead to some poorly executed art. In rare cases, that might be different. But I highly doubt the “next great artist” will be a former Bravo show contestant on the program of the same name.

See you tonight.

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