Creative Civilization
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Fab digital storytelling: The Power of Words

Wonderful and highly inspirational video. Reminds us all to strive for authentic and purposful communication. So chose your words wisely. They are extremely powerful.

Via Dr. Karen Dietz
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

I'm sharing this courtesy of Karen Dietz and Ken Mikkelson - which only proves how worthwhile it is to check out what other people are discovering and writing about on the web. Karen's take is that of a storyteller -business person. Mine is as an artist; where communication is essential and has the potential to be equally compelling. How can we as artists strive for authentic and purposeful communication?

I will hazard a guess that compelling artwork begins in my head as an idea, migrates down through my chakras/system to my heart, where it engages me emotionally, and then lifts unstoppably into my Will - or throat - where it manifests as a proclamation of what I intend to make next.Perhaps that part is sometimes a silent proclamation, but when it happens I know it.

Does your Artist Self recognize this chain of events in you? If not, pay closer attention next time an idea arises and see where it leads.

Thanks to Karen and Ken for a big lift to my afternoon!

Nick Usborne's comment, March 16, 2013 8:23 PM
As it happens, if you like "story" you will probably love David Kirby's poetry.Every poem is a complete story.
Kirby Wadsworth's curator insight, March 17, 2013 3:45 PM

I've loved this video for years...always gets me

Alessandro Donadio's curator insight, March 19, 2013 7:01 PM

The power of Words

Creative Civilization
Making and Meaning at the Core of Our Being
Curated by Jane Dunnewold
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What to Expect

What to Expect | Creative Civilization |
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

There are loads of articles out there on creativity and making art. I think the really engaging stuff considers what we make and why we make it. So you can expect the curating I do to focus on the surprising, the astounding, the thoughtful and the bizarre. And if that doesn't cover it, we'll go there anyway.

I am selecting articles that encourage me to think differently - broader, deeper, wider - and that means I won't always like what I read. But hey - that's part of the growth angle of being human. And appreciating conflicting opinions is, perhaps, a right we don't take seriously enough. I am eager to share ideas with you.

Wonder how to navigate the magazine?

To Find a Topic:  Click on the Filter Tab above and type in a keyword. All the articles with that keyword will appear.

I won't be including anything gratuitious or silly. But I won't be everywhere either. So if you have an article to share, please feel free to write to me. And take a minute to visit my website:

With over twenty years experience teaching and practicing the art of mixed media and surface design, I definitely have an experience base and log of opinions. I hope sharing them will trigger a few insights for you.


Jane Dunnewold's comment, February 22, 2013 1:38 PM
Thanks for the nudge and the inspiration. I expect we'll find lots of common ground between your site and mine!
Dr. Karen Dietz's comment, February 22, 2013 2:49 PM
Yes, I'm looking forward to re-scooping some of your material! Have a happy day :)
Dr. Karen Dietz's comment, August 6, 2015 11:46 AM
I'm continuing to love your curation Jane! Heal fast, and keep going with your curation work. It's important.
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Creative Civilization

Creative Civilization | Creative Civilization |

I met an artist guy once who proclaimed over dinner and plenty of wine, that art should never have anything to do with personal life. It should stand on its own. I was uneducated, young, and insecure. So I believed him....



Jane Dunnewold's insight:

While I enjoy curating articles for via this Creative Civilization column, I discovered I missed writing about my own experiences as an artist, maker and mentor. Join me on my website for another Creative Civilization read - hopefully thought-provoking and funny observations about the crazy smart reality of human existence!

Click on the link above to read my stories.

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Seeing Beyond "Kimono Wednesdays”: On Asian American Protest

Seeing Beyond "Kimono Wednesdays”: On Asian American Protest | Creative Civilization |
When I heard that the Boston MFA was launching a dress-up social media campaign called "Kimono Wednesdays" based on a painting by Claude Monet, that a group of young Asian American protesters asked...
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

I shared the original report on the Boston MFA Kimono Wednesday events and got some interesting feedback concerning how those of us outside Asian culture - and specifically Japanese culture - have been influenced and educated  about the use and history of the kimono. I recalled only reverence for this garment - so perfectly conceived and executed. 

But I would be remiss not to share the follow-up essay by Ryan Wong, which was published as a response to the original article, which was shared via 

The most important thing Ryan wrote was this:
"Someone who doesn’t embody an experience does not get to tell those who do when, how, or why to protest. Men don’t get to tell women when something falls under misogyny. Cis people do not determine what is transphobic, or how to speak on transphobia. It is the job of those outside that experience to listen."

Check out the rest of the article because it's IMPORTANT. The polarizing, frightening events of the past  several years should be sending a clear message - but are we ready to listen? The dismissiveness of white culture and yeah, I'm part of it - toward everyone else - absolutely must disintegrate. Anything we can do to heighten understanding, raise awareness and be supportive of ANYONE who feels he or she is "OTHER" is worth the effort.

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The Confused Thinking Behind the Kimono Protests at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

The Confused Thinking Behind the Kimono Protests at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts | Creative Civilization |
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts recently cancelled an event they had called “Kimono Wednesdays,” that, according to the museum, sought to engage people by arranging enhanced encounters with works of...
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thanks to Seph Rodney for teasing apart the conflicting issues tangled up in The Boston Museum of Fine Arts' "Kimono Wednesdays." 

Cancelled because the events were labeled racist by some protestors - a real opportunity to connect with another culture in a positive way was lost, as were opportunities to further conversation around the appropriation of cultural objects by artists who didn't grow up in the culture themselves.

Iconic objects exist within every culture - the traditional quilt is an example of one that is recognizably American. Interacting with those icons physically by touching them, and in the case of the kimono, wearing it - fosters an opportunity to experience the culture via the object with a new appreciation and quite possibly, reverence and respect.

It's all about intention, isn't it? Taken out of context, any object can be cheapened. Take Joss paper, for example. Used in some religious traditions with reverence, it's easily acquired and often used in mixed media art works. Should that be discouraged?

And what about art work that pokes fun at specific traditions and cultures? We probably need to be careful with that one. I don't want anyone else to refer to me as a "white bitch" but I am ok referring to myself that way occasionally! Some things just can't be successfully appropriated by others. It's up to the person or the culture to decide how far to go. And even then, not everyone will agree.

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Fox News Bizarrely Censors $179M Picasso Painting

Fox News Bizarrely Censors $179M Picasso Painting | Creative Civilization |
Apparently the price paid for Picasso's "Women of Algiers" (1955) on Monday is not the most obscene thing about it.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thanks to Aruna D'Souza for pointing out how neatly Fox is protecting viewers through crazy acts of censorship like this. As is so true of censorship in general - now I REALLY want to Google "Women of Algiers" and get a good look at the parts that were blurred. Just in case I missed something steamy last time I looked at it. Sigh. 

Shouldn't grownups be able to choose for themselves what to view and what to dismiss? And isn't there value in being able to discuss a painting like this with a child, without getting all weird about exposed body parts?

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Ponder Your Multiple Personalities, Get More Creative

Ponder Your Multiple Personalities, Get More Creative | Creative Civilization |
A recent study suggests that reflecting on the fluidity of identity can enhance creativity.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Stop and think for a moment - and appreciate how many selves you are - based on the daily interaction currently engaging you.

Fascinating article by Becca Rothfeld (via describing research from the University of Chicago - proposing that "subjects instructed to write about the multifaceted nature of social identity performed better on subsequent creativity tests than did members of the control group, who were instructed to write about their daily routines."

Conclusions were open-ended, but isn't it interesting to think that by acknowledging the many roles we play socially, we may also ramp up creative potential?

My mind jumped ahead to recognize that actualiy playing all those roles is a creative endeavor - and practicing it + acknowledging we're doing it, probably makes us more consciously aware of our creative abilities. After all, any balancing act requires a certain amount of creative engagement...and better when we know it's happening!

Also led me to think about my attachment to Caroline Myss' descriptions of archetypes as symbolic patterns that can help us understand ourselves (and IMO also  grounds understanding of the Artist Self.)

Analyzing actions/preferences/daily events from the viewpoint of twelve personal archetypes, each of which defines various aspects of personality - is useful - and perhaps another version of what the research references: getting up close and personal with the many selves we are -and witnessing to the power of that analysis - can deepen appreciation of ourselves as human and creative beings.

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Out of This World, Domestic Objects Transcend Their Daily Use

Out of This World, Domestic Objects Transcend Their Daily Use | Creative Civilization |
New York is a big art city, with big art fairs, big museums, and lots of big concept art.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

You will appreciate Subdh Gupta's alchemical transformation of every day, very ordinary objects into collections that become one thing - commenting in sly ways on the solitary object in all its daily import, while synthesizing it into the large gestalt that is EVERYTHING.

Melissa Stern does a great job of organizing a review of Gupta's exhibition, Seven Billion Light Years, into enough explanation, paired with photos, that I can see the work in my mind. But reading the review made me wish I could be there. No substitute for standing in the middle of the gallery, this time around...

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The Philosophical Anxiety Behind #TheDress Controversy

The Philosophical Anxiety Behind #TheDress Controversy | Creative Civilization |
The dress controversy is compelling because it touches, however unsophisticatedly, on some of the oldest and most difficult questions in philosophy of mind.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Qualia - not a term I was familiar with. It means essentially "what it's like-ness" - how we relate to someone else's condition, but how in the long run it is THEIR condition - and therefore separate from us, and therefore also capable of separating us from each other.

The dress controversy happened right in the middle of one of my class weeks, so we had a random sampling with opinions about the color of the dress. Fascinating that the group was split about 50/50 in whether or not the dress was black/blue versus white/gold. More fascinating to pick up on the slight anxiety this caused. I didn't really get it; assumed it's because most of us really, really wish/hope/know that we are right when opinions are expressed. Even if we don't make a big deal of it!

This article helped explain that reaction of discomfort that happens when two of us don't agree and we really want to - but the evidence is "obvious"  - and we don't agree! Visual perception is an example of qualia. We can't really argue about it; because while there are theories of how things work, a lot of it can't be proved. So we have to accept our "unlike-ness" and that's uncomfortable.

The bottom line issue is a very human one. It's all about trust. If I see white and you see blue and we're both absolutely sure that's what we see - what else might we not see eye to eye on? 

So this is a great example of living in a place of non-judgement and acceptance of others. Having faith that trust is justified. 

And all that from a simple dress and a new term - qualia.

Vicki Miller's comment, April 7, 2015 10:09 PM
It is interesting, because in my morning pages today I was actually writing about our perceptions of perfection and how we can never achieve perfection because it differs for every individual and what one perceives as perfect will not perhaps fit the next person's perception. A good reason for remembering that what we create should first and foremost please us.
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eunice kim

eunice kim | Creative Civilization |
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thanks to Jeanette Davis for the link to Eunice Kim's website and blog; a perfect addition to our ongoing discussion of making and meaning!

In my Artist Strength Training workshop we discuss approaches to making - is art "better" if it's big? Some audiences might think so.

Is art "better" if it's obsessive? If the viewer asks "How did she DO that?"

I know I certainly admire hundreds of stitches, thousands of brushstrokes - evidence of immersion in making as meditation.

Within the context of the workshop, answers are always personal; my point is to ramp up awareness, and encourage discussion around these questions, because I think it's important for artists to know what the answers to the questions are for them.

Enter Eunice Kim. Studying the images in her website gallery is entrancing. Reading the description of her process is equally entrancing - respect and admiration are the words that come to mind.

Simple materials + labor-intensive actions = artwork with an elegant simplicity, and subtle, compelling beauty. The word obsessive may not even come to mind! It's so right! So obvious!

Visit Kim's site and take some time to appreciate her work. Breathe and center. Think about how to redirect quiet energy back into whatever you're working on today. Be grateful for artists who don't rush; imbuing their work with a grace that can rub off on the rest of us.

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Tapping Into the Daily Rituals of our Great Creative Minds

Tapping Into the Daily Rituals of our Great Creative Minds | Creative Civilization |
Mason Currey, author of
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thanks to Marla Ripps for bringing this article, and therefore the book, to my attention.

Evernote interviews Mason Currey, author of Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. This feels like the perfect companion piece to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book of landmark interviews with creatives of all types -  Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention. More inspiring stories of how creatives organize time in order to make the most of every day.

Some of my favorite quotes from the interview:

"...You have to really take stock of your weaknesses and then craft a schedule that protects you from your worst habits."

"So working in the face of constant distraction is not a new problem, even if the Internet has made it more acute. And I think the solution, then as now, is to carve out some distraction-free working time each day—to set aside a certain number of hours to work on your most important project, and then ruthlessly protect those hours."

"I like to think of a routine as a plan or framework for each day, and a ritual as a specific behavior within that larger framework."

"Maximizing your creative potential probably means minimizing some other aspect of your life."

There you pretty much have it. Reading the book will provide revealing insight into the habits of people like Maya Angelou and Beethoven - those strategies that helped them accomplish hundreds of poems and melodies; but the basic truths remain intact.

In order to get as much out of a day as you can - no matter what bent your creative impulse takes - it helps to:

- be honest with yourself where weaknesses are concerned and work with them, instead of allowing them to work against you.

- recognize sacrifice may be required in order to achieve the level of satisfaction from creating that you envision. Determine whether you are willing to make those sacrifices.Either work on it, or let yourself off the hook.

- Set a routine that becomes a habit. Engage a ritual to honor the mystery of your process.

- Distractions are not now, nor have they ever been, new. Can't blame it on the internet. We're talking about discipline here - and have perhaps come full circle -

Knowing thyself and working with intention and discipline. Qualities it takes a lifetime to refine. There's no better time to start (or continue) than the present.

As Shunryu Suzuki Roshi wrote, " You are perfect the way you are, and you could use a little improvement."

Dr. Karen Dietz's comment, February 12, 2015 2:43 PM
Truer words couldn't be said Jane! Many thanks for the book and your review. With discipline comes great freedom, which most people don't realize.
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26 of the Best Street Art Photos - Enpundit

26 of the Best Street Art Photos - Enpundit | Creative Civilization |
If you like street art, you’ll enjoy these 26 amazing street art photos (our favorite finds from Street Art Utopia). Also check out 25 Photos of Awesome Banksy Art and these Incredible 3D Sidewalk Paintings.

Via Kuniko
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Wow. Sometimes the creativity of it all just leaves you speechless. These are wonderful. Humbling. Delightful!

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What Happens When You Steal an Artist's Identity

What Happens When You Steal an Artist's Identity | Creative Civilization |
ALBUQUERQUE — If you live on the West Coast, you’ve probably already read plenty about Jessamyn Lovell’s “revenge” piece Dear Erin Hart,.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

What got me most when I read Matthew Irwin's interview with Jessamyn Lovell, was the power artists are capable of wielding with the work they do/make.. And wondering how often we realize how powerful acts of making art can be.

Lovell's identity was stolen by Erin Hart, a woman she didn't know. The article details the art project Lovell commenced - of photographing Hart (unbeknownst to her.) Characterized as revenge by many online circles, but not felt that way by Lovell. Read it for the fascinating story that it is. 

On one hand I relished the fact that artists can use their work to explore life trauma and heal from it. That's about as good as making can get - a sacred place.

But down on the other end of the continuum is what the making means to anyone on the receiving end. If you were the one who did the damage - whether a parent gone wrong, a society at fault, or a thief who stole someone's identity - what's it like to be called out publicly? How does privacy fit into the equation? Is making art such a high and mighty calling artists are absolved of adhering to any cultural or personal code of decency, kindness or right behavior?

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Pulitzer-Winning Poet Mark Strand on the Heartbeat of Creative Work and the Artist’s Task to Bear Witness to the Universe

Pulitzer-Winning Poet Mark Strand on the Heartbeat of Creative Work and the Artist’s Task to Bear Witness to the Universe | Creative Civilization |
"It’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention."

In the 1996 treasure Creativity: The Psyc
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

More in a steady stream of inspiring articles on the importance of slowing down, being present and seeking authenticity in our creative endeavors. Maria Popova’s essay begins with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book of landmark interviews with creatives of all types -  Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention - an engaging read that ranges all over the map - evidence that creating is an odd mix of being fully engaged by Process - but never taking anything too seriously in the process. One of the paradoxes of many creative acts. A wonderful book.

One of the creatives Csikszentmihalyi interviewed was the poet Mark Strand, who died last November. His deep humility at being alive - referenced in many of his poems - is a gentle reminder that creativity, as well as life itself, is a gift. It can be cultivated, it can be embraced - but it can’t be ordered up, and unfortunately, it can’t always be counted on to be there when you want or need it. What better reason to live in present time and walk humbly on the planet? And how in contrast to the posturing and bravado we too often witness in some artists and poets.

Take time to read this article. It will make your day better.

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A Doll Story

A Doll Story | Creative Civilization |
Dolls. Who among us (and I’m including you male readers right now) doesn’t
have some story about a doll?

I was mostly a tomboy and not into dolls. I liked to roam the woods. But
here’s a pic of me at three or four - happily caring for Tiny Tears. Anyone
remember her? She had an opening suitable for adding water and then she
cried tears on command. I don’t recall where the water went in or how the
tears came out, but I remember Tiny Tears. Isn’t it odd that she didn’t
have a name? Who wants to be known as Tiny first name, Tears last name? 
Although it could be a great stripper name.

Speaking of strippers, my sisters and I loved our Barbie Dolls. One of our
favorite pastimes was “Barbie’s Penthouse” - fashioned on a big patchwork
quilt spread carefully on the double bed, with a spindle bench at the end
of the bed. Each quilt square was a room. We spent hours making furniture
and accessories out of cardboard- leaning our glam Barbies on the spindles,
so they could look down from the Penthouse onto the city below.

But back to Tiny Tears, because she’s the real star of this doll story.

In 1984, I briefly managed apartment property in Dallas, Texas. The 24
unit, two story buildings were shabby chic before the term was invented,
and reeked charm - stained glass windows and Murphy Bed closets in the
living rooms - which were cleared of the beds - making a space that could
conveniently house a desk and bookshelf.

Hattie, the house keeper, was a carryover from an earlier, more elegant era
- a wizened older woman who lived above the wood frame garages. Hattie
cleaned emptied apartments, and swept the walks between the buildings. She
did this with a methodical precision honed by years of service - and always
early in the day, before the thermometer inched toward 100 degrees - which
it occasionally did on those hot summer days in Texas.

Long story short, that August Dallas suffered the longest heatwave in
recorded history - nine or ten days of temps above 100. And on the fifth
morning of the heat wave, Hattie did not come down to sweep the walks.

We pondered what to do. Perhaps she was visiting family and we just hadn’t
been told. By late afternoon, concern bordered on panic. David went
upstairs to Hattie’s door and knocked firmly. When there wasn’t an answer,
he kicked in the locked door. Hattie was dead; a victim of the heat and
lack of air conditioning. There wasn’t even a fan.

Hattie’s relatives managed the details, and we didn’t see them again until
a week later, when they returned, ransacked the small apartment looking for
valuables, and left the place a wreck - odd, accumulated stuff Hattie’d
been removing from vacant apartments for thirty years pitched knee deep in
the small rooms. We eyed the mess cautiously; unsure about how to clean up.

And then I spotted Tiny Tears, partially buried between the wall and the
bed. I pried her out - straightened the little shift she was wearing, and
took her home with us. Maybe nobody else wanted her, but to me she was a
sweet memory from the past. I propped her up on the shelf over the desk in
my Murphy Bed office. We’d figure out how to dispose of the mess another
time. Now it was late, and I wanted to go to bed.

David decided to unwind with a little TV, and settled onto the couch across
the room.

I was almost asleep when I heard a huge thud in the living room. David’s a
big guy - over six feet tall - and it sounded shockingly as though he had
suddenly collapsed on the living room floor. Or jumped off the couch.
Startled, I ran into the other room.

David was sitting on the couch; face white and eyes wide. Tiny Tears? She
was there - on the floor in the middle of the room. Seems while he was
sitting there, watching TV, she flew off the shelf - as though thrown full
force by an angry child. He was frozen on the couch, and hadn’t touched

Hattie’s ghost? Some weird vibration in the building, or in the
neighborhood? We’ll never know. But Tiny Tears went into the dumpster ASAP;
my hands shaking with fear of the unknown. 

And that’s my doll story.

Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Do you have a doll story? Share it with me!

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Nick Cave on “Tackling Really Hard Issues” with Art

Nick Cave on “Tackling Really Hard Issues” with Art | Creative Civilization |
"I’m interested in coming to Detroit — providing you this opportunity to be up close and personal with the work in this static format, but then also being able to get you into this performative exp...
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thanks to Sarah Sharpe for a sensitive - deeper than usually published - interview with mixed media artist Nick Cave. Long at the cutting edge of the creative use of textiles to shape content, Cave  is in the middle of what can only be called a joyous extravaganza in and around Detroit - another sign of the city's amazing revival as a true community.

For those of you not familiar with Cave, he attended Cranbrook -the premier art school located outside of Detroit and is known for his "sound suits" - larger than life assemblages activated by the human being inside the suit. What was originally Cave's "take cover and hide" response to being a young black male in a world where Rodney King had just beaten up, has morphed over 20 years into what is, this summer, a city-wide project that's encouraging residents to become part of the production - creating suits, wearing suits, performing and generally connecting - with each other across boundaries of gender, race, age and income.

One more reason Detroit would be a fantastic place to visit before the exhibits and other events end in October.

Take time to read the interview. He's a terrific guy. I'd love to join him on a flea market road trip any time!

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The Artist Statements of the Old Masters

The Artist Statements of the Old Masters | Creative Civilization |
“If the great European artists of the past were alive today, what kinds of statements would they need to write to explain and justify their work?”
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

OK, this one is for fun. And for anyone who has ever read an artist's statement, or three, or twenty - at an exhibition opening and thought "Sheesh. what planet did these people grow up on?"

As a teacher and guide, I spend a lot of time with students talking about what gets real as far as statements are concerned. I stand by my advice:

Keep it honest and straightforward, and unless your name happens to have three syllables - as does Dunnewold - you have no business using words no one recognizes made up of more than two.

Thanks to for another entertaining story.

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The (Un)Changing Portrayal of White Women in 100 Years of Advertisements

The (Un)Changing Portrayal of White Women in 100 Years of Advertisements | Creative Civilization |
The idea is so ingenious, it almost seems obvious: take advertisements and remove the text that makes them so, leaving only a string of images behind.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

How little things have changed when it comes to marketing media. It's not surprising that women's rights are still horrifyingly tenuous when you take a look at these images, co-opted from advertising by artist Hank Willis Thomas.

Thomas eliminates the text/context from advertising images, and in the process, exposes the frightening, discouraging reality of woman as object. Still. And not only as the sex goddess meant to sell product to men. There's a pitch to other women in these images, too. Or there was while the context was intact. 

Either way; thought-provoking. If you really thought about it, how many products would you NOT BUY if you considered the insult of the advertising pitch?

Thanks to Jillian Steinhauer for this review.

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Six Pioneering Feminist Artists Conquer New York

Six Pioneering Feminist Artists Conquer New York | Creative Civilization |
With recent statistics showing that only 31% of the solo exhibitions at NYC galleries are devoted to women, it comes as a pleasant surprise that over a two-month period this spring there are severa...
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

I loved seeing these works, which range all over the place. Maura Reilly does a great job of sharing strong work by women, happening now. And women who are at important points in their careers...

From the arresting nudes by Joan Semmel - giving us eroticism with a healthy dose of femaleness to it - to the work of Joyce Kozloff, which just gets better and better, there's something for everyone in the exhibitions that are reviewed. I just wish I could have gotten to NYC to see the art in person. If you live close enough to manage it - go!

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The Intimate Art of Active Reading

The Intimate Art of Active Reading | Creative Civilization |
In her Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek asked, “Is writing the gift of curling up with reality?”
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

I had to read this essay several times, over several days and savor it, before I could write anything about it. Author Dale Megan Healey explores work by artists Lisa Tan and Anya Liftig,  as it relates to her own experiences teaching literature in an art school environment. I think you will find her reflections on what reading means and IS in this age of digital almost everything - engaging. Poignant, really. What does it mean to engage with reading in the fullest sense of the act? 

As an artist myself, I was drawn to this statement by Tan - 

"As it is, I’ve been anchoring myself to certain literary figures — writers who try to drift away from language and into something else.”

- because I am challenged (and challenging students with whom I work...) to expand what relating to making art looks and feels like for them. (and for me.)

How can I drift away from form and color and process - into something else?" It's such an elusive idea I am not sure I've yet captured it. But reading this essay is an anchor. Returning to it keeps pushing me to think about places where reading, making, words and art intersect. And wondering what magic can happen there for me...

Take time to read Healey's essay. And thanks to her - for writing it.

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25% of the people have a 4th cone and see colors as they are ;p

25% of the people have a 4th cone and see colors as they are ;p | Creative Civilization |
Given the sudden interest for the color of dresses and vision, here some of the fascinating findings we did recently.The color nuances we see depend on the number and distribution of cones (=color receptors) in our eye. You can check this rainbow: how many color nuances do you count?You see less than 20 color nuances: you are a dichromats, like dogs, which means you have 2 types of cones only. You are likely to wear black, beige, and blue. 25% of the population is dichromat.You see between 20 and 32 color nuances: you are a trichromat, you have 3 types of cones (in the purple/blue, green and
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

How fascinating! Diana Derval is an expert in Neuromarketing - now there's a term I wasn't familiar with! As part of her research, she has spent considerable time studying humans and varied abilities to see color. Turns out there are some of us who actually have four cones - the color receptors in our eyes - as opposed to the usual three!

Count the colors you see in the rainbow band included in the article and see what happens. How many do you see? There's no right or wrong - but how informative this is for those of us who work with color every day - whether as artists or instructors. And interesting to ponder how our work as artists is literally seen by the viewing public!

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Place and Vision: The Artistic Legacy of Masumi Hayashi

Place and Vision: The Artistic Legacy of Masumi Hayashi | Creative Civilization |
Artist Masumi Hayashi: A Student’s Tribute written by Beth Dubber Masumi Hayashi was a tenured photography professor at Cleveland State University for 24 years. I was fortunate to have been a student of hers for 5 of those years, 1994-1999.

Via Mario Pires
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thanks to Beth Dubber for this poignant piece on Masumi Hayashi. The artist's story - born in an American detainment camp, a successful and sensitive photographer and teacher, murdered senselessly in her apartment building hallway - traverses the depths of emotion, but it's the photographs that stop you in your tracks with their depth of feeling, and terrible beauty.

Composed of hundreds of smaller photos, Hayashi's images of relocation/detainment camps, cityscapes (Cleveland, Ohio) and other sites of power, often misused or misguided, feel sacred to me. Especially the amazing skies in many of the images. Incredible beauty in settings that are mostly desolate and representative of the worst of what human beings do to each other. Looking at them feels like praying.

Mario Pires's curator insight, February 25, 2015 5:44 AM

"Masumi Hayashi is perhaps best known for creating striking panoramic photo collages, using smaller color photographs (typically 4-by-6-inch prints) like tiles in a mosaic. Many of these large panoramic pieces involve more than one hundred smaller photographic prints; the rotational scope of the assembled collage can be 360 degrees or even 540 degrees. Much of her work explores socially uncomfortable spaces, including prisons, relocation camps, and Superfund cleanup sites."

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Family as Art: The Photography of Julie Blackmon

Family as Art: The Photography of Julie Blackmon | Creative Civilization |
We explore Julie Blackmon’s take on everyday family life, her photography filling otherwise ordinary scenes with the surreal and the extraordinary.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Julie Blackmon might not be on your radar, but you will be delighted when she is. I read this review of her work, written by Cat Yanish for and had to know more. 

Blackmon blends photographs of her children and friends with doses of Photoshop and theater, to tell magical visual stories with an emphasis on the craziness, poignancy and ordinariness of daily life. Be sure to click through to Blackmon's galleries in order to fully appreciate her work.

The black and white series, Mind Games, is everything I think of when I try to describe the idea of visual poetry to someone for whom the term is new. If you looked in the encyclopedia, you'd see Blackmon's work as the illustration.

Not to say the color images aren't equally captivating. I thought immediately of Tim Jenison's pursuit of Vermeer in the film Tim's Vermeer. Blackmon looks to be a student of those masters - although her reverence is definitely tongue in cheek!

Couldn't the perfect party game be inspired by her work? Write the Caption! Anyone want to play?

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Let Us Now Praise Crappy Cameras

Let Us Now Praise Crappy Cameras | Creative Civilization |
These days, it's possible to spend as much money on a fancy camera as you would on a brand new car.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

LOVE, LOVE these pictures! Proof again that creativity lies in the head, heart and hands of the artist/maker and tools are tools. So delightful that even "bad" tools can make great art and entertainment. Made me want to resurrect the pin-hole camera - a favorite of mine from the '80s when my young daughter built a camera in a class and shared her pictures with me. Poetic and poignant.

You'll enjoy these!

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Scientific Heretic Rupert Sheldrake on Morphic Fields, Psychic Dogs and Other Mysteries | Cross-Check, Scientific American Blog Network

Scientific Heretic Rupert Sheldrake on Morphic Fields, Psychic Dogs and Other Mysteries | Cross-Check, Scientific American Blog Network | Creative Civilization |
For decades, I've been only dimly aware of Rupert Sheldrake as a renegade British biologist who argues that telepathy and other paranormal phenomena (sometimes lumped under ...
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Ok. you might ask - what's this got to do with making art? A friend sent a link to a Robert Genn post - one of a weekly series the eminent artist offers as part of his outreach to other artists - in which Genn suggests morphic fields as evidence supporting Jung's collective unconscious theory. Genn goes on to propose this might be what's happening when artists create works that are eerily similar, despite distance and no knowledge of each other. 

Read more about morphic fields - as it's one of those concepts you pass by until you're ready to embrace it. That's an experience we can probably all appreciate. Being ready for the teacher and then the teacher comes. Or in this case being ready for the concept, and it surfaces again.

From another perspective, these two articles are fascinating because they reference that old familiar issue - artists who think they've just invented themselves or what they make - without awareness of all the shoulders upon which they stand. It's a certain unfortunate vanity that isn't magnanimous (and curious enough) to honor the source of lessons and wisdom over time! That's why I, for one, am always eager to give credit where credit it due. It's just right behavior.

But on the other hand, there's another half to the equation. Every artist has the inalienable right to "discover" process, technique, and content for his or herself - and to believe in his or her ability to craft something distinctively personal and unique. 

Such is the paradox and balancing act: Honoring when honor is due, while harnessing enough self esteem to believe in the power of the evolving self to seek and find the unique, the new and the never been done before. 

A worthy challenge.

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How to See a World in a Corner of a Living Room

How to See a World in a Corner of a Living Room | Creative Civilization |
What do the ’80s post-punk band Liquid Liquid, faded family photographs, and Art Spiegelman have in common? All contributed to the creation of Richard McGuire’s latest graphic novel, Here.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thanks to and Megan Liberty for bringing this to our attention. Richard McGuire's graphic novel is ordered, paid for, and on the way from I can hardly wait to get it after reading Liberty's article/ review. 

One more example of how creative digital can be - when used a tool for art and storytelling! The book's theme - events that might have happened in McGuire's new apartment living room in the years that preceded his acquisition of the space - is made exponentially richer by his use of technology to layer image on image and color over color. I want to do this!

And while I'm not a convert to digital reading (yet) I find it alluring to think about the digital version of this book - available for iPad and Kindle - because sound effects and movement have been incorporated.

How intriguing is that?

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Death Of An Artist: How Social Media Is Ruining Creativity

Death Of An Artist: How Social Media Is Ruining Creativity | Creative Civilization |
In a world in which everyone is trying to plug in, we just want to break out.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thanks to Stephanie Sharlow and elite for an article that's hard to read, full of truth, and a challenge to creatives of all ages. At the center of the article is the call to rebuke a daily diet rich on social media bites, but lacking in real life sustenance.

It's ironic to be writing, and therefore participating in, the very thing Sharlow criticizes. The conflict that irony produces is not lost on me. It's IN me.  As an artist, the best thing I can do is GO TO THE STUDIO and MAKE ART. Having said that, the teacher in me knows how many people long for connection. A connection that social media provides, right or wrong.

So, as with all things, the another version of the discussion could focus on how we cope with the world THAT IS - since it's unlikely we can change it - in an effort to stay grounded and connected authentically - while using the tools innovation has presented us - without allowing them to rule.

I'm looking for balance all the time - hours in the studio, hours to reflect and write - and an hour a day to reach out to others who are thinking and caring deeply about their work, their time and their creative contribution to the rest of us.

A struggle worth embracing.

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