July 25, 2018

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription


In this issue:

A picture is worth a thousand words
An Art School Started by Marc Chagall that Became a Modernist Wasteland
Refugee children in Athens, Greece cope with traumas through art therapy from UGA graduate
Formerly homeless artist provides for his family selling portraits in Charleston
FBI recovers stolen Robert Motherwell painting
People are waiting in line. Is it Hamilton? No, it’s Bob Ross on YouTube.
Artist accidentally discovers new colour-
What makes a dachshund the perfect muse? The long history of sausage dogs in art
A New Biopic on Gauguin in Tahiti Paints a Skewed Portrait
Mary Anne Carter Appointed New Acting Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
Artist fills gaping potholes with mosaics of rats, cockroaches and pigeons

 

 

 

 

A picture is worth a thousand words
Surrounded by art supplies, completed works, and others in progress, the Second World War veteran paints every day in the art studio at Parkwood Institute, where he moved in February.

“I could sit down and get so involved time flies,” he said. “I paint from my own mind. You’ve got to feel it and put in on the canvas.”

Armstrong’s acrylic paintings evoke a lifetime of experiences. Londoners can see many of them now at the downtown gallery Art With Panache.

The gallery’s owner, Audrey Cooper, was introduced to Armstrong by his son-in-law. An east coast landscape and a scene of a boy and his father walking with a sleigh captured Cooper’s attention.

“Bob paints from the heart,” she said. “They had a nice feeling.”

Armstrong remembers vividly when he picked up the hobby.

“1948 – the day I got married. My wife bought me an oil set. I was always puttering around with paint; I always liked to sketch animals.”

After serving with the Canadian Army, Armstrong finished his apprenticeship as an electrician and worked for a few companies before settling with Labatt for 38 years.

“I’ve been retired as long as I worked,” said Armstrong, 92.

Now, Parkwood’s walkways, pond, and park inspire him. A picture window in front of his studio table looks out onto green space. Currently, he is working on a view of the building from the gardens at the back.

Over the years, Armstrong has developed his own process with some guidance from local artists Peter Lam and Bijan Ghalepardaz.

A record of more than 200 of his works is kept in three volumes of photographs. His most recent paintings are stored at Parkwood by Kim Smith, who works in the art studio.

Armstrong has sold works at Westland Gallery’s Square Foot Show. Other paintings have been sold and found their way around the world.

In Flanders Field – Lest We Forget is a powerful work silhouetting soldiers against the sky in front of a field of poppies. The figures aren’t First World War soldiers, but meant to represent all Canadian troops who have served the country.

“We must not forget they are peacekeepers,” said Armstrong. “It was a nice picture to paint. I really got involved with it.”

He points out a couple of mine sweepers, a radio technician, and an infantryman, as well as choppers in the sky. It epitomizes his strong narrative approach to creating.

As well as the lush grounds at Parkwood, Armstrong finds inspiration in photographs, magazines, and newspapers.

“I do a lot of looking,” he said. “I wonder if I can paint that. What’s the story behind it? Why is it in the paper?”

Describing a New Brunswick landscape, Armstrong explains his creative process.

“The first thing is to figure which paint I’m to use. I squirt a bit here and a little bit there. Sometimes I’ll pencil sketch it in. Usually I paint the sky first – that is where your vision ends up. I add any cloud movement, then water. Then I work on the subject, rocks and trees with a wash. It’s a good hobby.”

Looking at a B.C. landscape, Cooper comments: “Your paintings have such a peaceful feeling to them.”

“I like doing mountainscapes,” Armstrong replied.

His portion of sales at Art With Panache will be donated to the palliative care area of Parkwood. Armstrong’s wife, brother and sister all passed away there.

“Painting has helped me,” he said. “It’s improved my mind. It’s kept my fingers, hands, my mind and my body going.” The London Free Press

 

An Art School Started by Marc Chagall that Became a Modernist Wasteland
The Centre Pompidou examines the thrilling but lesser-known story of the People’s Art School, founded in 1918 by the painter Marc Chagall in his hometown of Vitebsk.

PARIS: A large, wall-sized photograph of Lenin addressing a crowd of Red Army soldiers greets visitors to Chagall, Lissitzky, Malevich: The Russian Avant-garde in Vitebsk, 1918–1922 at the Pompidou Center. Context is important to this show, which examines the thrilling but lesser known story of the People’s Art School, founded in 1918 by the painter Marc Chagall in his hometown of Vitebsk, a small city to the north of present-day Belarus.

Chagall had witnessed first hand the outbreak of the Bolshevik Revolution from the window of his apartment in Petrograd during what was supposed to have been a brief return to his home country. The trip was initially conceived to be just long enough to collect some possessions and bring his new wife, Bella Rosenfeld, back with him to Paris, where he had been working since 1910. The eruption of World War I kept the newlyweds in Russia, but it was the immediate aftermath of the Revolution that convinced them to stay. New Soviet laws outlawing religious discrimination granted Chagall, born Moishe Zakharovich Shagal to a Hasidic Jewish family, full rights and citizenship for the first time in his life.

In a gesture of gratitude, Chagall proposed the creation of a tuition-free, avant-garde academy dedicated to teaching the art of a new age. In September 1918, Anatoly Lunacharsky, the People’s Public Education Commissioner (who Chagall had met during the latter’s exile in Paris) accepted, appointing Chagall as the city’s Fine Arts Commissioner, and offering him the Vichniak mansion to house his new school.

The revolutionary fervor and the painter’s personal feelings of euphoria for his new position and success are palpable in the first section of the seven that make up the exhibition. Here, we encounter several large paintings by Chagall that offer dreamlike images of him and Bella floating or flying through swirling cubist clouds and over minute cities and villages, their weightlessness acting as a visual metaphor for the couple’s carefree joy.

On an adjacent wall a silent documentary film flashes granular black and white footage of the festivities that Chagall organized for the one-year anniversary of the Revolution — his first mission as the Vitebsk Art Commissioner. In his autobiography, My Life, Chagall recalls:

All over the city my multicoloured beasts swayed in the air, swollen with revolution. The workers moved forward, singing “the International.” Seeing their smiles, I was sure they understood me. The Communist leaders didn’t seem so happy. Why was the cow green? Why was the horse flying in the sky? Why? What did this have to do with Marx and Lenin?

The painter’s observations foreshadow a tension that would arise between Chagall and his particular notion of revolutionary art — oneiric, lyric, intuitive, and highly individualistic — and the more collective and structured model promoted by Kazimir Malevich upon joining the school’s staff in November 1919. Their different approaches to art making would ultimately lead to Chagall’s begrudging departure in 1920, followed by the school’s dissolution only two years later.

Malevich’s arrival at the People’s Art School had been at the invitation of El Lissitzky, another Jewish artist who had grown up in a nearby town. Lissitzky and Chagall knew each other from their time as students in the studio of Yuri Pen, a figurative, realist painter who had offered young Jewish students an art education denied to them by Tsarist law (A “Self Portrait” by Pen styled after the self portraits of Rembrandt is nestled between an abstract “Composition” (1921) by Mikhaïl Veksler and a Cézanne-like still life by Mikhaïl Kounine in the exhibition’s second gallery.) Chagall invited both Pen and Lissitzky to teach at the People’s school in Spring 1919, as heads of the Painting-Drawing and Architecture-Printmaking departments, respectively. In October, during a trip to Moscow, Lissitzky met with Malevich, and without consulting Chagall, asked the prophet of Suprematism to join him in Vitebsk. Prior to this invitation, Lissitzky’s work very much resembled that of Chagall’s, as we can see in his series of six lithographic illustrations of the Jewish Passover song “Chad Gadya.” In “Chad Gadya” (1919), figures are characterized by their bright colors, expressive exaggerations, and dynamic postures inspired by Russian folk art.

But whereas Chagall would stubbornly continue to work in this same neoprimitivist mode until the end of his life, Lissitzky’s encounter with Malevich had a profound impact on the former’s artistic trajectory. Lissitzky developed his own unique synthesis of geometric abstraction and axonometric architectural rendering in his Proun (an acronym in Russian for “projects for asserting the new in art”) series. The exhibition presents about a dozen of these compositions in the form of paintings, drawings, and prints in a room with Lissitzky’s superb propaganda poster “Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge” (1919–1920). Lissitzky intended that the Prouns be without a specific orientation, able to be viewed from any angle or position. The visitor can experience first-hand the resulting effects thanks to a brilliant decision by curator Angela Lampe to install “Proun 6B” (1919–1921) horizontally on the flat surface of a table. Walk around the table and observe how the composition — which consists of a black circular focal point encased within a complex scaffolding of cuboid volumes in white, grey, or the neutral beige of the unpainted paper, the whole enclosed within another larger circle — appears to transform before your very eyes. Planes that appeared to designate the walls of some sort of surreal architecture become ceilings, foreshortened geometric forms that initially seemed to project out towards the viewer suddenly become tunnels leading into the mysterious depths of the image. The “Prouns’ spatial ambiguity is not just perceived visually but also felt, bodily, as the viewer’s movement in the space activates a phenomenological game of alternating concave and convex perceptions, similar to Marcel Duchamp’s “Rotoreliefs” (1935). Only, whereas Duchamp’s decorated discs were made to spin on a turntable, the Prouns transfer this movement to the viewer’s body, forcing him or her to become an active participant in the perceptual act.

Among other things, the Prouns set a precedent that kinetic artists would continue to push and develop throughout the second half of the 20th century. Although the exhibition doesn’t acknowledge the importance of Lissitzky’s legacy to the post-WWII Parisian milieu, it does present another example of the artist’s incredible foresight: a reconstruction of the “PROUNENRAUM” or “Proun room” (1923). First presented at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung (Grand Berlin Art Exhibition) in 1923, the “Proun room” applies the spatial lessons of the two-dimensional version to an actual architectural space as a means of deconstructing the stable perception of that space. Thus, the “Proun room” represents an important evolutionary step towards installation art and indeed is one of the first examples of an “environmental” artwork in the 20th century. Unlike the 1923 Berlin original, a thin thread of elastic cord prevents viewers at the Pompidou show from being able to physically enter into the space — a huge disappointment.

Geometric abstract art’s conquest of the architectural and public urban space is a major theme in the final third of the exhibition. Here, we are exposed to the output of Ounovis (another Russian acronym for “Those who affirm the ‘New’ in Art”), a group of Malevich’s most radical and dedicated students. The members of Ounovis, who wore black uniforms with a small version of Malevich’s “Black Square” stitched onto the selve, worked collectively, designing Suprematist compositions not for easel paintings (which they denigrated as bourgeois) but for the façades of buildings, tramways, street signs, and even meal tickets and wallpaper. Colored squares and triangles came to adorn all spheres of Vitebsk’s social and urban life, as did their slogans, like “Nothing old — neither in form, nor in life.” These words can be seen in Cyrillic, between long black and turquoise rectangles set on an oblique line on the side of a ghostly train car in one conceptual drawing by Nikolai Suetin “‘Long Live the Revolution !’ Plan for the decoration of a Vitebsk tramway” (1921).

The works in this section, although all labeled and identified with a particular artist, are difficult to distinguish form the typical Malevichan composition. It requires some patient looking to recognize the differences between the motifs designed by Lazar Khidekel and those conceived by Ilia Tchachnik. But the differences are there and once you notice them it is difficult to confuse Malevich’s original Suprematism with Suetin’s preference for geometries in a cooler palette, or with the baroque quality of Ivan Koudriachov’s compositions, which don’t float in subtle tension like Malevich’s but proliferate in space, spilling over one another.

In a context of frenetic excitement around Malevich and Ounovis, Chagall found himself increasingly isolated, teaching his art before a classroom of an ever dwindling number of students. In 1920, dejected, Chagall and Bella left Vitebsk to return to Petrograd. Chagall blamed Malevich for his ostracism, a grudge that the painter would hold onto for the rest of his life. Lissitzky departed shortly after, trading in his enthusiasm for Suprematism for a new obsession with the Constructivist activities of Vladimir Tatlin at the Vkhutemas (“Higher Art and Technical Studios”) in Moscow. Meanwhile Ounovis came to dominate the Vitebsk school until 1922, when its members, who dreamed of turning their collective into a political party, left for the Soviet Union’s large cities.

The exhibition concludes with a series of utopian architectural projects called “Architectons,” conceived by Malevich and his former students after their departure from Vitebsk. Consisting of long white-plaster blocks, the Architectons resemble models for skyscrapers, a black circle painted discretely somewhere near the base. Like Tatlin’s “Monument to the Third International” (1919–1920) the Architectons represent the plans for a utopian structure that was never quite realized. In that sense, they can be seen to echo the short lived success of the People’s Art School, which Chagall had envisioned as modern art paradise, but would become, after the departure of its one and only graduating class, a wasteland for modern art dreams.

Chagall, Lissitzky, Malevich: The Russian Avant-garde in Vitebsk, 1918–1922 is on view at the Centre Pompidou (Place Georges-Pompidou, Paris) through July 16. Hyperallergic

 

Refugee children in Athens, Greece cope with traumas through art therapy from UGA graduate

When Maria Nissan wakes up in the morning, she doesn’t drive the familiar roads of Athens, Georgia, she doesn’t walk the lush green lawns of campus, and she doesn’t even hear English. Instead, she wakes up in Athens, Greece. As she gathers her art supplies and walks to work, the unfamiliar sounds and sights of another country greet her.

Nissan is a University of Georgia graduate and art teacher. She recently planted roots in a refugee camp in Greece as an independent volunteer with the Unmentionables and Love Without Borders, programs geared toward assisting refugee families seeking asylum.

Growing up in the United States with immigrant parents from Iraq, Nissan began to realize the magnitude of the opportunities she had as a first generation American citizen.

This realization was amplified during her time spent in Florence, Italy at Studio Arts College International where she earned her master of fine arts. From here, Nissan’s goal was to travel to all the countries where her father was denied a visa and start art therapy programs for refugees in each one of those countries.

“Growing up, I heard these stories of all the different countries [my dad] had traveled to to try and gain a visa,” Nissan said. “Perspective begins to shift and change, and when I was living in Italy, I realized how intense the refugee crisis was.”

Years later, Nissan makes her way to the building where she hosts art therapy programs, working with two organizations, The Unmentionables and Love Without Boarders. Nissan’s programs help refugee children cope with potential trauma.

Heartache to healing

The Unmentionables focuses on creating a calm, creative environment for refugee children as their mothers participate in sexual and reproductive health courses. Love Without Borders also helps people seeking asylum through art.

Kayra Martinez, the founder of Love Without Borders, said the mission of the organization is to use creativity to fill the time refugees spend in this camp.

“I go and take art with me to other cities in the world and think about their [refugee] situation to try and create awareness. Because you know, it just isn’t in the news anymore,” Martinez said.

Nissan will be working with children in Athens, Greece, detention centers who are involved with Martinez’s Love Without Borders project later in the summer.

Some of these children have gone through unspeakable horrors, from witnessing family members perish to being separated from their families at a young age.

For some of the unaccompanied minors at the refugee camp, Nissan said they are even more susceptible to prostitution, drug trade and suicide.

“The trauma that the refugees go through is obviously very intense and something that a small part of the American population will ever have to experience, if they do,” Nissan said.

The act of creating art, even if it something small or ordinary, holds the possibility of helping a child’s mental and emotional growth.

“[Before] I got here, I thought that these kids would be super sad and depressed and be really shy and timid,” Nissan said. “When I got here, I just felt almost ashamed of my previous thought because they’re just normal kids. They wanted to paint, they wanted to play, they want to put pen on paper and they’re not talking about their trauma.”

Nissan said there is the occasional drawing of violence or terrorism, but they are mostly drawing what any other child would, be it a member of their family or a beach scene.

“They just want to have a childhood, and the art therapy program is allowing them to have this childhood,” Nissan said.

Strengthening purpose

In her time serving so far, Nissan has already had to improvise with some of her art supplies. She said Greece doesn’t have much of a recycling system and since her funds are fairly limited, she has been picking leaves and using them as canvas.

As an independent volunteer, Nissan funds her journey and seeks help buying supplies to continue her project. She is hoping to raise $3,000 through donations to buy art supplies for the children.

"The trauma that the refugees go through is obviously very intense and something that a small part of the American population will ever have to experience, if they do."
- Maria Nissan, art therapy teacher

While Nissan is teaching the children how to paint, draw and express themselves, she also is learning from them and growing herself.

Nissan’s former mentors, Filipe Rocha da Silva and Pietro Gagliano, have also noticed this growth.

A native of Portugal, Silva began at SACI with Nissan in 2016. On the other hand, Gagliano grew up in Italy and shared his wisdom of country and culture with Nissan. This journey of self-identification also translated into Nissan’s art as one of Nissan’s first installations, featured blending the colors of each country’s flag.

Although their conversations have been sporadic since moving to Greece, Silva said Nissan called him the other day overwhelmed by the immense undertaking of her work. However, pride shone through his voice while speaking of his former student.

“Sometimes when [artists] work in a studio, what we do seems kind of abstract or detached from everyday reality,” Silva said. “But she was very happy that the skills she learned were so useful and that she was able to help a lot of people [with] art.”

“They just want to have a childhood, and the art therapy program is allowing them to have this childhood."
- Maria Nissan, art therapy teacher

While the weight of her responsibility in this position and the need to improvise materials pose as hurtles, the most rewarding aspect of Nissan’s time in Greece is knowing she’s making a difference.

“I had this idea that I wanted to make a change and then I started thinking about what I value most and that’s human life. From there it just started to get more and more personal,” Nissan said.

As Nissan is greeted by the smiling faces of children — eyes eager and hearts ready to create — she is reminded she’s doing what many aspire to do. She is doing something she believes in. The Red & Black

 

Formerly homeless artist provides for his family selling portraits in Charleston

Lennon Broomfield Lesston arrived at his spot at the corner of King and Radcliffe streets in downtown Charleston armed with a sketch board and a large art portfolio folder.

He eased into a chair he'd borrowed from a nearby restaurant, bemoaning that his journey there began with him sitting in a puddle while waiting for a bus from North Charleston.

It was a few minutes after sunset on the Friday after the Fourth of July, and the sidewalks of King Street were already clogged with bar-goers posing for selfies and families strolling home with melting ice cream cones. Weekend nights like this are the most lucrative for Broomfield Lesston, a self-taught artist who supports his family by selling portraits to tourists and locals.

Broomfield Lesston, 40, takes photos of customers on his iPhone and references the pictures as he draws with pencils, charcoal and pastels. Onlookers often linger and comment on his skill as he works on the sidewalk. Familiar passersby offer handshakes and hugs. He texts customers when their portraits are ready, signing the pictures as "Lennon Broomfield."

Until earlier this month, Broomfield Lesston and his wife were homeless. He turned to selling art on the street as his main source of income about a year ago after his applications to multiple janitorial, dish-washing and parking attendant jobs were rejected because of his criminal record.

Now he's one of several people who regularly collect money on the streets of Charleston's commercial district at a time when the city is attempting to crack down on "aggressive" panhandling. An ordinance that went into effect in the spring bans sitting or lying down on sidewalks along the busiest areas of King and Market streets.

This so far hasn't affected Broomfield Lesston, who said police officers are friendly and occasionally leave him tips. He sits on Radcliffe Street and lets customers come to him. His sign reads, "If you like my art, please donate. I love making smiles. Thank you!!"

Business owners and locals embrace him. A corner store clerk occasionally collects donations for his family. Customers have dropped off art supplies and other gifts: the iPhone he uses and an Xbox 360 for his 7-year-old son. A pedicab driver once gave him a bicycle.

Elizabeth Szczutkowski, a 57-year-old who lives on the streets, "gives hell" to anyone who tries to take his spot on the sidewalk. Before Broomfield Lesston arrived that Friday night, she complained repeatedly to no one in particular that a man playing saxophone on the corner was violating the city ordinance.

Later, she greeted Broomfield Lesston with a hug and recounted the story as he set up his supplies: "I told him, 'The guy comes every night and draws pictures right here.'"

She said God keeps telling her that Broomfield Lesston is "gonna go somewhere with his art."

Hard times
Broomfield Lesston started making sketches 15 years ago in prison. He spent 11 years behind bars for his role, as a 19-year-old, in a robbery that ended with the victim's shooting death in North Charleston. He was convicted of common law robbery and misprision of a felony, or concealing a crime.

While incarcerated, he started sketching people such as his mother, Tupac Shakur, Nelson Mandela and just about any celebrity whose photos he could tear from magazines. Correctional officers recognized his talent and brought him paper and chalk. Fellow prisoners traded food from the commissary for his homemade holiday cards.

After prison, he refined his skills by watching YouTube videos and observing other public artists while continuing to draw casually. His hobby became his livelihood after his family fell on hard times a few years ago.

The first unraveling for Broomfield Lesston was a fire in 2016 that rendered his family's home in North Charleston unlivable. Around that time, he lost his job as a meat salesman — a gig he'd held for nearly eight years — when his employer relocated out of state. Then, sickle cell disease tightened its grip on his wife, Shakieba Lesston, and their teenage daughter. Weary from illness, his wife could no longer work at the downtown restaurant where she'd been pulling double shifts trying to save money for the family to move.

So Broomfield Lesston for seven months relied on art sales to pay the $45 to $60 for a night's stay at a motel for himself and his wife. Their four children, who are between the ages of 7 and 13, stayed with a relative because the couple thought the motels within their budget — the type that attracted bedbugs, prostitution and drug use — were no place for children.

For the moment, things are looking up. This month, Broomfield Lesston and his wife moved in with his sister at her two-bedroom duplex in North Charleston, where they help pay for utilities.

Their children visit, but there's not enough room there for them to live. And it's only temporary. If his living situation were to fall through, he said he'd be back to scraping together enough cash for a motel.

'He helped me'
As he settled in for a night of drawing, his mind was still with his wife and children. He had worked "two-and-a-half days straight" before the Fourth of July and raked in around $300 so his family could go out to eat and set off firecrackers. Now that cash was mostly gone and he needed money to continue feeding his family and pay the bills.

Broomfield Lesston's latest portrait lay on the sidewalk under a stone. The detailed charcoal picture showed two friends grinning with their faces pressed together.

"Man, that’s (expletive) awesome," a passerby said while looking down at the drawing.

Another man stopped to tell Broomfield Lesston that he bought one of his drawings several years ago, and it now hangs in his home.

"It’s the only piece of art I have," the man said. Broomfield Lesston flashed a wide grin.

Jackie Gearhart, a 22-year-old who lives downtown, said hello to Broomfield Lesston as she and two friends headed to a club. She had recently stopped to get his advice about a fight she had with a friend. People like Gearhart are why he keeps a bucket handy to function as an extra seat for visitors.

"He helped me through a really rough night one night," she said.

Later, a man who has purchased Broomfield Lesston's art in the past leaned in to get a close look as he sketched a portrait of Gearhart and one of her friends. He tipped $20 and offered to come back with his stethoscope to give Broomfield Lesston a checkup.

By 11:30 p.m., the artist had earned $25, just enough for a cab ride home. Even after 12-hour "shifts" and drawing for so long that his vision blurs, Broomfield Lesston doesn't always earn enough money to cover transportation and daily expenses.

"A lot of times, I don’t make it, and I gotta figure it out," he said.

On those nights, his wife stays with a relative and he sleeps downtown in his broken-down 1991 Volvo, in the back of an unlocked U-Haul truck or in a park. Then he wakes up, hopes for a good day and resumes drawing. The Post and Courier

 

FBI recovers stolen Robert Motherwell painting

An untitled abstract painting by Robert Motherwell that was stolen in 1978 has now been recovered by the FBI. It was among a number of works that went missing in 1978 when Motherwell switched storage companies. He had, according to the FBI, used The Santini Moving Company exclusively during the 1960s and 1970s to both store and transport his art. But in 1978, Motherwell changed companies, and while cataloguing his work for the move, he classified dozens of works, including the 1967 Untitled, as missing or stolen.

Then in 2017, the son of a former and now-deceased Santini employee attempted to authenticate the piece, which had been in his father's possession for 30 years, with the Dedalus Foundation in New York City, which holds the deeds to most of Motherwell's art. It's a group he founded in 1981 to help the public understand and appreciate modern art.

That's when the president and CEO of the Dedalus Foundation Jack Flam recognized the piece as one the stolen works and involved the FBI. The individual voluntarily gave up Untitled after being approached by the FBI Art Crime Team. The art news site Artnet reported that this individual isn't believed to have had any knowledge of the theft and has not been charged.

"Motherwell never titled this work of art before it vanished," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeny Jr. said in a statement. "Maybe, after all, that's part of its story – one that begins a new chapter here today. We are honored to restore this extraordinary piece to the Dedalus Foundation, so that those who appreciate the value of fine art may now come to know the true narrative of the painting's past, present, and future."

"The storied past of this magnificent piece may never be known," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement, "But now, thankfully, 40 years after Robert Motherwell began painting this piece, this work of art is where it should be: with the Dedalus Foundation and for the benefit of the public."

Motherwell was an American painter, printmaker, and editor who was also part of the "New York School," a group of artists active in New York City in the 1950s and 60s who were inspired by surrealism and the avant-garde movements. Along with Motherwell, Philip Guston, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko were part of the New York School. CBS NEWS

 

People are waiting in line. Is it Hamilton? No, it’s Bob Ross on YouTube.

You remember Bob Ross. He was the big-haired, ever-cheerful public television painting teacher from the ’80s and ’90s with the calm, encouraging voice.

He died more than two decades ago, but he has been having a pop culture revival in recent years, since his show became available on YouTube and Netflix. He has inspired campy T-shirts, a Chia Pet and a board game, “Bob Ross: Art of Chill.” He’s a trendy adult Halloween costume, a millennial birthday party theme.

And now, his icon status is getting fuel from an unlikely place: local library paint-alongs with wait lists to get in.

From Oregon to Utah to New York, people are vying for spots at Bob Ross paint-alongs. Library branches show episodes of Bob Ross’s “The Joy of Painting” and provide materials for devotees to follow along and create their own landscape masterpieces. The majority of them are free, and a few charge minimal materials fee.

The events have become so popular that some people are waiting up to six months to snag a place. It’s the latest incarnation of Bob Ross mania, in which his face is trademarked, his permed hair is celebrated and his gentle approach to life is captivating legions of new followers.

“We don’t make mistakes,” he famously said in his soothing baritone as he put brush to canvas. “We have happy accidents.”

People watch his show just as much — perhaps more — for his philosophizing than for his art. His paintings are accessible to the masses who try to duplicate his serene landscapes — and who know that making art with Bob Ross is a journey, not a destination.

“All you need is a dream in your heart and an almighty knife,” Ross said from the screen as he scraped thick paint into snowdrifts while a dozen people at a small Utah library painstakingly tried to imitate him one afternoon in May.

Ross’s appeal has lasted the decades because of everything he is not. In our noisy, look-at-me Internet world, Ross’s tranquil manner is an oasis.

“YouTubers are packing their videos with action in fear of losing the viewers’ attention if they don’t provide something for every second,” Felix Auer, a Bob Ross fan from Vienna, Austria wrote in an email. “Bob however takes his time, often saying nothing and doing nothing except moving a brush for several seconds, and it all seems very genuine.”

In the most recent nod to Ross, the meditation and sleep app Calm added his voice to soothe listeners.

Many of Ross’s biggest fans are not even aspiring painters. They’re drawn by his ability to drop wisdom as he brings a painting to life in less than 30 minutes.

“They’re so many tips he says that are also life lessons,” said Jen Scott, a Salt Lake City librarian who helps organize paint-alongs, repeating one of his mantras: “‘It takes dark in order to show light.’”

“In these times when everything seems so controversial and everyone fighting with each other and all of this bad news all the time — it’s very uplifting to hear these things,” Scott said. “People feel this connection with Bob Ross — that he’s their friend.”

Ross, who died in 1995 of lymphoma at age 52, made hundreds of episodes of “The Joy of Painting” in his heyday between 1983 and 1994. Estimated viewership of the show while Ross was alive was often more than 2 million per week.

In his episodes, he transforms blank canvas into an idyllic landscape while peacefully narrating his step-by-step technique of wet-on-wet oil painting. Wearing a button-down shirt and blue jeans, he layers wet paint to blend color and create texture with seemingly simple brushstrokes. The camera focuses tightly on him and his canvas. Paradise swiftly emerges.

All the while, viewers hear Ross’s velvety voice convincing even the most anxious painter that she could indeed make the same masterpiece. And maybe make life a little better.

“When you paint, you begin to see things — let them happen, just let them happen,” said Ross in one episode. “Don’t worry about them. Learn to compose as you paint. Learn to take advantage of what happens. We call those ‘happy accidents,’ and they can be your best friend.”

Mike Fox, 29, from Pittsburgh, discovered “Joy of Painting” via YouTube after graduating from college. He was unemployed and alone.

“I remember distinctly one of the first episodes that I watched he says, ‘Gotta have opposites, dark and light, light and dark in a painting. It’s like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come. I’m waiting on the good times now,’ ” Fox said in an email. “These lines had immense impact. This famous painter, an accomplished artist by any measure, was like me: wearing a smile as a mask and struggling to persevere.”

Ellen Marie Lewis, 24, a library assistant in Salt Lake City, said her friends told her that they sometimes fall asleep at night after putting on “The Joy of Painting” on YouTube or Netflix. They weren’t bored — they were comforted.

So Ross seemed like a potential draw at the new Marmalade Branch in Salt Lake City where Lewis helped organize events in 2017.

The paint-alongs’ overwhelming popularity was so striking that other Utah libraries launched their own. More than 200 people joined the wait list after the Sweet Branch in Salt Lake City began its 20-person monthly paint-alongs last fall. At least four other Utah libraries started more paint-alongs, and more than 15 libraries across the nation contacted Sweet Branch for help in setting up events of their own, librarians there said.

In Panama City, Fla., Sarah Burris, community and marketing coordinator for the Northwest Regional Library System, recently helped organize her library’s first Bob Ross event on June 26 with 20 people.

“We had our first Paint Like Bob Ross and it was a blast!,” she wrote in an email. “Everyone left happy and had fun.”

The Daniel Boone Branch library in St. Louis held its first Bob Ross paint-along for 24 people in May and had a 15-person waiting list. When librarians asked participants how many were habitual painters or hobbyists, no one raised their hands.

The library is planning monthly Bob Ross events for the next year. Organizers hope to buy a Bob Ross cardboard cutout so people can have their picture taken with the icon.

“Bob always wanted to make his programs very timeless, because his hope was it would show years and years after he was gone,” said Joan Kowalski, president of Bob Ross Inc., a painting supply, gift and licensing company, based in Herndon, Va. “He nailed it.”

His words and likeness have been turned into memes. One popular one: “It’s so important to do something every day that will make you happy.”

LeAnne Franke and her brother were at a Salt Lake City library paint-along this spring. A concussion had left her seeking an alternative form of relaxation, and she started watching Ross’s shows at home. Then she wanted to make art with other people.

“You get to turn your brain off for a minute and just paint,” the 26-year-old said.

When Twitch, an Internet streaming platform, held a Bob Ross marathon in 2015, a reported 5.6 million people watched.

Auer, the fan from Austria, was one of them. After buying painting supplies, he found it was just as easy as Ross portrayed. But choosing which episode on YouTube to paint was hard — he had to skip to the end to see whether he liked the final product and then to the beginning to see whether he had the right colors.

To solve the problem, the graduate student created a website, TwoInchBrush.com, that is a searchable database of all 403 episodes.

During the Twitch marathon, the folks at Bob Ross Inc. noted a significant increase in calls from libraries seeking permission to show an episode. And Kowalski still hears from about one a month. She figures that many more never call to ask, instead just showing it from YouTube.

Her parents went into business with Ross and his wife after her mom discovered him in Florida. Ross was still an unknown painter traveling in his Datsun motor home, filled with paints, canvases and brushes.

Ross, who served in the Air Force, perfected the compellingly simple technique that art fans say is part of his appeal. But it’s also his repeated use of familiar phrases, the mountains that become “little rascals,” the “happy little trees,” and overall positivity.

In one episode, Ross spoke about his military past.

“I’d come home after all day of playing soldier and I’d paint a picture, and I could paint the kind of world that I wanted,” he said. “It was clean, it was sparkling, shiny, beautiful, no pollution, nobody upset — everybody was happy in this world.”

In libraries and with Chia Pets and cardboard cutouts across the country, people are grasping at the past to be part of Bob Ross’s happy world. The Washington Post

 

Artist accidentally discovers new colour-

British artist Stuart Semple has discovered a brand-new pigment, a beautiful blue that he “discovered by mistake” whilst messing about in the studio with his assistant, in the ongoing quest to create an even blacker black than his current leading product, Black 2.0. “At first we were really disappointed, but then we added water to it, and something reacted with the hydrogen, it made the most gorgeous blue I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Whilst Semple is still unsure if he can turn it into a usable paint, he hopes that the artistic community can help him name the new colour, urging his audience to share suggestions by emailing him at newblue@culturehustle.com

He plans to start experimenting with the pigment this month in collaboration with a partner lab in Dallas, USA.

“I’m keen to understand if there’s a use for it in art, science and coatings,” “We are in such an exciting time of new colours, and innovations. If we manage to make a paint out of this, it would be so precious to be able to contribute it to the artistic community.”

Semple is well known for his colour innovations, and since 2016 has been embroiled in what has become known as the ‘Art Wars’, which started when Anish Kapoor secured the exclusive rights to use Vantablack. This sparked Semple’s imagination and compelled him to create an elaborate piece of internet performance art, tackling the themes of accessibility, equality and elitism head on – starting with the creation of the ‘Pinkest Pink’, available to all but Kapoor. From these beginnings, Semple went on to launch his own artist material series through www.CultureHustle.com . Including the World’s Pinkest Pink, light emitting pigments, colour-changing paints, the world’s glitteriest natural glitter and the now infamous Black 2.0 (the world’s mattest, blackest paint, available to all but Kapoor), this ongoing work is Semple’s mission: to disseminate game-changing art materials to artists all over the world. FAD

 

What makes a dachshund the perfect muse? The long history of sausage dogs in art
From Picasso to Warhol, dachshunds have been the constant companion of creative types. Sausage dog enthusiast David Capra explains why

My muse is a seven-year-old chocolate and tan sausage dog. I was captivated by Teena when she was a pup: ears that moved like a tiny elephant’s, a seal-jolting head and platypus feet pitter-pattering along, trying to get hold of my laces. Before we met I made sculptures called Prayers for Sausage Dog; one such work was a three-headed dachshund contraption the tail of which I vigorously turned in hope it would summon such a creature. It seems to have worked: Teena was rescued from a puddle of mud under a house in Nyngan, in the Bogan shire of New South Wales.

Teena is named after a Tena Pad, a Swedish-based urinary incontinence product. She was christened with her name by virtue of her shape – she distinctly resembles one of those great inventions of absorbency. In addition, Teena often greets strangers with a rolling operation, landing on her back, presenting a memento of the happy occasion: a small tinkle.

In 2016, Teena launched her own fragrance, Eau de Wet Dogge, on Australian breakfast television with a smell-o-vision segment with Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson. In 2014, Teena’s Bathtime was launched at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Bella room, where audiences were invited to help bathe a large sculpture of Teena. Visitors grew so attached to the room-sized zigzagging Teena installation that some had to be consoled when she was packed away. Visitors related to Teena’s experiences around anxiety (Teena doesn’t enjoy bath time). Some wrote letters of advice to her, for example: “Get over it, it’s only a bath”, and “Baths will keep you smelling fresh. Maybe start with soaking your paws.”

Last year, I embarked on a global self-funded “saus tour”, documenting sausage dogs I encountered on footpaths. In New York, I met Katy Dobbs, who had been the longstanding editor-in-chief of Muppet Magazine. “I got a weiner dog of my own after falling in love with a close friend’s [dog],” she said. That friend had been Andy Warhol.

Warhol and his tan short-haired Archie were inseparable, Dobbs told me. It wouldn’t be uncommon for the artist to switch attention to Archie during interviews or make an appearance at Studio 54, paw in hand.

“Archie was a mirror of his boss,” says Jamie Wyeth, who made oil paintings of the pair. “He’d sit there and stare at people. And just like Andy, he didn’t say a word.”

In 1957, American photographer David Douglas Duncan and his pet dachshund, Lump, set off in his Mercedes Gullwing 300 SL to visit Pablo Picasso in the Villa La Californie, near Cannes. Used to living in a cramped Rome apartment, Lump liked Picasso’s endless rooms and Esmeralda, the artist’s pet goat, so much that he decided to stay. The Marriage of Lolita and Lump chapter in Duncan’s book, Lump: The Dog Who Ate a Picasso, shows Lump’s first meeting with a lady dachshund. Picasso can be seen helping the two consummate their marriage. (On a related note, a friend of mine used to be employed to assist dachshunds to mate. “Their bodies don’t quite meet up, you see,” my friend told me, “so they needed an extra pair of hands.”)

Soon after Lump’s arrival, Picasso commemorated their first lunch together by inscribing in ink the dog’s outstretched silhouette on a porcelain plate. A photograph shows the moment immediately afterwards, with Picasso’s fishbone spread across his mouth and Lump’s yearning eyes looking on.

Lump was a constant companion of Picasso, the two dying only days apart. Duncan says of their bond: “When Picasso looked at Lump a sweet gentleness glowed in his eyes. Once he said, ‘Lump has the best and worst in us!’.”

It can’t be a coincidence that two of the world’s’ most celebrated 20th-century artists each had a dachshund in their life. Is it a dachshund’s zany attentiveness and pointed gaze that makes an artist feel like they are on top of the world? Is it too far-fetched to ask: if it wasn’t for Lump or Archie, would these artists have remained in the public eye?

American painter William N Copley is another notable artist seduced by the dachshund. His four-legged friend would pop up in painted scenes alongside car accidents, meat grinders, nude women and patterned interiors. French avant garde artist Pierre Bonnard tenderly rendered his dachshund with a few scarce brush marks, seated in rooms of yellow and magenta, or on someone’s lap at dinner.

Ruthie, the pup of German expressionist Franz Marc, is depicted in Dog Lying in the Snow, voted the Städel Museum’s most popular painting in 2008. We can’t be sure if the dog depicted is of the dachshund breed, but it does bear those familiar triangular ears and elongated log body. According to Marc, animals are the only innocent and pure creatures left in this corrupted world. Though, if he truly believed that, it is unlikely he ever encountered the headstrong and mischievous dachshund.

In Alba, northern Italy, I came face to face with futurist Giacomo Balla’s Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash. This masterpiece presents a dachshund with multiple paws a’ flapping looking somewhat between a well-oiled machine and progress itself, as it purposefully walks down the street. Only hours earlier on the flight over, I watched how Jim Carrey’s character on The Truman Show learns his entire life is a 24-hour-a-day TV program. During the realisation sequence, a dachshund is seen raging the road, its leash tumbling in the wind and sausage body zipping across the frame.

Another pit stop on the saus tour was meeting New York dog artist William Wegman, known for his collaborations with weimaraners, like Fay Ray, the “supermodel dog” who counted balls on Sesame Street. Wegman now works with Flo and Topper, the half-brother and sister duo. Fresh from their photo shoot with Vogue, I presented them with Eau de Wet Dogge, a gift from Teena. The kitchen became a beastly whirlwind mass of grey as the two circled the scent. Flo and Topper then demonstrated how they balanced on their famed white plinths. I saw the same level of bodily pose and focus that sweeps across Teena’s face when the camera makes an appearance. Some dogs, more than others, are made for show business, yet all the dachshunds I know go about life like they are continually in the spotlight.

Next on the saus tour list is the brand new Dackelmuseum in Passau, Germany. Of particular interest is what appears to be a stuffed half dachshund, half Komodo dragon on display.

Australian artist Bennett Miller is no stranger to the sausage dog form, staging the work Dachshund UN across the globe. Here, delegates were replaced by real dachshunds in a to-scale tiered model of the United Nations commission on human rights assembly.

“I was looking at this idea of form following function and the dachshund form is sort of strange because it’s very divorced from its function,” Miller said in 2012. “The dachshund [is] a good metaphor for the UN, mostly because of the restricted form [of] their tiny legs …[looking] proud and determined.” For one hour, little dogs barked into microphones seated behind country name placards. Pure joy and mania.

British painter David Hockney, known for his fashionable ensembles of stripes, bow ties and smart trousers, was often seen with dachshunds Stanley and Boodgie. The two would regularly be found in Hockney’s studio, sitting on their cushions, snuggling up to each other as they watched each brushstroke. They complement the picture, not unlike the handsome Daki the dachshund in Jacques Tati’s 1958 slapstick comedy, Mon Oncle. Dressed in tartan print, the family pet appears to be of the same make as the modernist furnishings populating the sets.

Stanley and Boogie have had an entire picture book, Dog Days, dedicated to their laying about. “I notice the warm shapes they make together, their sadness and their delights,” Hockney writes. “And being Hollywood dogs, they somehow know that a picture is being made.” The Hollywood Hills is a far cry from barking at badgers in the countryside, which is what the dachshund was originally bred for.

What makes a dachshund so adored by artists? Maybe it’s because a sausage dog is the only match for an artist’s ego. The dachshund sure is an authority when it comes to singlemindedness. They see the world for what it is: theirs and for the taking. Teena demonstrated this recently when, before presenting to a TEDx audience of 5000, she developed a reputation backstage for all her barking – so much that a sign was hung on her dressing room: “Please knock with only two gentle knocks. Enter with caution.” The Guardian

 

A New Biopic on Gauguin in Tahiti Paints a Skewed Portrait
Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti maneuvers around its subject’s more questionable actions by pretending they don’t exist.

Debate continues to boil over the question of how to treat historical artists who did questionable or even horrible things in their personal lives. In her wildly popular recent Neflix special Nanette, comedian Hannah Gadsby spends a portion of her performance excoriating Pablo Picasso over his misogyny. Separating art from the artist is never as clear cut a proposition as some would like. The recent biopic Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti is a case in point, as it maneuvers around its subject’s more questionable actions by pretending they don’t exist.

Besides being one of the pioneers of Post-Impressionism, Paul Gauguin is best known for embarking on multiple long-term residencies in Polynesia toward the end of his life. There, while refining his technique and producing some of his most famous paintings, he also took on multiple young native girls as “wives” — a common practice among European men in the islands at the time. He used them both as models and for sex, and all were aged either 13 or 14 when their unions began. Conflicting defenses and condemnations of this are tangled in a complicated morass of different social mores across time and cultures, the vagaries of colonialism, and questions around power dynamics between whites and natives, men and women, and the young and old. It’s a long-running, even tired argument around Gauguin. While the new French biopic doesn’t have to moralize on the issue, it instead alters the facts to avoid making contemporary audiences uncomfortable.

Voyage to Tahiti, directed and co-written by Edouard Deluc, is based on Noa Noa, Gauguin’s travelogue of his first stay in Tahiti from 1891 to 1893. During this time, his first vahine (native wife) was a 13-year-old named Teha’amana, called Tehura in the memoir. Vincent Cassel plays Gauguin, while newcomer Tuheï Adams plays Tehura. Adams is very obviously a grown woman — while the film is upfront that Gauguin essentially bargained for her with her parents over the course of a single afternoon, for the most part it portrays their relationship as near-idyllic, all the while hiding her real age. (This is not the first Gauguin biopic, nor the first to approach this topic in this manner — 2003’s Paradise Found, starring Kiefer Sutherland as Gauguin, also cast an adult actor as Tehura.)

The film’s treatment of Gauguin’s relationship with Teha’amana ties into its irksome conception of artistry, which revolves around the tired and simplistic idea of the artist and muse relationship. As in real life, here Gauguin leaves Europe in search of something more aesthetically stimulating. The suggestion is that simply getting a nubile young woman and a vivid paradise to play with did the trick for him. But the movie doesn’t pay much mind to the actual process of making art, beyond a few obligatory shots of Gauguin at the easel. It doesn’t draw the audience’s eye to any differences between the work he made before Tahiti and what he produced while on the island. It doesn’t even juxtapose the (admittedly beautifully photographed) scenery with Gauguin’s art, seeking where it may have influenced his style.

The film certainly doesn’t need to include a lecture on what Post-Impressionism is and how it related to the rest of European art at the time, but good cinema can help the viewer intuitively understand such distinctions with proper framing. Most films about painters haven’t been able to grasp this, satisfying themselves with scenes of artists speaking to their models as they work — think Pollock (2000), Renoir (2012), or Georgia O’Keeffe (2009). Voyage to Tahiti is no different.

Even if it adopted an “objective” framing, a movie made today that acknowledged Teha’amana’s true age would no longer be about simply making art, but also about questions of power and exploitation. Which is precisely why Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti removed that context entirely. But its focus is not instead on the art, but on the lead’s romantic escapades. In the end, the movie offers only simplistic ideas about how art and artists work.

Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti by Edouard Deluc is screening at Quad Cinema (34 W 13th St, West Village, Manhattan), Laemmle’s Royal Theatre (11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, 1st Floor, Los Angeles), and other movie theaters nationwide. Hyperallergic

 

Mary Anne Carter Appointed New Acting Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
Unlike other Trump appointees, the new chair of the NEA seems informed and somewhat engaged with the department she will oversee.

Some among the politically weary arts community have expressed dismay about last month’s news that Trump has filled the position as Acting Chair of National Endowment for the Arts, previously held by seasoned arts professional Jane Chu with Florida political consultant Mary Anne Carter.

Carter’s public financial disclosure report shows connections to Trump’s election campaign, including serving on his inaugural committee, and arranging “special events” for him in Florida during 2016. She has also worked for conservative Florida Governor Rick Scott.

While some have decried the decision, pointing out that Carter’s primary form of engagement with the arts is piloting the dance career of her young daughter, who attends a school for the arts and dances competitively, it makes a refreshing break from a pattern established by Trump’s early appointees, to choose department heads that appear actively opposed to the discipline their agency is intended to manage and protect — for example, installing Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, when her most significant achievement is the dismantling of Michigan’s public school system. Setting aside, for the moment, offensively sexist underpinnings in characterizing Carter, a successful political operative, as a “dance mom,” there is at least something to be said for the fact that she willingly engages her child in an art practice — unlike DeVos, for example, who has never sent her children to public school.

Hyperallergic reached out to Carter, to inquire about her aims in this new role, and received a prompt response, including the following statement via email:

Access to the arts for all Americans is a core principle of the National Endowment for the Arts. To that end, as senior deputy chairman and now acting chairman, I want to ensure that all Americans not only have access to the arts but access to this agency.

As part of our efforts to bring the NEA’s work to the American people, we have hosted several public meetings of the National Council on the Arts at locations outside our office. Most recently, we took the meeting to Charleston, West Virginia, the first such meeting outside DC in 27 years.

We also plan to expand several programs such as the NEA’s work with the military through Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network and the exciting cross-disciplinary research by our Office of Research and Analysis.

Lastly, I want to make certain that the agency continues to be managed in an effective and efficient manner, focused on advancing our mission to support artistic excellence and access to the arts for all.

Unlike many other Trump appointees, Carter appears to be informed and at least somewhat engaged. She has acknowledged the potential for art to be helpful in addressing mental and physical challenges, such as her daughter’s learning disabilities, and post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans. And if you still feel concerned, just remember, there’s not really much damage Carter can do, anyway — since, for the second year running, Trump has stripped the NEA of its funding. Hyperallergic

 

Artist fills gaping potholes with mosaics of rats, cockroaches and pigeons

Welcome to New York — where the streets are paved with vermin.

A Chicago artist famed for filling his city’s potholes with eye-catching mosaics has brought his creative civic-minded mission to the Big Apple — replacing eight of our pavement craters with tiled images of dead rats, cockroaches and pigeons.

“Potholes are universal truths — nobody loves them, everyone hates them,” artist Jim Bachor, 54, told The Post.

“I think it’s fun to possibly brighten someone’s day in the most unexpected way,’’ he said. “You don’t expect to see art on the street, so I want the subject matter to be odd.”

The guerilla artist has filled five city potholes with a series he called “Vermin of New York,” which includes a dead cockroach on Bleecker Street near Mercer Street in Greenwich Village, a dead pigeon on Pacific Street near Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn — and a cheeky portrait of President Trump’s face in the East Village.

“It could be seen in both ways — one that you’re honoring our president or that you get to drive over Trump,” Bachor said of the image on Second Street between First Avenue and Avenue A.

He also made three other pothole pieces on Gotham’s pockmarked pavements during his time here — but has yet to reveal their locations. Bachor didn’t get city permission for the asphalt art — he and his crew just put down their own traffic cones and wore neon vests as they cemented in the glass and marble works he pre-made back at his Windy City studio.

“I didn’t even see a cop the entire time I was installing the work. We look like city workers,” he said.

The city’s real Department of Transportation says it isn’t a fan of Bachor’s work — and will pave over them when it finds them.

“Aside from putting himself in harm’s way in the middle of roadways, the artist’s adding of artwork in the street is a danger to all road users, which poses safety hazards should drivers become distracted by the art,” said spokeswoman Alana Morales.

Bachor says he’s never had complaints about the free road repairs back in Chicago, where he’s been filling blacktop cavities — with whimsical images of trash, flowers and patterns — since 2013, and the patch-ups have become celebrated local icons.

“Mr. Bachor and his art are proof that even the coldest, harshest winter can not darken the spirits of Chicagoans,” that city’s Transportation Department told the Chicago Tribune in 2014.

New Yorkers say they hope their DOT comes around to appreciating the art, too.

“He did a great job,” said Steven Ross, 62. New York Post