El Refugio

A place on the web for escapism.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


At an art museum recently, an 8-year old told me--rather definitively--that, "It looks better if you stand back. You can really see it." We stood really close and then backed up slowly. Sure enough, the definition and detail came out the further back we stood. My fascination with sculpture and mural art is a little bit confounded in this way. It's hard to photograph wall-scapes, and capturing the essence of sky and sculpture with a camera is a challenge for a better photographer than I. But that hasn't stopped me. Getting in close for those detail shots, zooming out showing the whole.

This is a great example (read more at Oddity Central) of art that you have to stand back to view properly. Waaay back.

This dimensional sculpture, created by Michael Kalish, is entitled, reALIze, in honor of Muhammed Ali (Cassius Clay), World Champion Heavyweight Boxer. It's one of those things that you have to stand back to appreciate. This view, well, it's hard to tell that there is any sort of representational image. But when you stand back, you see that all those hanging black and white sacs together form a huge portrait, all the more stunning because the medium is punching bags. Yep, punching bags!

Made up of 1,300 raindrop-shaped punching bags, 6.5 miles of stainless steel cable and 2,500 pounds of aluminum pipe, reALIze is a monumental 22-foot-high tribute to one of the world’s greatest boxing icons. The coolest thing about this thing is that if you look at it from any side it looks like a whirlwind of hanging punching bags, but if you look at it from a certain point, in the front, you’ll see a clear portrait of Muhammad Ali.                   --Oddity Central
I was sorry to have missed this in LA on my recent trip. Apparently, it will be unveiled March 25th, 2011 at Nokia Plaza in Los Angeles, and Ali himself is rumored to make an appearance and hang the last bag.

You'll want to check out these two cool videos about this sculpture:
1), and
2) at Kalish's page


Sorry, I couldn't resist the attention grabber that sexual innuendo brings. Drag your mind out of the gutter, this is still a blog about art-minded topics.
Maybe it's that random serendipity you can get so easily on the web. Surfing presents many opportunities for distraction, and research can be boggled by a common word.  Search engines ruled by advertising, rather than utility, are the norm. We all know about finding the things you're NOT searching for. So when I found this on "Oddity Central",  I was pretty happy to find something I wasn't searching for. Really.

Please click over to Freshome's article, Drilling Thousands of Screws for Unusual 3D Mural Portraits,
to see the rest of their photos of Myers' screwwork.

Too Cool!

 Andrew Myers creates these portraits using a new medium to give the look and feel of 3-D: screws! 7 to 10,000 of them! I'd also like to see future works that maybe aren't portraits...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

SLO: Museum of Art

The San Luis Obispo Art Museum gets big points for being *FREE*. Interestingly, their website gives no  information about the exterior art work shown here. 

This tile mural wraps around two sides of the SLO Art Museum building.

"This mural is a memorial to long term supporter of and active participant with San Luis Obispo County Art Association, Maggie Jorgensen."

The design and grouping by Bob Nichols 1985-1986

SLO: Creekside Art / Enjoyment #2

More public art, sculpture to be precise, from SLO's Creekside Walk.

You may have noticed stray bits of garbage and graffiti on the WEB OF LIFE sculpture in my previous post. Here, the bear is turning away from the discarded aluminum can. C'mon people, pick up after yourselves!

Here is another sculpture by artist Jim Jacobson, based on local native Chumash Pictographs.

In the photo below, this "red" figure is almost invisible in the "straight-on" shot.


SLO: Creekside Art / Enjoyment #1

Stopped in SLO for respite from driving, and wandered along the Creek Walk, a formal walkway landscaped with a variety of sculptures. There's also Creekside Brewing, with seating overlooking the creek. Enjoyed a vegetarian Red Pepper-Chipolte Soup, and a couple of Double Black Stouts. mmm.

From my lunch spot, I had a nice view of the creek and a few sculptures. Here are a few fish swimming gently in the breeze.


Art in Public Places Project for the City of San Luis Obispo
Artist Jim Jacobson
November, 1999


Art in Public Places Project for the City of San Luis Obispo
November, 1999


January 2000