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Visual Arts

17 May 2018
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Juan-Manuel Alonso is a familiar figure at Palm Springs art events. He is tall and handsome, usually with shoulder-length silver hair and a beard. He dresses colorfully and is quick with an interesting story or witty remark. I spent some time with him recently observing his newest creation: a new outdoor mural at the LGBT Community Center of the Desert in Palm Springs. Juan was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1952. Although his family moved to New York City in 1960 after the Cuban Revolution, he retains vivid memories of his childhood in Cuba: The colors, sounds and tastes of those early years are evident in his paintings today. (He pointed out that the memories may only be a personal mythology, but that doesn’t take away from their relevance and power to inspire him.) Alonso was particularly drawn to the Afro-Cuban music and religious ceremonies in his neighborhood. His mother…
21 Apr 2018
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Sir Winston Churchill is an iconic giant. He was a renowned statesman, a two-time British prime minister, a Nobel Prize-winning author—and perhaps even a savior of Western civilization. However, most people don’t know he was also a painter—and few have had the chance to see his art. This makes The Paintings of Sir Winston Churchill, on display at Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert through May 30, a rare treat. Churchill (Nov. 30, 1874-Jan. 24, 1965) was born into one of the great aristocratic families of Great Britain, the Spencers; another Spencer was Princess Diana. His father was a politician, and his mother was an American-born British socialite. Winston joined the British Army and was elected to Parliament in 1900. Churchill began painting in 1915, after stepping down as the political head of the British Navy. He was a self-taught artist, but because of his stature, he was able…
02 Apr 2018
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Several monthly art walks take place in the Coachella Valley. They’re pleasant ways to spend cool (or perhaps not-so-cool) desert evenings. The galleries involved all put on their best faces, and many of them schedule new exhibits to coincide with the events. You can wander at your own pace; talk with artists; and get a feeling for what is happening in our community. You’ll probably be offered light snacks and a glass of wine—and there’s often a performance thrown in as well. I recently had the opportunity to attend two of them: One in Palm Springs, and the other in Cathedral City. The Backstreet Art District in Palm Springs hosts its event on the first Wednesday of the month from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s located on Cherokee Way, discreetly hidden behind the Mercedes-Benz dealership off Highway 111. If you haven’t been before, you’ll feel a little bit like an…
15 Feb 2018
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The Coachella Valley is a vibrant community for the arts—a place where aesthetics still matter. Not only is it a spectacular setting; it is rich in design, architecture and the visual arts. The area has long been fertile ground for artists and interesting personalities. Our valley’s cities encourage and support a creative culture (with a few notable exceptions … but that’s a topic for another article). We have renowned museums that share their collections and expertise with locals and visitors alike, while a wide range of galleries provide art-lovers with a diverse palette of genres from which to choose. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Palm Springs Art Museum has such a large and vibrant Artists Council—and it is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a huge exhibit of works by local, living artists: The Third Annual Artistic Expressions of the Coachella Valley will be on display from March 1 to…
29 Jan 2018
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A note from the editor: As we were going to press with this story in our February print edition, we learned that Ed Moses had passed away, on Wednesday, Jan. 17—just five days after I interviewed Andy. He was 91 years old. In tribute to Ed Moses, we’re presenting this story as-is. Our thoughts go out to Andy and the rest of the Moses family. —JB Ed Moses (right) is 91 years old. He’s been one of Southern California’s foremost abstract painters for more than 60 years, and although he’s slowing down just a bit, he continues to paint in his Venice studio almost every day. Andy Moses is 55 years old. After deciding to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an artist, he left Southern California after earning his degree at the California Institute of the Arts, and headed to New York City to create his own career…
29 Jan 2018
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Modernism goes beyond architecture; the movement rippled through fashion, music, literature, philosophy and so much more. This fact is something the Palm Springs Art Museum is highlighting during Modernism Week 2018—a time when the museum has much to celebrate. Modernism Week—“the ultimate celebration of midcentury architecture, design and culture,” so says the week’s tag line—is returning Feb. 15-25 with more than 350 events in the Coachella Valley. Michael Hinkle is the new director of philanthropy at the Palm Springs Art Museum; until recently, he was the managing director of the PSAM Architecture and Design Center, located in the southern portion of downtown Palm Springs. Both the main museum campus and the Architecture and Design Center will host Modernism Week events. “Modernism Week creates this whole new opportunity to touch new audiences coming into town,” Hinkle said. The museum’s Frey House II will again be open to the public for Modernism…

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