David Husom Photographer
New Red Wing Mural Project 
Sunday, May 13, 2007, 01:50 PM
Gary Stone of Red Wing Minnesota's Hobgoblin Music and Stoney End Harps thought the town needed something special for its Sesquicentennial and contacted well known local artist Dan Wiemer about creating a work of art that would showcase Red Wing. With the support of the Red Wing Art Association, area merchants donated paint and supplies for the mural. The City of Red Wing also is remaking the parking lot in front of it.

As you can see from the photograph below the mural is still a work in progress (click on the image to see a larger version). But it is ahead of schedule and should be done soon. If you enter Red Wing from Wisconsin 63 you can't miss it. It will be straight ahead on the corner of 3rd and Plum.

Sorry to say I have been too busy to lend a hand painting but I have worked with Gary and Dan from the begining on helping to lay out and scan the original art work. Getting a painting to fit a wall was much harder than I thought it would be!

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Best of the Midwest College Newspaper Convention 
Sunday, February 18, 2007, 12:17 PM
I really enjoy meeting young journalists and eagerly agreed to do a session at the Best of the Midwest College Newspaper Conference again this year. Thanks again for the chance to speak to you all. If you were there here are some of the links I mentioned for good information on blogs:

Online Journalism Review's Blog Software Comparison Chart
Nielsen Blogpluse
Electronic Frontier Foundation Legal Guide for Bloggers
Poynter on Online Ethics
Here are Corey Anderson's Blogs at City Pages

I know the Twin Cities can seem a bit dead sometimes but leaving the convention hotel I found the streets of Minneapolis deserted - on a Saturday Afternoon. (Cell Phone Photo):

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Bob Dylan Exhibit Hangs Out In Minneapolis 
Thursday, February 15, 2007, 05:23 PM
I was way too late to see or hear Bob Dylan in his Minneapolis days hanging out in the Dinkytown neighborhood and working on the campus newspaper in Murphy Hall (where I now teach and write this posting). But when I was a high school student I had made a pilgrimage to the 10:00 Scholar in Dinkytown to see the spot where Dylan began his career. The Scholar had burned down a few years earlier, but its charred facade remained and its sign was still readable. By the time I started college a few years later, Dylan was a household name and where the Scholar had been there was a Burger King under construction. Burger King is still there frying burgers, and I am still a Dylan fan having replaced all my early Dylan LP's with CD's.

I have to admit when I first heard that an art museum was doing a Bob Dylan exhibit I had a few doubts. How could anything visual compare to the powerful poetry for Dylan's music? But the University of Minnesota's Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum exhibit Bob Dylan's American Journey 1956-1966 proved me wrong! What a great exhibition.

The visuals are strong (Woody Guthrie's tee-shirt from the institution he spent his final days in is downright spooky). The vintage photographs are great. And of course the music, not just from Dylan but from many of his contemporaries and mentors, is wonderful. Organized by the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle with Bob Dylanís cooperation, the show is up until April 29th 2007. Give yourself a LOT of time to look, listen and think about this American master.

Cellphone photo by David Husom

Bob Dylan at the Weisman Information

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Two More Reviews of the Where We Live Exhibit at the Getty Museum  
Sunday, January 28, 2007, 04:23 PM
University of California Irvine campus newspaper The New University has a well researched and nicely done article by Zachary Gale on the Getty Museum's Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection in their January 8th edition. After reading Peter Plagens, former Newsweek art critic, bemoan the current state of art coverage in this months Art in America I realized that he had overlooked college newspapers. In my experience many do have good visual art coverage. But Plagens is correct, not many papers will have positions for those student critics when they graduate. Too bad.

I have not been suprised by the number of small LA area papers that have articles about the Where We Live exhibit. There were at least 40 members of the print media at the opening for the show. Nor have I been surprised by articles being reprinted over and over again in other papers in the region. But I have to admit that finding the Robert Pincus San Diego Union article reprinted in Paramus NJ really threw me. (Pincus btw was listed by Plagens as one of the better newspaper art critics in the country). But then I realized that Paramus was next to Paterson, where George Tice had been making images long before most of us in show dipped our fingers in Dektol. It is nice to see a local paper give a bit of support and credit to a local photographer. So here it is again, along with the New University article:



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Saul Leiter, overlooked early master of color photography? 
Thursday, January 25, 2007, 03:16 PM
When I was a young art student in the early 70's I had a painting class where a couple of the students had a running argument with the teacher that "what if great artists are being ignored?" After all isn't the history of art full of artists who were not recognized in their own time? The professor would respond that it was just not possible anymore. "Everything changed during WWII with the center of the art world moving from Paris to New York" he would say.

The painting teacher was a first generation New York School Abstract Expressionists named Raymond Hendler, who twenty years earlier was a founding member of the Club. The Club was a loose-knit group of abstract artists that included William and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and on occasion Jackson Pollock. It also included lesser known painters like Hendler, Herman Cherry and Peter Busa. In addition it contained a photographer: Saul Leiter. In fact, the Club gave Leiter his first exhibition in their meeting room.

What makes Leiter interesting is that his work drew heavily on the Abstract Expressionists. But unlike the painters who believed that abstraction grew from within the artist, Leiter found it on the streets of New York. His work therefore is quite different than photographer Aaron Siskind, who's photographs often looked like abstract painting. Leiter instead drew from Cartier-Bresson, and one would guess the Photo League in New York. His work clearly has some 35mm street photography influences, even though it predates Robert Frank.

The work of Leiter has been featured at the Millwaukee Art Museum this winter and I was quite impressed not only with the work, but also with the exhibit in general. Leiter had the misfortune of working in a medium that did not gain full acceptance in the art world until at least the mid-70's. But worse he was working in color photography, which for the most part was ignored until relatively recently. The fact that his medium was 35mm slides made for even greater difficulty in exhibiting his work when he was making it.

Fortunately technology has now made printing from slides conventionally or digitally much easier. The MAM exhibit contained wonderful contemporary prints of the work. But wisely they also had the images as Leiter would have originally exhibited them: as a slide show you could sit and watch.

It is ironic that my old teacher Ray Hendler probably knew Saul Leiter. Although Leiter was not completely ignored, Edward Steichen did show his work at MOMA, he has not gotten the attention he deserved. So were the students right? Are great artists sometimes overlooked? Perhaps on occasion. But I know Hendler would argue that does not mean that the museums of the world will throw out their Picasso's and O'Keefes soon and embrace Classic Realists who think that all painting since Rembrandt is misdirected. Somehow Leiter just fell through the cracks.

I quit painting about 6 months after taking that class to devote full time to photography. But often when I am looking through the viewfinder, or at the ground glass I hear Hendler's voice "Push it further! What are you looking at here! I see you are thinking; that's good!" I hope he gave Leiter the same encouragement because his work did push the boundaries of photography that we are only now understanding over 50 years later. If you hurry you still have a few more days to see this wonderful work.

Milwaukee Art Museum Lobby. By David Husom (Cell phone photo)

See Saul Leiter at the Milwaukee Art Museum

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