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Projects

“Remote”, a new Web Series presented in partnership with Not Real Art World

Remote: Exploring Public Art with Badir McCleary

We have been holding this secret for way too long and now we are excited to announce that we are releasing “Remote”, a 6-part web series focused on exploring Public Art! I had the pleasure of partnering with my good friend Scott “Sourdough” Power on this amazing project and can’t wait for you all to enjoy, critique, and repeat! It will be released in the social media and YouTube realms this weekend and also on ArtAboveReality.com! I’m so thrilled about this and looking forward to your comments and more! Check out the trailer and read the show details below!

In a world adorned with vibrant creativity and captivating stories, lies a secret waiting to be uncovered. Welcome to ‘Remote,’ the art series that takes you on a mesmerizing journey to the hidden corners of the globe, where art installations breathe life into cities, communities, and souls.

Join us as we embark on an extraordinary exploration, peeling back the layers of public art’s profound impact. From towering sculptures to interactive murals, each stroke and structure holds a tale, a testament to the boundless imagination of artists who dared to dream big. Our mission is simple: to unveil the enigmatic stories woven into these artistic marvels. We’ll delve deep into the heart of each artwork, unraveling its message, dissecting its symbolism, and celebrating the incredible minds behind its creation.

‘Remote’ is a journey that transcends the canvas and embraces the profound connections between art, communities, and the human experience. Together, we’ll uncover how public art breathes life into forgotten neighborhoods, ignites conversations, and transforms entire cities into living galleries of inspiration. Get ready to embark on a global quest, where artistry knows no boundaries and every brushstroke, every sculpture, tells a tale waiting to be heard. Welcome to ‘Remote,’ where art’s untold stories come to life. Watch the series exclusively on Not Real Art!

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Fallen Through The Cracks Projects

Fallen Through The Cracks – Black Artists in History: Tina Allen

Fallen Through The Cracks – Black Artists in History: Tina Allen

Fallen Through The Cracks – Tina Allen

Tina Allen

#FallenThroughTheCracksTina Allen was born Tina Powell on December 9, 1949, in Hempstead, New York.  She was a sculptor known for her monuments to prominent African Americans. Her sculpture focused on writing black history in bronze and emphasizing the contributions and aspirations of the African Diaspora. She was 13 years old when she began sculpting. Instead of following the assignment to make an ashtray, she made a bust of Aristotle instead. 

His artistic endeavors often reflected his strong anti-war stance, as many works critiqued the Vietnam War and warfare in general. A pivotal moment in Joseph’s career was in 1968 when he, alongside Benny Andrews and others, established the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC). This coalition arose as a reaction to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Harlem on My Mind” exhibition, which notably excluded Black artists. Joseph emphasized the importance of Black Art being curated by individuals who deeply understood the Black experience.

Tina Allen, © Estate of Tina Allen. Source: The Museum of Uncut Funk.
Tina Allen, © Estate of Tina Allen. Source: The Museum of Uncut Funk.

One of her best-known works is a 13-foot bronze likeness of #AlexHaley, which was installed in the Haley Heritage Square Park in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1998. Her statue of #GeorgeWashingtonCarver is the focal point of the George Washington Carver Garden at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. Her 12-foot bronze monument to #SojournerTruth is displayed in Memorial Park Battle Creek, Michigan and the bust of #FrederickDouglass is on display at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; it was featured in a scene in the movie Akeelah and the Bee.

Allen also crafted a bronze medallion for the Women of Essence awards, which annually honor Black women of outstanding accomplishment and achievement. Tina Allen passed away on September 9, 2008, in Los Angeles, CA.

(Text paraphrased from Wikipedia and other sources. All Images are the property of the copyright owners. This clip is for educational purposes.)

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Editorial

Frieze LA 2019 at Paramount Studios

Frieze LA 2019 at Paramount Studios

Located at the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood, the first edition of the Frieze Art Fair encompassed a full-on art gallery fair experience alongside the exterior New York backlot, which featured projects of selected artists from galleries participating in the fair programming. I was really excited to cover the inaugural Los Angeles edition of the fair as I have been to and covered the London and New York editions, and they have been simply amazing. 

A favorite of mine is the programming for the Frieze Masters section, featured in the London edition. It gives the feeling of perusing through the collections of a global public museum. I was intrigued at how the fair’s curators would incorporate the backlot into its programming, as they’ve done with projects like Frieze Sculpture (another favorite).

As I arrived at the wrong gate (there were like five of them) for entry into the Paramount lot, I crossed paths with Jerry Saltz and got to have a short conversation with him and a cool selfie. To my surprise, he knew who I was – well, my work. I finally walked a couple of blocks to the correct entry and headed to see what all the fuss was about. I decided that it would be smart to head to the Frieze Projects section first, as the inconsistency with the weather would dampen the outside experience.

As you walk from the entrance to the backlot you couldn’t help but notice green stickers with bold white writing placed randomly along the walkway, grabbing the attention of visitors. These stickers posed questions to the viewer like “Whose Values?”, and “Whose Beliefs?”, allowing viewers to ponder what the answer would be as it related to them. This was a public art project by artist Barbara Kruger titled Untitled (Questions 3), 2019, with her famous style of boldly questioning authority through her visual practice. 

If you weren’t looking down at Kruger’s public project you were probably looking upward as visitors were greeted by a large, almost movie poster-ish banner artwork presented by Los Angeles-based Contemporary Artist Mark Bradford. The banner featured a body camera on a white background titled Life Size, 2018 (which I later found out that he sold as a limited edition print through Hauser and Wirth for the Art For Justice Fund).

The Paramount Studios New York City backlot presented a different experience for visitors as it had the feeling of walking around the local neighborhood and finding a block party. It also felt very Disney, as building doors that opened up to nothing and streets that went nowhere quickly reminded you that you were “on set”. Such an appropriate feeling for an art fair, wouldn’t you say?

As you walk around the backlot you encounter the various projects presented by selected artists and their representative galleries. There was a sculpture by artist Claudine Czudej that appeared to be waiting patiently in a pose for Jimmy Hoffa (Waiting For Jimmy Hoffa, 2019) staring at a large bottle of “Daddie’s Ketchup”, a large public art installation by Paul McCarthy (Daddies Tomato Ketchup Inflatable, 2007 with Hauser and Wirth) that towered over the lot.

The backlot projects also featured a Psychic Art Advisor presented by artist Lisa Anne Auerbach which featured a performance of predicting your artistic future led by psychic Alpine Moon. I wondered how many collectors stopped by her office before heading into the main galleries hoping to gain insight on what to purchase once inside. Funny to think about, but I’d bet that at least one asked the question. (laughs).

My favorite works by far from the backlot projects were Karon Davis’ Game, 2019 presented by Wilding Cran Gallery, and Hannah Greeley’s High and Dry, 2019 presented by Parker Gallery. Both spaces are located in Los Angeles. Game, 2019 featured plaster sculptures made by Davis in the human form of two young students and an adult teacher. Staged in front of the fictitious Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy, a building on the backlot made to represent a public school facade, Davis recreates an after-school scene. 

One of the students sits on the stoop possibly waiting for a pickup from a parent while simultaneously trying to figure out what’s going on with the string in his hands, while the other student makes her up the steps to the building while a teacher looks on. What really caught my attention was the antlers that were attached to the plastered creations. The term “Young Buck” comes to mind as a term of endearment for the male youth in the black community and I wondered if Davis saw these “bucks” in the same light. 

What I thought was very cool was how Karon Davis’ work lent itself to the project of Hannah Greely and vice versa. Greeley’s High and Dry, 2019, an aerial sculpture consisting of painted fabrics that hung from a clothesline, really putting a stamp on inner-city living. It almost felt like the young student from Davis’ work was running to school from the apartment homes that Greeley’s installation was installed. 

As the chill from the weird weather week started to set back in, I decided to head into the galleries section of the fair and see what was new, old, put on hold, or sold. Art advisors and consultants were tied to the hip of their clients (and their phones) as they coordinated guided tours with VIPs hoping to secure the sought after treasures before they were quickly snatched up by excited patrons. 

I was hoping to get in and get to talk with some artists and get some photos of amazing works. I was able to do at least one of those things as the featured artists in the majority of the booths were completely on a swivel as their gallerists and potential patrons pulled them every which way possible. I can’t blame them though, for those booth prices and immediate access to a focused client base, the ROI comes first and foremost.