Teen Stuff: My Name is Jason. Mine Too.

"A poet. An artist. Black. White. We were college roommates. Now, close friends" opens My Name is Jason. Mine Too: Our Story, Our Way, a collection of poems and paintings inter-meshed to create one unique artistic vision. The creators of this collection, Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin, are a poet and a painter who write and paint something between introspective work and pop art in this brilliantly designed book that you can find in the AADL's Teen collection. One of the more personal poems, called "Sick," is hand painted on a bedroom wall, with the final stanzas reading:

Seems like sickbeds
Become signals
To selfish sons
Saying

Trouble don't last always
Nor do mothers

Take Part in Art -- Super Cool Stamp Art

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Printing has been around since about the year 200AD, and was in use for centuries in the Middle East, Europe and Asia -- especially Japan -- before spreading around the world. Printmaking is still alive and well today, and many artists use a variety of printing techniques to create unique and beautiful works of art.

If you want to try your hand at printing at home with your kids, the most convenient method is the humble rubber stamp. If you happen to have some rubber stamps lying around the house from your scrap-booking projects, it is time to take them out! Try combining the images to make a story. What patterns can your child make with the stamps? Can your child combine stamping and drawing to make a picture? For more rubber stamp ideas, read Cool Rubber Stamp Art by Pamela Price.

Of course, if you have no stamps at all, fear not. TLC Family and Kinderart have plenty of suggestions for making your own stamps and printing blocks. For more ideas read Joe Rhatigan's Stamp It!, The Usborne Book of Printing and Printing by Michelle Powell.

For any grown-ups who want to try printmaking and stamp art, try The Instant Print Maker by Melvyn Petterson, Creative Stamping by Sherrill Kahn, and, for some history, The Woman Who Discovered Printing by Timothy Barrett.

Also, if you act fast, you can see some cool prints at the University of Michigan Museum of Art's exhibit Sister Corita: The Joyous Revolutionary. Admission is free!

Beauty In Our Eyes: Photography By The Michigan Chinese Photo Club

chinesephotochinesephotoOn display at Malletts Creek Branch, August 3 – September 14.

The Michigan Chinese Photography Club was established in 2007 and is an unaffiliated organization that views photography as an art form and hobby. The purpose of the Club is to network with those with similar interests in the Chinese community in Michigan, to provide a forum for them to learn more about photography, and to promote the appreciation and joys of this unique art form.

Make It Happen In Ann Arbor: Photo Contest Exhibit

MakeItHappenMakeItHappenOn Display at the Downtown Library Lower Level Display Cases, July 20 – August 30.

Summers in Ann Arbor are so awesome that we invited the public to share snapshots of what makes it happen for them in the Make It Happen In Ann Arbor Photo Contest. This contest was for youth (preschool and up), teens and adults who were all encouraged to show their favorite summer in Ann Arbor photo! This special contest was one of many summer events centering on the Summer Reading program theme – Make It Happen.

Teen Graffiti Art Contest Entries Now on Display

graffitigraffitiAll of the entries in the 8th Annual Teen Graffiti Art Contest are now on display at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room and Third Floor Exhibit Area through August 30.

During the 2010 Art Fair, teens from across the area gathered in the Downtown Library’s parking lot to try their hand at the art of Graffiti. Each artist was given a 4' x 4' canvas and a variety of colors of spray paint. Come see the end result, on display through the end of the summer.

Make It Happen with a Museum Adventure Pass

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If you want to follow this year's Summer Reading Game theme Make It Happen at home, you should consider getting some interesting craft materials at Arts & Scraps. Just check out the Museum Adventure Pass, which admits 4 people to Scrap Junction, an interactive area where creativity and learning meet. There are 4 to 5 hands-on centers and one make & take area. Fun for all; small pieces make it suitable for ages 3 and up. Visitors may also stuff a bag, choosing from over 300 unusual recycled industrial materials. Cost is $7 for a full grocery bag, $3.50 for a half bag. The Museum Adventure Pass also gets you 10% off creative project packets and materials in the Arts & Scraps store.

The Art Fairs are Coming: Feels like the (Fifty) First Time

Scene from the first Ann Arbor Street Art FairScene from the first Ann Arbor Street Art Fair

In case you hadn't noticed, the Ann Arbor Art Fairs are about to start. This annual event takes over much of downtown Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan campus in late July and covers them with arts, crafts, activities, refreshments, and music. But the art fairs weren't always the juggernaut that they are today; once upon a time even Ann Arbor's biggest event was just a small one.

With the art fairs on my mind, I started combing through the Ann Arbor News files and came up with this: a front page story about the first art fair back in 1960, published 51 years ago today. The article notes that the fair (which was simply an adjunct to the Ann Arbor merchants' Summer Bargain Days) featured work from 100 artists. This year's fairs will feature nearly 1100 artists. We can only hope to draw "large crowds" this year as well, although the last several years have seen over 500,000 attend, so that should fit the bill.

Click read more to see the full article from the Ann Arbor News. To learn more about the beginnings of the art fair and to see photos of the early fairs, take a look at our online exhibit 50 Years of Originality: A History of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair.

Take Part in Art -- Pop Art is More Than Soup Cans

WarholSoupWarholSoup

When someone says "Pop Art" most of us, let's be honest, automatically think of Campbell's Soup cans and Marylin Monroe. But how much do we really know about this quintessential postmodern art form? Pop Art emerged in the 1950's and promptly laid siege to the dividing line between "high art" and "low art," bringing the elements of everyday life -- like movie stars, comic books and advertisements -- into the artistic sphere. Pop Art reminds us to take note of the beautiful in everyday life -- not just the beauty of sunsets and flowers, but also the beauty of breakfast cereals, cartoon characters and, dare I say, Campbell's Soup cans.

To explore Pop Art, you can always come to the Downtown Youth department and check out our latest Art Table display, or follow these tips to join in at home.

1. Read all about it -- Pop Art by Christian Demilly provides a good introduction to the movement. Susan Goldman Rubin's books on Andy Warhol, Wayne Thiebaud and Roy Lichtenstein are a great way to find out more about specific Pop artists, as is Debra Pearlman's Where Is Jasper Johns?. Adults interested in Pop Art can check out Pop Art: A Continuing History by Marco Livingstone or the encyclopedic Pop, edited by Mark Francis and Hal Foster.

2. Field Trip -- Although they don't have a Pop Art collection per se, Detroit's Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting several exhibits dealing with the art of everyday life, especially "Mother May I" by LaToya Ruby Frazier. Is this work possibly inspired by Pop Art ideas? That's for me to ask and you to debate. (Debating things like that in public makes you look really, really smart, by the way.)

3. Make your own -- What have you been walking past every day without thinking about it? Your toothbrush? Your sneakers? Maybe it's time for their day in the sun. Collage fans can cut and paste images from magazine photos and ads to make their own work of art. Kinderart, Associated Content and Ehow offer several creative ideas for at-home Pop Art projects.

William Kentridge wins the Kyoto Prize

South American visual artist William Kentridge will receive the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy from the Inamori Foundation of Japan. The prize honors individuals who have made "significant contributions to the progress of science, the advancement of civilization, and the enrichment and elevation of the human spirit".

Mr. Kentridge is best known for his animated films about the history and social circumstances of postcolonial South Africa. The Foundation is most impressed with "his originality as an artist... His deep insights and profound reflections on the nature of human existences provide opportunities to consider fundamental issues that could face any individual in the world".

Mr. Kentridge's works are well represented in William Kentridge : five themes - the catalog published in conjunction with an exhibition held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and currently touring to 6 museums worldwide until fall 2011; and William Kentridge (2001).

Louise Bourgeois, Influential Sculptor, Dies at 98

This week, the art world remembers Louise Bourgeois (see the articles in The San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times ).

"Petite in size, gruff of voice and manner", Louise Bourgeois, a French-born American artist who gained fame only late in a long career, is known for her psychologically charged abstract sculptures, drawings and prints that had a galvanizing effect on the work of younger artists, particularly women.

"Ms. Bourgeois’s sculptures in wood, steel, stone and cast rubber, often organic in form and sexually explicit, emotionally aggressive yet witty, covered many stylistic bases. But from first to last they shared a set of repeated themes centered on the human body and its need for nurture and protection in a frightening world."

Perhaps the most provocative was “Fillette” (1968), a large, detached latex phallus. Ms. Bourgeois can be seen carrying this object, nonchalantly tucked under one arm, in a portrait by the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe taken for the catalog of her 1982 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (In the catalog, the Mapplethorpe picture is cropped to show only the artist’s smiling face.)

In 1993 she represented the United States in the Venice Biennale. In an art world where women had been treated as second-class citizens and were discouraged from dealing with overtly sexual subject matter, she quickly assumed an emblematic presence.

Her 1994 exhibition entitled “Louise Bourgeois: Locus of Memory, Works 1982-1993,” in which the central image was a spider, is based on a creature she associated with her mother, a woman of ever-changing moods. (More books and videos on Louise Bourgeois in our collection).

Ms. Bourgeois was named Officer of The Order of Arts and Letter by the French minister of culture in 1983. The National Medal of Arts was presented to her by President Bill Clinton in 1997.

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