The Society infiltrates madelife, and the Polka mural.

Now underway on the side of madelife, 21st and Pearl in Boulder. David Polka paints away. His solid but subtle style belies some serious narrative. Will passers-by realize that the geometries and New Mexico-inspired colors are subterfuge for a geological/social critique of their city?

Answer: no.

Follow up: who gives a shit? Beauty is the reward. Enjoy.

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Mission Complete: Botstories Boulder by Gary Hirsch

Artists are now exploring social media as a platform for experience.  Not just as marketing tools, though that should not be underestimated.  Rather the tantalizing experiments with social media as a component of, or the canvas for, expression is a source of fascination for the agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society.  Well, some of them at least.  Admittedly there are more than a few agents who are confounded by the whole thing and believe that what Facebook needs more than all else is a  well placed toss of a large wrench…

As these artists continue to experiment we see a depth and complexity to the investigations that can be exciting.  Or, sometimes, ridiculous.  One lesson that is worth exploring was ably demonstrated by artist Gary Hirsch in his recent mural project for the City of Boulder.

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hirsch (1)

 

Gary’s simple idea is, as you might imagine, the front for a serious and complex game.  I won’t go into it here, as time will not allow.  (Sorry, I am writing this post while on a stakeout, hidden in a mailbox…)  But, please read more on his site: www.botjoy.com.

What is compelling for the agents who assisted Mr. Hirsch in his project was the delight people take in his clever, perhaps devious, social media campaign.  What makes for a viral hashtag, or blog post, or tweet, is mysterious.  But Mr. Hirsch saw something.  Please conduct further research at #botstories and #botjoy.

What should we learn from his success?  That a simple message, a simple question, is accessible and therefore useful to the folks in social media land?  That opening up the exploration to the personal voice captivates?  That irony is attractive?  Or, as I hope, that people yearn for the connection to beauty in all they do, even when what they do is 140 characters in length?

We shall follow #botstories as the internet community of quizzical robot enthusiasts grows.

And, congratulations to Gary on a wonderful project!!  And, congratulations Boulder on your new artwork!!  Stop by 13th and Arapaho to see it for your own self.

Goodbye Anna Valentina Murch

It is with great sadness that the Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society bid a final farewell to Anna Valentina Murch.  Our organization had the pleasure of working with her briefly in the recent past, and we can confirm that she was a delightful person and an insightful artist.

 

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The pleasure was all ours, Anna.  Thank you.

 

Anna Valentina Murch – teacher created oases of art – SFGate.

New Assignment: Bot Joy

Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society have been approached by [name redacted] to assist in the covert deployment of Bot Joy onto the unsuspecting residents of a peaceful Colorado community.

 

Through Bot Joy, artist Gary Hirsch has invaded communities like London, Austin, and his own Portland, OR with the charming army of tiny robots painted on Dominoes.  Read more: http://www.botjoy.com/

 

Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society are fascinated with this nexus of social media, urban life, and the chance encounter with art.  It’s also worth discussing Hirsch and his artist-ilk: those that produce images motivated by the nothing more than spreading of joy.  Much needed, these days.  But, not always so easily accepted in the closed loop of art patronage, surprisingly.  Friends With You is a team that comes to mind, and one that has had some association with The Society in the past.  I wonder what you all in internet land think of these types of artists?

 

Anyhow, our agents will update this website with details on this mission at the end of May.  Stay tuned.

Agents Infiltrate the Charles Landry Lecture in Denver

First, Charlie (that’s what I call him…) is the bee’s knees.

Second, he was in Denver for the launch of Imagine 20:20, the city’s new cultural plan.  More here: http://artsandvenuesdenver.com/events-programs/imagine-2020-creating-a-future-for-denvers-culture/

Third, I’m not going to go through all the inspiring and thought-provoking perspectives this man has on urban life, culture, and the reason most of us get up in the morning.  Read his books if you want the details.  Just know that Agents who were on the scene were blown away by a single statement that seemed to convey the spirit of his approach:

“I’ve stopped answering the question ‘what is the value of investing in culture’.  That is a dead end.  I now ask the question ‘what is the cost of not investing in culture’.”

 

Dig it.

The Duck is Down!! I repeat, Duck Down!!

This just in from the Herald Sun in Melbourne:

Duck down for count before NYE party in Taiwan

  • HONG KONG-LIFESTYLE-ART-OFFBEAT

Duck down … A giant inflatable duck in Taiwan has exploded just before New Years celebrations. It is not the first time the art installation has deflated. Last month it was the victim of a 6.3-magnitude earthquake and in May the duck also exploded in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour (pictured). Source: AFP

A GIANT yellow duck on display in a northern Taiwan port exploded just hours before it was expected to attract a big crowd to count down the new year.

The 18-metre-tall duck on show at Keelung burst around noon on Tuesday and deflated into a floating yellow disc, only 11 days after it went on display.

It was the second time that a giant inflatable duck – a bath toy replica created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman – had burst while on show in Taiwan.

“We want to apologise to the fans of the yellow rubber duck … the weather is fine today and we haven’t found the cause of the problem. We will carefully examine the duck to determine the cause,” organiser Huang Jing-tai told reporters.

Organisers had planned to stay open past midnight on Tuesday in anticipation of a large new year crowd.

The Central News Agency cited an eyewitness as saying the rubber bird might have fallen victim to eagles which scratched it with their claws.

Three Taiwanese cities exhibited their versions of the yellow duck in 2013. But all were forced temporarily to suspend the exhibit due to bad weather or damage.

Taiwan rubber duck

Local residents gather to see Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s yellow rubber duck (C) at a harbour in the southern city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Last month the duck on display in the northern county of Taoyuan became a high-profile victim of a 6.3-magnitude earthquake, which triggered a power outage that caused it to deflate when an air pump stopped working.

Powerful winds caused the duck’s rear end to burst while it was being re-inflated. Organisers in Taoyuan had to borrow another duck commissioned by the Kaohsiung city government to continue the show.

The duck at Kaohsiung, which attracted four million visitors during a one-month display, was temporarily deflated and lifted ashore as a safety precaution when Typhoon Usagi pounded the island in September.

Since 2007 the original duck designed by Hofman – which is 16.5 metres tall – has travelled to 13 cities in nine countries, including Brazil, Australia and Hong Kong, on its journey around the world.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/duck-down-for-count-before-nye-party-in-taiwan/story-fni0xs61-1226792794696

 

 

Banksy Shmanksy

So, I’ve been moderately annoyed with the overdone and sometime schmaltzy coverage of Banksy’s New York residency.  It is just too much about his brand and celebrity and too little about how he might actually affect the public.  He didn’t do anything really new that I can see.  Of course, I stopped following the vacuous daily news stories about what pithy throw-up was discovered by the gooey fan-club members in the media at about October 15.  Maybe 16.  So, maybe I missed the real quality…

 

However, I am forced to admit that on his last day he knocked his “audio guide” out of the freakin’ park.  Listen:

 

http://www.banksyny.com/

 

Banks…  (that’s what I call him…)  Banks:  I too hope that the last few centuries of art history are the anomaly.