On a Cosmetic Nude

ArtWorksSign

ArtWorks is responsible for adding over 100 murals throughout Cincinnati – of which many are in the main part of the city. Thanks to Resa posting about street art in Toronto and Winnipeg, she has heightened my interest in these wonderful works of outdoor art that is in my city.

The one mural featured in this post first caught my attention several years ago when it I first saw the nearly completed version that was covered by scaffolding. Because I didn’t know much about why this mural was selected, its color and unique style caught my eye.

ArtWorks selected this design to be part of its Cincinnati Masters series – a collection of murals dedicated to the work of Cincinnati artists. Maybe in the future I’ll put them together into one post. To be honest, I didn’t know this artist – then again, I don’t claim to be knowledgeable about art. So, I decided to do this post in the style of a famous television game show – Jeopardy!

Answer: Born in Cincinnati, lived 1931-2004, graduated from the University of Cincinnati, and the Art Academy of Cincinnati

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Answer: He moved to New York City where cartoon strips were his initial success, but after 5 years he decided to pursue painting

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Answer: The Great American Nude series brought him fame in the art world
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Answer: He became well-known for his American Pop Art, and a contemporary to Andy Warhol
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Answer: He also developed his own techniques of using metals in metal-work sculptures; such as The Dropped Bra
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Answer: His Still Life is another series – Still Life #60 is a collection of things a woman will wear – causing some to suggest these object take the place of a nude while suggesting her presence.
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Answer: His mural is located at 811 Main Street in downtown Cincinnati

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Question: Who was Tom Wesselmann?

Although this mural caught my attention, I’ve never heard of Tom Wesselmann … at least now I know. Thanks ArtWorks!

To see more posts about the ArtWorks murals in Cincinnati, click here. Meanwhile, here’s a short video featuring Wesselmann’s work … and don’t forget to visit Resa to see the urban art she has captured.

 

On Ordinary Citizens

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Here’s for another set of murals in the city. Because the prior post about the murals featured notable Cincinnatians, this post features ordinary people. As with the other murals in this series, ArtWorks made these possible.
Canal at Vine Street Circa 1900
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Settled on the Ohio River, water has always been important to Cincinnati. The Miami and Erie Canal (completed in 1827) ran through the city to link with a network of canals in Ohio. This canal also separated a neighborhood from downtown. The canal was important to businesses, thus many workers. The mural depicts workers on a canal boat on this canal.

By 1906, the canal wasn’t used much and it became a health hazard. Although Central Parkway occupies the same space today as the canal did, this mural along the canal route serves as a reminder of its importance during a different time.

Canal at Vine Street Circa 1900 is located at 101 W Central Parkway

The Cobbler’s Apprentice Plays Ball
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A Cincinnati treasure served as an inspiration for this mural. Frank Duveneck (1849-1910) was not only a Cincinnatian, but he was a well-known figure and portrait painter in his time. In The Cobbler’s Apprentice (which is one display at the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati, Duveneck painted a boy holding a large basket of vegetables to his right side and a cigar in his left hand – to which he responds by the smoke. (Click to see the original)

This mural is a parody of the original because a baseball bat has replaced the basket and the cigar. One can find this mural very close to the Great American Ball Park (home of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team).

The Cobbler’s Apprentice Plays Ball is located at 120 East Freedom Way.

What’s Happening Downtown
 whatshappening

In the days before air conditioning, people kept their windows open. Then again (and whether they liked it or not), they heard much of the activity in the surrounding area

This mural is about the vibrancy in a city community depicting people coming to their window to see what’s happening.

What’s Happening Downtown is located at 1005 Walnut St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

The Face of the Arts

One-story buildings aren’t very common in the city. As a matter of fact, as I approached and past this building, I totally missed what it offered … and I wonder how many other times I walked by. But, I finally spotted it from a block away, so I returned to discover more.

ArtWorks is responsible for over 100 murals throughout the city in the past 20 years. Interestingly, ArtWorks is a “non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact through three strategic programming areas: Public Art, including an extensive mural program; an art therapy division, ArtRx; and an entrepreneurial arm, Creative Enterprise.”

This mural displays the silhouettes of creative pursuits and portraits of those who painted this mural.

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The Face of the Arts is located at 1100 Race St, Cincinnati on the corner of Race and Central Parkway – (fittingly) directly across the street from the School for Creative and Performing Arts.
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Special thanks to blogger friend Resa in Toronto, Canada for getting me to take a close look at the wonderful murals on display in Cincinnati – so I invite you to visit Resa to see what she’s captured.
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Any favorites? To see other murals in my series, click here.

On Honoring Local Notables

DSC03343Thanks to blogger friend Resa in Toronto, Canada, I’ve taken notice of the wonderful murals on display in Cincinnati. ArtWorks, a non-profit organization founded in 1996, is leading the way with its creative vision, energy and focus on employing and training youth.

This post is about the murals that feature prominent Cincinnatians – some who you may know, and others you may not. By the end of summer, ArtWorks hope to have completed the mural of another local treasure – Rosemary Clooney. Meanwhile, enjoy this with the brief story that goes with each that I listed in a timeline. Let me know what you think of this collection.

Cincinnatus

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Cincinnati is named after Cincinnatus, a Roman leader and a model of Roman virtue. George Washington (America’s first president) is often compared to Cincinnatus. Whereas Washington quietly retired after serving his country, Cincinnatus retired to his farm after saving Rome.

Commissioned in 1983 and completed by Cincinnati artist Richard Hass, ArtWorks will be renovating Cincinnatus soon.

Cincinnatus is located at the corner of Central Parkway and Vine Street (downtown Cincinnati)
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Elizabeth Nourse
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This mural is a rendition of the self-portrait by Elizabeth Nourse (1859-1938), a Cincinnati native who went on to a successful art career in Paris. Known for her social realism style, Nourse became one of the few women in her time period to receive international recognition and she became the first American woman voted into the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

Self Portrait, Elizabeth Nourse is located at 8th Street & Walnut Street (downtown Cincinnati)
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Samuel Hannaford

Image from ArtWorks Cincinnati

Samuel Hannaford )(1835-1911) was a Cincinnati architect. He designed over 300 buildings locally – including business buildings, theaters, churches, apartments, houses, and more. His most prominent landmarks include Music Hall, City Hall, Elsinore Tower (all in the mural), and Cincinnati Observatory.

The mural is a view from the window of his mind looking toward the visions of his creations.

Visit The Vision of Samuel Hannaford at 1308 Race St (Downtown in Over the Rhine)
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Henry the Strongman

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Henry Holtgrewe (1862-1917) was a German-born immigrant who settled in Cincinnati. Although he ran a saloon, much of his spare time were performing various feats of strength, many regarded the Cincinnati Strongman as the Strongest Man in the World. This mural salutes him and his feats, including lifting an entire baseball team with his back. The mural is located Cincinnati’s Over The Rhine neighborhood (just north of city center), which is where Henry Holtgrewe lived and worked.

The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe is at 1215 Vine Street (Downtown in Over The Rhine)
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Ezzard Charles

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Look at those eyes – the eyes of a boxing champion. Ezzard Charles (1921-1975) (the Cincinnati Cobra) was the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World (1949-1951). Besides naming a street for Charles (noted by an exit on I-75), this mural was the 100th completed by ArtWorks.

Ezzard Charles: The Cincinnati Cobra is at 1537 Republic Street, Cincinnati (Downtown in Over the Rhine)
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Two Jims in One
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That’s my name for this mural because it features two true Cininnatians. The face is Jim Tarbell, a local businessman, a former member of city council, a popular Cincinnati personality, and a proud Cincinnatian. In this salute, Jim Tarbell is dressed as Peanut Jim Shelton (1889-1982) a peanut salesman who dressed in his tux to sell peanuts before Reds games for 50 years. Peanut Jim once said, “They expect me there. People know me from all over the country. It’s strange how a black guy selling a bag of peanuts can get that much notoriety.”

Mr Tarbell Tips His Hat is at 1109 Vine Street (just south of Over the Rhine)
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Golden Muse
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The Golden Muse is not a real life Cincinnati, but actually a figurine from an 18th century clock at the local Taft Museum. In this mural, the muse is linked to the notes of famed American composer Aaron Copeland, who wrote Fanfare for the Common Man for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, which debuted this well-known composition at Music Hall in 1942.

The Golden Muse is at 28 West 13th Street (Downtown in Over The Rhine)

Do you have a favorite? To see other murals in my series, click here.

On a Visual of Local History

King Gambrinus is European folk hero and beer aficionado – and traveled to Cincinnati on this mural … but who is he toasting?

Gambrinus

Many consider one of the cities leading ladies to be the Roebling Suspension Bridge (the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge)

Bridge

Cincinnati’s own Genius of Water is the one toasting King Gambrinus while she is leaning against the bridge – but they are actually toasting the city’s beer making tradition.

Bridge and Genius of Water

By 1850, Cincinnati’s population was over 20% German.

The wave of German immigrants into Cincinnati have given this area numerous traditions: such as Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (one of the Oktoberfests outside of Munich), Music Hall (an outstanding venue), and beer.

“Cincinnati is one of the great brewing centers of the continent…. The Cincinnati brewers fear no competition, because the excellence and fame of their brews create a demand for them even in cities whose brewers have a greater aggregate capital invested.” (Over the Rhine Historic Brewery District)

Cheers

Fertile farmland, excellent transportation options, and the German heritage fueled Cincinnati’s brewing industry.

Grain

The first brewery started in 1812, and grew to almost 40. By 1890, Cincinnati brewers production of 1.115 million barrels was the 3rd largest (per capita) in the country.

That’s 40 gallons (151.4 liters) per year for each person resident – including children.

Kettle

Cincinnati’s breweries and associated activities such as shipping, cooperage, malting, farming, and of course drinking; at one time was one of the largest industries in the city.

Ind Delivery

Beer gardens became social centers.

Beer Garden

Prohibition (11919) drove the brewers and the associated companies out of business. Although many of the buildings still stand today, outside of local craft brewers, Sam Adams is the only active brewer in this part of the city. On a wall outside the Adam’s facility  at 1625 Central Parkway, “Cheers to Cincy, Past and Present” celebrates Cincinnati’s brewery heritage.

Image from ArtWorks site, which is better than mine

Image from ArtWorks site, which is better than mine

PS: Another ArtWorks mural dedicated to beer in Cincinnati is about 10 blocks away.

Additional Information

On the Singers of Cincinnati

When locals think of a title of this blog post, people like Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Andy Williams, and Nick Lachey come to mind. So do groups such as the Isley Brothers, The Lemon Pipers, Blessid Union of Souls, Pure Prairie League, Walk the Moon, and 98 Degrees. We old timers can add Roy Rogers, Homer & Jethro, and Grandpa Jones to the list.

But this post isn’t about any of the above. If anyone influenced this post, it’s Resa – the Canadian lady in Toronto who features murals on her blog (Graffiti Lux and Murals).  After all, because of Resa, I notice murals now more than I ever did.

Special thanks to Art Works: “an award-winning non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact through three strategic programming areas: Public Art, including an extensive mural program; an art therapy division, ArtRx; and an entrepreneurial arm, Creative Enterprise.” (from their website)

FYI: ArtWorks recently announced that local icon Rosemary Clooney (a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner) will be honored with her own mural, which is to start this summer.

Mr. Dynamite @ 1437 Main Street
Yep, that’s The King of Soul. No, James Brown wasn’t born in Cincinnati nor did he live here, but many of his early hits were produced at Cincinnati-Based King Records.

Singers Brown

The Singing Mural @ 1223 Central Parkway
This mural is a celebration of the arts and a salute to Cincinnati’s cultural legacy with the arts. Fittingly located near Music Hall, the mural features locals, cultural icons, and classic characters. Do you recognize anyone? (The list of people is below the last image.) What song do you think they are singing?

Singers 1

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Singers 4

Singers Whole

Top row, left to right: Cincinnati arts patron Patricia Corbett, Sesame Street’s Grover, the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, rock artist Elton John, opera singer Beverly Sills, a euphonium player to represent Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, jazz singer Cab Calloway, the lead role from opera Madame Butterfly, and legendary composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

Bottom row, left to right: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker to represent Cincinnati Ballet, opera singer Leontyne Price as lead role in opera Aida, beloved Cincinnati Pops conductor Maestro Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Police Officer Al Staples, PBS icon Mr. Rogers; the lead role from opera Pagliacci, Cincinnati broadcasting legend Ruth Lyons, a local youth, and the Cincinnati Reds’ own Mr. Redlegs.

On a Playful Brick

To me, art is one of the (if not the most) ultimate expressions of human creativity. It’s easy to apply that thought to paintings, drawings, and sculptures – but it also applies (and not limited to) music, architecture, closing, photography, and countless creations of woodwork, jewelry, knitting, pottery, and embroidery..

For many months, my wife and I looked forward to visiting an exhibit before it left Cincinnati’s Museum Center – an exhibit of something many of us played with – a toy – yet, the fundamental ingredient of an art form – LEGO® bricks.

Art of the Brick is an exhibit featuring the work of Nathan Sawaya – a contemporary artist who uses LEGO® bricks to replicate his expressions of great art and his own original art through these toyful bricks.

Lego Entrance

Although the exhibit contained over 100 pieces, the comparative images of Sawaya’s work to the originals impressed me …

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… but so did his replications of the Mona Lisa (da Vinci), Starry Night (Van Gogh), and others …

… and so did this (I’m guessing) 10 ft (3 m) version of the iconic Moai on Easter Island composed of over 75,000 individual bricks …

Lego Moai

.. Sorry to say I didn’t get of a good picture this 20 ft (6 m) long replication of Tyrannosaurus rex of over 80,000 bricks, but The Guardian did (which I will list in the Additional Resources at the end of this post)

Mr. Sawaya also created original contemporary work How could one not love the swimmer in the pool of bricks …

Lego Swimmer

… and Yellow: the expression of a life-sized man ripping open his chest …

Lego Yellow

.. and a unique collection of other originals …

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… and even the Flying Pig specifically done for the people of Cincinnati in this exhibit.

Lego Flying Pig

Art of the Brick is a fun and impressive exhibit. Although it’s run in Cincinnati is ending, multiple exhibits are currently touring across the globe. See the Additional Information at the end that includes the tour’s world-wide schedule. Any favorites?

Videos
The Exhibit

From the artist

Testimonials

The exhibit challenges the concept of what is art. What is a toy. And even the limits of human imagination. It’s a playground where pigs are let loose to fly. – Carol Motsinger, Cincinnati.com

Is it a grown-up version of child’s play? Yes. Is it art? Yes — and not merely in the kitschy tradition of Warhol. In addition to presenting an 80,020-piece Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and plastic reproductions of famous masterpieces, the exhibition is surprisingly contemplative. – Kathy Schwartz, CityBeat

Sure, it might start with a brick, but it takes an impressive amount of vision to build upon that first step and take the concept to the finish line. Because while we’ve all, at one time or another, built a house out of LEGOs, we haven’t built the world’s largest display of LEGO art. That claim belongs to Sawaya. – Leah Zipperstein, Cincinnati Refined

While I loved seeing the well-known works of art re-imagined and created in LEGO® bricks, I was totally enamored with the creativity displayed by the original works of Nathan Sawaya.” – Bridgett Raffenberg, 365Cincinnati.com

This exhibit isn’t just for LEGO fanatics…everyone is going to love this collection of works of art using LEGO bricks. – Katie S., TheLittleThingsJournal.com

Each room of the exhibit has a WOW factor! It’s hard to pick a favorite when you see how diverse Nathan’s skills are. It’s incredible to think of the foresight and planning that went into creating each sculpture. – Nedra McDaniel, AdventureMomBlog.com

Additional Information
Exhibit’s website
The Touring Schedule
The Artist
Images from The Guardian

Art of the Brick is something to think about. After all, this exhibit may be near you.

Lego Ponder

On a Small Town

To municipalities of various sizes, the Ohio River is home. Numerous cities, towns, villages, and hamlets occupy the banks of the 981 miles (1579 km) from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cairo, Illinois – but this post is about only one of them.

Neville, Ohio is a rural village along the Mighty Ohio in the southern part of my county (Clermont). Other than driving through it several times over the past 40 years, my history with Neville is nil. Founded in 1808 by Gen. Presley Neville, a Revolutionary War veteran. The US government established a post office there in Neville 10 years later – which is still operating today.

From the war memorial, to store names, to officials, certain families have dominated its history – but that’s normal in a small town. By 1880, Neville’s commercial district was vibrant as the population grew to 445.

Being along the Ohio River, Neville has battled its share of floods – especially the major floods of 1913, 1919, 1937, 1964, and 1997. The ‘97 flood the caused more than half of the population to move because, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) bought land and demolished buildings so nobody would build again on those locations.

As a village, Neville depended on funding assistance from the Ohio’s Local Government Fund. In 2010, in order to balance the state’s budget, our newly elected governor slashed the fund’s existence. Besides saving the state money, the survival-of-the-fittest approach would force local governments to either streamline their expenditures to become part of the surrounding township or merge with another municipality.

In the last 10 years, about 10 governments have dissolved – the majority since the 2011. Ohio Auditor’s office gave Neville’s mayor a choice: vote to dissolve or eventually face a court-ordered dissolution.

Today, Neville’s population of 100 has a median income of about $31,000. No businesses exist within its boundaries … and the state of Ohio has a budget surplus. This past March 15th, voters in three more villages across Ohio faced the dissolution decision on the ballot.

Somerville (Butler County) will close its doors, but Smithfield (Jefferson County) and Neville thumbed their noses at the state in order to live another day – at least until the next dissolution vote.