Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I’ve just returned from Cincinnati, Ohio, home of my hero Charley Harper. I was on book tour there in support of the gigantic monograph that was just published by AMMO Books on Charley’s 65+ career called Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life. I had the pleasure of spending the last 5 years working on the book with Charley and it has been among the most fun projects I’ve ever worked on. We very sadly lost Charley on June 10th this year and this lovely book helps to remind people of Charley’s graceful genius.

Last Saturday marked the opening of Minimal Realism: Charley and Edie Harper, 1940–1960 at the Cincinnati Art Museum, contrasting the synergistic art made from 1940 to 1960 of the wildly prolific couple. The show is beautifully designed and features many unseen paintings, drawings and fantastic copper enameling. Across town at the brilliant Contemporary Arts Center a second show of Edie Harper's work is mounted alongside drawings and paintings by enchanting New York artist, ELLEN BERKENBLIT, and the eccentric Cincinnatian, Maybelle Stamper. What a treat to see 2 separate Harper shows, both brilliant, in 2 separate important museums.

Cincinnati is rather sophisticated with a lot of history in the art world. From the beautiful ceramics of Rockwood from early last century to the director of the CAC being jailed for showing Robert Mapplethorpe photos in the 1990’s.

One of the most anticipated new galleries in town is opening in the fall called Country Club Gallery. The effort of former CAC curator, Matt Distel, and Christian Strike of Iconoclast will indeed be worth keeping up with. Check out the Iconoclast site for a preview.

Also of note in Cincinnati is the former train station extravaganza that houses the Museum of Natural History & Science and an amazing full size miniature model of Cincinnati. The giant clamshell shaped building is clad in some of the most vivid mosaic tiles ever seen. Amazing! Happy Ohio! Todd

Ps: After a full art day, rejuvenate with the decadent Graeter's ice cream. I think if you eat it while standing the calories don’t count. You can even ship Graeter's anywhere in the states and it arrives very frozen so you can enjoy that instant fantastic sugar coma no matter where you are.

Pps: I certainly appreciate that our world is made up of lots of different points of view and this was never in stronger evidence during my trip to the Creation Museum located 7 miles from the airport in Cincinnati. Far be it for me to pass judgments on people’s beliefs, but this place was mind blowing. It’s dead serious with all of the sensorial manipulations necessary to drive their unscientific point of view home. As the cashier told me at Gold Star Chili [try the Veggie Chili 3-Way] up the road from the museum, “it presents what WE believe, and what scientists believe.” Oh my.


VisuaLingual said...

Greetings, Todd. Thanks for the Cincinnati plug! It is indeed a funky little city with quite a few pleasant surprises up its sleeve.

There is a third Harper exhibit on view through the end of September, at the Lloyd Library downtown; it features Charley, Edie and their son Brett:

Aglamesis Brothers ice cream is, in my opinion, far superior to Greater's:

The Creation Museum IS mind-blowing! It's exhausting to spend hours unlearning everything you've always known to be true.


Stephanie said...

Hey Todd,

Happy Ohio to you, too! This is Stephanie Richardson, formerly of Todd Oldham Studio. Now I am Stephanie Estice, living happily in Ohio, but in Columbus...I will have to take a trip to Cincy. I saw the Charley Harper book around the holidays and wanted to treat myself! I'll be getting it is so beautiful.

Best to you Todd, Tony, and is so nice to see you and the things you are doing!

xoxo Stephanie