“Homestead is where the art is.”

May 21, 2010

Beauty Bubble steps out

Filed under: Culture, Press — magicgroove @ 2:18 am

Wonder Valley’s own Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum has been in the news.   Here’s how Jeff Hafler’s creation is described in an April 21 travel piece on Joshua Tree boutique hotels in the New York Times on-line:

Then there’s the Beauty Bubble: an unclassifiable one-chair salon tucked inside a replica 1930s homestead cabin that Hafler has turned into a showcase for vintage beauty-shop bric-a-brac. Bubbles were popular 1960s hairdos, and as Hafler notes, “The higher the hair, the closer to God.” Of the more than 2,000 objects that the self-described “hairstorian” (it’s California, go with it) started collecting back in his beauty school days, his most cherished is a 1940 Duart Perm Machine that belonged to Veronica Lake’s hairstylist.

Last month part of the Beauty Museum collection traveled to San Francisco for the exhibition Beauty Shop Culture at the venerable SOMArts Cultural Center:

Award-winning photographer, writer and cultural critic Candacy A. Taylor, presents Beauty Shop Culture, an exhibition that explores the beauty shop as a community-based institution and addresses issues of gender, race, class and identity.  For centuries hair salons have functioned as makeshift communities where people gather to discuss everything from intimate family sagas, food, and pop culture, to finances, politics, philosophy and health.  For the exhibition Beauty Shop Culture, Taylor employs photographic documentation, installation and sculpture to explore the contemporary manifestations of beauty shops as a form of community space, and to highlight traditions and history of hair, hair care products, potions and pomades from various cultures throughout the world beginning in the sixteenth century.

Community-based institution, indeed.   Who needs a newspaper when you got the Beauty Bubble?  😉

Image of the Beauty Museum above from the Beauty Bubble/Moon Way Lodge website.

May 15, 2010

Homesteading in Manhatten

Filed under: Art, Events — magicgroove @ 11:14 pm

Desert fan Bernard Leibov is opening his New York microgallery, BoxoFFICE, to Joshua Tree artist Diane Best’s homestead cabins in the show SHACK, “a solo exhibition of large-scale black and white photography. ”

SHACK features images of cabins in the area around Joshua Tree, some occupied, some abandoned, some close to being reclaimed by the earth.

The Mojave Desert was one of the last places in the lower 48 where land was granted free to anyone willing to improve the land. The cabins featured in the photographs were built as a result of one of the last homesteading acts passed, The Small Tract Act of 1938, that granted 5 acre parcels “for such purposes as home, cabin, health and recreational sites”. The Small Tract Act  was also known as the  “Jack Rabbit Act”  as some people considered the desert land “fittin’ only for jack rabbits and tumbleweeds”.

The 5 acre plots were leased for 5 years for a nominal fee ($99. per year), and if a structure was built that was at least 12′ X 16′, the leaseholder could buy the property for $120. an acre. Water and power were not required. Many cabins were carefully built by weekend desert lovers, but many more were flimsily erected by land speculators and were never inhabited.

The artist herself says, “Living in the desert,  surrounded by these reminders of the past – many deserted with their contents intact, slowly blowing apart, decaying, and vandalized – I am fascinated by the question of their owner’s intent and untold stories of arrival, building and departure.”

Diane’s work was part of our Wonder Valley Homestead Cabin Festival together with that of Mary-Austin Klein in the Shack Appreciation Show at Trader Jeff’s.  The image above is Shack 21, (34 x 50 in., archival pigment print on dibond, 2010).  See more of Diane’s images on her website, along with a book available of her cabin photos.  She also has a new video, “SHACKS”, that will be featured in the BoxoFFICE exhibition.  Here’s hoping we get to see it back here at home soon! 

SHACK runs May 22 to July 10, with reception on May 22 from 6 to 8 p.m.  BoxoFFICE is at 421 Hudson Street #701 in New York.   More info at the BoxoFFICE website.   Also find Bernard and BoxOFFICE in an article on microgalleries in the New York Times.

May 6, 2010

Lily Stockman’s homestead paintings at True World

Filed under: Art, Events — magicgroove @ 12:00 am

Lily Stockman’s paintings of abandoned homesteads are featured in the show upcoming at True World Gallery in Joshua Tree.  Per the gallery press release:

The abandoned homesteads which are the subject of this collection of paintings  have become a metaphor for her experience as an outsider in a strange land.  They are also emblems of the mythology of the West, Manifest Destiny, and the strange melding of physical and psychological landscape that happens in the desert. The homesteads are appealing subjects not only for their simple geometric forms, but also because of the stories implied by their vacancy.

Above is She Learned to Love Persimmons, oil on panel, 30 x 30 in.  View this and more of Stockman’s homestead images on her website, where smooth, stripped-down visions find the cabins united with the natural architecture of the desert, sharing a serene opacity.

Sharing the show is Brian Leatart.  Opening reception is Saturday, May 8, 7-10 p.m., with music by Wonder Valley’s own Sibleys.  True World Gallery, 61740 Twentynine Palms Highway, in Joshua Tree.  See True World website for gallery hours.

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