Friday, August 09, 2019

Boca Raton Museum of Art >> Honoring the women astronomers who mapped the stars (Boca Raton, FL.)

Carol Prusa Probes the Mysteries of the Universe
and Honors the Women Astronomers Who Mapped the Stars
Photo of artwork
Carol Prusa, Cosmic Web (for the Harvard Observatory Computers), 2018, 
Silverpoint graphite titanium white, mars black, stainless steel pigment with acrylic binder
on acrylic dome with internal light. Courtesy of the artist.    
Carol Prusa: Dark Light
August 20, 2019 - January 19, 2020 at Boca Raton Museum of Art

As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, the Boca Raton Museum of Art pays tribute to this milestone year by charting a different course that stands out from the rest, with the new exhibition Carol Prusa: Dark Light. On this journey, the artist invites viewers to honor the women astronomers who originally helped map the stars as she takes flight across the mysteries of deep space. 
Her new exhibition is curated by Kathleen Goncharov, the Senior Curator of the Museum, and features never-before-seen works created specifically for this show - meticulous creations handmade by the artist using her signature silverpoint technique. The artist lives in Boca Raton and currently teaches painting as a Professor of Art at Florida Atlantic University.
Photo of artwork
"We sometimes get too distracted with the busyness and craziness of the trivial details in our daily lives. That is when we need artists like Carol Prusa to expand our horizons into the solar system, into the deeper unknown of dark space." said Irvin Lippman, the Executive Director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

"As Carol explains, she has always been interested in science and cosmology. In the sixth grade she wondered about the Big Bang and 'how it could be that there was nothing before there was something.'"
Photo of artwork
Carol Prusa, Quintessence, Silverpoint, graphite, acrylic on acrylic hemisphere
with lens and internal video player/video, 2019    

Prusa combines surprising materials such as sculpted resin, fiberglass, metal leaf, LED lights, black iron oxide, titanium, and powdered steel with the ancient craft of silverpoint, resulting in ethereal creations that command curiosity. Carol Prusa: Dark Light includes silverpoint, graphite and acrylic works on plexiglass and wood panels; light-speckled domes with internal lights and video.

"Carol Prusa is a visual alchemist whose work harnesses cosmic chaos and makes invisible forces materialize before our eyes," writes Logan Royce Beitmen in the exhibition catalogue. "Drawing with actual silver and painting with powdered steel, Prusa's use of materials defies expectations."
Prusa’s new series of prints, created for this exhibition, honor the contributions made to science and astronomy by women who spearheaded early efforts to map the heavens. She was inspired by the life and accomplishments of Maria Mitchell, the first female astronomer in the U.S. who achieved international acclaim as the first American scientist to discover a comet 
Maria Mitchell Looking Through a Telescope, (detail) painting by Mrs. H. Dassel, circa 1851
Mitchell was a pioneering advocate for math and science education for girls and was the first female astronomy professor. At age 29, in 1847, Mitchell discovered the comet that would be named "Miss Mitchell's Comet," using a two-inch telescope. King Frederick VI of Denmark awarded her a gold medal, and she became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mitchell led an all-female expedition to Colorado in 1878 to observe the total eclipse of the sun. Her goal - bold for her time - was to encourage other women into her profession, at the dawn of America’s scientific age. Later astronomers honored Mitchell by naming a lunar crater on the moon "Mitchell Crater."
Maria Mitchell poses with the first Astronomy class at Vassar College
Following in Mitchell’s footsteps to witness solar eclipses, Carol Prusa was inspired by the life-changing effects she felt while witnessing these astronomical phenomena in Nebraska and Chile.

Prusa’s favorite quote by Mitchell captures the spirit of this exhibition: "We seize only a little bit of the curtain that hides the infinite from us."
Carol Prusa, Totality, 2018, silverpoint, graphite, titanium white pigment with acrylic binder
on 1/4" acrylic circle. Courtesy of the Artist. 

There were many women astronomers throughout history who led the charge in the field of astronomy, but with little recognition. Prusa’s new suite of prints challenges this lapse by honoring these women astronomers: Maria Mitchell, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Annie Jump Cannon, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Vera Rubin, and Jocelyn Bell Burnell.
Maria Mitchell (seated) in her observatory at Vassar College, circa 1877.
Photo from "Heroes of Progress: Stories of Successful Americans" by Eva March Tappan, 1921.
The portfolio of new prints by Prusa is called Galaxias Kyklos (the Greek term for the Milky Way), and the title page gloriously depicts Ourania, the muse of astronomy in Greek mythology.
Photo of artwork
Carol Prusa, Ourania, 2019, from Galaxias Kyklos
(suite of prints in laser etched plexi box with letterpress colophon).
Other artworks in the exhibition are dedicated to women who served as human "computers" at the Harvard Observatory in the 19th century, painstakingly analyzing the many glass photographic plates from observatories around the world to map the stars.

The earnings of these women were substantially less than men in their field, and their labor too went unrecognized. Another woman scientist honored in this body of work is Rebecca Elson. She was a theoretical astrophysicist whose research focused on dark matter who died of lymphoma in 1999 at the young age of 39 and was also an accomplished poet.
"I am especially drawn to ideas and experiences that unsettle and coalesce in my art," said Prusa. "Seeing a total eclipse for the first time, I was blown away by a euphoric feeling of floating, I was so moved that I literally fell backward."

"When the shadow of the eclipse passed over, the world changed in a way I had never experienced before. The sun became a sharp black disc, Venus popped out and the sky to my right was night and to my left it was day. I was compelled to create this body of work to come to terms with this overwhelming feeling," adds Prusa. 
Carol Prusa, Luna (guardian), 2017, Silverpoint, graphite, acrylic
on plexiglass circle. Courtesy of the artist.    
The age-old method has been used by artists, scribes and artisans since ancient times. The silverpoint stylus itself is a small stick of silver inserted into a wooden rod, similar to a pencil (except silver is used instead of lead). Silverpoint drawings are created by making a mark on a surface with this rod or wire made out of silver.

The photographer Bruce Weber has proclaimed that Carol Prusa is "one of the most innovative artists working in metalpoint today."

Prusa has always been fascinated by science and cosmology, and learned silverpoint technique while teaching in Florence. Some of Prusa’s inspiration comes from the sciences of astrophysics, meteorology, and optics. She also incorporates Russian Orthodox and Tibetan Buddhist art-making traditions that she studied in the 1990s. 
Just one of these works can take thousands of hours to create depending on the work’s complexity and size. The artist worked for countless hours on each individual artwork in this exhibition. Like her cosmic subject matter, her process of artmaking is extremely detailed, vast, and is considered awe-inspiring by her peers.

Prusa was nominated by Judy Pfaff and chosen by the American Academy of Arts and Letters as one of only 40 artists to exhibit in the 2015 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, NYC (the selection committee that year was chaired by Eric Fischl). 

"My practice becomes for me like a form of meditation that leads to bliss, like a Buddhist prayer," said Carol Prusa. "The time-intensive process expands my introspection and reverie about our universe."

Prusa’s work begins with her process of reading and research, but resolves with a tone of strange beauty encapsulating what it feels like to be alive. 
Silverpoint itself is reminiscent of mercury, a liquid, and for Prusa, these works reflect the alchemical and transformational nature of art. She hopes viewers will pause and consider the abundance and fertility of life and how all things are interconnected.
Prusa studied embryology as part of her original training to become a medical illustrator, which she abandoned once she became an artist instead.

All of the works in this show have circular motifs, spheres that Prusa intended to spark a sense of infinity for the viewer. Although circles and spherical openings may imply feminine forms, Prusa has also created embryonic works that represent pure potential not limited to gender - like the pioneer women astronomers who transcended gender bias of their time to help create the maps of space that helped make the first landing on the moon a possibility for humanity
Carol Prusa, (Detail) Nebula, 2019, Silverpoint, graphite, acrylic on acrylic dome
with internal light. Courtesy of the artist.     
"When I started to make this new series about eclipses, I drew upon my powerful memories of what it felt like to witness these astronomical wonders," said Prusa. "An eclipse is dark light."
Black, no matter how dark, still reflects light. I wanted to make black have depth and structure, and to be infinite. The eclipses influenced me in this respect, but this could also be a reflection on the times we live in. There isn’t dark without light ─ or light without dark." 
Carol Prusa, Dark Light (Elegy for Rebecca Elson), 2019,
Silverpoint, graphite, acrylic on wood panel. Courtesy of the artist. 

Born in Chicago, Prusa lives and works in Boca Raton. She earned her B.S. from the University of Illinois and M.F.A. from Drake University. Prusa exhibits internationally, including at Brintz Gallery (Palm Beach) and Bluerider Art (Taipei), and Kostuik Gallery (Vancouver).
Her work is included in many public and private collections, including the Perez Art Museum (Miami), The Museum of Arts and Design (New York), Telfair Art Museum (Savannah), and the Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz Collection (Fort Lauderdale). Prusa received a SECAC Artistic Achievement Award in 2017.

She was previously awarded a Brown University Howard Foundation Fellowship, and has been nominated for a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant.”

She regularly lectures about her work at venues such as Carnegie-Mellon University (Pittsburgh), University of Cape Town (Cape Town, South Africa), and Parsons School of Art and Design (New York). Her work will be shown at the Anne Norton Sculpture Garden and Museum (Palm Beach) in 2020.

Carol was part of the group exhibition Glasstress Boca Raton (2017). The exhibition featured more than 30 contemporary artists who do not traditionally work with glass as their primary medium. The Berengo Studio in Murano, which has been the center of glass production in Venice since 1291, commissioned contemporary artists and challenged our notion of glass. Carol Prusa was invited to Venice, to create a glass piece titled Spooky Action at the Berengo Studio that premiered at the Museum during Glasstress. During her time at Murano, Carol also created a limited-edition of 32 glass pieces that will be on view and for sale at the Museum Store during her new exhibition at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Carol Prusa: Dark Light
In 2018, Prusa exhibited alongside Stanford Biggers, Cauleen Smith, Josh Faught, and Lauren Kalmar in The Future of Craft, curated by Shannon Stratton at The Museum of Arts and Design (New York), and in FLAT???, curated by William Stover. She participated in the 2015-2016 Miami Biennale (curated by Adriana Herrera), along with twelve other artists, including El Anatsui and James Turrell. In 2014, Prusa’s work was exhibited alongside Louise Nevelson, Nick Cave, Julian Opie, and George Segal at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU in an exhibition titled The Chosen. 

Other notable group exhibitions include Luminous Line (2010) at Scripps College (with Morgan O’Hara, Lucy Pullen, and Marietta Hoferer); Set to Manual (2009) at Girls’ Club with Vija Celmins, Annette Messager, Kiki Smith, and Jessica Stockholder; and Starry Messenger (2009) at the Louisiana Museum of Art and Science with Vija Celmins and Eva Lee. She participated in a three-month fully funded residency at the prestigious Kohler Artist in Industry. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 (6:00-8:00 p.m.) RSVP required by August 13. Free for Members (Non-Member price: $25.00) Celebrate the exhibition opening of Carol Prusa: Dark Light with live DJ, light bites, and libations. Members Midsummer "Cosmos" Party is part of Boca Chamber Festival Days - a series of fun-filled events held at different locations during the month of August - and is facilitated by the Boca Chamber. Purchase tickets here

Thursday, September 5 (6:00-7:00 p.m.) Florida Atlantic University professor Carol Prusa explores the liminal space between knowing and not knowing, a location artists and scientists share. She discusses her artwork in the exhibition Dark Light and the research and events that gave rise to this new body of work.
Free for Members. (Non-Member Price: $15.00). Purchase tickets here



Boca Museum of Art
Celebrating our 70th anniversary in 2020, the Boca Raton Museum of Art encompasses a creative campus that includes the Museum in Mizner Park, Art School, and an Artists Guild. As the "Official Art Museum of the City of Boca Raton," the Museum has provided seven decades of cultural and artistic service to the community, and to many visitors from around the world. Open 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. on Thursdays; and 12:00-5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Visit for more information. 

Mexican Muralist Juan Chawuk Puts Finishing Touches on New Work Inspired by Frida Kahlo at the MAC (Chicago, IL.)

Celebrated muralist Juan Chawuk, puts the finishing touches of his painting on 9 letters spelling out “Frida 2020” Friday, Aug. 9, from 2-3 p.m. in the lobby of the MAC. Chawuk’s completed work will measure three feet high and 24 feet long. It has been made possible due to a collaboration between Justin Witte, Cleve Carney Art Gallery/Cleve Carney Museum of Art; MAC Director Diana Martinez; Carlos Tortolero, Director of the Mexican Fine Arts Museum and Fernando and Fernando Ramirez, Director of Mexican Cultural Center DuPage. All four collaborators will be on site on Aug. 9.
The full display will have its official debut at the MAC’s “Frida Fest” public celebration, taking place at the MAC, the MAC’s Lakeside Pavilion and the Cleve Carney Art Gallery noon-9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8. For more information visit “Frida Fest” is part of a year-long celebration of Frida Kahlo leading up to the exhibition Frida Kahlo 2020 coming to the new Cleve Carney Museum of Art June-August 2020. For more information visit

Awesome Vegans >> Sex is Better on Plants


Sex Is Better on Plants

  From her extensive interviews and combing of statistics, Plant—based Food, News and Lifestyle Expert, Elysabeth Alfano, discusses the breaking headlines in the plant-based space over the last few weeks. 
1.  Sex: "Sex is better on plants," states plant-based food, news and lifestyle expert, Elysabeth Alfano.  "Eating meat can narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow. Thus, an important male organ, in addition to the heart, may not be getting the blood flow it needs.  Want a great sex life for years to come? Stick with plants. Plants do a sex life good."  Elysabeth also the hosts the Awesome Vegans Podcast and Video Series and the Silver-Chic Chef cooking series.

2.  Beyond Meat Fires Back: According to Plantbased News, Beyond Meat Founder Ethan Brown responded to Chipotle’s statement that the product is too processed. “You can come to our facility anytime," Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, replied. "Don't call me, just knock on the door. I invite you to do the same with all of Chipotle's meat-processing facilities. They won't let you, and if they did, you wouldn’t want to see it.”  Meanwhile, Beyond Meat prepares to sell more stock at $160 to raise more capital in anticipation of continued surging demand.

3. Cell-Based FishVegconomist reports that San Diego-based BlueNalu is expected to have cell-based fish ready for taste testing before the end of 2019.  The aim is to produce whole muscle, medallion-size pieces of yellowtail and amberjack, followed by mahi mahi – or common dolphinfish. The fish meat is grown from cells. Consumption of seafood has doubled in the last 50 years. 

4. Worldwide ProtestsAnimal Rights Marches take place around the world this August: Los Angeles (August 10), Chicago (August 24), New York (August 24), London (August 17).  For the full list of 38 cities around the globe, click here. Thousands (in some cases, tens of thousands)  will demonstrate demanding an end to institutionalized animal cruelty.

5. Dietary Guidelines Called Racist. According to the Washington Examiner, members of the public called the government’s dietary guidelines racist. “Sixty-five percent of the global population is lactose intolerant according to the National Institute[s] of Health," Olympic medalist and Executive Director of Swithc4Good, Dotsie Bausch said. "This number is even higher in the nonwhite populations. Why on earth does the USDA have a food category on the dietary guidelines for Americans that makes over half of us sick, uncomfortable, and unable to breathe?"  Bausch was a guest on the Awesome Vegans Podcast and Video Series in 2018.

6. The Game Changers Movie, executive produced by James Cameron, Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, premiers globally on September 16, taking aim at the men who think that meat is necessary for protein, athletic competition, masculinity and a healthy sex life. The movie highlights athletes from around the globe who are breaking records on a plant-based diet. The movie arrives just in time as 95% of plant-based burgers are consumed by meat eaters, showing a major interest in same. The Cast of The Game Changers movie was on the Awesome Vegans Podcast in January or 2018 at the Sundance Film Festival.  

7. Impossible Whopper Goes National at Burger King: Impossible foods partners with McDonald’s meat supplier OSI to ensure that they never have distribution shortages again.  This as the company launches the Impossible Whopper nationwide in Burger King on August 8.  The Impossible Whopper exceeded all expectations in its test state, Missouri. With the St. Louis sales at Burger King up 28% in the launch month, compared with 2% at McDonald’s for the same time and city.

8. Veggie Fest will take place in Lisle, Illinois on August 10 and 11 and is expected to draw 40,000. It is one of the largest Veg Fests in the nation.  Silver Chic Chef, Elysabeth Alfano, will be conducting plant-based cooking demos on both days.

9. Lady Gaga launches a beauty line void of all animal products.  She joins a long list of celebrities (Maggie Q, Kat Von D, Evanna Lynch and Daniella Monet’s Kinder Beauty Box to name a few) that have created lines of cruelty-free products, showing the growing demand for same. 

10. Plant-based Yogurt Sales Soar. Whole Foods and almond producer Blue Diamond, makers of Almond Breeze, get into the dairy-free yogurt business, which, according to the Good Food Institute, is growing at a whopping 55%. Plant-based milks represent a market share of 15% as people become aware of the ill-effects of dairy.

Elysabeth is available for interviews to discuss the changing zeitgeist of consumer habits, growing business trends and important plant-based voices and leaders that are forming the future of food.

Short bio: After completing an MBA and spending many years with Fortune 500 companies, Elysabeth turned to journalism. With 9 years in radio, TV, podcasting and print journalism, and winning awards for same, Elysabeth Alfano launched the Awesome Vegans Podcast and Video Series on WGN Radio in which she interviews some of the most important plant-based influencers of our time. She is also a plant-based news, food and lifestyle expert and consults to businesses and restaurants looking to enter the plant-based market to grow market share, profits and goodwill PR. 

In addition to guest hosting for WGN Radio, Elysabeth does plant-based reporting for the #JaneUnChained News Network while also spicing things up on The Silver-Chic Chef on-line cooking series. She has done plant-based cooking demonstrations on WCIU-TV and WGN-TV and is a public speaker on the physical, mental, business, political and environmental benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. She speaks at food festivals and summits and is a guest plant-based expert on radio stations around the nation including iHeart Radio's The Fork Report, WCPT and WGN Radio.  Occasionally, Elysabeth writes for VegNews and contributes to NPR's KCRW (Los Angeles) as a plant-based reporter.

Awesome Vegans Podcast and Video Series: Plant-based News, Food and Lifestyle Expert and Podcast Host Elysabeth Alfano interviews the nation’s most important plant-based influencers (doctors, entrepreneurs,  politicians, athletes, celebs, chefs, economists, environmentalists) who are forming the future, making the world better for people, the environment and animals.  Past guests: CEO of Beyond Meat, Ethan Brown, Nutrition Facts’ Dr. Greger, CEO of Lightlife and Field Roast, Dan Curtin, Chicago Bear's Pat O'Donnell, Billy Corgan, NBA Legend John Salley, Dr. Neal Barnard, Good Food Institute’s Brad Barbera, IL senator Linda Holmes and many more.

For the full bio, click here. ##
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