Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chen Arts Cube Project

I am currently working on a 2 foot plexiglass cube, which will be part of a grant project with the Allentown Chen Arts Group. There will be 13 artists participating and each artist has received a clear plexiglass cube to do whatever he/she wants with, and the cubes will be exhibited together as an installation at the Arts Park in June, with the theme of re-urbanization. How cool! A diverse group of artists coming together in downtown Allentown in the spirit of renewing the city.

My first instinct was to fill the cube with something. I thought about the city moving forward and embracing a growing community, building much needed social capital, but at the same time recycling some ideas that worked in the past. For example Max Hess Jr. said "Be the first, be the best, and be entertaining." It worked. Hess's department store in Allentown PA was known worldwide for cutting edge couture, mile high strawberry pie, fancy chandeliers, flower shows, celebrities, the French Room(ooh la la), the topless bathing suit(double ooh la la). People flocked to downtown Allentown to experience Hess's. People felt special at Hess's. Yeah, I know, Hess's is not coming back, and we gotta move forward, but today's Allentown needs to raise the bar high, like Hess's strawberry pie.

That's all I am going to give away for now. Still working on this concept. Stay tuned!

13 Artist Cubes will be displayed at the Allentown Arts Park on Saturday June 19th, opening 1pm-4pm during the Allentown Freak Out Festival. Then the cubes will be on display in the community room of the Baum School of Art for a few weeks. Thanks Rudy Ackerman!


Anonymous said...

Nice! Which sides of the cube are open?

I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Mrs. Dottie said...

Hi. Thanks for commenting. One side of the cube is open.

Heidi said...

This is an interesting concept using the plexi-glass cubes and up-cycling.
I can't wait to see the finished project. :)

Mrs. Dottie said...

Hi Heidi, thanks! This piece will be more conceptual than my older work.

Mrs. Dottie said...

Here's my dilemma while working on this project:Do I work in my style with the plexiglass cube as just a background, or let the design of the cube dictate the
style of the work? I am leaning toward the latter idea, since I think the medium is kinda cold and sterile so right now it looks like my art work will reflect that environment, but at the same time it will appear as if things (of an historical nature) are trying to reach out of the box, since it is open on top.
And that goes along with the idea that our downtown is trying to come back, with "restaurant row" on Hamilton St. but I think there really needs to be a big dept. store to anchor the downtown.

Mrs. Dottie said...

Instead of just placing objects in the box, I plan on making something out of the objects. Got lots of ideas from this cool website.

I think I have to start playing with the objects, maybe cutting them into pieces all the same size, and making something. Hate to destroy memorabilia but the objects are already in bad shape, not really worth anything, so I think they need new life!
Appropriation and transformation!

Mrs. Dottie said...

Working title:


Linking the past to the present

Brenda B. said...

My mom told me last year something I never knew. She use to go to Hess's every month or so in the early 70's and tell the manager she would not shop there until they hired some black people. She was very adamant about it. They finally did a but it took a few years.
I got my music side from my dad but my spunk from my mom.
Peace and Love.

Mrs. Dottie said...

Hi Bren, your mom was courageous! Bill, who has lived in Allentown all of his life tells me that the Blacks were segregated and lived in shacks down by what is now called "Martin Luther King Blvd." in Allentown. Bill's dad worked at Hess's as a men's clothing buyer in the 60's.

Mrs. Dottie said...

Linking today's gritty urban Allentown w/ "Hollywood on Hamilton" and "The French Room" of yesteryear.
We are all special and we deserve only the very best. Even if we can't afford it, we can still feel special. The glory days of Hess's. Regiftables only.

Mrs. Dottie said...

I found two really cool photos of Max Hess Jr. from Life Magazine. Photos of Max Hess Jr. are very rare. I'd like to incorporate these photos into my cube, along with quotes from the marketing genius. There really should be a street named after the guy. What vision, and not afraid to take risks, Maybe I'll do a series about him. Bill's dad has lots of stories, since he knew him personally. Gee it's fun talking to myself here, but this project has been an enjoyable learning process that I like writing about.

Mrs. Dottie said...

I copied the photos of Max Hess Jr onto green paper and cut them out in star shapes. Tomorrow is the opening of 13 Cubes, and it's going to be outside, and very hot. I hope it's not windy because paper stuff in my cube could fly out cause the top is open. Also I hope the sun doesn't fade the paper. Well, it is what it is, and I am happy with my finished cube.
I added lots of gold stars, and quotes from Max Hess Jr. It's been a worthwhile project for me, and I hope others will appreciate it, and I hope it makes people think,raise questions. Gotta take some pictures.