“I am primarily interested in making it possible for people to become as independent and self-sufficient as possible. This has nothing really to do with art, except that through the arts you can learn many, many skills that you cannot learn through books and problem-solving in the abstract. A child can learn something about color, about design, and about observing objects in nature… Art will make people better, more highly skilled in thinking and improving whatever business one goes into, or whatever occupation. It makes a person broader.” – Ruth Asawa

Ruth Asawa
(b. 1926) is a Japanese-American artist who works in sculpture, painting, and drawing. In 1974, she conducted several day- and week-long sessions at the Exploratorium during which she and groups of young people made complex geometric structures with empty milk cartons. In addition, she made two beautiful panels of folded paper with black-and-white patterns.

The Tinkering Studio will host her daughter, artist Aiko Cuneo, at the next Tinkering Social Club: Milk Cartons Re(imagined) Thursday, September 25 7-9pm.

Photos © Exploratorium

Watch on daxnorman.tumblr.com

New music Video! with music by dave merson hess covering tom petty’s “American Girl”


This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast — our 150th show! — features curator and historian Nenette Luarca-Shoaf and artist Sonya Clark.

Luarca-Shoaf is one of the curators of "Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River," which opens at the Amon Carter Museum on October 2. Bingham was the first great American artist to take the newly opened trans-Appalachian West as his subject. A Missourian, Bingham paintings of waterways, typically presumed to be those in his native state but in reality images that filled in for the river culture that dominated trade and the movement of people through the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi River valleys, represent America’s first major visual grappling with the enormity and variety of our continent. ”Navigating the West” examines how Bingham both created his art and some of America’s first ideas about the West. The show will travel to the St. Louis Art Museum and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The catalogue is published by Yale University Press. Luarca-Shoaf is one of the half-dozen or so curators and conservators who worked on the exhibition. 

These are two of Bingham’s three earliest paintings of Western rivers (the third is here): Landscape: Rural Scenery (1845) and The Concealed Enemy (1845). 

This year’s MAN Podcast survey: Finally, later this fall The MAN Podcast will begin its fourth season. Each fall we conduct a listener survey in an effort to learn a little bit more about our audience. Please help keep The MAN Podcast free to download by completing this survey. It shouldn’t take more than about five minutes. Thanks.

How to listen to this week’s show: Listen to or download this week’s program on SoundCloud, via direct-link mp3, or subscribe to The MAN Podcast (for free) at:


Above: John Divola - N34°11.115’W116°08.399’ , 1995-98

Below: Image from Google Street View

Today I’ve paired a photograph by John Divola belonging to the Getty Museum with an image from almost the exact same location on Google Street View.  What have we learned?  In about 13 years, not much has changed in Twentynine Palms, California.

In the 90s, American photographer Divola took a series of photos called “Isolated Houses” in the Southwest.