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    Featured in one of our  “Art in the Morning” segments, we are highlighting Juan Manuel Parajes again, but digging a little deeper into this street collage artist.

    What best describes his artwork:

    Unfinished geometric elements, lines intercrossed towards the infinite… All suspended, floating, in a ground swell of manifold and solid colors…Everything, as a whole, in constant movement, but also suspended in the air…

    Juan Manuel Parajes uses layers of iconic images–the late Steve Jobs, Jimi Hendrix, Malcolm X, among other visuals stimulants–creating a classic artwork, knowingly or unknowingly. His artwork has been shown at Christies Gallery in Paris, France to Villa de Arte Gallery in Barcelona, Spain, claiming an international presence. There’s something always alluring about street art. Maybe it’s the beauty of the unexpected. The unexpected location (outside of museum or gallery spaces) and message. Parajes manages to harness this complexity.

    Want to view more of Parajes’ artwork? Click here.

    -Heather Liggins

  • Think warm thoughts. As the peak of the winter season (the treacherous months from January to February)  is about to approach, swimwear designer, Lila Nikole Rivera, reminds us of the warm months ahead. Recently showcasing her collection at the AFP’s Closing Party at Miami Art Basel, Rivera offers a wide range of selections both in design and cuts. These handmade garments–worn on the likes of Kim Kardashian to super model Tocarra Jones–caters to individuality and expression. Need more proof? View, buy and learn more about Lila Nikole Rivera here.

    -Heather Liggins


  • It was a cold, Wednesday night in New York City, and I was an hour late for an art opening. Finally, I met up with my friend who was patiently waiting for me at a hotel on the upper west side holding a small exhibition for a local artist. After walking around, starring and pointing out pieces we liked, I decided to engage in the common dialogue when I usually attend exhibitions. And this is how the conversation started:

    Me: I’m not really drawn towards to abstract art. What do you think about the artwork?

    Friend: (long pause) How do you critique art? Do you look at the skill or craftsmanship? Who decides what is art and what isn’t?

    I sat there for a few minutes dumbfounded, asking myself the same questions.

    It was such a simple question-how do you critique art? Being an art critic I should have a straightforward list of how to analyze art for outsiders. I was at a lost of words. My response, “I suppose you do, but whenever I look at art I search for the message or meaning within it. Just say what you like and don’t like about the artworks-color, composition, anything.”

    From there opinions started pouring out. It sparked dialogue. Aroused the imagination. But the last question asked “who decides what is or is not considered art” is one that I’ve been fighting to answer. Sure there are different factors–culture, social movements, gender and political issues, etc.–that steer what fills the blank walls of large museum institutions, but there are so many artists and limited white space. I have spoke with, interviewed and seen hundreds of noteworthy visual artists whose art could upstage many artworks seen in acclaimed institutions. To answer the hovering question, this the vague hierarchy of what is placed in museums:

    Who hand selects the artists of tomorrow? The curator.

    Who determines the fame of the artist? Art critics.

    Who keeps the artist and artwork in demand and alive? We do. Everyone plays a role in catapulting or creating visibility with the arts for artists.

    Our feedback and interpretations of art is vital. (No, I did not share this lucid hierarchy of with my friend as this epiphany just came along.) It’s the artwork that speaks the loudest, making you stop and stare. Or one explicit or offensive painting that somehow you keep returning to it in conversation because of its conflicting content (my personal love/hate relationship is with Jim Nutt). Whatever message the art or artist is trying to relay, it is up to us–the viewers, the art connoisseurs, outsiders, students, whomever–to connect and decipher art.


    -Heather Liggins

  • Miami Art Basel is this weekend and, as promised below is the update about Art For Progress and Fountain Art Fair exhibit. Rounding up the art-infused session from Friday, December 2 through Sunday, December 4, let’s celebrate:

    Please join us again for the Fountain Art Fair closing party, smART, on Sunday, December 4th, 7-10:30pm. APF is proud to produce this special event, where we will bring you the best and brightest in fashion, performance art, music, and film!

    If you’re in Miami for the Art Basel, you don’t want to miss the exhibit and event!

    -Heather Liggins