Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Getty Underground Reveals Secrets August 9, 2010

Dos Tres 2010
Getty Underground
Secrets from the belly of the GETTY!
By Ginger Van Hook 9.5.10

Don Oliver Scott III is not a common name nor anyone who you might know presently, but DOS TRES, the artist is certainly someone you should know, if you ever plan to visit the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, in particular, The Getty Underground, that is if you are lucky enough to see the likes of the secrets in this basement.

By day it seems, you’ll find Don Scott, wearing a red tie and a navy blue uniform blazer with the generic gray pants, humbly making his rounds on the grounds of the GETTY Museum as a security guard whom you wouldn’t want to mess with; being that he guards the old fashioned way, the Old Wild - Wild West way. But after dark and way into the night a new character emerges. Here in this photo, decked out in his Monday best, sporting a black Stetson Cowboy Hat equipped with silver rim and emblem, a navy blue and light blue western shirt with silver cufflinks and a bold silver belt buckle, you find, DOS TRES, as he puts up his dukes in front of a drawing he created over the course of three years, where he has been guarding the art work in the Rotunda of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California.

DOS TRES sketched an image of the visiting exhibition by Tim Hawkinson and not only made a tribute to the successful California artist, but memorialized the vision that affected him for merely a brief time. “Artists affect each other in unpredictable ways” DOS TRES said as he explained the color choices he made to sketch his rendition of “Uber Organ”.

“I thought the pencil colors should have looked brighter, but the colors are soft and subtle-I’m OK with that now. I was so taken by the enormous influence of the balloons and the pipes weaving in and out of the space, that I felt the need to capture it so I could tell other people I had witnessed this!”   (This work took him three years because at first he made the sketches in sections one section at a time, on a pad and went home to assemble the image. He would return the next day to complete and match another section, then refine that and give the design its color. At one point, he suffered from the inability to move his hands from a mysterious nervous system ailment and it was a struggle, if not therapy, just to complete the shadings of the colors onto the paper.)

For those who may be unfamiliar with the San Francisco born artist Tim Hawkinson’s work, here is a photo of the prolific artist who has been wowing audiences for years. The significance of the UberSketch that was created by Dos Tres is that it is a work of art that is inspired by another artist. In and of itself, the UberSketch references Tim Hawkinson's artwork and thus points audiences in the direction of Hawkinson's work for more research, more study and more awareness of the artists in our California community. At the same time, this style of work done by Dos Tres also reflects well upon his drawing skills.
Überorgan© 2000 Tim Hawkinson
Tim Hawkinson
American Artist, 2000

Woven polyethylene, nylon net, cardboard tubing, and various mechanical components
Andrea Nasher Collection (The J. Paul Getty Trust©)

Tim Hawkinson’s work moved DOS (as he’s often casually referred) to bring in a sketchpad and come in to work on his days off just to capture the intense beauty of the sculpture that wrapped around the Rotunda of the Getty Museum.  The Getty Museum attracts visitors, admirers, artists and scholars from all over the world, and this one artist known as DOS TRES, aka Don Scott III who presently lives and works in the Inglewood Artist Community, was so dedicated to existing amidst great art, that he was totally pleased to accept a position at the Getty Museum in the Security Department. And this year, after a great number of obstacles presented themselves he overcame all to be able to exhibit his drawing in the halls of The Getty Underground, a most privileged and prestigious honor to hang in the belly of the “Getty”. Every two years, the Getty Museum throws an exclusive party for the employees and staff to showcase the works of the talented pool of artists that serve the public, scholars and vacationers alike everyday.

Scanned Image of
Provided by by Don Scott III

This image which DOS TRES was seeking to capture of a spectacular exhibit, the “UberOrgan”, comes close to re-inventing the essence of the original space as witnessed by a man looking at great art, day after day, noting the nuances of the light from the sun beaming across the glass in the Rotunda, from early to mid-morning. Visual art depends on lights and shadows to develop the profoundness of the image as it comes across in real time, which is how DOS expressed the experience with the lightness or brightness of a color pencil. Additionally, you will notice the careful exactitude by which he revealed the presence of a female security guard in the scene, noting the green leaves of the trees in the windows, the musical notes undulating across the walls and out into space, the shadows of the balloons on the tiles of the floor and so subtly the name of the exhibition on one of the columns. “Uberorgan Tim Hawkinson” while on the other column, his own signature “DOS TRES”. And in text scrawled at the bottom of the sketch, one finds references to standard security lingo: “SECURITY ‘MARY ONE-NINE ADAM’ ALLA STEPANOVA ON POST : 0700 HOURS : 08/05/07 : GETTY CENTER ROTUNDA : LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA  ARTIST : DOS TRES (MARY SIX-TWO DON SCOTT 3”. This is perhaps the quaintest of the details as it reveals a moment in time, frozen by the call of a radio voice-over, reporting a location, a time, a date and apparently that all is well at the time.

The exactitude depicted in this sketch reaches the levels of excellence of a professional so I set up an interview to discuss this work with DOS TRES and I asked him what his influences had been growing up and where he’d amassed these intricate detail skills. He answered that he’d attended U.C. Berkeley in the late 60’s and early 70’s and that he’d originally studied architecture. A chance class with a ceramics art teacher awakened his desire to follow the arts, despite the teacher’s warning against it telling him ‘never be an artist; it’s an impossible way to make a living’.
But the calling to be an artist started at a much younger age for DOS TRES as he recounted his story to me about the man he looked up to as his first mentor and inspiration, Jim Scott, a San Francisco artist.  DOS was born in Oakland, California and in Sonoma County where he still retreats from time to time to do ranch work and paint the beloved rustic barns and rural scenery of the region. His biggest influence from childhood was his uncle Jim Scott who he states is the truest Renaissance man of this era. His uncle is a sculptor, weaver, photographer, writer, musician, botanist, and painter who was educated at Art Institute and right after returning from World War II, started dressing windows like MACY’s and then proceeded to painting enormous backdrops for big San Francisco convention halls. Uncle Jim became very successful early on and went traveling to foreign lands and took photographs and made paintings of the places he visited. Growing up, DOS stated that in his parent’s home, there were always new paintings or artwork that had been created by his uncle, his father’s brother.  Both of his parents appreciated the arts and his dad is a prolific stamp collector and publisher; one of his catalogues of which DOS had sitting atop the drawing table beside his cup of color pencils.

DOS TRES developed his art style during a unique period in our American history. His formative years were spent admiring art in museums, galleries, symphonies and psychedelic rock concerts during the politically charged era of the 1960’s. This was when scientists were immersed in travels to the moon, Martin Luther King was giving civil rights speeches, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan were singing together and the military draft was in place. DOS got one of those draft notices, but was in San Francisco during the peace movement. He was against the Vietnam War, as were millions of other Americans, but as it was, the arts may have been what saved him ultimately from having to step into the line of fire.  He had dropped out of Berkeley to take on a drafting job and had been hired by a private contractor to draw architectural plans for Army, Navy and Air Force installations around the Bay Area. When facing the Judge on the eve of imprisonment and heavy fines for refusing the draft, all was given credit and he was sentenced by the Court to continue working on the military drawings. Thus, I surmised, was the power of the art skills DOS TRES possessed.

“It is a very poor student who doesn’t ultimately surpass his master” DOS TRES, humbly quotes Da Vinci when he first began speaking about his uncle Jim; he told of how he admires his uncle’s discipline which he earned as a young marine, and the volumes of work put out by one man whom DOS holds up as the highest artistic benchmark. He feels he could never measure up to the DEDICATION and INTEGRITY of his uncle, that he’s still working to achieve that kind of prolific prowess and authenticity. However, as an outside observer I feel, if measured in detail, DOS TRES, has perhaps achieved as a life work, with one drawing, the emotion, imagery and imagination, capturing the work of another artist that stopped him in his tracks…Tim Hawkinson should be pleased he has this admirer re-invoke life into the memory of his installation work …the impressive, UBER ORGAN.

Detail of the UberSketch by Dos Tres, displayed 
at the Getty Underground Exhibition August 9, 2010
Photo by Ginger Van Hook

Artist Dos Tres  pictured with Artist Luke Van Hook. 
Fine Art Trekkin in Los Angeles;
Photo by Ginger Van Hook. 8.09.10

For the artists interested in further research about Tim Hawkinson, please read below:

Tim Hawkinson was born in San Francisco, California in 1960. A graduate of San Jose State University, he later earned his MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1989. Hawkinson is renowned for creating complex sculptural systems through surprisingly simple means. His installation “Überorgan”—a stadium-size, fully automated bagpipe—was pieced together from bits of electrical hardware and several miles of inflated plastic sheeting.

The source of inspiration for many of Hawkinson’s pieces has been the re-imagining of his own body and what it means to make a self-portrait of this new or fictionalized body. In 1997 the artist created an exacting, two-inch tall skeleton of a bird from his own fingernail parings, and later made a feather and egg from his own hair. Believable even at a close distance, these works reveal Hawkinson’s attention to detail as well as his obsession with life, death, and the passage of time. Hawkinson has participated in numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including the Venice Biennale (1999), the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, (2000), the Power Plant in Toronto, Canada (2000), the Whitney Biennial (2002), and the 2003 Corcoran Biennial in Washington, D.C. Tim Hawkinson resides in Los Angeles with his wife.

For additional biographic & bibliographic information:
PaceWildenstein, New York  |  Ace Gallery, Los Angeles

Solo exhibitions
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. February 11 – May 29, 2005.[1]
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. June 26 – September 5, 2005.[2]
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia. 2008
1. ^ http://www.whitney.org/www/exhibition/feat_hawk.jsp
2. ^ http://www.lacma.org/art/ExhibPast2005.aspx
Lawrence Rinder. 2005, Tim Hawkinson (Whitney Museum of American Art)
Tim Hawkinson on the Art21 blog
What Is Überorgan?
Überorgan is an enormous contemporary sculpture by Los Angeles-based artist Tim Hawkinson. It exemplifies Hawkinson's characteristic use of the ordinary to achieve the extraordinary, combining and recomposing common industrial materials and found musical phrases into a multisensory sculptural experience. 

Überorgan changes with every installation, and at the Getty Center it playfully interacts with its setting, the modernist rotunda designed by architect Richard Meier.

The musical score for Überorgan consists of a 250-foot-long scroll. Black dots and dashes encode the notes of traditional hymns, pop songs, and improvisational tunes. The notes are deciphered by light-sensitive switches in its player and scrambled to create an endless variety of compositions. 

Überorgan performs for five minutes every hour on the hour throughout the run of the exhibition. 

In Zoopsia: New Works by Tim Hawkinson (March 6–September 9, 2007), an exhibition of new works commissioned for display at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Tim Hawkinson creates a surprising menagerie of zoological forms using common household and industrial items and reconfigured images of his own body. Zoopsia reveals Hawkinson's characteristic strategies of fragmentation, translation, and metaphor as applied to a range of creatures past and present. 

The word zoopsia means "visual hallucination of animals." While Hawkinson's ideas do not literally derive from hallucinations, as the exhibition title suggests, they do often begin with an alternate interpretation or enhanced misreading of objects and materials from the everyday world.

Zoopsia: New Works by Tim Hawkinson and the presentation of Überorgan mark the inauguration of a more regular engagement with contemporary art through commissioned projects and exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Photojournal by Ginger Van Hook © 2010

Fine Art Trekkin through Los Angeles, 
Ginger and Luke Van Hook explored the 
secrets of the Getty Underground on August 09, 2010.

Thoughts on the adventures through the Getty by Ginger Van Hook

We took the shuttle bus instead of the tram, because the tram didn't oprate on a Monday and we were the guests of Don Scott III, who is one of the security guards there. It was basically a work party for Don, who is our neighbor. Don drew a significantly gorgeous piece of artwork and he was quite excited about exhibiting it. The artwork was exhibited in the basement of the Getty, appropriate because it is where "Security Forces" work. I took almost two hundred digital photos and folks were really kind and helpful and nice about letting me take their pictures. I made friends with the bartender and a man on stilts.

I was feeling very privileged to be invited to attend a celebration of art produced by artists who are attracted to work at the Getty Center...if only for the LOVE OF ART. Many of the art pieces were created by volunteers who are artists, others like Don work in a specific department of the museum.

I think it is very cool that the Getty Museum recognizes the talents of its individual employees and volunteers. Every two years they have an art exhibition for their internal staff and thus this celebration gives them the recognition throughout the community for their talents and mostly it is about appreciation of their workforce.

To be hanging at the Getty, even if one is underground in the basement/vault, is a unique privilege and honor as there really were only a  few artists lucky enough to get space on the wall! As for the artists, even a small space on a wall, especially on a Getty wall is like getting a gold nugget...a tremendous opportunity! The Getty Underground is a massive architectural monument and although it is open to the public everyday, it contains enormous secrets. Standing underground in this privileged space made me think of mysteries and discoveries; the feelings were like those of a child, wandering into the attic of a grandparent's home to find the treasure of its family's past...so too, we as invited guests, were greeted with the treasures of our modern society with the delightful views of how drawing, painting, film, video, sculpture, and mosaic elements have evolved in our cities, specifically Los Angeles.

Special thanks to Don Scott, the staff at The Getty, and Tim Hawkinson for his elaborate installation that inspired new work that reflects attractively upon our Los Angeles art culture.