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Mildred Howard’s Art of Giving




OAKLAND, California – Last October, artists Mildred Howardknown for large-scale sculpture, mixed media and public art, was honored by San Francisco 500 Cap Streetas well as Art Museum of San Jose. Late in the month, the Southeast Community Center opened in San Francisco’s Bayview District, with Howard’s commissioned metal sculpture “Promissory Notes” outside. Shortly before, in September, her solo exhibition, The time and space of the now, featuring multimedia installations, her first film and 30 works on paper, opens at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) San José and will be on view through February 26.

Howard, who was born in San Francisco, raised in Berkeley and now lives in Oakland, deserves all the admiration that comes her way, says artist Lava Thomas.

“She was one of the first people to create public art in the Bay Area, and she literally changed the landscape,” Thomas told Hyperallergic. “She was a great mentor to me when I was designing these Maya Angelou Monument — I had never designed a monument before. And her work in installation art has really paved the way for a lot of people who have come after her.”

Thomas had seen Howard’s work while she was living in Los Angeles. After moving to Berkeley, she heard that Howard was teaching at Stanford and went to campus to meet them. After Thomas introduced himself, she told Howard how much she admired her work, took her to lunch and they have been friends ever since.

Mildred Howard in her Oakland studio (Photo Emily Wilson/Hyperallergic)

For her show at the ICA, Howard worked with composer Chris Brown to create music for each room and for a film she was making after discovering in her mother’s purse an eight-millimeter film that Howard had bought when she was 14 years in Texas. In the galleries, a large black peacock flies over a pile of oyster shells; a clock is set for 6:19 am, representing June 19 – June 12 – commemorating the end of slavery in the United States; and a large funnel on the ceiling dumps sand on the floor. Another gallery has 30 of Howard’s prints hanging on the walls.

Zoë Latzer, the ICA’s associate curator, says she wants the museum to feature local artists who are making a big impact — like Howard. “Historically, the Bay Area has been very much ignored,” she said. “Our role is really to think about who these incredible Bay Area artists are, both well-known artists like Mildred and up-and-coming and underappreciated ones.”


Howard earned an MFA from the Fiberworks Center for the Textile Arts at John F. Kennedy University and uses a variety of materials and methods: glass, metals, textiles, collage, photography and prints. The artist, who started out as a dancer, has collaborated with musicians such as Brown and poets Janice Mirikitani and Quincy squad. She enjoys the opportunity to try new art forms.

“I get bored easily and I like to explore other avenues of learning,” she explained in her Oakland studio. “At art school it is emphasized that you have to work on that one work in order to really start to understand the material. And that’s true, but you can work on several areas at the same time and one influences the other.”

Mildred Howard, “I’ve Been a Witness to this Game I” (2016), monoprint and digital print on collaged found paper, 20 5/8 in. x 15 1/8 in. (image by Strode Photographic, collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer )

Artist Kiya Lucas met Howard while attending a class with her at the San Francisco Art Institute, where the class traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico. The two artists have stayed in touch, and Lucas admires the way Howard moves back and forth between different styles and mediums in her practice. “She’s an artist through and through, and she works in every way that makes sense,” Lucas remarked. “Her work is truly amazing, and she’s been making art in the Bay Area for so long.”

While Howard is known today for her public art, it took her about 15 years to land her first commission, which came in 1984 for Gospel and The Storefront Church in Mill Valley. Her next public installation was Salty Peanuts in 2000 at the San Francisco airport. “It took so many years,” she said. “I’ve watched all these men over and over again and I think they’re no better than me.”

Howard insisted because she wanted to expand her work and bring her work to a wider community. “I’m always trying to question what I know and what I don’t know,” she mused. “I’m interested in this challenge.”

Troupe has read his poetry at several of Howard’s private viewings, and he composed a poem to be displayed in the glass panes of their “Three shades of blue (2003), on display at the Fillmore District in San Francisco. The poet, author of two books about Miles Davis, has known Howard for decades and owns several of her plays; in some respects she reminds him of the famous trumpeter and composer.


“Mildred is direct and Miles was direct. That’s what I’ve always liked about people – she’s no-nonsense,” he laughed. “I think Mildred’s work is powerful and unique. She has her own handwriting like Miles. When you hear Miles Davis on a record, you know it’s his voice. When you see a Mildred Howard piece, you know by the voice that it’s hers.”

In addition to creating art in the Bay Area, Howard is involved in a variety of ways with her local community. She developed a curriculum integrating arts and science for the San Francisco Exploratorium and became Executive Director of the Exploratorium at the invitation of Executive Chef Alice Waters Edible schoolyard at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley.

Artist Leila Weepel grew up in Oakland and saw Howard’s artwork. They met when Howard was a visiting artist at Mills College while Weefur was in graduate school there. “She has a lot of perspective and holds a lot of history about this place,” Weefer said. As an editor at art practicalWeefur has made a video series about Bay Area artists that includes Howard. “I want to elevate her story and introduce her to the younger generation.” Weefur added, “She encouraged me, she was a friend and someone to call on when I’m struggling.”

James Leventhal, director of ICA San Jose, claims that Howard has made generations of Bay Area artists feel that their work matters and that they have something to say. “I think she’s been such an important mentor and teacher to so many people for so many decades,” he said. “She was in many ways a living embodiment that is possible [to succeed]. I think she gives people that feeling.”

Like Troupe, Kija Lucas is impressed by Howard’s directness. “She doesn’t beat around the bush…. She is very generous and tells you what is going on. She’ll fill you in on the real deal—she won’t pretend. She’s the antithesis of a gatekeeper to generations of students.”


500 Capp Street director Cait Molloy believes Howard was instrumental in using art to engage people, from children to inmates. Based on Molloy’s experience, Howard wants to share what she knows.

For Howard, who’s in the process of doing enough work for three shows in eight months, part of the point is helping other artists.

“It’s hard,” she said. “The journey is nothing without taking someone with you.”

Mildred Howard, “Abode: Sanctuary for the Famila(r)” (1994), bottles, wood, sand, stones (courtesy Anglim/Trimble)
Mildred Howard, The Time and Space of Now (2021), mixed media installation, commissioned by the New Mexico Museum of Art, 2021 (photo by Cameron Gay)
Mildred Howard, Assegnazioni con De Seingalt X (2017), monoprint, collage, chine collé and digital print, 20 3/4 in. x 17 in. (Image by Aaron Wessling Photography, Jordan D. Schnitzer Collection)
Mildred Howard, The Time and Space of Now (2021), mixed media installation, commissioned by the New Mexico Museum of Art, 2021 (photo by Cameron Gay)


Juxtapoz Magazine – Erick Medel’s “Mariachi” @ Rusha & Co, Los Angeles




The lives of many Mexicans are punctuated by performances; An ensemble of mariachi musicians celebrates a birth, performs at a First Communion, plays for crowds gathered at weddings and birthdays, and is engaged for funeral memorial rites. A traditional musical genre dating back hundreds of years to the rural communities of western Mexico, their tune sounds as proud and bold today as the musicians who travel from place to place to perform for their listeners. The actors’ outfits are just as exuberant as their ballads: their tight-fitting, decorated trousers, short jackets, embroidered belts, boots, wide bows and sombreros. Known as the charro suit, their attire has become a universally recognized symbol of national pride and Mexican identity.

mariachi, Eric Medel‘s first solo show with Rusha & Co. celebrates these artists and places them at the center of his work. The musicians, armed with their fiddles, guitarrónes, trumpets and guitars, appear ready for battle. Or as in the case of Mariachi on 1st St. (2022), could be marching home. Their uniforms resemble armor, gleaming and bold, as important as the men the charros wear. It is not for nothing that their designs go back to the liberators of the Mexican revolution. Some of the men, as in violin (2023) or En La Noche (Night) (2022) perform their solos in solitude, breaking away from their ensemble to shine for their moment. Other scenes, as in show time (2022), Pa La Photo (For a picture) (2023), or the largest piece in the exhibition, lists! (2023) show the band as a body. Medel’s depictions of its heroes emphasize its chosen protagonists as a kind of celebrity, iconic figures deserving of recognition and aspiring to fame.

EM23.010 Warming up in the Plaza2022 copy

Continuing his practice of documenting everyday life for Medel, his family and the community of Mexican-American people he is associated with, his new exhibition takes inspiration solely from these itinerant entertainers. Equal parts documentary filmmaker and synthesizer, Medel weaves the lived experiences of his community into stitched scenes with vivid colors, tactile textures and engineered surfaces. His textiles are based on observing the world around him, imbued with a sense of the photographic. Born in the city of Puebla, Mexico, Medel now lives and works in Boyle Heights, just blocks from the famous Mariachi Plaza de Los Ángeles. Located at the intersection of 1st Street and Boyle Avenue, Mariachi Plaza has for nearly a century been a meeting place for musicians willing to be hired to perform at restaurants, private parties or community events. Like Medel, these musicians are ambassadors of their culture, preserving and passing on the intangible heritage and traditions of the Mexican people to future generations.

Medel’s practice is a continuation and preservation of his family’s creative practices – his mother’s knitting and his father’s woodworking. Medel’s embroidery was first designed on his mother’s sewing machine. Wavering between sculpture, painting and crafts, Medel’s process of creating his denim canvases is painstakingly and meticulously detailed, evoking the immigrant labor that underpins life in increasingly globalized metropolises. His works on canvas are embroidered with lustrous and colorful threads, each stitch reminiscent of the extravagant outfits of mariachi ensembles. A charro suit with custom embroidery by legendary Boyle Heights supplier to the mariachis, La Casa Del Mariachi, hangs among the works on the gallery walls, sculptural and acting as a proxy for Medel’s own presence in the exhibition.

In his studio, Medel’s industrial sewing machine emits its own rhythm as his hands move his denim canvases back and forth as the machine perforates and threads the images. He becomes a musician in his own right, orchestrating his images in tempo, with each line of the string corresponding to the musical notation on the canvas. Medel’s approach is intuitive and – like a kind of improvisational instrumentation – spontaneous, each mark made clear and each colored thread chosen from a series of spools.


The scenes of everyday life depicted by Medel refer as much to the lineage of genre painting by Dutch masters, the French Realist paintings of Gustave Courbet or the works of Diego Velázquez from the 17th century as to the Chicano muralists such as Chaz Bojórquez or Carlos Almaraz, who changed the landscape of East Los Angeles on the walls of buildings throughout the neighborhood. Medel’s practice highlights these less recognized forms of fine art and glorifies his roots through his subject matter and choice of medium.

Erick Medel was born in Puebla, Mexico in 1992. He holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Recent exhibitions include strings of desire at Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles (2023); Dirty realism: Otra noche en LA at Veta Galeria, Madrid (2023); With us at Ojiri Projects, London (2022, solo); Unseen Threads at Martha’s, Austin (2022); apple in the dark in Harkawik, New York (2022); a solo presentation at Zona Maco in Mexico City with Rusha and Co. (2021); Hustle De Sol A Sol at Martha’s, Austin (2021, solo); The human scales at the Rochester Art Center (2021); Breakfast in America at Rusha & Co. (2021); Still here at Martha’s, Austin (2020); And Every day, every day, every day, every day freedoms Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore (2019).

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MAKING A MARK: Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize 2023: Last Call for Entries




I missed the announcement of the £10,000 Call for Entries Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize 2023 – hence this is a “Last Call for Entries”.
The closing date for all entries is March 31, 2023, midnight!

The judges will select 2023 from the works of art submitted

  • a winner of the Ruth Borchard Prize of £10,000 And
  • A number of outstanding contributions will be acquired for the Next Generation Collection.

Before you start reading, you might want to know this

  • the entrance fee is £38 And
  • This competition attracts artists from across the spectrum, including professional and award-winning portrait artists.
If you are interested you can see examples of the works selected for the exhibition
Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize 2019 at The Kings Place – in an album on my Facebook page.
a wall in the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize 2019 exhibition
at King’s Place, King’s Cross, London

Who can enter?

All ages and abilities can participate. Persons under the age of 16 who wish to participate must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

Artists of all backgrounds, established and emerging, are invited to participate. Even if this is your first self-portrait or your first artistic creation, we welcome your contribution.

What can you enter?

You can use any size and medium. I’ve seen some huge works in past exhibitions!


However, these are the details in the terms and conditions

  • The artwork must be a self-portrait.
  • All variants of the work – figurative or abstract, alone or in a group, from life or from memory – are accepted.

  • The artwork must have been created in 2000 or later.
  • There are no restrictions on the size of the work.
  • Multi-part works, ie works in the form of a diptych or triptych etc. are eligible and will be considered as one work.

We welcome a variety of media including but not limited to; Painting, drawing, digital art, photography, sculpture, tapestries and ceramics.

Exhibitor at the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize Exhibition 2019
(Feel free to give credits if anyone recognizes the work)

How to enter

You can enter more than once – but each entry requires a separate submission.

To enter you MUST:

  • Upload a high-quality image of your self-portrait
  • Provide all the details about the artwork
  • Fill out the application form and agree to the terms and conditions. This must include as supporting information:

    • Artistic statement – ​​200 words maximum – here you can tell the jury anything you think is relevant to the application and/or about you or your artwork.

    • Resume (optional) – Whether you’re a full-time professional artist or pursuing a completely different career, the option to upload a resume allows the judges to learn more about the person behind the artwork

    • Gallery representation (optional – will not be considered as part of the judging process – suggesting that the above two are!)

    • personal data and contact information
  • pay the entrance fee

This is £38.00 from a UK bank account and £48.00 if paying from abroad.2 The Ruth Borchard Collection and Self-Portrait Prize are funded by a charitable trust and the submission fee covers a small part of running costs The price.

View of the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition at the Piano Nobile

If selected, how your work will be exhibited

From the entries, 250 artists will be invited to participate in an exclusive online sales exhibition. Shared and promoted via

  • an exclusive virtual gallery of the Ruth Borchard Collection and
  • Artistic online viewing room

this gives artists the opportunity to present their work to international collectors.


If you win, your artwork will stick a curated selection of outstanding and nominated artworks to be exhibited
The Atkinson Museum, Southportfrom September to December 2023. The exhibition coincides with the Liverpool Arts Biennial.

The last exhibition of 2021 was held at Coventry Cathedral.

As far as I’m aware there are no plans to bring any physical exhibition to London.

The judge

Belong to the judges

  • Gabrielle Finaldi (Director of the National Gallery),
  • Melanie Gerli (Financial Times Art Market columnist),
  • Andrea Rosa
    (former director of the British Council),
  • Stephen Whittle (General Manager of the Atkinson Museum),
  • Lucy Jones (award winner 2021) and
  • David Borchard
    (grandson of Ruth Borchard)

These are the 2021 judges speaking about the artworks submitted to the exhibition. It gives you a glimpse of how jurors may view artworks and what their expectations are – although this year those views could all be different because it’s a different group of jurors.


Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize 2021 Film out of Collection Ruth Borchard At vimeo.

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Tom Jones Zeroes in on Ho-Chunk Visibility




We live in a time when artists of color are wondering if their only route to legitimacy in the art world is to do the work that a predominantly white art world expects of them. Current anti-racist thinking claims so it is not the duty of the marginalized or otherwise disenfranchised people to do the emotional work of explaining their historical contexts and reasons for grievances to those who do not seek to understand them themselves. They ask: if I’m indigenous, can I only do work that deals with indigenousness?

Ho Chunk Artist tom jones puts it more simply: Regardless of whether the art looks “Indian” enough, “Native American art is still Native American … because it stems from Native American thinking and upbringing.” Jones has persistently made art about and for Native Americans for more than two decades Ho Chunk Nation. In the past year, the art world has started to take notice. With works currently on view in nationwide And national Recognized venues, the artist’s many musings on Aboriginal identity have emerged within the walls of PWIs and beg for recognition and reckoning.

While he claims his main audience is the Ho Chunk people, his latest work, Strong relentless spirits, has a mass appeal that extends beyond the Ho-Chunk Nation. Against a stark black background, Jones creates life-size portraits of Ho Chunk members, then painstakingly sews traditional Ho Chunk floral designs around his subjects, creating what he calls what he calls an “aura.” Beginning with a portrait of his mother JoAnn Jones to completing a portrait of Bella Falcon, a young ho-chunk woman of the Bear clan, Jones has increased the scope of his ambitions; The larger portraits take 120 hours or more to be pearls. Always in memory of the legacy of Edward Curtis and his portrait series The North American IndianJones finds ways to create images that speak to the individual as a collective, rather than individuals as a collective.

Tom Jones, “JoAnn Jones”, from the series Strong relentless spirits (2015)

Many of Jones’ subjects wear traditional Native American clothing, although there are notable exceptions to T-shirts, khakis, suspenders, coveralls, and camouflage motifs. The sitters wear whatever they want at the session, something that Jones’ portraits have in common Charles Van Schaik, a 19th-century photographer who photographed the Ho-Chunk people not as cultural props but as paying customers to have their portraits portrayed for personal use. As with Van Schaik, ho-chunk people come to Jones’ studio with an idea of ​​how they want to be seen. In most portraits, the sitter looks directly at the viewer, forbidding the viewer to impose a cultural projection without the subject “seeing” it.

A popular way of interpreting portraits is that a portrait of someone else is also a self-portrait of the artist. If this is true of Jones, his portraits reveal a searching and generous nature, conscious and confident of who the sitters are but at the same time aware that they are being evaluated by the outside world. In an essay that Jones wrote for People of the Big Voice: Photographs of Ho Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaikhe addresses this double consciousness:

There is an unspoken complexity in the way a photo is read by people from different cultures and backgrounds. Each time a photograph is encountered, the viewer decodes the image with constructed notions of constructed knowledge. There are also the intentions of the photographer and the subject. What did the photographer choose to show us and what did the sitter choose to reveal? The interpretation we give to the image comes from our understanding of what the people in the photos experienced.

Tom Jones, “Trenton and Roger Littlegeorge”, from the series Portraits of the Medicine Lodge (2011)

What do we know about what a ho chunk person experienced? What are we willing to share? Do we know that the tribe was forcibly evicted from their ancestral homelands in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Minnesota? 13 times between 1832 and 1874? Or that they had to do so as a condition of the right to remain on their lands in 1874 renounce and give up Tribal rituals and relationships, and that outdoor footage of forbidden Aboriginal practices was used as evidence to arrest and evict people? This last historical fact is directly related to bans by tribal elders on photographing traditional and private ceremonies, although Jones related this Centre County Report that the ubiquity of cell phone cameras has changed tribal perceptions of this, particularly among younger members. Whether or not permission is given or accepted by Ho Chunk elders to photograph rites and ceremonies, it is clear that there is a huge gap between what we think we know and what we already do should know exists.

Jones sometimes takes on the task of educating the non-native viewer. He draws a line between the ongoing work he is doing for the Ho-Chunk and a more conceptual work that has a final point of closure, the latter speaking more generally about the Aboriginal experience. In these more speculative series, non-native viewers find themselves embedded in, often, attitudes of implication. In the series leftovers, Jones combines indigenous casino carpet patterns with glass engravings of historical – and often racist – depictions of indigenous people. Drawings and engravings appropriated from 19th-century publications are used in diptychs and triptychs dealing with issues of cultural genocide, forced religious conversion, white assimilation and, last but not least, the white fantasies of indigenous peoples.


Surprisingly, Jones says he worked on most of the work he’s done and for the Ho-Chunk out of tribal reverence, and it’s possible it will never be seen. When asked if he hoped to exhibit this work one day, he replied, “I don’t really care that the outside world sees it.” Much of this exists as future documents for Ho-Chunk members, as elements of a archives. Conversely in work like Strong relentless spirits, Jones sees his role as creating visibility for his people. “This visibility is important to me. I think of the little kids, the teenagers, and I think it’s so powerful to see yourself represented in art.”

Tom Jones, “He Touched Him Good” from the series leftovers (2017)
Tom Jones, “Raymond Goodbear”, from the series Strong relentless spirits (2019)

Tom Jones is currently at it speak with light at the Denver Art Museum (100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, Colorado) through May 22, curated by John Rohrbach and Will Wilson; Native America: In Translation at the Milwaukee Art Museum (700 North Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) through June 25, curated by Wendy Red Star; And water memories at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan) through April 2, curated by Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha).

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