by Leo

Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors Closes Temporarily

December 25, 2008 in Artist, Galleries Museums, Video by Leo

The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM) in New York will close at the end of this month. While the chapel will close with a New Year’s Eve party, the project will not come to an end.

Through the chapel’s corporation and with help from donors, they have bought a 40-acre plot of land in the town of Wappinger, 65 miles north of New York City and just a 20 minute walk from the MetroNorth train stop at New Hamburg. Here they plan to rebuild the chapel and develop an interfaith retreat center. There, eventually, they intend to construct a four story, domed temple to house the Sacred Mirror paintings and provide a place for rites of cosmic consciousness. There will also be studios, workshops, conferences, retreats, offices, visionary art exhibitions and an installation of the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors permanent art collection which has become a context for a growing community.

One of the criteria for the Greys for CoSM’s site selection, was that the land required rehabilitation. On the plot they selected were a number of old oil tanks. This required that the contaminated soil be removed and the surrounding treated.

Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM map)

Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM map – click to view)

Founded by the Alex Grey, and his wife, Allyson Grey, the chapel is a curious, combination of art gallery and New Age temple. The main attraction is an installation of allegorical paintings by Alex Grey that, in the context of a carefully orchestrated theatrical environment, is designed to transport paying visitors into states of ecstatic reverence for life, love and universal interconnectedness.

The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors proper is currently a long hall with red walls hung with a series of 20 life size paintings of standing human figures that Alex made in the early ’80s. They include pictures of naked racial types; images of people with skin peeled off to reveal underlying anatomical structures; and figures that have almost completely dissolved into patterns of circulating light. At one end of the hall, a radiant Jesus hangs next to a glowing Sophia. Grey’s 2006 portrait of the discoverer of LSD, Albert Hofmann, is displayed on an easel in the middle of one of the chapel’s other rooms. It’s called “St. Albert and the LSD Revelation Revolution.”

Hundreds have attended the Grey’s regularly sponsored Entheocentric Salon, an all-night party involving, according to the Chapel’s guidebook, “live painting, video projections, local and international DJs and musicians, live performances, lectures and visionary conversations.”

by Leo

Key to All Optical Illusions Discovered

December 13, 2008 in Curiosities, Science by Leo

Humans can see into the future, says a cognitive scientist. The mechanism behind that can also explain why we are tricked by optical illusions.

Researcher Mark Changizi of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, says it’s our visual system that has evolved to compensate for neural delays, generating images of what will occur one-tenth of a second into the future. That foresight keeps our view of the world in the present. It gives you enough heads up to catch a fly ball (instead of getting socked in the face) and maneuver smoothly through a crowd. His research on this topic is detailed in the May/June issue of the journal Cognitive Science.

by Leo

Dreamscapes Book and Exhibition – Amsterdam 2008

December 12, 2008 in Book, Exhibition, Friends, Galleries Museums, Publications by Leo

Dreamscapes 2009 - The Best of Imaginary Realism

Dreamscapes 2009 – The Best of Imaginary Realism

The new Dreamscape book has been released and I travelled to Amsterdam for the book launch and exhibition. The new Dreamscapes 2009 book represents 52 artists working in imaginary realism from around the world and has 164 pages in full color. As always, the print quality is from the highest level.

My friend Ella Buzo from Cabinodd was one of the organizers for the exhibition. She was working with Marcel Salome the publisher and director of the project. It was Marcel who greeted me first as I entered the door to the exhibition. He said he recognized me from images on the internet and welcomed me warmly. And so it was throughout the evening, finally meeting people who were until that time were no more than a data stream on my computer or perhaps images in a book. Meeting all of these artists certainly was one of the things that attracted me to the event, but more overly it was a chance to see a little bit of Fantastic art history in the making.

The book is the third in the Dreamscapes series. I have the two previous Dreamscape books. The project has continued to grow in strength and mature. A large hall was rented to accomodate all of the works for the exhibition. It looked impressive. Dreamscape unites art movements like magic realism, fantastic realism and surrealism under the collective name Imaginary Realism and brings them with various projects to the worldwide and well deserved attention.

I struggled to look at all of the artwork in detail as much of the evening was spent meeting people. What I did see was of superb quality. Amongst the new faces were one or two that I already knew, such as Brigid Marlin, Igor Grechanyk and Rardy Van Soest.

Many artists had brought books and catalogues to give away or swap. I am very pleased to say that I collected a number of them myself, including a copy of Dreamscapes presented to me by Marcel himself. I had also brought my copy of Jon Beinart‘s Metamorphosis book along to gather a few more signatures.

Dreamscapes Exhibition - Amsterdam 2008

Ella Buzo, Marcel Salome, myself at the Dreamscapes Exhibition, Amsterdam

With so many artists to talk to time was quickly gone and the exhibition opening came to an end. However we all made our way over to a boat restaurant. Brigid called me over to join her table, with Steven Kenny, Rene Zwaga, his wife and Rardy Van Soest. Again time passed quickly and people eventually made their way home.

Many artists had made long journeys to attend, some longer than mine from Berlin to Amsterdam. The journey was well worth the effort to meet the artists and see their artwork. I hope we see many more such events to come.

Participating artists:
Michael Parkes · Lukas Kandl · Bruno Di Maio · Gerard Di Maccio · Herman Smorenburg · Michael Cheval · Ans Markus · Bodi · Fabrizio Riccardi · Victoria Francisco · Imke Meester · Richard van der Koppel · Jake Baddeley · Bas Sebus · Jolanda Richter · Ray Donley · Gabriela Garza-Padilla Adam Rote · Daniel Merriam · David Bowers · Gabriel Meiring · Igor Grechanyk · Jean Thomassen · Kinuko Y. Craft · Micha Lobi · Michael Hiep · Olivier Zapelli · Patricia van Lubeck · Paul Jaarsma · Reinhard Schmid · Rene Zwaga · Shiori Matsumoto · Siegfried Zademack · Steven Kenny · Wim Kuenen · Zeljko Djurovic · Christophe Vacher · Sjaak Kieft · Helene Terlien · Ton Haring · Peter Gric · Sergei Aparin · Viktor Safonkin · Yu Sugawara · Iurie Matei · Boris Shapiro · Tomasz Kopera · Michael Maschka · Imke Meester

For more information about the exhibition and the new Dreamscapes book visit:

by Leo

Satoshi Sakamoto Interview on

December 11, 2008 in Artist, Friends, Interview by Leo

My friend Satoshi Sakamoto was recently interviewed on by Daniel Mirante. It is a good example of Satoshi’s complex philosophies and his unique perspectives. Satoshi also mentions our meeting this year in Kyoto for the International Fantastic Art exhibition.

The complete interview can be read on

by Leo

Damien Hirst – The Rijksmuseum – and the Ultimate Bling

December 11, 2008 in Art Establishment, Galleries Museums, Travel by Leo

Damian Hirst - For the Love of God

Damien Hirst – For the Love of God

I came to Amsterdam for the Dreamscapes exhibition. With a few hours to spare before the opening, where I would be viewing modern painting masters, I would pay a visit to the Rijksmuseum and see some of the Old Masters.

Much to my surprise and disappointment, I found the entrance dominated by Damien Hirst and a queue. I don’t ever recall having to queue for the Rijksmuseum. The queue was one of those artifical queues you see often see in front of those superficial night clubs, that rate style above substance, continually keeping a queue of people outside for “security” reasons, while also again putting appearance before all else, fabricating a false sense of exclusitivity and popularity.

I made my way about the museum looking at all of the fine artwork and historical museum pieces, until I came across another queue. This time inside the museum, people queued for the special room where Hirst’s diamond skull was on display.

Hirst’s skull is suposedly the world’s most expensive artwork, but this is rather suspect, when you consider that he bought it back from himself. Stranger still, according to the Guardian, up to twenty workers who make his works will not have their contracts renewed even though Hirst’s gallery breaking auction earned him 130 million euro at Sotheby’s in September. Nevertheless, about half his London-based staff were told this week that their contracts will not be renewed.

“It was unexpected, especially after Hirst made a killing from the Sotheby’s sale”, a source told the Guardian.

Whether sacking staff will have much of an impact on the financial health of Hirst’s art-producing company is unclear. The workers are said to be paid only £19,000 (22,600 euro) a year. That amount pales in comparison with the prices paid for works by Hirst.

While I was curious to see Hirst’s ultimate bling, the queue looked rather dismal as well as the prospect of participating in the hype. The Netherlands have been inundated by the propaganda. It seems that not all are sold on the fanfare, especially amoungst some of the Dutch museums competing against the Hirst Rijksmuseum media machine.

Why was Hirst on display in the Rijksmuseum in the first place? Perhaps they were taken in by his comment earlier this year that he, Damien Hirst is like Rembrandt, and so promptly put him on display in the room next to “The Night Watch”.

I circumnavigated the clot of people ignoring the art about them waiting to be admitted into Hirst’s sanctum of superficiality and progressed to the next room. Superficial is the catch phrase here, as superficially the room appeared to be a continuation of museum’s permanent collection. However this was the curator’s attempt to make some relevance with Hirst’s bling by allowing him to select from their collection at his whim. Hello? What is the curator being paid to do?

Hirst seems to be astutely aware of this also, as he seized upon the opportunity presented by curator for him to make any inane comment he desires regarding the artwork he’s selected from Rijksmuseum collection. Is not the curator embaressed, or do they find him so witty? It would seem to be that Hirst is at his provocative best insulting the museum and its curator bald faced, and have them love it. “I will tell you are fools, and have you agree and tell me how genius I am for telling you so.” This is the same tactic with his artwork.

Before finally departing the Rijksmuseum shaking my head, I made a last stop by the Hirst space setup in the garden. Here you can buy all manner of diamond skull merchandise, and if you feel so inclined, leave your comments about the exhibition. Perhaps the museum, was being cautious and testing the waters. Perhaps they weren’t really so confident about their display. Why else ask for visitor feedback?

I left my comments, asking why they feel the need to copy all of the other museums. As a museum for Dutch cultural heiratage, this made them unique. As museum of modern “block buster” exhibitions, they are like all of the other me too Mc Donalds museums francised across the world.

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