PSST! - Intelligencer

Bags Of Oil, In Need Of A Hug, Local Color, Finding A Following, Word Association, and Art with a Heart.

"Landscape at the Edge of Commerce," oil on canvas, 48X78 inches

Bags of Oil

An exhibition by by a Palm Desert artist ends this month at the Nevada Museum of Art. Walter Lab: Deserted Landscape features paintings of windblown plastic bags caught in desert brush. In October, the exhibition greeted participants at the Art + Environment Conference. There, Lab dined with Vito Acconci, a New York artist he studied at UC San Diego. Acconci gained fame as a performance, video, and audio/visual installation artist in the late 1960s and early ’70s.

In Need of a Hug

Hoping to boost attendance and lure top collectors and dealers back to Art Cologne, the German fair tapped L.A. art dealer Daniel Hug — a part-time Wonder Valley resident — as its director. A veteran of international fairs, Hug is the grandson of Hungarian artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, once a professor at the Bauhaus school, and namesake of a Chinatown gallery ( The 40-year-old Art Cologne has lost ground in recent years to fairs in Basel, London, Miami (this month), and Berlin.

Local Color

John Villani’s Art Towns California (The Countryman Press), released in October, includes Palm Desert in its 27 chapters. The book calls out the El Paseo Invitational Sculpture Exhibition, Palm Desert’s Art in Public Places, McCallum Theatre, and several galleries. Also mentioned in Palm Desert’s section are Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Canyon Theatre, Desert Art Center, and Palm Springs’ film festivals. Idyllwild also earned a chapter of its own.

Finding a Following

Gallery owner Gabor Újvari says while his fellow Hungarians appreciated the art in his Budapest gallery, they “didn’t get” the midcentury modern furnishings he tried to promote. So he moved where folks do: Palm Springs. Last month, he held his first auction at MiMo Gallery on Research Drive, selling artwork and furnishings from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.

Word Association

Local horticulture expert and syndicated columnist Maureen Gilmer’s book on gardening in a desert environment is released this month. Palm Springs-Style Gardening: The Complete Guide to Plants and Practices for Gorgeous Dryland Gardens (Sunbelt Publications) shows readers how to choose plants naturally adapted to the desert to create landscapes with color, texture, and form.

Scott Brassart of Palm Springs has written an “old school crime noir” set in his hometown.The Bad Ending: A Palm Springs Mystery (PublishAmerica) features the key ingredients: a hard-boiled detective, a femme fatale, and, of course, murder. The novel was released in November.

Christopher Baker, a professional travel writer, photographer, and lecturer who moved to Palm Springs in 2005, has written a new Great Destinations guide titled Palm Springs & Desert Resorts (The Countryman Press). The book includes history, transportation, lodging, culture, restaurants, recreation, shopping, maps, and information resources.

Art With A Heart

Recognizing the importance of instilling the principles of charitable giving in future generations of community leaders, the Desert Cities Communities Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals added youth-oriented elements to last month’s National Philanthropy Day celebration. Pegasus Riding Academy for the Handicapped’s Club Kids won an award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy. Middle-school students in the Palm Springs Unified School District participated in an AFP-sponsored art competition with the theme “Change the World With a Giving Heart.”

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