Your eyes and ears on the world of art and culture:

"Try to make something with the simplest means". This was the lesson taught to Kay Sekimachi while she attended the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. Sekimachi has been making simply elegant pieces for 60 years. She has used looms, nylon monofilament, shells, paper, and linen to make her three-dimensional forms. Her current work involves maple leaf skeletons, many of them inspired by her family homeland in Japan.

Another superb craftsman is Christian Burchard, originally born in Germany and now living and working in Ashland, Oregon. Especially adept at wood turning, Burchard's sculptures are deeply expressive - see for example his Books sculptures.

Artworks for Change presents a series of stunning pieces as part of Earth Day 2016. Titled "Footing the Bill: Art and Our Ecological Footprint", the site offers a tour of the featured works, well worth your time. You can also enter the galleries of individual artists to see the works up close.

At the Marrakech Biennale 6: Not New Now, an installation called Prayer for those absent (La priers des absents) sits in the reflecting pool of a ruined 16th century palace. Attention is drawn to 7 blue and white ceramic vases, sitting on pedestals and covered with calligraphy. It is impossible to read the symbols on the vases, but their power is unmistakable. Algerian artist Rachid Koraichi has just had his first New York City solo show althugh he has been exhibiting for many years. Called "Love Side by Side With the Soul", the exhibit featured calligraphic forms on banners, pots, and as steel sculptural forms. Invented characters are intermingled with the traditional ancient language.

Artist David McLeod works with abstract forms in sinuous shapes. Born in Australia and now working in New York, McLeod trained as an illustrator and type-face creator. His cover for the John Beltran LP is particularly stiking.

Robert Longo calls himself a descendant of the cave man. He was known in the 1980's for his series "Men in the Cities", in which he convinced friends like Cindy Sherman and Larry Gagosian to pose in awkward stances as he threw things at them. His current fascination is with charcoal drawings, and this video gives an excellent overview of his thoughts on the process and its antecedents.

Rock paintings from prehistoric times, many of them never before seen, fill the exhibition organized by Berliner Festspiele/Martin-Gropius-Bau at the Goethe University of Frankfurt. The images are fascinating and the accompanying article highly informative.

Emmanuelle Moureaux designs colorful and vibrant installations, interiors, and architecture. Roam through this site and enjoy the lively treatments she gives to both exteriors and interiors.

If you think that the skyscraper is an outmoded form, think again. Here is one called The Hive. Its outer shell is made entirely of drones, with the underlying concept being that it could serve as waystations for the docking and recharging of these vehicles. the architects are calling it a futuristic hub, and it may well be.

The late, great thinker,Dr. Oliver Sacks, is seen here speaking his last words, shortly after receiving the news of his imminent death via metastatic cancer. He was photographed by documentary filmmaker Ric Burns. Burns filmed 60 hours in just one week and is in the process of turning the material into a film. Sacks' impressions of death, life, and adventure are an extraordinary find.

In another worthy TED Talk, R. Luke DuBois shows how he creates human portratis from fields of data. Trained originally as a musician, DuBois takes us through his process of making art from data. I suspect that you have never seen portraiture done in this way before.

Mention the French painter Edgar Degas and most people think of Paris and ballet dancers. But now, given his first solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Degas' wide-ranging interests are explored. Called "Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty", the exhibit reveals photographs, sketches, monotypes, drawings and pastels. Especially interesting is the discussion of the monotype process, which came to influence his paintings. The end of the exhibit shows some powerful images of bathers and dancers and puts the artist's work in a meaningful historical perspective.

Have you heard about String Theory and wondered what it was all about? Here is a You Tube film that takes you into the 11th dimension where String Theory transports us to the new world of physics.

Think of a large metropolitan city. Then think of graffiti, not as you usually see it on the sides of buildings but up over your head. Such is the concept of calligraffiti artist eL Seed with what he calls anamorphic art. It's an impressive achievement.

Composer David Garner has written a series of four song cycles based on the poetry of women who survived the Holocaust. Garner's compositions are accompanied by lyric soprano Nanette McGuiness on a Centaur recording called "Surviving Women's Words." From the San Francisco Chronicle review: "we find that this album offers four passionate meditations on the Holocaust experience delivered through a unique and highly compelling pair of voices, those of both composer and singer." ( Full disclosure: soprano Nanette McGuinness is my daughter.)

Still going strong after 30 years, the Guerilla Girls now find themselves and their art honored by the very institutions that they inveighed against. Still using fictitious names and huge masks, the women note that conditions precluding the acceptance of women in the art world have not improved much since 1985.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2016