Gazing at the heavens, eschewing some stars

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Very nice Hilarie M. Sheets feature about Russell Crotty in yesterday’s NY Times. Crotty studies the stars from an aerie above Malibu and makes magical drawings about the night sky with the cheapest student-grade implement — the bic ballpoint pen.

An amateur astronomer and before that a boyhood surfer (total California dude), Crotty, 47, was included in the great Drawing Now exhibit at MOMA in 2002 and in the (also great) Arcadia (then Beaver College) University “The Sea and the Sky” in 2000. Crotty names Vija Celmins as an influence.

The article says the artist will show new books in New York at CRG Gallery in February. Crotty showed a book at Arcadia and at MOMA. The books, like “Five Nocturnes” (pictured above is a detail of one page) are huge. “Nocturnes,” shown in “Drawing Now” measured five ft. by almost ten ft. when opened.

The impulse to create books based on observations of the night sky seems somehow Victorian — as do the books themselves, which have a Cabinet of Curiosities impact when you see them.

The stars Crotty eschews, by the way, are Cher and others whose houses are below him in the Malibu hills. He could spy…but why?

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