Monday, November 29, 2010
Here are a couple of shots from the opening, for those that couldn't make it.
When I was a student in undergraduate school I had a class that changed my life called WARP. (Many students and others have heard my stories of this class, if you are not one of these and want to hear some just ask. But this is not the venue for those stories.) The professors I had in that class in combination with a printmaking professor (Robert Mueller) made me want to be a college professor. Growing up in a military family where my whole life changed every two years I was scared to live somewhere for to long, but the idea of higher education with its constant reinvention and re-populous was something that appealed to be more like home. The thing I never took into account was that not only would my students faces and stories change but so would their desires and styles of learning. To some degree I knew this but I always thought it would be like a bathtub changing temperature (slower) and could be changed by new water. But I have recently seen a rapid dramatic shift in student culture not only within our institution but in other art institutions and their students.
I am often a challenge to my wife since my memory is not the best and I often repeat myself (usually I meet all new people every few years and I have known her for over 7 years so she had heard every story at least 3 times). The other challenge I present to her is the habit of having a revelation that I have had before and thinking it is something new. This trait often comes in handy however since the motivation of try try again can wear, and the notion of trying for the first time (even if it is not) brings a different kind of energy and focus which brings up the social science study of motivation.
I have always held the belief that grades can be a stumbling block for students if viewing incorrectly. So often in academia we are challenged with a struggle against "checking boxes". How to create an
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
"Art is a word that immediately scares people off, as being a little too grand. But all I mean by art is writing something that is valuable in itself and that works in itself. The basis of art is truth, both in matter and mode. The person who aims after art in his work aims after truth, in an imaginative sense, no more and no less."
Flannery O'Connor, The Nature and Aim of Fiction, in Mystery and Manners
The question “what is art” can be answered in a thousand different ways, from many varying points of view. All such points all carry an element of weight, especially to the one who formulated the argument; however there must be some linking aspect that makes art art. In Flannery O’Connor’s essay “The Nature and Aim of Fiction”, she discusses the practice of writing and what explains the difference between works of writing that are works of art as opposed to those that are simply writings for monetary gain. Although Flannery O’Connor is speaking about writing, her ideals can also be applied to art. Art as she describes it is “something that is valuable in itself and that works in itself.” Truth must be at the core of art. More than fame or fortune, producing just what is popular for good reviews, the true artist aims solely after truth.
A true piece of art is not something calculated, and there exists no formula for creating a piece of artwork. Art must spring forth organically from its material; therefore it is impossible to create two works alike. A writer is able to place within their work symbols that lead the reader into many varying levels of understanding and comprehension of the work, just as the painter is able to place a deeper meaning and commentary of the surrounding world through their work. In both fields a deeper understanding of the nature of things surrounding us is first and foremost the goal of the artist. It is such passion and commitment to organic creation that gives artwork the life to live on long after the artist has accomplished the work.
Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist, has created an installation that, upon first glance, appears to be very simple and slightly predictable- millions of sunflower husks on the floor. However, after a closer look, the viewer discovers that the sunflower seeds are not what they appear, but are in fact, handcrafted porcelain replicas of sunflower seed husks. Weiwei’s work addresses the mass-production that China is known for and also the idea of the loss of identity amidst the masses. Weiwei idea of lost identity comes from Chairman Mao Zedong’s media propaganda which depicted him as the sun and the masses as sunflowers upturned toward him. Related to Sunflower Seeds, is also Weiwei’s previous exhibit at the Groninger Museum in 2007, Water Melon. This exhibit features fifteen porcelain replicas of watermelons placed on the ground.
Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds appeals to me because of the idea of mass production becoming more personal and intricate. I use mainly crayons and yarn in my work, both mass produced items, and turn them into unique and individual works. While not the same as Weiwei’s handcrafted sunflower seed husks, with my work- especially the crayon/wax works- I take something mass produced and make it into something that requires a second look and a little thought.
(Yes, I realize that this has already been discussed on the blog, courtesy of Professor Graham, however, I feel that I can relate to Weiwei’s work and some of his conceptual ideas, and I find his work relevant to me as an artist.)
For more information, see http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/unileverseries2010/room1.shtm
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
'Any future information network will help unhappy people secede, at least mentally, from institutions they do not like, much as the interstate highway system allowed the affluent to flee the cities for the suburbs and exurbs. Prescribing mobility, whether automotive or electronic, as an antidote to society's fragmentation is like recommending champagne as a hangover remedy.'I tend to agree with Mr. Tenner as I cannot yet seem to grasp how being electronically in touch with multiple "friends" offers me the same sense of connectedness as having an old-fashioned, face-to-face, get-together with my gal pals. I am looking forward to such experiences this weekend, as I hope all of you GC::VA readers are as well. Thanks to the holiday weekend for giving us an excuse to turn off the cell phones and computers and spend some time with friends and family, even if football and/or turkeys are involved. Happy Thanksgiving!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Silestone -- 'Above Everything Else' from Alex Roman on Vimeo.
Please watch the video then read below after the jump.
The video you just watched was 100 CGI (computer generated)
Whole production was 2 and a half months for the initial concept to the final editing; two people worked on it total. Quite amazing. Beautifully designed as well.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Arbus was a photographer from the 1940’s to the 60’s.
She came to be known as “The Photographer of Freaks” due to her, sometimes controversial, subject matter of dwarfs, giants, transvestites,nudist, and circus performers.
Her work inspires me because not only do I love her portraits, but also I’m attracted to the sense of honesty and truth in her images. The subjects are not acting like something they aren’t, they are not shown in an unrealistic way, they are portrayed as honest portraits and come across as somewhat shocking, and abrupt imagery. I enjoy the truth that comes through, especially when I have to look twice at the image, or when the image instantly conveys an emotion.
Arbus chose to use black and white photography for her work. I really feel like this takes them a step away from reality while still being understood as the truth. If they were in color some of the images might be to shocking to look at, and the black and white takes us away from the bluntness of some of the subject matter. (for example see image 1)
Sadly Arbus took her own life due to struggles with depression in 1971.* The next year she became the first photographer to have photographs displayed in Venice Biennale*. (Fun fact: There is a fictional movie about Arbus titled Fur, and Nic
ole Kidman played Arbus.)
Arbus’ work now sells at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example her image Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park sold for $408,000* in 2005. Her work continues to be an inspiration to me, and I can only hope that one day maybe my work will sell for that much. Wouldn’t that be great… I could get another MINI. :)
Image 1: "leafed" see original work
· some information taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diane_Arbus#Death
· Images taken from: http://diane-arbus-photography.com/
Thursday, November 18, 2010
One of our stops on the KIIS Greece 2011 itinerary is Olympia, the famous sporting venue and a sanctuary of antiquity where “Pindar sang and Phidias taught.” (And where BTW, Kara Renfro of Georgetown Art Department won the famous 2007 race at the last KIIS Olympics) What will be of our particular interest is the Archeological Museum of its site. It houses some of the most precious examples of art and artifacts, such as the pediment remains of the Temple to Zeus, faithfully reconstructed, and Praxiteles’ Hermes, among others. You will have to forgive my pictures below. The subject of West Pediment was oddly taken from the myth of the wedding feast of Peirithoos. Apollo (detached from action as divine presence?) in the middle, Theseus and Peirithoos at his side, fight off the guests-turned-violent Centaurs. I say oddly, as there is no apparent correlation of the myth to the Olympians, other than a suggestion that the Lapithian battle is associated with the Olympic wrestling contests (as in Heinz Schobel in Olympia, 1964) or fight and competitiveness in general. The statue of Hermes is, arguably, one of the premier examples of human form that influenced, in one way or another, almost any type of classical revivalisms from Canova to Gerome. Although I will be teaching in Greece for the fourth year, there is always an opportunity to rediscover and experience its history afresh, as for instance, the new Acropolis Museum.
KIIS Greece 2011 (May 25 - July 1, 2011) is an on-site five weeks of intensive learning about the ancient Greeks whose literature, political ideas, philosophy, art and architecture continue to shape our lives. Students can take up to 6hrs (that's two courses) and most come from the KIIS consortium member schools. If you can't come to the info session today, consult http://kiis.org/go/ for updates or see me during the week.
In case you have seen all of the posters around the building:
KIIS Greece 2011
Friday, November 19th
4:30 - 5:00 pm
WAB Art Building room 104
The focus of the final third of the Curatorial Studies class has centered on Janet Marstine's New Museum Theory and Practice book (image of cover, at right). We've read chapters devoted to agendas and architecture as well as virtual settings and visitor experiences. While students have read the chapters in the book and prepared written responses of them, we've additionally been able to discuss the content by engaging it directly: through projects that we've managed in class and those that are currently underway.
One of these projects, identified as project 4, consists of two parts: interviews and oral histories. For the first part (what we call Project 4a) students were asked to interview four current GC students, in person or via email or other means, about the Christian mission of the college. Each student in the class gave no introduction to the questions to be asked and, as a means of reportage, either wrote out answers exactly (as in a transcript) or summarized, paraphrased, and/or cited critical passages from the interview and discussion as part of a report of this project. There are several insightful comments made by the interviewees as well as keen observations made by the interviewers.
Students were given one week to complete the interviews. The responses from the students and the interviewers' take on them (as well as complexities of this assignment and the practical aspects) were discussed in class. And, for two weeks, in the midst of working on other projects, we discussed what we might do with the responses that we've collected. What should we do with this information? There was never a promise or, even, obligation to the respondents as to how the material might be consulted, reflected upon, or shared. (Incidentally, I should note that the interviewees were permitted to remain anonymous or to have their identity revealed.)
Last Friday, November 12, the class decided to offer an opportunity for others to help us decide what to do with the material. Do we report on it in some way, given that similar conversations are being had across campus among faculty and staff? Do we "curate" these interviews? And, if so, how and to what ends? Or, as with many projects, do we learn from the experience and build upon this skill for our next project, that is, the Oral History project (Project 4b)? If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know and I will share these with the class.
One suggestion was to bring some of the content from this experience onto the pages of this blog and ask readers for advice; hence, this post. But, should we extend that suggestion further of and disclose details of Project 4a here? If so, why? Or, why not? If we consider this blog to be a "virtual reality" space, such as an online archive of our department, how does a post impact the possibility and authenticity of that material? Relatedly, in her discussion of web galleries as companions to or substitutes for actual galleries, Lianne McTavish has acknowledged, "virtual reality galleries represent museums that are not neutral spaces, fading into the background while viewers have immediate experiences of art works" (p. 231). Does a post about a conversation prevent further investigation of it? Or, does a post encourage and foster further engagement, on a personal level? To what extent could posting questions and responses on a blog, managed by an academic department, privilege the content in some way? McTavish further questions what happens "when everyday people begin to produce the content of virtual museums, appropriating the roles of curator and even museum director" (p. 227). A virtual museum, just as a traditional museum, is not neutral, neither is a blog or other Web 2.0 technology. Our GCVA blog welcomes visitor and reader input through the comment feature offered beneath most posts. Does that make a person an "author"? Yes, simply because they have contributed an idea in a written format. What kind of author are they? What else does the nomenclature or title of "author" imply? Consider that at any given time, readers can post a comment on Amazon.com about any title on view in their gallery of books to purchase (essentially "reviewing" a book). But is that what "reviewing a book" actually means? Historically, no. Now? Perhaps.
While there seems to be no clear articulation of what to do with the quantitative and qualitative data that Curatorial Studies students have gathered, there is much to be learned from this kind of work. It seems that museums, virtual realities, and Web 2.0 deny neutrality, as do the Project 4a interviews and the educational institutions where such work is done. Perhaps, in the case of Project 4a, a critique of our individual take on the college's mission and a sampling of opinions from our larger community as to the institution's mission may serve to bring new light to the current state of our institution and our past, present, and future framing of it.
PS: Be on the lookout for our final project, Project 4b Oral History, which will premier on Friday, December 3 at 1:00pm. All are invited to watch and listen to the students' oral history interviews.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
GC art geniuses know that only a little bit of effort is needed to submit artwork for consideration by Show It! Juror Julie Schweitzer. In fact, your first entry is FREE, so please keep the November 23 deadline for bringing work by the Wilson Gallery in mind.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
There is an event in the next few weeks that the on campus representation of "Not for Sale" (a organization that deals with human trafficking) is looking to have a table topper designed. I already have logo imagery and all the info you need. If you want to submit a design please do so in the next few days. It will be used for the organization and would make for some great experience and a portfolio builder.
if you have any questions or entries please contact Daniel.
Museum of the Moving Image seeks a Registrar to be responsible for the proper physical care, movement, and documentation of all objects in its collection. The collection comprises over 130,000 objects illustrating all aspects of the production, promotion, and exhibition of movies, television, and digital entertainment, from the inception of motion pictures at the turn of the twentieth century to the present day. This is a full-time position. Qualifications: *B.A. required, advanced degree in History, Film/Media Studies,Library Science, Museum Studies, or a related field a plus; Previous registration experience required; Strong interest in new media and innovative technology; Energetic, flexible attitude, and strong writing and verbal communication skills. To apply please submit cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
and it classifies the classifier....See the full quote at the end of this post.
I recalled these words of Pierre Bourdieu as I read an article recently about the permanent collection of Harvard (not to be confused with that of the Fogg Art Museum). The basis of the article is this alarming statistic: "Of the approximately 750 oil portraits that grace the libraries, dining commons, and undergraduate residences of the nation’s oldest university, roughly 690 were of white men, as of a 2002 inventory by the curator of the university’s portrait collection." The article further posits that "only two portraits, commissioned in the 1980s and ’90s, were of minorities. The remaining portraits were of white women — Radcliffe professors, benefactors’ family members, presidents’ wives." What of our very own permanent collection--how does it compare? We do not have a wealth of portraits. We have several (close to 20) portraits of former presidents of the college. We also display busts of esteemed educators and donors (for example, the bust of J. J. Rucker, the faculty member who led the efforts to integrate female students into the population thus making GC co-ed.)
In contrast to Harvard, at GC, we do not have funds to actively commission works of art for our college's permanent collection. But we are fortunate to receive donations of works of art and, in some cases, add works to the collection as the result of a collaboration or project (such as the series of portraits of students, faculty and staff for a curatorial project entitled Me, Myself, and Art as well as a series of photos of the GC campus, London, and Dublin by GC alum, Hannah Davis.) Would the large banners that bedeck several campus buildings, including the Wilson Fine Arts Building, serve as portraits in our collection? If so, to what ends?
According to Sandra Grindlay, former curator of Harvard's portrait collection, “People tend to think, ‘Oh, the portraits. Nobody looks at them.’ But they do have the power to represent the institution, insofar as when some students look at them, they think, ‘If this is Harvard, what am I doing here?’’’ The thought of changing the face of the collection -- literally, by adding portraits to show the complexion of the college community is an interesting one.
I pose the question to blog followers, then:
- Who would you nominate to be depicted as a portrait to serve as a representation of our institution?
- And, secondly, in what ways do you think that the art on the walls (however narrowly or broadly defined) classifies the institution?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
All the action begins at 9 AM, running until 5 PM when there will be a break for dinner and an opportunity to join in the Lexington Gallery Hop. Everyone will reconvene at 9 PM for the third annual Light-Up UK, where hundreds of strobes and flashlights will be used to illuminate a building on campus. (Here's an example of a related project.)
I do not believe there are any registration fees, so all of the events should be FREE.
Camera Obscura, Cyanotypes, Lighting Demos
Portfolio Design, Photography Careers, Book Making
Mamiya Digital Cameras, Profoto Lighting Equipment, Sekonic Light Meters
Kate Shannon, Greg Davis, Kristen Sykes, Rebecca Holbrook, Erica Sanko, Christina Gora, Mary Rezny
Midwest Photo Exchange, Mac-On-Campus
If my schedule allows, I'm planning on attending the event. Let me know if you'd like to join me, particularly students from ART 120: Photography and future students of ART 370: Portrait and Lighting. Hope to see you there!
And for further questions, contact Rob Dickies of the UK Photo Dept.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Photo courtesy of Gemini G.E.L., 2010