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December 16, 2007

artist response

So, I might as well kill two birds with one stone here and write about the two artist talks that I went to. The first one I saw was done by Lisa Lapinski. She is a sculptor, but also a conceptual artist meandering in and out of a bunch of different discourses relating to everything from Wittgenstein to Rilke. In large part because of this her talk seemed unnecessarily convoluted. Actually, it was the worst artist talk I have ever seen. Maybe it was because she was nervous, but it was hard to tell if any of her pseudo-intellectual babble was valuable at all. I am all for relating disparate realms to the visual arts; nevertheless, her work so often didn't seem to necessitate any of the readings she was making of her pieces. It is a shame too, because as far as I know from students who talked one-on-one with her, she was one of the most intelligent and well-spoken people they had ever met. I can't really write much else about her though because there really isn't that much to say.

The talk by Lowry Sims, however, was very valuable. I was lucky enough to have her as a professor this semester, and she has been so consistently well-versed and articulate in the range of art related topics she is discussing. Her presentation on the inter-relationships between art, politics, and the environment was so hyper-focused and yet multifaceted. If there were anything to critique it would be that she focused primarily on 20th century art in the Western hemisphere. Then again, that also made sense in the context of her presentation. It could be stated too as a counter to this, that she presented a lot of work too made by non-Western artists working within a Western art context. In any event, I always find her explanations important in that her ability to trace movements is extraordinarily tight and perceptive. Even though there are similar dialogues that may stretch across countries and generations, she is able to pull them all under one framework. If art historians have any value at all it is in the way they can perform taxonomic operations in order to guide perceptions in new ways. Sims is a master at this task.

December 12, 2007

visiting artist response - suzanne lacy

I thought I had posted this response earlier but can’t seem to find it on the blog so here we go again:

I went to see a presentation and talk by an artist named Suzanne Lacy. Lacy lives in Los Angeles California and currently holds a position in the Fine Arts Department at the Otis College of Art and Design. She specializes in performance art as well as installation. The two pieces that she discussed in depth during her talk were both performance art pieces of similar nature dealing with politics, racial and age discrimination, and identity.

“The Crystal Quilt? project consisted of over 400 elderly women, over the age of 60, and confronted the topic of how elderly people are seen to the public as well as how they view themselves. The women were arranged at various circular tables, dressed in similar colors and told to hold hands while they talked about their lives and accomplishments. After being able to talk to women in the same age demographic as one another, the women began to develop a more meaningful view of their own lives and were able to point out various important accomplishments and sacrifices that had been made throughout their lives. This performance was broadcast live on PBS which seemed to give it more significance.

“The Roof is on Fire? was another performance piece which was broadcast on various news channels including CNN. This project gathered around 200 teenagers, most of who came from the inner city, and arranged them in different automobiles parked on the roof of a parking structure. They were prompted to engage in dialogues regarding typical teenage life in the city and all the topics that they usually don’t get a chance to voice their side on (drugs, racial profiling, alcohol, teen pregnancy, etc.) The local police were also invited and seeing these two opposite forces coming together in a controlled environment without conflict was actually quite a powerful image. This piece to me seemed to have the biggest public impact.

Visiting Artist Responses

Lowery Stokes Sims
-Aesthetics or Utility-

I went to go see an artist presentation at the Weisman on December 5. The presenter was Lowery Stokes Sims. One of the first things that were brought to my attention is how many things she has done with her life, she has really been successful in her endeavors. The purpose of this presentation really focused around the environment and art, and how artists are begging to become the driving force behind some of the cultural and environmental change. The artwork that she showed centered on either involving artwork in nature or using artwork to show a statement about global warming. The piece that really stands out in my mind is the work where blue objects were placed on trees at the height that, if there was going to be a flood, the water would raise that high. The goal I assume behind this presentation was to open our eyes to how much influence artists really have on the global situation, and what we could do to make a difference. This coupled with the artwork that was shown really got that point across. However, honestly I was a tad disappointed with the presentation, even though I felt that it was really well done and of course she is an amazing person. One large problem for me is that we got to see none of Lowery's own artwork. Also it might just be me personally but I feel that the issue with global warming is just being taken out of proportion, everywhere I go I feel like people are talking about it. It just feels like were beating a dead horse.


Mathew Coolidge
-DvD recording of his presentaton at the Regis-

Coolidge is the founder of the Center for Land Use, which is based in California. Basically what this organization does is examine America’s landscape, and the things that people have done to that landscape, be it art or whatnot. It then shows the American public what our landscape and what we see is really like. “Take nature, add humans, observe results.? Coolidge goes on to talk about, how humans and people interpret the environment that they are surrounded in, and how your experience will be different depending your situations. The same area will be interpreted differently by different people because of their personal experience and how those experiences affect their views on life. One of the most interesting parts of the presentation for me personally was when he talked about the falling tree noise. In a forest in California a speaker has been set up so that each night it plays the sound of a falling tree. Reminded me of the saying, if a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one around to hear it does it make a noise? Going along with his speech, this is just my personal interpretation of this landscape and other people might have other opinions. Coolidge also talks about how he makes exhibits for people to be show in either museums or galleries that represents the surrounding environment.

Artist visit; Jim Denomie-"Brown-eyed Rabbit"

Jim Denomie is an Anishinaabe (that’s an Ojibwe Indian to some and a Chippewa to others) artist who hails from the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe by way of Chicago and Minneapolis, His latest exhibition “Brown-eyed Rabbit? is currently being shown at the Bockly Gallery in South Minneapolis. Jim paints in a very expressionistic style in which he uses vibrant colors and loose brush strokes to convey a satirical story about contempery Native Americans and their perceived role in a maladaptive society in which Identity has been comodified and molested. He uses historical narratives and tried clichés from pop culture to evoke questions about our Nation and the estrangement of marginalized cultures. He tries to tear down these perceptions of Native America to help construct the evolved Native identity. A lot of his works depict how popular culture conceives Native American as wild shirtless, feather wearing, horse riding, primative savages set in a modern environment. This relationship appears abserd when you see a naked Indian riding a horse with a bow and arrow on a golf course- but the absurd is what Jim is trying to depict; the perceived identity of native Americans to that of the actual contemporary identity.

Artist visit; David Feinberg- Voices to Vision

David Feinberg is a painter and an instructor here at the University of Minnesota. On Sunday December 9th there was a presentation of one of his projects “Voices to Vision? that involved Holocaust survivors and the use of art to help translate or transmit their stories of endurance. Five survivors; Joe Grosnacht, Murry Brandys, Sabrina Zimering, Lucy Smith, and Gina Kugler, along with Dr. Stephen Feinstein (the director of the Center of Holocaust and Genocide Studies) collaborated with David Fienberg in creating various pieces of art. These works ranged from traditional paintings, wood 3-dimensional constructions, and digital collage. Feinberg would construct a painting then apply drawings from the ‘survivors’ with-in his composition.
The survivors would first share their stories with David and his undergraduate students to create a dialogue in which a piece of art can be conceived, and transformed into a visual representation that reflects this new shared experience. Each piece is a true collaboration with the artist and the storyteller. It is the intension of this project to create a new way of seeing and experiencing issues of the Holocaust and other genocides to those who have little or no experiences of these terrible atrocities, thus “The experience from the past appearing in new visual forms attracts the curiosity and inquiry of the audience with the implication that the problem exists today and the dialogues are still active?.

Artist visit; David Feinberg- Voices to Vision

David Feinberg is a painter and an instructor here at the University of Minnesota. On Sunday December 9th there was a presentation of one of his projects “Voices to Vision? that involved Holocaust survivors and the use of art to help translate or transmit their stories of endurance. Five survivors; Joe Grosnacht, Murry Brandys, Sabrina Zimering, Lucy Smith, and Gina Kugler, along with Dr. Stephen Feinstein (the director of the Center of Holocaust and Genocide Studies) collaborated with David Fienberg in creating various pieces of art. These works ranged from traditional paintings, wood 3-dimensional constructions, and digital collage. Feinberg would construct a painting then apply drawings from the ‘survivors’ with-in his composition.
The survivors would first share their stories with David and his undergraduate students to create a dialogue in which a piece of art can be conceived, and transformed into a visual representation that reflects this new shared experience. Each piece is a true collaboration with the artist and the storyteller. It is the intension of this project to create a new way of seeing and experiencing issues of the Holocaust and other genocides to those who have little or no experiences of these terrible atrocities, thus “The experience from the past appearing in new visual forms attracts the curiosity and inquiry of the audience with the implication that the problem exists today and the dialogues are still active?.

Artist Talk #2

Last Wednesday I attended the lecture given by Lowery Stokes Sims at the Weisman Art Museum. The main subject of her talk was artwork that engaged environmental themes and promoted environmental consciousness. She showed the work of a variety of artists who use the environment in different ways through their art. Some of the work Sims showed, such as that of Andy Goldsworthy and Robert Smithson, is an example of a more literal use of the environment in art. Both directly engage the environment by physically altering the land. Much of the art that she presented was very experimental, ranging from constructed living units, to excavated city sites, to Antarctic expeditions.
In discussing these different artists and their work Sims showed the role artists are playing in raising awareness of environmental issues. Sims suggested that because artists have a mostly unrestricted and unregulated status in society they often play a very important role in activist movements. One interesting question she raised was whether or not the impact of environmentally conscious artwork will have a greater effect on the public than scientific research alone.
The talk was very interesting and I was glad to be able to hear Sims speak in person. The topic of discussion was very relevant and I wish we could have gotten into it a bit more thoroughly.

Artist Visit - Laura Melnich

I went to the Be Dazzled event at the WMA to go see some visiting artistes and I came across crop art or seed art. There were several pictures made entirely out of different types of seeds. I really liked it so I went to talk to the artist, Laura Melnich. I asked her how long it took to do each of the pictures and she pointed to one of them that was about 12 by 14 inches and told me it took her over a hundred hours to finish. She has a station set up with different types of seeds so you could make you own crop art. I got really into it and spent 2 hours there working with seeds. I learned a lot by just watching her make a sample for us to see. She place each seed down one at a time unlike my sprinkling technique. I put the glue there I wanted it, sprinkle the seeds on, and shake off the remains. She pieces had pictures of Curious George, Pop-Eyes, and several other cartoons figures, so I asked her if she made other works beside cartoon characters. She said no not really. There was a piece with a picture of Jesse Ventura, but besides that she mostly worked with political cartoons. Laura Melnich seems to have her own style and I really like the cartoon characters, but I would love to see what she could create without cartoons.

December 11, 2007

Artist Visit - Chris Dashke

Chris Dashke is an artist that works with drawings, paintings, and sculptures. For Dashke drawing and sculpture usually went together. He always makes a drawing of his sculptures, and he also makes sculptures from his drawings. For years he has been trying to find a way of combining his drawings with his sculptures. His brought some of his most recent works which were made out of large cable wires. He uses them in his sculptures but at the same time he used the cable as a line to create a drawing. As you can tell from my stop motion project with Legos I’m really interested in the differences between two dimensional and three dimensional planes, and what happens then the two comes together. I like his ideas of combining sculpture and drawings, but I was not really impressed by his works. They were quite simple and until he explains them they doesn’t do much to capture an audiences‘ attention. I think his work is still in an experimental phase, and at this point the work he is doing is mostly for himself. He has the right ideas but I think he is still developing a way to represent his idea in a meaningful way. I did enjoy some of his past works that he showed us in a slide show. He experimented with painting and I liked some of them, but I thought impressive works were his large scale sculptures.

Visiting artists

On December 5th, 2007 at the Weisman Lowery Sims did a presentaion on art works that had to to with being enviromentally friendly and global warming. During the presentation she showed many works of art that in some way or another had to do with the enviroment. The purpose of a lot of these artworks were to get people to think more about the enviroment than we do. The artworks that she talked about ranged in style a lot from paintings to earth works. An example of one of the earth works is a mountain that was man made and then had 10,000 trees planted on it arranged into the shape of a spiral. Also, there was a painting depicting a future in which a city was flooded over but life went on for wildlife like birds and jellyfish. Some of the artworks were just to get people to think about the enviroment on a whole while others were more specific and were about global warming. Like one were the artwork was marking around the city how high the water level would be if a future flood was to happen. Throughout the presentation though she showed a lot of artwork from other people she did not show her own.

On April 19th, 2007 Kelly Dobson did a presentation at the Regis. Her presentation was about machine therapy and how we connect with machines. Also, she talked about her current project. In her lecture she said that people can connect with machines more than just using them for there purpose. She found this out when she was walking by a construction zone and used the loud levels of noise to cover up her screaming. She then started to go back and make noises next to the machines and harmonize with them which made her feel conected to them. Because of this she believes that machines have unintentional affordances that affect us. In the lecture she talked about transitioinal objects or objects that we rely on for a need or comfort that we phase out of use when we no longer need them to fullfil that need or comfort. Along these lines she made something she called the sceam body. What it is is a bag that you can scream into and it absorbs the sound so it can't be heard and also records it so that you can realese it later. She hopes that it can be a transitional object that can help people be more comfortable with letting out a scream when they really feel like they need to. Other than through sound Kelly believes that machines might comunicate with us through electromagnetic communication since our heart makes an electromagnetic field that pulses according to our moods. Her current project is Umo, Amo. and Omo. These are little machines that are supposed to communicate with people through different means. Umo does through with sound by making a purring like noise. Amo does so by making electromagnetic fields. And Omo does so by breathing. Overall I found her theories and work to be very intriguing and would like to see how her current project works out.

C.M.J.'s Visiting Artist Response #2 - Sue Coe

The second visiting artist I am responding to is Sue Coe, who gave a presentation on January 25, 2007 at the Regis Center For Art at the University of Minnesota. Coe is one of the leading political artists in the world today, though her work covers many topics, and she has done drawings for many famous organizations, including one for the producers of The X-Files. Sue told many stories of her experiences with many of the people she has met, and she showed lots of different works that spanned different topics, including many blasting the Bush administration, with George W. Bush made to look as evil and incompetent as possible for the atrocities that many link him to (one picture depicted Bush defecating on people from his bare anus). Most of her work is very dark in its content, and she spent a lengthy period of time showing drawings she had done of women from prison who were infected with HIV, and how their lives were affected. She really brought to life the pain and torment of these people's lives. The other lengthy work she presented was of cruelty towards animals, including unethical treatment towards animals in slaughter houses, and the inhumane treatment towards sheep. Many of the pictures with animals were very graphic, which went along well with the theme of showing their torture and pain. Sue Coe's work was very good, and the way she draws things has a unique cartoonish seriousness about it, which makes it very captivating. She is obviously very passionate about her political beliefs, and she channels that well into her work. Her strong convictions and sheer talent make for some great art that speaks for itself. I enjoyed her lecture very much.

C.M.J.'s Visiting Artist Response #1 - Michael Krueger

The first visiting artist I am responding to is Michael Krueger, who came and gave a presentation on November 1, 2007, at the Regis Center For Art at the University of Minnesota. Krueger's work was very interesting. He talked about getting inspiration for his work from many strange images, amongst them children's cups and accessories. He does many interesting drawings and digital pieces of art, that have many recurring themes, such as blurring the natural world. He deals a lot with making people think about things in different ways by twisting preexisting images around or juxtaposing them with other images to make people reexamine them and their ideas. Some examples are his drawing of Thomas Jefferson (who was a big shopper back in his day) pushing a modern day shopping cart, bringing about ideas one wouldn't normally associate with either image by itself. Another example is superimposing an image of a soldier in war over an image of Alice Cooper that Krueger drew when he was in high school, to show what he might have doodled back in high school if he were to think about Alice Cooper as the big patriot which Cooper apparently is in real life. Krueger is also interested in presenting images that have nonspecific moods and ideas that people can interpret themselves. I really liked Krueger's work because it dealt with bringing together many things that people don't normally think could go together, and then making something special out of them, which is something I really admire and think is terrific. Overall, I felt his lecture was good, and he clearly has a personal connection with his work that really shows through. His use of computer technology in some of his work, too, I thought was really neat to see.

Visiting artists

Nikki S Lee is a Korean photographer who visited the University in October of this year. She specializes in the influence of subcultures in our society and depicts them with photography. Ms. Lee lived in Korea until she was twenty four years old, she states that this is one of the greatest assets to her work. While living in Korea she did not see much variance and diversity in the people around her. When she moved to New York she saw so many people living differently and she found it interesting. She became the different sup cultures to better understand them. When she had emerged herself in every aspect of the culture she would start to document them with photography. Her complete emergence in the culture really allowed her to grasp the important facets of the group. In every photo she really looked like she belonged in the setting and attached herself to the people around her.

Mathew Coolidge is a photographer who is focuses on land art. To him the events of the United States have left many marks on it. Many of his photographs are of actual artist’s pieces where a landscape or large object was used as a medium. Other pieces were of industrial or human influenced land. The pieces showed how the people and economic situations of the area influenced the sight of the land. In many cases his peaces were not just captured on film but also he would set up tours or exhibits at the locations to encase the medium. His Greenland excursion captured the artifacts of the cold war and showed them in an almost documentary format, however it still showed through as art from the way it was shot.

December 9, 2007

Lowery Stokes Sims Visiting Artist Lecture

I went to see Lowery Stokes Sims give a lecture on Wednesday, December 5th at Weisman Art Museum. The first thing I realized was how many things this woman has done and how much she has accomplished by the intro done by TJ. It was nearly five minutes long! I could tell right away that Ms. Sims is a very important person in art.

Her main theme throughout the evening was on global warming and how we, as artists, can help the environment. She showed many, many different pieces, all done by different artists, that have to do with global warming or are environmentally conscious. I was very surprised that the lecture was all about global warming. She told us how artists have been at the forefront of global warming and how they have tried to make the public aware of it through use of their artwork. For example, one artist put these little, round, mirror-like objects all around a town and posted them about six feet off the ground. She posted them on trees, telephone poles, and the sides of buildings. It was supposed to be a reminder about a flood that could possibly happen, and if it does happen, the town would be under water up to the level of these mirrors.

Ms. Sims' lecture was fairly interesting, but I found it very odd that she didn't show any of her own artwork. She only showed art done by others. I have to admit I was disappointed because I really wanted to see artwork done by Lowery, especially after hearing her introduction and seeing how accomplished she is in the art world. The lecture wasn't bad, but I just wish she would have shown some of her own art along with the pieces done by others.

December 3, 2007

David Rokeby

http://homepage.mac.com/davidrokeby/home.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMIjxnNllMA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ai49w7QPPY


November 26, 2007

Visiting Artist Summary

I recently went to see William Jackson Rushing III at the Weisman Art Museum. He spoke mostly on modern Native American art as well as incorporated some of its history and interpretations on some of the art that is presently being displayed at the actual museum. W. Jackson Rushing has a PHD in art history from the University of Texas and is an accredited speaker around the nation on the subject of Native American art. Native American art has an important place in history and stems from a wide variety of geographical areas. Rushing stressed the importance of regionalism and how the specific art can be a big factor in deciding which region the piece was created in. A lot of the works he talked about came from the west coast area and even Alaska, Canada, and Hawaii.

The specific pieces ranged from baskets, bowls, paddles, weapons, tools, masks, and clothing. The pieces themselves are extremely fragile, abstract, and were very time-consuming to make. One piece in particular was very spiritual, and reflected the artist’s dreams in the very details of the piece. Rushing, in his lecture, included topics on the future of art and how it has lived on to this day. He said that Native American art is growing to this day. It has grown strong incorporating media and technology. On this note, he also mentioned that Native American art has evolved over the years through innovation and that without it, it would have become extinct by now.

As for the presentation, it was extremely boring. Although the art was interesting, Rushing was not. He wore an obvious brown toupee that did not match with his grey beard. He read his entire presentation from a sheet of paper. He rarely deviated from his rehearsed rhetoric and used big words to try to make himself sound intellectual, almost arrogant, on the subject. The lady next to me fell asleep.

November 18, 2007

Visiting Artist- Stacy Levy

Stacy Levy creates mostly public art. She works with nature and loves it, because art can change the condition of the site that she is working on, and also because she believes that since she uses landscapes, her pieces can only improve with time. She explains that displaying public art can look different based on where the viewer is standing. She addresses the fact that it's hard to do what you want without alot of money. When collaberating with nature, she thinks it is important to make prototypes in order to see how the piece works with the site. Another thing that really demonstrated her dedication was that she tries to stay at the sites that she works with for twenty-four hours to see an entire sun cycle and tries to incorporate the way shadows fall in her work. What she finds annoying is that most of the time, the people who seek her out to incorporate her work in a particular area, want just one piece stuck in a random spot. This bothers her because when her main goal is to improve the condition of a particular site, she thinks that in most cases, the piece should be throughout the entire site. A good example of one of these times, is when she was doing a piece to improve the water drainage system in a parking lot. It is near impossible to create something like that, that sits in only one place and doesn't work troughout the entire parking lot.

My personal favorite piece that Stacy Levy created is titled River Eyelash. She painted three thousand buoys and stranded them together with pink rope making forty-two strands of buoys that were four hundred by one hundred feet. This piece was displayed in Pirrsburgh, PA in Point State Park. I like this piece because what resulted was something entirely unanticipated, which was a representation of wave currants and wave action. I also really like it because I think it is fun and colorful. People can see this piece from all different angles, even from the highway. As an added reward, Levy incorporated audio to the piece, benefited by those who actually got up close to River Eyelash. Stacy Levy really helped me to further understand public art from an artist's perspective.

River Eyelash

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

November 14, 2007

Visiting Artist: Michael Krueger

I went to see Michael Krueger speak the Thursday before last, in Regis. Krueger showed works ranging over a variety of mediums, including, photography, printmaking and drawing. He showed us a sort of time line of the progression of his art; most of the more recent pieces were done using printmaking techniques. In his work he showed an interest in the mixing of contradictory ideas and the recombination of past with present. For instance some of his photographic work depicted the re-animation of inanimate objects such as cups, and pieces of fruit with different facial expressions. This he described as his fascination with the blurring of the “natural? world with “our? world. In some of his drawn pieces he took images of historical figures out of context by placing them next to modern objects, creating a framework for the reconsideration of history from a contemporary perspective. Out of the work that Krueger showed some of the pieces I enjoyed the most were the recent prints he has been working on. These are influenced by his own past, in producing them he works in collaboration with his past self, as he would put it. To compose these he took images from old high school notebooks where he doodled or wrote and recombined these previous life images with new imagery that relates to this past identity. A lot of Krueger’s work deals with history, even these are used to show history through identity. I got a first hand look at some of these prints a few days before this presentation when he spoke to my printmaking class. His process of re-creating the past down to very minute details such as a tear or a fold in the paper, but also manipulating that past, is really intriguing to me. Overall I think he was producing some really beautiful, content rich images, and if nothing else he seemed like a very interesting person.

November 12, 2007

Response to Lisa Lapinsky (Sculpture)

Lisa Lapinski, a sculptor based in L.A., provided an interesting summary of her work and inspirations during her lecture last week. While difficult to understand Lapinsky’s lecture, it was interesting to view past projects and listen to Lapinsky’s explanations of her work.
The lecture as a whole seemed unprepared and scattered. Lapinsky did not give an introduction to herself or her work, but rather showed some examples of her sculptures in no particular order, interwoven between humorous but irrelevant reviews she wrote of other artists work and examples of other work she liked or was inspired by. When she did discuss her own work, she limited her comments to just saying the title of the work and showing a slide. While I don’t doubt that Lapinsky is a talented artist, I, along with many other students, walked out of the lecture with a very blurry recap of what it is Lapinsky actually produces.
Hearing about the variety of inspiration for Lapinsky was interesting. Lisa cited some of her inspirations for sculpture as being a Farmer’s Union shrine her friend’s mother made out of the friends’ artwork, paintings of women on screens in L.A., and Shaker furniture. One sculpture Lapinsky discussed in detail was titled “NightStand.? Lapinsky made the sculpture out of wood after taking a furniture making class, and she replaced Shaker motifs with the art deco symbols for each motif. This was interesting to me, and I would have liked to hear more about it.
Lapinsky also shared an idea she has for a future sculpture. She became inspired after learning more about Rambo, a symbolist poet who wanted to move to a new town, but first had to learn several trades. Lapinsky would like to make a sculpture that reflects all of these trades, such as a well-digger and a furniture maker.
Although Lapinsky’s lecture was very scattered, it is clear that she is intelligent. Lapinsky has a background in philosophy, and judging only from the elaborate titles of most of her pieces, the philosophy background often plays into her sculptures.

November 6, 2007

Michael Krueger-Visting Artist

I went to listen to Michael Krueger talk about his art on Thursday, November 1st at the Regis Center for Art. He showed all sorts of pieces he's been doing over the years, and also kind of how he has progressed as an artist. I really liked how he had saved his old high school notebooks with drawings in them he made during class and showed them to us. They were very interesting: usually about some death-metal band or just wierd, crazy demons or something like that. Aside from that he talked about how he likes to use a lot of symmetry in his drawings. He had many drawings that were some sort of desert landscape, and they were all perfectly symmetrical right down to every little rock on the ground or every ray of sun in the sky. He also had many drawings of just a person in the middle of a page, the way the were gesturing, or oriented, was also symmetrical. Mr. Krueger also talked about how he likes the idea of inanimate objects with faces, and he showed us many different cups and dishes that had faces on them. He also had a bunch of fruit figurines that had faces. He said that a lot of time in his art, he likes to think that inanimate objects like these come alive when you're not looking, and that he like the idea of things like that to be personified. Overall I enjoyed the presentation a lot. I liked how he showed many, many different pieces he made and it was a lot better than I expected it to be.

October 25, 2007

Visiting Artist: Nikki S. Lee

Nikki S. Lee is a contemporary Korean photographer who focuses her work on various subcultures and demographics.
She has done various projects over the past 10 years, each of which takes months of preparation. When she is preparing for a project, she takes a particular group of people, and studies the way they walk, talk, dress, interact, etc.. After extensive preparation, she goes to where she can find this particular group of people and more or less becomes one of them. She then takes photographs of herself within the group. Examples of some of her projects include the punk project, hip hop project, hispanic project, lesbian project, drag queen project, senior project, ohio (hillbilly) project, korean schoolgirl project, tourist project, skater project, and exotic dancer project. I found it very interesting how in-depth her preparations for these projects are; for example, she went to the tanning salon 3 times a week for several months to prepare for the hip hop/african american project. href="http://www.tonkonow.com/lee.html">http://www.tonkonow.com/lee.html is a site to see some of her work. I definitely found her work to be extremely interesting. Usually, a person believe he or she has no choice in what social group they fall into. Nikki S. Lee's work raises interesting questions about if we are able to a certain extent to choose our social group, rather than have our social group choose us. Her work also gets the viewer to think about different of definitions of the word "identity", and how identity ties into the people we associate with.

October 22, 2007

Nikki S. Lee 18 October 2007

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Response to Nikki S. Lee

Nikki S. Lee is a “Korean Korean? photographer and filmmaker, rather then “Korean America,? as she was born in Korea rather than America. She was quick to point out her background, as she feels it is a distinguishable factor of her work. She noted that in America there are several different cultures, whereas in Korea she only grew up around the Korean culture, until she moved to America at 24 years old. Her background strongly influenced her work on identity seeking and sub-cultures.
Lee moved to New York with initial intentions of becoming a fashion photographer. She completed a fine arts degree in photography and started work, only to find out that she hated the fashion world. She started to do her own work on the side, as she had an interest in documentaries. Lee had a specific interest in identities, and pointed out that she believes artists are constantly searching for identity. I agree with this statement to some extent, because it seems that people that are eager to define themselves as artists have also already defined the sub-culture they fall into. As Lee was interested in how people choose their cultures, she started a project where she immersed herself into a different culture and changed the way she looked to fit in, then photographed herself. The different groups she weaved herself into over the course of her project were punks, swingers, young-professionals, tourists, hip-hop, exotic dancers, lesbians, drag queens, skateboarders, white-trash, Hispanic, and young-Japanese people.
This project was extremely interesting to me because of how well she fit into each culture by changing her image. She tanned her skin to look more like the African-American girls in the hip-hop culture, died her hair blond to fit in with the “white trash,? and lost weight to get work as an exotic dancer. The project was very impressive. Other projects she discussed were similar- an examination of the face and how it changes, as well as how a person’s identity changes with each relationship they are in.
Overall I was very impressed with Lee’s work, because it offered a genuine, fresh perspective. I also liked her work because it reflected her lifestyle and showed her attachment to her work, as well as her genuine interest in her own identity.

September 23, 2007

Lowery Stokes Sims Artist Visit

Artist Visit: Lowery Stokes Sims
September 19th, 2007

Lowery Stokes Sims talked mainly about the culture in the United States and the great amount of time and energy we spend thinking about color and races of people. One comment that impacted me was when she said people take “on a desirable ‘covering’ and jettison it when it is convenient.? I agree with Miss Sims on this issue whole-heartedly. I have seen this numerous times in my life. Mostly I have seen this in social situation where someone will act a certain way to assimilate to one group of people and then when they need to change for the next situation. This is simply a way top appease more people without ever fully embracing their our personality.

Another of Miss Sims comments that was interesting was that the world is “flattening economically but not interpersonally.? This was referring to the book The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman. His main focus was on the progression of the world economy. Miss Stokes’ theory is that the world is “flattening? economically but we still have work to do when it comes to interpersonal issues. In my eyes this makes perfect sense. It is clear from the ease of international business that we have flattened the world in the economic sense. However, we have not done as well when we look at social issues. Until there is no longer racism and bigotry among people our society will not progress. For instance, there are still people that see someone from the Middle East and think they are a terrorist. This kind of narrow-mindedness will continue to hold back our society.

September 20, 2007

Visiting artist: Edgar Heap of Birds

Edgar Heap of Birds is a contemporary Native American artist, who often visits and speaks to universities across the country about his art. I found his art to be a link between the history of the Native American people, and the contemporary world; in other words, he has a way of making our society aware of the history of what happened to the Native Americans. For this reason, most of his art is public art, in order to spread his message to the general American population.
He works with a variety of media, but one medium that seems very prominent in his work is simple text on aluminum signs. One of his more well known works was "Building Minnesota", in which forty aluminum signs were lined up down the bank of the Mississippi River, with words in bright red lettering honoring the names of forty Native Americans who were executed by order of Abraham Lincoln. I found his works very frequently intend to honor the dead. His work is also very controversial, both among white people and traditional Native Americans. For example, one of his works called "Mission Gifts" was 30 signs placed on city buses in California, with text in red lettering reading "Syphilis, Small Pox, Scarlet Fever, Forced Baptisms, Mission Gifts-Ending Native Lives". Another controversial aspect of his work that I found interesting was that in order to get the support from traditional Native American Leaders, he must follow strict rules of what his art can and cannot be. For instance, his work must not involve anything related to traditional Native American ceremonies, because it would be blasphemy to profit from his own cultural ceremonies.
Overall, I really enjoyed learning about Edgar Heap of Birds' art, because I find it so different from everyday modern art. He has a unique ability to modernize traditional Native American Art, and spread his message to the public. His art also definitely has a way of getting a white audience to see history through a different perspective.