December 17, 2008

Shepard Fairey

Hope Obama.jpg
Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey is a contemporary graphic artist from Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in creating stickers, posters, and silk screen tee shirts with bold and many times political images. Fairey was born and raised in South Carolina. Fairey was into main stream sports like soccer and basketball when he was a child, until some of his friends started skateboarding. A friend of his left his skateboard over at Fairey's house, and from then on he was addicted to skateboarding and the new skateboarding scene. He started making stencils, stickers, and simple graphics for screen print t-shirts for him and his skateboarding buddies during high school. One of his friends saw a picture of Andre the Giant in a magazine and thought it would make a cool stencil/sticker so he told Shepard to make a sticker out of it. Thus the infamous “Andre the Giant has a Posse� sticker was born. This is the first major thing that Shepard did that people started to recognize, and he began making print screen tees and posters of his Andre the Giant stencil and put them up all over the city. The Andre the Giant face was later changed into the Obey stencil that many millions now recognize on posters, tagged on walls, and on t-shirts.
Shepard Fairey is heavily influenced by punk rock and the skateboarding scene in his area and all over. He grew up on listening to punk rock and skateboarding with his friends and it is seen in his artwork. Fairey gets many of his ideas from old propaganda posters from the World War/ World War II era, posters of famous dictators and tyrannical leaders, and other propaganda type artwork done during war time and election time. A recent work of his that is very famous is the colored stencil of Barack Obama's face which reads “HOPE� underneath the stencil of his face, which can be seen on posters, stickers and t-shirts all over the place. Fairey says that he makes art to make people question things such as politics, government policies, and the power of money, so he travels the world putting up posters and tagging walls with his artwork. For this, Shepard Fairey is regarded by many as “The Godfather of Modern Street Art�. Another artist who is seen in this light, and has a large influence on Fairey, is the British street artist known as Banksy.
Shepard Fairey's artwork is not very similar to any of the artists we learned about in class, but the way in which he has changed his outlook and artistic process is somewhat similar to that of Thomas Kinkaid. The way they produce art is similar because Kinkaid mass produces art for the masses so that many people can enjoy and own his art. Shepard also mass produces his artwork through t-shirts, posters, stickers, books, buttons, album artwork, and he now even has his own clothing company called “Obey�. Some people call Shepard Fairey a sellout for this reason, he has used his artwork to turn massive profit and now it seems like the underground nature and purpose of his artwork, and the underlying message of his artwork even, is somewhat lost because it is now massively popular and artwork seems like that of a corporation.
I would definitely recommend the artwork of Shepard Fairey to a friend, because I really enjoy his style of art and the culture behind all of his work. I would recommend to friend to check out the modern street art scene, and also investigate into the artwork of Banksy. Shepard Fairey's artwork has a large influence on my own artwork, as I have tried to get away from merely realistically recreating an image and have tried to get more to the stylistic representation of artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy.

December 11, 2008

Shepard Fairey


Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey is a contemporary graphic artist from Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in creating stickers, posters, and silk screen tee shirts with bold and many times political images. Fairey was born and raised in South Carolina. Fairey was into main stream sports like soccer and basketball when he was a child, until some of his friends started skateboarding. A friend of his left his skateboard over at Fairey's house, and from then on he was addicted to skateboarding and the new skateboarding scene. He started making stencils, stickers, and simple graphics for screen print t-shirts for him and his skateboarding buddies during high school. One of his friends saw a picture of Andre the Giant in a magazine and thought it would make a cool stencil/sticker so he told Shepard to make a sticker out of it. Thus the infamous “Andre the Giant has a Posse� sticker was born. This is the first major thing that Shepard did that people started to recognize, and he began making print screen tees and posters of his Andre the Giant stencil and put them up all over the city. The Andre the Giant face was later changed into the Obey stencil that many millions now recognize on posters, tagged on walls, and on t-shirts.
Shepard Fairey is heavily influenced by punk rock and the skateboarding scene in his area and all over. He grew up on listening to punk rock and skateboarding with his friends and it is seen in his artwork. Fairey gets many of his ideas from old propaganda posters from the World War/ World War II era, posters of famous dictators and tyrannical leaders, and other propaganda type artwork done during war time and election time. A recent work of his that is very famous is the colored stencil of Barack Obama's face which reads “HOPE� underneath the stencil of his face, which can be seen on posters, stickers and t-shirts all over the place. Fairey says that he makes art to make people question things such as politics, government policies, and the power of money, so he travels the world putting up posters and tagging walls with his artwork. For this, Shepard Fairey is regarded by many as “The Godfather of Modern Street Art�. Another artist who is seen in this light, and has a large influence on Fairey, is the British street artist known as Banksy.
Shepard Fairey's artwork is not very similar to any of the artists we learned about in class, but the way in which he has changed his outlook and artistic process is somewhat similar to that of Thomas Kinkaid. The way they produce art is similar because Kinkaid mass produces art for the masses so that many people can enjoy and own his art. Shepard also mass produces his artwork through t-shirts, posters, stickers, books, buttons, album artwork, and he now even has his own clothing company called “Obey�. Some people call Shepard Fairey a sellout for this reason, he has used his artwork to turn massive profit and now it seems like the underground nature and purpose of his artwork, and the underlying message of his artwork even, is somewhat lost because it is now massively popular and artwork seems like that of a corporation.
I would definitely recommend the artwork of Shepard Fairey to a friend, because I really enjoy his style of art and the culture behind all of his work. I would recommend to friend to check out the modern street art scene, and also investigate into the artwork of Banksy. Shepard Fairey's artwork has a large influence on my own artwork, as I have tried to get away from merely realistically recreating an image and have tried to get more to the stylistic representation of artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy.

December 10, 2008

William Kentridge

felixcrying.jpg
image: "felix crying"

by John Kurczewski

The artist, William Kentridge is from South Africa. He works in video and drawing mediums primarily, usually mixing the two, as in his relatively well-known “Felix in Exile,� which can be found on Youtube along with other videos of his. He has also produced tapestries with drawings on them, though the bulk of his projects are video animations of sorts. The ‘classic’ Kentridge work is a video with animation that, unlike traditional cell-based animations, show the drawing process, as Kentridge makes visible erasures on the same drawing, then redraws the figures, moving the action along in his films.
Most of Kentridge’s work deals with political and social themes, coming often from a highly personal point of view. Coming from a tumultuous political area, he he is inspired by the personal struggles of people in this setting, and being a white man from South Africa shapes his viewpoint. Perhaps his most famous series of films are centered around two semi-autobiographical characters, Soho Eckstein, an “avaricious businessman,� and Felix Teitlebaum, the “romantic and somewhat lost soul.� In these pieces especially, it doesn’t seem that he is trying to entertain so much as take the viewer deep inside some mental state. He uses strong visual symbols in his pieces, and reality doesn’t contain the sometimes fantastic things that happen to characters in his films. It does seem he’s motivating us to see the world differently, as a sad but mystical place where emotions kind of reign supreme. There is also quite an existentialist aspect to his work, most of which is focuses around the travails of the individual in the context of an oppressive socirty/environment.
Compared to Lorna Simpson, an artist discussed in class who also works in film, Kentridge is quite the other side of the spectrum. Firstly, Simpson background is is photography rather than drawing, which may be part of the reason why her films feel more theatrical. Also, Simpson’s movies do not deal with history, at least in such a strong way as Kentridge. His work is deeply rooted n the history of his region, political history especially, and the same can not be said for Simpson. Simpson’s work is more geared toward a gallery space than a single screen, as she has several installation-type pieces that create a sense of environment.
I would definitely tell a friend about William Kentridge, I find his work compelling, and perhaps more importantly, I really enjoy his aesthetics. His drawings look good to me, and his films can be disturbing, but are excellent. He is artist that clearly thinks about his work a lot, and about life a lot, but also that works a lot, which I admire and which shows in his work.

December 3, 2008

“Hindsight is Always 20/20� and “What do you say, America?� – Tameer Mady

Continue reading "“Hindsight is Always 20/20â€? and “What do you say, America?â€? – Tameer Mady" »

Hindsight is Always 20/20

Hindsight Is Always 20/20 is a one-person exhibition by R. Luke DuBois with one artwork for each president of the United States, totaling 43 prints. Each piece is a print of a Snellen-style eye chart, but instead of random letters, the chart is composed of words from each president’s State of the Union address. Words that are commonly used in everyday speech such as “I, the, am, are,� etc. are taken out, and the words are ordered by the frequency of their use in the address. The prints are presented in chronological order by president, wrapping around the room and a freestanding wall.

As I went around the exhibit, I began to compare each piece to the next. I found it interesting to try to pick out the style of each president’s address according to the words they used most. They also seemed to give snapshots of the United States at the point in time at which the address was made. It was also intriguing to compare the first print (that of George Washington) with the last (that of George W. Bush). I believe that one objective of the exhibit is to display the change in the state of our country under each president. Another focus of the exhibit may be to highlight the use of catchphrases and words manipulated by the government and the press. The first word is the largest and is centered, catching the audience’s eye and demanding a person’s attention. The next two are smaller and certainly less impressive, and anything after that becomes a jumble that most can’t be bothered to read. This demonstrates how most speeches given nowadays carry all their importance in a few repeated words that are used to intimidate or otherwise influence their audiences.

The last work, which used George W. Bush’s State of the Union address, was the most interesting to me. The first and largest word – and thus the most frequently used in the speech – was “terror,� a word that America has gotten very used to hearing. I was surprised to realize that Bush has been coining this word ever since his State of the Union address, and not just since the attacks on September 11th.

I would suggest this exhibit to a friend, because it gives a different perspective on the progress of our country as well as all 43 of our presidents. It offers clips of history that can be viewed both chronologically and comparatively.

George Washington:

Ronald Reagan:

Emily Burchell Gallery Visit Assignment

The exhibition I went to was "Millions of Innocent Accidents" by Hardland/Heartland and "Unconventional Wisdom" by Mike Elko and Ruthann Godollei at the MEAP Galleries, Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
From my gatherings, the exhibition was a group exhibition. It was titled by one person but more than one name appeared in the works throughout the entire exhibition. The media which were used were paints, newspapers, digital imaging and screen printing, charcoal, household objects, random materials and objects not specified, sound systems, wood, and visual projectors/TV's. The exhibition was arranged sort of in a random order but most of the artists were grouped together by similar authors.

The main theme which I gathered from the exhibit was graphic arts combined with a black humor featuring a combination of war, politics, corruption, various countries, and American disasters.
It was designed to showcase the work of individual artists while at the same time displaying a common idea presented in each section of the exhibit, which I talked about above.

Ruthann Godollei - Earplugs, 2000 Etching with Screenprint. An image showed an green iPod set in a black and white background. The screen of the iPod displayed: "podcasts-Pretend there's now war, stick it in your ear"...which then showed the headphones which were attached to the iPod as the main subject of the message which engaged the viewer. I believe that the artist was inspired by the economy and politics of the 21st century.

I would tell my friend that the exhibition is visually loud and has various audio sounds as well to accompany the visual images. Somewhat striking, not very easy to describe, it's better to be seen in person to fully understand the concept of the artist and receive the full experience. The concept contains various alternative views and is playful with serious issues regarding the world today. Gave the sense that Americans are oblivious and uninformed with a dramatic effect. I also thought it was kind of scary and didn't really enjoy that part of the viewing. Intimidating is what I might call it. Hard concepts to understand and fairly abstract.

Journey to Nowhere Kate Monson

Kate Monson
I visited the exhibit, Journey to Nowhere at the Walker Art Center in October.
1. Briefly describe the exhibition.
This was a group exhibition. There were many different artists represented in this exhibition. There were only nine pieces of art included. To me that doesn’t seem like very many. It was a small area in the Walker that consisted of two rooms. The first room included artwork like paintings and two sculptures in the middle on the floor, and the second room was the media room with a film playing. Some materials used to create the art include film, paper, stone, and paint.
2. Identify and describe a main theme of the exhibition.
The themes represented in the artwork in Journey to Nowhere literally and symbolically explore far-off places. The pieces of art represented fault lines, arctic places, and the earth’s elements all through different types of ideas. There was a rock in the middle of the floor; it really pulled the whole exhibit together and tied the themes together. Pierre Huygne’s film, A Journey That Wasn’t was one of the center pieces of the exhibit. There were individual pieces all around the exhibit.
3. Pick one specific work in the exhibition.
One piece of art that really stuck out to me was a piece done by Udomsak Krisanamis Thai. He was born in 1966. The art is named How Deep is the Ocean? He created it in 1998. This art is a collage done on fabric. Thai used ink and printed paper. The collage is mostly blue with a lot of red and orange dots. It is a very large piece of art. Thai was inspired from the ocean.
4. Would you tell a friend about this exhibiton?
I would let whoever visits this exhibition know that it is smaller than I expected. The art was interesting, but the exhibit overall didn’t appeal to me. It was very good, but not amazing. I would recommend the film though. I got lost in it as I sat and watched it. I would definitely recommend visiting the Walker though, especially the sculpture garden. I have been there many times and I love it everytime.

Sam Fuentes - Gallery Visit

The ‘Waterborne’ exhibit in the Katherine E. Nash gallery was a fine culmination of watercolor works from artists around (predominantly) the Midwest, including a few specially selected from the Weisman collection. A few dozen artists were featured with generally a handful of works from each, ranging from one to five-or-so paintings. All of the paintings were watercolor works, save for a few acrylic paintings by Karen Knutson as juxtaposition to her noted inspiration John Salminen, whose works were featured prominently on the same wall. Besides the proximity of these two artists, there left no real emphasis on the arrangement of the rest of the works in the gallery, since each group of artist’s works were completely independent of the next. I personally enjoyed the ability to wander aimlessly from frame to frame without guilt. The exhibit was mostly on canvas, mostly framed, and displayed a nice dialogue between opaque versus translucent paints.

Each painting need only be a watercolor, and the subjects of each piece were a world of variability. From bizarre abstractions of tangled lines and angry colors, to a soft and clear depiction of a houseboat on a sunlit afternoon, the paintings were of everything worth painting. One of my favorites was a work by James Boyd-Brent entitled “Tired Day, Grand and Still.� It was a collage of translucent hues illustrating a quiet woodland bay, on a lake at sunset, seemingly untouched except for the ghosted outlines of two relaxed human figures in the foreground. The trails of preliminary pencil sketches delineate the natural flow of colors, from the tree line to the lake, and the two figures sprawling across the rocks. And the two figures are the only parts of the work not given much emphasis at all, and hardly even any color beyond the pencil sketch and the bleeding from the hues around them. There is a variety of strokes featured, from the miniscule confetti storm of colors for the ripples in the water, to the ghostly light stains in the sky, which seem to be more spilled than painted. James Boyd-Brent stated his appreciation of watercolors for their permanence on the medium. They cannot be erased, they are irreversible. For his works in the Nash Gallery, he described his inspiration; “That sense of nature reflecting mood and feeling, and an expression of a state of being in the work itself, can emerge when working quite quickly and directly in watercolor.�

I would strongly recommend a visit the ‘Waterborne’ exhibit. As a matter of fact, I already have – to my overstressed mother, who could use some time to look at something pretty. I had never considered much the world of watercolor art, but after walking through the Nash gallery, I’ve come to realize the simplicity and beauty of it. It’s permanence is a characteristic to be respected, and requires much skill and careful craftsmanship. It’s a medium that you do not have complete control of. It’s something to interact with and play to your liking. There is a world of difference between your choice of translucent versus opaque hues, but both require the same care and consideration in each stroke. So for those of my friends who didn’t already know that, I would recommend a walk through ‘Waterborne.’

Emily Kippels - Lee Friedlander

On Saturday, September 13th I went to see the Lee Friedlander photography exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It was a collection of Friedlander’s personal work outside of his career as a jazz musician photographer. In the entrance you were greeted with stunning color photographs of the faces of these musicians, some taken from strange and unflattering perspectives. However, the vast majority of his photographs, over 500 in total, were taken with a 35mm camera and black and white film to capture what was described as “the American social landscape.�

Throughout Friedlander’s work, there are themes of Americanism and the mundane, and the shifting, intimate, behind-the-scenes perspective. My first impression of his collection was that many of the images seemed accidental. Some were taken from strange angles, or captured the backs of heads. Some of his images seemed sloppy and unprofessional, like the self-portraits he took in bed, or the reflections of himself in store windows.

Friedlander does an excellent job of capturing experience in the way that you would see them in person, which gives them a special advantage in connecting with the viewer. His images capture fleeting moments and often evoke stronger emotion than a posed portrait would have. Friedlander clearly enjoys capturing people in their own environment as was displayed in his images of people working at the office in their desks. There is a humor in these photographs, which is expressed through the awkward and intrusive positioning of the camera. His humor is also reflected in his self-portraits, all of which are unflattering and messy. One of my favorite images of his is titled “California�, taken in 1997, and one of his many self-portraits. The photograph was intentionally taken with bush branches between the camera and himself. His photographs don’t seem to relay a specific message, only to capture spontaneous moments and to make images from strange angles and perspectives to create more inventive, imaginative photographs.

California - Lee Friedlander.jpg
Title: California
Work Date: 1997
Medium: gelatin silver print

Seeing this exhibit gave me valuable insight into the real-life production of a working photographer, and motivated me to get out there and start taking some pictures. All too often I am frustrated by my desire for perfectly composed pictures, and Friedlander’s collection has given me the confidence to take more spontaneous and playful photographs. I would definitely recommend his exhibition to a friend.

Matt Carlson's Gallery Visit

Matt Carlson’s visit to the Weisman:

Hindsight is Always 20/20
I was unable to determine the artist or artists who made this exhibit. If there were any clear labels denoting the artist name, I missed them. I only noted the names of notable world figures at the bottom of each piece. There were roughly 40-50 framed prints that made up the exhibit. The prints consisted of black text and a high quality, framed paper board. The individual works were organized sequentially along the walls.

The theme was very modern war oriented. Each work, essentially, consisted of one large word at the top of the poster. For example some of the words were: “SLAVERY,� “SOVIET� and “NUCLEAR.� Different, yet related words then followed in rows, decreasing in size, much like a doctor’s eye chart. This was clearly the inspiration for the name of the exhibit. In terms of the theme or message the artist wanted to convey, I suppose that they are saying it is easy to recognize the actions and mistakes a nation takes in the course of its existence.

I chose not to pick one work to examine, because they were all far too similar and reading them all would have taken far too much time. However, the most interesting thing, I found, was the organization of the exhibit. The exhibit wrapped around and jumped from several walls. To establish the intended flow the view should follow, there were arrows on the wall. This gave me a cool feeling of knowing where I was “supposed� to look next. The last panel, entitled “DEMOCRACY� had an arrow pointing straight up. I looked up, and then felt silly, however it made me think a little. Why would the word “democracy� be the last word in the line of these relatively negative words and why is there an arrow pointing up? It was a nice way to conclude the exhibit and thought provoking.

I suppose I would recommend this exhibit to a friend, given its strange and thought provoking nature.

What Do YOU Say, America?
This exhibit was a little strange in that the work was all previously published. It was a gathering of WWII era posters. There were various artists that contributed to the exhibit, most of them being unknown, but some as notable as Norman Rockwell. There were about 30 framed posters put on the walls in no particular fashion.

I think the theme of the work was to counter or fight against the recent antipatriotism we’ve seen in the US. All Americans support America, I would hope, but at this time in our nation’s history, there are many clashing ideas and conflict. I think this look back into the past, when everyone was in on the “good fight,� may be an attempt to unify and embrace modern America. I say this because off of the pieces in the exhibit were very positive. Of course they were propaganda, but nevertheless, it was refreshing to read and view positive images of our country.

The one work I liked best in the entire exhibit consisted of four panels of posters that had a related theme. The text on each poster read: “This man is your friend, he fights for freedom.� Then on each poster there was an image of a foreign, although allied soldier including Dutch, Russian, English and Chinese soldiers. It gave me a sense of unity while looking at it, and made me feel good about the WWII effort, even though I had no part in it.

If anyone has hard feelings about America right now, or has never seen classic American propaganda, then yes, I would recommend this exhibit.

Waterloo Exhibition at the Nash Gallery

1.) There were several artists that were involved in the exhibition; Karen Kruston, Jhon Salminem, Chen-Khee Chee, Carl Grupp, and many more. There were about 120-140 art works in the exhibition. The materials used to construct the works of art were mostly watercolor and ink. Paintings were hung through out the exhibition.

2.) The theme was the symbol of American Culture, and people that were a part of that culture. Other themes included depictions of nature and wildlife, but mostly the art work was focused around gorgeous representations of nature; (forests, shores, etc).

3.) "Chicago, November" by John Salmien was my favorite; it was an amazingly realistic dipiction of Chicago, using water color. The artist wanted to capture and represent the culture of the city, and its people. He wanted to capture the realism of city life.

4.) I would recommend many people to visit the gallery, because the work I've seen there was one if the most beautifully done work I have ever seen in my life.

Speaking of Home-Nancy Ann Coyne

In October I visited a display called "Speaking of Home." I wanted to go to this on in particular because it was displayed in a skyway of the IDS tower, which I thought would be interesting. The exhibition was technically a one-person project that was put together by one person, but the photos of each person were considered to be a collaborator as well. There were about 20 or so different photographs and each was blown up to span the skyway side by side. The photos could even be seen clearly from the street.
The main theme of the exhibition was about the difference of "home" to the many different cultures in the Twin Cities. It showcases the fact that so many different cultures reside here and contains a very unique scale of diversity. The work wasn't so much intended to display the artist's WORK but more the idea and the thoughts and feelings that arise from the simple family photographs that show different people in the comfort of the place they call "home."
All of the photos were printed black and white, which, to me, made them go together a lot better than if they all had widely different colors (since they were submitted family photos.) One in particular was called "Leila Habashi," a woman from Iran who, in the picture, is holding her hand above her head as if to block a glare from the sun. She appears very simple and content, but also happy. This was probably the most striking to me because her happiness was the most obvious of the photos, whereas most of the others were more laid-back, low emotion photos.
I would tell a friend to go check the exhibit out if they were downtown. I liked the idea behind the photos, but the actual work itself didn't strike me as particularly interesting. The spot it was displayed in was extremely unique, and the grand scale made it very eye-popping and exciting. It was also pretty cool that people who weren't intended on seeing an art display (such as business people) ended up seeing it anyways, even though while I was there, many people didn't pay a lot of attention towards it.

Hindsight is Always 20/20 Kyle Stration

The gallery that I chose to visit was “Hindsight is Always 20/20� by R. Luke DuBois. The exhibit was a series of prints that analyzed the State of the Union address from each of the 44 presidents and organized each of their 66 most commonly used words from the most frequently used to the less frequent. Each piece’s composition was identical to all the rest, with the only difference being what words were printed, and what president gave the address. Each print was very simple, just like an eye chart. They were dark black ink printed on white paper in a white frame. A nice detail was that just like at the doctor’s office, DuBois had printed the numbers on the edges that say what your vision is, and how far you should stand from the piece. The pieces were organized in order of the presidents, so the first that anyone saw was George Washington’s and the last, George Bush’s. Barack Obama was included, but his was on a computer since he gave his address after the gallery had been set up.
The main theme of the exhibition was to show what each president said in their addresses. I believe that what DuBois was pointing out was what each president thought was most important in their presidency, or at least what they wanted the public to see as most important. The biggest boldest words stood out in a much more visual sense than they did when each president gave their address, but in the same way that the repetition of those words made people think about them, so too does the sheer size of some words. A few examples of these words were, “DEMOCRAT, UNEMPLOYMENT, WAGES, SLAVERY, EMACIPATION, SOVIET, CHANGE�, and my favorite, “TERROR�. It was interesting to me to be able to place a time frame on some of the major words. “SLAVERY�, and “EMANCIPATION� both came near Lincoln’s presidency, “SOVIET� during the time of the Cold War, with a few extremely obvious ones in our recent history like “TERROR� from president Bush, and “CHANGE� from Obama. Though DuBois came up with the idea and ultimately executed it, his name is in the background. The names that are remembered are the names of the individual presidents that gave the State of the Union address.
Personally my favorite print was Jimmy Carter’s. A few of his boldest words were, “US, Afghanistan, Iran, Global, Funding, Solar, Administrations, Israel�, and “Minority�. As the words got smaller, they read, “Refugees, Arts, Elderly, Healthy, Disadvantaged, Launched, Hazardous�, and “Solve�. I found this interesting because the words that appeared I felt could have been switched with President Bush’s with few changes. It is weird to me that the problems we were facing in the 1980’s seem strikingly similar to those we faced in the last administration, and will likely continue to face in the future. I think that these two in particular (Bush and Carter) make an interesting commentary on what little change has occurred in my lifetime. The fact that concerns of each could be so similar even while separated by more than 20 years is frightening.
I would suggest that people go to see this exhibit, especially if they have much of an interest in politics or American history. With the speeches dissected, and the most common words taken out of their original context one might think that the messages would be lost, or misinterpreted. I think, however, in some instances picking and choosing the most common words makes them all the more important. At the same time, the chosen words begin an interesting discussion about each president. And as is often the goal with artists, DuBois gets people talking about his work through this exhibit.

A Look Into the Past: Hindsight is Always 20/20 Exhibit at the Weisman

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I visited the Hindsight is Always 20/20 exhibit which was displayed in the Weisman Museum The exhibition was during the Republican National Convention, held in St. Paul before the 2008 National Election. The exhibit was adjacent to What Do You SAY, AMERICA?, both exhibits offered a window into the United State’s political history.
When I first entered the Hindsight is Always 20/20 exhibit, I was surprised to find two large rooms linked by large doorways and white walls.. Forty-one eye charts were hung at eye level around the room, one for each of the forty-one U.S. president’s State of the Union Address. The prints hung in chronological order from George Washington to George W. Bush, grey arrows marking the path. The State of the Union Address was originally a report written to Congress, but is now an annual speech which is delivered to Congress and televised. The speech outlines the president’s intent for political action in the years to come, and by selecting sixty six unique words from each speech, R. Luke Dubois was able to capture each era based on the presidents ideas for action. R. Luke Dubois was inspired to create the exhibit when he worked on The University of California Santa Barbara’s online American Presidency Project. He had access to coded and organized presidential documents, and wanted to use each State of the Union address to determine the focus of each president. Doing so very effectively, Dubois works let us view how our leaders viewed current issues during their presidency.
Dubois’s work reminded me of artists we studied in the second week of class, using text in place to display political messages as well as many others. The way he used lists and ordered the information was different though, the messages being displayed were vessels of information from the past instead of provoking change or action for the future. His art claimed that an artist has a right to be political, the art is their form of free speech.
Of particular interest was George W. Bush’s print. At the end of the trail of grey arrows and years marked by each president’s print, it hung like all the rest; in a white frame a few feet in width, eye chart numbers framed the words, which shrank in size from top to bottom. In bold black letters, ‘Iraq’, ‘Iraqi’, ‘Terror’, ‘Al Qaeda’, and ‘Homeland’ topped Bush‘s list, followed by words relating to the war on terror and focus of Bush‘s presidency. Looking back into the past eight years, we can see how those words fit into our history.
Though the art was not compelling like a traditional painting or statue, it captured history. Political enthusiasts and Joe Six-Packs alike would benefit touring the exhibition. His works efficiently outline America’s political history.


-Emily Larson

Tetsumi Kudo: Garden of Metamorphosis

Emmanuel Mauleon Gallery Visit Response

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Walker Art Center's retrospective exhibition of Tetsumi Kudo, a Japanese artist, titled "Garden of Metamorphosis"
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The exhibition was interesting as it was laid out so that the first work you would see would be that of early in his career, and as you moved through the gallery the work was also set out in chronological order. This allowed the viewer a true insight into the developing themes in the art as well as any major break throughs or different artistic paths the artist made. The gallery was filled with between 40-50 works, including sculptures, prints, paintings and installations. These used a wide variety of mediums, from the more traditional paint, metal and plaster, to the use of everyday objects such as plastic bags and duct tape.

A recurring theme present through most of the show was the image of the phallus/cocoon. These appeared in several different forms, from the first installation of hanging phalluses to very phallic mushrooms exhibited in many of his scultpures. Another recurring theme was his depicition of nature in a very psychadelic way, incorpotating a very fluorescent color palette, even creating a giant die which had a black light room inside. The artist statement explained that the image of the phallus as a singl object removed from the body renders it useless, and therefore became a symbol for impotence or defeat. However, the phallus also played the dual role of the cocoon, which held new life inside of it and created a sense of hope. I believe that these feelings may have been stirred up in the artist's consciousness by the fallout left in Japan after the bombings in WWII. This left many feeling powerless and helpless, but at the same time their was the hope that inside of this empty shell a more beautiful Japan could grow.

Kudo's work was altogether very different from any of the work we've seen in class, but I was most able to relate it to artists Liz Miller or Chris Larson. Liz Miller in the sense that the color palette was very similar, and Chris Larson in the complexity of some of the sculptures.

My favorite work of the exhibition was titled, "Homage To The Young Generation - The Cocoon Opens, 1968." It was created using a baby carriage, shoe, paperbag, cotton, plastic, polyester, paint and a strobe light. The sculpture was what appeared to be a tapeworm-like figure pushing a baby stroller which held a peanut-shaped cocoon, which was split open. Inside of this cocoon were several diodes and a pink surface, which was printed with what seemed to be assembly instructions to a motherboard. The figure pushing the carriage had one shoe on, an umbrella, and a bag from an upscale shop in France. Furthermore, exiting the cocoon were nine jellied yellow brains connected with tubes. One of the tubes comes outside of the cocoon and reaches to a large brain on the ground. The placard indicated that the brain was originally mechanical and moved on it's own. Inside of the cocoon the strobe light would flash in pulses, which reminded me of a heartbeat. The piece follows the gallery theme along the ideas of metamorphosis and the evolution of society. The tape worm with it's nice things represents the tradtional values and older generation, and the brain babies emerging from the cocoon are inundated with new technologies and hi-tech devices before they even hatched.

I would highly recommend this exhibit to anyone. It was one of the few exhibits I have been to where I was actively having fun by being immersed in the garden of metamorphisis. I enjoyed taking a part in Kudo's constructed world, and at the same time was able to grasp his artistic vision and intent. GO SEE IT NOW!