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November 30, 2008

1 Million innocent accidents/Unconventional wisdom

The exhibit I went to was at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It was actually two different exhibits but they were paired. The first one was titled "Unconventional Wisdom" was done by two different artists, Ruthann Godollei, a professor of fine arts and former dean of fine arts at Macalester College in Saint Paul, and Mike Elko, a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Fine Arts. There were about twenty five pieces in all and they were made of either ink, screen print, or digital prints and were grouped according to the media used. The space seemed to fit well for both artists and all of the pieces complemented each other, both visually and conceptually.

Together their pieces humorously represented the corruption in our government, popular culture as well as consumer culture along with media, politics, and war. They used both somber and vibrant colors in separate pieces. What was the most intriguing was the way they took images of familiar objects and changed a few things altering its significance. Like the word "Surge" on a can of red paint made it look like blood, it made me think of the war and how much blood was, and still is being lost, and about why this is happening. Another example was a print of an IPOD with a message placed right on it. I think most of the pieces are easy to understand and decipher. I would most definitely recommend this part of the exhibit to a friend because it was humorous but with a very serious subject matter. It isn’t easy to make someone laugh at the piece you have made but at the same time make them feel worried and sorrowful about what is going on in out world at the present time.

The second part of the exhibit was called "1 Million Innocent Accidents" and was done my numerous artists. Total there was about one hundred pieces and were done with many different medias such as paint, photography, clothe, wire, plastic etc. and the pieces were arranged so the viewer could be lead easily from piece to piece and the pieces not only varied in media but also in size. This exhibit was also about politics, media, human, modern, and pop culture but was portrayed entirely differently. This exhibit was eerie and creepy, mostly because the images were of distorted people, or derogatory sayings, and their were sounds coming from the speakers that sounded like rusty nails rubbing together. I felt really uncomfortable, but I do think that was the feeling that was intended.

One piece i picked out specifically was called OXXXX HXXXX which took over a small wall, and was done with paint on panel. There were a few select bright colors but the feeling of the piece was still very dark. The main image in the painting was a distorted mouth with gagged teeth which said "Organ House" across them. It also had disturbing sayings worked into the piece like "kill yourself". I really don’t know what the message behind this painting was but I have to assume that the artist is some what disturbed. Possibly the artists goal was to grab the viewers attention with the bright colors but show how even when things seems to be bright he every person has some form of inner torture. I think he was also somewhat inspired by death.

This part of the exhibit I would not be inclined to recommend to any of my friends because of how uncomfortable it made me feel. It did not make me think about politics or war or culture the same way "Unconventional Truth" did. I think this exhibit is a bit more difficult to interpret.

November 26, 2008

Beatrice Milhazes


Beatriz Milhazes was born in 1960 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has been based in a small studio in Rio de Janeiro since 1987. From 1980 to 1982, Milhazes attended the School of Visual Arts in Parque Lage, Brazil and from 1978-1981, she attended Curso de Comunicacao Social in Facha, Brazil. Milhazes is a modernist artist and uses all sorts of materials including candy bar wrappers, large colorful paper, holographic paper, and paint. Most of her artwork is done through collages. There is a lot of repetition in her work, especially with circular shapes. Milhazes work is playful, free, and psychedelic. It is also bold, rhythmic, and organized.


Milhazes’ studio is right across from Rio’s botanical gardens, as can be seen from the swirl and flower-like shapes in her art. She has also taken advantage of the atmosphere of the city, with its fabrics, jewelry, and folk art. Her painter inspiration comes from the 17th century Dutch artist, Albert Elkhout, who traveled through Brazil. Her art has not always been popular in the art world because of “lack of policital statement.? Milhazes focuses more on the beauty that surrounds us and the pleasures of life. This can be seen from the colors and patterns she uses. I don’t recall her name, but Milhazes’ work reminds me greatly of the one artist who did installments in different types of areas. She used paper and used a lot of rhythm and color in her art. She used different war craft, such as guns.


I would compare and contrast Milhazes’ work to that of the one woman artist who had an artists lecture. (I tried to find her name on the Moodle site, but I couldn’t locate it.) First I will compare. These artists are similar because they both used bright colors and rhythmeic/flowery styles. They both use bright colored paper as their main type of medium. They relate to their audiences throught the beauty and joy of their artwork and draw inspiration from what they are interested in or what is close by. They are very different though. The other artist does large installations in different types of spaces, while Milhazes does paintings on a canvas. The other artist gets some of her inspiration from more dark subjects, such as war guns, while Milhazes gets her inspiration from more positive subjects such as the energy of a city or flower gardens.

I, personally, adore Milhazes work. I love the bright, bold colors and I love the floral designs. I have a soft spot for floral designs. It reminds me a bit of scrapbooking, which I use to do, with all of the different paper designs. I would definitely recommend this artist for someone who likes to enjoy art. Milhazes’ art reveal a very optimistic view of life, which I hope most people can relate to. Her art is not political, which is sometimes nice. It is easy and enjoyable to look at, and is very different from anything I’ve seen.


"Color Inspiration: Pattern and Decoration of Beatriz Milhazes « vinounku." vinounku. 26 Nov. 2008 .

"James Cohan Gallery." exhibit-e. 26 Nov. 2008 .

Nichols, Matthew Guy. "Beatriz Milhazes at James Cohan." Art in America 93.3 (Mar. 2005). 135. EBSCO MegaFILE. EBSCO. [Library name], [City], [State abbreviation]. 26 Nov. 2008 .

Tobias Wong, CITIZEN:Citizen

Last year at the Goldstein Museum of Design on the Saint Paul campus they had an exhibit called "Products of Our Time" prominently featured in the exhibit was a cooperative of artists going by the name CITIZEN:Citizen. Of these artist there was one who's work i found especially playful and thoughtful, Tobias Wong. Wong was born in Canada in 1974 and studied architecture, art and sculpture at The Cooper Union. Wong often works with recognizable cultural symbols that are often associated with status. Such as the Chanel logo, and Cocaine as it was seen in the 70s or 80's as a drug for models.

Wong has used the word "Paraconceptual" to describe his work, which he defines as the breaking down of the barriers between the concepts of art and design. Which is a good way to describe the work of many artist who play with cultural symbols. My favorite work by Wong is a corsage made of Kevlar and called "Ballistic Rose" which to me plays with the idea of civilized or cultured war. Wongs site says that it is:
"As we search for protection and security in an uncertain world, How easily our sense of security is manipulated, certainty in our world has yet to exist, a certain world is an impossibility or an illusion, uncertainty is all that we have and yet, on a daily basis we’re told of the uncertainties and how we should worry and fear them, with each generation comes a new threat, a regurgitated narrative to instill fear, fear of foreigners, nuclear winters, President Woodrow Wilsons campaign to get public support for his country joing the first world war used notions of baby eating germans less than a hundred years after their own government had solicited the genocide of the American Indian nations."

There's an underlying current in much of his work that is the use of gold to create a feeling of decadence, or excess. Such as when he cast a McDonald's spoon in gold, the spoon had become a popular item for use as a "Coke Spoon" in that sub culture which wriled McDonald's into throwing a cease and desist order at Wong and Citizen: Citizen. As well he did 24 karat gold pills that were made for ingestion, as the ultimate symbol of excess.

Ballistic Rose


Nathan Sawaya

Nathan Sawaya was born in Colville, Washington and raised in Veneta, Oregon, and former attorney. He makes his home and his art in New York and works exclusively with LEGO bricks. This may come across as an odd medium of choice, but as anyone who has visited LEGOLAND in the Mall of America can tell you, quite effective. While Sawaya's pieces aren't necessarily inspired by those found at the LEGOLAND in Minnesota, he is responsible for some of the lego sculptures at LEGOLAND California, and has since gone on to do works for himself and commission. Some of his commissioned works consist of partially working air conditioners made for exhibition at conferences for the respective companies that commissioned them and pieces for exhibit as permanent installations at museums.

As a freelance artist for hire, many things he makes are by request, but of the non commissioned pieces there are a large number of items that he comes across in his life, such as a sculptor of his hand, a skateboard and an apple. Throughout his works there are also pieces that are given no explanation by Nathan, but that definitely aren't things he comes across literally. An example of this are pieces from this category are the color pieces, items made from bricks of a single color and are partially human in appearance. Partially being because there are fantastical elements, such as the lifting of ones own head off in Green, or the construction of ones self in Blue. The meaning given to these LEGO sculptures is by the viewer. In the case of Blue, it could be viewed as either the construction or dissection of someone by themselves.

The slightly ambiguous nature of the works allows for a wider appeal as meaning is not forced on the individual. In this way the work is similar to that of Liz Miller, where a meaning is not readily apparent or implied. In addition the work is comprised of many smaller pieces that together form a large form. Unlike Liz's works though his are much less visually abstract, for the most part the sculptures are primarily recognizable as something from ordinary life. His work deals in history only so much in that some of his sculptures are of things from history. His works primarily consist of much more modern cultural depictions. This can be seen by pop culture icons, such as a life size Stephen Colbert, and the bust of Halo's master chief.

Given the option I would both visit an exhibition of his work, and recommend him to friends. The pictures of the pieces are good, but actually viewing them so that you can see all dimensions of the piece would be nice. Its the difference from seeing a picture of something, and standing next to it, the grandeur and detail doesn't quite translate through a photograph.

Pieces mentioned
Yellow - http://www.brickartist.com/lego-art/yellow.html
Blue - http://www.brickartist.com/lego-art/blue.html
Hand - http://www.brickartist.com/smaller-sculptures/hand.html
Skateboard - http://www.brickartist.com/smaller-sculptures/skateboard.html
Apple - http://www.brickartist.com/smaller-sculptures/apple.html
Master Chief - http://www.brickartist.com/smaller-sculptures/master-chief.html
Stephen Colbert - http://www.brickartist.com/large-sculptures/stephen-colbert.html

The information contained in this entry comes from the website of Nathan Sawaya, www.brickartist.com and an online CNN article available at http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/05/31/lego.artist/

Emily Kippels - Margaret's Group- Felix Gonzalez-Torres

*I couldn't figure out how to include photos, so I inserted links instead

Felix Gonzalez-Torres is a Cuban who moved to New York where he did most of his art. Felix worked in small instillation pieces and sculptures that invite viewers to interact with and take part of the art piece. His pieces are usually small and simple, and involve simple materials such as string, candy, light bulbs, clocks, and photographs. As an artist with AIDS, Gonzalez-Torres frequently displayed themes of love, loss, disappearance, and the social and political aspects of AIDS and AIDS culture. His works have appeared in New York’s Guggenheim museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, as well as other locations in Germany and Colombia.

One of Gonzalez’ better known pieces features a pile of individually wrapped candies, spewing out from a crack in the wall. Viewers are encouraged to interact with and consume the candy although the giant pile is kept at the same volume throughout the exhibit. This piece draws on themes of disappearance and defiance of death as the candies are constantly replenished.


Another work, titled “Perfect Lovers? is an image of two synchronized clocks with a letter underneath, written to his former lover, Ross, about time, destiny, and eternity.


All of the work that Felix does he says is inspired by Ross, who had died of AIDS. Felix would later die of AIDS complications himself in 1996. His ideas come directly from his experience with living with AIDS, and often refer to treatments, such an instillation featuring a beaded curtain entitled “blood? that was made to look like individual blood cells. Gonzalez-Torres makes his work to honor the life of his love, Ross, and to let the viewer interact with the various images and emotions that represent his experience with AIDS.

In this way, his themes are similar to those of Nan Goldin’s in that they both represent ideas of both love, suffering, and AIDS. They also both want an emotional connection with the viewer and to document the life, death, and experiences of loved ones in their lives. Felix’s work style, however, more closely resembles that of Liz Miller and other instillation artists that requires the viewer to think more closely about the ideas that are represented by the images in their work. They both have very conceptual pieces that are symbolic and deeper than their images alone.

I would definitely recommend that a friend see Felix's work, since it is applicable to issues surrounding AIDS and AIDS culture in society today, and it is very unique in the way that it invited the viewer to participate in the work, unlike the "please don't touch" sign that you normally see in museums.


Biography. guggenheimcollection.org. 26 Nov. 2008

Troncy, Eric. Felix Gonzalez-Torres: couples. Art Press no335: 31-5, 2007.

Charlie Krafft

by: Desarae Walker

Charlie Krafft was born in1947 and resides Seattle, Washington. He was a writer and a poet until he was seduced by ceramics in 1992. He primarily deals with porcelain slipcasted weaponry painted in the tradition of Delftware. He is most notably known for his series of porcelain plates called Disasterware. The plates depict scenes of disasters like the bombing of Dresden in 1945. A painted teapot of Hitler is his most controversial piece. Krafft is known as “The oldest promising young artist in Seattle?. He is also the inventor of Spone, human bone china. The human bone china is usually made into a piece commemorating the deceased. He was first asked to make a piece from a wife’s deceased husband in order to commemorate him. Charlie Krafft uses controversial materials and processes in order to get others thinking about the uncertainties of life.

While Charlie Krafft is a controversial artist, he is not going for shock value. He got his start doing Disasterware while watching the news of a flood in his town and doodling. Too often commemorative plates are bought and sold to remember exciting moments and heroes in history. Krafft counters the commodity culture by making disasters and disastrous objects beautiful. He once said that he makes "life-size ceramic weaponry so gorgeous and patently functionless that it will bedazzle and confound everyone who sees it.?

Both Charlie Krafft and Hubert Duprat use mediums that aren’t conventional. Charlie Krafft china paints on slipcasted forms of weaponry and Hubert Duprat changes the environment for fly larvae so they will create little patterned sculptures. Both artists make new from old by recycling old traditions. Krafft’s traditional delftware is modernized by depicting tragedy. Duprat exploits a bug’s daily habits with new materials to create more beautiful works than they normally would. The pieces would take on different message had either of them handmade the objects. If Krafft had handbuilt a replica of an AK-47, it would not have been exact. Duprat could have mimicked the patterns of the bug larvae in order to replicate their structures, but he didn’t. The choices the two made have substantial impact on their artwork. By making their objects exactly the way they would be had they not been decorated, they become more authentic. That is what draws me to Charlie Krafft’s work.

Since I first stumbled across Charlie Krafft a few weeks ago, he has become one of my favorite artists. His pieces are political with a side of humor. The paradox between the delicacy of China painting on porcelain and the density of the subject matter is what I find most interesting. I also admire his ability to not be like other controversial artists. He says that too many of them refrain from taking credit for the stirred up controversy and instead leave everything up to “interpretation?. He on the other hand is willing to embrace what is controversial about his art like when he was rejected from learning the art of Delftware from a factory in Holland because of his Hitler teapot.

Tanya Carney - Speaking of Home

I visited an exhibition entitled Speaking of Home by Nancy Ann Coyne. The exhibition was done by one person and included 23 separate pieces. They were all photographs that were installed in a high traffic walkway in Nicolet Mall. The pictures were translucent but not transparent. Above each of the photos the word home was written in a different language, one that corresponded to the country of origin of the person in the photograph.
The main theme of the exhibition was what home means and how places come to be a place to call home. Each of the 23 people represented in the photographs are individuals who emigrated from places all over the world to Minneapolis for various reasons ranging from fleeing political instability to unexpected natural disasters. Most of the photos contain one or two people one of whom the artist collaborated with. Through this collaboration the artist was able to obtain a photo and get an idea of why the person in the photo came to Minneapolis and how the move changed their lives. For example one of the photos is of a woman named Elsa Mekuria. Elsa was born and raised in Ethopia but decided to come to Minneapolis soon after she left high school due to political instability. The photo was one she took of herself and her son to leave with her family after she left. She said she came to the United States because she wanted to make a better life for her and her son and because here, as a woman, she would not be expected to stay at home and it was a place where her and her son could “make their own choices and follow their own dreams.?
I would definitely tell a friend about this exhibition. Each of the photos tells an interesting and unique story and helps to publicize the diversity that exists within Minneapolis.


Robyn Rodrigue--Research on Chris Burden

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Wangechi Mutu - Marisa Wojcik

Wangechi Mutu is a female artist born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1972. In 2000 she got her Master's in Fine Arts at Yale University, School of Art and today she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Mutu predominantly works in collage, cutting images from fashion magazines, National Geographic, and books on African Art. She likes to use conventional and unconventional images to compose the figures in her artwork, which are mostly of the female form. The female forms incorporate female icons from "magazine culture" and address the western world's obsession with body augmentation. She often includes other media to her collages such as watercolor and also does some sculpture. Most of her work, however focuses on the female form. She uses it as a base point for a lot of her work and expands upon it.

Inspiration for her work comes a lot from her cultural background. Mutu is interested in "questioning and understanding the definition of beauty." She draws and expands upon ideas of cultural identity, how we are caste in a system based on how our physical features represent where we are from. Other issues such as colonial history, fashion, and current African politics also permeate through her work. I think her work speaks truths about females in Africa that we as people from North America are simply ignorant about and just don't know. She is interested in incorporating Africa's past into her work, as to not push it aside as if it did not happen. The past is apart of the future and Mutu uses that in her work.

I thought it was interesting to compare the work of Wangechi Mutu with William Kentridge. Both were born and grew up in Africa, however Mutu is black and a woman and Kentridge is white and a man. Kentridge's work focused on the confusion, frustration, and guilt he had growing up during Apartheid in Africa. His process attempts to make sense of this confusion without trying to explain anything away. Mutu has the ability to challenge the current status and preconceptions in our society and culture from a very different angle, while still incorperating similar events as Kentridge. Personally, I view Kentridge's work as more tragic but honest while Mutu's is more blunt but yet optimistic for the future.

I would definitely suggest Wangechi Mutu to any female. But to anyone interested in woman's issues (western or African) or in African issues (historical or contemporary) to look into the works of Mutu. Her use of images of models that we've all seen in magazines and the media makes that aspect of her work identifiable to everyone, opening the door to delve further into the ideas she presents.

Wangechi Mutu Images:



Works Cited:
Wangechi, Mutu. A Shady Promise. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008. 9-148.
"Wangechi Mutu." Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Sikkema Jenkins & Co. 24 Nov. 2008 .
"Wangechi Mutu." The Saatchi Gallery. 2003-2008. The Saatchi Gallery : London Contemporary Art Gallery. 23, 24 Nov. 2008 .

Emily Larson Margaret Pezalla Group

Emily Larson
Artist Research
Beatriz Milhaze

Beatriz Milhaze, resident of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil draws from the beauty of her surroundings to create stunning canvas with display her interest in conflict. She uses colors to create conflict in her paintings. She finds beauty in nature; colors from the sky, gardens, sunsets, appear in her paintings. She loves to surround herself in nature, and actually has a studio she up in a canopy garden with tall trees, calming coos from birds, and trickling waterfalls. She also has a home out of nature; a home in the city gives her a different atmosphere to draw from.
She has used cut outs from fabrics, and has even used images cut from previous paintings of her own in more recent works. She places her art in books, but most often on large canvases, which appear at galleries across the globe. She prefers to create her own motifs, or homemade acrylics. Instead of going through the laborious task of cutting out shapes from felt or paper like visiting artist Liz Miller, who eventually purchased an electric scissor to help her with her work. Milhaze uses paint plastic transfer sheets, her paint, and paintbrushes to create her scrapbook like images. Milhaze’s work is comparable to that of Miller. She then glues the painted side of the transfer sheet to her canvases, and removes the plastic sheet after the glue has dried, leaving the painted image. Milhaze says she prefers to create her works in this manner so there are no brushstrokes and the works she creates look clean and smooth.
The bold array of colors and playful images evokes a an image of a party, while contrasting colors balance the canvas with an industrial sensation. Dark, machine like images seem to collide and enhances the contrasting colors and edgy, flirty bright shapes to create a sense of conflict. Her images are easy to get lost in, as there is a lot to see. Her images aren’t entirely perfect like computer images though, and they appear to look like paintings when you are not close to the image, the semi-transparency of the painted motifs allow you to get lost in the depth her technique creates.
I would definitely recommend this artist to friends. It creates inspiration to make the world bright and lively, and the art is almost universal. Anyone can interpret their own meaning from it. I think it also was created for enjoyment, because it is simply intriguing, playful, and seductive. It is a great blend of the nature, and beautiful patters and a sensation of balance that is out of this world.


Roberta Smith. “Beatriz Milhaze.? The New York Times November 7, 2008: (C31).

Adriano Pedrosa “Tate Online.? Tate Etc. Editor. Autumn 2004. Galeria Fortes Vilaca, and Stephen Friedman Gallery. Curgier, Bice; Grant, Simon.
25 November 2008 http://www.tate.org.uk/tateetc/issue2/inthestudio.htm

Matt Carlson's Report on Robert Gober

Robert Gober is a native of Connecticut and was born September of 1954. He is a neosurrealist. His works deal with largely everyday materials, viewed in a slightly different way. Nearly all of his works are untitled and viewers call them by their contents which are usually quite obvious, things like: leg, sing or chair. He spends a painstaking amount of time individually crafting every last piece of his works. He'll spend hours on recreating a simple apple or brick as one of the small details of his larger pieces. He is motivated and inspired by his own life's stories and history.

This image commonly called "leg" by viewers and critics is one of Robert's more well known pieces. It is made of leather, beeswax, wood and human hair. Robert's eery yet precise replication of objects is his trademark. He is inspiration is the world seen in different context. He wants to fool the viewer and challenge their zone of comprehension and logic. He certainly does this with "leg." It provokes thoughts of mannequins and dismemberment in my mind and is thouroughly creepy. Yet the attention to detail and the exquisite craftmanship
make it beautiful.

Besides sculpture, Gober also dabbles heavily in sketching and drawing. His drawings are just as, if not more unguided and strange than his sculptures. His drawings are very simple, paper is used along with graphite. The paper is oftentimes pulled right out of a notebook, as in this work. It is again named "untitled." It appears to be a block with a strap of wood that had bended, or even melted over it. A strange representation surely, perhaps Gober is speaking to the flexibility and versatility of wood? Either way, it sticks to his calling card of displaying every day ordinary objects in a different light.

This work I found to be particularly striking. It is a tissue box with a heavy duty industrial screw driven through it. Robert plays with these ideas often in his work. He juxtaposes things that are completely different in idea. The end result is a startling, strange image. In this particular piece, again untitled, he shows the delicate tissue box, then ravaged by the screw. Interesting indeed. A very subtle piece with simple design, yet crafted with skill and precision.

Sources: http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/gober_robert.html

Kai Althoff By Emily Barth

Emily Barth
Toyna's Group
Artist Research Project
November 26th 2008

Kai Althoff- A German Painter

A powerful theme in the eyes of the beholder Kai Althoff uses backdrops of war, religion, and pub-land to covey the theme of male domain along with violence, sensuality, vulnerability, and enticement. His painting has a timeless way about them, and as the viewer examines his work they see history repeating itself right before their eyes. He is driven by the need to reconcile with Germany’s history, and his longing for masculine identity and politics is apparent.
Although he is primarily a painter he works with other types of media well. These include but are not limited to sculpture and collage, utilizing materials like resin, oils, tape, and tin foil. He uses a broad visual language to convey his ideas. Many people find his work controversial since it addresses forgotten wars and gruesome scenes, as well as orgy-esque scenes that could be considered crude or too intimate for the eyes of the public. Sexuality and sensuality are both common in his pieces.
Kai Althoff was born in Cologne, Germany and is well known as a musician and the leader of German band named Workshop whose first album was recorded in 1990. This, perhaps, has influenced the ways he makes installations and videos with the touch of urban sound and narrative, not true stories, but as true of a fiction as one could see.
Critics say that Kai Althoff “walks a tightrope between high and low culture? often questioning his pieces but always thinking about the relationship they have with the viewer and the space they are shown in. He tries to deliberately avoid refined and proper techniques, giving his pieces the raw edgy feeling needed to portray his ideas. He tries to balance his work with elements of organic and abstract, combining sound tracks with drawing, videos and installations. It seems surreal and yet a viewer can identify with his message. He is a well rounded artist who knows exactly who he is and what he is trying to say.


Frieze Magazine. Issue Number 31, November –December 1996
Saastchi Gallery – www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/kai_althoff_about.htm

For Selected Images:


Eva Zeisel, by Kelsey Pizzato

Eva Zeisel was born in Budapest in 1906. At age 17 she entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts to study painting, with the insistence of her mother, she decided against painting and instead switched her focus to ceramic art. At the age of 19 she began an apprenticeship to traditional potter and began to learn the trade that would bring her many accreditations in years to come. She quickly excelled in the area of pottery and within her first two years in the trade she had work displayed in galleries and had earned several honorable mentions.
She was very sought after as industrial production potter, and was employed at factories in Schramberg Germany. Here she became the first woman and one of the first people to move ceramic arts into contemporary mass production. For many years her ideas were well received and she was honored for her many accomplishments in industrial ceramics.
In 1936, tragically, in a Stalinist purge she was accused of plotting against the life of Stalin while living in Russia. For 16 months she was imprisoned and tortured in the NKVD prison. Her traumatic experiences were inspiration for her long time friend Arthur Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon. Upon release she moved to America and married. In years following she taught at American universities, had a son and daughter, and continued to design for industrial ceramics.
The mediums that Eva works in are; ceramic (hand built, wheal thrown, molds, industrial), glass, metal, stage sets, and furniture design. Her style has been described as art-deco. She is inspired by the curves of her human body and the curved of others, though there is nothing organic about her shiny and symmetrical pieces other then the inspiration for her shapes. Though Eva’s first love in art was painting it is interesting that her pieces do not have much of a painterly quality, as they are primarily mono chromatic, though some have graphic design qualities to their surfaces. In class we have studied few potters, so it is difficult to relate her work to what we have studied. She makes art because she enjoys it, because she is good at it, and because for her it is lucrative. She in innovative and well into her 90’s she continues to influence design and her pieces are very pertinent to the design of the 21’st century, though the prime of her life was in the 20’th century.
I believe that it is important for people to study this artist because, her art had been relevant and functional for almost 100 years, and well into the twilight of her life she continues to produce art and influences others. She had designed mass-produced inexpensive pieces that are extremely functional and she also had made fantasy objects. Artist young and old should study her life and her work because she has successfully managed to make the craft that she loves into a lucrative career, she has her brain children sitting in the kitchen of many homes, she has a great mind for appearance in functionality and she was one of the forefathers of industrial ceramics.

Ludden, Jennifer. "Raising the Curve: Designer Eva Zeisel." National Public Radio. 26 Feb. 2005.PBS.25 Nov. 2008 .

"Who is Eva Zeisel?" About the Eva Zeisel Forum. 4 Oct. 2008. Eva Zeisel Forum. 25 Nov. 2008 .

Ellen Gallagher by Anne Espeset

Ellen Gallagher is an African American artist that was born in Rhode Island in 1965. She attended School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston along with Oberlin College. She now lives in Rotterdam, Holland and New York. The first of Ellen Gallagher’s work was shown in the Whitney Biennial in 1995 and her career flourished ever after.
Being an African American, Gallagher was interested in her history. Her art stems from old magazine advertisements from the years between 1939 and 1972. The advertisements are from magazines such as Ebony, Our World, and Sepia. These advertisements that Gallagher collected are for products like wigs and hair care and also for services offered. Gallagher stated that she was drawn to such advertisements because of a narrative that they showed between the images and the text. Also, she was drawn to the advertisements for a more formalist reason – she liked the often grid-like structures that the wig advertisements were in. Gallagher manipulates the advertisements with different materials like googly eyes, a collage of paper, and ink. She also uses plasticine to cover the images in a manner.
Ellen Gallagher’s work deals with the issue of race, similar to the artist Lorna Simpson. They both are looking into the history of African Americans, but both artists do so in a somewhat different way. Ellen Gallagher’s work seems a little more playful then Lorna Simpson’s pieces because of the different mediums used. Even though Gallagher’s pieces are not as straight forward as Simpson’s, her work still tries to bring forth the history of African Americans and their struggles within society and identity.
The use of these advertisements is for a political purpose. Gallagher depicts a racial identity and personal identity crisis within the work. Also it shows the way that media portrays the ideal person. This in turn then makes the viewer think about what would be the ideal identity.
I would recommend attending an exhibition of Gallagher’s. The work is a mixture between the Pop-Art of the 1960’s and the grid-like structures of Agnes Martin. The way that Gallagher installs the individual pieces that she created is very appeasing to me. Also, the work is interesting because of the individual advertisements that are used in her work. The narratives are easily seen and would be interesting to see a transformation of advertisements with time.

"Ellen Gallagher Bibliography." Art 21. 2007. 23 Nov. 2008 .

"Ellen Gallagher: Murmur and DeLuxe." Museum of Contemporary Art. 2005. MOCA. 23 Nov. 2008

to access some of Ellen Gallagher's artwork:


Matthew Barney Research Project

Matthew Barney is a multimedia artist primarily known for his Cremaster film series. His arbitrary and ambiguous images provoke a densely surreal landscape of bizarre characters throughout a multitude of seemingly unrelated locations, such as the Isle of Man, the Chrysler Building, and Bronco stadium in Boise, Idaho. He was raised in Boise, and as a young boy spent his days playing football and other sports. Barney attempts to recreate the visual stimulus of highly saturated broadcast sports – the bright, thick colors and variety of swooping camera angles. In his films, he focuses on characters that are at times recognizable, but otherwise are essentially incomprehensible. Barney has the assistance of hundreds of actors and extras in his films, including that of his wife, Icelandic pop singer Bjork.

Cremaster 3 video still

Barney’s work is devoid of any easily-interpreted meaning, and are primarily an assortment of highly complex visual stimulus. His films are created, however, in a very comprehensible process. Barney describes, “This body of work began by selecting five locations that would eventually come together as one body. Once those locations were established, I went to those places and started writing stories that would grow out of those particular places.? The images and characters in his films are embodiments of the “mythology? of those places he describes. He relates his images and stories to those we see every day, citing his own inability to follow any one thread of storyline for very long – the sorts of stories we might glimpse into when passing someone on the street, or changing channels on the TV.

Of any artist we’ve studied in class, Matthew Barney relates most to alternative multimedia artist Chris Larson. Both of these artists are well known for their intriguing art-house films. Both rely heavily on bizarre visual stimuli, at times very grotesque, and other times very simple and mysterious. Both include unexplainable characters and some forms of sculpture. But in the convoluted sources behind these films is where they differ just slightly. Whereas Larson primarily documents the interaction of people with machines, Barney focuses more on the interaction of people with their locations. Larson presents a scant story-line if any, and Barney supplies us with a brief glimpse into many different stories. Beyond the visual portion of their works, Larson includes a deeper audio dimension to his pieces in a cacophony of rhythms and drums. Barney’s Cremaster series include a soundtrack, but are merely supplementary in a strange wishy-washy echo to his visuals.

I would probably not suggest a visit to see Barney’s work. At least not to my friends, who enjoy more culturally-infused political/social referenced works. They enjoy digging deep to find strong meaning. Barney’s work is intentionally incomprehensible, because his films are all about the visual stimuli. But even in an aesthetic respect, I don’t find his works very moving. The images force me to ask “Why?? When I keep having to ask “why,? I expect an answer now and then. But I don’t get an answer with Barney’s work. You’re not supposed to know why the characters are doing whatever it is they’re doing, why they’re dressed that way, or why they’re there. Every frame gives me more questions than answers, and I personally don’t dig it.



Littlejohn, David. Immersed in the Goo: The Surreal World of Matthew Barney. Wall Street Journal - Eastern Edition; 7/27/2006, Vol. 248 Issue 22, pD7, 0p

Damien Hirst - Report by Amanda Cook

The Pysical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

Alongside his countryman Chis Ofili, the work of Damien Hirst was among some of the most controversial art of the nineties' "New British Artist" Movement. Ofili's infamous portrait of the Virgin Mary was shown alongside Hirst's equally infamous "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living". While Ofili's painting was lambasted for portraying the virgin Mary alongside pornographic images and elephant dung, Hirst's piece was criticized as not being art at all. The Stuckism International Gallery famously parodied Hirst's work by putting a taxidermy shark in their window and calling it "A Dead Shark Isn't Art". Originally commissioned by the famous British gallery owner Charles Saachi, the piece is now on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The piece consists of a preserved shark carcass suspended in a formaldehyde solution; the original shark had to be replaced in 2006 due to deterioration but Hirst considers it to be the same sculpture.

"The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" serves as an effective window into Hirst's overall body of work. His art almost always deals with critical human issues, most especially death and decay. His work style is distanced; he cites Andy Warhol as his inspiration for his working methods. Hirst works with a dedicated team of assistants who have collaborated with him for years, and he jokingly says that when he grows old he'll have to scale his work down to accommodate the backs of his assistants because he doesn't believe in replacing them with younger people. Hirst believes in the importance of the artistic concept above all else; and his hand is usually far removed from the final product. For example, in his extensive series of dot paintings, he only painted five. One of his recent showings, "Beyond Belief" featured a series of intricate "fact paintings", which were meticulously painted from photographs by his assistants.

"Beyond Belief" also featured Hirst's most famous contemporary work, "For the Love of God." The piece is so named because upon telling his mother of his idea, she exclaimed, "For the Love of God!" The piece is a platinum cast of a human skull which was then covered in diamonds. Again, Hirst did not create the piece himself, but commissioned it from Jewelers in England's Hatton Garden district. The original teeth from the skull were then placed in the mouth. The piece cost around fourteen million pounds to manufacture (equivalent to about 21.25 miillion US). When asked about the cost of the piece, Hirst replied, "...people don't really mind money being spent on beautiful things, it's ugly things that are a problem and there are plenty of ugly fucking buildings in the world that cost way more than the skull".

For the Love of God (2007)

Like "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" and his equally famous "Thousand Years", "For the Love of God" confronts themes of death and the taboo while simultaneously critiquing conventional forms of art. Hirst frequently challenges the boundaries between the literal and the artistic; "Thousand Years" did not represent death, it created it. The piece featured a rotting cow head, a box of flies and a insect electrocuter; creating an entire life cycle within an art gallery. Hirst has said he is interested in creating "sympathy with meat", by forcing people to confront the empty carcasses of the dead. Before becoming an artist, Hirst spent time in morgues taking notes and sketching; he famously brought a friend to a morgue and punched the corpses to shock his friend into seeing that bodies are nothing but "meat".

His frequent use of dead animals has brought him a slew of criticism both within the art world and within society at large. However, one of Hirst's most enduring themes is his confrontation with fears of death; he has reportedly admitted to being terrified of dying and his work directly (and litereally) represents these fears of decay and lifelessness.

To anyone interested in Hirst's work, I would definitely suggest a personal viewing. The Chambers Art Hotel in Minneapolis has some of his work on display (including a spin painting and a sheep head in a vitrine), and it is free - even encouraged - to walk through the lobby and take a look. Seeing his work first hand is much different than reading about it or looking at picture. Even though I neither love nor hate Hirst's work, I can say that I only opened up to his work after I saw a piece with my own two eyes, and not before. Seeing something dead in person is inescapable in a way that a photograph is not, and this is the power of Hirst's animal works. He is a truly unique and opinionated artist; certainly not for everyone. But nonetheless I think everyone should experience one of his works first hand, if only for the confrontation he forces upon you.

A Thousand Years (1991)

Judas Escariot (1994) - On Display at the Chambers Art Hotel in Minneapolis



Hirst, Damien. Beyond Belief. London: White Cube, 2008.

---. Void. München: Schirmer/Mosel, 2007.

Hirst, Damien, and Gordon Burn. On the Way to Work. London: Faber, 2001.

Octavia Nicholson. "Hirst, Damien." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 26 Nov. 2008 .

Chris Ofili by Kyle Stration

Chris Ofili was born in 1968 in Manchester, Great Brittan. Ofili is a painter who is often recognized as, “That guy who paints with elephant poop?. Though he may be “that guy?, Ofili uses elephant dung more as a sculptural element and for the commentary it generates than simply as paint. Ofili’s most infamous paintings are those whose themes reflect holy figures from the bible. Ofili’s works often are a commentary on sexism, social injustice, and religion at the same time that their approaches to the issues seem humorous.
Though it’s hard to say what has motivated Ofili to compose such controversial work, he does try to tread a line between genius and insane. His pieces often use very elementary figures and incorporate materials like oil paint, elephant dung, glitter, and collage pictures from pornographic magazines. However, these elementary figures are composed in such a way that they begin debate and discussion that reflect how smart Ofili is. He often uses vibrant reds, oranges, blues, purples, and yellows which make his pieces stand apart from most others in galleries. Also, the fact that he doesn’t hang his work, but instead leans it against gallery walls on mounds of dung make his work demand attention.
Ofili’s pieces are very unique, however if I were to compare his work to any other artists we’ve studies, I say he reminds me somewhat of Hubert Duprat. Not in the media they use (Duprat uses precious metals and stones to allow bugs to build structures) but in the conversations that are sparked by their work. Their pieces bring about talk as to whether either is an artist. Both push the discussion with their work; Ofili with if his craft is good enough to be called professional and Duprat with the discussion of if he is even the artist in his work. Controversy has surrounded both artists’ careers, as it does with countless great artists. Now, whether either artist will one day be called a great artist is yet to be seen, but both have the creativity, passion, and controversy in their work to possibly be called great one day.
Chris Ofili isn’t for everybody. His work undoubtedly stands out in a gallery, but I think a lot of causal museum goers would be turned off by his work. If they don’t have a problem with the glitter or the super saturated colors of his work, the elephant dung and often offensive subject matter of his pieces are usually enough for people to dismiss his work. For the few that remain, his work does make interesting commentary on social issues and religion, especially when paired with each piece’s title. If one doesn’t have a sense of humor about his compositions, or of the subject matter, at least they may still appreciate the creativity Ofili possesses.



Valentin Serov Research Project

Valentin Serov was one of the greatest, and most notable Russian portraitists of his time during the years of 1885 to the years of 1911. Serov was born in St. Petersburg, and was raised by a very artistic, creative, and musical family in the years of 1865. In 1871, Valentin’s father died, and the family moved to Munich, Germany, where Serov took lessons from a German artist known as K. Kepping. Serov grew up in a profoundly artistic and creative atmosphere, where he was given the highest education of art and academics from a very early age. At age fifteen, Valentin Serov entered the prestigious St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts in the class of Professor Pavel Tchistyakov; from there on, he continued his career in the world of fine arts. Valentin’s style of art predominantly consisted of expressionism, neoclassicism, and modern art. He used a wide variety of mediums, such as charcoal, pastel, watercolor, lithography, and in 1903 since he was a superb master in all of these techniques, he was elected as the academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts.
What fundamentally inspired Valentin Serov was his circle of friends in the academy of art. Serov was inspired not only by his artistic circle, but also by other highly skilled students such has Alexander Benois and Sergey Dyagilev, which introduced the ideas of free, “pure? art. Valentin Serov became highly influenced by this group of artists, which he then became very close to the modern style. Valentine studied the Russian history and culture, and strived to revive the traditions of Russian folk art, such as art in the Russian folk lore, Baba Yega. Serov’s goals were to essentially establish and portray the characteristics and feelings of his subjects. Serov is fundamentally trying to show us the feelings, and raw emotions of his subjects, using very bright and lively colors; he established the complex harmony of reflections while painting his models and subjects. Valentin frequently produced deep and intimate portraits, mainly of children and women that principally revealed their gesture and the emphasis on spontaneity of internal movement of his subjects. He was showing us, and informing us the lives and characteristics of the people he had painted.
In class, mainly we have been dealing and studying abstract art, and artists, while Valentin Serov is nowhere near abstract art. For instance, Liz Miller used methods and techniques such as cutting and pasting pieces of synthetic construction paper to create unique designs expressing her ideas on chaos, and the fundamental nature of life; whereas Valentin Serov used oil on canvas, and watercolor techniques to portray living subjects in a very realistic manner. Not only this, but Liz Miller did not include any cultural history in her artworks; she mostly based her art on personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
I would recommend anyone and everyone to look into Valentin Serov’s art, for it is one of the most beautifully done works I have ever seen; in terms of the realistic expressions, raw emotions he captures from his subjects, and the way he used and emphasized profound color and reflection techniques.

1.) “Valentin Serov?. Get The Most Out of St. Petersburg: Famous Russian People. 26 Nov. 2008.
2.) Valkenier, Elizabeth Kridl. Valentin Serov: Portraits of Russia’s Silver Age. Northwestern University Press, 2001.

Claire Paczkowski. A Raw and Corrupt View of Life: The Artwork of Marlene Dumas

"My best works are erotic displays of mental confusions (with intrusions of irrelevant information)." Marlene Dumas


She was born in Cape Town, South Africa but has lived the majority of her life in Amsterdam. Marlene’s work is a cross between painting and drawing and she uses Polaroid photographs as well. The Polaroids are generally more intimate and private and she refers a lot to pornography and magazines for her shots. Her paintings are often times of children or erotic scenes. Her friends and lovers are her inspiration and she uses them in her work the majority of the time. Common themes she addresses are those of identity, sexuality, domestic settings, feminism, racism and minority situations, and religion.


Through her art, Marlene is definitely trying to tell her audience something. She takes common everyday life images or situations and displays them with brutal honesty to try and distort the audience’s view of her work and the issues she addresses. In her work one of her main points or goals is to conjure intense and unnerving feelings, breaking bubbles and comfort zones. Marlene targets those who have been a part of injustice or the minority in her work and doesn’t wish to make the audience feel better about those injustices. She aims more at teaching and bringing the issues to the audience’s attention and messing internally with their morals. Even though she focuses a lot on social problems, I wouldn’t say that Marlene is a political artist like many other artists we have looked at.

Nan Golden and Marlene Dumas try to convey similar ideas and emotions through their work, incorporating both of their life experiences and trials into their artwork. Both of their work is very raw and up front. There is no emotion they won’t show their audience and the majority of the art they create looks as though they had just poured all of their pain, sorrows, irritations, opinions, feelings, memories, and joys into them. Their methods and mediums are a little different but they both try to convey a similar message through their images. Marlene focuses on a lot more broad topics that are bone-chilling to many where as Nan uses her personal life as the center of her work.

I would certainly recommend Marlene’s artwork, and even though there isn’t a whole lot of visual complexity, her images are strong enough to slap you in the face and really make you think about what she is depicting in her work. I like her work a lot because it is controversial and acts in similar ways as political art without really being political. It provokes you to contemplate what you really know in life and more importantly what you don’t know.


About Marlene Dumas and Her Art
The Saatchi Gallery: London Contemporary Art Gallery

Marlene Dumas : One Hundred Models and Endless Rejects by Marlene Dumas
Publisher: Institute of Contemporary Art ; In collaboration with Hatje Cantz

Lily Ohm - Henri Cartier-Besson Research

Lily Ohm
Arts 1001

Henri Cartier-Bresson

1. The artist that I chose is a photographer named Henri Cartier-Bresson. He was born in 1908, in Normandy, France. After taking many drawing and painting courses in Paris Cartier-Bresson began taking photographs. Cartier-Bresson was interested in the motion of everyday movements and worked to successfully capture this motion in his photographs. He has published over 30 books and appeared in many exhibits all around the world, his first in 1933 in New York.
2. This motion that Cartier-Bresson captured was interesting to him because it could make the most mundane actions or gestures beautiful and of great importance. They could also convey an array of emotions, depending on the way Cartier-Bresson composed each photograph. He was a master of capturing “the decisive moment.? He knew exactly how to compose the image and when to snap the shot. He was driven by wanting to capture the motions of everyday life, and always wanted to reveal something in his pictures that would normally be lost because it was mundane. He draws the viewer’s attention to things that one would not normally notice, and as a result, the viewer sees objects or people in a completely new way. This reminds me a little of how Chris Ofili used elephant poop in his artwork. Normally, poop is not something that people would consider beautiful, just as people would not consider everyday gestures and motion particularily beautiful or eye-catching. Both artists, although in very different ways, took everyday things and portrayed them in a new way. Ofili’s may have been much more controversial, yet, I think they both had the same goal in mind.
3. Another one of Cartier-Bresson’s goals was to capture the essence of his subjects’ beings. His portraits are very personal and, because of this, the viewer is able to interact with the photograph free of restrictions. The viewer can feel a connection with the subject because of the way that Cartier-Bresson displays the subjects as themselves. I think that the intimate nature of Cartier-Bresson’s portraits could be compared with Nan Goldin’s photographs. Both photographers work hard to display the true side of their subject. While Cartier-Bresson took these photos with the intent of them being more than a snapshot for himself, they are like Nan Goldin’s because of this. Neither photographer creates a false representation of their subject while they are photographing. Goldin’s photos are much more snapshot-like, and she only photographs people she actually knows on an intimate level. Cartier-Bresson, in comparison, often shot celebrities and people he didn’t know as intimately, perhaps making his job more complex and difficult. However, both photographers do capture the essence of their subjects’ being. A difference in the photos of these two artists is actually the final product. Nan Goldin’s photos often look as if they were made with a cheap or disposable camera. The lighting is often poor and they look like she was taking them for her personal collection, not to be art (she did indeed take some of the photos with no intent of them being displayed). This adds to the character of them, and makes them feel like real life. Cartier-Bresson’s photos are all well developed and professional in appearance. His are all also black and white photos, while Goldin’s work is in color.
4. I would most definitely recommend that people look at the work of Cartier-Bresson. His portraits are extremely captivating and there is a lot of viewer interaction because of the way Cartier-Bresson composes the image. One of my favorite pictures of his that I saw was called “Place de l'Europe. Gare Saint Lazare.? This is an example of Cartier-Bresson’s ability to capture “the decisive moment.? His timing was perfect in capturing the man right before his foot breaks the surface of the water. If it had been taken a split second later the picture wouldn’t be successful. Cartier-Bresson’s timing when taking his pictures is incredible and I think that everyone should take the time to appreciate his amazing photographs.

Works Cited
Magnum Photos. Henri Cartier-Bresson.
(This is a great site that lists the books that Cartier-Bresson has published and it has a great slide show of some of his most famous photos, all of which are intriguing and beautiful).

Banville, John. “The leica leonardo Photography Henri Cartier Bresson always wanted to be a painter. His debt to the Renaissance shines through his finest work, says the novelist John Banville.? The Sunday Telegraph. Nov 26, 2006.
(This article from LexisNexis Academic talks about Cartier-Bresson’s ability to
capture the decisive moment, along with a lot of very interesting background about him and his first exhibition).

Henri Cartier-Bresson's Photographs:





Chris Finley, Nick Lasovich Margret's group

Chris Finley is from the Bay Area of California, he set out to simulate with sculpture computer systems, that is files within files, by making quirky arrangements of objects that fit inside of each other such as plastic toys in Rubber maid bins. He uses mainly plastics in his works like acrylics in his paintings. His main goal in the beginning was to use stuff like tupperware containers, pencils and other dime-store miscellany to represent storage systems. Then his next faze is his painting were trying to push the envelope with an almost futurist quality to them. The computer generates the designs which he tosses warped figures into.
What influences Chris's work is is fascination with computer storage and just computers in general. He is also into futurism and pop art also. Chris is trying to get us to see the world through a warped sense of reality. Sometimes sterile like a computer otherwise vibrant and disturbing like Francis Bacon. Chris Finley's work is really not comarable to any of the people in we have covered. The closest one is the woman who did the installation work with the plastics and patterns.
As stated before he is really not like anyone we have studied in class per se. Chris handles his media as if he was a fine tune machine making this art. Everything is very calculated even though at times it may seem to look random. Chris's work is sometimes unnerving and weird, but it has a knack of mesmerizing you know matter how long you look at the pieces. He tries to relate by using everyday objects in ways that are composed interestingly like making installation that are like trips through fun houses with Pop Art images inside.
I would recommend a friend to see his work. It is very mind boggling and original. If you lie to take a trip into the realm of the weird or surreal this guy is for you. It is very entertaining to look at and can be connected to artists who came before him. He has a little bit of everything from cartoony Pop Art to the emotionally charged and sometimes disturbing Francis Bacon.

Damian Ortega by Lee Yang

Damian Ortega was one of the more popular artists that emerged from Mexico City, Mexico. He originally began his career doing comic strips as a political cartoonist and now turned towards installations, sculpturing, and video, exploring economic, social and political change. He uses objects such as golf balls, axes, bricks, working tools, and local resources and transforms them through a process of assembling and disassembling, do and undo. One of his most widely known works is “Cosmic Thing? in which he had three fourteen to fifteen years old kids take a Volkswagen apart, each piece breaking down from another and reassembled it, reconstructing it from having each part being suspended with wires from the ceiling. Each part being in succession from the one that follows.
For “Cosmic Thing?, his inspiration came from various artists such as Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt), Jesus Rafael Soto, and most importantly Helio Oiticica that help shape the form of his work. Damian considers Oiticica as a reference point because he likes how Oiticica hangs his Penetrables and that viewers could walk around it and also the relationship between geometrical and political positioning. His other works were more or less inspired from his previous works and so on. For example, his “Matter/Energy? was done in 3 configurations using bricks, a solid with the bricks forming a cube, a liquid by scattering the bricks on the ground, and a gas with the bricks hanging from the ceiling by wires.
The way Damian do his art is very similar to Mark Bradford in that they both are trying to take something old, something that have been discarded and taking that and reconstruct it into something that can be meaningful. Damian working with what he can find locally is similar Mark picking up scraps of things he found on the streets and implementing them into his art. However similar their processes of doing art are, they work with very different mediums.

I would totally recommend others to look him up and explore some of his work. The first time I saw his “Cosmic Thing?, I was compelled visually and conceptually to it. It was something that I have never seen done before and it made me want to learn more about how he managed to accomplish such a task. He will definitely inspire people to think about forms, styles and mediums to be used on further projects.

Damian Ortega – www.whitecube.com/artists/ortega/

Damian Ortega: The Beetle Trilogy and Other Works

Tanya Carney - Robert Gober

1. Robert Gober was born in Wallingford, Connecticut in 1954. Currently he works and lives in New York City. Although he draws, paints, and creates slide shows, he is most known for his hand-made sculptures. In these sculptures he uses a variety of materials including wood, plaster, paint, metal, wax, water, and newspaper. Although a lot of his work deals with different subjects, it always is provocative and many times incorporates themes of childhood, memory, loss, and sexuality. He also deals with political and social issues such as AIDS, gay identity and religion. Rather than using an in your face approach to address these issues, Robert tends to be more subtle. For example one of his pieces titled the “Subconscious Sink?, a piece which he created while one of his close friends was dying of AIDS which is a sink that does not work, “suggests cleansing rituals, although with no running water there is no ability to wash, clean, or purify.? It can also be noticed that he likes to create dysfunction. Many times he will sculpt everyday objects but they will “lack the features that define their function.? A good example of this is an untitled candle piece he did. It is essentially a candle but instead of a wick it has a nail. For the viewer this creates an awkward tension and frustration but at the same time a deep connection to the piece of work.
2. Inspiration for Robert Gober comes from things as simple as driftwood to every day life and conflict. He himself is a gay male so within his own life he experiences a lot of conflict that he can work off of. He has also said that many of his sculptures “have been memories remade, recombined, and filtered through his current experiences.? Through his art he seeks an emotional response and humor. He stated in an interview by Craig Gholson that “humor, to me, is very important… it’s a way to let people enter into the piece, where you can give them more complicated and fraught material.?
3. Similar to many of the artists we have talked about this year, all of Gober’s pieces are part of an ongoing personal narrative. Although many of them can be related to a historical perspective or some other larger world issue in the end, they are all part of his own life story. This is very similar to Nan Goldman who took pictures only of people she knew and loved. Although the pictures she took could be related to larger issues such as the AIDS epidemic, in the end, they were pictures of her friends and helped tell the story of her life. Also, similar to William Kentridge’s movies, he has made slide shows that tell a story; show a passage of time by adding and subtracting things from each frame and then taking a picture of it.
4. I would definitely tell a friend about Robert Gober’s works. There is a playful aspect to his work that draws the viewers in to reveal a much deeper meaning. He takes simple, everyday objects and turns them into thought provoking items. In addition, the craftsmanship of all of his pieces is impeccable.

Sussman, Elisabeth. "Robert Gober: This is how it was." Modern Painters. Jl/Ag (2007): 52-61. 25 Nov. 2008

Gholson, Craig. "Robert Gober." BOMB, 29. 25 Nov. Fall 2008



Joe kaercher matthew barney. mels group

Matthew Barney was born in San Francisco, California in 1967, where in high school he was an excellent athlete, playing both football and baseball. Majoring in medicine, Barney attended Yale University. Not long into his college career he became immersed in the world of art and fashion. In 1989 he received a BA from Yale University. Shortly after graduating, he began working on his sculptural film project, The Cremaster Cycle. Barney was involved in every aspect of the filming. He designed and created the sculptures, acted in it, and directed. He works with a variety of materials, including found landscapes, plaster, prosthetics; both human and animal, silks and fabrics, greasepaint, and his favorite, petroleum jelly. He works with these materials to punctuate his themes of the biology and athletic abilities of the human body, gender roles, sexuality, and procreation.

The intent of Barney’s art is to examine the human experience and absorb the viewer into his interpretations of that experience. Barney does not set out to educate or inform; it is about entertainment and visual excitement. His work involves a hermeneutic approach that, if understood, might motivate us to change our perception of things. For example, his examination of the embryo before it develops a gender and its potential power of containing both sexes, lets us see that we all come from the same place and we evolve into the individuals that we are. Despite all this, these complex concepts are easily lost in the abstract visual beauty and overt weirdness of his work.

If I were to choose an artist discussed in class to compare to Barney I would choose Chris Larson. Both artists work in film exhibiting stories through symbolism. A large part of both artists’ work is constructing their own sculptures and sets. Barney as well as Larson are interested in the human experience. Like Barney, Larson has used well-known performing artists in his films. However, Barney has traditionally had a Hollywood-like budget while Larson has had significantly less money to work with. Larson’s work largely relates to social issues. On the other hand, Barney’s has mostly biological and existential themes.

I would, and have, recommended Barney’s work to friends. I find his work expansively imaginative. The intense visual nature of his work is entertaining even if the symbolic meaning is lost. The intricate detail and use of form in his sculptures is inspirational to me. Being a photographer, I understand and appreciate the amount of effort it takes to make a single image beautiful. Barney creates a motion picture in which any single frame can be taken out and hung on the wall.




Barney, Matthew. Cremaster 2. New York: Distributed Art Publishers, 1999.

Amber Orcutt's

Painter. Printmaker. Photographer. A master artist and talented craftsman. The man Chuck Close is these things and more. Over a time of 30 years plus, this artist has been using his skill to create remarkable pictures in many mediums. Originally from Wisconsin, this artist now lives in New York. His early pieces, for the most part, were enlarged portraits of photographs, otherwise known as photorealism. Since then he has moved to a grid work copy of photos by that causes the pictures to look like more of a blotchy, pixelated version of the photographs.

Close likely started doing art simply because it was what he liked to do. He had served as an assistant to Gabor Peterdi, a master printer at Yale University where, in 1964, he received an MFA. After graduating, Close continued to work on his art, usually making prints as his chosen medium, and often collaborating with others. In 1988, however, Close became paralyzed from the neck down. Since then, I think creating his art is more of a way of saying that he still can despite his paralysis. He loved his art and he wasn't going to give up just because something this severe happened to him. Though he has an assistant to help him now, he can now create his pieces by strapping a paintbrush to his hand.

I would compare Close's work to Nan Goldin's photography, if only because I couldn't recall an artist that just did portraits of people. However, both of these artists did capture images of people that were close to them, therefore they likely have some sort of history in their pictures. Goldin's use of history in her pictures are a bit more obvious. For example, her before and after pictures of when her face was all bruised and beat up show history because there was definitely a difference between the two pictures and a story between the two. Close simply shows portraits of people he knows, though the expressions on their face likely tell something about that person's character.

I would definitely recommend checking out this artist to everyone. I have seen his work in person, either at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts or the Walker Art Museum, I can't remember which, and it was simply remarkable to see. Seeing a photograph of these huge pieces of art isn't nearly the same as seeing a gigantic canvas right in front of your eyes and knowing that he had sat in front of that canvas so many years before and fought against his paralysis to paint each stroke. It truly is an incredible experience and worth seeing.


Chuck Close: Process and Collaboration

Chuck Close


Joan Jonas

Joan Jonas was born in New York City in 1936. She has a background in sculpture but is primarily a performance artist and works with video as well. Her earliest period of art was in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1994 and then 2000 did she have a show in a museum. In her work, Jonas likes to focus on the body and it’s relationship with media and space. One work that demonstrates this is Vertical Roll, in which she exposes different parts of her body- arm, feet, torso- to the camera. The video also exposes the material of film, as each individual shot rolls across the screen, separated by a horizontal black bar. Most of her installations are multimedia and include visual images and video, sound, spoken word, objects, actions and props.
One of Jonas’ main sources of inspiration is experimental cinema, “which she [draws] on intensely, exploiting the advantages of video over film in terms of recording, editing and presentation? (Timelines, p. 8). Jonas traveled to Japan in the 70’s and there was inspired by traditional Japanese theater, something she references to in her works. Another inspiration was traditional Native American dress. In one of her films, Organic honey’s Visual Telepathy, Jonas dawns a wooden mask and a feathered headdress, not only turning into her alter- ego- Organic Honey- but also makes references to these cultural traditions.
I compared Joan to one of our visiting artists, Chris Larson. One thing that I noticed about Larson and Jonas was that they both have a background in sculpture but also expand into other media, including film. Both have an interest in drawing upon stories and myths in their work. An example of this is in Larson’s Crush Collision, and Jonas’ Upside Down and Backwards. In Crush Collision, Larson creates this storybook setting of a house floating on the lake, and examines the people who inhabit the house. Jonas’ Upside Down draws upon and intertwines the Frog Prince and The Boy Who Went Out to Learn Fear to create a new tale. One major difference between the two artist’s work is that While Larson spends time creating elaborate sets and machines to make his films work, Jonas relies on bodies, actions, and props.
Personally, I find Joan Jonas’ work interesting, but I did not necessarily like it. I found it hard to understand and divine meaning from her works, which was frustrating. Performance art and installation is a medium that I am not familiar with and don’t understand, which could contribute to why I was so turned off by her work. I would not recommend Jonas’ work to a friend.

Jonas, Joan. (2007). Timelines: Transparencies in a Dark Room. Barcelona: museu d'Art Contemporani.

Youtube link to Vertical Roll: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHAvzFoBEO0

A Closer Look at Chuck Close

Bunbob Chhun
ARTS 1001
Artist Research
A Closer Look at Chuck Close

Chuck Close was born in Washington State in 1940 . Close is known for his giant portraits. His medium: ink, graphite, paint, paper and canvass. His technique: breaking a photograph into a grid and recreating that grid to enormous magnitude, sometimes containing up to 4,000 squares (some pieces 9’x 9’). At first glance Close’s paintings may seem like blow-ups of photographs but this is not so. Close meticulously works on one square at a time, which influences the next square. There is much “room for subjectivity? when this amount of choice is present. The subject matter of portraits is not to inspire, any other image would certainly suffice in capturing what Close attempts to accomplish. What is meant to inspire is the interpretation of the subject. Because an artist creates the image Close explains that “the way you choose to make something influences the way it looks and therefore what it means.? Again, with the amount of choices and how one square can influence the future of another square determines not a blown up replica but an artist’s perspective on the subject. In other words “every decision is influenced by all that precedes it, and modifies the whole.? It can be assumed that any other artist using the same method “would produce a substantially different result.? At first glance his works may seem like traditional portraits however with close examination they represent something more profound. Close himself intends his work to “challenge the spectator’s vision of reality.? Using the example of his 1969 work Phil Close enlarges a photograph of a friend. A photograph is a quick snapshot or reality. Close’s version of Phil becomes more than that. It is Close’s own interpretation of his friend Phil. He captures blemishes caught by the camera and adds nuances not captured by the photograph. Also, it is the intense manner in which Close operates to construct the piece that challenges the context of the photograph. His works prior to 1988 are more straightforward in respect to photorealism.
In 1988, Close became paralyzed from the neck down . Many agreed that his career was over. Not so, he inevitably regained control of one of his hands. In fact Close reinvented his photorealistic technique of breaking up an image into a grid and recreating it on a larger scale. An up close view of the squares he painted look like miniature abstract paintings. However, from a far these images combine together to form a larger complete portrait similar to his previous works in scale but different in style. Similar to how a mosaic brings many different pictures together for one singular unified composition.
The inspiration of Chuck Close has a lot to do with the closing of Pop Art. Remember, Pop Art was not so much concerned with recreating images but “examined the visual grammar? of how the subject is presented. In other words context matters most in what they represented in society. In Close’s attempt to recreate images his technique brought a new context of how decisions influence a result, and the more decisions the more variety that can be produced.
In regards to using photographs and specifically portraiture, Nan Goldin is similar. However, how they interpret the image is completely different. Nan Goldin will take numerous pictures capturing the moment. She does not reinterpret the image, the viewer is left to decipher what there is to decipher. In her mode she captures reality for all its worth, the ‘nitty gritty’ whereas Close acts as a middle-man interpreting one photograph through his systematic technique which consequently influences the viewer to see something the way he sees it. It is convoluted.
Andrea Carlson’s works are similar to Close’s not just in obvious size but also how she puts a new spin on an old image by changing the context in which it would be originally considered. For example her work on Truthiness she centers an American decorative plate that contains Fort Snelling and an eagle representing America in all its glory. However the context that surrounds the plate is anything but glorious. There are jackals and men fighting in the background. What is key to understand is the fighting is not fighting it is murder. How can murder be glorious? In short context matters. Carlson’s work may differ from Close in what medium she uses and Close’s work may not challenge morality to the extent of Carlson but they share a reinterpretation and technique that changes the context of the original image.
Chuck Close is to photorealism what an auteur is to film. At the beginning of his career his style and product was innovative but more importantly unique. You know it’s a Chuck Close when you see it. If any person needed an example of how art did not die with Picasso, a portrait by Close would more than suffice. Walking into a gallery and seeing a huge image of a woman, Kiki part of the permanent Walker Art Center collection for example, takes your breath away. The size is intriguing. Moving closer you notice how it is broken up in a grid of little cubes. They act like pixels from a television on the canvass. A person wonders who this person is and why she is on a gigantic canvas let alone why she is painted in this manner.
Questions that have come up during this paper, one of them is whether Chuck Close born in a different time would produce work in the same fashion? Would he have been a revolutionary in the Realist Period? Regardless, his works will transcend time because of their unique manner prior and post paralysis. Close and Goldin both use photographs in their art but their purpose and construction are different. Carlson’s work is more similar because of her abstraction of context. Close’s art is intelligent because of the manner in which it is produced. There is much thought that goes into each square he paints from his grid composition. Each square influences the other, like dominos tumbling on each other. This reason alone is worth recommendation and thought.

***Footnote symbols did not appear so i will also submit a hard copy as well upload a copy.***

Christopher Finch, Chuck Close Dot Drawings 1973 to 1975. Inner cover.
Finch, Chuck Close 8.
Finch, Chuck Close 8.
Edward Lucie-Smith, Visual Arts in the 20th Century (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1996). 266.
Finch, Chuck Close 10
Finch, Chuck Close 10
Lucie-Smith, Visual Arts. 266
Deborah Solomon, “The Persistence of the Portraitist,? New York Times, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06E0DA103BF932A35751C0A96E958260, accessed 25 November 2008.
Lucie-Smith, Visual Arts. 260

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Willie Cole

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Born in New Jersey in 1955, Willie Cole received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He creates works in many media but is best known for his found-object sculptures. He transforms everyday mass-produced domestic objects such as bicycle parts, irons, and lawn jockeys into precious icons or symbolic representations that explore ideas of diversity, identity, and commercialization.

Cole will tell you that he is “open to all inspirations.? Among his many sources of inspiration are African and Asian art, contemporary art, West African religion, mythology and culture, as well as music, poetry, athletics, and his children. He also often references the African-American experience. He is concerned with the core spirit of an object—all of his work revolves around and emphasizes spirituality, and as a self-described “urban archaeologist,? he works hard to honor the memory of discarded objects. The steam iron is the single most important icon in Cole’s work—it symbolizes both the domestic role of women of color and Ogun, the Yoruba god of iron and war. The ultimate goal of Cole’s art is to incorporate the viewer, but when it comes to interpretation, he likes it “when people read and imply their own thing.?

I see many similarities between Cole’s work and the work of Andrea Carlson. She too sees objects “as milestones in a landscape of time, culture, and meaning,? as artifacts and heirlooms. Cole seems to agree with Carlson, as we can see in his work with found objects, whose surface quality acts like a documentation of the object's history to Cole. To both Cole and Carlson, the story of an object is essential to its worth. Carlson sees objects as “becoming surrogates for our identities, symbols connecting us to a larger group, or mnemonic devices reminding us of the stories we have been unconsciously told to remember.? This belief manifests in Cole’s work with irons, which become symbols of the domestic lives of colored women and which connect Cole and his audience to the Yoruba culture through Ogun and his story. Carlson too, like Cole, incorporates her audience into her works by trying to get them to imagine the stories bound to the objects she depicts, and though she doesn’t work in the same medium as Cole, includes references to many found objects in her works.

To a friend I would definitely recommend one of Cole’s exhibitions. His method of elevating found, discarded objects to the level of art in a ritualistic manner is quite touching. It is fun to see what he does with common objects that we never give a second thought to. I think one of the tasks of artists is to document the societies they live in at the time, and Cole has a very interesting take on that task. I find his work with irons particularly interesting: to symbolize a face or an African mask, Cole uses imprints of an iron pointing up, while an iron pointing down symbolizes a shield. Canvases scorched by irons reference Adinkra cloth found in Ghana. I would tell a friend to first to take a look at some images of Ancient African and Asian art before going to an exhibition though, so they could more easily see the similarities between those images and Cole’s art.

willie cole 2.jpg


"Artist's Biography." Anxious Objects: Willie Cole's Favorite Brands. 2006. Cantor Arts Center. 26 Nov. 2008 .

Carlson, Andrea S. "Artist's Statement." Art by Andrea Carlson. 26 Nov. 2008 .

Gaché, Sherry. "To All Inspirations: An Interview with Willie Cole." Sculpture 20 (2001): 24-29.

"Selected Works, 1997-2004." AFTERBURN--Willie Cole. 2006. Worcester Art Museum. 26 Nov. 2008 .

"Willie Cole." Alexander and Bonin. 26 Nov. 2008 .

Richard Hawkins

Richard Hawkins is an artist who currently lives and works out of Los Angeles, California. He works with many mediums, and has a wide variety of work that is not readily classifiable. Paintings, collages, and digital images are some of the varied forms his work takes. Hawkins was co-curator of an exhibition of gay male artists called “Against Nature?, which occurred in 1989. This is the earliest reference to his artwork available. Following the exhibition in the early nineties, Hawkins began working a lot with collage.
His collages often contain male models, or porn stars, sometimes put into new context. Sometimes the collages would consist of only two pages, of a model, and a different background. Throughout these works themes of desire, and being desired, objectivity, and youth and masculinity were addressed. The surfaces for his collages, and some of his paintings were often found images, such as old desks, or other random things. As his work progressed through the nineties, his themes and the work itself evolved.


Toward the end of the nineties Hawkins work became more decadent. Work characteristic of this time include images of severed zombie heads floating in front of an amorphous background of bright colors. These symbolic images were said to exemplify the relationship between cutting, collage, and sadism that was evident through all his work of the nineties. His work eventually lost its symbolism, and took on a painterly theme. Though he painted throughout his career, in the early 2000’s he moved through abstraction, and later got into narrative paintings associated with his native Creek heritage.


Hawkins early works are seen as autobiographical, and having a lot to do with shedding identity and exploring relationships. His abstract painting had more to do with the validity of abstraction, and, as with all of his works, many paintings he did looked like they were all done by different artists. His later paintings became narrative and exploratory. He is part Native, and wanted to explore his relationship to that identity, as well as the suffering by Creek people.


In relating Hawkins to Andrea Carlson, who also has a mixed ancestral cultural identity, there are both similarities and differences. Hawkins has explored many more materials for conveying his art than Carlson, however his work relating to his ancestry is in the form of narrative painting. Both Hawkins and Carlson explore their relationship to identity in an ambiguous, yet narrative way. In Carlson’s work it is easy to see cultural influences, whereas Hawkins stays away from clear connections. Both portray their feelings about the assimilation of identity and struggle associated with that.
I would recommend a friend see an exhibition of Hawkins’ work. I would like to see one myself. I would tell someone that his mediums are always changing, and the identities and concepts of art he works with are both rational and expressive.

Frieze Magazine
Issue 97, March 2006

Library Referencs:
Art in America v.83 May, 1995, p. 116, exhibition review

Tyler Olsen

Los Carpinteros




Los Carpinteros, originally a group of three young Cuban artists, formed in the early 1990’s during a difficult time in Cuban politics. The group, then composed of Alexandre Arrechea, Marco Castillo, and Dagoberto Rodriguez lost one of its members—Alexandre Arrechea—in 2004 but continued on to win many prestigious awards in North America, Europe, and their home country; Cuba.(1)

The group takes on a humorous and playful approach to art by editing and reorganizing furniture in ways some have called, ‘inventing the world’ to convey political meanings. The primary materials these artists use for their work are simple wood, metals, and plastics that makeup every day furniture. They used these materials because of the Cuban recession in 1990 which left many resources scarcely distributed.(2) The resources they chose, however, were mainly affiliated with carpentry hence why they got the name “Los Carpinteros? – a name given to them by others which means “The Carpenters.? The meaning, however, can only be implicated by the materials used, not the meaning of their work. Unlike most Cuban artists, Los Carpinteros make art that is intended to visually represent time periods of political importance in human history and in the process, put Cuba’s socialist history in the past. As Dagoberto Rodriguez puts it, “What was our goal? I don’t know, maybe this will sound odd, but the idea was maybe to forget that past, to put it aside.?(3)

A comparison between Los Carpinteros and Liz Miller can be established through the form of the art but not it’s meaning. Although the two art forms contrast in meaning and style, Liz Miller uses nearly the same techniques that Los Carpinteros use when making their art. Both artists simply freestyle their art without making ‘blueprints,’ both are continually evolving their art and putting it in new places (such as walls, hanging from ceilings, and on large ramps). However, one of the most important comparisons to be made between Los Carpinteros and Liz Miller’s work is the fact that both artists seem to reach no specific audience, but rather, everyone. The artists themselves, for example Los Carpinteros, did not intend to reach everyone. As Cara Jordan notes, “Even though such site-specific projects have brought the artists worldwide attention, the Cuban way of life has always played an important role in their work. The many abandoned hotels in Havana inspired Home-Pool (2006)?(4)

I would recommend everyone I know, not just friends, to see the Los Carpinteros exhibitions simply because it is difficult for me to imagine how anyone could dislike their work. The mix of political metaphors and beautiful visualizations in enormous and altered daily contexts makes Los Carpinteros a duo of artists that cannot be matched when it comes to viewer diversity. If you’re not seeking art with political meaning but simple or complex beauty, then it is still possible to enjoy Los Carpinteros. In contrast, if you’re seeking deep philosopher and political meanings in art, they are not hard to miss in Los Carpinteros work.

(1): Lowinger, Rosa. "INTERVIEW / SCULPTURE MAGAZINE." Los Carpinteros. 1 Dec. 1999. 26 Nov. 2008 .
(2): Jordan, Cara K. "Los Carpinteros." Sean Kelly Gallery, New York NY March 22 • April 26, 2008. ArtUS 2008 23 (2008): 21-21.
(3): Lowinger, Rosa. "INTERVIEW / SCULPTURE MAGAZINE." Los Carpinteros. 1 Dec. 1999. 26 Nov. 2008 .
(4): Jordan, Cara K. "Los Carpinteros." Sean Kelly Gallery, New York NY March 22 • April 26, 2008. ArtUS 2008 23 (2008): 21-21.

Brad Bird - Ben Hanson's Artist Project

Brad Bird was born on born on September 11th, 1957 to a small family in Montana. Ever since he was a young boy he dreamed of becoming an animator and became completely sold on the idea of working for Disney studios. While in high school, he received top notch animation instruction from a former member of the Disney animation team. Ever since he was little he had an obsession with drawing and soon became intrigued by the idea that he could potentially bring his drawing to life through the power of animation. Ever since that realization his primary medium has been film and short videos. He also writes and is an exceptional storyteller but his first love is for the visual arts and the creative possibility of animated features. He deeply resists the notion of the Animated feature as a genre unto itself, he has stated several times that an animated film can express any emotion and has a wide range of potential and should not be seen as a corollary to film mindless children videos. Brad Bird likes to address the themes of family unity and love while still exploring and pushing his audience to be creative and to really capitalize on their own creative potential.
Brad Bird is a populist artist. He has no grand vision of saving the world through his creations or of pointing out any injustices. He creates his movies and short videos in hopes of heart-warming entertainment. His videos are not schlocky nonsense, however, as he does leave plenty of room for interpretations and for the possibility that each story is a parable that could be applied to several situations. His film The Iron Giant was seen in many communities as a critique on the Cold War, with the giant yet friendly robot demonstrating the true bond for camaraderie between the United States and Russia. Compared to some of the more aggressive artists that we have talked about in class, such as Nancy Spero, his work is fairly soft and made for popular consumption. Where Nancy Spero and William Kentridge create artwork in hopes of changing people’s minds about current issues in our world, Brad Bird just hopes of emotionally connecting to his audience and of softening up our general approach toward each other. When you take the audience size into consideration, Brad Bird’s films such as Ratatouille and The Incredibles have ultimately changed and positively affected more lives than all of the artists studied in class combined.
Where an artist such as William Kentridge may use his animations to point out the horrors and injustices of the world, Brad Bird instead analyzes the world around him and hopes to change it by beautifully and emotionally arranging it in a way that reflects the humor and the hope within every situation. Kentridge’s work may display a corporate fat cat ruining the lives of the workers in an attempt to show the corruption of the world, while Brad Bird chooses instead to satirize the negative aspects of the world and take their feet out from underneath them by showing them to the masses as comical and ultimately weak figures (think of the boss or the villain in the Incredibles or the government agents in Iron Giant). I do not want to portray Kentridge as a glass half empty kind of guy and Brad Bird as a glass half full of smiles and candy canes, Brad Bird is not mindlessly positive and hoping to brainwash America with his rosy outlook. I believe that Kentridge looks back on history and sees stories of pain and loss, and Brad Bird is also fully capable of acknowledging the suffering of the world but he has a spark in him that allows for the rearranging of those past events into compelling stories for the general public. He sees history as a sandbox, and he hopes to translate the pain and reality of the world into comprehensible stories.
“We make films that we ourselves would want to see and then hope that other people would want to see it. If you try to analyze audiences or think there's some sophisticated recipe for success, then I think you are doomed. You're making it too complicated?, this quote was from Brad Bird in an article for IGN. I would certainly recommend seeing and thinking about the role of Brad Bird’s films in America today. He has worked on The Simpsons and still stands as one of the leading voices in the top animation studio in the world, Pixar. He is currently developing a live action movie concerning the San Francisco Earthquakes of 1906, Brad Bird has proven time and time again that his artistic voice is one that America is clamoring for and that his stories stand up as great cultural myths for our day. He finds a great pleasure in pushing his creative boundaries and I think that he has a lot to teach anybody who is interested in studying the relatively culturally complex body of his ever-evolving work.

Sources -

Charles Ray

Charles Ray is an American artist that was born in Chicago in 1953, and now resides and works out of Los Angeles, California. His work varies from life-size installations to ink drawings on paper. Ray’s primary theme, according to artandculture.com, centers around “containment, integration, isolation, and self-sufficiency.? He is a leader in Conceptual Realism, in which his work is offered as a type of metaphor for “the gap between the literal and symbolic, or the known and unknown.? A certain sense of humor or questionability comes from his work, as it is presented in an often unique and interesting manner.
Perhaps Ray’s most striking works are the fiberglass installations of life-size humans completely naked. For example, Family Romance. (1993.), shows a family of four standing in a line and holding hands while completely naked, including the visibility of pubic hair on the parents. His later work often includes such human installations in which the faces are actually genericzed versions of Ray’s own. When these dummies do have clothes, they are also said to be a spin-off of Ray’s own personal style and wardrobe. These aspects allow a sense of fiction, but also reality due to the fact of the correlation between the artist and his work.
Charles Ray also offers a different type of installations, including "Charles Ray's Log" that was presented in 2007 at Regen Projects in Los Angeles, California. After walking through the woods on day, Ray noticed a large, decaying tree fallen to the ground. He was immediately intrigued by how the tree displayed the life cycle of death and generation. For the following 10 years, Ray began a recreation of this fallen tree, which was, incidentally, made of yet another tree in which the Modern Painters journal called “wildly imaginative.?
I believe Charles Ray is very different from any of the artist’s we have discussed in class. Liz Miller was, too, known for installations, but her work consisted of flat planes of paper and other materials to create a type of graphic, and often 2-D design. Charles Ray is known for large-scale, 3-D creations that often mimic real people or items in life. The fact that his work is unique and often provocative makes me want to (or tell a friend to) view one of his installations in real life.

-Dana Thayer


Charles Ray: Regen Projects
Dambrot, Shana Nys
Modern Painters (September 2007) p. 95




Research on Ablade Glover

Research on Ablade Glover
by Albert Obeng

Dr. Ablade Glover is a native of Ghana; he is a teacher and a painter whose works have been exhibited widely worldwide. Professor Glover was the Dean of Art at the University of Science and Technology (Kumasi, Ghana) for 27 years. Dr. Glover talks about how the lack of some of the bare necessities of life in a third world country such as Ghana can aid in contemporary art losing its currency. He claims he uses his paintings to alleviate this isolation and connect the artists to the wider Ghanaian audience.
Dr. Glover has a unique and instantly recognizable style, working in oils on canvas concentrating on market places and townscapes in Ghana.
The rich, colorful culture of the Ghanaian community which is mostly overshadowed by the hardships in the country is what Dr. Glover tries to portray in his paintings. I believe he wants people to see past these hardships and appreciate the richness in the Ghanaian culture as well as the beauty that lies within the struggle.
I will compare Dr. Glover’s work to that of Nan Goldin. Nan Goldin captures her life through a lens, and in a sense her capturing all her photo memoirs of herself became an extension of her self. Dr. Glover also uses his paintings to capture what he sees about his country and culture that others might fail to see. He uses his paintings to communicate his views about his country to the outside world. Same ways Nan Goldin also uses her pictures to communicate with her audience, in some aspects she even felt much comfortable using that as a medium of communication. Nan Goldin sees herself as the defender of the real and unaltered with the pictures she takes. I believe that in
Dr. Glover’s paintings it also portrays the unaltered version of the country Ghana irrespective of it being branded a third world. He sees beauty unrefined.
I would definitely tell a friend to check out his exhibition. I believe Dr. Glover’s paintings will give one the opportunity to appreciate Ghana by its rich cultural beauty without bias of the media.

Head Count by ABLADE Glover

Market Colors by ABLADE Glover

Mother Sweet Ooh
Brenson, Michael. “Review/Art; Contemporary Works From Africa.? 19 Jan. 1990.
The New York Times. 25 Oct. 2008. .
Glover, Ablade. 2008. October Gallery. 25 Oct. 2008 .

Chris Burden

Chris Burden
Firstly, I would like to say that when I selected my artist for this project I had no idea what I was getting myself into; I didn’t know if he was a stunt man or an artist at first. This daredevil, Chris Burden, was born in Boston Massachusetts in 1946. He went on to study visual arts and architecture at the University of California, Irvine and shortly after began doing performance art. He is both a performance artist and in his later years a sculptor. Although, Burden doesn’t reveal his motives about many of his performance art pieces many share a similar theme. In a good deal of his art Burden puts himself through some type of physical pain or suffering. A good example of this is his piece titled “shoot? where burden lined up and waited for his friend to shoot him with a .22 caliber rifle. Other works include Deadman, Five Day Locker Piece, Fire Roll, TV Hijack, and Doomed . According to Chris Burden's extreme performance art, “…the point of his art, in addition to making political and social statements, was to illicit discomfort in the audience/observers? (Dvorsky).

Although Burden spent the seventies doing mainly performance art he studied sculpture in his time at the University of California, Irvine and began to do more sculpture work in his old age. Burden says one of the main reasons he was motivated to do performance art was because he did not have much money at the time (West). When asked about his motives for the piece “Shoot? Burden said, “I wanted to be taken seriously as an artist.? Much of Burden’s inspiration stems from the work of Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso (Schjeldahl). Another reason Burden put himself in dangerous situations and/or had pain inflicted on him in his artwork is to catch the attention of his audience in shocking and sometimes discomforting manner. Although some say that his works such as the work “Deadman? and “Shoot? represent social issues during the seventies like the Vietnam War, Burden has not blatantly said any of his works are based on any specific issue. Unlike, other performance artist like Chris Larson who uses many different props and materials to make his art Chris Burden uses mainly his own body as his stage.

Although, Burden and Larson are both performance artist they have more differences than they have similarities. This is very interesting to see two artists in the same field with two very contrasting styles. The most obvious and significant difference between the two is that Larson makes very large scale and intricate machines and stages that are interactive whereas, Burden uses few props but uses his body as his main material for his work. Additionally, Larson makes rehearsed and specifically choreographed movies. Burden’s performances were, for the most part, all live and unrehearsed. Despite some of the inferences made on Burden’s work about social issues he does not really deal with history in his performance work. Many of Larson’s Work’s reference American history, for example, “Larson’s collisions from America’s past, present, and future cultures present a conversation among different and similar worlds. Where people, ideals, thoughts, race, beliefs, art, religions and politics are constantly colliding,? (Crush). Although there are numerous differences between the two artists, they both do an excellent job of capturing the audiences’ attention whether it is through stunning visual settings or through self suffering.

If I were asked to tell a friend about Chris Burden I would absolutely recommend his work to them, although I would have to warn them that they may be a little disturbed by some of his work. This is because I have never been so captured by a form of art before. The passion for art that Burden has astounds me; although some of his work doesn’t seem too amazing to me it is the fact that he is willing to sacrifice his body for his art, for what he loves to do. I believe that passion makes his work special and really makes a statement about what kind of artist he is. Although, I only briefly talked about Burden’s work as a sculptor he is very skilled at that as well. He made a 65 foot tall skyscraper using all Erector Set parts representing his past aspirations to be and architect (West). This demonstrates not only his passion but his creativity and skill, which is why I would recommend Burden to everybody.

Works Cited
"ART; Burden's Bridges: Toys That Fulfilled Their Potential. EBSCOhost. " New York Times 8 Feb. 2004: 31-31.
"Crush Collision." MAEPedia. MAEPedia. 26 Nov. 2008 .
Dvorsky, George. "Chris Burden's extreme performance art." Sentient Developments. 7 May 2007. 26 Nov. 2008 .
Schjeldahl, Peter. "Performance." The New Yorker. 14 May 2007.The New Yorker.26 Nov. 2008 .
West, Kevin. "Public Offering." W. May 2008. W. 26 Nov. 2008 .

I cannot figure out how to post pictures so i am just going to bring a couple to class.

Chuck Close

Lauren Carpenter

The artist Chuck Close describes himself as a nervous wreck, an inconsiderate slob and not to mention he claims to be “poor white trash from the state of Washington.? However, by looking at his paintings one would never guess his slob-like nature. Close works with painting, photography, and printmaking in a style that has been classified as Photorealism. He takes photos of himself, other fellow artists, and family members. Afterward, he enlarges the prints only to break it down into a grid pattern, and then reconstructs the image very meticulously, painting grid by grid. Big Self-Portrait was his first portrait painted in 1968 that took four months to complete due to his attention in detail. He is intrigued by a photographs ability to show things in and out of focus and to paint the photo with the same exactness. In 1998, Close suffered from a spinal blood clot that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Determined to continue doing what he loved with the help of a specialized brace and assistants, Close began painting again. His portraits had a different aura to them. This ambiance could be explained as celebratory,
Close simply suggests it was because he was so happy to be able to get back to work; his work became freer and livelier by exploring and expanding his color palette. His paintings are a canvas of mini paintings that make up a whole image from a distance.


His portraits encourage the viewer to analyze the face and create their own interpretation or story of what that person is feeling. Close only uses his family, friends, and other artists as subjects in his work; he says, “Inspiration is for amateurs. I just get to work.?

I would compare Close’s portraits with those of Nan Goldin’s because they only photograph people, specifically people they have personal relationships with. However, Nan’s photographs are quick snapshots that tell the story of her and her friends quite clearly. She describes her work as “the diary I let people read,? and just by looking at the photos the viewer steps inside her world and becomes acquainted with each character. On the other hand, the figures in Close’s portraits usually display a neutral expression. His paintings are cropped so tight the background and body language are eliminated, leaving room for imagination and interpretation. Goldin’s photographs are snapshots of spontaneous situations that strike, where as Close sets up his photos and takes many pictures of the same subject until he captures the right moment and then he spends a great deal of time focusing on the details that make the individual unique.

Chuck Close 1997.jpg

Essentially, both Close and Goldin have dedicated their work toward preserving the same substance of humanity. However, their methods for achieving this goal differ in either spontaneity or diligence. Close exhibits offer a highly magnified perspective of the human face. Constructed in such a manner that seems to blend the mediums of fine art and photography, the portraits displayed yield a wider understanding of the artist’s attention to detail. For Close, capturing the human essence is obtained by zooming in; Goldin however chooses to achieve the same goal by zooming out while portraying people and their surroundings. I would indeed tell my friends to go see one of Chuck Close’s exhibits because his personal story is motivating and his style of painting is absolutely mesmerizing.


Chuck Close: Angles of Refraction by Robert Storr

Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967-2005

Chuck Close: Process and Collaboration

Emily Burchell artist research: Matthew Barney

Matthew Barney was born March 25, 1967, in San Francisco. In 1989, he graduated from Yale University, New Haven. The art which he creates combines sculptural installations with performance and video. His inspiration for creative process utilizes the physical aspects of sport and the various ways in which man can be involved in movement to find any limits of the body pertaining to sexuality. By doing this type of investigating, Barney's work reflects his own past as an athlete, while also contributing to the topic of the body often seen in the work of many contemporary artists. Barney’s actions are exposed in various hybrid spaces that are often in the form of an athletic center and medical research laboratory. Often, these spaces consist of wrestling mats and blocking sleds, sternal retractors and speculums, and a range of props often molded into, or coated with, substances such as wax, tapioca, and petroleum jelly. Indeed, his earliest works, created at Yale, were staged at the university’s athletic recreational center. The use of this atmosphere for creation, Barney’s visual presentations (such as a man dressed up in costume and Barney himself absolutely naked or dressed as a transvestite) further display figurative movements and dancing to distinguish sexual differentiation.

Barney’s fascination and artistic representation of the body is inspired by the athlete and human development. He utilizes the idea of physical struggle and resistance by giving the illusion of muscular growth through the ripping and internal physiology existing within the body during exercise. The end result is a stronger, healthier muscular function. This articulate relationship between the idea of wanting something, self discipline, and the action of actually being productive is the basis for Barney’s thoughts on the differences between sexes.

A work in which Barney is most known for is his Cremaster cycle, which he created in 1994. Similar to the Star Wars trilogy, he did not follow any sort of chronological order with his creations. The first production was Cremaster 4, in 1994, then Cremaster 1, in 1995, followed by Creaster 5, in 1997, Cremaster 2, in 1999, and finally Cremaster 3, in 2002. The Cremaster cycle takes the form of feature films, all of which are written and directed by Barney. He also partakes in acting as one or more characters in his own films, along with the creation of sculptures, drawings, and photographs which he ties into the series. The concept that Barney is trying to embody with this work is the male cremaster muscle. This particular muscle controls testicular contractions in response to various external stimuli. I feel that he is successful in presenting this because his imagery is somewhat grotesque and intrigues the viewer to investigate the situation, even if the viewer might feel slightly uncomfortable or threatened. This results in the idea that the viewer would possess a slightly defensive reaction, thus embodying the function and actions represented by the cremaster muscle. Through the creation of this cycle, Barney found a way to look beyond biology as a way to explore the human creation, utilizing other sources for structure and artistic presentation, such as biography, mythology, and geology.


An artist which I would compare Matthew Barney to would be Catherine Sullivan. Both Barney and Sullivan use film to evoke various emotions of curiosity and hesitation from the viewer. By displaying a series of awkward body movements and distorted visual appearances, I find they are both successful in creating a type of bazar artistic point of view. The human body is a main focal point for both of these artists. They both utilize the manipulation of natural movement and control of the human body to create an illusion of a loss of control and bodily function.

I would recommend a friend to view the work of Matthew Barney because it is very interesting. The art he creates is not a vision that can be seen any other way. The work provokes curiosity and triggers the mind of the viewer to experience various emotions that are fantastical and indescribable. The work is as if it were a dream. Also, I would recommend a viewer because I have never seen another art form which comes close to that of Matthew Barney's presentations.


Matthew Barney: the cremaster cycle.
Author/Creator: Barney, Matthew
Publisher: Astrup Fearnley museet for moderne kunst

Author/Creator: Barney, Matthew
Matthew Barney's official web site.

Laura Owens


During the era of 1990s, many Las Angeles artists had found this period as one of the most challenging periods in history. Many artists were struggling to make their best achievement out of their works. However to Laura Owens who is a painter in Las Angeles found this era as the era of her success. While many artists were struggling to make an achievement, Owens’ works has become to be one of the most recognized works of the entire contemporary. Many of her works have been accepted for museum collection including the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Guggenheim Museum in Chicago. Her works are often time involved with landscapes, interiors, figures, animals, and abstractions. Owens’ works present in variety of canvas sizes, it depends on how much details she wants to express to the viewers. She commonly works with oil paint and sometimes her works come with a mixture of watercolor, collage, acrylic, ink, enamel, and marker as each of these medias allows her to high light every little details more explicitly.

Owens is always interested in learning different ways of practice in art and often time she tends to borrow a little bit from other artists’ ways of practice and manipulate them into her own. From modernist’s practices to European painter like Rousseau and Toulouse-Lautrec, Owens uses every bit of each practice to create a new work of art that represents both for fineness and pleasure to her audiences. Thus most of her works tend to be playful and abstract in which convey with meaning and beauty. Although meaning is constantly implied on most of her works, Owens never intends to give titles on any of her works as to her belief, untitled work of art tend to encourage the viewer to look at her works more in their own mean rather than by her mean.

The way Owens presents her works without titles has illustrated us that Owens is an open minded person who likes to give freedom to her audiences’ opinions on her works. For instance, on one of Owens’ interviews with Believer magazine, Believer made a comment about the bats that Owens used in one of her works as to the Believer, Owens’ works are suppose be for pleasure and the Believer was not sure if the bats support her works’ concept of pleasure. Owens’ argument about the bats was that bats were the types of mammal that can be interpreted in many different ways and that is all depends on the culture were are living in . By drawing out from this little conversation between Owens and the Believer, Owens again has informed us that by implying more freedom in the work of arts, it allows the viewers to build stronger connection with the art as they get to put it into their own mean.

Laura Owens- Benevolent Bats

According to the Believer, Owens tends to spend an amount of time studying other artists’ works and manipulate into her own in a new different way . Owens’ way of making success in her works seems to be similar to Chris Ofili in a sense that they both studied other artists’ works and covert it into their own. Even more they both consider beauty as a way to entertain their audiences. Although Chris Ofili’s work is more toward religious scene and Owen’s work is more on nature, they both are equally concentrate on beauty. Ofili’s impresses his works through bright color but elegant and very decorative whereas Owens impresses her works through neutral color, calm and peaceful in an abstrac tive way.

The Holy Virgin Mary by Chris Ofili (1996).

Owens’ works are one type of art works that consists of multiple meanings due to each individual experience. They often abstract but yet pleasurable as those cool color being implied onto the canvas. For those who are interested in abstract arts and enjoy relating his or her own experiences to a particular situation that he or she is facing with, Owens’ exhibition would be a prefect one to go to; as Owens always untitled her works and leaves the meaning up to the viewers.

“Laura Owens: Camden Arts Centre, London? Art Monthly (no301 N 2006), 23-4.

Rachel Kushner. “Laura Owens? Believer, ( May 2003), http://www.believermag.com/issues/200305/?
read=interview_owens (accessed Nov. 21, 2008)

Thomas Lawson and Paul Schimmel, Laura Owens (, Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art,
1999) , 39.

Nell White's Artist Research Paper: Lucien Freud

Lucien Freud, the grandson of renowned psychologist Sigmund Freud, is a British painter and draughtsman of German origin. He studied art– attending the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing. His career in art then bloomed in Paris and Greece, and finally settled in an inner city area of London “whose seediness is reflected in Freud’s often somber and moody interiors and cityscapes? (1). His early work does differ from his later work - he has been an artist for over 40 years. Freud first experimented with drawing and later shifted his media towards painting. While painting he went through a surrealist phase trying to find his identity. The painting, Painter’s Room, is an example of one of Freud’s works during his surrealism phase. The subjectivity and intensity of his work once his identity was established is one to set him apart.


Freud quotes, “Normally I underplay facial expression when painting the figure, because I want expression to emerge through the body. I used to do only heads, but came to feel that I relied too much on the face. I want the head, as it were, to be more like another limb.? (2) Freud creates his work uniquely and remedially – he does not paint to make the picture beautiful for the pictures sake, he paints humans to release and fix their inner qualities, the ugliness and violent rawness, and uses the brush strokes as the interpretations. He paints them exactly how they are, embracing the flaws and in this way, Freud is free to explore formal and optical problems rather than expressive or interpretative ones (1).


William Kentridge is an artist studied in this class and is comparable to Lucien Freud. Kentridge, though he normally uses a series of drawings comprised into a video, puts so much depth and perspective into each line and stroke of his charcoal. Freud, as seen in his later works, also releases emotion via his art tool. Kentridge easily captures his audience by means of the video, which is unique and smart as charcoal drawings are not the most unique form of art, not saying they aren't beautiful pieces in themselves. Freud, though he uses a mute palette throughout his career, easily captures the viewer by the internal contrasts in his paintings and the subtle details which captures the subjects inner identity portrayed by the paint.

I would tell a friend about this artist if they were the type of person who was intrigued by looking deep and being captivated by a work of art. An appreciation would be ideal however the intensity and beautifulness in Freud’s pieces are key factors in making his work able to be appreciated by all.


Artist Research Project

Andy Goldsworthy by Wiwat Wiphusit
1). Andy was born in 1956. He is a British sculptor and photographer and also an environmentalist. He is currently living in Scotland. He likes to collaborate with nature to make his art works come to life. He photographs his art right after he makes it. He works with whatever comes to hand, twigs, leaves, stones, snow and ice, reeds and thorns. His primary themes are collaboration with nature. His themes usually come with found objects, like if it’s snowing he will work with snow, if it is a fall season he will work with falling leaves and if a tree fell he will works with branches and twigs from falling tree.
2).Andy is inspired by the movement, light, growth, and decay of nature and very essence of life. He is inspired of its transient state “each work grows, stays, decays.? He doesn’t really have any preconceived ideas about what he will create. He explores and experiments with nature’s materials so the seasons and weather determine the materials and subject matter of his projects. His works is like the opposite of our hectic daily live. He shows us how things could be simpler, less not more. He can makes things out of nothings while we want more things and materials in our life. I guess if we each take his approach into arts we could count how many pairs of shoes we have, closet full of clothing for example and for me I have a car, motorcycle, and bicycle. Putting all of these materials together he can create a lot of thing but he chose rather to make things from transient things that will change with time. I don’t believe he is trying to entertain us but he definitely make us see think in a new way. We could never imagine nature like the way he shows us. He is very talented at that. He connected us with nature.
3). I would compare Andy Goldsworthy with Hubert Duprat. They both are sculptors and work with nature. Duprat choice of materials is precious stones, precious metals such as gold, sapphires, pearls, rubies, and diamonds. Compare to Andy’s materials of twigs, branches, leaves, snow and ice, thorn. Eventhogh Andy’s choice of materials isn’t worth anything but his photographs are properly worth as much as Duprat’s precious metals. Which art works of these two artists would you take home? Andy works is painstakingly hard to do. It might take Andy all day or weeks or months to accomplish his work but Duprat seems to have the insect do all the work, well he manipulates them a little bit. Audience of Duprat is more of a jeweler than fine artist of Andy’s audiences. I don’t think both of the artist are dealing with history to any extend.
4). I would tell my friend that Andy Goldsworthy is a really talented artist. He will inspire you to connect with nature. His work really inspired me to do thing will less. I used to not be able to make art because I don’t have the materials, I don’t have this and I don’t have that or I don’t have the right tools. After I saw his works I don’t really have excuse no more. I would recommend my friends to check out an exhibition of his work because I want them to be inspired like I did.
1). http://www.goldsworthy.cc.gla.ac.uk/
2). Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature (Hardcover)
by Andy Goldsworthy (Author)

Christopher William: Conceptual Photographer

Christopher Williams was born in Los Angeles in 1956. He studies at the California Institute of Arts under John Baldessari and Douglas Huebler. Williams is classifies as a conceptual artist. His work involves taking photos of inanimate objects that seem simple or also photos of people staged to do everyday things. One of my favorites is a photo of corn on its cob in a totally white setting with the light indicator still in the frame as if the corn is in a photo shoot just like a model.
Some of his work is considered abstract. The majority of Williams’s work is political or connected to pop culture. One of his photos is a set of brightly colored dishes set up in a dishwasher. The colors of the dishes, I found after some research, are the colors the brand of film he used to make the pictures. Interestingly, he uses a studio for most of his work. While working with models, he sets the model in an everyday action, such as taking a shower, and takes “faux candids? of the models. The majority of the work I researched was photos of objects.
Many of his works seem to beg certain questions about what we think of art today and what we consider to be art. They also show us how different mediums can be used in different ways. His work entails a lot of meticulous details and you might often find a set of photos that are seemingly identical, but which have been changed ever so slightly, so little as a small camera angle. His work is inspiring to me because I find his ideas to be the type of ideas that I try to convey in the majority of my art. I find some of William’s art to be humorous and I enjoy browsing his galleries. Williams art helps me understand how to convey abstract ideas in a more obvious manner. He is able to create different reactions through his art, starting with a laugh, a smile, and finally an “oh I get,? and that is something every artist strives for.

Sources: Leffingwell, Edward, Art in America, 2003
Art in Review; Christopher Willliams; Ken Johnson, New York Times; April 7, 2000; http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A02E2DA103FF934A35757C0A9669C8B63

Emmanuel Mauleon's Artist Research: Jose Parla

Jose Parla

Jose Parla was born in Miami in the 1970's, before his family moved him to Puerto Rico at a very young age, and returning to Miami again at the age of nine (1). His introduction to his first medium, spray paint and permanent markers occurred through a viewing of the New York city graffiti documentary “Style Wars.? From that point forward Parla developed a exceptional reputation for himself under the name “Ease.? Along with his Inkheads crew Parla garnered national acclaim throughout the graffiti world, which led to his discovery as a fine painter as well (2). Parla's work expresses the migration of people in and around urban environments, and their interactions within those environments. His use of layering and texturing his canvasses recreates a sense of urban spaces which have been well traveled and worn down by those surrounding and interacting with their environment.(1)

Parla's work is inspired by both his graffiti background, as well as his travels and interactions with multiple urban environments. He lists his older brother and fellow artist Rey Parla as a big inspiration on the movement and layered style of his pieces, which he derived from the films his brother created through hand written cell animations. His work is also inspired by the marks and impressions that inhabitants leave upon their environment, and the general interactions that people have with the spaces they live in. The layer comes to represent the shifting populations that interact with the same locations. He refers to his work as “segmented realities,? pieces of real locations recreated to share the same emotive effect upon the audience as the original locations. His recreation and interpretation of these spaces tried to convey the lives and the experiences of different urban populations. (1)

Parla's work echoes that of artist Marc Bradford. They both reflect upon the environments in which the artists grew up and they assimilate imagery from these landscapes into their pieces. They both also use many different mediums and materials with which to achieve their final images or art installations. I was particularly intrigued that they both during different works use signs they had acquired or taken from the streets of their cities, and incorporated them into their works in order to convey the messages that the residents of their cities encountered on a daily basis. Parla's paintings are almost installations in the way he chooses to recreate building spaces, such as subway tunnels, gates and storefronts. He achieves this using materials from tiles to glass, and he incorporates them all into one cohesive narrative about the original location. Parla's work also responds to the difficulties those in his community face, such as his piece “Boomerang? which was commissioned for a show that responded to the terrorist attacks of 9-11, similar to Bradford's takes on the LA riots. Parla's work responds to the idea that although “...what actually went down was fire, steel and rock... it was the people that fell.? (3)

Parla's work has been a great inspiration in my work and has itself opened my eyes to everyday surfaces within my city. His interpretation of lives and narratives through recreation of surface inspires and challenges his audience by creating an awareness to the interactions we all have with our environments and the ways that they effect us visually, and vice versa. I would definitely recommend his work to a friend or anyone interested in contemporary art, as his fusing of graffiti influences with installations, fine painting, calligraphy and his ideas about human/environment interactions are fresh and bold.

1.Jose Parla Website
2.D. Chen Interview 2000
3.Village Voice Review Boomerang 2002

Marisa Wojcik - Gallery Visit

I went to visit the exhibition Journeys to Nowhere: Selections from the Collection at the Walker Art Center. The exhibition was a compilation of multiple pieces, all from different artists. The pieces were selected from the Walker Art Center Collection in their relation to a film by Perre Huyghe called A Journey That Wasn’t. Upon entering the exhibit there’s a small hallway that leads to an open room. A statement about the exhibit describes the film as inspiration and how it relates the various pieces to one another. In total there are eight works on display, six on the surrounding walls and two sculptures on the floor in the middle. While walking around the room exploring the pieces on display you can hear the loud rumblings of the film in the next room. This allows the viewer to get an extra sense and connection to the film before even viewing it. Through one wall is a corridor that leads to the large room to view the film.
As stated before, this particular exhibit was inspired by the film A Journey That Wasn’t. The broad theme of journeys and what they mean is apparent in the exhibit. In descriptions of the exhibit and specific works within it, certain key words/phrases expand upon this idea including: ambiguous destinations, discovery, grand visions, desire to experience and impulse to question the world. Overall the works “literally and symbolically explore far-off places.? A piece that takes up the whole left wall of the exhibit is comprised of ten photographs. Titled Horizon 1°-10° Land, by Jan Dibbets, every photograph in the piece is of the same horizon line, “diagonally oriented where sky meets land.? The first photograph is a thin, vertical blue wedge and undistinguishable as a horizon. With each photograph the angle increases by 1°, making the wedges bigger and bigger and the image more recognizable as a horizon line as the viewer progresses. The process of discovery from the abstract to identifiable is presented. Another piece titled Selection from Carta Faminta (Starving Letters) by Rivane Neuenshwander is composed of paperboard, glass, and Chinese rice paper eaten by snails. Some areas of the paper are completely eaten away at, while others are virtually untouched. From a little bit of a distance, the paper looks like a geographical map of a landscape. The process of mapping out a new and unchartered territory takes a sense of exploration and adventure. I thought there were many parallels between this idea of exploration and the work of Thomas Joshua Cooper. The inspiration for his photographs stems from the plights of great historical explorers. In addition, his process of obtaining the photograph, documenting and producing the same sensations and emotions the explorer might have felt, is a journey in itself.
The 20 minute film that the exhibit is based around has two parts. The first part is a journey to the Antarctic Circle by seven artists and ten crewmembers. Due to global warming, ice has been receding in this area, uncovering new islands and ecosystems. Traveling by ship, the month-long expedition’s goal was to locate one of these unknown islands, said to inhabit the only known albino penguin for the purpose of connecting and communicating with it. Once there, the artists and crew set up a single light (in the form of a large globe) that would blink in sync with sound. The sound used resembled that of Morse code designed to interpret the physical form of the island into an audible form, the idea being that when animals communicate with one another, it is in a form that reflects nature. They wanted to see how the penguin would interact with this light and sound system. The second part of the film is footage from the dramatic reenactment of the team’s journey. The performances, which took place in Central Park in New York City, recreate the feelings and emotions of the journey using elements such as light, sculpture, ice, fog, and most importantly sound. The musical score, based on the island’s topography and similar to that played to the penguin, was performed by a live orchestra. The film, while following the vents of a journey that actually occurred, also acts as an open-ended allegory. There’s a brief and vague narration by the artist in the beginning, but the rest of the film is shots of the imperial Antarctic landscape and the culminated Manhattan performances. Although it is never overtly explained how the penguin reacted to the light/sound system, the artist described the film as a narrative of a “tragic odyssey.?
I personally enjoyed the exhibit very much and would recommend it to friends. I think it translates well to most audiences. The subject matter and the main idea of an expedition is show in both tangible and intangible forms. The film has a mysterious quality to it, leaving the viewer to fill in the blanks for themselves or explore more information behind it. The additional pieces in the exhibit add more depth and exploration to the theme presented by the film. I liked how all the works, but most predominantly the film, don’t dwell on conclusions and outcomes but more on the wisdom gained in the sole act of undertaking such a challenging journey.

Images from film:


November 25, 2008

Maggie's Chris Ofili Project

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Maggie Mountain
ARTS 1001
Chris Ofili
"My project is not a p c project ... It allows you to laugh about issues that are potentially serious." ~Chris Ofili

Chris Ofili is a contemporary British artist that emerged in the early 90s. He is known for the use of elephant dung in his paintings. Chris Ofili is of Nigerian descent and incorporates his African heritage into many of his works. He was born and raised a Roman Catholic and he also uses many symbols from it in some of his work. Ofili has had art displayed in many prominent museums and galleries and has created a lot of controversy over his works of art. He uses a variety of materials such as acrylic, oil, resin, paper collage, glitter, map pins, and elephant dung on canvas. Ofili incorporates most of these into each piece of art he does. He uses many themes that mainly deal with sex, politics and religion.
Ofili is influenced by so many different things. Some of the main ones are 1970s comics, contemporary black music, and pornographic magazines. He also has musical influences mainly from the soul, hip-hop and jazz genres. He uses many cultural references and popular material in his work that have to do with his themes of sex, politics and religion. Ofili wants the audience to see the beauty in his paintings and the elephant dung is supposed to be a challenge to the beauty in his work. He believes there is conflict created because of this clash between dung and beauty.
Chris Ofili’s work reminded me the most of Suzanne Opton’s work with the Soldier Billboard Project. A similarity is that she incorporated politics into this piece as Ofili does in some of his pieces as well. In her piece that we discussed in class she had asked soldiers to pose in a certain position that made them appear to be dead. She had these pictures placed on billboards in Denver and Minneapolis during the Conventions. This created a controversy because some people thought it was insensitive to the people who have lost loved ones in this war. I feel Suzanne Opton and Chris Ofili have that in common. They know that what they are putting out there is potentially controversial, but they do it anyway. This is what I love about Suzanne’s piece and Chris’ work. They aren’t afraid of what the audience will think.
These artists’ use completely different materials while making their art. Opton uses photography and Ofili uses collage materials and paint. They both relate to their audiences by using known objects or people. Soldiers are what the main focus in Opton’s piece was and everyone knows that they are looking at a soldier when they see her billboards. Ofili is a little more subtle, but if you don’t know what it is in his piece of work you will know by the title. The best example I have for that is his version of the mother of Jesus, Virgin Mary.
I would definitely recommend Chris Ofili’s work to my friends and family. I would warn them that it may be a little controversial, but the work is beautiful and the concepts behind each piece are wonderful as well. My favorite exhibition of his was in The Upper Room in the Tate Britain Museum. I loved how he replicated basically the same image for 13 different pictures, but at the same time they are all so different. I think he makes beautiful work and gets his opinions out there. I think everyone deserves a chance to be heard.

Chris Ofili “She? 1997 Chris Ofili “No Woman No Cry? 1998 Chris Ofili “The Holy Virgin Mary? 1996

"Chris Ofili." Artnet. 20 Nov. 2008 .
"Chris Ofili profile." BBC News. 1 Dec. 1998. 12 Nov. 2008.
Collings, Matthew. This Is Modern Art. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004.
Opton, Suzanne. "Soldier Billboard Project." The UnConvention. 20 Nov. 2008 .

Artist Research; William Kentridge

Artist Profile; William Kentridge
Emily Hanson
Rowan's Discussion Group

(I could not figure out how to upload pictures, but please check out these links, or just search William's artwork on the web! It's pretty fantastic!)

Artist William Kentridge, born in Johannesburg in 1955, grew up during the height of Apartheid in South Africa. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and African Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand he went on to receive a diploma from the Johannesburg Art Foundation in the Fine Arts. He is most well known for his charcoal drawings and the animated films that often stem from them, but has also worked in other medias such as sculpture and printmaking, worked as an artistic director on a television series, and at one point seriously contemplated becoming an actor. For years he worked as an actor and director for a theater company in Johannesburg, but has since made his artwork his primary focus.

Much of Kentridge's inspiration stems from his South African roots. The social and political happenings that have occurred around him in times of conflict or otherwise have all come to shape not only his life, but his life’s work. He was once quoted in an interview that, "I have been unable to escape Johannesburg. The four houses I have lived in, my school, studio, have all been within three kilometers of each other. And in the end all my work is rooted in this rather desperate provincial city". While he does not always create work that explicitly refers to Apartheid many of the events of that time have shaped his work. Often he will start a piece with no intention of creating a storyline related to these events, but somehow the majority will always end as such. His work is a combination of somewhat personal narratives, or storylines that allude to such, and stories rich with historical context. His ability to evoke such strong emotion and insight through his pieces with such simple medium (charcoal, paper, and sometimes a bit of color) helps to make Kentridge an even more extraordinary artist in my eyes.


Other artists covered in class have also created works that present some sort of narrative or deal with historical content, just with different medium. Nan Golden is one artist in particular that has painted a rather vivid and controversial picture of her life through her photographs. Golden presents a sort of photo journal of her life that she has made public, where Kentridge compiles mixed medium drawing to produce a final story in the form of a film. Kentridge's works are a mixture of personal narrative as well as a focus on larger collective history, where Golden’s narratives follow her life, and the lives of those she holds dear. His stories often follow different political moments in South African history that have unfolded over time and before an extremely large population. Both artists present history in very different ways, and the approaches that they take to help tell their stories are what audiences will find most appealing. One uses very raw, natural and personal photography, while the other uses very raw, expressionistic drawings and films.


I would undoubtedly recommend a visit to a William Kentridge exhibit. The art work he produces is not simply tremendous as a final product, the process that he uses to come to that point is remarkable in itself. The technique he uses to create his films is a labor intensive series of drawing, filming, erasing, and altering of a single drawing which is compiled together to create one flowing film. While watching the final product one is able to see the different eraser marks left by the artist during the process which, in my opinion, adds to the beauty of the piece. The audience is then able to further appreciate the process of the artwork, rather than just the final product. Kentridge is a wonderful storyteller and I believe that the subject matter on which most of his works are based on is extremely important and can be appreciated by vast audiences.


Kentridge, William. "Stereoscope." Interview with Lilian Tone. William Kentridge; Stereoscope. Nov. 2008 .

Kentridge, quoted in William Kentridge: Drawings for Projection, Four Animated Films. Johannesburg: Goodman Gallery, 1992, n.p.

"William Kentridge." 1999. Carnegie International. Nov. 2008

Joe Kane's research on Sherrie Levine

Sherrie Levine, studied fine art at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in the late 60’s and early 70’s. She was first considered an “appropriationist?, which is someone who draws on “existing imagery from ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture? (1). This title came as a result of her views on modernism, and how its ideals were not being realized in modern society.
Aside from modernism, she focused on idealism, purity and form. Her works draw on an extremely wide range of art, and she is one of the first artists to delve into “rephotography?, which involves her recreating a shot in the same location as a past photographer, creating a “then and now? type of work.
Levine’s views on modernism and her tendency to reconstruct modernist work earned her the title of postmodernist. One of her most famous pieces is “Newborn?, a remake of a sculpture by Brancusi, a major influence of Levine’s.
Her work, for me, is reminiscent of Hubert Duprat in that much of the work is done for her. Although there is most likely just as much thought and labor involved, it doesn’t seem that way. It still has the lingering staleness of a remade film or a new cover of an old song. There’s always the sensation that the artists are minimizing the amount of effort they need to put forth. On the contrary, this form of artistic remaking is clearly a homage to the original creators and, if it’s done right, can be just – if not more – beautiful.

1) The Museum of Modern Art - Website

2) Rimanelli, David; Sherrie Levine: Marian Goodman Gallery; Frieze Magazine; Issue 16, May 1994.

Corinne's Artist Research Project: Chris Ofili

Chris Ofili is a British painter who is known for his controversial artwork referencing his Nigerian heritage. He was born in Manchester, England in 1968 and attended school at the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London from 1988-1993. Ofili primarily works with oil and acrylic paint, resin, glitter and elephant dung on canvas to create a collage. For example, “When the Shit Hits the Man? 2008 (see below).
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"When the Shit Hits the Man" 2008

Ofili’s work generally revolves around questioning racial and sexual stereotypes in a humorous way by referencing things such as “blaxploitation films? (exploitation films that target an urban black audience) and gangster rap. For this reason, much of his work has created a large amount of controversy, especially with his deliberate misuse of traditionally ritualistic elephant dung. In particular, one of the more controversial paintings is “The Holy Virgin Mary? (1996), which is an African American virgin surrounded by pornographic magazine cutouts, which is deliberately provocative in order to shock the viewer into a less superficial mode of thinking and progress into a deeper spiritual analyzation of the appearance of Mary, since so little is actually known about it.
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"The Holy Virgin Mary" 1996

Ofili obtains most of his inspiration from his Nigerian heritage, as well as ancient Zimbabwean cave paintings with which he combines images from popular culture. For example, through his approach to challenging numerous issues on black stereotypes, Ofili wants to not only inform his audience, but broaden the viewer’s interpretation beyond its cultural meaning as well. In comparison, Ofili’s work is in many ways similar to William Kentridge’s, Nan Goldin and Lorna Simpson in that fact that all four try to tell a story, in particular a historical and/or factual even that had taken place and possessed some kind of emotional significance. Although all accomplish this through numerous ways, each artist strives to depict an important event that has had a personal emotional impact on their lives.
In particular, I saw many similarities between Ofili and Lorna Simpson. Both artists aim to target the African American population and confronting the expression of society’s relationship with race and ethnicity, where usually images of black woman and/or men appear if images of humans are present. Additionally, both have explored the uses of various media when creating their installations. Although Ofili primarily works with oil and acrylic images on canvas, and Simspon mainly utilizes photography occasionally with text, both manage to portray the story they are trying to tell by creating images that capture the essence of their political and/social symbolism that are easily recognized by their target audience-African Americans. Both Ofili and Simpson relate to their audience by depicting only members of their target audience, and incorporating African American history with the combination of symbolic images and contemporary culture. For example, Chris Ofili’s “No Woman, No Cry? (1998) is a painting dedicated to the memory of Stephan Lawerence, the murder victim of a racist gang; it is also inspire by the Bob Marley song, “No Woman, No Cry?. It is not only a tribute to the victim’s family, but it is also a starting point for political activism and the need for social change. In the painting, the woman is shedding tears, which each represent the portrait of the murder victim. Similarly, Lorna Simposon’s “Waterbearer? (1986) is a profoundly simplistic photograph that depicts the historical and contemporary reference of the working African American woman; someone who, as stated in the text, is a forgotten memory. However, the flowing water has healing powers and acts as a portal through which the woman can reconnect with the past and the present, thus reclaiming her place in history and making peace with it. See below for both images.
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"No Woman, No Cry" 1998

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"Waterbearer" 1986
Although I do not agree with some of Ofili’s choices of work, in particular the elephant dung, I still would recommend his work to another person because one of his main goals is to broaden the viewer’s interpretation of symbolic popular culture, as well as to expose common African American stereotypes. Both of which I think are important issue to be addressed within today’s contemporary society. I think it is good for controversy to exist because it causes the audience to actually think and ask questions about the work, instead of just observing a piece of art. Ofili’s use of controversial images utilizes shock value to capture an audience’s attention, but he leaves it up to the viewer to question its interpretation and meaning in somewhat of a testing method to see if the viewer is willing the think outside the box in order to understand the deeper meaning. See below for more work by Chris Ofili.

“Chris Ofili?. African Success: People Changing the Face of Africa. 2007. African Success. 29 July 2007.< http://www.africansuccess.org/visuFiche.php?id=253&lang=en>.

Sternbergh, Adam. “Aftershock.? New York Magazine Art. May 2005: New York. New York Media 2008. < http://nymag.com/nymetro/arts/art/reviews/11877/>.

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"Afro Muses" 1995-2005

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"Afro Apparition" 2002-2003

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"Iscariot Blues" 2006

Cyan: Artist Research:by Tawny Dahmes

Tawny Dahmes
Artist Research

Cyan is a group of graphic designers began by Daniela Haufe, Detlef Fiedler. They have other designers work with them depending the project they are working on. One of these ‘visiting’ type artists is Sophie Alex. All three of these designers were born in Germany and all three were not originally graphic designers. They were all self taught. Before teaming up to create Cyan. Daniela was a typesetter, Detlef was an architect, and Sophie joined the group as a textile designer. They all decided to work in graphic design because they thought I would be fun. The main tool for Cyan’s work of course is the computer but they are known for creating works for posters and books. The common theme throughout their work is the mixing of text and images by layering.
All three of these members find themselves united by the early 20th century avant garde tradition. They say that they were the products of traditional means of expression. (Vardimon) But when it comes down to their work their goal is to make the viewer slow down. They do this because the field they are in is aimed only toward picking up information in the seconds as you past the poster. Their goal is to slow down the viewing. They explain this in their interview with Yarom Vardimon:

We face a context aiming for ever faster distribution of information. It would be impossible to build barriers directed at slowing down and canalizing the distribution...This is our idea. We attempt to melt text, images, paper into a unified entity. Neither aesthetically, nor with regard to its content, this unity is to be easily consumed. Therefore, it is not ready for discharge after a single glance.

I feel this is seen in the work in Mag Mec Berlin, 1991. This was the cover of an architectural catalog. They combined the work of the 15 students that were featured in it but then added the nude lady in the background to offset “mechanical? elements.

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One artist that I feel Cyan’s work is somewhat similar to is Nancy Spero. I compared her work to the picture above specifically with a work called “Black and the Red III? 1994. (below) The obvious stating is that the colors are very similar, but also both do use sexual figures. Cyan’s is transparently put into the background while Spero’s is quite obvious and put in the foreground. Both works also have a some form of structure to them which is why the sexual figures in each work fit well. It not only offsets the structure but makes you think about what the artist is really trying to tell you. Although Cyan uses the computer in order to create their whole piece, both Spero and Cyan do create collage art works. Spero doesn’t use words in her work normally while text is a big part of Cyan’s work. Both artists are influenced by history, Cyan influenced by avant garde, which seems to be more futuristic of its time. While Spero went back to some of the first artists, those of mythology. But I don’t see Cyan’s influence portrayed into their art work as much as Spero’s. One of the major differences in these two artists is how permanent the work is. Cyan’s work is made as posters or books, as art you can go back to and look at again and again. But most of Spero’s work is done in installations some painted directly on the walls, so the only remembering of her work is its photograph. Also the goals of the artist don’t seem to be the same because Cyan’s goal is literally to make the viewer walk back and take a second look at their work, to slow down their life no matter what the subject matter is. Spero may want the viewers to look closely at her work but it isn’t her goal. He work is purely feminist art work. Another difference in their work is that Cyan normally uses only one color in their work, although the shades of that color do fade or become stronger.

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Cyan’s work is very interesting to look at and for me there are some works that are very beautiful. I would defiantly tell a friend about their work. They seem like they are true artists because although they do create art work most of their work is with graphic design. They create art for other people. But they don’t just do it to make money because they said they don’t make that much money anyways. I see them as an inspiration because of the work I do is in a media that many people like to display. But they really show that although you are making work for someone else, the work is still yours and you can do what you want to it.

Some more of their work:

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Form+Zqeck nr, 1995

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Bauhaus program, 1994


Harper, Laurel. Radical Graphics/Graphic Radicals. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999.

Vardimon, Yarom . "AGI DIALOGUE." AGI. 2 Jul. 2003. 23 Nov. 2008. http://www.a-g-i.org/magazine/dialogue_detail.php?id=2.

Christa's Visit to "What do YOU say, America?"

Gallery Visit Assignment:
Christa Robey

I went to visit the What Do YOU Say, America? exhibit at the Weisman Art Museum. The exhibition was a collection of prints put together by the Weisman Art Museum staff. The prints were government issued posters- most of which represented World War II propaganda and served to communicate with American citizens. Roughly thirty artworks were included. All of the pieces were prints- lithography on paper. The exhibition seemed to be arranged in a chronological order based on the time of their governmental release. The posters were arranged around the room; most were at eye level but occasionally one would be placed well above the others. There did not seem to be any reason why these particular pieces would be placed higher.
The exhibit was about how the government-issued posters were used to persuade, inform and warn Americans before and during conflicts. Most of the pieces were issued during the WWII era; a few WWI posters were included as well. However, I believe the bigger message/theme was about considering how recent governments communicate with its citizens. These war posters seem to be extreme propaganda, but perhaps the underlying propaganda we experience in our media is more effective and/or dangerous than we are led to believe. This exhibit was not designed to showcase the work of one individual artist, but rather, a group of artists are highlighted. During the 1940’s artists were actually recruited to help with war efforts. The work in this exhibit remind me of the Soldier Project website that we visited. These politically charged billboards also sent messages to American citizens on a grand scale, but the message is very different. The posters were issued by the government, telling citizens “Careless talk Kills? and to “Button your lip? or soldiers would die. However, the soldier billboards were not government sanctioned and rather, challenged some government messages.
One particular print that interested me was called “Americans Suffer When Careless Talk Kills.? This print, like the others, was lithography on paper and was composed by Harry Anderson in 1943. It was part of the “Careless Talk Kills? campaign, which encouraged Americans to be conscious of what they are saying and to not carelessly reveal sensitive information (i.e. deportments, ship movements). In the piece, a mother and father are featured, in which the mother is holding a telegram, which the viewer can assume, has told her that her son was killed in battle. The mother looks very distraught while the father appears to be staring at the viewer. His eyes accuse the onlooker of leaking information that led to the death of his son and misery of his wife.
I would recommend that a friend attend this exhibit. I believe that the subject matter is something that is interesting to anybody who knows anything about history or advertisement/propaganda. The images and messages are provocative and straightforward- something that is both amusing and intriguing. Also, the free admission and on-campus location would make the gallery easy for people I know to attend.

to see some more info about this exhibit and an example of a print:


November 24, 2008

Hindsight is Always 20/20 R. Luke DuBois Gallery Visit

Tawny Dahmes
Gallery Visit
Hindsight is Always 20/20
Rowan Wed Arts1001

The exhibition Hindsight is Always 20/20 was a series of 41 prints by R. Luke DuBois. There is one print for each of our 41 presidents, and each of the prints are based on the State of the Union address from each president. Each print is in the form of a eye chart (one that you would go to the doctor and read). But the words used in the eye chart were the most frequent 66 words if you took out extremely common words such as; his, hers, I, am, the. The beginning of the exhibition started with our first president, George Washington then the grey arrows would show you the 41 prints in chronological order around corners, rooms, walls and ended with George W. Bush right next to Washington.
Hindsight is Always 20/20 was started by DuBois after visiting the University of California Santa Barbra. There he saw a database that held all presidential documents including these speeches. This exhibition’s idea was to question list that we are given. This came from the way the world thinks of lists and puts so much trust in a list. It also gives us another way of looking at the speeches that every president has delivered. While walking through you can get the main points and problems of the United States during those years of the president through the first word on the eye charts.
In almost every chart there was at least one word related to war words such as; war, terror, guns, bombs. This artist I feel can relate most to our text in place projects because he reordered and placed the text to see how people would react to that type of list. He took some common words that were most like hear not only frequently during the president’s State of the Union but in the rest of the speeches that they made. He placed them in a way that really would not be thought of, something every person can relate to. The way set up kind of gives you an uneasiness just like when you go and take you eye test. When you first walk in you really don’t know what to think.
The piece of work I decided to look as was George W. Bush 2001-2009. I chose this one because it is a president that I know and I know the event that went on during his presidency. This was a print just like the other 40 prints, in a form of an eye chart. A white background with tying on tope with the top word being the largest and boldest on the print. Bush’s eye chart contained;


Of course Bush’s years largest word was terror since that is all we faced or fought during his presidency. This artist made the print for the same reason as the rest. To really question the list form and the significance we put in lists. It really makes you think, does the speech still have somewhat of the same meaning as it had when it was put together with no words missing and when it was not in a list?
They also had a computer system going that created an eye chart for Obama. When I visited it was only a few days after he was president elect but his chart consisted of;


Although some of these were not serious responses you can see how much hope there is for our president as of right now. From this project of DuBois we will be able to see how similar our new president’s State of the Union is from what some of the public feel it should be.
I would tell a friend about this exhibition only if they were more into politics because I feel it is very political. Although all he did was take the exact words from the State of the Union address. I would like to know how they felt about the exhibition so I would recommend it so I could have someone else who interpreted. It would be interesting to see how other people look at the eye charts and how different the way they interpret them is from me.

Artist: Thomas Struth, Photographer

Thomas Struth: German Photographer
Born: Geldern/ Lower Rhein, Germany
Media: Photography
Primary Themes: Ambition to make people more aware of how to read a picture while also taking into consideration the intention of the photographer. Strives to create dialog between two mediums and introduce a response of one figure to another. Eludes to the elapsing of time, and how it changes from not only between hours, but countries and cultures.
Inspiration: Creating time and space between the contrast of the space he is working in and his photograph. Finding connections from still paintings, still landscapes and the perpetual movement of people and their interactions with that medium.
Where does he make art, and how is it conveyed?: The majority of Struth's work is designated to an seemingly immobile and desolate area, and creates movement and the interaction of humanities perception and movement with in their environment. In his photographs of museums, Struth is contrasting the beauty and still serenity of the paintings and and demoralizing act of man of looking a the paintings. He likes to create a distinct difference from what is fetishized and how that ruins that objects ideal. From his work with architecture, Struth demonstrates his perception of the mans movement trapped in a building, and how these buildings are constantly moving internally, regardless of their inability to do so externally. Landscapes are depicted with strong detail, and note the changes in time from worldly, to locally, or hourly to seconds. His landscapes almost always contain a road, or some notion of transportation; keying in on how humanity can show their movement over space without actually being there in real time. Struth's photographs of international families also are a depiction of time, between cultures and of biological time. Aging and cultural differences are shown on their non smiling yet non-threating faces.
Compare and Contrast to Nan Golden's photography: Comparatively to Nan Golden; Struth and Golden share the same medium of photography and both with with the conception of time, whether it be profound in Struth's, or quick captures by Golden. They each work within the medium to bring forth humanity in different forms though the movement of space and time, however, the ability aims and abilities of the photographers are very much in contrast. Golden numerous works are of quick non-composed opportunities that arise. Struth steadily composes each shot, waiting for the right moment of best contrast to his ideal and environment that he is working with. Golden's photography is more raw, and deals with first impressions of her work, the picture is only skin deep with meaning; however, Struth's works cognitively swell with ideas and if one looks deep enough a many small humorous contrasts of humanity.
What would I tell a friend about his work?: I would tell them to expect uncertainties in his work, and to look deeper then the first glance, to think and mold ideas around the photograph. I would have them create the idea of why Struth took the picture at that moment and not another, and have them find the greatest point of contrast and aim of the photograph. His work is conceptualized though time, and I would have a friend try to make a determinate of that in his work. I would encourage them to look at his work, and find the meaning and movement in unseeingly immobile landscapes and photographs. I would also tell them about the immense capabilities of art that his work arrises to, and see if they found any aspiration in his versatility and flexibility while still keeping his main idea of contrast.

Naggar, Carole. "Thomas Struth: 1977-2002." Aperture 172 (Fall 2003): 6(2). Expanded Academic ASAP. Gale. University of Minnesota. 24 Nov. 2008 

Tuchman, Phyllis. "On Thomas Struth's "Museum Photographs"." Artnet 7 08 2003. 1. Magazine Features. University of Minnesota Twin Cites. November 24, 2006 




I found some of these very comical. He has other beautiful landscape and architectural pictures: but most of those end up as postcards, so I thought I would show some of his other work.

Google Struth, his variety and liveliness of his pictures are wonderful to look at.

Posted by: Emma Casey

November 23, 2008

Christa's research on Michael Borremans

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November 22, 2008

Carter Schmidt researches Tom Knechtel

The Walled City - 2006.jpg
(1) Tom Knechtel is a drawer and a painter out of Los Angeles. He was born in Palo Alto, CA. He attended Cal Arts in the seventies, and teaches in two of the leading art schools in Los Angeles. His works use the components and elements of literature and language such as metaphor and narrative. According to Tom, his work is about finding one’s identity and sexuality. His works generally consist of oil on panel. Some works include watercolor, silverpoint, or pastel on paper. I noticed that his drawings tend to depict natural subjects such as animals, whereas his paintings generally display more abstract theatre-like events and bizarre scenes.
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(2) Mr. Knechtel gains much of his inspiration by living in Los Angeles, so that he can be around artists and other art that he enjoys. Tom tells of one certain fantasy of his, which seems to explain his inspiration for his work quite clearly to me. The bedroom of his second-floor apartment is his studio, which has a window overlooking the entrance to the apartment. When Tom is gone, his cat sits in the window and watches the sidewalk, waiting for him to return. His fantasy is that he expects to look up someday and see beside his cat, masses of faces looking down upon him, waiting for him to get back into the studio with him. The figures include huge wrestlers, elephants, water buffalo, Indian gods and dancer, commedia figures, monkeys, trained bears and geese. He expects them to be stampeding from the window to the door in anticipation of his entrance.
Water Buffalo - 1999.jpg
Tom loves theatre, which often acts as another source of inspiration. He thinks of his painting as a kind of imaginary theatre company. His theatre inspirations include: Ariane Mnouchkine and the Theatre du Soleil, Giorgio Strehler and the Picoolo Teatro, Charles Ludlam and the Theatre of the Ridiculous, drag, puppet theatres, Cabuki and bunraku from Japan, Kathakail from India, circuses, and commedia dell’arte. On top of all this theatrical inspiration, he still remembers his love for narrative. The painter enjoys the stories which “spiral and meander.? Particularly: fairy tales, The 1001 Nights, Tristam Shandy, nineteenth-century novels and pornographic fantasies.
The purpose of Toms work is to investigate one identity and sexuality, in a comfortable environment. He wants the viewer to be at ease looking at a world without morals. I would say that his work compares, in a way, to that of Nan Goldin and even Chris Ofili, in the fact that they like to tell a story – Nan’s work is purely narrative, as well as much of Chris’ work. They all depict things that they are excited about, and subjects that they see as beautiful, even if many viewers might not agree. It is really about personal pleasure regardless of popular demand.
The Servan of Two Masters DETAIL.jpg
(3) The artist that comes to mind when comparing to Tom Knechtel is Chris Ofili. Both artists pretty much consistently use painting to create somewhat bizarre works. The paintings are somewhat abstract and use some collage techniques. The paintings are filled with vibrant colors and invite the on looking eye wander throughout the whole piece. Both artists also have a good sense of humor, which can sometimes only be seen through a personal explanation from the artist themselves. One difference can be seen in Tom Knechtel’s interest in drawings and the individual content of the works. Chris tends to depict history concerning Africa including his Nigerian heritage which can be seen in his use of elephant dung. Tom on the other hand, focuses on natural beings and human identity. It is more of a personal history and can relate to any viewer. Another difference I have noticed is that Chris focuses on a general theme or image which dominates the painting, whereas most of Tom’s paintings contain vast stories with many scenes and intricate details.
Crows - 1999.jpg
(4) I would definitely recommend one aspect of Tom Knechtel’s work to my friends. Although I found his paintings somewhat odd yet interesting to look at, his drawings were what really caught my attention. I really enjoyed the figures from nature, such as the water buffalo, flounder, and crows. I enjoyed these simple works and I would certainly recommend them to my friends!


Duncan, M. Nature According to Knechtel. Art in America v. 91 no. 9 (September 2003) p. 106-11, 135

Zellen, Jody. Tom Knechtel. February 14 - March 16, 2002 at Grant Selwyn Fine Art, Beverly Hills


Millions of Innocent Accidents and Unconventional Wisdom Exhibition (Closed October 26)

Millions of Innocent Accidents by Hardland/Heartland (Eric Carlson, Aaron Anderson, and Crystal Quinn) and Unconventional Wisdom by Mike Elko and Ruthann Godollei were exhibitions housed in the MAEP Galleries at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

ARTS 1001 - WE - 2007.jpg

WE (2007) - Hardland/Heartland

Millions of Innocent Accidents was designed around the theme of contemporary consumer culture and its excesses, exploring what will be left over when we are no longer here. Using a variety of materials including, ink, paint, graphite, beads, fur, insulation foam, flowers, doll parts, records, masks, magazines, books, paper, a set of Mickey Mouse ears, bottles, a television, bone, marker, axes, glass, and video, the exhibit featured several collages, paintings, and sculptures that created a contemporary scrapbook. The space itself was dimly lit, which created an almost post-apocalyptic feel among the works created from discarded consumer materials. It was difficult to get an accurate count of the number of pieces contained in the exhibit because, at times, it was hard to find where one piece ended and another began. For example, there were different sculptures placed on top of one another, appearing as a unified piece.

This theme of consumer culture is clearly conveyed in the work, There is a ‘We’ (2006-present). The piece was a collection of about 80 to 100 framed drawings, paintings, collages, and videos that manipulated and distorted images of culture, yet rendered them still somewhat recognizable. For example, one piece featured a dollar bill painted black except around George Washington’s face, which itself was painted over with a different color. Another featured a magazine cover with all identifying information scratched out with black marker. However, not every piece communicated the theme clearly. Earth Mass with Dead Deer Bones (2008) was a large sculpture created from bones, cotton, fur, plastic flowers, and sticks. While the piece had presence and was visually interesting, it seemed to be focused on items of nature, rather than consumer items.

The works that made up Unconventional Wisdom were inspired by the missteps of the administration of George W. Bush, namely the ongoing war in Iraq, as well as the atmosphere of fear-mongering that is present in modern culture. Although the exhibit was designed around this central theme, it also was a showcase for the works of Ruthann Godollei and Mike Elko, who have very different styles. The exhibition space was filled with about 25 paintings, drawings, and digital prints. The pieces were arranged in a “U? formation, with one wall containing only works by Mike Elko, the opposite wall featured works by Ruthann Godollei, and the middle wall was a mixture of works by both artists.
ARTS 1001 - Godollei - Time Change 2 2008.jpg
Time Change 2 (2008) - Ruthann Godollei
Ruthann Godollei used simple drawings of everyday objects to provide commentary on the war in Iraq and its seemingly endless nature. The piece Time Change 1-3 (2008) was particularly effective at conveying this message. It featured three black and white drawings. Each drawing contained three clocks. The first clock was set to 6:00 pm and labeled Washington D.C., Minneapolis, and St. Paul time, respectively. The second clock was labeled Baghdad, Khartoum, and Kabul time, respectively, and set to the corresponding time from 6:00 pm United States time. The final clock in each drawing was a blank clock, set to zero, and labeled ‘Time to End the War’.
ARTS 1001 - Elko - Cautionary Tale #2 (practical Paranoa Magazine) 2004.jpg
Cautionary Tale #2 (Practical Paranoia Magazine) (2004) - Mike Elko
The works of Mike Elko incorporated the style of 1950s popular culture to comment on the presence of fear-mongering tactics in today’s media. Just the basic style of the pieces gets this message across, as the 1950s were the era of McCarthy. One striking piece was Cautionary Tale #2 (Practical Paranoia Magazine) (2004). Designed as a magazine cover, it featured a frightened woman surrounded by headlines such as, “Canada: Can we REALLY trust them?? and “It’s your duty to report your neighbors. It’s so easy… and it’s patriotic.?

I would recommend Unconventional Wisdom to a friend. I thought it was an effective statement of the culture and atmosphere under Bush. Millions of Innocent Accidents you can take or leave. It took me a while to decipher the message of the exhibit and even after I had figured it out, I feel that the exhibit did not do a very good job of conveying it. Some pieces were interesting, but others looked like heaps of trash and not art.

Contemporary Artist – Chris Finley

Chris Finley was born in 1971 in Carmel, California. He received a BFA from Art Center College of Design in 1993 and currently lives and works in Rohnert Park, California. Finely mostly works in drawing, painting, and sculpture. He uses a great variety of materials to create his pieces, from the more traditional acrylic and oil paints on canvas, graphite on paper, and wood sculpture, to works made from everyday objects such as, pencil stubs, plastic rain gutters, cloths, toys, Rubbermaid containers, and trampolines.

ARTS 1001 Finley - Drool Sweat Scream - 1998.jpg
Drool Sweat Scream (1998) - Chris Finley

Over the past decade Finley’s work has undergone a transformation. In the late 1990s he created a series of installations that were modeled after levels in computer video games. Level One (1997) explored technology, its impact on culture, and human sensory perception. Finley created sculptures made from everyday objects and used them to represent file systems on computers. He also created a series of interactive pieces, which each viewer had to use in order to reach the end of the exhibit. One piece required viewers to stand in a corners and visually line up a colorful pillar with a wall, by doing do the viewer would be completely surrounded by an image. Another piece required viewers to jump on a trampoline in order to view a painting, which was obscured by a wall. In Level Two (1998) Finely explored American excess through a series of colorful and stimulating paintings that used techniques such as foreshortening and mirror images to distort visual perception. Finely has since created two additional Levels.
ARTS 1001 Finley - The Friggin' Curve 2006 ACME.jpg
More recently, Finely has used abstract paintings and kinetic sculptures to explore ideas of history, physics, and movement. The title work in his installation, The Friggin’ Curve (2006), featured a winding, looping wooden sculpture with the names of state capitals written on it. The same exhibit feature a piece titled The Primary Composition. In order to unlock the door that led to the second part of the exhibit, viewers had to pull this work, suspended by sting, across the room using a series of pulleys. A key, which dangled from the piece, was required to open the door.

I think that Chris Finley is similar to Gregory Green, whom we discussed in class. They are not similar in terms of themes, but rather to execution. They both create works with the goal of viewer participation. I would recommend that friends check out Finley’s work. Most art works invite the viewer only to look at it and generally from only one angle. The interactive nature of his installations, I feel, adds a dimension of thought and appreciation to the works. Not only do you think about the meaning of a piece, but also great care went into making it ‘user friendly’, encouraging people to have fun with art.


Black, E.J. ‘Chris Finley’ ArtUS. May/June 2006, p. 9.
Duncan, M. ‘Finley’s Fun House’ Art in America. February 1999, pp. 74-77.
Duncan, M. ‘Chris Finley at ACME’ Art in America. November 2006, p. 218.
Helfand, G. ‘Chris Finely at the Rena Bransten Gallery’ Artforum. Feburary 2005.p. 178.

Carter Schmidt visits "Journey's to Nowhere" at the WAC


1. This exhibition was a group exhibition. The artwork included consisted of a film, along with several other (8 or 9) arts outside the movie room, that I wasn’t sure to include as part of the gallery or not. To get to the exhibition, one must walk through a brief room where the artworks were, and then pass through a narrow hallway almost undetectable at first glance. The passageway opens up into a large, dark theater room with four plain white benches for the viewers’ use. The film is constantly playing and I walked in mid-way through. It was just like a small movie theater. The artworks outside this movie room consisted of several earthly-looking works, a framed rice paper eaten by snails, and part of one of the walls built of rough landscaping bricks with sculptural limbs integrated next to the stones.

2. The film presents a general theme consisting of the passage of time and the fact that this destination was seemingly endless or pointless except just to discover it. This film was not designed to showcase the individual artists. Instead, it meant to show and present images and ideas. The only dialogue is a narrator reading a couple lines in the beginning which partially explains the work. He says something about the challenge being to resist bringing back what they encounter, or something to that extent.

3. The main work here was obviously the film, considering the fact that I wasn’t even sure if the artworks preceding the room were supposed to be included. The title “Journeys to Nowhere? stems from the film creation entitled “A Journey That Wasn’t.? The main inspiration of this film came from the desire to find an unknown island and interact with a creature rumored to live only in such a spot in the Antarctic Circle. Partaking in the adventure included seven artists and ten crew members. In addition to showing scenes from this adventure, the journey was also represented musically. An orchestra in New York performs a piece in odd time signatures and in front of a mysterious and suspenseful city-scape. The fog machine and geometric holographic iceberg figure add to the mystery. The orchestral piece was directly inspired by the journey and was meant to represent the landscape and emotions experienced.

4. I would definitely tell a friend about this exhibition. First off, it would depend on the person to determine if I would recommend it or not. In general, it was somewhat confusing as to what they were accomplishing in the film as for the big blinking light and such. The film, by itself without understanding the context behind it, was not much different from watching the discovery channel program about an arctic adventure. One aspect that surely caught my attention was the segment showing the fields of snow/ice on the rolling waves of the sea. It gave an incredible visual effect – a blanket of vast white snow and ice oscillating up and down over the large, wide rolling waves.

Artist Kara Walker


One of Kara Walker’s earliest memories consists of her sitting on her father’s lap watching him draw. She was around the age of three and at that moment she decided that she wanted to be like her father; an artist. Kara was born in Stockton, California but at the age of 13 she moved to the south with her family. Her father, artist Larry Walker, was offered a teaching position at Georgia State University. Kara attended the Atlanta College of Art where she received her BFA, and then got her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Art. She has many accomplishments including being the youngest recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s “genius? grant, representing the United States in the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil, and having her first full scale US museum survey at the Walker Art Institute. Currently she resides in New York and is a professor of visual arts at Columbia University. Her signature artwork consists of cut-paper silhouettes. She uses this technique because she sees it as being cartoonish, which in turn allows her to elaborate on racial stereotypes that are reductions of humans. She went to school for drawing and printmaking, but in through her years she has used almost every media possible. She has dabbled in painting, written text, light projection, and video as well as performance. The theme that comes across most in her work is the representation of race. Her silhouettes are all made from black paper which eliminates the need to create skin tones and this allows for all of her characters to be seen as “black?. She also wants to portray history in a different form. Her characters have exaggerated features which make them cartoonish, and in doing so she adds some humor to the dense subject matter of racism, or power.

Kara Walker’s main inspiration is the pre-civil war south. Her art work depicts this time in a skewed fashion. She has been quoted saying,

“The work is two parts research, and one part paranoid hysteria."
This thought is what makes her art so interesting. She is able to portray history in her own unique way that makes it interesting again to the viewers. She is both trying to entertain and inform us. The past is something that did happen, and it cannot be forgotten. She shows us the past in an interesting way through the use of cut-paper silhouettes. She uses these silhouettes because she believes it is a very middle-class form of art. It has been traced back to the 18th century when it was used to make shadow portraits, which eventually lost their prestige. It was labeled as more of a craft then an art form. Kara has made this medium her own which is what propelled her to be the artist that she is today.


One artist that is easy to compare and contrast to Kara Walker is Liz Miller. They both use simple shapes in interesting and unique ways. Their work plays tricks on our eyes to allow us to see something that we might not have seen at first glance. A major difference is the use of color in Liz’s work. She uses bright and alluring colors, while Kara sticks to strictly black. They are both interesting in their own way, and I do not believe one’s work is better then the others. Their subject matter is quite different as well. Liz said that she deals with systems, such as weather radar, while Kara touches on more intimate subjects such as race and power. Both of these artists set out to create something unique out of something simple.

If I were to talk to a friend about Kara Walker, I would say that her work is definitely something to be interested in. I became interested in her last year when I viewed her work at the Walker Art Center. She occupied a whole room with an installation specific for that site. It was unbelievable how well it flowed together. The images were provocative, while still being comfortable to look at. Interest is never lost while looking at her work because no matter how many times the work is seen, there always seems to be something new in the shadows. She is a creative woman, and it is wonderful that she is able to share her work with us at such a large scale.



Walker Art Center website

Kara Walker: My Complement, My Oppressor, My Enemy, My Love
An exhibition catalog by Yasmil Raymond

Art:21 website

"Journeys to Nowhere" at the Walker- visited by Jacquilyn Weaver



1. This was a group exhibition that included nine works of art. Seemingly unrelated at first glance, a few of the artists and their works included Joseph Cornell’s?Andromeda? (Sand Fountain), Gabriel Orozco’s “Piedra que Cede? (Yielding Stone) and Rivane Neuenschwander’s “Carta Famita? (starving Letter). There were sculptures, film, and for a lack of a better term, “wall hangings,? that revealed the expressions of stone and water. Arranged in one room, hung an expressionist painting of the ocean, a single stone on the floor next to a box with sweating rocks, various sand works, and caterpillar-eaten rice paper. In a separate theater room, a film that incorporated different forms of expression was of highest interest for me.

2. I suppose that the theme of the exhibition would be “Journeys to Nowhere,? and could best be understood through the film, the sand fountain, the depth of the ocean, and the starving letter pieces. I’m made aware of this theme upon seeing an hour glass seemingly suspended in time with sand anxiously awaiting its fall, the desperation of snails resorting to rice paper for nutrition and the parallel of a starving society, the idea of endlessly traveling down into the ocean and the wonder if anything actually exists that’s worth exploring. These works, namely “Carta Famita,? remind me of Hubert Dupart’s “Trichopterae? where a caddisfly collaborated in the creation of beautiful and poetic art. All that this artist had to do was leave paper for snails, and then frame them—Very similar to leaving material for flies and then taking pictures.

3. The film entitled, “A Journey That Wasn’t,? created by Pierre Huyghe in 2006 was a truly poetic, creative and very much fulfilling experience. Shown on a very big screen, the landscapes and emotions captured were by no means belittled. This film documented the journey several people took, setting sail from Argentina to the southernmost part of the Arctic Circle, to locate an unnamed island that had been revealed due to global climate change. They were on a mission to discover rare eco systems, unique flora, and an albino penguin! The experience they had was then translated into a topographical description of the landscape through a symphony orchestra. The film included takes from their actual journey and takes from a show they put on upon return to civilization.

4. I can’t think of anyone that I wouldn’t recommend this piece of art to. It was a beautiful experience that had multiple layers of interest. Because it is a collaborative piece that encompasses different forms of expression that are so nicely meshed together into one cohesive piece. I think anyone interested in film, music, adventure, nature, visual art, and mystery would love it.

November 21, 2008

Research on Tim Hawkinson, by Jacquilyn Weaver


-This piece is of particular interest to me. It's entitled "Pentecost"

1. Tim Hawkinson, a sculptor from Los Angeles, California, creates pieces that range in size from very small, to very big (up to a football field in length). Materials used by the artist vary: latex, pie tins, wood, gears, fingernails, hair, eggshells, and plenty of electronics. His themes can be understood in a spiritual context- though with little intention to convey any specific messages or gospel. In an interview with NPR, he said "I strive for a closeness with god... it has a presence in my art because it is a part of me" Using his body to form parts of his sculptures, there is a clear personal interaction he has with his creation, and I believe he wants to pass that experience on to the viewers, creating pieces that contribute to more complete audio and visual sensations and interaction.

2. The idea of a self portrait inspires him a lot, seeing as he draws from his own body parts to create these astounding pieces. The image of "Bird" comes to mind, where he constructed a small skeleton-like form of a bird from his own fingernails. He enjoys creating things inspired by the human form and wants to join viewers in the "re-looking" at the ways it can be depicted. I'm pretty sure that he would like viewers to see their world in a different way in response to seeing his work, but I'm not sure that I have yet, so I can't say exactly what it is he's going for. However, upon experiencing his art from an audio- visual experience via internet, I personally am inspired to make more pieces of art that incorporate sound.

3. Like Ali Momeni's projections of drawings that are cut and moved around, Hawkinson's piece entitled "Emoter? is an image of his face with his features cut into small sections that move around in response to electronic signals-- creating a manipulation of an image in real time. If I were to compare his work to an artist we learned about in class, I would say that Kiki Smith is the closest comparison, for her interest in self-portraits. I claim this primarily on her interest in incorporating her own face and body as a model for some of her pieces, not for her use of material or display of such subject matter. Beyond that however, some other things that I can think of are her inclination to installation art, and life-size figures of people. As far as how they relate to their audience, neither one is necessarily trying to make a big statement, rather hint at some things that influence their life and thus are revealed in their work: like Smith’s Feminist lifestyle and Hawkinson’s Christian faith.

4. When someone first recommended Hawkinson’s work to me, I was hesitant looking at the photos of his work, thinking they were obscure and that maybe they held secrets that I wouldn’t be interested in. After reading into some of his strangest work, it all became much more intriguing to me. I appreciate the ways in which he remains an active part of his creation process and often doesn’t have much of a plan going into a project—rather, he is more interested in exploring the concepts and the material than actualizing a sketch. I would recommend his work to some of my friends who are also interested in these concepts, and the few people that I have introduced him to in the process of writing out this blog, have responded with surprise and smiles. What I would love to do is go to an exhibit for Hawkinson with a few friends and mention to them what I have learned. It would be great if, when experiencing it myself, the work challenged me and caused me to form new conclusions, because isn’t that the beauty of a good piece of art?

November 19, 2008

Print Biennial at Nash Gallery (ended November 6)

1. A group of jurors selected 57 artists to display between one and three consecutive pieces of their work that was entered in the Print Biennial Competition; these artists were selected from a entry group of 100,000 works. Their media was ranging, but all incluedd forms or ideas of print, and was their main media or technique used in their pieces. The exhibit was arranged for all of the artists pieces to be consecutively hung next to each other. The three 3D pieces were displayed either on a podium in the middle of the floor, or in the far back corner (which actually took up a lot of space).

2. The them was "print" and the exploration of the periphery mediums which still adhering to the original ideal of print. The jurors selected pieces that creatively diversified the commercial fine art world and the tradition of print. They selected pieces that embraced the edge of the medium while still respecting the practice and craftsmanship of "print". Ti was designed to showcase artists works that used conceptual processes to recreate the preconceived idea of printmaking by ways of multi-media representation and embrace the idea of a more media-cross breeding as a compliment to traditional practice.

3. David C. Donovan "Dig Through" : Mixed media installation
Donovans's installation include numerous tagged, numbered and dated cardboard boxes, a projector, and a repetitive film of a casted shadow shifting though and collecting a pile of stuff to put into a too small of box. The boxes were piled in no specific order or assortment, and created a walk way. At the end, the viewer could peek thought strategically placed holes between the boxes , into a den like area and see a projection of a shadow of a man, stacking and collecting things onto a table to put into a box. Dononvan was motivated by the idea of throwing ones problems into a "box" in order to sort it out later, and nothing happens, nothing is sorted or figured out later, and the pile relentlessness grows.

4. When the exhibit was still up, I recommended it to many people. the sheer creativity and flexibility between mediums for one solitary idea of "print" was amazing. Many of the pieces were intricate and impressive. It always is amazing to me how many interpretations and expressions can be formed from the same general base idea.

November 16, 2008

Examples of Visual Narratives


A two-page spread from Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan graphic novel -- see more examples of his work on the Random House website. The page is broken up into separate panels, in a variety of sizes, and while the use of color is fairly limited, the artist used light and dark contrasts to draw attention to certain text elements and images.


Here's a painting from 1504 depicting St. George defeating a dragon. This single image contains all the major elements of the painting: the dragon, the town it terrorized, St. George, the sword he used to defeat the dragon, etc. The most important part of the story -- the slain dragon, is in the center of the image.


This is a painting by contemporary artist Ida Applebroog, titled "You're Leaving? For Good?", 1983. In this painting, Applebroog uses some of the covnentions of comic strips -- limited color, a series of panels, and simplified figures -- but suggests a darker story.

Speaking of Home gallery assignment

"Speaking of Home" is a project by Nancy Ann Coyne. In this exhibit, there were 23 photographs blown up, printed on transparent cloth, and poster on the windows of the IDS/Macy's skyway over Nicolett Ave, between 7th and 8th streets. There were signs hanging above the pictures with the word "home" written in different languages.
The main theme of the exhibition was "home". Each of the pictures had a message attatched to them, The individual speaking of how they came to find a home in Minnesota after moving here from foriegn countries. The message I got from a lot of the individual's statements was that "home is where your loved ones are, and you can create home anywhere."
One specific work that caught my eye was the photo and words of Shakun Maheshwari from Bhilwara, India. I enjoyed this particular photo of Shakun, photographed at her wedding in India (seven years prior to moving to Minnesota) because it shows her with her two siblings, painting a clear picture of "family". Her plaque talks about her MN- born children initially feeling uncomfortable about their mother wearing native Indian dress in the setting of the United States, but as they grew, they learned to be proud of their origins. I really enjoyed the last sentence of her plaque: "without my family, I couldn't call a place home".
I would reccoment this exhibition to a friend. It makes you reflect on your home and what makes it so. this gallery prompted me to think about the community at the U and how I have adopted it as my family and home.

November 15, 2008

Artist Research Project: Banksy

Though his actual identity is still unknown, Banksy combines a stenciling technique with graffiti writing to fill the streets of London with satirical and sometimes uncouth street art. There is a rumor swirling about that this pseudo-anonymous artist is actually Robin Gunningham, a Bristol native, but with every year that he has been working, a new identity is suspected. His main tool is an aerosol can, but Banksy has not limited himself; a multitude of well- known paintings have been given a “special touch.? For example, he took Monet’s Water Lily Pond and adapted it to show an accumulation of urban litter. He has also done installations throughout London, including a dismantled phone booth and the more recent port-o-potty Stonehenge replica. Clearly, his work addresses issues such as the hierarchies of power and social injustices that are not being dealt with. By challenging the political and social structure of Britain while still maintaining anonymity, attention is diverted from his identity, which allows people to fully look at his art.

There isn’t really a cut and dry answer to why Banksy does what he does, but it is clear that he is inspired by controversy and hopes to bring satire to modern art. A reoccurring “character? is the rat. Similar to the lifestyle of a rat, graffiti artists live a life in the shadows, hiding in alleys and abandoned lots. He has even been quoted to say, "If you feel dirty, insignificant or unloved, then rats are a good role model. They exist without permission, they have no respect for the hierarchy of society, and they have sex 50 times a day." I strongly believe that he creates art for more than just the joy of it. The subversive social and political messages on the façades of buildings motivate the viewer to think conceptually about the current state of the world.

I feel that Banksy and an artist that we studied in class, Gregory Green, have quite a lot in common. Green has been known to say that passivism and organized non-participation are the ultimate forms of empowerment, which is similar to the acts of Banksy. Both are trying to blur the lines between art and activism. For example, Green’s series of homemade bombs illustrated the potential chaos that could happen which raised conflicts with authorities and stirred up much controversy. Banksy has also received opposition from the law when he painted nine pieces on the barrier that separates Israel from the Palestinian territories, though it was more of a statement showing how the wall has turned Palestine into the world’s largest open prison. Both he and Green use the press, good and bad, as a way of reaching the general public with their perspective on modern times.

I have indeed told many of my friends of the works of Banksy. I had the opportunity to study in London last May, and one day while walking to a performance near Reagents Park I came across the French Maid piece. Seeing one of his murals was incredibly inspiring. With a simple aerosol can and stencil, one man has brought subjects that most Londoners choose to ignore into the mainstream, forcing authorities and the general public to face the issues head on. His subdued attitude towards his work is rather ironic considering all the controversy it delivers.

November 14, 2008

Gallery Visit

Hindsight is Always 20/20, the fall exhibition running at the Weisman art museum gave viewers an interesting vantage point into previous presidents and their supposed “top issues? for their presidency. R. Luke DuBois, an artist, composer and performer has created forty-one prints of each president’s most frequently spoken words in their State of the Union. He created an algorithm that sorted the word frequency, showing how technology is used to create art that was then presented as a Snellen chart, the commonly recognized chart seen at optometry offices used to test patients’ vision. The word regularity determined the size and placement on the chart; higher frequency yielded a larger size. The exhibition moved chronologically from George Washington to George W. Bush following the parameters of three galleries, yet these two end up separated only by a walkway, giving the viewer an interesting perspective into how politics have changed.

It is clear that the overall theme of this exhibition is political rhetoric and how it relates to political reality. Each piece shows a modern analysis on American history and informs the viewer of the concerns of each era. For example, Truman’s most frequently used word was “Soviet? and Hoover’s “Unemployment.? Words used repetitively force a message onto the public, and in many ways can be a signature of a presidential administration. Thus, one word teaches us much about central themes and challenges that our nation has experienced. This reminded me of a piece we reflected on in class, Suzanne Opton’s Soldier Project. With the same concept, one word resonated emotion and sentiment beyond that particular word. Both made a political statement in a simple, non-partisan way.

Though I initially couldn’t grasp the exhibit, I feel after reflection, it holds much more depth and validity than one’s initial reaction can acquire. My favorite part of the piece consisted of two “eye-charts?: Washington and Bush. The layout of the exhibit worked in its favor here, placing the two near enough to one another to allow the viewer to encounter both at the same time. Washington’s word, “Gentleman,? was placed merely feet away from Bush’s “Terror,? forcing me to examine how the presidential word can go from something so polite to that of fear mongering. The piece itself led me to reflect on how politicians as a whole have exploited fear in the past eight years by utilizing the impact it has on Americans. Clearly, the presidential election this past week has had an impact on the motivation for this piece. But rather than forcing an opinion on the audience, DuBois allows us to create our own opinions.

I would recommend this exhibition to my colleagues, especially those intrigued by history. I feel this piece would have made a larger impact on me if I were not so inept in American history and I knew more of what was going on in the time frames that these presidents held office. So before exploring the display, I would also recommend a quick refresher on some important events in the last 250 years.

November 11, 2008

Exhibition at the MAEP Gallery


I am getting ready for an exhibition of my work at the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) gallery at the MInneapolis Institute of Arts. I am showing with Max Schollet, who is a U of MN grad. The opening is Thursday, November 13 from 7-9.

November 5, 2008

Rowan Pope

Here are a few sites I found interesting:

Gerhard Richter:

Vija Celmins:

Jenny Saville:

Jon Foster:

Mark Ryden:

Great Show at the Walker

For those of you looking for galleries to visit for your assignment, there is what should be a great sculpture show at the Walker right now. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm going this afternoon. It is called:

Tetsumi Kudo: Garden of Metamorphosis


Tetsumi Kudo is not really a contemporary artist, as he was working mostly in the 70's and has passed away. However, I would argue that his work was ahead of his time. He was Japanese, and although his work has been in many shows in the US and Europe (Japanese Art After 1945: Scream Against the Sky, Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1994, for example), he has never had a solo show outside of Japan. This show is meant to be a retrospective survey, "featuring more than 100 works of diverse media—objects, sculpture, installation, drawing, and painting—covering the entire trajectory of Kudo’s productive career, from 1956 through 1986." This is a quote from the Walker's site.

Here is another quote from the site describing Kudo's work:
"While his art and vision were consistently and uniquely transcultural, international, and cosmopolitan, he remained, in his private thinking and public persona, an eternal outsider. Ultimately, what Kudo hoped to discover and develop was a universal humanist language of creativity and regeneration in a post-nuclear world, a hope that resonates, perhaps even more critically in this new century, almost 20 years after his death. "

If you're looking for a show to visit, this is just one option. If you want to ask me about it tonight, I can let you know how it was.