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December 17, 2008

Shepard Fairey

Hope Obama.jpg
Shepard Fairey

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

December 11, 2008

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey

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

December 10, 2008

William Kentridge

image: "felix crying"

by John Kurczewski

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

December 3, 2008

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

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

Hindsight is Always 20/20 by R. Luke DuBois and is an astounding art exhibit at the Weisman Museum. It features 43 pieces that organized in a chronological order and represent the State of the Union addressed by all presidents in U.S. history. I would have to conclude that it is a group exhibition seeing as it represents a minority of leaders, all of which are United States presidents. The images are all charts, such as the charts you would see at an eye doctor representing words decreasing is size from top to bottom. I believe DuBois chose this type of format to make it catchier yet easy to understand the true meaning behind the art.

The exhibition, as stated above, is mainly concerning presidential State of The Union speeches and shows what generations before us struggled with. From World War 2 to the War in Vietnam, each generations ‘popular’ difficulties were displayed. The idea behind this, along with the title, leads me to believe the DuBois is pointing out that it is easy for politicians to call out problems and mistakes but usually lack the ability to correct them properly. With hindsight, most of these problems are talked about as though they were something that could have easily been fixed.

It’s difficult for me to point out a specific work in this exhibition because they are all as equally as fascinating, however, I tended to focus more on the works which featured the most recent presidents such as Bush senior, Clinton, and Bush junior seeing as these presidents are more prevalent to me and my daily life.

I would definitely suggest this exhibition to anyone who has an interest in political issues. I believe many people today could learn a lesson from this exhibit, simply because the issues it covers are ones that are very easy for us to miss and not take into account when debating what is the best route our nation should take when facing difficulties.

Hindsight is Always 20/20

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

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

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

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

George Washington:

Ronald Reagan:

Emily Burchell Gallery Visit Assignment

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

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

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

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

Journey to Nowhere Kate Monson

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

Sam Fuentes - Gallery Visit

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

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

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

Emily Kippels - Lee Friedlander

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Carlson's Gallery Visit

Matt Carlson’s visit to the Weisman:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waterloo Exhibition at the Nash Gallery

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

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

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

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

Speaking of Home-Nancy Ann Coyne

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

Hindsight is Always 20/20 Kyle Stration

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

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


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

-Emily Larson

Tetsumi Kudo: Garden of Metamorphosis

Emmanuel Mauleon Gallery Visit Response

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Walker Art Center's retrospective exhibition of Tetsumi Kudo, a Japanese artist, titled "Garden of Metamorphosis"

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

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

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

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

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

Hindsight is Always 20/20

Amber Orcutt
Gallery Visit
Hindsight is Always 20/20

There have been forty-one presidents who have given State of the Union addresses. Each address states some of the same things, usually saying something about how the United States of America will become a better place and these are the problems that we are facing. However, though they are similar in concept, these speeches are radically different depending on the president and the time the speech was made.

This idea is shown in “Hindsight is Always 20/20�, an exhibition of prints made by R. Luke DuBois that had been arranged to follow the perimiter of the gallery in chronological order. These forty-one prints each focus on each president’s speech, narrowing each one down to sixty-six words that are then sorted by how often each word is said to create a look similar to an eye chart. For example, Abraham Lincoln’s starts with “EMANCIPATION� and continues with words such as “proclamation�, “and “colored�. These words reflect what was going on at the time.

The one work in the exhibition that I chose to write about was the chart for George W. Bush, simply because I know and remember the events that he spoke about in his State of the Union address. I found that many of the words spoken in this speech were rather negative, starting with “TERROR� and continuing with “Iraq�, “Hussein�, “Terrorist�, and “Murder�, among others. In a way, this piece put in perspective the hardships that our country has gone through while he was president.

I would definitely recommend that a friend visit this exhibition. It is perhaps just as interesting to us, the viewers, as it must have been to DuBois while he was creating these pieces. It’s remarkable how much about the time and president is reflected in the State of the Union speech. It is a thought-provoking exhibition that is both historical and artistic, and definitely worth a few minutes of one’s time.


Hindsight is Always 20/20 and What do YOU say, AMERICA?

Maggie Mountain
ARTS 1001
Gallery Visit
I visited the Weisman Art Museum and saw the Hindsight is Always 20/20 and What do YOU say, AMERICA? exhibitions. They were both excellent exhibitions and deal with politics. Hindsight is Always 20/20 is the main show going on now and they both end in January.
Hindsight is Always 20/20 is a single man show and the artist is Luke DuBois. He had about 41 pieces of artwork exhibited because only 41 presidents gave State of the Union Addresses. His pieces of work were all identical except for the words on them. He used box prints, a letterpress, ink and archival paper to make every piece of work he has displayed at the WAM Gallery. There were also computers placed in the gallery to imitate how his exhibition works.
DuBois made a computer program that you can put each of the State of the Union Addresses into and it will tell you the word frequency. He got rid of words such as the, I , and the U.S because each president used them a lot. He made a Snellen chart of the words used the most by each president and made them into huge signs for this exhibition. Most showed the most common topic during that time (ex. Terror was the word used most by George W. Bush) and others were just flukes (ex. Truly was the most common word used by Richard Nixon, but it was just the way he talked). The theme is what was important in the country at the time. For the George W. Bush era is was terror and terrorists. For the Bill Clinton era it was the 21st century so his word at the top of the Snellen chart was 21st.
My favorite piece of work was called “George Walker Bush / 2000-2008.� The word at the top of the Snellen chart was Terror. This was a very important aspect of his term in the White House. I love this piece because I think it is the most relatable to me. He was the first president that I followed his politics and made me understand more about politics and how they work.
Yes, I would definitely recommend this exhibition to family and friends. I think it came here at the perfect time because it opened around the time the Republican National Convention was here. Most of my friends and family are interested in politics. They come from both sides of the political spectrum and this exhibition would be perfect because it is politically neutral.
What do YOU say, AMERICA? was also a political exhibition, but it contained government-issued posters from World War I and World War II. The 31 posters were from various artists and many were either lithograph on paper or screen print on paper. There was no particular order for this exhibit. Some of the posters that had similar themes or had the same artist were featured next to each other.
The theme of this exhibition was to exhibit the posters the government put up during both World Wars to try and get a point across to the people. There were some posters that warned you not to waste food because it was a military weapon. A couple of the posters wanted you to buy war bonds or not talk about troop movement. Basically they wanted you to help out with the war the best you could back in the U.S. This exhibition was not set up to showcase individual artist’s work, but to show how the government tried to make sure nothing went wrong back in the U.S. the best they could.
My favorite piece was called “ENEMY EARS are Listening� by Ralph Iligan. This poster was made out of a lithograph on paper. It was a picture of Benito Mussolini, Hideki Tojo, and Adolf Hitler cupping their ears as though they are listening to what you are saying. I thought it was a interesting poster that the government used to scare people from talking about the war and specifically the troops.
I loved this exhibition as well! I would definitely recommend this to my friends and family because some of the posters were so interesting. Some of my relatives probably remember some of these posters and it would be very interesting to them.

Moss, Yamamoto. "Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum." University of Minnesota. 26 Nov. 2008 .

Hindsight is Always 20/20

By Desarae Walker

This exhibition is a set of 41 prints – one for each of our past presidents. Based off the composition of an eye chart exam, R. Luke Dubois finds the most used words in each president’s state of the union addresses excluding common words such as The, United, States, His, Her, & Am. A new edition exclusively to the Weisman is a computer set up for the viewer to predict what our 42nd president Barack Obama’s rhetoric will entail.

Much like an eye exam, these prints are set up by size. The most used word sits on top at the largest and less frequent, but still abundant words are stacked below in size. It’s an interesting display of rhetoric used by each president. For example, key words in George W. Bush’s speech were ones that would incite fear. Terror was his most used word, followed by Iraq, Iraqi, terrorist, and Al Qaeda in the first two lines alone. Using a word like Terror over and over again in a state of the union address says something about a president. A president using words like terror with Iraq, Al Qaeda, Regime and Murder is trying to scare the American people, and he succeeded. Leading us through to a war on terrorism based on lies and fear.

The predicted words for president-elect Barack Obama are: Hope, Change, Peace, Economy, Oil, Jobs, Healthcare. I would also guess that the word History to be added to the pile. Of course a few people added their silly words like “gummie bear� to the list, but I think overall the viewers managed to accurately predict what he will put forward in his state of the union address.

Hindsight is Always 20/20 accompanied by What do you Say, America?

Many shows have come through Minneapolis and made their way into the Weisman museum on campus. Most recently an exhibit by the name of Hindsight is Always 20/20 was available for viewing. This was accompanied by another exhibit named What do you Say, America?. Hindsight consisted of work done by one artist named R. Luke DuBois. He displayed 43 pieces; one for each of our presidents up to George Walker Bush. The exhibit was arranged in a particular fashion, starting with George Washington and ending with George Walker Bush. This order was in the exact order of when the men came into presidency. As for What do you Say, America?, it was supplied to accompany Hindsight. It was a collection of posters from WWI and WWII that the Weisman had already. These posters did not seem to be in any particular order, but they all were very forceful and to the point. This exhibit was a collection of many different artists.

For Hindsight, R. Luke DuBois’work is a collection of pieces which include words in the form of an eye test. As the words go down they page they become smaller and smaller. These words were not just any random words; they were chosen directly from the State of the Union addresses presented by the past presidents of our country. Words that were unique were put on the poster, while words such as united or states were left out. The biggest word at the top of the page seemed to be the flashiest word. They were all different, but some examples of what could be seen was terror, or fear, or communism. For What do you Say, America?, most of the posters seemed to be influenced by WWII. There was talk of rationing food, and making sure not to talk carelessly incase it carried to enemy ears. These were all very prominent themes throughout the posters, and these themes were shown bluntly through this use of propaganda. It was an in your face way to show people how to do things the “right way� or how to be patriotic.

Out of the two exhibits, I was able to find a favorite piece in both of them. My favorite work in the Hindsight exhibit was the most current, Which was the representation of George Walker Bush. The big pronounced word on his was terror. It went on the talk about the Iraq war, and Iraqis and what we are going to do about this “problem�. Reading just the little tidbits of it now after seeing what our country, and other countries, have been put through makes me wonder why we stood behind him while he said this all in the beginning. I believe this is a thought that the author wanted us to have, to allow us to skip past the big words and pretty façade to get to the true hard facts of what was said.
My favorite piece in What do you Say, America? was a piece by Victor Keppler titled Wanted! For Murder which was made in 1944. It displayed a woman in a wanted-type poster because she had carelessly talked. This careless talk led to the death of US soldiers because it traveled to the ears of an enemy. This was a big thought during the world wars, and it displays the thought that we could not trust anyone. That is a darkening thought and I am sure that is what the author might have wanted to portray. It was every man and woman for themselves.

I believe these were very interesting exhibits to see. They complemented each other very well. It was perfect timing for it to be displayed at the Weisman because of the election we just had. It would be very informative to see what other presidents have said during their address, and then to see what our new president elect Barack Obama says during his. I would recommend this to people because it is definitely a new way to view our government. At first when I walked in I was confused, but the artist statement and definition of what the work portrays allows you to see it in a different light, which helped immensely.

Better Late Than Never; My Essay on Richard Prince

The work of Richard Prince is some of the most controversial in the art world. He was trained as a painter and grew up in the 1950’s in the United States controlled area of the Panama Canal and was said to be greatly influenced by Jackson Pollock at the time. You can definitely see Pollock’s abstract expressionalist influences on Prince’s work. After he traveled museums in Europe he attended college in Maine. In the late 70’s Prince moved to New York City to include himself in the art scene. Most consider his NYC years to be somewhat of a failure in his career. He put on an exhibition of “re-photography� which people saw as noting more than stealing of other people’s work. It’s interesting too that Warhol was able to become so popular from seemingly doing the exact same idea of redistribution of popular culture. Prince was trying to point out it’s dominance in our lives. This work and others by Prince really weren’t recognized till much later in his career when he was able to have a touring gallery of his images in 2005.

I can see his work really close to that of Chris Ofili. Not in the sense of style, but in message and process. They are both extremely influenced and criticized of ripping of other artists. Chris Ofili for copying the composition of historic paintings and Prince for directly copying advertisements of the 1970’s. Their intent however was not to copy and claim the work as their own, but to make people reconsider the art with their voice attached to it and give it different meaning.

I’d probably tell a friend about this artist. I would talk more about his painting then his photographic work. I’m not a big fan of his re-photography I see it as a lack of creative effort. He might as well have written a paper about criticizing the images rather than claiming them as his own art and taking so much grief for it. I do really enjoy his paintings and would tell that friend to check them out. I especially enjoy his nurses set on his webpage. For images please go to his webpage (http://www.richardprinceart.com/) due to copyright I was unable to place them on this page.

What do YOU say AMERICA

Jonathan Lawson

The focus of this writing will be on the "What do YOU say AMERICA" exhibit at the Weisman Art Museum that is running parallel with the "Hindsight is Always 20/20" exhibit. This exhibit showcased a variety of posters that appeared to have been copied from originals done in paint. There was a total of 29 pieces from both the World Wars, with the majority coming form WWII. The pieces were placed along the walls in a square chamber for the most part at eye level with a few pieces that were above the others likely so that they fit better. The posters were made by a wide range of people, although much about the artists was unknown, on many the only known fact was the name because of a signature on the poster. Similar to how Hubert Duprat is considered an artist for his larval tubes, it could be stated that the artist for many of these pieces is in fact the US government. It was them who commissioned the pieces for particular goals, in place of the people that physically created the original poster.

This exhibit was about American propaganda and how the government speaks to the people. Some posters were calls to action to directly help the war front, such as the poster asking women to work in factories machining tools of war, while others were counter-propaganda posters. There was a stark difference in these two approaches. The direct call posters were realistic in appearance and drew on nationalism, where as the counter-propaganda posters were cartoonish and comical in appearance, and drew on arrogance, implying that one would have to be stupid to believe anything the Germans said. In addition to these two types there was another type of poster that fit more as indirect help to the war effort. Within this category were posters asking for conservation of food and oil and cautioning against 'careless talk' and accidental injury.

An example of one poster (to which a link has been provided), which falls under the group of indirect help, is the one titled "Food is a weapon, Don't Waste it!" This poster appears to have been originally created by painting. In the image there is an empty cup, and a plate with only a few bones that have been picked clean on it, along with the following text:
The artist behind the piece is unknown, but even without the text on it, in the context of a War Era poster, its message remains clear. Eat everything, let nothing go to waste. The artist behind the poster was probably instructed to make something to promote the National Wartime Nutrition Program, possibly even with that specific tag line. With that in mind, I can't think of an image that to me would be more effective in conveying the message.

Though I found the images interesting, I do not think I would tell a friend to visit the exhibit, unless they happened to be nearby already. There are many collections of WWII propaganda posters available online and these images aren't much different in person then on a computer. The message they convey remains the same, only with an online collection there would be more available pieces to view.

Food is a Weapon: http://www.nh.gov/nhsl/ww2/ww10prt.html

Hindsight is Always 20/20 and What Do YOU say, AMERICA?

Hindsight is Always 20/20 is a politically charged exhibition composed of 43 different prints by R. Luke DuBois. Each print is put together in a similar manner, mimicking the style of eye examination letter charts. As you walk into the gallery, the exhibition starts with a brief description of the exhibit and then begins with a chart on George Washington (the first president) and continues on in sequential order until George W. Bush brings up the rear. What Do YOU say, AMERICA? is a series of lithograph on paper posters from WWI and WWII that were government-issued and also very political. This exhibit is supposed to show us how the government during those two wars used propaganda to target US citizens and influence them to be proactive in the war effort.


DuBois focused on politics for his series and each print was for a specific United States President's State of the Union address. Instead of just using letters (like a eye exam letter chart), he chose dominant words from those addresses and put them in order on the chart by how many times they were used in the speech. Each print gives the audience an overall view of what each president focusing on during that time and/or during their presidency. The exhibition is supposed to embody what the president was trying to say in their speech and what the whole nation should understand about each president's impact. What Do YOU say, AMERICA? was not so much focusing on presidential influences but instead the government as a whole and how they "advertised" the wars. These posters didn't really have a specific place or order like Hindsight is Always 20/20 did. If there was a shared theme between the different posters they were grouped together, or if there was an artist with more than one poster they were put together.

I chose to focus my attention from both exibits on the print "George Walker Bush / 2001-Present" because it is really relevant to our generation and because I never watched the any of his State of the Union addresses. The intensity of Bush's focus on the war and terrorism is unmistakable. I feel like DuBois is also inspired by our nation's fear and blindness of the war and how that impacted the decisions that were made by our government.


I would strongly recommend seeing this to anyone because there is so much that one can learn about each president and their State of the Union address without even knowing anything prior to seeing this exhibit. The concept is really simple but also really educating and I think it's great to have an exhibit like this on campus because I don't think a lot of students know a lot about past presidents. It's a good little history lesson on our country's progress and how each president has either helped or hindered it. It's good for my generation to see What do YOU say, AMERICA? as well because that is what we would have been seeing had we lived in that era. The way the government targeted US citizens is way different now and I think it's important to be aware of history.

Hindsight is always 20/20-Lee Yang

The exhibition I attend was Hindsight is always 20/20 at the Weisman Art Museum. This exhibition is a collection of pieces in which contains words that describe certain events that took place within each presidential era. Unless one knows his or her history of presidency well, it could be a one person exhibition. However it could also be a group exhibition for persons who do not know it as well or perhaps just to have someone go through the process of reading and understanding the work. Each frame depicts an era, dating from George Washington’s time to George W. Bush, arranged in succession along the walls. It has arrows to direct the viewer where to go next, so it was pretty straight forward.
The main theme of this exhibition is as stated above, how history unfolded over time. Each piece of the work describe what happened through using words that were most used during that time. However, if the words were read carefully reading from left to right and top to bottom, it feels as if it almost made sense. It feels as if each line was a complete sentence with some little words being left out.
There are roughly about 46 pieces of work total including the introductory piece and the instructions of how to exhibit the exhibition but all these pieces form to make one single installation. The installation is “Hindsight is always 20/20� and each of these pieces follow the same structure. This structure is very similar to what is being used by hospitals for checking a person’s eyesight where it has a few big letters on the top and as it goes down, the letters become smaller and smaller. The pieces had one word and probably the most important word for that era in big bold font and then it breaks down to two words and then three words and so on as the words are being read down. On the left side of the pieces, it shows the scale degree of vision with 20/20 in the middle. The font at this line has become relatively smaller and could possibly make a connotation that people do not see what happens outside of what is being publicized.
I would recommend people to attend this exhibition. Even for the ones that know their history, it could teach them about a few things that they may have missed. Whether it be educational knowledge on history or just the feeling and thought that may surface when look at a particular piece.

Pictures in the Sky by Emily Barth

Between August and November, while walking down the streets of downtown Minneapolis on my way to Target somethig caught my eye. It was an extraordinarily unique exhibit displayed in the IDS Skyway near Macy's, a Project by Nancy Ann Coyne. The exhibition consisted of floor to ceiling photographs of people who have moved or immigrated to Minneapolis for various reasons ranging from personal safety to the search for a new life.

Coyne collaberated with 23 different people for her project. The main theme was "home" and what it meant for these people to be living in Minneapolis and how they adapted to the change. Speaking of Home, the exhibition's name, addressed to the public what it meant for people to feel a sense of belonging. Above each picture was the word Home in the native language of the people pictured. And through the way it was presented, even if people did not get the privilage of strolling through the skyway it was also visible from the street due to the transparent nature of each photograph.

I cannot pick one specific work because I feel every picture was meant to be part of the whole. That is why it was set up in a confined space where the viewer could feel surrounded by these people and open their eyes to the fact that in recent years around 90,000 immigrants have settled in Minnesota due to war, personal danger, poverty, and the promise of a new start on life.

I would recommed this show to anyone who appriciates human life and the pursuit of happiness. Although it is no longer hanging in the IDS / Macy's skyway everyone should take the chance to look up the artist Nancy Ann Coyne and her Speaking of Home exhibiton on the internet. It was truely a unique way to see different people of different cultures up close and portrayed as nothing but themselves, just a raw portrait hung in the window for everyone to see.

The UnConventional Gathering Place

For my Gallery Visit, I visited the UnConventional Gathering Place at Intermedia Arts Center in Minneapolis, MN. The event was held from August 30th to November 8th and was done as a politically-themed counterpoint to the Republican National Convention being held in St. Paul. The event featured many different media, all from Minnesota-based artists, although a large portion of the works were “new media� installations. The art was all very political in nature, with a noticeably liberal slant.

The UnConvention was planned as an artistic opposite to the RNC, using art and media to allow liberal-minded artists and other politically-engaged citizens to meet and discuss the election and political climate through art and installation. All of the art that was displayed showed a liberal theme, such as the “My Yard, Our Message�, an installation piece featuring a small “yard� populated with dozens of political yard signs, all designed by local artists and available for purchase for $20. The signs all have liberal messages, many trying to get people to vote or protest the war (http://theunconvention.com/projects/my-yard-our-message/index.html).

One specific work that got a lot of buzz at Intermedia Arts was “New Stations� by James Case Leal of New York. It consists of a pile of television sets arrayed in the middle of a small walking space, all of which display the same looping, surreal video. This work (and others like it, in various other galleries) aims to bring people together instead of sending them home to watch television alone and isolated. The piece attempts to reinvent the television medium, putting the viewer in control instead of the networks and corporations of the world.

If I were to tell a friend about this exhibition, I would say that it is a wonderful political forum, on both a local and world-wide scale—as long as you are of a liberal political view. As a counterpoint to the RNC, the UnConventional Gathering Place is not very conservative-friendly, but for liberally-/artistically-minded people, it can be an extremely interesting experience. Although a few of works seemed a bit unnecessary (such as “Political Science 101�, which was nothing but graphs and blog statistics shown from a slide projector), the gallery in general was quite fascinating.

-Cameron Kolbe

Masterpiece Photographs

I went to the exhibition of the collection of images of the recently deceased Carroll "Ted" Hartwell. Carroll was a curator at the museum gathering thousands of images for display. The images presented were of the best in the permanent collection Ted had acquired throughout his long career. These were all priceless and historic pictures ranging from about a century of photographs. They ranged from the historical events like the great depression with Dorthea Lange's "Migrant Mother", to famous famous public figures like Marilyn Monroe by Richard Avedon. To see all these photographs presented in one room was quite an amazing experience.
The main idea of the exhibition was to illustrate the amazing career of Ted Hartwell. He brought in almost 10,000 photographs to the museum and this collection is quite impressive and clearly illustrates his career of working with several very historic photographers of the twentieth century. My absolute favorite of them all bien "Red Jackson, Harlem Gang Leader" by Gordon Parks. This piece is an amazing editorial portrait from the 1950's. It is a dark and truthful illustration of his subject. Parks was always one of my favorite photographers so being able to see an original print up close and in person was a great experience.
I would recommend this to anyone who is either learning about photography, into history, or just likes art in general. It honestly has something for everyone with it's diversity of style and vast history it covers. It was most definitely the best work brought in by someone who had a career of bringing in great photographs to the museum.

Joe Kaercher's Gallery visit

Joseph Kaercher
Hindsight is Always 20/20
Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota
333 East River Road 
Minneapolis, MN 55455

R. Luke Dubois's exhibition Hindsight is Always 20/20 consists of 41 framed prints. The work is hung on the wall and fills a number of rooms. The text in the prints comes from the most frequently used words of each stat of the union address.DuBois presented the words in the format of a typical eye exam with words at the top of the print being the largest and progressively getting smaller as the viewer reads down the page. Each president that gave this address has his own print starting with the first president George Washington. All of the prints are in chronological order and there are arrows that direct the viewer around the exhibit ending with the current president in office George W Bush.
DuBois theme is how each president interprets and conveys the important issues the country and world are facing at the time of their presidency. The way that DuBois takes information that might not be obvious if you have only heard the speeches and just displays them in a way that is very simple and even easier to understand. This is similar to the work of Nan Goldin. She also kind of simplifies things (in her case photos of people). If you were to just see these people on the street you might be a little confused about who they are and what it is that they do. Her photos expose her life and the peoples lives around her. by taking snap shots of moments and situations that are key to understanding their lives she eliminates the misleading information.
The specific piece i picked was George Walker Bush/2001-2009. Here are the top ten most frequently used words of his speech. 1.Terror 2.Iraq 3.Iraqi 4.Terrorist 5.Al Qaida 6.Regime 7.Hussein 8.Mass 9.Homeland 10.Marriage. he was inspired by a huge search-able database of all presidential addresses, papers, and documents. i like how he uses the list to play off our cultures fascination with the list, and how the info in the list may not even tell us that much
Over all i think the show was very interesting and not the typical kind of exhibit one finds in a museum. I will tell a friend to see this exhibit because it is really fun to be able to look back in time just by reading the individual words that our former presidents said most often.

Robyn Rodrigue--Gallery Visit

Robyn Rodrigue
Hindsight is Always 20/20
Weisman Art Museum

Hindsight is Always 20/20 is an exhibit portraying the work of R. Luke DuBois. His artwork consists of a poster for each of the 41 presidents that have given a State of the Union Address. From the addresses given to congress, DuBois has extracted the sixty-six most common words used throughout the speech. The list of sixty-six words is then displayed on a white poster with bold black letters similar to eye exam charts; larger letters on top going down to smaller on the bottom. The prints are installed in the order of presidency, from Washington to Bush with gray arrows marking the path.

DuBois was inspired to do this project after visiting the University of California Santa Barbara, where he worked with the American Presidency Project. This project consists of an online database that has organized presidential addresses into a searchable database. From this database a list is produced, as noted above about the sixty-six most common words throughout the address.

All the materials in each piece was the same, it was the words that were different. I found the project as a whole very interesting. If someone knows a little bit about history you can sense what was most important to Americans in a given era. A recent example is the prevalence of the war on terror, and that is the first bold lettering that one see when looking at the piece of George W. Bush’s Union Address. Each time I looked at a new poster, my eye was automatically drawn to that big, bold lettering at the top and to read it any other way I found to be uncomfortable and unnatural.

On the information sheet for Hindsight is Always 20/20, it states that the point of the project was to give the viewer a chance to reflect on “…politics, the presidency, and the ways in which we a a people disseminate and process information.� I found the last part about information very interesting because I naturally look for patterns and make lists and try to find connections between things, so for me this exhibit made me think about the way I process things.

I would recommend this exhibit to anyone who is interested in the process of breaking down speech, and if they are interested in seeing the progression of issues from one era to another.

Weisman Art Museum Visit

I visited "Hindsight is always 20/20" and "What do you say, America?"; a pair of politically minded exhibitions currently showing at the Weisman.

"Hindsight" features a series of prints by R. Luke Dubois; which take us through generations of presidential State of the Union addresses. The pieces are organized at about eye-level, and spaced evenly around the gallery in a chronological order. I found it quite powerful to look at the latest three (George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush) since I could connect with the vocabulary immediately. The pieces were made to look like a combination of a word frequency chart (where more common words are larger) and a Snellen eye chart. The images were graphic, black and white, and very eye catching, since we are trained to analyze these sorts of "eye charts" from a very early age.

By using this format, DuBois is able to convey all of his meaning almost immediately, since he is using a visual language which is so familiar it is practically naturalized. Viewing each print was like quickly skimming over a block of text; it was immediately apparent what was important and what was not; he made the information in the speeches accessible and concise. The prints reminded me a bit of Allison Smith's politically-based works. While DuBois is presenting a good picture of what past generations worried about, Smith does the same for a contemporary generation with her muster events. As in DuBois' prints,Smith's musters draw out noticeable patterns of behavior. What do the majority of people in a given generation worry about, how do they deal with these worries? Both artists confront these issues.

The single piece in "Hindsight" that really caught my attention was the interactive computer installation called "Foresight." Gallery visitors were encouraged to type in whatever term they felt would be an important topic in the 2009 State of the Union Address. When I visited, the top term was "Change" followed by "economy" "energy" "hope" "liberty" and "health care". The piece was quite powerful since those words have almost been etched into the national consciousness as a result of the election. It gave an additional sense of weight to the other pieces in the exhibition since it became apparent that the terms which may just be "words" to a contemporary viewer probably held just as much weight as the word "Change" does today.


The second installation "What do you say America" featured World War posters from the Weisman's collection. The posters were grouped haphazardly into groups according to subject matter such as: "women's roles", "conservation" "national identity" "work" "war bonds" "careless talk kills" and "anti-fascist". The images were from a variety of artists and publishers, some from the United States government and others from well known artists like Norman Rockwell.

The piece that caught my attention in this exhibit was Rockwell's piece, "Save Freedom of Speech". Inspired by Roosevelt's famous "Four Freedoms Speech" (fittingly a State of the Union Address), Rockwell created a series of paintings illustrating the four freedoms. These were published by the Saturday Evening Post along with related essays.

I thought it was interesting how war propaganda was at that time such a standard of communication that it became the medium through which non-governmental bodies expressed themselves. In many ways, Rockwell created other sorts of propaganda (for the American "family", "values" etc.), but this was the first time I'd seen one of his works that was overtly political. Our war is not "advertised" in this way; and our war is actually kept a bit "hush hush". I can't imagine a propaganda poster for the war in Iraq; people don't even want to talk about it, much less paper the streets with images of soldiers. The sort of optimism and nationalism found in the posters at the Weisman is nearly absent in our contemporary view of war. I found this contrast quite thought provoking.


I would certainly recommend the exhibition to friends; the "What do you say America?" section was very eye-catching and thought provoking, while "Hindsight" was an interesting way to access the past. Since politics are a huge part of everyone's lives (especially in recent months), this exhibition is a great way to confront and ponder some of the bigger issues in our lives without feeling like you have to get in a sparring match with someone.

Act/React: Gallery Visit

This exhibition was truly one of a kind. A group comprised of Daniel Rozin, Janet Cardiff, Scott Snibbe, Camille Utterback, Liz Phillips, and Brian Knep created an interactive, digital installation unique to the Milwaukee Art Museum and its viewers, including myself. There were a myriad of different medias used to comprise this entire exhibit as each piece brought its own special aspect to the table. It was arranged so that each artist’s pieces would be fairly secluded allowing it to be interacted with without the curiosity and distraction of the other pieces

The first two pieces are by Scott Snibbe. On the floor was a huge screen and when walked on lines would form in and close in on the viewer/participant. Straight ahead was the piece, Deep Walls, where the individual would walk past the wall and their movement would be recorded in an a separate box on the wall in silhouette form. The motion would be repetitively displayed until all the boxes were filled and it would be bumped out.

The next exhibit was in a small room called, Echo Evolution, by Liz Phillips. She invented systems that create an interactive and multi-dimensional sound-landscape. The more body mass the system detects, the brighter the neon lights get and the louder the music in the speakers get.

Right outside the room was a 30x20ft interactive floor piece called, Healing Pool, created by Brian Knep. In this piece the “viewer� walks on the floor of a computerized orange and yellow lava-like substance. As the person walks, the lava parts and leaves a path that slowly oozes back together.

Janet Cardiff’s piece, To Touch, was in another small, dark lit room. A battered, wooden picnic table took presence in the middle. The idea is that once the table is touched a story would be spoken via speakers hidden somewhere on the wall.

The piece that stuck out to me the most was Daniel Rozin’s Snow Mirror. There is a huge screen of transparent fabric hanging in the middle of the room with a video camera underneath it. Rozin’s piece is a “metaphorical mirror� that explores the nature of new media – in some pieces junk, chrome spheres or the static of television become the pixels of a video camera image. When the viewer stands still, these pixels fall as snow does onto the fabric and creates the reflection of the viewer, hence the name Snow Mirror.

Camille Utterback’s three pieces all explore human interaction in an artistic environment. There are three big screens on the wall and as the viewer moves about, they “paint� the screen. These pieces react to human motion creating unique innovative pieces within a piece.

The main theme throughout these works somewhat differs between the pieces, however; it is clear that the title of the exhibition: Act/React, implies a significant statement. The world is an interactive place, and just as physics suggests; every action causes a reaction. Art typically is just a painting, drawing or sculpture (and obviously more) that we look at and at its best changes us, the viewer. In this exhibit, the viewer is in charge of what the reaction is and his or her interaction with the piece causes the change. This mirrors how in real life everyone needs to be responsible for his or her own actions. We are in charge of everything, whether it be our lives, our actions, the environment or a situation. This exhibit engages this idea in a lively, interactive way, making a fairly subtle yet significant statement.

I would not only tell a friend about this exhibition, I would encourage a friend to come with me and partake in this unique, interactive experience. Though I have been there before, it is different and just as thrilling every time you go. Not only is it enjoyable to interact with the art, it is also interesting to see everyone else’s interpretations. Being able to create work as the viewer is a one-of-a-kind experience that people need to take advantage of.

Gallery Visit

Hindsight is Always 20/20
What Do You Say America?
Emily Hanson

I chose to visit both the “Hindsight is Always 20/20� and “What Do You Say America?� exhibitions at the Weisman Art Museum here on campus for my gallery visit. The “hindsight� exhibit was a chronological series of prints by R. Luke DuBois that were comprised of key words from each of the forty-one presidential State of the Union Addresses. The words that were chosen from each address were chosen based on their uniqueness to each president and were placed in a fashion that mimicked an eye chart. “What Do You Say America�, located directly next to the DuBois exhibit, was a compilation of about twenty or more propaganda posters that were prevalent during both World War I, and World War II. Each of the prints involved depictions of different war time issues, very bold writing, catchy slogans and bold colors.

The hindsight exhibit, which opened here during the Republican Convention, was a showing of one individual artists work centered around strong political themes and was meant to make commentary on each of the presidential reigns. Each of the works were very uniform in execution, and while at first glance appear to be very simple, are in fact extremely well researched, thought out, and helped guide the audience through DuBois’ insightful reflection on presidential history and political issues. I felt as though DuBois did a very good job bringing initially stark and monotonous images to life, because as the audience gets a chance to read through each of the prints they are put into a different time and place in history. “What Do You Say America?� also does a fantastic job placing the audience in a different time and place through the showcasing of many different works of many different artists. This exhibit centered around political issues as well, and seemed to be a very strong pairing with the “hindsight� exhibit, though it focused in on only one specific time period in history. It gave a good sense of the uncertainty, strong political agendas, and need for unity amongst Americas during the two world wars through the instillation of well selected pieces from the times. The work of these two artists remind me of the work by Nan Golden and William Kentridge that we discussed in class as both of these artists work with narrations and illustrations that reflect past issues.

One piece in particular that struck me during my visit was a piece from the “What Do You Say America?� exhibit. The piece was an illustration on a government issued WWII propaganda poster that depicted American soldiers rushing around in a large vehicle with commentary reading, “They’ve got more important places to go than you. Save rubber. Check your tires�. I felt that all of the posters in this exhibit depicted the disparity of the times, but this one in particular really illustrated the nations call and need for unity. It reminds us that during that time people were asked more than ever to put the collective over the individual, that people were encouraged to think about the greater good and what they could to for the cause rather than what others could do for them. I thought that the artist, only known as Richards, really captured the theme of the times.

After I looked at the posters from the World Wars I found it interesting to go back to the DuBois exhibit and view the piece that stemmed from that time, which was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s State of the Union. I found that the words in this piece correlated extremely well with the illustrations and commentary from the neighboring exhibit, and really helped make a greater impact on the overall experience for me. FDR was president from 1933 to 1945, during the height of the war time efforts, and the words that were highlighted from his piece included; NAZI, MANPOWER, TOOLS, MACHINES, SONS, CHILD, RELIGION, TANKS, LIBERATION, SUCCEED, GERMANS, FIGHT, OBJECTIVES, ALLIES, GOALS, PEACE, UNITY- and many more.

I found that after viewing and comparing the neighboring exhibits that all of the pieces worked really well in conjunction with each other. The different propaganda posters, which included my personal favorite pieces, were great narratives as well as textual pieces. The “Hindsight� exhibit was overall a really strong series as a whole, but if you do not like reading I would suggest visiting the neighboring exhibit as well. I would certainly recommend these exhibits to others, especially because of the strong political time that we are currently in, but I would say that it would not hurt to have an interest in politics and political history if you are going to view them. Overall, both were very strong exhibits- I enjoyed my visit very much.

Gallery Visit by Wiwat Wiphusit


Gallery Visit by Wiwat Wiphusit

Gallery Visit Assignment-by Wiwat Wiphusit:
1. The name of the exhibition is called “Party Party in a Tweety Land b/w This Republic of Suffering.� It was at the Form&Content Gallery on August 28th through Oct 4th 2008. It was a group exhibition which comprise of nine Minnesota artists: Christopher Baker, Harriet Bart, Kim Benson, Kristie Bretzke, Jaron Childs, Philip Harder, Jenny Schmid, Scott Seekins, and Javier Tavera. The media they used are: oil on canvas, color photographs, archival inkjet print, 16mm film, paper, ink, and plumb bobs. The exhibition was arranged by group of nine individuals each have about 3 feet of space wide.
2. What is it about? Party Party in a Tweety Land b/w This Republic of Suffering contemplates the tensions between suffering and denial, grief and self-absorption, and the real losses buried under the flotsam of a consumer and celebrity obsessed culture. In a world where the human suffering inflicted by wars, natural disasters, hunger, drug addiction and other natural and manmade causes feels ever-present, people are increasingly becoming numb to the plight of others. Overwhelmed by the enormity of suffering and mired in frustration with how to alleviate it, some retreat into private worlds. Others distract themselves with celebrity infatuation or indulge in decadent behavior to keep the world at bay. Some find transcendence and meaning for their own suffering through religious models. It was designed to showcase the work of nine Minnesota artists. Use specific examples from the exhibition: Jenny Schmid, The Nihilists and The Libertines, 24.5x16� lithograph, 2008, $500 each. Jenny Schmid’s lithographs evoke the quandaries of living in a contradictory world through her imaginary couples, The Libertines and The Nihilists.
3. Pick one specific work in the exhibition. List the title and materials: Kristie Bretzkie, Total Desperation, 36x48�, oil on canvas, 2007, $1500. Kristie Bretzkie’s paintings capture the faces of homeless panhandlers with quiet dignity. The faces of her diverse subjects offer myriad emotions from defiance to desperation. To bring out awareness to the homeless issue not only in Minnesota is one motivation of the artist and to help out with the homeless also because all of her proceeds go to benefit the homeless.
4. What would you tell a friend about this exhibition? It is like looking at the world with different pair of eyes because a lot of time we are focus on our self too much. These artist did a great job of showing us pain and suffering of people that we tent to ignore. Would you be numb by the plight of these artists? You would have to take a look for yourself and that is why I would highly recommend for my friends to visit the gallery or follow up on the works of these artists and others as well. I would also tell my friends too that these art works are way too expensive my personal opinion.

gallery visit!!!! BUNBOB CHHUN

I was a bit skeptical about the exhibit Hindsight is Always 20/20 put together by R. Luke DuBois. My friend had told me about it and I felt there was a large margin for it to be completely contrived. The exhibit consists of 43 state of the union speeches, which have been evaluated to display words used at high frequency. Anyways, when I got there and looked at the pieces not for their aesthetic value but for what they meant it really impressed me. You could definitely feel how pressing the issues were at that point in time. Eisenhower’s speech for example highlighted words such as ‘nuclear’, planning scientific’, ‘control’ ‘missiles’. It really speaks to you considering the invention of the airplane wasn’t even 50 years old. How easily could a strange word such as ‘nuclear’ frighten a generation into submission. Granted that was an extreme circumstance, but WWII just happened and the country was still high on victory. What Do YOU Say America, a compilation of propaganda posters, was a great exhibit to compliment Hindsight is Always 20/20. It really put you in the atmosphere of just pure propaganda, glorious propaganda saturation. Buy War Bonds by Lehman circa 1939 lithograph on paper in particular caught my eye. What motivated him was probably a desire to do his part, his part being persuading others to do theirs. The design was so dramatic, the message both convoluted and concise. “The war is still going on and we [USA] need your help, we need everyone to do there part. If you are a true American, a true Patriot, answer the call� is one things the composition states while saying “buy war bonds (we are in desperate need of money)�. I would definitely recommend this exhibit. It is quick, free, and has a great deal of relevance in today’s particularly heated political world.

Hindsight is 20/20 and Who is a citizen? What is Citizenship?

The “Hindsight is 20/20� exhibition, by R. Luke DuBois, is a series of 43 prints. Each is a State of the Union speech (one from each president). The words are ordered based on the frequency of their occurrence in the speech, and the print as a whole is presented as an eye exam.
The exhibition appeared very dull to me at first. Seemingly very similar black and white prints, with very little variation, but after finding out that the words were organized by frequency, the prints became drastically different from one another.
The word “terror� for instance, was the most frequent word in of George W Bush’s speeches. This is the print that I found most interesting, since I have been the most politically aware as an individual during Bush’s time in office.


Through its simplicity, this politically charged exhibition allows the viewer to read between the lines of a president’s speech, and determine the state of the government, the economy, and the nation during that president’s time in office.
If you are looking for art that stimulated the senses, this is not the exhibition for you, but if you are looking to stimulate your mind, I would definitely recommend spending some time in front of these prints.

A more visually appealing exhibition is “Who is a citizen? What is citizenship?� which is a collection of works by various artists that are also politically charged. The works range from prints and photographs to paintings, but all seem to question the validity of government, and system.
The photographs of immigrants arriving on Ellis Island, by Lewis Hines, were particularly moving for me. Often times it seems immigrants have a stronger appreciation for the American way of life. Immigrating to the US is not simply getting on a boat, and I feel the photographs did an amazing job of capturing the mood of the immigrants at the end of their struggle. They force the viewer to question the definition of citizenship by displaying people who have worked hard to attain it, rather than simply being a citizen from birth. Who has more of a right to be a citizen?

December 2, 2008

Hindsight is Always 20/20

• R. Luke DuBois’s “Hindsight is Always 20/20� was a one-person exhibition consisting of forty-one prints, one for each President in history that has delivered a State of the Union address. Each print, identical in size and shape, was spaced evenly around the perimeter of the gallery space in chronological order. Arrows marked the route the viewer was to follow.

• I thought the main theme of the exhibition was the importance of finding political reality to US citizens. These prints served as a metaphor for how leaders and the public see current issues and how sometimes citizens don’t agree with presidential rhetoric. DuBois emphasized the power of presidential rhetoric by making the word used most often in that President’s speech the biggest and boldest word on the print. But DuBois also emphasized the discord between the beliefs of citizens and that rhetoric by only grouping words on his prints according to his predetermined scheme, even if the words together didn’t make much sense. These jumbles of words that didn’t make sense to the viewer mirrored the confusion that citizens sometimes face when trying to interpret their leaders’ words. DuBois, in an exhibition placard, argued that the most important purpose of the State of the Union address is to regularly hold Presidents accountable to the democratically elected legislature. To him, preserving the sovereignty of our republic’s Congress is of utmost importance. I believe that the purpose of this exhibition was to get the audience to preserve the balance of power in American democracy by examining the present state of union critically, identifying political realities that might be shrouded in pathos, and then exercising their liberties if what they see doesn’t make sense.

• The last print in the collection was the speech of George Walker Bush’s. It could have been called George Walker Bush, or it could have been called TERROR, as that was the first and largest word on the print. It is difficult to determine a motivating factor for this specific work that is distinct from the inspiration for the collection as a whole, since to me this entire collection could be considered a single work founded upon a very interesting idea as opposed to a collection of displays of artistic skill that gave each work a special purpose. Nonetheless, I was drawn to this particular print because the first word was “terror,� and subsequent words included “Iraq, Iraqi, terrorist, Al Qaida, regime, Hussein, regimes, Iraqis, murder, terrorism, attacks, extremists,� and “protecting.� To me this observation about the artwork indicated that the majority of the words that Bush used in his address were very extreme and loaded. They were very frightening and clearly he was trying to associate Iraq with terrorism, be that the case or not. Perhaps DuBois thought this print would expose how (in my opinion) Bush tried to inspire fear in his citizens to take advantage of peoples’ feelings at the time.

• To a friend I would recommend this exhibition, but not as an out-of-the-way venture. To me it was difficult to justify these works as art. Sure the Snellen eye chart format was a nice touch, but as I mentioned earlier, this exhibition was just a really cool idea, not a form of communication that necessitated the visual choices DuBois made. I think that as long as an audience reads the word lists in any format DuBois could have conveyed his point effectively, and that a museum is an unnecessary venue, and in fact an ineffective one. If DuBois was seeking to reach the masses, as I believe he was, he would probably be more widely seen online, or on billboards, or in any medium that isn’t art but more a form of mass communication. Ultimately I would tell a friend to just Google the exhibition so that he or she could see a few of the prints and get what the idea was. That way I could pass on my discovery of an interesting concept without troubling my friend with an unnecessary trip to the museum.

Jessica Sun

Hindsight is Always 20/20


"Hindsight is Always 20/20" is a one-person exhibition by R. Luke DuBois. DuBois presents these issues through simple prints, but in a very unique way. After his visit at the University of California Santa Barbara to work on the American Presidency Project, DuBois became more interested on the presidency issues and took the subject even further by focusing on State of the Union address. As a result from his research, DuBois came up with an exhibition that depicts the issues that the leaders and the public had to face with and how both the leaders and the public see these issues at the given time.

The exhibition was organized through presidency orders from the first president of the United States, George Washington all the way to George W Bush who had just recently finished his term. The exhibition comprised of forty-one frames due to the number of the presidents that the United States has so far. The sixty-six words that were commonly used during each presidency term were carefully chosen and listed within each wood frames in a Snellen test format.

The exhibition depicts through both theme and idea. The theme of this exhibition is on the issues that each president had to face with during their regime. The theme of this exhibition allowed DuBois to address the issues that United States had to deal with more explicitly and also allowed us the viewers to see how these issues at the given time being viewed by both leaders and public.

The layouts of the forty-one pieces are the same throughout, however among all of these forty-one pieces, the description about the president Richard M. Nixon tended to catch my eyes the most. I always had a negative thought about him, as he was the one who made war more possible to a few countries in Southeast Asia. It was interesting for me that DuBois’s exhibition helped me learn more about the United States and even more about president Nixson on some of positive parts and some issues that he had to deal with during his presidency. Words like “Truly�, “Environment Vision�, and “Clean initiative Door guest priorities� was largely bolded on his piece. By just seeing these words, I began to question myself if Nixon all that bad after all.


As far as the layout and the prints that DuBois used to presents these issues, I found myself enjoy his exhibition due to the facts that I could learn something from his work. I recommend everyone to visit this exhibition if they have a chance because it is one the exhibitions that could make the viewers cry, laugh and even mad due to the memories each one had with each of the president’s regime. Most important of all DuBois’ exhibition highlight many good facts about the United States that many of us should know about.

Hindsight is Always 20/20
Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota
333 East River Road Minneapolis, MN 55455

Lily Ohm- Journey to Nowhere

1). The exhibition that I saw was "Journey to Nowhere" at the Walker Art Center. As you walk into the exhibit, you enter a small room with white walls and black floor. Most of the art was hung from the walls. Everything was well spaced apart, making it easy to view each artwork separately. There was never more than three or four pieces hanging on one wall. One wall of the exhibit, made of rocks, was in fact a part of the exhibit. There were also two, three dimensional pieces in the center of the floor. The exhibit continued into a second room that was pitch black, where a film was being played. The collection was from about 7 artists, and the pieces were all taken from another collection. The media used varied with each piece, however, some of the more prominent media used were color photographs, ink, printed paper, oil on canvas, rice paper, limestone, plexiglass, colored foil, wood and 16 mm film (which was transferred to HD video).
2). The main theme of the exhibit was exploration and the inspiration was from the film "A Journey That Wasn't." The works of art were meant to demonstrate ambiguous and literal explorations of far-off places. The artists want us to question the world around us and the way that we see the world. The video that was being shown in the background was interesting because it showed places from all over the world. One scene appeared to be in the arctic, shot on a boat, with penguins in the shot. Another was filmed during an explosion of fireworks somewhere. The exact location of the scenes was never revealed and the viewer was meant to watch the video and make their own interpretations of what was happening and where. The artist created this film by traveling the world, to far-off places but then lets the viewer interpret and question what is happening in their own way.
3). The piece that I chose to focus on was "Horizon 1 - 10 Land. This piece was made by Jan Dibbets, and is a collection of color photographs of the flat dutch landscape. What makes the series of photographs interesting is that the landscape has been rotated vertically which creates diagonal lines through each photo. Where the sky meets the land opens up by 1 degree with each frame, making the area of land you see in each frame greater. This is done until the 10 degree mark is reached with the tenth frame. Dibbets was inspired to do this because these photographs present Earth in the most basic elements, color and geometry. Dibbet wants the viewer to see the world in a new way. She has presented the earth and sky to the viewer in the simplest of forms. Something that is normally extremely complex is presented completely differently in this art.
4). I would recommend that a friend go and see this exhibit. It has a great and interesting message about how we can always view things in a different way. It was very cool to see how each artist interpreted Earth and the far-off places of Earth. I also really enjoyed how many different media and techniques were used in the exhibit. Having so many artists contribute to the exhibit made each piece unique, not only because of the media, but also because of each artist's thought process and ideas when making the art. Over-all, I thought this exhibit was very interesting and it is definitely worth someone's time to go and see it.

Tetsumi Kudo retrospective at WAC

The exhibition of Tetsumi Kudo, at the Walker Art Center is called “Garden of Metamorphosis�. This is a one person retrospective of thirty years or so of Tetsumi’s artistic career. The exhibition follows his career chronologically, from its beginnings in Japan in the sixties, his travel to France, where he spent roughly twenty years, and his return to Japan. The exhibition contains easily over sixty pieces of work, possibly much more, and spans several rooms. Almost all of his works are mixed media sculptures. Recurrent objects in his work are colored strings, human hair, wood, plastics and resins, as well as many pre-made objects such as birdcages or plastic flowers. Only one work was simply an oil painting, which resembled a Pollok piece, it consisted of interweaving drips of oil paint. All other works were either free standing sculptures, wall sculptures, or, one of his major works, “Philosophy of Impotence’, an installation.

The exhibition’s name could come from several places. A recurrent theme in Tetsumi’s borderline graphic work is metamorphosis and change. Also his work changes over this career, gradually dealing with different themes. Many of Tetsumi’s works appeared almost human in nature, and the struggle of humanity plays a role in his art. A recurrent image, which begins in the late part of his early career, epitomized in “Philosophy of Impotence�, is a limp, often shriveled looking phallus. Tetsumi used it as a symbol not of sexual power, but of impotence, and as a symbolic chrysalis, implying change and growth. Much of Tetsumi’s work deals with population growth, technology, and waste. A concept of overpopulation meets wasteland, meets potential for more and different growth.

One of Tetsumi’s late works, entitled “Mary in Hell� which was created in 1980, reminded me of Chris Ofili’s work “The Holy Virgin Mary�. This work is a mixed media wall sculpture, shaped in a rectangle like a painting. It is made of wood, cotton, fake soil plastic, polyester resin, a Mary and baby Jesus figurine, conch shells, string, and rosaries. It consisted of several shriveled and twisted phalluses, reminiscent of tadpoles or worms, among conch shells, and rosaries. The conch shells generally arranged in a sun or star shape were colored yellow, and the rosaries hung both directly off of the phalluses and off of the green and white fake soil background. Atop the work is the figurine of Mary and baby Jesus covered in yellow strings like moss, or vines. Like Ofili’s work, “Mary in Hell� is another artistic re-examination of a historically relevant religious symbol. Religious iconography is unusual among Tetsumi’s work, and only appeared late in his career. An examination of faith was prompted by an unspecified health crisis he had just been through. The impotent phallic symbols again signifying change, or metamorphosis, keep the work connected to the theme of his career.

I would recommend this to a friend who had the time to spend taking the entire exhibition in. Being a retrospective of an artist’s entire career, and because of the graphic intensity and highly symbolic meaning throughout the works, one would best interpret the exhibition over a long period of time. At first some things may seem offensive and difficult to bear, but as the viewer gains an understanding of the artist, and the meaning of the symbols, most obviously the highly recurrent impotent phallus, individual works become more intriguing than repulsive. The way back through the gallery, from the more recent to earliest works may be the most rewarding, because of the understanding gained from Tetsumi’s progression.

Tyler Olsen

Nick's gallery visit, Journeys to Nowhere : Selections from the collection


1. Journeys to Nowhere was a group exhibition that had about 10 works of art. The main exhibition was a short film by Pierre Huyghe A Journey That Wasn’t, a few of the other artists and their works included Gabriel Orozco, Joseph Cornell and Rivane Neuenschwander. There were a few sculptures and wall installations. Arranged in one of the rooms, there was a single stone on the floor next to a box of rocks, some sand made pieces, a painting of the ocean, and partly insect-eaten rice paper.

2. This gathering of works from the Walker’s collection revolves around the ideas of adventure and discovery, dreams and imagination, as well as nature and environment. These works are a commentary on nature and how humanity is affecting it. The whole exhibition was set up to revolve around a central theme presented by the centerpiece film. Carta Famita really remind me of the work we saw in class were the caddisflys used gold and precious stones given to them to make jewlery pieces.

3. A Journey That Wasn’t is a film created by Pierre Huyghe in 2005 was a very intrigueing experience and very enjoyable to watch. The film was shown on a very large screen. The movie was about a journey to find an Albino Penguin in a very remote island in Antarctica. The scenes showed in the film were very gorgeous showing what exactly it is like in the arctic. Also showing its sad side, the results of warming. It documented the journey artists took on a voyage of discovery. They set sail from Argentina to the the Arctic Circle. Their mission was to discover rare eco systems and unique and rare specimens of plants and animals

4. I would recommend it for others because it is a unique experience into a world not many get to experience. The thoughts and motivations behind the exhibition are very meaningful. All of the elements audio, and visual image provoke very strong emotional responses. The imagery and music are very beautiful.

India: Public Places, Private Spaces


India: Public Places, Private Spaces is the featured exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. This exhibit displays the work of 28 artists who provide an insight into the contemporary psyche of Indians. Over 100 photographs and video art are showcased, allowing the viewer to gain insight to contemporary Indian artists’ view on topics such as India’s economic and political shift, caste systems, and the flip of cultural traditions. It was arranged by artist and by the different issues of modern-day India mixing photography and video art in the same space.

The theme of this exhibit is the exploration of the multiple dynamics that have shaped the current Indian psyche as viewed through the lens of the artist, which aims to interpret and influence. The works on display vary from photojournalism, for example a series of photos by Raghu Rai depict the death and funeral of India’s Prime Minister, Indira Ghandi, to photo manipulation that express the artists feelings and display very personal narratives.


The work of Pushpamala N, entitled “Phantom Lady or Kismet,� is a series of photographs that draw from familiar Indian iconography and structures found in Bollywood. The high contrast noir vignettes create a dramatic narrative, which reflect character archetypes found in Indian cinema. In fact what Pushpamala is doing is drafting commentary on popular Indian culture by dressing up as a Zorro clad heroine, this critiques popular culture while respecting historic visual art represented in photos and movies. The dramatic lighting style mimics competence found in Indian visual design and offers a wider comment on the media’s portrayal of female heroes.

India: Public Places, Private Spaces invites the viewers inside India and narrates a story of a transforming country where the people reexamine cultural traditions, sexuality, caste systems, and politics. I would recommend going to see this exhibit.

William Kentridge


William Kentridge is a South African native whose work strongly reflects the influence of the social and political history and changes of his time. He resided in Johannesburg at the time of the South African apartheid, and continues to reside there now. He has used multiple media such as charcoal, collage, and theatre, and has even combined them in stop-animation or other means of exhibit such as film. Although he himself has claimed that he “never tried to make illustrations of apartheid,�(1) his art certainly communicates a question regarding bureaucratic authority and social/political dominance.
As Kentridge’s work draws so strongly from his nation’s history, it is easy to say that he is influenced in that way. However, he is also inspired by others’ works, such as Vladimir Mayakovsky: A Tragedy of 1913, Man With a Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov, and pieces of various media.(2) For example, his animation Preparing the Flute – which was the focus of his exhibit in Paris – was related to a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.(3) Some of his most famous works include stereoscopic images and anamorphic films.(2) He used stereoscopic or “3D� images in his work to give the viewer questions about seeing; instead of a flat image that is being perceived, a three-dimensional image is constructed by the eye.(2) An anamorphic image(fig.a) is projected onto a cylinder, which the viewers must face and walk around in order to see the images; the image can also be rotated so that the viewer may stay stationary. The main drive of his work seems not only to make his audience aware of South African history, but to also question the ways in which people see and visually interact with his art.(2) However, he does also care about the political weight of his work; he mentioned that he sees his work as “working politically: influencing or energising people who have seen them.�(2) He says that when a person recognizes something in an artwork that resonates with them, it moves them. In that moment, “the world [comes] towards us and [we project] onto it and, in that membrane, [construct] sense of the world.�(2) It is in this way that his art interacts with his audience to spark a political idea.
I believe that as unalike as William Kentridge and Liz Miller are, they both explore audience/artwork interaction, although in different ways. Kentridge uses visual implications such as spatiality in his art to make his viewers see in a different way, whereas Miller uses her media to physically direct the space in an area and question the dividing line between piece and audience. These artists both play with the idea of history in nearly opposite ways. Kentridge uses the history of his homeland to convey a political idea, but Miller uses the history of moments. Her work can usually be read in the typical Western fashion of left to right, but also right to left. This play on chronology allows the work to be interpreted in various ways; for example, something could be traveling forwards or backwards.(4) Thus, her manipulation of the chronology of her work allows the audience to project their own memories and experiences onto the piece.
I would certainly recommend an exhibit of Kentridge’s work to a friend. His approach to art is very interesting, especially because he presents it in a visually intriguing way. He not only effectively communicates his subject matter, but continues to question the way he presents those ideas. His work is intellectually complex, and I believe much can be learned from it.

fig.a: http://www.mukiwa.org/images/Kentridge.jpg

1) http://www.gregkucera.com/kentridge.htm
2) William Kentridge: Ways of Seeing. Arts Review, O’Reilly, 2006, issue 21, pp. 74-77.
3) http:/ William Kentridge: Marian Goodman. Modern Painters, Romney, 2006.
4) www.mnartists.org/article.do?rid=42124

Speaking of Home

The exhibition 'Speaking of Home' is a project created by Nancy Ann Coyne. She is a photographer and public artist, with exhibitions both at the national and international level. Her most recent work involves the creation of large-scale installations that expand and explore the qualities of documentary photography built into an environmental setting. The 'Speaking of Home' exhibit was initiated in 2005 and is the first public art project that has been created for the Minneapolis skyway system.

Coyne was the curator for the exhibition, which consisted of 23 photos of family members and individuals from different countries. The pieces were black and white, translucent, large-scale photographs on cloth that were put on the windows of a high-traffic skyway in Nicollet Mall. Each of the pictures portrayed individuals that had immigrated to Minnesota for various reasons ranging from disaster to politics. In the photographs was the word home written in white, in the language of the country that each family came from. Each photo shows a few members of whom Coyne collaborated with to create her exhibition. She was able to photograph them in a way that was able to portray the reasons why they immigrated to Minnesota, almost as a narrative of the major change in their life from one country to another. The main theme was to portray the different meanings of what the word 'home' means as it is something that is represented in every culture, but carries a different meaning from place to place. The photos were created in such a large scale to represent the enormous changes that each individuals experience as they transition in their immigrations to Minnesota. Coyne noted that "Having a home is important to every culture," where the exhibition underscores the importance of an affordable and safe living place for everyone to come home to. She also talked about how having a home isn't necessarily what we see, hear, or the things that we own, but instead a word that is not contained by any single definition, but instead one that transcends all of the senses. She specifically wanted people to consider what is the elusive thing that we each call home in our own way.

A piece that i found interesting was the Elsa Mekuria photograph which showed a mother and her son from Ethiopia. The photo shows a woman in a white dress embracing her son in her arms. Elsa Mekuria had been born and raised in Ethiopia but decided to move to the United States with her son to avoid the political instability of the country. She had taken this photo of herself as a memento to leave with her family as she and her son left for the U.S, leaving other family behind. She had stated that she moved to Minnesota in order to create a better life for her and her son, and because she wanted to be able to escape the stereotype of being a stay at home mother. She wanted to live in a place where her and her son would be able to create and make their own decisions, and where they would be able to follow their dreams. Like I had stated earlier, the curator had wanted each photograph to represent what different people called or considered their home in their countries of origin, and wanted to tell their immigration story.

I would recommend this exhibition to a friend, I think that it has a very neat message that it brings about what a home really is. It also made you think about what a home meant to you, and how the term can be interpreted differently when put in a different context. The exhibition portrayed the incredible diversity that can be found within the Twin Cities. Today there are more than 120 languages that are spoken by the children in our public school systems, and it is important to recognize the uniqueness and collaborative place that we live in but don't necessarily pay much attention to. It showed the importance of how a home can be created anywhere, and all you need is your family.

-Jenna Matteson

Lisa Yuskavage

Lisa Yuskavage is a graduate of Temple University where she earned her masters of fine art. Most of her work is of the female body and done with oil paint on canvas and usually done with just a few strong colors. (1) Most of Yuskavages paintings represent the female body in unrealistic and fairly derogatory manor. Many of her pieces depict naked women with abnormally disproportioned bodies; some with big butts, and boobs, and, some of them are actually pictured masturbating as in: Big Blonde with Beaded Jacket, 1997, and True Blonde, 1999. (2) Her art is very direct and in your face, it could even be considered a form of soft core porn to some. She wants to force the viewer to see these sexualized subjects, and even make them feel uncomfortable. She takes the female body and makes it into a confrontational representation. I feel slightly uncomfortable looking at most of her pieces but at the same time I find that they are quite beautiful.

I think that Lisa inspired by not only sexuality but what sexuality means and how it can be uniquely presented to society through her art. (1) She gets most of her ideas from personifying her portraits and making them come alive, I think she also draws from the ideas society has of what women’s bodies are “supposed� to look like and shows us that disproportions like big hips and butts can be beautiful too. Yuskavage makes her art to try and shock her audience and make them see a different side to sexuality, one that’s more raw, but not necessarily more real.

Lisas art is outspoken and unusual. I think I would probably compare her art, or at least the message of her art to Nan Golden because like Lisa, Nan’s art is shocking and it brings up social schemes and addresses them head on, in spite of the confrontational subject matter. Golden and Yuskavage both use images to bring up feminist rights and struggles as well. While Golden’s is more obvious with images of battered women, Yuskavage uses womens sexuality to show how we are somewhat captured in our own skin. Goldens use of photography made her messages much more realistic but not necessarily more powerful. I also think that Nans work was more controversial because there isn’t any debating that what you see isn’t real.

If I were telling a friend about Lisa Yuskavages art I would probably describe it as a bit graphic and I would warn them about the sexual images because I don’t think they are for everyone. I would possibly tell a friend to check out Lisa Yuskavages work, it would depend on weather or not I think they would be offended by her work. Her art isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t my personal favorite, however I do think it’s interesting.

Lucian Freud

(Sorry I didn’t post this earlier – I’ve been having computer/internet problems for nearly a week now)


For my artist research project, I chose Lucian Freud, a portrait artist who specializes in painting and etching. Lucian is the grandson of famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud—he was born in Berlin in 1922, but has lived in London since 1933 (Freud has been a British citizen since 1939). Lucian’s paintings and etchings are generally realistic portraits of the people in his life—he has his family and friends come into his studio and pose for him instead of hiring models. Freud’s art is famous for not showing his subjects in a very flattering light, painting them as he sees them.

Freud’s art tends to fall into two main categories: facial portraits and full-body nude portraits (prevalent in both his paintings and etchings). Although Lucian occasionally dabbles in works involving horses, dogs, and garden scenes, he still considers these works to be portraits. His portraits are created very meticulously, often taking Freud months (or sometimes over a year) to complete, with his models agreeing to come in day after day to help him finish. Freud’s portraits are never idealized—they are a frank depiction of the subject, based on Freud’s “horror of the idyllic�.
- Examples:
- http://www.ubs.com/4/artcollection/uploads/tx_artcollection/PW276_01.jpg
- http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/content/images/2004_0724.JPG
- http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5f/Freud%2C_girl-white-dog.jpg

Lucian has described his own work as being autobiographical, since he uses people, places, and objects from his personal life instead of things he has no attachment to:
“My work is purely autobiographical,...It is about myself and my surroundings. I work from people that interest me and that I care about, in rooms that I know... When I look at a body it gives me choice of what to put in a painting, what will suit me and what won't. There is a distinction between fact and truth. Truth has an element of revelation about it. If something is true, it does more than strike one as merely being so.�

Lucian Freud has become one of my favorite contemporary artists, because his work is very realistic instead of being like the many abstract/impressionist artists we’ve studied in class. I would definitely recommend his art to a friend because his paintings and etchings are very detailed and show a great deal of skill. His work is realistic, but shows his personal style, and it’s obvious that his work is very important to him. Plus, his grandpa was Sigmund Freud—that’s got to count for something, right?


“Lucian Freud: The Painter’s Etchings� by Starr Figura (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2007)

The Mira Godard Gallery (http://www.godardgallery.com/freud.htm)

December 1, 2008

Corinne's Gallery Visit: Journeys to Nowhere

1. The exhibition “Journeys to Nowhere� was a group exhibition, where the main exhibition was a short film, however there were some other artworks (about 10) displayed outside of the movie theater (I was unsure as to whether these pieces were part of the exhibition or not). To get to the theater, there is a hallway leading into a room with various pieces of naturally-made art, such pieces of rice paper partially chewed by snails and a sculpture of landscape bricks. Next to get to the theater, there was another small hallway leading from the room with the art pieces to the theater. The film was continuously played in the theater and the main material used was film.
2. The main themes of the film are exploration and ventures into the unknown, where the artists tried to portray the journey in finding an albino penguin deep within the cold of Antarctica. I think the film revolved main by an idea; the idea of journeying to a remote island in search of a rare animal. This particular film was not meant to showcase the individual artists themselves, rather it was meant to visually document the journey the artists took and the lengths they went to achieve their goal. For example, a few lines were narrated explaining some of the challenges encountered while making the film. However, the main ideas were slightly hard to decipher since the film was not direct and to the point. his film was very similar to Chris Larson’s film.
3. The main artwork was the film, “Journey’s to Nowhere�, which was an installation made from the larger creation “A Journey the Wasn’t�. As stated before, the main idea of the film was to document the journey to a remote island in Antartica in search of the albino penguin. The film crew consisted of 10 crew members, seven artists and a whole symphony. The film used a variety of art media including film, video, sound, animation, sculpture and architecture. Along with filming the scenes in Antarctica, the film switches back to an outside stage in New York containing a whole symphony surrounded by fog and darkly lit buildings.
4. I would definitely recommend this installation to other people because I found it very moving and emotional, although the main themes were not easily understood. The use of music and visual images to express the emotions and thoughts of the artists were very profound and mysterious in their meaning, which added to the appeal of the film. In addition to beautiful music, the amazing scenery that was captured was unbelievable.