December 3, 2008

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.

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?

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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.

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.

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?

November 24, 2008

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

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

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


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


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