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October 31, 2008

josh W Art talk feedback

sometimes my comments repeat the stuff everyone has thus said so I posted doodles



October 30, 2008


Cynicism is not a necessary part of critical dialogue. The only purpose it serves is to further cloak suppressed insecurities and ignorance. It is also very annoying. If you are not aware of whom I'm speaking to maybe you are not as smart as you think you are. Anyone should feel free to confront me on this issue if they wish.

October 28, 2008

Artist Interviews - 2nd Year MFA students

Interview the artist and post a review of this artist on the bolg prior to November 7th.

Here is a recent review from the NY Times - an example of a review to clarify the assignment, not to pose it as a suggested model,

The following lists interviewers and interviewees:

Jessica Gunderson interviews Juana Berrio

Juana Berrio interviews Jessica Gunderson

T J Barnes interviews Meng Tang

Meng Tang interviews TJ Barnes

Rashad Butler interviews David Donovan

David Donovan interviews Jason Gaspar

Jason Gaspar interviews Lindsay Montgomery

Lindsay Montgomery interviews Laura Primozic

Laura Primozic interviews Chad Rutter

Chad Rutter interviews Peter HT

Peter HT interviews Jasmine Wallace

Jasmine Wallace interviews Josh Winkler

Josh Winkler interviews Rashad Butler

October 25, 2008

c bishop

I wonder how many people decide they are going to be artist because it is socially responsible. It may be my ideal, but i thought we were all pushing art based on our "unconcious desires." If art does not come from these desires, than where? I guess its possible for one to become a type of artist after the fact.

To make work and think it is empty of aesthetics seems impossible. It could be possible to limit aesthetics, yet this too seems difficult. I do agree that the aesthetics can limit or take away from an experience, in contrast it can also add and intensify the act of looking at work. Whether or not an artist is more ethical because they use or limit aesthetics seems ridiculous. Those who think they are helping, as bishop states "the big other," should worry less about aesthetic interruption and more on what and how they are expressing themselves and others as well as the consequences that may result because of their actions. And what about those who use aesthetics and consider it a big part of their work, are they unethical. I doubt it. Ethical and unethical artist's are everywhere whether they rely on aesthetics or not.

I chose the word collaborative and trans-disciplinary. Working in various modes and mediums my practice manifest from everywhere. From painting to reading how my work gets inspired and made is multifaceted. In an untraditional sense i consider my self collaborative. While i may not make work together with other artist's i do feel that through conversation many ideas get transferred. From a hot dog stand to a university class room the world offers a web of collaborators.

One last remark then i will be on my way. Bishop's remark on "art, engagement, and free space" is very powerful. I say this because i think it promotes a redefinition of not only free space but art.


Sissi Tax presented herself with great poise and confidence. Delivered in German her subject matter focused on words, translation, and David Markson’s novel Wittgenstein’s Mistress.

Tax, a translator, novelist, and writer, began her lecture by first reading a German translation of Gertrude Stein. Imagine if you can what sort of confusion this could arise in a listener. Beautifully she spoke about words, and with great composure she maneuvered her hands while reading. I, who knows no German, was intrigued by Tax’s tone and gesture; so intrigued that when her translation was rendered I was saddened by the loss of gesture and tone. With great effort, I tried to connect the translator’s translation with her passion. A difficult task I found myself frustrated, I wanted to know what she was reading while she was reading. While i gained from the talk, if i would have know German could it be possible that i could of gained more?

With one hour of reading and one hour of questions and mingling the talk was unlike any I had ever attended. Different in its format, the speaker showed no slides, delivered no history, at least that I can recall, of her past, nor spoke of her education.

The hour of questions was intriguing, however partly because of my lack of knowledge, in regards to literature, some of the question were a bit obscure. Asked and answered in English, questions regarded the German language, her translation work on Wittgenstein's Mistress and words.

Finally before ending the question portion of the talk, some one remarked on her performance. This, of course sparked a number of questions. Was this a performance and if so how and why.

Although Tax’s lecture was difficult to grasp, she forced several questions upon me. If her translation was difficult, imagine what it must be to translate a novel when every word matters? Tax is a lover of words, someone who sees an expansive life in text.

October 24, 2008


Josh, i appreciate your sensibility when speaking, you have a wonderful way of using words. If writing is influential to your work speak more of it. Your poetry helped when looking at your pieces, side by side they form and interesting context. I was a bit curious about the playgrounds, are they influential in your work-perhaps the colors?

Laura-sister, you did wonderful. Your interest in icebergs is inspiring, i also found how you collect data interesting. Your talk helped me understand more about you, your interest and where your coming from. I think it is important to think about what it means to get your research of the internet. This was the only thing i wish could have been highlighted.

Jessica-your always a pro, extra prepared. I like how informed you were about your work and the artist you showed; however room for play is important. Play keeps the conversation lively. If your going to read from your notes make it look smooth. Your a smooth gal i'm sure you could do it.

TJ- I Loved your stories, whimsical, strange and super interesting. I was playing with the idea of your stories being included in your work. I knew you were not performing because i know you, however it could be hard for someone else to decipher. Good or bad, who knows it up to you to decide. Keep searching bro its out there somewhere. If you read this in China - enjoy yourself and do some tai chi in the park for me

Jess, Jason, TJ, Josh

Jessica- I think that it is clear that you are able to talk about other artist's work. It is interesting to hear how your relate to all of these artist but I agree more of your work could have been talked about longer. I too was confused when you were talking at the beginning about the saggy breast piece if that was your work or still the other artists work. I also wonder how much you have to say about what show, who curated, where it was... I tended to become very aware of that, instead of your actual piece of work.

Jason- Brother, I enjoy your ability to talk about things sincerely and with such passion. I also think it is really important to talk about where you come from and the experiences you have. I would liked to have heard a deeper explanation of your performances. Maybe reflections on thoughts that passed through when you were getting shot at or feelings you had when you were covering yourself with clay.

TJ- I did appreciate the stories, and I took it as an honest sincere performance. One that reflects someone who seems to know his identity because you were able to talk about it so well. In relation to some of the work that I have seen I wonder how much is you searching for it, struggling with it, fighting it or embracing it. Any time you want to sit around the fire and tell stories let me know.

Josh- You did seem very comfortable talking to us, which made it easy for me to see the work and also hear what your were saying. I enjoy the humor that you bring verbally and visually in the work. The work that you do outside of the studio (cabin, playgrounds) maybe could be condensed to 2 or 3 slides. Although they influence you, they become somewhat distracting in your talk.

R.B., P.H.T., M.T.

Rashad- I know you have a louder voice, and an expressive one, it would be nice to see you use it to talk about your work. I also felt like you skimmed the surface of your references. It would be nice to hear more about them.

PHT- It is funny that we laughed at the expense of your relationship breakup. Sorry about that. :) It was nice to see the span of photos but i felt like the little tid bits of other work could have been expanded on. I was kind of surprised how quickly they were mentioned. You have mastered the ability of giving a talk to people, not at us. I am envious of this ability because you can really engage the audience.

Meng- great to see the video. I am interested in seeing a lot more of your work and hearing you talk about it. I am curious to see how you could use film more when talking about your work. I think someone mentioned clips from your references. I guess I would like to see more all around, of your work and references.

Jason, TJ, Jessica, Laura & Josh

Jessica: Great presentation! In my opinion the introduction was good and brief, you gave a clear idea of the size and "artistic environment" of the town your are coming from. The presentation of the references was very interesting and enriching, although I don't know if there were too many references or, said in other words, I'm not sure if it is important to show the references of each of your works. To conclude, I find your work itself very strong and I think you should focus even more talking about it.

Jason: I think it was important to know where did you come from because your past has strongly influenced your current ideas and your work. However, in my opinion, you should focus on the main ideas you are interested in and, from that point, present your work and past experiences in relation with them.
Some other comments:Look more at the audience, it creates a closer relationship among you, your work and your audience.
You could explain better your ideas of "border" and "fading" and how they relate with your work.
It wasn't clear for me why is the picture of Lauren (?) with the branch a "perfect" image about you and your work.
To conclude, you didn't explain what was the process and main idea of your performances. If possible, it could be a good idea to show a brief part of the videos of the performances. I find your recent performances very strong and I think you could take more time to talk about them.

Laura: I liked the way you started your presentation showing some pieces of your work in relation with your past experiences. I appreciated that you gave a brief introduction of your early work and then mainly focus on your current interest in global warming and the different works you've done to approach it. However, it wasn't clear to me if your early icebergs are related with global warming or you got to global warming later.
One more thing: I guess it is important to have notes so you don't miss an important idea you want to talk about, but I think you could try to have just some written "keywords", and not read long sentences.

TJ: Your storytelling presentation was very refreshing, unique and I love how it became a performance. I liked the way you gave us several "cues" about you and it was up to us to put them together and "struggle" to discover what was hidden behind your words.

Josh: I think your humor and narrative style were great elements during your presentation. The sequence, references, and pace you use were very engaging. I'm not sure if you showed too much information by including many ideas and works. At least for me, it was hard for me to follow all your ideas (which are great!) and somehow wish you could focus in your main "concerns".

October 23, 2008

A Damn Tricky Balance: Aesthetics and Ethics (part 1)

Obviously, the main point that Bishop was trying to make was that in recent collaborative/communal art and intervention, aesthetics are often sacrificed in the name of the ethical, as if the two couldn't exist together. It seems she is arguing that in the effort to democratize and with the value placed on wide participation and consideration of all participants, the finished products are watered down aesthetically. Somehow there are potential layers of meaning and import stripped away. I can certainly see where this is often the case. Since ideas of the artist as genius have fallen out of fashion (not that I think we should return to them), it seems that some artists downplay their unique aesthetic impulses and intellects in some strange attempt to apologize for them. It seems that when making "socially engaged" art, especially when it involves participants/collaborators with no real experience or understanding of the art world, paws are velveted and there is a conscious attempt to not make anything too weird or to make sure there is no potential to offend any person or group. While this may result in smoother collaborations and a steadier guarantee for funding, does it also result in weaker art? Damn, this is tricky for me.

I like the example of "The Battle of Orgreave" by Deller, a piece I remember from a past class. In the end, this 2001 "re-enactment" was epic, complex, and may have even pointed to more of a gray area in group behaviors than the original event did. In this piece, Deller can be seen commenting on a number of issues including the role of historical re-enactment societies in shaping public memory and on issues of authorial control. Since many of the original "participants" were still alive at the time of the artwork, Deller incorporated several of them into the piece, often playing on opposite sides compared to the original skirmish (miners as policemen and police as miners). All this was allowed to play out as a sort of controlled chaos where I'm quite sure many of the participants were not privy to all of the aesthetic issues being discussed or to the "true" vision of the artist and his controlling partners. And yet, if I remember correctly, the overall response to this event was positive; possibly this was helped by the presences of beer tents set up for use by the participants. Deller's piece hovered in a strange place between an authored work and a collective one. The fact that he allowed that ambiguity as well as others that his piece brought up seems to stand in contrast to the kind of work that Bishop is referring to. Does socially engaged art have to be democratic? I don't believe so. I don't think it is unethical to use a body of people to execute personal ideas and aesthetics as long as they are willing to do so. And this is even if they don't fully understand the intricacies of those personal interests. I don't see what Deller did as some kind of trickery to get a bunch of people to execute one of his ideas.

I feel like I'm rambling and I still haven't gotten to the second part of the question, so I will continue this in a bit...

Rashad, P to the H to the T, Meng: Presentations

Rashad: I think I mentioned this in class, but my advice is to show less of the graphic design stuff in the beginning. I think you should show some, because it gives us a background for some of your formal concerns and where you started, but maybe give us the one that you feel is the best, give a little of that educational background, and then move on. Aside from that, the pacing of your presentation was good. Also, the pictures of your work were nice. It was easy just to enjoy the sculptural works because they were well documented. I think someone mentioned that you could show more of your research inspiration and I agree. The images you showed for your presentation in Wayne's class last semester were great and your overall presentation would be stronger with more of that. Last but not least, and you're probably getting sick of hearing about it, but it's all about the voice for you. Being a little more aware of how low it gets and varying your pitch and speed throughout would help. Your voice especially can be commanding and useful in public speaking, but it can also be lulling.

Peach Tea: This is well practiced and well paced. You cover a lot of time chronologically, but the images you choose reveal the common threads of interest that have evolved and persisted throughout. Great use of humor and pseudo-self deprecation. I realize you were showing this to a "known" group and your intent was to show work that most of us aren't familiar with, but I think many aren't as familiar with the art shanties or the A project as you think. Even those of us that are, it would be nice to see a few more pictures and hear a little more of the behind the scenes stuff.

Meng: I think it's good that you experimented with the different kinds of media available for your presentation, but for a finished presentation to strangers a more streamlined approach would be better. I'll also echo what others have said about the organization. You showed some interesting images and works that could play off of one another better if they were just in a different order. I enjoyed that you mentioned that film trilogy by the other director as inspiration for recent works. It would be nice to see small clips from that trilogy or hear from you more of why it inspired your work.


Rashad...You had great control over your voice (calm, volume, speed). Your images were strong. I enjoyed seeing the evolution of your work and thinking. My undergrad also pushed technical ability first and concept second, so I can identify with your foundation. You talked about the strong influence of the places and cultures you lived in, but no images pertaining to these realities...maybe add just a few images of those neighborhoods to keep your audience informed. You incorporated your research well with the sculpture images...perhaps expand on talking about the importance of the materials you choose. Overall...well done!

Peter...You also gave a strong presentation. Your right, I was not familiar with your photographic body of work. Your ideas of establishing a connection between place and yourself comes across in the majority of the images. I felt a bit overloaded with the number of images and speed of your voice at time, but impressed with the span of time you covered in 20 minutes. In future presentations, give more background about the Art Shanty project (we are familiar, but your next audience may not be...this is probably why you glazed those details).

Meng...Expand on talking about the cultural ideas shaping your work; they are strong and interesting. I enjoyed seeing your photographs, film clip, and the progress of your paintings. Talking during the film was a smart decision to use the 20 minutes fully. Smart to "plug" your website! Re-organize your talk to begin with your background. Take the audience through living in China and coming to the United States. Consider taking us through the art you were making at those times and discuss the influences of those changes.


I'm also very interested in the responses to my work...they are always varied depending on the group or person. I was excited that many of you seemed to respond to the piglet experiments. TJ's recommendation to spend time in a pig barn is intriguing...I'm considering it. Thanks for the additional and repeated comments on the blog regarding my crit...they bring up many important points of the critique that become a little bit of a blur for me when there isn't enough time to write notes on your comments.

TJ...Your installation worked well to create a distinct narrative about your personal history. The relationships between one piece to the next revealed something about the previous. This strategy will serve you well in the future! I enjoyed the combination of found materials with crafted objects.(My favorite piece is the gun rest.)

Meng...I can't wait to see your complete film. Keep exploring painting, digital media,...give sculpture a try. I agree with wanting to see the video on a projected screen, so we can all experience your work. Do you have other films? I would enjoy seeing these as well.

Chad...I agree with the comments surrounding the projected image. This size seems very suitable to the thesis of this work. The strangeness of the compiled landscape imagery with parking lot lights is a strong comment on our treatment of nature. Keep exploring these relationships...I'm drawn to both the realistic photographic compositions and the "drawn" imagery over an existing photograph. You have many bizarre photographs...let these inform you process.

October 22, 2008

artist talks

Rahsad: The way you laid out your talk was successful. I feel as though the timeline technique works well. I’m not sure if showing the 2-d design stuff was that important to know. I agree with Scott Stulen that it would have been nice to see that concept car you worked on for GM. One other thing, I think your talk could have had a bit more energy, maybe standing rather than sitting behind the computer would help.

Peter: I agree that it really seemed as though you have presented your work before. Your talk went smoothly and had plenty of energy. It was cool to see such a big time span, but with the 20-minute time limit I would have enjoyed seeing less work and learning more about each piece. I enjoyed seeing your photo work, really great images.

Meng: Organization is key to a good talk. Having the work on the power point and the web site and the document light table seemed to cause some technical troubles. Next time you should keep it all in one spot. I agree that you should have showed the older work first. Having video in your talk was great. I really enjoyed seeing it and would like to see the finished film.

josh w reflect


i admire the calm collective nicety. Sitting up straight or standing, or gesticulating more may up the enthusiasm. In addition to the work I was very interested the background info, the more unique stuff, like "from frying pan to skillet." or the quote "be content in your chains." Or the big questions "why are things the way they are" I think showing your references like the slave ship allowed a solid and more attainable connection to the work. Or shotgun houses, that phrase is compelling in itself, you could more describe it in your talk (no hallyways, flowed from one room to the next.) I agree that you should show a machine carved auto, i was a little confused at the time as to what you were talking about.

Panther H T

you rolled along, the humor of some of the work like the fist clenched breakup was on topic and hilarious. It seems you've done too much for a twenty minute talk, the brevity of it didn't allow you to show us as much work as I would have liked, or to elaborate very much.


I was most interested in your work that spoke to the three films your future plans, the red female figure, the blue male, and the white baby. It was difficult when you went back and forth between slides. A natural progression without fumbling gaps of silence would crerate more comfort for you and the audience. It's very interesting how the art school in china that you attended limited your creativity, maybe you could more directly address your reaction(s) to that.

Pht presentation comments

I guess much of this was said already but one thing was that I couldn't see you! I like the casual nature if your talk and manner, but it was tough that I could only see your eyes. It is easier to stay engaged when I can see all of your face. I did like the way that you made connections between your work and how you made those connections apparent with what you showed.

I agree with the suggestion to switch around the order of what you present, putting the historical first and ending with the present time. There was a moment that felt like it could have been performative although I am not sure that it was intentional. It was during the 2nd time of using the document table when you were showing the story, I think you forgot to switch over to the document camera but there was this cool thing that happened where you were moving the document around and talking about it but we could not see it. Not sure if you want to explore the possibility of artist talk as performance but it was kind of a nice moment.


peter- i could see your experience, i hope i am as good as you. For next time, you could show more work

Meng- as everyone said organization is helpful. Knowing when and where all your information is can only be a plus

Rashad- i found your talk interesting however i too think it would be helpful to show more enthusiasm.

October 20, 2008

An Interview with Clare Bishop - 10/24

Read Jennifer Roche's Socially Engaged Art, Critics and Discontents: An Interview with Claire Bishop published in the reading room within the community arts network.

Post a comment to this reading that includes your responses to the following:

I. After considering Claire Bishop's analysis of the aesthetic and the ethical, describe your view of the relationship of these two attributes.

II. Select a term of interest to you and discuss how you consider this concept in relationship to your work.

Some of the terms introduced in the article include:

collaborative practices






authorial status

... term of your choice

Due November 14th

This assignment requires that you attend a public talk and write a review.

This is an extension of our examination of the critique as it relates to the artist's talk. Your review comments on the way the speaker conveys her/his ideas as well as your critique of the content of the talk.

While listening to what the art critic or artist is communicating, observe the way that the speaker has organized her/his talk and approached the presentation of her/his ideas.

Post your 250 - 500 word review on the blog.

You may choose to attend either of these talks.

Artist Enrique Chagoya will be a visiting artist at UMN. His talk is scheduled for
7 pm, Thursday October 30, In-Flux, Regis Center for Art.

Art Critic Claire Bishop will be speaking at the Walker Art Center at 7pm, Thursday October 30 in the Cinema.

October 10, 2008


sorry my post is so late, i was sick as a dog. Sick as a dog who just ate a foot long snickers bar.

Last weeks critiques were great. Tj's entered into the real of poetics and manhood, Meng was a search for the artist and women in jacuzzi, Jessica's was an investigation of pigs in relation to commodities and chad'' an introduction into the american landscape.

The conversation as usual varied, this is what makes critique so great. The ideas are strong, everyone is flowing like Muhammad Ali ( i was lucky enough to see this man box when i was very young, let me tell you he flowed).

How i feel about the critique that was introduced is unclear; however i do not feel that those who partake in it are wimps.


The Furious Four (of last friday)

Jessica, pigs and missiles. It seems that there is something different there with the overall empathy brought out by the pig and the limp-ish missile. Making things that are not so tight and clean like the big pig and the purses is eliciting different reactions. I wonder if that is good or what you want to get at. If it is all about mass and production, maybe empathy does not help. Regardless I was struck by the difference and think that is great.

TJ you are my hero as always at making something that I would feel like an impostor if I made yet it is sincere when you do it. It always looks (and feels) like art, and I dont mean that in a derisive way. It is curious to read the Sontag article now because it feels like there is always this interpretation of your work in a way that is different from how we talk about other work. I say hells yeah.

Meng I too appreciate the question about what is art or what are you supposed to me making in Art School. I think in some ways it took all of my first year to come to some bit of terms with that, which still overtakes me sometimes. I played table tennis with a guy tonight that is some engineer at 3M who upon finding out I am in art school expressed his jealousy, wonder at how artists think. That is all you need to do; think.

Chad I guess since I am in 'photography' ha, I have to be the voice of that medium. Not really but I guess I do think that the more you push it beyond being a different way of presenting photos on a wall the better. In the way that the photo with the rock and the path worked, or even the big projected one. I also am just now wondering about the plywood, I understand why you are using it, but does it always have to be new?


Jessica your little clay piglet sparked interesting reactions and emotions. Ones of sympathy, sadness, a weird sort of empathy, and unsettling. I wonder if you can dial in on some of those emotions so that it can be even more powerful. I am also curious how the pieces in your studio could work in an installation. I know you were interested in this before but I wonder how the objects in your studio would work, instead of finding other materials. I also do believe that your mistake pig could have an interesting relationship with the one that is made out of clay. I think the new work allows for more of your emotion in it and it would be interesting to see how you express it.

TJ, I have to be honest when I saw you the day before your crit and you said you were not going to say anything, I wanted to kick you. :) Mostly out of selfishness because I don't think I have heard you really talk about your work before. However I rather enjoyed the conversation that happened when we enter your space and the investigation into what it all meant. I also found it interesting that we not only were trying to figure out our relationship with the objects but also yours. Although some objects were more charged than other, the installation I agree was poetic but I think more lyric poetry. I promise not to kick you but I sometimes sense that your holding back.

Meng, it was nice to see clips from your film. I am really interested in the content of the piece. The relationship that you have now created fictionally with this woman that you saw but in reality there was not even recognition of each other. It could become a really interesting investigation into peoples body language and physical appearance, compared to what the individual is thinking or what you narrate them to be thinking. I am looking forward to seeing it farther along and projected!

Chad, if I am remembering correctly, at the beginning of the semester you made a comment that you were overwhelmed with sorting through the photos you had taken because you had taken so many. It will be interesting to see if less is more. I say this maybe because one was projected so big but it really did express the essence of your ideas. On the other hand creating an installation where each object is connected by a walkway gives the viewer the same experience of travel and discovery. I guess I see them as two different pieces and I am curious to see how they will be completed. I wonder if the larger image can be connected but also on a larger distances.

Jessica, Meng, TJ & Chad

I might admit that is is kind of challenging to make comments about 4 different critiques, specially because each studio visit is a real unique experience that brings out so much ideas and questions to think about. I know, I know, it sounds like I'm "taking the easy way" to avoid making specific comments, so here are my thoughts and/or questions.

Jessica, have you ever checked out María Teresa Hincapié's artworks? They are mainly performances and there is one in particular related with the idea of belongings accumulation, objects repetition, consumerism, infinite. The name of the work is "Una Cosa es una cosa" (A thing is a thing). Here is a text she wrote about this piece.

“...movement here. then. in the corner. in the center. on one side. near him. very far. further. very far. very, very far. here are the handbags. here, the pocket. here the bag. here, the box and over it, the pocket. at one side, the box. in the corner, the pocket and the bag; in the center the paper bags and very near, the box. leakage. dispersion. everything getting empty. everything disappears. everything scatter. disseminate. blend. stop. organize themselves in a cue in a random way. they mark a space. they separate in groups, one beside the other. common groups. where they are similar. because they are white. because they are made up of fabric. because they are dresses. because they are made up of plastic. because they are large. because they are covered. because they are ceramics. because they are jars. because they need one another as the toothbrush and toothpaste. but also because the paste is by itself and the toothbrush is with other toothbrushes or by itself. all the flowers here. the dresses are extended. the black ones are near me. the pink ones here. the towels by themselves. the coverlet by itself. the blankets by themselves. the bags by themselves. the pencils by themselves. the dresses by themselves. the colors by themselves. the broom by itself. the onions by themselves. the carrots by themselves. the corn by itself. the sugar by itself. the wheat by itself. the plastic by itself. the handbag by itself. the rubber bag by itself. the box by itself and empty. the mirror by itself. the shoes by themselves. the socks by themselves. the herbs by themselves. I, alone. she, alone. we, alone. they, alone. a space alone. a place alone. a line alone. one sock only. one shoe only. everything is alone. all of us are alone. a mass of rice. a mass of sugar. a mass of salt. a mass of wheat. a mass of coffee. a mass of different things?.

Chad, have you ever considered taking your landscapes images from Google Earth or Google Maps? I know that this probably doesn't make any sense to you, but the connection with land art plus the idea of the "fantastic landscape" drove me to the "fantastic virtual reality" offered by these technologies.

Meng, I really appreciate your honesty and humor while asking "what is art?" and "What should I do to be considered an artist or to make art?". I say so because I think must of us have exactly the same questions in our minds, it is just that is so much opportune and refreshing to remember that art is not already built, and there are some many different ways to approach it. I do believe that you should explore other media if you enjoy to do so, but it is also exciting to have someone with the film background you have in our program. One advise, next time you're planing to show a video/film to a group of people (more than 3 people), try to use a projector, TV screen or something that makes it bigger, so people will easily engage with your work. I can show you where you can find those resources.

TJ, please read the other post called "TJ's Critique", this is already too long...

TJ's Critique

Just to add another ironic element about the "white male" idea of "macho", the English meaning of this term doesn't match at all with the meaning of the real Spanish term. To summarize, in Spanish "macho" just means "male", that's it! It's a neutral term, not good, not bad. Now, it seems to me that the way "macho" is used here is a stereotype which gained a strong negative connotation mainly based on stereotyped Mexican males. I'm surprised how easy language reveals the "unrevealable", and how difficult is to step out from preconceived ideas and values. Right TJ?


(Del lat. mascŭlus).

1. m. Animal del sexo masculino.

2. m. mulo (‖ animal).

3. m. Planta que fecunda a otra de su especie con el polen de sus estambres.

4. m. Parte del corchete que se engancha en la hembra.

5. m. En los artefactos, pieza que entra dentro de otra.

6. m. Hombre necio. U. t. c. adj.

7. m. Tronco de la cola de los cuadrúpedos.

8. m. Cada una de las borlas que cuelgan en la indumentaria de los toreros, en especial las que sujetan el calzón a las corvas.

9. m. Estrofa, por lo general de tres versos, que se canta después de ciertas coplas de estilo flamenco.

10. m. Arq. Pilar de fábrica que sostiene un techo o el arranque de un arco, o se injiere del todo o en parte en una pared para fortalecerla.

11. m. Cuba. cerdo (‖ mamífero artiodáctilo).

12. m. coloq. Cuba. Grano de arroz con cáscara.

13. adj. Fuerte, vigoroso.

14. adj. Valiente, animoso, esforzado.

15. adj. C. Rica. Dicho de una persona: De pelo rubio o claro. U. t. c. s.

~ cabrío.

1. m. cabrón (‖ macho de la cabra).

~ de aterrajar.

1. m. Tornillo de acero, sin cabeza, que sirve para abrir tuercas y tiene a lo largo tres estrías más o menos profundas, para dar salida a la materia que se arranca o desgasta.

~ de cabrío.

1. m. cabrón (‖ macho de la cabra).

~ del timón.

1. m. Mar. Cada uno de los pinzotes fijos en la madre del timón, que encajan en las hembras situadas en el canto exterior del codaste.

~ de parada.

1. m. El de cabrío enseñado a estarse quieto para que el ganado no se desparrame ni extravíe.

~ romo.

1. m. burdégano.

apretarse los ~s.

1. loc. verb. coloq. Prepararse cuidadosamente para una empresa difícil.

Retrieved from REAL ACADEMIA DE LA LENGUA ESPAÑOLA dictionary.

October 9, 2008

Against Interpretation

Wow. This reads to me (in broken pieces, as Jason points out) like another manifesto from those heady and exciting days when art was brought to it's natural conclusion in modernism. Sarcasm aside, I can understand why these viewpoints were reached by those living through such a significant time in art, but it's hard for me to agree now. Obviously, I'm an artist that cares about content as much as form, or maybe content as form, but more than that I've got the context of the postmodernist backlash, and we're probably in now whatever will be considered the beginning of the post-postmodern backlash, so what am I to make of this essay from the early sixties? This is not to say it's "antiquated" or obsolete, but even at the height of modernism content could never be removed from work. The content became the work and the history it stood on, or at least that could be considered a blanket interpretation that the concerns of many of the artists of the time fell under with their own investigations. Since then direct narrative, cultural narrative, social issues and global concerns have crept back into art, and I say all the better. If people's impulse to wrestle with interpretation could survive modernism, shouldn't that tell us that it is intrinsically human to do so? I just don't see it going away anytime soon and the idea that somehow art should be exempt from attempts at in-depth interpretation seems to go against the nature of those that make it and view it.

October 8, 2008

TJ crit

Modernism fell to 50 years of critique.
I still connect to the transcendental genius artist
I drink beer and have moments of blissful enlightenment
I pride myself on being able to climb mountains with a heavy pack
How do I make work that is relevant?

October 7, 2008


Question: Are there several pages missing from the Sontag essay, for some reason something felt out of place. For example on page four where the last paragraph ends with the word 'it' and continues on page five with 'interpretation'. Who knows, maybe its me the essay felt strange yet right on target.

The funny thing about this incident is how it resignates with the idea of interpretation. Sontag's essay whether legible or not address two important points: interpretation and meaning. I love when she refers to interpretation as "revenge of the intellect upon art." My opinion of the intellect is it always tries to make sense out of everything. This is not to say that the intellect is devilish, i am only saying that there are moments when the intellect disrupts, damages, disregards and kills something beautiful, artful, boring, etc. For me, if it does not make sense the better, i like challage by confusion, this is what keeps me coming back. Like Sontag i hope to approach meaning in a similar fashion. By forgetting what it means i allow myself the freedom to see, hear, touch, read, kick and feel what is in front of me. Meaning is important, this i cannot deny; however it is not the death of a work.


jason gaspar

PS Rashad you should write a paper on this subject.

Jess, T to the J, Meng, and me

A few thoughts on our last round of critiques:

I think this was a useful discussion for Jessica. The response to the more visceral quality of her works in progress, her reference images and her failed cloth pig casting could be mined for new directions of refinement and possibly even new work, and I think that's exciting. It was good to see the emotional and thematic undercurrents sitting out right next to the highly crafted older works.

TJ's crit was also solid. Part of the reason I think it went so well is that we had a range of work to respond to and we were able to dialectically reference the pieces against each other. Jessica and I later talked about Peter's comment of being pissed about the work if he didn't know TJ and that got me thinking about how I'd respond if I didn't know him. I know he's genuine, but would I see it as pretentious or affected if I didn't know that? Then of course that brings up the question of "pure" motives in art making or the "genuine" exploration of content. We make work from what we know (presumably), and wouldn't I assume that TJ had some knowledge of the culture he was making work about if I didn't know him personally? I don't know. I guess I can see how his pieces might be read as somewhat insulting (or maybe a better word is irreverent) to a certain group of people. Can you be irreverent without being mean spirited? Can there be an honest exploration that just happens to offend someone? Obviously, this is rhetorical. Anyway, I may not be the best person to comment on this since many of my hometown friends were in fact Busch drinking deer hunters. I don't have an outside perspective and I do know TJ. But I digress...

I look forward to seeing Meng's final cut of the film she's making. I think her crit presented certain challenges that we'll be better equipped to address in round 2. First of all, none of us are necessarily narrative film makers, so that may have prevented the group from commenting as much. Also, Meng preferred to give an explanation of the work before it was presented and I believe she's been the only one to use that structure so far (I was home sick on one of the Fridays, so I missed some crits). What was most useful was that she communicated some of what she wants to get out of her time at the U. Which is a question all of us are asking ourselves (or should be). This was the first time that I've personally seen any of her work, so I considered this a foundation for future discussions.

As for my crit, I was pleased with the progression of responses that I've been getting from people who have seen a lot of my work, but I was hoping to hear more from those who haven't seen it as much or who have never spoken to me about it. I see this class as an opportunity to widen my circle of input. It was satisfying that people were reading my influences and research without it feeling too didactic (If I'm wrong here please correct me). I tried to take peoples suggestions from the first viewing of this in fresh works and I hope that showed.

Eleanor didn't contribute as much in the actual crits as Andrea or Clive did, but I do feel she was present with the work and what she shared helped the discussions along. I'm still not sure how I feel about the critique technique she shared in class. Since I've never actually participated in a critique like this, I'll reserve judgement.

Rashad - "Against Interpretation"

I found most of Sontag's piece pertinent to contemporary modes of perception and interpretation. Some of her positions I vehemently disagree with and others provoked question and skepticism. When she spoke of abstract painting as "the attempt to have, in the ordinary sense, no content" I found myself at a loss for words for what I read as a statement of blatant ignorance and a neglect in her own understanding of the nature of interpretation. This blindfolded statement was followed by "since there is no content, there can be no interpretation. If she is referring to the decorative arts, or non-representational/non-objective art, an obvious mistake has been made on her part. My definition of content "in the ordinary sense" is synonomous with purpose. Whatever the intent of the maker of the object is, whether it's a purely technical exercise or experimentation with formal elements, builds itself on a platform subject to interpretation. Susan Sontag also states "It doesn't matter whether artists intend, or don't intend for their works to be interpreted". Therefore their attempts "to have, in the ordinary sense, no content" are obselete. She also clearly points out that "to understand is to interpret". This leads me to believe that her contradictory view on content versus no content and inerpretation versus intent, as well as her belief that abstraction is the proverbial black hole of content, unveils her as unaware that she herself is incapable of interpreting abstract art. This is a bracket of art that she clearly does not understand because she feels it can't be interpreted? BS! I could go on and on. I should write a paper on this.

October 3, 2008

Critique JJLL!!!

Last critique was very dynamic, enriching, intense. All of you, Jason, Jazzman, Laura & Lindsay, made me think a lot about the relevance of sharing works and ideas in progress. I enjoyed the conversations that took place in each of your studios. Each critique embodied a different personality, explored different perspectives, and everybody seemed to be very focused in each person's work and interests. I really enjoyed the fluid engagement and direct tone used by the whole group, including our two guests. It seemed to me that there were several questions, references and comments that could positively complement (not replace) your artistic research.

Meng Tang

Marcel Decamp said that the viewer is responsible for half the work in creating art’s meaning. That is one of the most important reason that why I do like critiques very much.

First, I really appreciate that the three artist guests’ joined our critiques recently. Andrea’s works were particularly impressed me.

In the past two weeks we went through eight different artists works. Like what I said all of them pretty much informative me. Two of them really let me think much more than the others which are Peter and Jason’s works

October 2, 2008

Against Interpretation ~ Susan Sontag

In the essay that she published in 1963, "Against Interpretation" Susan Sontag, presents a historical flow of the shifting relationship of the experience or art and the interpretation of art, in effect stating that interpretation had become "the intellect's revenge upon art."

October 1, 2008


Jones writes, 'In conjunction with the visuality historians have charted as characteristic of the modern, we should begin to reckon with the auditory, the ollactory, and the tactile as similarly crucial sites of embodied knowledge. The resulting set of experiences can be called a sensorium: the subject's way of coordinating all of the body's perceptual and proprioceptive signals as well as the changing sensory envelope of the self.'

Many artists are creating work that mediates the viewers' senses. Becoming more in tune with the subtle and direct ways installations, videos, and environments arouse the senses is important to fully experience the work. In relationship to the ideas presented in the reading, Carsten Holler's work immediately enters my mind. He is a master at engaging the viewer's mind & body. He has created several multi-dimensional installations that cause disorientation and create awareness of the viewers sensorium. In 2004 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Marseille, Höller created amazing installations within on overall exhibition installation. Works included a geometric black and white wall painting, a hotel room, a film of a forest and another of a dancer, a wall of flashing coloured lights, a tank of salty water and a sequence of sliding doors.If your interested, his work can be found at: http://www.airdeparis.com/holler.htm#

I'm interested in returning to creating work that is intersensorial. By this I mean, work that is a multi-directional interaction of the senses and of the sensory idealogies. Pink Feathers is a sculpture which encompasses some of these thoughts.

Jason, Jazz, Lindsey, and Laura

Friday's critiques were great! I agree with Laura about wanting to be apart of the conversation happening in Jason's studio, but I felt like the conversation was flowing and shouldn't be interrupted. Jason, your performance work is very strong. Every time I walk by your studio, I am reminded of the performance because of those reindeer antlers outside of your door. I agreed with Clive & Andrea that the presentation of the "remnants", "artifacts" or "props" (which ever you prefer) needs to be addressed. The testimony that the "props" represents is important for those viewers who did not witness the event and also for those that did witness as an immediate reminder. Perhaps think about editing the number of "props" for display. I am excited to see your next performances and wonder if you'll continue to involve the audience through participation?!

Jasmine, I am very engaged with the aesthetics of your work. Whether your making roosters or abstract sculptures, you transform the medium into having a raw immediacy. The work feels very spontaneous and experimental. As I look at the surface, I imagine what it would be like to touch. I am interested in how presenting these pieces suspended would create tension for the viewer and if this would enhance the idea of modern reconstruction.

Lindsey's, your porcelein masks, thimbles, and eggs are a significant change from the vessel work. This departure allows the conversation to focus more on the narrative your creating and less on the object you are painting. The thimbles demand more time from the viewer because of the intimate scale which I don't feel we each had during the critique. The idea of a collection creating a story is a great launching pad. You mentioned using the masks in a larger installation and I keep relating those casts to the elaborately decorated circus wagons we saw in Baraboo, WI.

Laura, you do make a beautiful iceberg! Are you interested in splitting the icebergs and oil rigs into separate environments? The oil rigs painted with colors associates with houses is direct and poses questions to your viewers about their consumption and responsibilities to the environment. Keep exploring these ideas! I have become increasingly conscious of my consumption over the last year and a half because of your work.



jason: you thought The Performance Leftovers were dead, maybe they were in relation to the performance, maybe they had a life of their own, maybe they are what happened after the performance, transformation? the soil corridor became a mound, the decapitated christmas arms covered the perimeter, and then the multi-colored lays, with the martyrdom of st. sebastion-log on top. The sitting log became a character with antlers and all. I enjoy the idea of coining your own word or phrase for these leftovers. how can you make what's left talk to what happened?

jazzman: The one in fresh works made me think of a sow pig. I enjoy the forms very much, I enjoy the intro of the obnoxious color with the corrugated plastic layers. I wonder if you are interested in these structures more formally and aesthetically, or more conceptually. I wonder if the conceptual side, ever restricts the aesthetic. I wonder what you might build without a bit of concept? maybe the content is restricting you from something else? Maybe not?

Lindsey: There is a lot happening as was said, and I'm interested in all that's happening up there. maybe you need to tell the story through a whole room, a whole domestic space. I think if the thimbles had some progression or narration I spend more time with them. I think Clive was right about you being on the brink of something.

Primo: a big mighty immaculate berg, and I'd like to know about the other environmental concerns your thinking about, making sketches about, etc. What can you do with those little easter-colored rigs. what else can porcelain become?