Friday, May 1, 2009

Ikea Garment Performance

This is my conceptual garment project. The male model posed as an ottoman in Ikea which matched a preexisting chair. The idea was derived from looking at the work of Allen Jones. I felt like offering something on the other end of that. But it seems to function more in relation to the Ikea environment alone. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Screenprinting with dirt!

I used a mosquito-screen from a window, some dirt, a piece of wood for squeegee, and the stencil was made from matt-board.

The stencil and the design is inspired by the crop-circle phenomenon in Europe and around the world. The crop-circles can be very complex and beautiful with geometric shapes. This phenomenon was brought to the bigscreen with Signs, with Mel Gibson. You can go to and look at some photos & info.

Keep your Art to Yourself?

In our discussions about alternate audiences for art, one thing we've considered is the idea that "social space" can be an intimate, specific gesture or a broader one aimed at a more generalized audience. As Justine, Tim, and several others have figured out as their projects develop, creating work for "the public" can be tricky: just because an audience has visual access to the work doesn't mean that they will feel any less alienated or irritated by it than work in a gallery space. They may, in fact, find it more so.

Along these lines, I came across several recent news articles of interest: Turning Cities into Art Galleries points out the changing role and pertinent questions facing big-budget public art as it shifts from basic monuments and 'beautification' (a problematic term when dealing with any audience) toward more difficult and sometimes uncomfortable disruptions of the everyday. Though now a widely respected public monument, Maya Lin's famous Vietnam Veteran's Memorial was the focus of intense controversy among Vietnam vets in particular when it was first installed. Richard Serra's Federal Plaza Tilted Arc was not so fortunate. The $175,000 installation was eventually torn down due to intense public outcry. Eegh. (more on that story for those who are interested)

For those of you interested in street art, One Person's Vandalism is Another's Art defines some differences between traditional graffiti and more recent trends in street art, as well as some of the ways that the language of street art is being coopted by advertisers and even political campaigns... and more interestingly, the backlash against street art (and against street art-esque advertising) by other artists, leading back again to similar questions of audience. Should artists keep their art "to themselves," within sanctioned venues? Are there other, perhaps more interesting ways to engage the boundaries of place/space/audience? There are certainly worthwhile arguments both for and against this stance, and I'd be interested to hear your opinions.

Finally, I just learned that New York has recently adopted some of Chicago's stringent anti-graffiti laws, leading to crackdowns on such ephemeral incursions as sidewalk chalking (including this infamous case) as well as a ban on carrying spray paint and wedge-tip markers by people under 21.

Comments? Other links? Images? I'm curious to hear any of your thoughts on the topic, as well as some interesting examples of artists working with less generally "public" (i.e. more specific) approaches to audience, if you can find some.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Projet Mobilivre / Bookmobile Project is (was) a traveling exhibition featuring zines, artist books and a variety of independent publications. Working out of a vintage Airstream trailer, re-designed by the NY-based Freecell collective, this exhibition operated from 2001-2006. Combining independent media, grassroots political activism and community outreach, the exhibition travelled to sites throughout the US and Canada in an effort to move beyond the boundaries of tradional art circles and offer an alternative to the mainstream media. During the tours, volunteers collaborated with libraries, community centers and other host sites to present workshops, lectures and screenings to visitors from every conceivable background. Sadly, the Bookmobile held its final tour during the summer of 2006. Their website has since been dismantled, but the actual trailer seems to be on sale at this gallery. For further information, Ginger Brooks Takahashi (a volunteer) adds an interesting perspective in this article. Let's hope they bring this one back.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Community Connection

Anna Callahan is a community-based artist who focuses on creating art in public spaces.  Her work evolves from informal interviews she has with strangers that she encounters in a community—such as a university, library, and city transit system.  The conversations are centered around a particular topic respective to those public spaces.  She records all conversations and creates visual and aural installations, which includes printed materials and listening stations to invite people to listen to someone whom they would otherwise never meet.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Here are some pictures from the class trip to Sonnenzimmer. Nadine and Nick were very interesting to speak with. Nick was especially entertaining, leaving me to ponder what it would be like to work with them (or watch them work). I really appreciated the honesty and enthusiasm with which they answered our questions and absolutely loved hanging out in their studio space with all that hardcore printing equiptment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Felix Gonzalez Torres

The big pile of candy laying on the floor of the Art Institute of Chicago, free for the taking was memorable in my childhood mind. I did not understand why it was art though. I was a bit disturbed to learn the meaning later- that this was Felix Gonzalez Torres' edible representation of his deceased lover, Ross. 175 pounds of candy to start off with- to represent Ross' weight, and then slowly whittled away by people like me, to demonstrate the wasting that occurs to a body affected by AIDS. In a twisted way, I was cannibalizing Ross and contributing to his death.

In 1996 the Cuban-born American artist would succumb to the same disease, six years after Ross had. Though he wasn't active on the art scene for long, his quiet introspective pieces have formed a lasting impression on his audience. His work can be seen as a meditation on his own mortality, relying on audience interaction, and dealing with the unsettling themes of loss, absence, and void.

Learn More about Torres