Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Later I stepped in for a few minutes of the curating panel discussion. The curator who was speaking, I'm sorry I don't know her name, was talking about her idea for an exhibition about the politics of hair. She said she tried to put together an exhibition around that theme, but couldn't find enough (ceramic) work to fill the show. Her solution was to dilute the theme of the exhibition to include other ceramic artists.
I think curators have the position and power to create and draw attention to the conceptual and cultural connections that can be found across mediums. Surely there are artists in all mediums who focus on the topics of hermaphroditism or hair. These are things that affect us all!
My research project is to curate an exhibition that focuses on an art movement and gives equal attention to ceramics and other mediums. Pop Surrealism is the movement I have chosen. I finally received an important text on the movement, Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art edited by Kristen Anderson, and I am happy to report that Charles Kraft is in there. Otherwise, there is a conspicuous absence of three-dimensional objects in the book.
It's actually really easy to think of ceramic artists who make work that would fit in the Pop Surrealist camp. So far, the challenge for me is familiarizing myself with the artists who work in other mediums.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
After our last discussion I continued to think about Nina Hole's artwork. The video we viewed in class showing the event surrounding the creation of the sculpture in Boone, NC was very much a performance. Nina Hole Video There is no reason to pull the insulating fiber off of the sculpture mid-firing other than to put on a show.
I visited the sculpture today. It has a plaque with the words "Permenent Collection" at the top, the artist's name, the title (Two Taarn), and the medium (Wood-fired Stoneware.) The plaque explains the sculpture was created as part of an international artist residency, who helped build the sculpture, and who sponsored the project. The sign doesn't mention anything about the performance that was part of the creation of this artifact.
Is this performance art that just happens to leave an artifact, is it a sculpture that integrates aspects of performance into the process, or whole thing just a matter of playing with fire to create a public spectacle and whatever remains is abandoned to the weather? I'm inclined to believe the latter. There is no sign to explain the importance of the fire and revealing the sculpture while it was flaming hot. The kiln bricks at the bottom of the sculpture are not hidden, but at the same time they are not integrated into the sculpture. The fact that this structure is now on view seems to be an afterthought. Even the longevity of the sculpture is questionable. It has been outdoors through four mountain winters and is starting to show minor signs of spalling.
I find it hard to consider this a serious sculpture. There are too many unresolved remnants of process. At the same time, if the performance was what really mattered, the whole thing should have been torn down a month or two after it was finished. This object exists between performance and sculpture and has too many loose ends to reconcile to be considered successful in either realm.
"These section of fabric-like cushioning conjure domesticity, creepiness, and vulnerability." WTF. I dont think it's fair to say creepy, they are a proxy for humanity and our understanding of modesty and desire. They are also badass as far as skill goes.
As I have previously stated, I love his work, but I think on the last page where he is explaining his working he is more just selling the idea. I dont feel this is necessary. His work sells itself. The list of adjectives that he has "off-the-cuff" seem contrived, but perhaps he is a genius and I dont understand. (That may be absolutely true, plus I might just be dumb, which may also be true..)
In the end Stephanie states, "Calling to voyeur in our own nature." I think this is the beginning of the real discussion.
The end has a handful of questions, but instead of leaving them for me, I wish they were addressed.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In geography, the antipodes (from Greek ἀντίποδες, from anti- "opposed" and pous "foot"; pronounced /ænˈtɪpədiːz/) of any place on Earth is the point on the Earth's surface which is diametrically opposite to it. Two points that are antipodal (/ænˈtɪpədəl/) to one another are connected by a straight line running through the centre of the Earth. In the British Isles, "the Antipodes" is often used to refer to Australia and New Zealand, and occasionally South Africa and Zimbabwe, and "Antipodeans" to their inhabitants.
Not sure if this was a real article or just a brochure about how neat ceramics and artist are in Australia. I mean it started with good intentions and then just became a campaign for how innovative and super swell some of the wood-fire potters are in this specific location. I understand as an American that any hierarchy above my own, I'll take immediate offense to it, but really, no one should care or whine about how much attention they are getting. If the work is good then it shouldnt matter where it is from. My personal favorite sculpture is from the Czech Republic. What up with that. He's just a badass and doesnt cry about being from another country than that of the United States of America. Other than the self justification I didn't see much else that I cared about in the article.....
I guess I'll probably hit up McDonald's and grab a Budwiser now.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
From the NY Times this morning. What do think of her writing?
Creative Debate Among Sculptors, Not Too Loud
Artistically speaking, West Chelsea — land of several hundred art galleries — is a tower of Babel spread on the horizontal. On any given day, scores of different visual languages are being spoken at once, often in raised voices. Arguments made by one show for one aesthetic position are immediately, sometimes violently, countered by the show next door. The effect can be cacophonous and confusing, although the other extreme is probably more disconcerting: when too many shows are talking alike.
Perhaps most interesting are those instances when a few shows speak enough, but not too much, of the same language to have an engaging debate. That’s happening this week among exhibitions of three younger artists working primarily in three dimensions — shows that focus on sculpture and its ostentation in terms of means of production, use of materials and methods of display.
Their efforts offer pointed commentary on the medium, particularly in its most cash-dependent forms: large-scale public sculpture and pricey portable objects that involve complex techniques, skilled artisans, expensive materials and demanding maintenance regimens. Each artist here takes a do-it-yourself, low-budget approach involving found, inexpensive materials and objects, which they simply but deliberately — and at times ingeniously — work, rework or combine. Wit is a common denominator, and in all cases works on paper amplify the cross talk. Otherwise, these artists go their separate ways.
In his second solo show in New York (and at the Zach Feuer Gallery), Johannes VanDerBeek embraces traditional sculptural subjects in nontraditional ways and in cheap materials, displaying a facility and historical awareness that have never been quite as overt, whimsical or physically inventive. The exhibition, titled “Another Time Man,” has about six distinct bodies of work — it’s actually a series of capsule shows — that range across the ages. This is implied by the first large work you’ll see, a partition titled “The Big Stone Flatscreen With Static.” It is cobbled together from pieces of cut-out cardboard, painted fuzzy black and white on one side and smeared on the other with a gray material called Celluclay. It’s television versus cave painting.
One group of works, displayed within a shimmering but flimsy curved wall painted silver, are fashioned from tin cans that have been sliced open, bent, stacked in various ways, welded together and tinted with spray paint; they flit effortlessly among Cubism, Futurism, Modern architecture, totemic figures, tramp art, Calder and toys. Life-size sculptures made of wire mesh offer ghostly depictions of an American Indian, a frontier woman and a hippie as vanished characters, implying some kind of historical continuum. Darkly colored slabs of textured metal could be remnants of an ancient culture or just Rust Belt castoffs, signs of more recent obsolescence; either way, they are aluminum foil colored with ink and pastel and incised with a ballpoint pen.
Eeriest of all are several found aluminum display boxes on pedestals whose interiors, looped with dead neon tubing, have been gingerly spray-painted and outfitted with arresting masks collaged from magazine images — talking heads, Roman portraits or ancient spirits conjured up around the campfire. Mr. VanDerBeek’s vision is darker than you think.
In his physically slightest work, he distracts us with grids of paper towels, stained and splashed with paint: sweet, sophisticated nothings of considerable pictorial power. His next target may be abstract painting.
More exclusively focused on — and dismayed by — the present, Josephine Meckseper continues her meditation on American consumerism in her second solo show at the Elizabeth Dee Gallery. This time she offers a kind of chrome monochrome environment in which the references ricochet among Modernist sculpture, the automobile as the No. 1 object of American male desire and various references to the fairer sex, which might be described as desire No. 2.
Ms. Meckseper’s dazzling surfeit of reflective surfaces takes the animal fascination with shiny and runs with it. “Americanmuscle” updates Duchamp’s bicycle wheel with a chrome car wheel on a mirrored pedestal. Other ready-mades, hanging from chrome display stands and racks, include a tail light, chains of different sizes, fox tails and rabbits’ feet. Gender differences are acknowledged in the display of a nylon stocking and crude approximations of designer handbags made from metal mesh and chain, sometimes with a car logo attached, using a bit of tar- or crude-oil-like substance. “Brillo” consists of a chrome treelike counter display stand, each of whose nine small platforms holds a metal pot-scouring pad, as if it were a precious object, perhaps a feminist hood ornament.
Repeated uses of enlarged watch faces from Cartier ads in wall pieces and papier-mâché forms may be a comment on the work of the key appropriation artist Richard Prince and his extensive use of car culture. Elsewhere, a small photograph of the burning Deepwater Horizon rather heavy-handedly suggests the self-destructive implications of consumerism, as does a small and erratic video of cracked glass — a car windshield or store window.
Haim Steinbach’s Neo-Geo sculptures of the mid-1980s, and the more dour, redneck tack taken by Cady Noland in the late 1980s are influences here. But Ms. Meckseper is no stranger to the store display case; here she creates an environmental one in which we are both pliable consumers and available commodities.
If a kind of Americana prevails in those two shows, Siobhan Liddell turns more decisively toward Europe in “Ordinary Magic,” her outstanding fourth show at the CRG Gallery. Ms. Liddell has always been interested in making the most of fragile, ephemeral materials, with colored string and thread, wire and especially paper high on the list. Miró would seem to be the dominant influence here, although Richard Tuttle and Alan Shields, the 1970s master of tie-dye and the sewing machine, can’t be ruled out.
This show is dominated by a series of exquisitely modest structures, most involving jewel-colored paper, often hand-painted. All rest on tables cobbled together from mismatched pieces of wood that contribute to the works’ charm. There is a sexual undertone to the title of “Pierced Pink Pyraminds in the Round on the Square,” while the honeycombed structure suggests a kind of architectural model on holiday, masquerading as a Mardi Gras float. “Blue and Gold Fold” is simply a small square of shiny gold foil, slightly peaked to reveal the paper’s blue underside; it might refer to similar, larger floor pieces by Roni Horn and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The tabletop piece “Ordinary Magic” presents a handmade disco ball about to be inundated or perhaps seduced by a multicolored wave in glazed ceramic that exudes a freer sense of abandon.
Ms. Liddell works with many of these same materials in collages on linen, with elegant Dada results. But the outstanding work on the wall here is a large, untitled piece where expanses of small cut-out paper — white on one side and green on the other — create a raised surface that evokes leaves, fur and scales while resolving itself into a large plant form. O.K., it’s not sculpture, but it is consistent with the conviction, palpable in all three shows here, that art is far more a matter of imagination and ingenuity than of materials and money.
Johannes VanDerBeek’s “Another Time Man” runs through June 12 at Zach Feuer Gallery, 530 West 24th Street, Chelsea; zachfeuer.com. Josephine Meckseper runs through June 26 at Elizabeth Dee, 545 West 20th Street, Chelsea; elizabethdeegallery.com. Siobhan Liddell’s “Ordinary Magic” runs through Saturday at CRG Gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, Chelsea; crggallery.com.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
In the case of pottery, I would say yes. I'm going to speaking in gross generalizations. While there are many men who collect and love pots, as a society we still hold on to the idea that the selection of dinnerware for the home is the woman's right or duty (depending on how you approach gender roles.) I've had to fight for my right to choose what goes into the kitchen cabinet.
Early in my education I perceived that male potters were more likely to be interested in form and female potters were often more interested in surface. Again, a gross generalization, but my perception nonetheless. In the last 18 years I have noticed a diversification of interests in both directions. The Santa Fe Clay shows at NCECA this year and last year were both full of pots whose maker embraced both form and surface.
I hope producers keep moving in this direction, and I hope male consumers become more involved in homemaking...and become interested in handmade ceramics.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
"Pottery is not shouty. They're small, and you have to get close and examine them. People get seduced; they see a pot across the room and have an idea of what a pot is, but the pots are not as benign as they think."
The first time I came across Perry's work was not through a ceramic source. I would like to pose the question, does ceramics "claim" Perry? I don't see a cross dressing, decorator of earthenware pots rubbing elbows beside a wood kiln with some of ceramics' "greats". Invite me to that party.
Postmodernism is defined as a reaction to Modernism. Modernists said "let's forget history." Postmodernists said "let's bring back history but separate it from its original context." In that sense Postmodernism is just an extension of Modernism.
Sure these artists De Waal describes are roughly contemporaries. The five artists (a mix of ceramicists and mainstream artist) in Schjeldahl's quote of Garth Clark were in the same period, and were in the same time period as the Modernist movement. Throwing Duchamp and Ohr together doesn't make sense to me. Duchamp was making a direct and public attack on the art ideals of the day, and Ohr was squirreling away oddball pots he made apparently for fun. The artists De Waal describes have similar dissonances. I'm forced to wonder if Modernism and Postmodernism in general, and especially in ceramics, are not so much movements but catchall groups for things that are quite different but made during a certain time period.
I have to question what Galen wrote "Mixed media, theatrics and collage are postmodern." Mixed media and collage are media and not ideas. Movements are ideologically based but can sometimes be related by medium. Some Postmodernists addressed theatrics, but I don't think theatrics defines the whole movement. I would even say that Duchamp was strongly concerned with theatrics, and he sits in the realm of Modernism. What is Postmodernism?
Schjeldahl's 4 zones are an interesting idea. I don't believe ceramics exists entirely within the fingertip to body zone. For all the talk about use, only a few utilitarian items really enter that realm consistently. Cups are welcome to come even closer. They regularly violate the inside of our bodies when we drink from them. A large percentage of functional ceramics are really made to be looked at from a distance. Oversized or marginally functional pieces are made as Art for exhibition. They are made with more concern for how they will look when they are photographed or viewed from the side more than how the hypothetical user will experience them.
Pete Pinnell defined the relationship between Art and function in the context of cups) incredibly well in this video: Pete Pinnell Video
The simile calling kitschy things to casual sex is fun, but kitsch is often defined by its relationship to art that is currently situated in the moral high ground. The barrier between popular art and Art is permeable. If you keep making something that has gone out of style you will are in danger of slipping through that barrier to become part of what has become generally acceptable to general society.
I also really liked where he stated that he was a pragmatist and believes that ideas have no value in themselves, but only in what results from them. I believe that ideas have a ton on value and importance, but understand his purpose with this statement. We want to be taken seriously but only dream about it rather than doing something that changes the situation.
The comments about the "distances" was also spot on and just reiterates that the touchable/tangible ceramic object is not the desired way to see life/art. Sorry potters :P
Schjeldahl raises a lot of awareness about ceramics and its place on the spectrum of real or high art. The discussion in class will probably be short because I suppose it may be safe to say that he's right and I assume (ass out of you and me) most will agree.
Beautiful quotes in the lecture from Schjeldahl:
"I'm talkin to a self-selected elite."
"If art is love, then kitschy stuff is casual sex."
"We are in a period of over-education and under-sophistication."
Identity Crisis on the other hand was full of text and not much else. The only part that I found to be intersting or worth-while was the part about decoration being gendered and lesser in the hierarchy of reason.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
On the last page of the article he comments on "machine made objects". He states,"Moreover, as machine made objects there is no actual maker to conduct a dialogue between culture and nature via material and technique- the machine simply imposes its will on the material." This statement would lead one to believe that that there is a population of mindless machines arbitrarily mass producing work. It seems that he has ignored the fact that these products are designed by designers. Designers conduct the dialogue between culture and nature, and even saying that is oversimplifying the case. I believe that he has missed his own point. I believe he is talking about the importance of the handmade object, and the intimacy between maker and user. It seems that the author is looking for the art world to acknowledge academically these human comforts, but I think he might be barking up the wrong tree.
Then he goes into a continual rant about embracing our crafty ways as we are crafty crafters and should sew badges on t-shirts that say it loud and proud. This is exactly why we are not compared on the same level as the other artist working in different materials that just make art and process is not the central interest. I get it that we mimic nature and a jar with a heavy lid is still a jar centuries later, but come on, that's not some overly insightful comment or piece of art. If anything, we are just making what we already know and see, not innovating or commenting on our contemporary day-to-day.
This is what I don't like about the clay world.
Making Meaning is a inept title for this piece as well, it should be titled: What I Already Know.
p.s. I don't like wood-fired work either.
After his death in 1905 many historians swept Bouguereau aside as insignificant and installed the Impressionists as the progenitors of modern painting. Many museums put his paintings in storage, or sold the work. As a group, French Academic painters fell from public favor and their paintings sold for cheap.
In the 1980's and again as recently as 2007 there has been a renewed interest by art historians, curators, and the public in Bouguereau's work. The topic of Bougeureau' rehabilitation is the subject of many passionate arguments both for and against. My personal conclusion after reading several books, a dozen academic essays, and viewing and analyzing his work in person at the Appleton Museum was this: Bouguereau's work is a significant window into the culture in which he lived and he should be studied and celebrated in that context. I just can't bring myself to say I love the paintings or I think they are a source of influence for today's artists.
It might sound blasphemous to compare the avant-garde ceramics of Voulkos to the conservative Academic art of Bouguereau. Both enjoyed commercial success during their lifetimes, but similarities seem to stop there. In the end, both will be judged by subsequent generations of critics and historians.
One hundred years after his death, and one hundred and fifty years after he began producing significant artworks, Bouguereau's importance is still the being debated. Only fifty-plus years have passed since Voulkos began making significant ceramic artworks, and only eight years have passed since his death. After everyone who was awed or charmed in person by the charisma of Peter Voulkos the man has passed, what will be the consensus on Voulkos' work when it is judged by what it is in the context of the time it was produced? Will the work exert continuing influence in the field of ceramics? Art history takes lifetimes to unfold and we may not live to see the final verdict.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
"Gender roles refer to the set of social, behavioral and attitudinal roles, expectations and norms that, within a specific culture, are either formally or informally required or widely considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific gender identity. Gender roles are constructed for various genders in order to channelize their energies towards some socially ordained goals, which are either commonly shared or affixed from the top." --It is only in this situation that I can begin to understand the statement she makes and the work presented. By acknowledging that at this time this was the norm and socially acceptable to be the "inferior" and doing the best that they could with it, I can see the strength and perhaps beauty. BUT in doing so, we realize that we are accepting that role, which places that women in a negative and less powerful position, thus creating the paradox.
I like the drawings though. :)
"My work is the visual manifestation of an authentic response to life. It is a way to detach myself form existing notions of inferiority associated with my gender through the process of owning them. This way I can use beauty, sentimentality, domesticity, cooperation, quaintness and femininity as devices to confront those who perpetuate negative or prejudicial attitudes about these traits. I can also validate and encourage the reactions of those who see beyond the surface to find a message of tenacity, power, perseverance, resourcefulness and transformation of limitations into strengths."
I look forward to discussing the differences and similarities of the artist's presentation and reviewer's interpretation of the sculptures.
Additional images of Powell's work are available here.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
I don't know much about fashion, or these shows, but the writing seems watered down. What does "delirious yet discomforting unreality" mean? Delirium is discomforting--for me at least. I'm not sure if fashion shows even belong in a museum setting. It seems to perpetuate things like sensationalism and celebrity. Yba anyone?