Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Briggs article

I enjoyed this article. It was clearly written, and her language beautifully illustrated the intention around the work. Stephanie took a stance of disgust at our sex obsessed media in a eloquent and matter of fact manner. She was clearly not interested in condemning, as is a popular stance, she accepted it as fact and moved on. Her writing was not dully academic as some of the articles we have read have been. The article instilled a genuine appreciation for Briggs' work, and tied it to a continued interest. I can say, she wasn't critical of the work and I think it would have been interesting to see the work challenged in some way.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Nina Hole

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.

Stuefer on Briggs

I really like Jason Briggs work and who he is outside of the ceramic studio, but I feel that the article doesn't put the personality on the work that I feel is necessary or at least attributed to his pieces. Let me explain, the naive' viewer will see this as nothing but gross vagina's and penis's (sic) on a loaf of rising bread. This isn't entirely true, though it is to an extent. I think Stephanie does a really good job of explaining what she ostensibly sees, but not much else. I understand the work and appreciate the insane detail and cultivation of detail, but there also is a message about what we see, what we think we know, and what makes us uncomfortable. I wish this was addressed more thoroughly in the article. Everyone has their own hang-ups and bias's but I feels that this work screams of this essence. Briggs is a creeper no doubt, but I love his honesty and pride in acknowledging this mentality. This is where fetishes develop, they are out of fear and an embarrassing way to be who you really are or want to be.
"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.




Hi all - thanks again Brian, for digging up and posting the article to read. I had put a couple "just in case articles" in your mailboxes. Consider them food for thought over the hot month of July!

You might not have cable - if you get Bravo there is a new reality show - I would be curious about what you think. Obviously, there is criticism involved in the choosing of the winner and loser (who gets tossed off the show) each week.

Work of Art: The Next Best Artist
See you tomorrow at 5 - we'll Skype Charlie at 5:30, discuss the article, then eat!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Plurality and Necessity

I enjoy the listing of names and brief descriptions of work by these artists. Other than the manner in which they are working in there is really no other insight to the work being mentioned by Mansfiled. The reader gets a short biography in some cases about the artist and maybe some historical context. The article seemed to be descriptive to material and showing more of its diversity in form and in culture. Some of the methods mentioned are still used and are used in American contemporary ceramics. I would have liked to see more information written about these methods and processes and their aesthetic value. I am getting that these artists are using such methods and processes as a tool or vehicle to arrive at a more interesting and complex problem to solve.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Plurality and Necessity

Just to start with the article:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In geography, the antipodes (from Greek ἀντίποδες,[1] 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.

Super Sweet Nina Hole Project

Not exactly sure if it was a gimmick or the new way we should all be firing kilns, but sure would have been fun to be there and participate. I cant believe it survived and wonder what temperature it got to...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Nina Hole

I found a great video of a Nina Hole piece on you tube you might enjoy. Anna

Pluralality and Necessity: Antipodean Case Study

In this article Janet Mansfield pretty much gives us the run down on how craft was introduced to Australia and New Zealand, followed by a list of Australian artists, what they make and how it relates to the European or Japanese history of ceramics. I found this article to be for the most part a case study about a ceramics culture that has no history of its own. One could say the same about American ceramics. It makes sense when one tries to explain the diversity within the field in each country. Mansfield cites artist after artist and their European or Asian influence followed by a brief description of their work. Other than a role call of Australian ceramics and a list of their influences, I'm not sure what the point of the article is.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Follow up on class

Hi all - sorry Charlie ( as the commercial used to go) that the sound was so bad - I will look into a mic for next time.
The theme for next week is women critics!
Here is the URL for the one article:

The second one will be xeroxed and in your boxes by mid - afternoon.
Charlie - does the Penland library have Persistence of Craft book edited by Greenhalgh? We are reading the Janet Mansfield article p. 149, too. I can fax you a copy perhaps?

I will send a doodle out for you to sign up for a time to meet next week about abstracts and critiques (Charlie we can call or skype).

WEEK AFTER 6/ 15 - 5:00 - 7:00 potluck my house

Keep the comments coming -- does not have to be something we are covering in class. It can be something you find as you research your final project that you want to share.


New review

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

Bruce Metcalf's Blog "Craft Gadfly"

Here is a link to Bruce Metcalf's blog:


It is really worth looking into.