Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jack Burgess explains contemporary art

This is a short video of a guy explaining what contemporary art is to an audience that apparently has no clue what it is. The editing tried to be weird and humorous. I thought this video was obvious and somewhat annoying.

1 Does contemporary art have to be conceptual?
2 Does contemporary art have to be about relevant issues?

Emerging market: Christine Mehring on the Birth of the Contemporary Art Fair

This article focuses on the history and origin of the art fair. She writes about the Kunstmarkt and why germany needed this fair to boost the art economy. Its success has led to many other fairs and counter-exhibitions.

The work that I have made this semester would not function very well at an art fair. I am not opposed to them though. They create an interesting scenario where the viewer gets to see the innards of the art scene,

1. How does the context of the art fair affect the viewing of the work?
2. Has the art fair changed the amount of work sold in general?
3. How do counter-exhibitions affect the fair?


Vanessa Mayoraz
Naomi Kremer
Andrew Atkinson
Kim Russo
Nathan Skiles

Treavor Rennick, Andrew Scott Ross, Vanessa Mayoraz, John Mack

Final class crit

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Anti-Mainstream Museum's Mainstream Show" by Roberta Smith; 2010

Roberta Smith reviews the show "Skin Fruit" that was presented at the New Museum in the spring of 2010. She mostly speaks negatively about the show as a whole, explaining that it seemed antithetical to the ideological basis of the museum. She explains that it is poorly curated and is ultimately complacent.

Should the New Museum focus more on showing the work of artists that are less known?

Should so much attention be given to the curatorial work of a show?

Should the New Museum change their name?

"A New Boss, and a Jolt of Real-World Expertise" by Roberta Smith; 2010

Roberta Smith discusses Jeffrey Deitch's new position as the director of the Museum of Contemporary art in Los Angeles. She explains that this could be a change in the way museums choose directors: moving away from the "academically trained directors in favor of the autodidacts."

Is there something suspicious about a big New York art dealer to become the director of a museum?

Will this make the museum more exciting?

Will this make the museum more corrupt?

"Who Needs a White Cube These Days?" by Roberta Smith; 2006

Roberta Smith discusses how various groups and gallery owners have found different ways of approaching the gallery that contrasts the traditional "white cube." She explains that some spaces are more transparent, while others do not sell work at all. In the end, she explains that although many have approached the gallery differently, these examples do not usually survive for very long.

Is there something wrong with the traditional gallery space?

What does it mean for an already prominent gallery owner to create a new alternative space?

Is it important for galleries to be transparent?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Among the Inept, Researchers Discover, Ignorance Is Bliss By ERICA GOODE; 2000

Erica Goode presents the research of Dr. Dunning, a professor of psychology at Cornell University. His research tries to prove that people that are not good at something usually believe that they are, while people that are good at something usually believe that they are not.

Rumsfeld's Unkown Known, or Iraq's Initiation into Democratic Practice by Slavoj Zizek

Slavoj Zizek discusses American torture and how there is a "total lack of guilt by way of remaining ignorant of what is known." Zizek compares American torture to Iraqi torture, pointing out that the Iraqi approach is "anonymous brutalism" and and America creates a spectacle. He concludes by stating that America is the most dangerous kind of power because it takes the position of "merely defending itself."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics" by Claire Bishop

Claire Bishop writes about Bourriaud's interpretation of relational aesthetics by summarizing his point of view. She discusses the work of Liam Gillick and Rirkrit Tiravanija because Bourriaud uses them as prime examples of artists that work with relational aesthetics. Bishop contrasts these artists with the work of Thomas Hirschorn and Santiago Sierra. She claims that the work of Hirschorn and Sierra is better because it is more politically focused, less open-ended, and more democratic.

Monday, October 4, 2010

"How Marina Abromavic's Red-Velvet Rope at the MoMA Works" by Mark Byrne; 2010

In this article, Mark Byrne writes about Marina Abromavic's performance The Artist is Present and how the line to see the artist is, "anything but democratic." He explains that VIP guests have priority in line over public guests.

I saw this performance at the MoMA and watched several guests sit with the artist, although I am not surprised that there was VIP access. The whole vibe of the exhibition was so serious and intense. I would not want my work to come off so pretentious and self absorbed.

Why does Mark Byrne talk about the politics of the line rather than the whole performance?

Is Mark Byrne suggesting that it would be more fair if everyone, celebrities included, had to wait in the back of the line?

How does this VIP access influence the performance?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Agathe Snow Artist Statement

Agathe Snow's protean art practice includes installations, performance, sculpture, and writing. Informed by instances of personal experience to current events, her narratives address topics of consumer culture and its contribution to societal breakdown and environmental collapse. Her low-tech approach involves an assemblage of simple items, found objects, and detritus, which she then transforms with paint, plaster, and collage. Snow's spontaneous totems are as much about moral decay as they are monuments to optimism. The playful innovation employed in constructing the work rescues decrepit and common materials, suggesting a new characterization – a cause for celebration and a possibility for cultural survival.

This statement is precise but informative. It is also broad but specific at the same time. I can understand the language, and it does not seem too wordy.

Artist Statement

I find and make segments of information and connect them through reorganization. Each fragment that I use refers to a whole. The parts work together to conjure up an instinctive emotional experience. I make images that induce a physical response using paint, and sound. The output of my work has a built in layer of uncertainty.

I chose this example because the author had a sense of humor and was to the point.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"The Death of the Author" by Roland Barthes; 1977

"Death of the Author" is an essay written by Roland Barthes in 1977 which criticizes the way in which literary criticism has valued the author and his/her personal attributes, political views, tastes, etc., in order to interpret the writing. Barthes argues that the written text should be read without connecting it to the personal attributes of the author, because writing is "a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash."

I have been making things that can be used by a "reader" to create something new. I have made tools that I can use, but can also be extended to the use of the audience. Although I do find biographies interesting, I don't feel that knowledge is a prerequisite to experiencing literature, or visual art.

How would the arts function if the audience never knew of the maker?
Would Roland Barthes suggest that one should completely avoid studying the biographies of authors?
Would Roland Barthes suggest his ideas in the realm of the visual arts?

"The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" by Walter Benjamin; 1936

The essay written by Walter Benjamin in 1936 titled, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, discusses how mechanical reproduction, specifically in the forms of photography and film, have affected the way art is seen and how it affects an audience. Benjamin argues that mechanical reproduction diminishes the "aura" of an art object, jeopardizes it's authority, while allowing it to transform in location. Benjamin proposes that reproduction adjusts "the masses to reality and reality to the masses," and suggests that art is set free from ritual through the disintegration of autonomy and therefor bases itself in politics.

I recently have made a device that measures the resistance of the body and transforms the electrical signal obtained into a filtered sound. Machines are mediating all aspects of the final output. Then, I can record that output and play it back infinitely. I could play in live for an audience, or I could play it back two years later in my bedroom. It's hard for me to even think of a time when art was not influence by mechanical reproduction, which is why reading this is interesting, but also hard for me to grasp what it would have been like before mechanical reproduction existed.

What happens when a man-made reproduction is created based on a mechanical reproduction?
Can we really understand what it would be like without mechanical reproduction?
Can something that is mechanically reproduced really not have an "aura" of its own?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why I Do This

I make art because it is the most enjoyable thing I can think of to do with my time. If I am not working toward something, I feel bored, and depressed. I enjoy the act of making but I also feel a necessity to have a goal that I can look forward to. Art allows me to be busy for a reason that I have determined. It is a way for me to try to make sense for myself.

My thesis has developed over a series of steps throughout the past three years. I have experimented with different materials while taking a variety of classes, but I enjoyed working with color and line primarily in painting and drawing. I made drawings of connections; things that connected or did not quite connect. The urge to make visual connections through line made me think about how things in the world are visually connected. I had simultaneously been playing with work involving the human voice amplified. These linear connections began to show up through the wiring and electrical connections that had to be made to create sound. I love the way specific sounds, within the context of visual art, give the viewer an imagined visual experience. Throughout my thesis I want to connect variables within reality to predetermined sounds. I also want to continue making visual imagery that abstracts my perceived visual reality.

"Choas, Territory, Art. Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth" by Elizabeth Grosz 2006

Elizabeth Grosz discusses the ontology of the arts through a discussion based on the overlapping of philosophy and art. She avoids assessing art, but rather talks about how varying art forms, predominantly architecture, painting, and music, create sensation by structuring chaos. She claims that art originated from the evolution of “morphological bifurcation” and describes art in nature with an example of insects being attracted to the fragrance of plants. She states, “Art is the sexualization of survival,” and contends that art does not just give us a sensation of something, but rather it makes our bodies experience sensations of nerves and organs. She concludes that art is not a frivolous act because, “it is culture’s most direct mode of enhancement of the human body.”
Can animals make art?
How does Grosz differentiate art and philosophy?
How does this affect me?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Semester Plan: Fall 2010

Semester Plan: Fall 2010
I will continue making paintings and computer drawings. I want to have at least one hundred computer generated drawings and around fifty paintings by the end of the semester. My most recent paintings are 16 by 24 inches. I also want to continue sound related work. I will experiment with the connection between body movement and sound. By the end of the semester, I would like to have at least three fully recorded and edited songs, as well as at least three sound controlling devices.
Individual Critiques:
Sept. 9
Sept. 23
Oct. 14
Oct. 28
Nov. 11
Group Critiques:
Sept. 30
Nov. 18

Daniel Chandler’s Semiotics: the Basics: Challenging the Literal, 2002

Summary: Daniel Chandler’s Semiotics: the Basics: Challenging the Literal, 2002

Daniel Chandler uses the chapter, Challenging the Literal, of his book, Semiotics: the Basics, to describe and define the four “master tropes”. Chandler contextualizes semiotics regarding written and visual examples and expresses the danger of attempting to “denaturalize cultural assumptions” by reducing tropes to the literal. Chandler explains that it is useful to deconstruct tropes, but they cannot be finite in definition or boundary. Most of the text defines the tropes of metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony. Each of these terms loosely fits within the umbrella of the metaphor.

Discussion Questions: Daniel Chandler’s Semiotics: the Basics: Challenging the Literal, 2002

Why does Chandler write so much about other peoples’ ideas and so little about his own point of view?

Is the main point of Challenging the Literal that there is no truly literal or denotative meaning to any trope because objectivity is impossible?

Why doesn’t Chandler discuss the third meaning more?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Interview with Agnes Martin

Summary: Interview with Agnes Martin; 1997
During this video interview with Agnes Martin, she talks about topics surrounding her work. She appears a very calm, matured, and centered person that shows intense expressions with her eyes and forehead. She talks about how art is based on emotional response and personal inspiration. She laughs at the idea that art is something to intellectualize and write about. Agnes Martin mentions that music is the, “highest form of art,” because it evokes “eight times” more of an emotional response than other art forms. She repeatedly mentions that her mind is empty, and this is what allows her to recognize her inspiration. She “paints what is without cause.”
Discussion Questions: Interview with Agnes Martin; 1997

What does Agnes Martin mean when she talks about an emotional response beyond nature?
How is an emotional response measured?
Why is humility and modesty valuable?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag

Summary: Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag; 1964

Against Interpretation specifically talks about the history of interpretation and how it is problematic within the arts. Susan Sontag starts by defining interpretation as literally translating one thing to another. She compares interpretation to pollution, and states, “interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art.” Sontag argues that interpreting the content of art falsely separates form from content and tames art into something more manageable and understandable. She continues to write about painting, poetry, literature, and film, and how each has been affected by and combated against interpretation throughout the separate histories. Sontag finishes by stating that commentary on art should be less about it’s meaning and more about what it is.

Discussion questions: Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag; 1964

Is Susan Sontag suggesting that art should be without meaning, or that the meaning should not be interpreted and made public by a critic?
Why do we talk about art in school like this essay does not exist?
Why is content valued over form?