issue 89 , June 8, 2007
Pelin Uran talks with Setareh Shahbazi
Between May 21 to May 25, freelance curator Pelin Uran spoke with Setareh Shahbazi, an artist who paints digitally, sculpts and produces installations, in Bodrum, on the southern coast of Turkey. Shahbazi participated in the group exhibition Rainbow at Galerie Sfeir-Semler in Beirut (2005), J’en rêve at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris (2005) and Wie eine Fatamorgana at the House of World Cultures in Berlin (2004). Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe (2004) and at Galerie Sfeir-Semler in Hamburg (2006).
Pelin Uran: Shall we start by talking about your family? There are three Shahbazis, all siblings in the art world. Solmaz Shahbazi is, a film and video-maker; Shirana Shahbazi, a photographer, and you, Setareh Shahbazi, are a new media artist. All of you are successful in different ways. How did this come about? Being the youngest, were you influenced by your siblings' choices? How do the artist-family dynamics work among you?
Setareh Shahbazi: My family, yes! We all ended up making art through fields connected to art production, but more applied. Solmaz studied
architecture at an art academy, Shirana studied photography at a technical
university and I began my studies in scenography, which was
supposed to be set and exhibition design, at a university for art and new media.
But over the years and with a few detours, we all ended up making art.
We always had stuff to paint with when we were young, since my father, who is
an architect, used to paint as well. Our parents were quite supportive of us in our respective fields. I guess we might have scared them a little by saying we wanted to
study business administration or something.
I would say it was more the milieu we grew up in that affected our choices. Also, the
conditions we lived in as children meant we have always been very close. Shirana and I used to play awful violin duos together. We played volleyball in the same team and we still happen to have the same haircut every now and then. As you know, Solmaz and I have been neighbors since last year, so I wash my clothes at her house and sometimes she cooks Iranian dishes for me or lends me some of her chic outfits for openings.
PU: I see the reciprocal influence. Back to you! You studied media arts at Karlsruhe, which has an affiliation with ZKM, a center for art and media and a contemporary art museum. Was the combination of the research center, a school and a museum constructive? How connected were you to ZKM? Were you, as students, able to take the advantage of this structure?
SS: When I started studying in 1997, the whole institution was very young, and had lots of ambitions to carry out research in the fields between the arts and technology or new media, which was definitely useful and important in the middle or towards the end of the 1990s. We had all the new toys and equipment and many people from very different fields of research were passing through the tiny boring city of Karlsruhe because of ZKM. We also had constant access to the two museums—the Media-Museum and the Museum for New Arts, which shows work from contemporary collections. We were also allowed into Mediathek, a great library with a big video and audio archive, where I had a job for quite a while.
There was a very intense concentration of artists, philosophers, media theoreticians, scientists, musicians, etc., which had a subtle but great impact on the students and on the way we approached our projects. But because this impact was so widely spread, it also had the power to confuse you badly.
PU: Having been surrounded by media art and theory for those years at Karlsruhe, would you call yourself a new media artist? Do you think the term “new media art” is a working, informative or practical one?
SS: I was going to complain about the term “new media artist” after your
first question, but I forgot with all the family stories!
I think the term is obsolete now. There is no point in differentiating
between media artists and “real” artists? I guess we’ve had enough of playing around with new tools, so it’s time to concentrate again on content. Most of the people I studied with or at least the ones who ended up making art, experimented for a while and ended up making very low-tech work, like myself. I use Photoshop, the mouse and the pen-tool for my drawings and wood, an electrical saw and lacquer for the cut-outs and spatial elements.
PU: I was about to ask you about the technical aspects of your work. You make not only drawings using the computer but also sculptures and installations. How important is handicraft for you?
SS: Handicraft is very important to me. I have lots of fun working
with materials, colors, etc., so I really enjoy building the spatial parts myself and
dealing with the handicaps and characteristics of different materials or media.
For me, the computer drawings are just one of the media
I use; and the computer, the software and the tools within are absolutely
comparable to the wood and the saw, or paper and pen.
I also use the computer to prepare sketches for the special settings or details of
the works, but I definitely enjoy more the process of creating the work within
an actual space or context. And I really love to play with how the motifs change their character within different media.
So concerning the production process, the combination of the digital and the physical is good for me, since I am bored by computer work and know it is bad for the eyes, and back. Whether it is good or bad for the work remains to be seen, I guess. For the time being, it still makes sense to me.
PU: When you erase the background of a composition, the space and time remain abstract. So, the figures are removed from their context and placed in generic settings. Are the ideas of the generic and the specific a concern for you? If not, can you briefly describe the setting of your compositions?
SS: As you mention yourself, I take my motifs out of their existing context and mix
them up within the setting of my works. This creates other possible narratives. In
this way, you get the chance to test the protagonists under different signs or within
different contexts. So, it is not a totally generic world, but it opens up the possibility for other points of view or other versions of the story.
PU: There are a few motifs, that I have followed in your work: the monochromic surfaces, images flattened against the surface, and figures that are simplified solely to contours. All these remind me of comic books or children’s books. Are they the starting point?
SS: No, they are the actually the end-point, since I start my work with specific images from different sources: found footage from private albums, magazines, postcards or pictures that I take myself. What the motifs have in common is their iconic character. Flattened against their surface by outline and colors, they all function as representatives for more of their kind or for the story behind, which is very diffuse, if there is one at all.
PU: Some figures recur in different compositions made in different mediums. Is this a significant feature of your work? Does it work like a thread for the spectator?
SS: It is indeed an issue that I like a lot, since the meaning and the stories change immensely within the different contexts. This comes with mixing up all the
motifs from very different backgrounds. I am constantly collecting images from very diverse sources, and one of the main issues I am interested in is experimenting with them in different combinations. That could be within a single drawing, which digital media allows me to do, or as a combination of two or more images.
The question that remains at the end is whether the single protagonists or motifs gain different weight or a different meaning within the combinations. It’s all about creating possible narratives.
PU: Your answer reminds me of an experiment by Lev Kuleshov, a film director and theoretician of montage. In the 1920s he juxtaposed an isolated shot of an actor with shots of other isolated images. In his experiment, the context shaped the meaning, and in different contexts, the same shot was totally transformed. He figured out that the juxtaposition of independent structures within the larger structure creates new meanings, which I find very close to what you are saying.
In 2004, you received a scholarship from German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, and went to live in Lebanon for a year or so. What was the outcome of this residency and in what ways did the experience affect you?
SS: My time in Beirut was a very important experience since I had just
left the university. After six years in Karlsruhe, I really needed to travel faraway. I went to Lebanon with the idea of using the archive of the Arab Image Foundation for some semi-serious formal research. I wanted to find out whether there were formal aspects that would make an image look specifically “oriental” or “western,” since at the end of my studies, I was constantly faced with this discussion with my peers and professors. Everything I did was connected to my Iranian background, regardless of the fact that I have spent most of my life in Germany. But the more time I spent in Beirut the clearer it became that reacting to this reception of my work would only push me further into questions about cultural identity, biography and ethnic issues, which have little interest for me within my work. At this point, I started to mix up all the different images that I could find, from different cultural and geographic backgrounds and from different times and sources. To do this, it was really good to be in a place that was totally new and unknown to me.
The work I did during that time was called Oh, no, no…—The Crystal Series.
It was a series of 40 drawings, four cut-outs and five pyramids that were first shown in a solo show at the Kunstverein in Karlsruhe two weeks after I came back from Beirut.
PU: In Oh, no, no…— The Crystal Series there is a strong influence of surrealist paintings. Was the surrealist influence temporary? Which other sources, movements or artists have most influenced you?
SS: I found a book about De Chirico and the beginning of the surrealist
movement in the tiny library of the Goethe Institute in Beirut. For some
reason this book accompanied me throughout the whole year I spent in Beirut.
Bringing together my different protagonists in an artificial, stage-like situation
was my way of finding the different associations that the single motifs
could evoke in the different combinations. And for this it was great to be
able to connect to painters like Bocklin and DeChirico. One of my subsequent works was called The secret of atmospheric pictures. I kept referring to the surrealists, using them in the same way that I was and still am using cultural and geographical references and icons and playing around with them in different settings.
But moving on to the formal aspects of my work, it’s obvious that the flat
and comic-like surfaces, colors and compositions are influenced by pop-art.
Most of the artists I adore come from Los Angeles. After having spent time in
Europe, Iran, Lebanon and Egypt, I have to say that I really feel the urge to go to the far
West, specifically to LA for a while and find out more about these sources.
PU: You were recently invited to take part in a conference at ARCO Art Fair that was structured as a court case. The participants included Anton Vidokle, Tirdad Zolghadr, Charles Esche and Vasif Kortun among others. What was your role?
SS: Tirdad and Anton had come up with the idea that they would be accused by the court, consisting of a jury they had chosen themselves, of co-opting with the bourgeoisie. Along with Fia Backstrom and Dirk Herzog, I was summoned as a witness for the prosecution, led by a strict Chus Martinez and Vasif Kortun. We were surrounded by an impressive bunch of big shot curators, all well trained in the art of debate. I felt more like the random artist, invited to decorate the show. But at the end of day it was a good experience for all of us.
PU: What’s next for you?
SS: My next shows will most probably be a solo show in Santa Barbara this coming
February, and a group show with Eve Tremblay and Mai Hofstad-Gunnes at
Program in Berlin in April.
PU: Good luck with your projects!
Peat Duggins: A People's History
Cauleen Smith: Sometimes You Can Wait All Day
Back in March, I spent a couple of days pounding the slushy streets of Manhattan to catch up on some capital-A “ART.” I popped in and out of galleries like a shoe-whore with a stolen credit card. Naturally, it was the ubiquity of video and film installations that thrilled, disappointed and puzzled me. I describe the days as “running around,” but what it felt like at the time was waiting. I was watching video and waiting for something. Now, I’m going to try to talk about that “something.”
Miranda July: No One Belongs Here More Than You
I left the Jeff Wall galleries really puzzled because my favorite piece in the show was just a C-print, with no light box, of a bride pouring snowflakes out of her shoe. I twice swam against the tide of visitors to return to that photograph. I was ready for twenty-foot light boxes. I was wholly unprepared to reckon with a photo that seemed, by the way it was hung and lit, to deserve little consideration.
Even though I backtracked to see this photo twice, I never bothered to write down its stats or memorize its title. The woman’s back was to the camera, but the line of her face and the way she wore her black hair told me that she was probably Japanese. She wore a lacy but sleek white dress, late twenties-style. Her cabin was small and dark, but comfortably appointed. She was alone as she removed her shoe and poured out the crystal flakes of snow. This photo had the same density of detail of a lightbox without the declaration of spectacle. This image was not a tableau, but a clip. There are more of these pictures, I know it. And I want to see them. I want to know whether or not her winter wedding was a happy one and where she is going now. I can’t say why the narrative, or the lack thereof, moved me so. But it did make me think about just how little you need to tell and how much you may show when reckoning with the power of a single static image.
Once I got out of there, I floated from floor to floor at the MoMA, directing obligatory glances to everything that did not come out of a projector or radiate from a plasma screen. I stumbled onto an installation by renown Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami called Five (2004). Splendid. The placard introducing the show explained that Kairostami is concerned with the ways in which film is experienced under different conditions. Five blackened cubicles, each housing a film, allowed sound to bleed through the space for Kiarostami’s five-part meditation on the Caspian Sea. In one film, dogs sit by the shore watching the sunset. In another, absolutely nothing happens until over one-hundred ducks of different sizes and shapes parade across the beach—and then parade back the way they came. These works also screen as single channel, but Kiariostami’s investigation of installation’s potential to create openings in time through which meta-narratives can seep was powerful.
The installation was generous even while being rigorous. Really it was the sound—the way it bled over the cubicle walls that substituted for screening rooms and followed you around. It was like standing on one side of a bay and being able to see the people on the other side, a geographical experience in space and in time. And I was grateful that the films, divided up into five different sequences in five separate rooms, allowed me to decide whether or not I’d had enough of a particular view of the Caspian Sea; and also allowed me to revisit the views I favored. The cathedral that is the movie house is not all things to all films. This has been understood for quite some time. But I was grateful for the benches; their invitation to sit comfortably and watch the sun set.
The first thing you see when you approach the very cool exhibition Out of Time: A Contemporary View, is Warhol’s Empire projected forty feet high and resplendent in its own darkened foyer. The film, comprised of an eight-hour stationary shot of the Empire State building, could have had me all day. But I was still waiting for something, so I had to move on.
I nodded a “You-go-girl!” to Pipilotti Rist’s Even is All Over (1997), also included in Out of Time.
This video has a pretty woman in a blue Dorothy-in-Kansas dress bouncing down a city street on the left projection, and over-saturated meandering shots of illicit tropical flowers projected at tilt on the right. The music seduces with an anticipatable rhythm. The woman seduces with the sheer glee of her naughtiness. Rist seduces with facile camera work that is deceptively skilled. Fantastic editing lets me feel that I am in the cinema, but never lets me forget that this is not about story, but a big idea. I stood in Rist’s room for about 15 minutes waiting for one of the six people in there with me to leave. The loop played three times before I was the first to move on.
My friend Jon, a comedy writer newly transplanted to the Apple, and I squinted past Terrence Koh’s evil little lobby installation so that I could visit Lorna Simpson’s retrospective and then hang out on the second floor within the Uncontained show. On the way, we were seduced by the clattering quintet of 16mm film projectors showing Murmur: Watery Ecstatic, Kabuki, Blizzard of White, Super Boo, Monster (2003), a film installation by Ellen Gallagher in collaboration with Edgar Cleijne.
There was definitely a little something more than a mechanical symphony. Something like an event within the event of the installation itself. Part of the experience was about negotiating one’s position around the image, the projector and the room. The other part was that the projected images were smaller than the machines throwing the picture against the wall. You know we don’t like that. We don’t like little images unless they are so small we can put them in our pockets. Our screens surround, our plasmas wide, our TV’s must tower over our sofas. Five thirty-pound projectors crammed into a small room, throwing an image the size of a 40-watt microwave tells us that the installation is to be privileged over the images, I think this was a wise choice, as the photography was muddy, the bulbs dim and the focus a little off. I think that Gen X-ers are the last to have active memories of 16mm film projectors in the classroom—the teacher having to call the janitor to come fix the machine when it hiccupped and began shredding our afternoon entertainment into celluloid coleslaw. Maybe that is why Jon and I leaned against the walls, between tiny projections and just listened, and grinned and leaned in real close to the animations, optical tricks, and sequences that Cleijne and Gallagher had provided. But what I was waiting for had not happened yet.
Lorna Simpson means the world to me. Overt discussions of race, class and identity beyond gay and male are not in vogue, no longer provocative and steadily drifting back to their origins in the margins. We all have to be a bit “smarter” now in order to accommodate those who are too daft to know that social constructions affect the every-day and cannot be willed away. Those constructions will never be passé to those who cannot afford to ignore them. So, for me the Lorna show was an important reminder for what a conceptually sophisticated and socially-engaged practice can look like. I’m keeping my rant down to the videos, even though it is Ms. Simpson’s photographs and text juxtapositions that prove eternal [Yes. Eternal. I don’t care what nobody says.].
Call Waiting (1997).
This was my first chance to see an installation of which I had only read or seen photographic reproductions. I’d listened hungrily to friends wax poetic about this installation. Boy, was I surprised! No one ever bothered to mention that the video images are muddy and the acting atrocious. The fact that the art world favors a clever conceptual anchor over good acting or well-crafted imagery does not change the fact that Call Waiting was traumatically bad video. It could be suggested that what makes good art does not necessarily make good film. But that thesis only works if one does not consider storytelling and film art forms, yo. I don’t think that’s an idea anyone really wants to take to the mat—with me anyways.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that Call Waiting is good, not in spite of the bad acting, bad lighting and poor image quality, but BECAUSE of it. Now we’re dealing with irony, right? Then that would mean that this big giant installation by Lorna Simpson is just one big cheeky screw you to movies and our expectations. Okay, well, if that’s the case, then basically what happened after I watched it after twenty minutes was I said screw you back, with my tongue in my cheek, and moved on. The fact that people do not notice bad acting does not excuse it, eliminate it or qualify it because there was nothing in the formal construction of the film, the composition, the sound design, the editing to suggest that we should not fall into the vignettes presented. All of those elements invited us inside of loose narrative promising illusion. But what was delivered was just poorly controlled pretense. The pretense of movie-making without the craft, skill or sensitivity to really do anything as “low” as draw me in without wincing at its self-consciousness. It was not what I was waiting for. So, I moved on.
And moved on again after watching The Institution (2006). This video has problems and triumphs that deserve their own article. So, instead of divulging, I’ll move on.
Easy to Remember (2001).
Fifteen pairs of lips hum a Coltrane version of a Rodgers and Hart tune. There it was. This is what I’d been waiting for. The experience of being confronted with black mouths, closed for once (we always have our mouths wide open in popular culture, even on postage stamps, yo!), delicately shaping sounds, together and apart. Uncanny familiarity, desperate intimacy, conceptual austerity. Tootin’ good video action!
But Cloudscape (2004) was Lorna’s seven-twenty. (That’s when you spin around two times before dunking the basketball, ya’ll.) Here a man, (artist Terry Adins) stands on what looks like a soundstage, whistling, lit with one light, making us think of a movie-magic moon. The high contrast of black and white video references noir, as does the man’s suit and hat, the dignity of his bearing and the sad solitude of his stance. As Adkins whistles, a cloud slowly forms around him, all but swallowing him in its billowing contrails, and then, as slowly as it appears, it recedes as the video plays backwards. Sublime. The sequence is at once euphoric and melancholy, hopeful and forboding.
I was no longer waiting, this is it, the moment, the event, that makes video worth watching, worth making and worth talking about. The minimalism of the set gives us nothing. The man’s clothing just a few clues as to his identity, class or origins. What we do have is an action, whistling, standing, a cloud forming, and a confrontation with time as it pulls away from us in reverse. So little, and yet, I watch this video feeling the fullness of something complete. My friend Jon agreed. Neither of us had the words and neither of us required them because we had Lorna Simpson’s video, and that was all we needed.
Music and moving-images go together like grits and cheese, but music can also be the Achilles heel of the greatest filmmakers and is often the crutch of conceptual video makers. Elegance is more difficult to achieve than sensationalism. Lorna Simpson, several decades after her text/photo slam dunks distilled her basic stock into something more intoxicating and rich, more complicated colors on the tongue, but easier to swallow. Maybe Lorna Simpson has matured beyond her audience. She has not stopped “fighting the power” or slaying the spectre. She is not “outdated and irrelevant”—comments I heard about the show before seeing it. Lorna Simpson no longer needs text, bad actors or overly precious sets for her videos. She can imagine and we get to watch. Yeah, that was worth waiting all day.
H. David Waddell
Paula Cooper Gallery and 192 Books presented a reading by performance artist, filmmaker and author Miranda July, from her first book, No One Belongs Here More Than You. The experience was entertaining and left me pondering life. She announced her truth in a captive and monotone voice. If July were preaching a sermon, I would attend church every Sunday.
The mundane as subject is a familiar niche in contemporary art. However, July is refreshing and more original than this. Her stories accurately reveal how thoughts unfold as we go through everyday motions, often blurring daydreams with life.
July’s first story involves attending a continuing education class. She perceives the class to be for older women with low self-esteem. Why else would these experienced quilters attend a Sewing for Beginners class? From another story, July read, “One Chinese woman did not speak English…” Twisting her lips into a shy smirk and she looked up at the audience to point out, “of course, there is an Asian woman in front of me right now.” July continued with her story about constructing a garment. The main character is annoyed about being scolded for her imperfect seam while the Chinese woman is praised as being “such an artist” after making a cut when told to stitch.
July understates moments, leaving them to reemerge as a punchline later. When the women show off their garments at the end, the Chinese woman comes out of the dressing room naked with the cloth around her ankles. July received a roar of laughter from her audience as she described this woman’s failure.
July encounters the world like a child pretending to be a reporter; writing roles as if she is hiding behind bushes with a little notebook spying on the neighbors. As the daughter of two publishers, July understands tone, language and structure to tie each piece together. Quietly and equally, July exposes the quirks of adult lives unfolding among us to confirm that we are all strange. Not only do we all have weird cousins, we are the weird cousins.
July is so convincing when reading as her characters that I allowed myself to think that July represented those she spoke for. In one scene, I am reminded that, at least physically, she is different from her characters. This makes me wonder how much information I automatically assign to autobiography. Public professional persona and private personal identity are indecipherable.
To open the talk, July told a story. While in a waiting room, reading tabloids, she pretended that she was about to step into the doctor’s office only to be surprised that she had just walked into a room of hundreds of eager fans. July calls this “preparing for reversal stage fright.” To close, she thanked everyone for attending, quipping that she could not imagine an event more painful to watch than a public reading. Undermining herself, she reminds us why we love her.
Mike Smith: Drawings: Simple, Obscure and Obtuse
2007, Regency Art Press
The striking thing about Mike Smith’s book, Drawings: Simple, Obscure and Obtuse, is how the work within it is undiagnosable. Not coincidentally, this feature also makes this particular collection of drawings exceptionally difficult to write about. I hesitate even to call the aforementioned work a “book,” as the meandering, sometimes indiscernible writing maneuvers between journal pages, architectural drawings, board-game models and rough storyboards. Smith blurs these categories while also complicating ideas of artistic consistency and credible authorship. The narrative voice in Drawings sometimes reveals “Mike,” an everyman whose world is populated by split-levels and humdrum undergarments. Other times Smith reveals more of himself, an artist stripped of his bumbling alter ego, scribbling shit down on his way to the pantry.
Complicating things even further is the fact that Mike is the obliviously uncool star of Smith’s videos, the work for which he is best known. Most of the drawings in Drawings appear incomplete as they allude to future performances, which may more fully realize ideas. But their incompleteness speaks much more to an audience interested in the construction of Mike and his various stage sets as well as in Mike’s exploits told by any reliable or believable narrator. One of my favorite examples of pants-dropping in Drawings is Smith’s acknowledgement that the shades of brown watercolor he used in a balloon-trading board game were “mixed from many, many years of colors taken from my watercolor case.” This statement and others like it reinforce the fluidity of Smith’s thought between performer and creator.
Really, the book is simply about the artist Mike Smith, who is actually quite complicated. Or maybe it’s about discovering Mike Smith by exposing the “Making Mike” process. Or maybe, as Mike Smith himself claims, it’s about chronicling the “struggle to inject order into his hermetic and quotidian world.”
Along these lines, one of the luxuries of reading Drawings is the recurrence of certain symbols employed by Smith: water coolers, pants, underwear, plateaus, balloons, disco balls, credit cards, aprons. The accumulation of these things is much like Mike’s daily life of accumulating arbitrary objects as he traverses his plateau-ridden Americana. I found myself weary after reading Drawings because attempting to unpack Smith’s winking 1950s semiotics is tiring. But then, I really do think that the unveiling of a common monotony might be the point.
The Geometry of Hope 2007, Blanton Museum of Art
130 works by 40 artists, was shown at the Blanton Museum in spring 2007 and will be at the Grey Art Gallery of the New York University from September 12 to December 8 where you could still see it. But if you miss both exhibitions, the tastefully illustrated, bilingual (English and Spanish) catalogue can provide a very thorough alternative.
According to the exhibition’s curator Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, the title “geometry of hope” arose in contrast to Herbert Read’s 1952 expression “geometry of fear” to refer to postwar angst in British art through aggressive and unstable geometrical forms as in the work of Kenneth Armitage and Lynn Chadwick for instance. Since Latin American countries had not participated in World War II, most artists did not experience this angst and could more readily present a utopian world of hope and progress, at least in the late 1940s and 1950s. The building of Brasilia is a daring example of this optimism. The catalogue aims to explain how the “geometry of hope” not only represents this vitality and potential for Latin America but also dispels the anthropomorphic stereotyping too often associated with the continent. This exhibition and catalogue featuring work from a single collection, completely reverse the periphery/victim discourse of much past writing.
Pérez-Barreiro based The Geometry of Hope on an exhibition model that combines two previous ones: one, contextual, the other, formalist. Here the city functions as a unit of context as opposed to the country or broader geographic areas combined with a rigorous formalist study of the works themselves.
The catalogue is divided into two parts: the first comprising essays about each of six cities (Montevideo, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Caracas) where the art was produced; the second, devoted to the individual works. The essays on the cities were written by different authors including Paulo Herkenhoff (Rio), Luis Pérez-Oramas (New York) and Serge Guilbaut (Paris). One might wonder what Paris is doing in the mix. But this city was of vital importance during the 1940s through the 1960s to artists from the Atlantic rim of Latin America since several of them (Alejandro Otero, Jesús Rafael Soto, Lygia Clark, Gyula Kosice and others) lived and exhibited there and became active participants in a dynamic Paris art scene that differed considerably from the contemporary New York scene.
While the concept of geometric abstraction conveys a certain fixed idea of what the art looks like, the works are extremely varied and not all of them rigorously geometric. This variety becomes clear in the individual entries written by many authors. Although all of this art developed out of an initially geometric vocabulary, it evolved in distinct directions like the Brazilian neoconcrete art of Hélio Oiticica and Clark, and the kinetic and optical art of the Venezuelans Otero and Soto.
Some of the same artists have been featured in other exhibitions of geometric art such as Lynn Zelevansky’s Beyond Geometry shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2004). The late Argentine critic Jorge Romero Brest, who was director of the Visual Arts Department of the Instituto Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires in the 1960s, gave that same title to an exhibition of Argentine art shown in New York at the Center for Inter-American Relations (now the Americas Society) in 1968. In both these cases, the title’s reference to geometry applies to a vast spectrum of art forms that includes notions of time beyond the work as object, for instance as interactive and kinetic art.
The city as focus in The Geometry of Hope seems to have become a recent model for exhibitions, spurred by concepts of globalization. The specific cities covered by the essays in this catalogue are those where there was the greatest European immigration. The focus on the city contrasts with the 2002 exhibition Mexico City: An Exhibition About the Exchange Rates of Bodies and Values at PS 1 in New York. Both catalogues featured large black-and-white photographs of sprawling metropolises with no end in sight. But while the Mexico City exhibition and catalogue focused on a contemporary urban scene specific to Mexico City, The Geometry of Hope was less about its local cultures than the international character of its art.
If one wants to understand how the works relate contextually to their cities of origin, by reading the essays on the individual cities, one can learn about the twentieth-century history of that city’s cultural evolution and try to imagine the work in that context. The chapters on the Brazilian cities São Paulo and Rio give one the clearest sense of their specificity as locations for the art that arose there. Even the proverbial rivalry between the two cities comes through in the essays with Paulo Herkenhoff arguing for the originality and independence of the Rio groups from those of São Paulo.
Pérez-Barreiro, who wrote on Buenos Aires, sought a system that would provide reliable scholarship to work that has been treated within more politically-oriented curatorial premises by others. Admittedly, he preferred to avoid politics. Some of the individual artist essays including one of his on the São Paulo artist Geraldo de Barros’s Diagonal Function of 1952 offer some brilliant insights at times that help to amplify the meaning of the work. But the quality of these entries varies according to author.
The value of this catalogue is that it forces us to see familiar works in a completely new light. While the whole premise of the catalogue tends to internationalize this art, it also adds considerable art historical value through methods of connoisseurship by situating it squarely within the history of western art. Although one misses the more polemical political cadre, that possibility was deftly sidestepped by keeping the historical essays on the cities and the shorter ones on the works at a safe distance from one another. More than as vehicles for phenomenological experience, the catalogue essays treat the works as objects first.
Cauleen Smith: The Nebulae Project
Closed May 31
Cauleen Smith’s Nebulae Project at Mass Gallery can hardly be called “a show.” A long 16mm film loop ran through two projectors mediated by a strange metal contraption that was halfway between a cat’s cradle and a perpetual motion machine. The difficulties of working with film projections in a gallery setting amended the terms of Nebula’s exhibition. One projector ran an obscenely long film loop, the excess of celluloid in a pile on the floor. A small television set ran a DVD loop, while a dead projector stood on a pedestal with the metal contraption hovering over it, a ruin. The whole thing was on view for only one night. The Nebulae Project wasn’t a show, it was a performance.
Devoid of action or sound and consisting of highly structured one-point perspective compositions, Smith’s 16mm film loops showed a series of gorgeous portraits of her friends: artists, curators and other creative types. The portraits brought to mind two things: Northern Renaissance portraits (think Hans Holbein the Younger or Jan van Eyck) and Andy Warhol’s screen tests. Smith’s cast of acquaintances is documented by her lens in their native environment: their studios, their homes, their workplaces. Surrounding them are their possessions, their book collections, their canvasses, their tools. Like Holbein the Younger’s portraits of British royalty or Jan van Eyck’s portraits of merchant princes, the subjects present us with the fruits of their labor in a protestant display of opulence, rich colors and good (art commodity) accounting.
The conceit goes further now that Smith’s departure from Austin for Boston is so nigh. Like Warhol’s screen tests, Nebulae clings to its subjects, maybe seeking to possess them, transform them into an archival format (live people are so difficult to store….) and collect them for posterity. The dragging of the film on the concrete floor scratches it, deteriorates the image, ages and stresses the celluloid. It is a sensual thing, the crunching of the film, the flicker of the projector, the globs of grain and the lines of color scratched into the emulsion.
Piles and mounds are becoming a recurrent element in Smith’s gallery shows. The tangled nest of film is a stand-in for a corporeality the projected image lacks, a reminder that these spectres existed as more than colored light once. Paradoxically, the act of recording and projecting also implies that these moments no longer exist. The pile is a reminder that these places and these people are now nebulous, immaterial memories, beings of lights purged of mass. The Nebulae Project is both a collecting and of purging, a looking back before jumping forward.
Like Warhol’s Expanded Cinema performances, Smith’s “show” was about community. There was little fanfare for Nebulae. It emerged and then it was gone. It was beautiful and you probably missed it. But during the four or so hours of its existence most of Smith’s subjects materialized at Mass Gallery, drank some beer, shared some laughs and then vanished back to their homes, their studios, to another party somewhere else.
Jeanne Stern: Twitter Box
The Opera House
On view through the end of June
Jeanne Stern's show Twitter Box blurs the line between art and artistic byproduct by featuring equally her finished short films and the various dioramas, puppets and kitschy drawings that went into creating her nostalgic universe. The Cave, an alternate art space attached to the vintage resale shop The Opera House, is the perfect disheveled home for Stern's wild assortment of coarsely made objects. Arranged along a series of shelves, as if thrift store scores, the supporting materials inform the films, giving the viewer a glimpse of the under-inflated magic behind the scenes. Simultaneously, the films enchant the peculiar sets and characters with low budget stardust. This push-and-pull between the sets and the films creates a feedback loop in which each informs the other while remaining independent.
Stern's searching imagination is everywhere, bouncing from crude puppetry to live action, from momentary bliss to constructed and fantastical narratives. Fortunately the length of each of the ten films works to her advantage. The least interesting ones are short enough to pass without much trouble while the superior ones leave the viewer wanting a little more. The films go back and forth between blown out super 8 beauty to high definition quality, always delivering a sad sweet note that comes off as both innocent and experienced. Stern casts a wide net, fishing out amateurs and professionals as participants in her filmic theatrical productions. That being said, everything has a Les Malaventures de Zut-Alors specific aura that reflects a direct, handmade sensibility, not unlike the Ramones covering The Beatles. Stern adapts her resources and abilities to the production style of early animation and children's shows. It is no surprise that this longest piece features both French protagonists and a knotty relationship situation that borders on Truffaut's Jules and Jim made for Sesame Street.
There is a quirky problem solving quality to the films that originates in the materials Stern chooses to construct her sets from; vintage books are transformed into kitchens, bears and umbrellas, mingled with crayon drawings and augmented teaching illustrations. Everything has a naive element that is reminiscent of an elementary school project tempered with the more adult concerns of movie production, an interplay of diverging media and collaboration.
Closed June 23
Jeff M. Ward
Expansive Link, a well-realized group show at DiverseWorks, is structured around a children's game popular in Argentina, from where the artists and curator hail, involving gift-giving and a sense of camaraderie. Consequently, the resulting show is full of collaborations, boundaries between pieces are unclear and wall labels do not divulge materials.
One artist, Joachim Iribarren, isn’t listed in the didactics, but witnesses, sound engineers and production and logistic staff are cited. The resulting “short-lived and superficial utopia,” to quote curator Florencia Braga Menéndez’s statement, positions herself and the artists of Expansive Link “in the periphery by definition…in the South, far away from everything…colonized by cultural dynamics that assume that which we are not,” but the colorful, cartoony look of the show belies this outsider framework and obscures the show’s acute commentary on its aesthetic.
The look of Expansive Link, rather then looking particularly “Othered,” is part of the drawing-heavy, pop-cultural referential and collectively-made trend prevalent in current practice throughout the globalized art world. What makes Expansive Link unique is the brainier cul du sacs circumscribed by artists working within this trend. This is achieved by synching up with previous art historical traditions, not by flaunting “the Metaworld of art [within which] exists laws and structures that often lead to the suppression of creative potential.” European Surrealism can be seen in Max Cachimba's dark paintings of surrealist flat cartoon figures. Claudia Mazzucchelli's Botero bathers in Botticelli scenery rift on European painting, too. Miquel Mitlag’s stylishly photographed interiors with disconcertingly proportioned objects move the aesthetic towards the modern. La lluvia de Houston, by Valeria Maculan, takes that modern pose and moves it toward a postmodern sculptural passage comprised of painted tiles, a creeping vine of tin foil and some 2x4 pommel horses. Menéndez and her artists look more worldly than marginal; moreover, their artfulness manages to provide a real foothold on a trend that habitually produces stylish non-entities.
2006 Hugo Boss Prize: Tacita Dean
Closed June 6
H. David Waddell
Last year, Kodak stopped producing black-and-white film. Like the telephone booth and the typewriter, 16mm celluloid film is becoming obsolete in our digital age. While it was sad, I did not mourn as hard as I could have. The complexities and the richness of the medium and dedication to craft are difficult to fully comprehend from the exterior. As a viewer, it is easy to accept new technology without paying respect to its predecessor.
In her book Death 24x a Second, Laura Mulvey explores film’s relationship to death and its illusion of bringing still images to “life.” The history of film is also the history of Hollywood, argues Mulvey. They grew together and each year, with the passing of another legend, film technology becomes more outdated, though light and the chemical process allow celluloid film to capture a depth of image of which the digital is incapable. When viewing a film, two ghosts are brought to life: the spirits of the deceased actor and of film. In the case of Kodak and two other works in her Prize exhibition at the Guggenheim, Tacita Dean contemplates film and the factory that produced it.
Tacita Dean, winner of the 2006 Hugo Boss Prize, joins a list of prize winners that includes other film and time-based artists Douglas Gordon, Pierre Huyghe and Matthew Barney. The exhibition focuses on her investigations with the medium of film, emphasizing film’s growing obsolescence.
In Kodak (2006), Dean presents her audience with a slow inspection and eulogy of the now defunct Kodak factory in Chalon-sur-Saone, France. The camera explores the factory, with the lights turned on for the first time in its history. Running brown paper rather than clear film through the machines, Kodak visually explains the process of a day in the factory before it closes its doors forever.
The image is projected at a manageable size, through not theatre-scaled, and several padded, black chairs provided a comfortable viewing environment. But it is painfully obvious that Dean’s is not a fast-paced, edited production. I felt as if I were a worker at the factory in the eighth hour of the day. Kodak could have been a “Mister Rogers visits the crayon factory” experience; except Mr. Roger’s soothing voiceover does not guide us through the factory. Dean’s tour is an alienating experience.
Blanc et Noir is comprised of a projector, which spins the last five rolls of black-and-white 16mm film that Dean could find. The mechanism is revealed as a silhouette on a screen flush with the wall. The audience hears the clicking of the projector while watching the motions of the machine. Found Obsolescence is simply a found unexposed 16mm Kodak negative, a strip of film framed. Dean makes celluloid an artifact by placing it in the museum under glass. I am saddened to think of this wasted piece of film, lying on the ground as trash. But viewers walked through the negatives in which Dean has animated celluloid or explained the process of its making.
When experiencing Kodak and Blanc et Noir, my concern was not for Dean’s cause but the lack of response from viewers. Most seem unaffected. Dean’s considerate response to the death of celluloid is matter-of-fact, without drama or sentiment. The audience should reciprocate a thoughtful response. However, the work proved to be too dry and conceptual to captivate attention. Those who know a dying craft will continue to debate it and mourn its death. The audience I witnessed takes the digital age for granted. Dean gives us a lot to think about.
News provided by Lindsay Lohan’s drug addiction
2007 AUSTIN CRITICS TABLE AWARD WINNERS
This year’s Austin Critics Table Award ceremony, once again held at the always festive Cap City Comedy Club, proved painful, but not altogether uneventful. Between pre-rehearsed jokes and awkward banter from arts, theatre, music and dance writers of the Austin Chronicle and Austin American Statesman, gold-trimmed, ink-jet printed certificates were given, sometimes two or three in one category. Receiving many much due awards was Ron Berry for both his own performances in theatre productions across the city and for directing this year’s very successful and very provocative Fuse Box Festival. Congratulations, Ron! We won’t subject you to the same pains we went through by listing the theatre, music and dance winners (but if you want to see the list, click here.) Art is what you come here for and art is what you get. So with out further ado, here are this year’s winners:
Museum Exhibition: The Geometry of Hope, Blanton Museum of Art,
Gabriel Perez-Barreiro curator
Solo Gallery Exhibition: Michael Seiben: Smile Forever, Art Palace
Group Gallery Exhibition: Celebrated Skin, Butridge Gallery, DAC,
Heitt, curator; Take Me to Bed Or Lose Me
Forever, Volitant Gallery, Leona Scull-Hons curator
Independent Project: The "I" of Texas, Luke Savisky (First Night
Austin); Texas Biennial 2007, Butridge Gallery, Okay
Mountain, Site 1808, Bolm Studios
Work of Art: Outside In, installation, Elaine Bradford (Okay
Gallery, Body of Work: Okay Mountain
Artist: Candace Briceno
Touring Show: E-Flux Video Rental, Arthouse
ARTPACE ANNOUNCES 2007 Travel Grant recipients
Artpace San Antonio is pleased to recognize Sabra Booth, Margaret Craig, Mimi Kato and Chris Sauter as recipients of the 2007 Travel Grant for San Antonio-Area Artists. The grant, which previously awarded up to $2,500, has been doubled this year as part of an institutional initiative to expand support for local artists. This year, the $5,000 prize will support four San Antonio-based artists seeking opportunities for creative growth and career development, undertaking specific project research or attending other residency programs. The award is given to encourage an on-going dialogue between local artists and the international arts community in keeping with Artpace's mission to advance contemporary art while enriching our community.
Sterling Allen: Writesy Drawsy
June 9 - July 7
Opening reception June 9, 8-11pm
In his first gallery solo show, Sterling Allen has constructed a series of work using the rules of games like telephone and exquisite corpse as parameters. The results of these experiments are objects and drawings that question the ways in which we see, perceive and look at images.
Power Craft: New work by Whitney Lee
June 28-August 4
OPENING: Thursday, June 28, 6 - 8 pm
WOMEN & THEIR WORK
With Power Craft, Whitney Lee continues to subvert the diabolically phallocentric world by infusing domestic, privately crafted objects with dominance and power. Lee draws her imagery from craft stencils: a teddy bear with a balloon; a cat with a halo; a country goose. Such images, normally confined to bedroom wall borders or the kitchen dishtowel, are taken out of the home, and thrust into the public domain with vulgar gyrations. In conjunction with Power Craft, Lee will also present a collection of eight stenciled posters titled “Craftiti.” Each poster features a saccharine image of an animal that will be assigned to a specific Austin neighborhood. In the weeks leading up to the Power Craft, these seemingly domestic subjects will start to slowly claim their territory, taking over public spaces in their appointed neighborhoods. With these posters, Lee deploys a devastating comment regarding the male dominated world of street art, giving these cutesy animals a ferocious power the likes of which the world hath never seen. From now until June 28 be on the look out to see what unexpected animal will lay claim to your neighborhood.
The regulars at Applebee’s on I-35 and William Cannon present OPENINGS & ONGOINGS
Resilient Foundations: The Gulf Coast after Katrina
June 11 through September
MEBANE GALLERY, Goldsmith Hall, UT Campus
Resilient Foundations: The Gulf Coast after Katrina sets out the resilient foundations for the region's development. The term resilience refers to the ability for an urban area to rebound after disaster and arises from the disciplines of ecology and planning. In order to suggest responsible scenarios for the Gulf Coast, The University of Texas at Austin has gathered neither infallible science nor a singular answer, but rather the most reliable information about the region's natural hazards, important production areas, ecologically significant lands and valuable cultural resources.
Just Been Fired ‘O7: the mostly ceramic show...
OPENING: June 14 from 7-10pm
Featured Artists: Ben Appl, Alejandra Almuelle, Todd Campbell, Gery Henderson, Billy Ray Magnum, Edmund Martinez, Michael Merritt, Ryan McKerley, Satrum, Sharon Smith, Bill Twitchel, Pam Whittington, Todd Van Duren and Rick Van Dyke. Curated by Rachel Koper.
WorkSpace: Jedediah Caesar
CLOSING: June 24
BLANTON MUSEUM OF ART
Los Angeles-based artist Jedediah Caesar is known primarily for a series of sculptures in which organic and man-made materials scavenged from his studio and home are embedded within layers of colorful, semi-transparent resin. More recently, he has begun to experiment with resin and Styrofoam. Often displayed on shipping palettes, each sculpture constitutes a miniature "ecosystem" and explores notions of time, process and history as well as the larger social, cultural and economic system in which art currently circulates.
June 30 - August 11
SUMMER HOURS: Tuesday through Saturday, 12 - 5 pm.
LORA REYNOLDS GALLERY
Lora Reynolds' Summer Show includes work by Benjamin Butler, Krysten Cunningham, Mark Dion, Francesca Gabbiani, Ewan Gibbs, Mads Lynnerup, Ken Solomon and Jim Torok. For artists bios and images go to laurareynolds.com.
Thickly Settled: Jeff Williams
Through June 30
With Thickly Settled, Jeff Williams presents a dysfunctional mental mass where questions of secrecy and security are sublimated into forms of absence and containment. In the installation, everyday objects that speak to ideas of circulation and accumulation are coated with an electrostatic flocking fiber that has been color blended to simulate dust. The dust is layered as an insidious proliferation, concealing the exterior surface to reveal an interiority that is not on display. From a distance, the reconstituted result forms as an opaque phantom, a neutron bomb effect that speaks of time and memory.
Cantanker/us: The Cantanker Magazine Staff Show
Through July 6
ELSE MADSEN GALLERY
Cantanker Magazine has reached its one-year anniversary! To celebrate, the staff has finally decided (gratuitous self-promotion aside) to show Austin their art. Artists include: Debra Broz, Shea Little, John Mulvany, Laura Latimer, Claire Moore, Margot Herster, Paul McLean, Michelle Dewey, Hillary McMahan, Sean Gaulager, Clarisse Noelle, J Haley, Christina Hiett and Cherie Weaver.
George Krause & Elizabeth White: The Elizabeth Portraits & Other Works
Through July 14
D BERMAN GALLERY
Alfred Stieglitz had Georgia O'Keefe, Pierre Bonnard had Marthe, and Picasso had, well... a myriad of muses. Internationally acclaimed photographer George Krause has created a new series of photographs featuring his inspiration and ladylove, Elizabeth. The Elizabeth Portraits is a multi-faceted portrait series intended to be a visual record and examination of the love, passion, tranquility and playfulness of their relationship and domestic life. Elizabeth White has responded with her own series of detailed linoleum block prints which illustrate both the intimate and public elements of their relationship.
Stevan Zivadinovic: Orson Welles vs. The Burning Dumpster
OPENING: TONIGHT! June 8, 7 - 11 PM
This new series of paintings (and a book) by Stevan Zivadinovic skeptically explores self-portraiture, identity art, excessive narcissistic introspection, blatant self-promotion and the like from a perspective of general distrust and tactless understatement
Counterculture x 3: Shephard, Stout, Rubio
OPENING: TONIGHT! June 8 at 6:00 pm
Curated by Ruben C. Cordova, Couterculture x 3 features works by three artists who treat discrete aspects of cultural identity. Regis Shephard addresses black stereotypes in U.S. popular culture. Jason Stout is concerned with white culture in his native Tennessee. Alex Rubio makes works that reflect his experiences as a Chicano on the West Side.
M: Pretend You Hear Voices Too
Through June 23
In this body of drawings and installation, vigorous and writhing mythological characters spring fully formed from modern-day domestic detritus, the opposing forces of the extraordinary and the common sharing white expanses of paper in exacting detail. M's delicate line work describing organic transformations and accumulated treasures and trash recall the fantasies of collected memory and the storing of our past.
World View: Diverse Artists' Approaches
Through August 18
Nine artists derive imagery from the artist's role as a member of multiple cultures and exploration of the implications of the complexity and conflict of roles in society. Exploring issues of race in the United States, political turmoil in Central America, women's roles in the Middle and Far East, juxtaposition of traditional lives in modern urban settings, each artist explores our perceptions, presumptions and our own self-awareness. Artists participating include: Nicole Antebi, Ricky A. Armendariz, Christine Chin, Sasha Dela, Donna Huanca, Sean A. Ibañez, Lauren Kelley, Demetrius Oliver and Soody Sharifi.
EVENTS sponsored by the love child of Nancy Grace and Bill O’Reilly
This Tight Rope
Saturday, June 16th at 8pm
Ten Pounds To The Sound presents a night of electro-acoustic music, featuring two distinct duos working within and around the borders and crevices of pitch and timbre, texture and form, architecture and space. Recent Dia Beacon/Merce Cunningham Artist-In-Residence Maria Chavez and Mercury Rev co-founder and flautist Suzanne Thorpe bring their respective duos to Austin for a night of avant-collaboration with improvising percussionist Chris Cogburn and multi-media sound artist Philip White. A rare intersecting of talents, this is a night not to be missed. The concert in Austin kicks off ambitious tours for both groups— with the number 46 heading through the Southeast with final stops in New York City and Boston; while This Tight Rope embarks on a three week tour of Mexico with stops in Monterrey, Merida (Yucatan) and Mexico City.
$5-15 sliding scale admission.
Your ridiculous hair and outfit present OPPORTUNITIES
CALLS FOR ENTRIES
Radical Nautical at Gallery Lombardi
Hey water and water-sports enthusiasts! The jurors for Radical Nautical are looking for artworks about water and all things vaguely related to water. The goal is to put together an exhibition that captures the creative freedom of fantasy creatures and display the ingenuity of Americana; pop art; the magical power of sea myths and our relationship to water. Skidoo art will be scoffed and mocked before being sacrificed to Poseidon. For more information, click here.
14th Chicago Underground Film Festival
Hey, Girl! The 2007 Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) has issued a call for entries! CUFF presents a wide range of work exploring the many definitions and interpretations of the concept of "underground." From alternative music films and political agitprop to high camp and formal experimentation and everything in-between. They like films that go beyond expectations and genre; films made with passion; really small hotdogs; obsession and drive. The festival is dedicated to work that defines or defies all genres (including experimental, documentary, animation, and narrative), and admits 16mm, 35mm, mini-dv and DVcam exhibition formats. Complete entry form and guidelines available on their website.
Funky Junk: The Art of Recycling
Showcase your artistic imagination and talent by creating something new and extraordinary from the ordinary. Artwork should be made from recycled/reused materials. This creative and expressive art may incorporate unique materials like soda cans/bottles, foam, TV sets, brooms, old surfboards, hubcaps, computer materials, plastics, bottle caps and dried gourds. Work must fit the broad concept of recycling using organic and/or non-organic materials. This is where your imagination will really shine! (…groan…) Due to the large number of submissions, only one work of art will be considered from each artist. Entries must include: An image of your work (can include CD, photographs, slides, DVD); All dimensions, media and approximate weight; Entry fee made payable to Art Center: Art Center members, $25; non-members, $30; Biography, CV, or artist statement; Statement about the work and why it should be considered for this exhibition. All works must be for sale. Artists receive 60% of sale price. Questions? Contact email@example.com Entries must be sent to Amy V. Grimm, Curator; San Luis Obispo Art Center • PO Box 813, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406 by July 16.
Sense and Senility
The Orange Roughy Group is soliciting new sculpture and painting that appeals to the senses over the intellect (i.e. work conveying the sense of “bigness,” “smallness,” “redness,” “blueness,” “coarseness,” “smoothness,” etc.) for an exhibition to be held at an outdoor location in Austin that will be disclosed to the general public exactly 72 hours before opening. The exhibition may or may not be legal. Please send submissions to Dirk Valance at DirkValance891@gmail.com. Deadline is July 30.
Grande Prix d’Tar Pits: an Exhibition of Fine Art in honor of the LaBrea Tar Pits
Peter Gabriel Morgan and Adam Francis Hinterlang announce a “Call for Artists” for a show to be juried and exhibited tentatively in February 2008 at the Green Door Gallery in Kansas City, MO. Participants will be asked to envision and create fine works of art of the very highest caliber, reflecting the tastes of a high-minded Art Audience. Work shall be based on the historical, contemporaneous, and speculative/future periods of the World Famous Rancho La Brea Tar Pits located on the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, California.
Works must deal with one period of the Rancho’s history and stringently adhere to the following criterion:
1. Historical Period, 38,000 B.C.-1700 A.D.:
Works that reflect this period shall contain five species of animals (which must include: one carnivore; one omnivore; one herbivore; one avian species and three plant species) OR two meteorological phenomena.
2. Modern Period, 1700 A.D.-Present:
Works made whose locus resides within the recent historical period shall contain the following, specific elements: three species of tree; the influence of Man; Pit 91.
3.Speculative/Future Period, Present Day-4,000,000,000 A.D.:
All works must be consistent with the latest scientific and/or conspiracy theories. Seven of the following fifteen pantone colors will be utilized in the composition: 111; 120; 144; 205; 277; 290; 300; 306; 319; 406; 481; 482; 533; 1355 and 1605.
Potential candidates will send work samples, Artist’s Statement, Curriculum Vitae, Proposals (which will be judged) and any other relevant materials to:
(Adjunct) Professor Peter G. Morgan; 1000 Redondo Ave, Apartment Two; Long Beach, California 90804. OR Rev. (Universal Life Church) Adam Francis Hinterlang; 112 Lincoln Avenue, Apartment 517; Bronx, New York, 10454. Deadline is August 31.
The Rothko Chapel has launched a search for an Executive Director. The Executive Director position is a unique leadership opportunity for an individual who possesses the qualities and characteristics as well as the professional experience necessary to further develop The Rothko Chapel’s international role as an ecumenical center for interfaith relations and understanding and for the promotion of human rights. For a job description and list of qualifications, click here.
The Brooklyn Museum is looking to appoint, once again, “an extraordinary communicator/scholar,” this time to the endowed position of John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art. This curator will provide leadership to the Museum as it takes a more visible role among American museums in the field of contemporary art. While strongly competitive applications are anticipated from art museum curators, the Museum also solicits applications from authors, academics, journalists, specialists in electronic and new media communications and people who can make rad motorcycles. The position schedule is full time, 35 hours per week. Candidates should submit a curriculum vitae and a letter of intent to: Department CD, Curator of Contemporary Art Search; 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238; or by email to Contemporary.Curator@BrooklynMuseum.org. Act now—interviews have already begun!
The Boston Center for the Arts seeks a Visual Arts Manager to join its Program Department.
The BCA seeks a highly skilled and motivated person willing to work as part of an integrated team to advance the BCA’s mission with respect to the visual arts programming in the Mills Gallery. The mission of the Mills gallery is to show work selected from the diverse cultural and aesthetic traditions of contemporary Boston to include: a full range of multi media that will reflect cultural diversity, really small hotdogs, innovation and excellence, express fresh ideas and under-recognized voices; advance community connections; break down social barriers; stimulate personal reflections and challenge audiences. Masters Degree or equivalent experience in fine arts gallery or museum setting with emphasis on exhibitions management and educational programming.
The Department of Art & Art History at Texas Christan University seeks a curator to administer its University Art Galleries.
The curator will coordinate programs and activities on campus and in a new off-campus gallery including: organizing exhibitions, installations, and administration; conducting educational programs, lectures and other activities and supervising gallery staff and students. Applicants should demonstrate proven aptitude and experience in innovative, experimental curatorial projects of reputable distinction in contemporary visual arts; experience as curator-of-record of multiple contemporary art exhibitions/programs/events with comprehensive responsibility for planning, coordination and execution; demonstrate success in collaborative efforts and an ability to marshal cooperative support from a range of stakeholders including university faculty, staff, and administrators; and financial supporters and donors.
Experience managing contemporary art education programming, to include comprehensive responsibility for planning, coordination, and execution, is preferred. A bachelor’s degree in art or the equivalent in job related experience is required.
An advanced degree in art and an internship in full-time museum work supplemented by courses in museum practices are desired.
Salary is competitive with full benefits. Applications should be sent to Ron Watson, Chair, Department of Art and Art History, TCU Box 298000, Fort Worth, TX 76129. Salary is competitive with full benefits. Position begins August 1.
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