ArtSlant - Contemporary Art Network http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/show en-us 40 Virtual Embodiment: Beyond the Death of Pig <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The annual Berlin festival Transmediale engages the crossroads of art, media, and technology. This year&rsquo;s edition, given the title <em>conversationpiece</em>, was held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt from February 3&ndash;7, with diverse events and artworks organized in four streams: Anxious to Act, Anxious to Share, Anxious to Make, and Anxious to Secure. On the morning of the final day, I entered the cafe stage area to find a computer monitor displaying a scene from the vantage point of a pig entering a slaughterhouse. I was looking at </span><em><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="https://trello.com/b/Kw60HSsA/01122014-mogii-pig-simulator" target="_blank">Pig Simulator</a></em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, a virtual reality video game played from the perspective of a pig entering porkhood. The game, yet to be released, was a part of the festival&rsquo;s </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.messwithtech.net/" target="_blank">The Mess with Tech, Sense and Thinking</a>&nbsp;<a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://2016.transmediale.de/content/the-mess-with-tech-sense-and-thinking" target="_blank">hybrid event</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160211180045-8.jpg" alt="" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160211180132-11.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Watching the brief and seemingly banal storyline of &ldquo;the last moments of the pigs while they are transported to a slaughterhouse and then further processed into the end product,&rdquo; I was immediately intrigued. What was the process of getting to the end product (human waste?) and who were the pigs? I felt relief and excitement that&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">the programmer hadn&rsquo;t yet closed down&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">when I returned to the space after attending my pre-scheduled academic events. The programmer, </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.flatmade.de/">Stephan Isermann</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, Creative Director of the advertising studio <a href="http://www.flatmade.de/" target="_blank">FLATMADE</a>, strapped headphones and a bulky chunk of headgear to me. I have since learned that this was the famous </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="https://www.oculus.com/ja/rift/">Oculus Rift</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, the virtual reality head-mounted display purchased by Facebook and set to be released as a consumer product this March. Isermann handed me a controller of the style I forever associate with N64 and sibling-hangs in the playroom circa 1997. It afforded four functions: walk, rotate, sniff, and grunty-oink.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160211180242-12.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Once the game commenced, I became a userpig. My newly embodied pighood was most immediately indicated by a snout viewed from above, what felt like was a reasonable distance for eye-to-snout proportions. I was positioned behind a few others, large and pink and chunky. I grunted and sniffed and looked around to check out my surroundings. I never made eye contact with the other pigs and was mostly only able to observe their bodies, but not their heads face-on. I was able to see sterile factory workers as they walked and worked on the assembly line. Their bodies and movements blended with the factory&rsquo;s&mdash;I couldn&rsquo;t separate them from the environment. Their movements lacked gesture and I couldn&rsquo;t tell exactly what they did. There was no felt exchange of energies, no comprehendible touch, between my pig body and their structure, nor the machines really. Once slung onto the hooks, prior to slicing (I am not sure which part of me was sliced actually, but I did see my blood squirting out below me, as well as out of the pigs hanging ahead of me and behind me), I lost my sniffing and oinking functions, a timing I felt to be a bit premature.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160211180507-Screen_Shot_2016-02-09_at_5.26.40_PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The game shifted to its final scene, in which I was dangling above a shelf in a refrigerated aisle at the factory between other hanging and encased pork. After a moment further, taking full advantage of my only remaining function, rotation, I realized I wasn&rsquo;t dangling. When I looked down, I did not see any encasement but only the shelf below. I seemed to be more of a ghostly, post-pork presence, the reality between other material realities, an ongoingness, defined by the objects surrounding me that continued to have an immediately intelligible form and animation. I tried to observe my reactions to this: I, user, who once privileged the vantage point of a living-to-slaughtered pig body, was now at a site between amalgamations, between the material and energies that transformed my own and fellow pig bodies into pork. I remembered the transport vehicle through factory process vividly and tried to understand my desperate desire and sense of entitlement to be afforded my own materiality.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I was nothing I could define yet very much present: in realit(ies), or among realities, or across realities? I realized the game allowed me to play not pig, or simulated pig, but specifically userpig, with its own unique narrative of an unknown embodiment and ongoing &ldquo;end.&rdquo; Was this the goal of the game: to provoke the attempt to understand this foreign site? I understood that I still had some autonomy by my retained rotation function. <span style="color: #000000;">F</span>rom this function I could define my location and see the nothingness I had become, somewhere within the virtual reality and initial reality&nbsp;at the festival.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/TPjp_hAnW7Y65ESznVv6z2xqnWKvQE9LnuI5mypPF6CTuboYmU8gddTfMv_BOWBALvZyfbjlK2kDdQcbWpi3W0K8Yh4FdukKPslJaEZPnsx_sJ34MTa9qi2ARWJhKF84veXO3U58" alt="" width="297" height="214" /><img style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/RmYSxpELUQptwk8xoHo7ii2NUiFir7JmTu3rdWDBjfmpWg0xuDAYWNPuUCyuRi6uJf9b_ZttdcK7BkU9XrKfX34uhxRH0HXBhVz8XNa4MDGS3S-S5QWXuoGBSZuIJMA-pS_Jtymv" alt="" width="287" height="215" />&nbsp;<span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It took a while for me to accept that my session in virtual reality had reached its end point; it really only ended because I knew I was being waited on in my initial reality. The game&rsquo;s lack of completion invoked what new materialist Karen Barad calls intra-activity: the theory that all entities&mdash;bodies, beings, materials, and occurrences&mdash;are the perpetual manifestation of emerging agencies. &ldquo;<em>Embodiment</em>,&rdquo; writes Barad,<em>&nbsp;&ldquo;is not a matter of being specifically situated in the world, but rather of being of the world in its dynamic specificity.</em>&rdquo; <a href="#Barad">[1]</a> The user starts as pig but ends somewhere between the material product and operational processing of its storyline's character; the user as userpig occupies no subjecthood but a site of embodied objecthood as game subject. As such, the<em> Pig Simulator</em> becomes a site for post-human embodiment in and through usership within a storyline of operations: this was the most pointed planetary-scale gesture I encountered at Transmediale.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I am still unsure if <em>Pig Simulator</em> is a foreshadowing of a (present?) dystopia, or a forewarning, or a site to become aware of. The effect of &ldquo;winning&rdquo; the game in the ongoing becoming of userpig has remained with me this past week. To return to Barad, it marked an opening for &ldquo;ethical questions [&hellip;] not only about how nonhuman animals [and all people and entities not recognized as such, and the planet] are being appropriated for human desires but also how our desires and our beings are co-constitutively reconfigured as well.&rdquo; I wonder if I may ever escape my desperate subject-reaction of wanting to be noticed by just one of those empty-metal-cart-pushing, sterile-blue-gloved, white-suited factory workers conveyor-belting through those hanging plastic door separators of the refrigerator aisle.&nbsp;Can I escape this desire to return to a familiar materiality? Can I unpeel this imprint of human needing?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160211224124-IMG_9604__1_.jpg" alt="" height="175" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160211224149-4.PNG" alt="" height="175" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Genevieve Costello</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><span>[1] <a name="Barad"></a>Barad, Karen. "Queer Causation and the Ethics of Mattering."&nbsp;</span><em>Queering the Non/human</em><span>. Ed. Noreen Giffney and Myra J. Hird. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate, 2008. 311-38. Print.</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">(Installation views: Genevieve Costello,&nbsp;<em>userpig at Transmediale</em>, February 7, 2016.&nbsp;All other images:&nbsp;<span style="color: #000000;">Stephan Isermann,&nbsp;<em>Pig Simulation</em>, 2015. Courtesy of Stephan Isermann)</span></span></p> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 16:22:23 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Wednesday Web Artist of the Week: Faith Holland <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>We run an online magazine, so of course, we're interested in what's happening with art on the web. We invited online gallerist, founder, and curator of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.digitalsweatgallery.com/" target="_blank">Digital Sweat Gallery</a>, Christian Petersen, to write a bi-monthly column for us. Every other Wednesday he'll be selecting a Web Artist of the Week. This week Petersen profiles Faith Holland, who has curated a selection of her work for ArtSlant.</em></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160209115433-holland01-600.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">New York-based <a href="http://www.faithholland.com/" target="_blank">Faith Holland</a> only started making work within the medium about five years ago, but has quickly become a celebrated and beloved member of the new media art scene. Her often sexually suggestive work tackles serious subjects but usually has a strong and wry sense of humor running through it. The irreverent,&nbsp;self-aware joyfulness found in Holland's work is also a thread that runs through much contemporary new media art, and is something that separates it from, but is also hugely inspirational to, the wider world of contemporary art.</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There is an ever-strengthening intersection between feminism and net art and Holland is a principle player within that movement. &ldquo;It's hard to say precisely why,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;perhaps it's the male-dominated culture that surrounds technology and net art.&rdquo; Perhaps her strongest expression of this position is <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/43309" target="_blank">her recent series of&nbsp;<em>Ookie Canvases</em></a>, works consisting of digitally manipulated images of ejaculate provided by male artists. It has not always been easy to secure these images though. Holland explains: </span></p> <blockquote> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Male artists are not that willing to contribute and it's not at all surprising. Women are taught that their bodies are part of their value as humans and readily use their bodies as tools for their work and others. Men don't have this training, so to draw men out to use their bodies for my work, even men who work on sexuality like I do, can be a challenge. I am relying on individual pleas and peer pressure instead.</span></p> </blockquote> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Holland's interest in sex and sexuality stems from her time at Vassar College in New York. Of her education she says:</span></p> <blockquote> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I worked on an erotica magazine called <em>Squirm</em> and also was studying pornography as a Media Studies student. Those ideas really gripped me, but I didn't end up making work about those themes until much later when I began thinking about the internet thematically. The internet naturally leads to pornography, because it is so prevalent, and that has ballooned out to thinking about sexuality and technology more broadly.</span></p> </blockquote> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Holland personally curated this selection of her work especially for ArtSlant.</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20160209141459-ookie-sm.gif" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160209115616-explosions-500.gif" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160209115758-geyser-tumblr.gif" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160209115854-popcorn-500.gif" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160209120003-_MG_0040-600.jpg" alt="" width="500" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160209120206-matrice-600.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20160209141541-woven-network-sm.gif" alt="" /></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160209115506-holland07-600.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/441718-christian-petersen?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Christian Petersen</a></span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(All images courtesy of Faith Holland)</span></p> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:44:16 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Artists' Desks <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Whether they&rsquo;re doing residencies or research, teaching or travel, or whether they&rsquo;re&nbsp;simply responding to the contingencies of affordable and available studio space, artists today are in constant motion. What&rsquo;s the marker of the artist&rsquo;s studio in this peripatetic climate? Is the artist&rsquo;s &ldquo;desk&rdquo; a piece of furniture, an anchored object? Or is it something they can pick up and carry away&mdash;a laptop or notebook that travels with them wherever they go? Is place paramount, or is it what the itinerant artist brings with them, from space to space, that matters most to their practice?</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In this edition of Artists&rsquo; Desks, four artists whose work will be shown in four different sectors at Art Rotterdam share an intimate look at their workspaces with us. These artists are all on the move, whether they&rsquo;ve recently settled into a new studio, like Thijs Ebbe Fokkens and Liz Magic Laser, or have multiple studios spanning countries&mdash;or even continents!&mdash;like Ola Lanko and Antonio Jose Guzman. Here they share their latest projects and consider how their workspaces influence their practices, telling us what essential items travel with them, and what&rsquo;s incidental.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://olalanko.com/" target="_blank">Ola Lanko<br /></a></span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Amsterdam, the Netherlands | Ghent, Belgium</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160208144031-Artists_desks_Ola_Lanko.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">At the moment I work between two places: Amsterdam in The Netherlands and Ghent in Belgium. The two space that I have are very different, not only in sense of content and context but also in the mood they have and put me in. Amsterdam is busy, full of things and objects. Ghent, on the contrary, is quiet, deep, and concentrated. These two have very different energies; in one I am a practitioner and in the other I can find silence, slow down and reflect upon my deeds.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I have had my studio in Amsterdam (shown above) for a longer period so the amount of things that surround me is growing there. Usually these objects are either remains of older works or potential elements for new installations. I often reuse the objects in different works. In the end, to me they are only empty containers that came be filled with meaning. After we project our knowledge, expectations, memory and many other things, they become carriers of ideas. Often I use objects that tell the same story but have different formal execution. In this way I try to disconnect material form immaterial essence of the object. Even though I use a lot of things for my installations I am interested when the object looses its materiality. I try to make this disconnection visible in different ways. There is a collection of golden objects at my studio right now. I like the word golden; it kind of refers only to the surface but doesn't take all the hopes away.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For the past years I&rsquo;ve changed four studios. Almost always I fill new space with new things. They are interchangeable to me. I usually don't get attached to things that much. But one of the objects I always take with me and have on my desk is a picture of a happy worker. An old framed photograph of an unknown man at work in some kind of industrial production factory. The man is smiling, he is happy with his job. This picture is an archaic image of labor that disappears. I really like it&mdash;it reminds me of the relativity of happiness, our dependency on historical moment we live in and the ability of an image to change its meaning throughout time. All the clocks in my studio are not working, I listen to the radio from different remote time zones and I almost have no daylight inside. All these things help me to remember the multiple possibilities for existence, interpretation, and experience. &nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Ola Lanko&nbsp;will be presenting her work in </em><a href="http://www.artrotterdam.com/users/128/content/Home/EN-2016%20Prospects%20and%20Concepts%202.html" target="_blank"><em>Prospects &amp; Concepts: The Mondriaan Fund Shows Talent</em></a><em> in the former distribution center of the Van Nellefabriek during Art Rotterdam.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.aguzman.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Antonio Jose Guzman</strong><br /></a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Amsterdam &amp; Veluwe, The Netherlands | Panama City, Panama | Dakar, Senegal</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160208144746-guzman_atelier3.jpg" alt="" /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It&rsquo;s so complicated to describe my desk, or desks, that I don&rsquo;t know were to start or which desk to show. The above photos are of my favorite desk located in the Veluwe. My real desk is actually more less my iPhone and a little Moleskine book I bring everywhere. That is where the ideas always originate, especially when I&rsquo;m sitting on a train, boat, car, or an airplane.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Atelier GF Workstation is divided across four desks: my main desk is in the Veluwe, one of the most beautiful natural forests in the Netherlands. This is were I keep all my work, but I only work there in the weekends and from spring to fall, because it is too cold in the winter; the use of the heating system for such a large space is too expensive. The other desks are in Amsterdam, Dakar, and Panama. The last two are where I spend one or two months a year photographing and sketching the material that I will be developing the rest of the year in the Netherlands. This process is similar to the nomadic cycle of my projects, researching my DNA ancestry.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I know that this all seems very attractive, but in reality I spend most of the time in Amsterdam. Since my son was born two years ago, there is not so much time to move from one place to the other, and I want to be closer to him. So all my projects are thought up, as I said before, on my iPhone and Moleskine notebook.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">All of my desks are a portrait an Afro-futuristic universe. That is because I work using Pan-African principles, DNA, cultural appropriation, and architecture. I believe that everyone should create his or her own universe to go thorough life. The projects I do in tropical climates are what keep me warm the rest of the year in the west. The ideas and the cultures from Dakar and Panama are of great influence in my work, and it is because of this way of working that my projects develop in such a transcultural way.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Right now during the winter, I'm doing less physical work than the work that I do in the Veluwe studio from spring to fall, using wood, paint, and iron nails. These days I spend mostly in Amsterdam editing videos, looking for grants, cataloguing my portfolio, contacting possible places to display my work, designing installations, Photoshopping, reading books, writing ideas, and parenting our beautiful son.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Antonio Jose Guzman is presented by Framer Framed, Amsterdam, in </em><a href="http://www.artrotterdam.com/users/128/content/Home/EN-2016%20Intersections%202.html" target="_blank"><em>Intersections</em></a><em>, a sector for international project spaces and artists&rsquo; initiatives at Art Rotterdam.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.thijsfokkens.com/#thijs" target="_blank">Thijs Ebbe Fokkens<br /></a></span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Hague, The Netherlands</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160208144435-Workstation_1_ThijsEbbeFokkens.jpg" alt="" /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">At the moment I'm unpacking and re-settling as I've just moved my studio. But until January this was my "clean space," which functioned mostly as an office, as base of operations. A green wall for clippings, notes, prints and sketches. A white wall and light box for drawing. Big surfaces for paperwork. The more messy 3D work happened outside this space, in the project space of <a href="http://www.locatiez.net/" target="_blank">Locatie Z</a>, or on location.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For ten years my studio space and the project space of Locatie Z were based in the magnificent Villa Ockenburgh, beautifully located on the outskirts of The Hague near the dunes and sea. For my work, organization, and process, the specifics of this location has been of enormous influence. Now I&mdash;and the other nine artists of Locatie Z&mdash;operate out of two temporary locations: a project space in the city center, where we&rsquo;ll realize a monthly program, and studio spaces in the southern periphery of The Hague.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The change of space provides the opportunity to recalibrate certain aspects of my practice, such as the set up of my desk, my base, the use the space. I&rsquo;m curious about what specific activities lend themselves most naturally to the new space and although it is disruptive, I&rsquo;m actually looking forward to this process, which will hopefully get up to full speed while realizing my solo project <em>The Escapist Cookbook</em>&nbsp;at Locatie Z this March, in which I&rsquo;ll experiment with video and theatrical and performative elements.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ams/artists/rackroom/360455" target="_blank">Thijs Ebbe Fokkens</a> is presented by Joey Ramone, Rotterdam, in the <a href="http://www.artrotterdam.com/users/128/content/Home/EN-New%20Art%20section.html">New Art section</a> with solo shows by young galleries at Art Rotterdam. Booth 088.</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" align="center"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><a href="http://www.lizmagiclaser.com/" target="_blank">Liz Magic Laser</a><br /> </strong>Brooklyn, New York</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" align="center"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160210201423-2016-01-14_22.27.56-LizMagicLaser-Desk.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" align="center"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In December I moved into a new studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn, with friends who renovated the floor of a warehouse space. I'm working on my first survey show at Kunstverein G&ouml;ttingen, Germany, which will take place in March. I make collages from time to time, but this is the first time I'm using it as a tool to plan an exhibition, cutting out images of my work and moving them around on the floor plan. It's making me think about how I use this montage method on many levels.&nbsp;I'm interested in&nbsp;the way early photomontage artists like John Heartfield and Hannah H&ouml;ch radically recomposed magazine images,&nbsp;the dominant form of mass communication in their era.&nbsp;In my work I'm often trying to dissect and re-imagine news media and political rhetoric.&nbsp;Also scattered on my desk are collage pieces I'm using to devise a new installation for the show that will serve as a site for local high school students to predict future world events through a series of workshops I will lead.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Liz Magic Laser is presented by Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam, in the fourth edition of</em><em>&nbsp;</em><em><a href="http://www.artrotterdam.com/users/128/content/Home/EN-2016%20projections.html" target="_blank">Projections</a>, an Art Rotterdam presentation of large-scale video works&nbsp;by international artists.&nbsp;Booth 106.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;As told to <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/95201-andrea-alessi?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Andrea Alessi</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top:&nbsp;Antonio Jose Guzman's Veluwe studio in The Netherlands)</span></p> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:28:07 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list In Ryan Mendoza’s <em>Detroit House</em>, Debris of a Financial Collapse Turns into Relief Aid <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Is it a sculpture? A political indictment? A social activist gesture? Or maybe some form of contemporary historiography? It&rsquo;s not really clear how to define or classify Ryan Mendoza&rsquo;s </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Detroit House</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. One thing&rsquo;s for sure, though: it&rsquo;s not a house.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">You could easily be fooled into thinking it is. It&rsquo;s got a roof, walls, a porch, windows, and a door you can enter through. It lacks, however, neighbors, a path or driveway leading up to it, a connection to the local power grid, a foundation&mdash;in short: physical and social context. It has been plonked in front of the Van Nellefabriek, the venue of Art Rotterdam, this week. After the fair the structure will be taken apart, packed in crates, and transported to the <a href="http://www.verbekefoundation.com/en" target="_blank">Verbeke Foundation</a> near Antwerp, where it will settle in next to Atelier Van Lieshout&rsquo;s intestine-shaped apartment, Kevin van Braak&rsquo;s <em><a href="http://www.verbekefoundation.com/bb/campingflats-kevin-van-braak/" target="_blank">CampingFlat</a></em>, and Frank Castelyns&rsquo; stacked shipping containers.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160209122831-Opbouw_Detroit_House_op_Art_Rotterdam_-3-_Fotografie_Frank_Hanswijk-.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>Detroit House</em> being assembled on the Van Nellefabriek grounds, February 2016. Photo: Frank Hanswijk</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Mendoza&rsquo;s house originally stood in Detroit, one of America&rsquo;s cities hit hardest by the subprime mortgage crisis that started in 2007. But even long before that time Motor City, formerly home of the world&rsquo;s biggest automotive companies, had been in serious decline. During its heyday in the 1950s the city&rsquo;s population stood at 1.8 million but by the turn of the century it had dropped by some 35 percent. The stagnating economy and the city&rsquo;s bankruptcy in July 2013 sped up urban exodus in subsequent years and the numbers dropped to 713,000 residents. A lot of Detroit looks like a ghost town. Hundreds if not thousands of homes have been abandoned. The municipality has taken to demolishing entire neighborhoods as an anti-squatter measure and so it doesn&rsquo;t have to maintain expensive public services like water supply and sewerage for those few left behind. Some neighborhoods, Hantz Woodlands for example, have been <a href="http://www.hantzfarmsdetroit.com/" target="_blank">turned into farmland</a>; others have been left to become urban prairie.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Mendoza came to Detroit after having lived in Europe for over twenty years. During the economic boom of the nineties the New York native moved to Naples. Even though he blended into the European scene, a sense of being American remained&mdash;and that&rsquo;s partly what he went looking for. Inevitably Mendoza had grown &ldquo;outsider&rsquo;s eyes.&rdquo; Besides, in two decades&rsquo; time America had changed: it had become less optimistic and more polarized. Detroit, a city Mendoza had only visited via Google Maps, fit the bill as a symbol for those developments. In the same sense his <em>Detroit House</em> is not a home but an idea of home, encompassing feelings of belonging, protection, and collective memory.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160209123118-Opbouw_Detroit_House_op_Art_Rotterdam_-4-_Fotografie_Frank_Hanswijk-.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Detroit House</em>&nbsp;being assembled on the Van Nellefabriek grounds, February 2016. Photo: Frank Hanswijk</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A video on display in the <em>Detroit House</em> shows Mendoza roaming the desolate streets of suburban Detroit. He talks to famous locals like boxing champion Thomas &ldquo;Hitman&rdquo; Hearns, members of hip hop-granddaddies The Last Poets, and the techno-pioneering musical collective Underground Resistance. They are part of Detroit&rsquo;s rich cultural heritage, together with Motown, Eminem, The Stooges, Alice Cooper, and many others. The video is a declaration of love to Detroit, the once embodiment of the American Dream that has turned dystopian.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Another video shows pictures of the Thomas family, who lived in the house from the 1960s onward, until they defaulted on their mortgage in 2012 and had to leave. The images are mixed with pictures of Mendoza&rsquo;s own childhood, growing up in the States. It&rsquo;s a self-reflexive take on identity and the passing of time. Mendoza further explores the theme in his paintings of American interiors, in which he combines images from his own past with cartoons. These will be presented at Art Rotterdam by Livingstone gallery, The Hague.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As a painter Mendoza enjoys referring to renaissance art, expressionism, and sloppy strands of realism. As the creator of&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Detroit House</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;he&rsquo;s also standing on the shoulders of giants: an American and a European (who mostly lived and worked in the US) to be exact. The latter is Hans Haacke, who in 1971 famously mapped the real-estate holdings of one of New York City&rsquo;s biggest slum landlords:&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, A Real Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. About the same time Gordon Matta-Clark started buying and documenting tiny, often inaccessible parcels of land auctioned off by the city of New York, that were the result of rampant property development. In later years he gained notoriety with his &ldquo;building cuts,&rdquo; sawing houses in two or removing floors and facades, disabling both their functionality and the utopian dream of belonging they embodied.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160208123303-press3.jpg" alt="" /><img style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans, 'Trebuchet MS', Tahoma, Verdana; font-size: 12px;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160208122932-press7.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Mendoza does something similar but takes it one step further. By literally lifting the house out of its original context and putting it squarely in an art environment, he allows the work to remain ambiguous. It&rsquo;s a self-portrait, historical looking glass, and architectural model rolled into one. And, of course, a strong political statement. The house is the reward hard-working folk were striving for before it was snatched away from them and discarded as useless. Explosive stuff in times of heated presidential elections&mdash;with candidates sparring over what's best for the 99 percent&mdash;and the poisoned water supply in Detroit's neighboring Flint, a crime that in one fell swoop threatens human bodies and destroys the value of their homes.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But rather than inserting his work into the political debate Mendoza takes an activist stance. Besides the <em>Detroit House</em> on show at Art Rotterdam, he has stripped and shipped two more homes, which will be auctioned off in Berlin and Milan in the coming months. The proceeds go back to the city of Detroit. This twist lends Mendoza&rsquo;s project the wry brand of engagement akin to the video <em>Enjoy Poverty: Episode III </em>in which Renzo Martens encourages poor Congolese photographers to exploit their own misery by selling images of hunger and war. Mendoza sells the debris of a financial collapse and turns it into relief aid. Life turns into art to be pumped back into life again.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/356010-edo-dijksterhuis?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Edo Dijksterhuis</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(All images: Ryan Mendoza,&nbsp;<em>Detroit House,</em> Unless otherwise noted:&nbsp;Images during reconstruction process of <em>Detroit House</em> for the Verbeke Foundation, January 2016. Courtesy of the artist, Art Rotterdam, and the Verbeke Foundation)</span></p> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 08:56:48 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Emma Hart Wins Max Mara Art Prize for Women: a Look at an Essential Award <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Last Wednesday </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/max-mara-art-prize-for-women-emma-hart/" target="_blank">Emma Hart won the 6th Max Mara Art Prize for Women</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, following in the footsteps of internationally acclaimed artists like Laure Prouvost and Andrea B&uuml;ttner. As the prestigious award finds another winner, we learn more about the practice of an exciting emerging artist. But the announcement is also an opportunity for reflection: is an art prize exclusively for women still necessary in 2016, a time when not just art institutions but also the rest of the world are paying increased attention to widespread gender imbalances?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The <a href="http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/about/prizes/max-mara-art-prize-women/" target="_blank">Max Mara Art Prize for Women</a>, awarded every two years to an artist based in the United Kingdom, is an initiative of the Italian fashion brand Max Mara, in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery in London. The fashion house is known for its passion for art: Achille Maramotti, the founder of the company, started collecting in the 1960s. Today <a href="http://www.collezionemaramotti.org/it/Home-Page" target="_blank">Collezione Maramotti</a>, housed in the former Max Mara HQ in Reggio Emilia, is of museum-like quality and is open to visitors. In 2005, the foundation launched the Art Prize for Women.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206190420-Iwona_Blazwick__Whitechapel_Gallery___Emma_Hart__Marina_Dacci__Collezione_Maramotti_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Iwona Blazwick (Whitechapel Gallery), Emma Hart, and Marina Dacci (Collezione Maramotti) at the 2016 Prize Announcement<br />Whitechapel Gallery, February 3, 2016.&nbsp;&nbsp;Photo: &copy; Dan Weill</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Max Mara is a brand of women&rsquo;s clothes, so it seemed natural to support female artists,&rdquo; explains Marina Dacci, director of Collezione Maramotti. &ldquo;We wanted to support them, as the art world is still largely a male world. We want to offer different points of view. Women see the complexities of the world in different way. Their work is not only about the head, but also about the body and feelings.&rdquo; Of the focus on UK-based artists, Dacci says, &ldquo;London is a very exciting context for a prize. It is a very mixed place, with artists from all over the world. From the previous editions, there was only one British artist. And the prize always had a big impact on their career. That was definitely the case with Laure Provoust, who also won the Turner Prize, and Andrea B&uuml;ttner, whose work was shown in the last Documenta.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The prize has a long process. Every edition has a new jury with each member selecting four to five artists. The winner receives a six-month residency in Italy (the chosen location reflects the artist&rsquo;s proposal). The final result, including artwork and a catalogue, is shown in Whitechapel Gallery and in the Collezione Maramotti, where the work will also be acquired by the foundation. &ldquo;We give the artists carte blanche,&rdquo; says Dacchi, &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t know what the result will be. We share the process and invest in the artist. It is a profound experience. It is six months, not just three weeks!&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206190638-Image_7.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Emma Hart, Installation view of <em>Emma Hart: Giving It All That</em> at Folkestone Triennial, 2014. Photo: Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and Folkestone Triennial</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Emma Hart, winner of the 2016 edition, is over the moon, and believes the time and space the residency provides will benefit her practice immensely: &ldquo;I never really left London, so it&rsquo;ll be an artistic and personal adventure. I am so happy to be able to focus on my art and to do research for more than six months. In London, I always feel I am in a rush.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Hart works with various media like ceramics, video, and photography, but also sound. She often departs from personal experiences. Her residency will be divided over several places in Italy. In Milan, she will research the method of family therapy developed by the psychiatrist Mara Selvini Palazzoli. In Todi, she will delve more into the history of Alighiero Boetti and in Faenza, Ravenna, she will study the local practice of ceramics at Museo Carlo Zauli,&nbsp;a renowned institution focusing on the medium.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">How will all these sources come together in the new work, which will be on view during her solo show in Whitechapel Gallery in 2017? &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know yet. I am not the kind of artist who thinks too much about a work before making it. I hope it will be a new way to relate to art. It will definitely consist of images and ceramics.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206190824-Image_8.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Emma Hart, Installation view of <em>Emma Hart: Dirty Looks</em> at Camden Arts Centre, 2013. Courtesy the artist</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Max Mara Art Prize for Women is, without doubt, a noble initiative. But doesn&rsquo;t such a prize put female artists in a separate category, instead of acknowledging their place in the larger art world? &ldquo;You would hope that in 2016, we do not need a prize for women anymore,&rdquo; responds Hart. &ldquo;But women are certainly still underrepresented in the commercial and institutional art world. I also teach and the majority of my students are female. So it just doesn&rsquo;t make sense. There is definitely a problem and not just in the art world. Such a prize won&rsquo;t fix the inequality. But at least it gets people to talk about it.&rdquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;To illustrate Hart's point, look no further than the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Max Mara Prize's 2011 recipient, Laure&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Prouvost, who won the Turner Prize in 2013. Prouvost is only the sixth woman to win the famed award in its thirty-plus-year history.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Hannah Rickards, who won the Max Mara Art Prize in 2008, agrees: &ldquo;If you look at various data, like gallery representation or auction prices, it is clear that it is not an equal situation. It might be moving in the right direction, but we are still not there yet. Prizes like these put the subject on the table. Even the question of its necessity is valuable. It is an invitation to discuss.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/377999-sam-steverlynck?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Sam Steverlynck</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Portait of Emma Hart. Photo: Thierry Bal. Courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery, London)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 09:57:01 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Sundance Report: How Filmmakers Are Using Virtual Reality to Promote Social and Environmental Awareness <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Sundance Institute's influential artistic program, <a href="https://www.sundance.org/newfrontier10">New Frontier</a>, a milestone which is being feted with the most extensive programming yet. Described as &ldquo;a revolution a decade in the making,&rdquo; the 2016 celebrations began at the Sundance Film Festival (January 21&ndash;31) with an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sundance.org/festivals/sundance-film-festival/program/NFF-guide">exhibition</a> of over 30 virtual reality pieces alongside 11 artwork installations, a performance work, and three feature films, and continues later this year with events at MoMA in New York and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Recognizing that film, art, and technology sit together at a highly creative intersection, New Frontier was created in 2007 as a platform for independent artists working across diverse media, dedicated to pioneering new methods of storytelling. With a focus on promoting emerging technologies, the development of virtual reality and immersive cinema has been central to growth of the New Frontier program and <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/41924">in recent years works of this genre have dominated the annual exhibition</a> at the Sundance Film Festival.</span><img style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206125331-10_NomadsSeaGypsies_still1_BajauLaut__bycFelixPaulStudios.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>Nomads: Sea Gypsies&nbsp;</em>(F&eacute;lix Lajeunesse and Paul Rapha&euml;l). Credit: FelixPaul Studios</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206125216-2_NotesonBlindnessIntoDarkness_still2_FeelingTheWind__byDR.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Notes on Blindness - Into Darkness </em>(Arnaud Colinart, Amaury Laburthe, Peter Middleton &amp; James Spinney). Credit: DR</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As technology makes exponential leaps and bounds year to year, the possibilities of its application are unfolding, seemingly infinitely. Some artists are choosing to highlight socially, culturally, and politically charged subject matter through documentary works and immersive journalism while others are advancing the purview of video games through thrilling experiences and flawless evocations of other worlds. From a day in the life of the <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/nomads-maasai">Maasai</a> in the Great Rift Valley or the Bajau <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/nomads-sea-gypsies">sea gypsies</a> in Borneo in F&eacute;lix Lajeunesse and Paul Rapha&euml;l's transfixing live-action series <em>Nomads</em>; to an interactive universe of cosmic calm in Ben Vance&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/irrational-exuberance"><em>Irrational Exuberance</em></a>; or a world beyond sight in James Spinney and Peter Middleton's <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/notes-on-blindness">feature length film</a> and a <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/notes-on-blindness-into-darkness">VR experience</a> for <em>Notes on</em> <em>Blindness, </em>the ability of these artists to bring their audience to other places and into people&rsquo;s lives is extraordinarily powerful.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206125457-3_theBluEncounter_still2_NA__byNA.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>TheBlu Encounter </em>(Jake Rowell, Neville Spiteri, and Ben Vance). Credit: WEVR</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">One persistent theme at Sundance is that, as a medium for storytelling, virtual reality has a capacity to promote empathy. As such, artists, activists, advocates, and film- and documentary-makers alike are adopting immersive media like VR as a means of addressing subjects to which we may have become desensitized. Environmental as well as social and humanitarian issues featured heavily in New Frontier 2016 programming. Among the works promoting environmental awareness, <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/theblu-encounter"><em>TheBlu: Encounter</em></a> (Jake Rowell, Ben Vance) brings you eye-to-eye in a moving encounter with an 80-foot blue whale; <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/condition-one"><em>Condition One</em></a> (Danfung Dennis, Casey Brown, Phil McNally) parachutes you into the wilderness of the jungle, the solitude of the ocean and the vastness of the plains alongside endangered species; and the 360-degree virtual reality film experience <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/in-the-eyes-of-the-animal"><em>In the Eyes of the Animal</em></a> (Marshmallow Laser Feast: Barnaby Steel, Robin McNicholas) lets you experience the world through the eyes of four different forest creatures. Barnaby Steel, co-creator of <em>in </em>the <em>Eyes of the Animal, </em>explains how using VR as a first person perspective medium is &ldquo;the ultimate way to hack someone's senses,&rdquo; and that using it to &ldquo;immerse someone in the sights and sounds of animals creates empathy by simulating the way that others sense the world.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206131533-7_Kiya_still2_Kiya2__byScreenshot2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Kiya </em>(Nonny de la Pe&ntilde;a)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This year artists and advocates chose to bring social and humanitarian issues to the fore in powerful ways. New Frontier regular Chris Milk collaborated with Gabo Arora, senior advisor to the UN and an award-winning filmmaker, to produce the live-action documentary <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/waves-of-grace"><em>Waves of Grace</em></a><em>, </em>with the aim of raising awareness about ongoing conditions in Liberia and combatting donor fatigue following the Ebola crisis. A number of documentary works fall into the category of <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/immersive-journalism">immersive journalism</a>, a reportage phenomenon which uses virtual reality and 3D environments to convey the sights, sounds, and feelings of news, documentary and non-fiction as though it were first person experience. The term was initially coined by New Frontier veteran Nonny de la Pe&ntilde;a, who has pioneered the user of new media to tell real stories in a way that will engage a young audience. This year De la Pe&ntilde;a continues her exploration into immersive journalism with <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/kiya"><em>Kiya</em></a>, a harrowing reconstruction of a real-life domestic abuse event captured on a 911 call, and <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/across-the-line"><em>Across the Line</em></a>, with Brad Lichtenstein and Jeff Fitzsimmons, which employs a montage of real audio and video footage to immerse us on the frontline of extremist anti-abortion demonstrations. Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton of <em>The Guardian</em> created&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/6x9-an-immersive-experience-of-solitary-confinement"><em>6 x 9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement</em></a> combining a shocking list of facts with VR storytelling techniques to explore the psychological damage of solitary incarceration. With the <em>New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2015/nytvr/">jumping into the arena</a>, as it did last fall by distributing one million cardboard virtual reality devices as part of the launch of its VR content, more widespread adoption of immersive journalism is not unimaginably far off. The fact that New Frontier has been a launch pad for works such as those by de la Pe&ntilde;a and <em>The Guardian</em> prove its influence as a platform for generating ideas about documentary and journalistic communication.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206131452-8_6x9animmersiveexperienceofsolitaryconfinement_still2_SolitaryConfinement2__byTheMillAlexPurcell.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>6 x 9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement&nbsp;</em>(Francesca Panetta, Lindsay Poulton, and Carl Addey) Credit: The Mill and Alex Purcell</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Other vital topical issues addressed at Sundance include racial discrimination and police shootings, both of which are the focus of Janicza Bravo's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/hard-world-for-small-things"><em>Hard World for Small Things</em></a>, set in a tight-knit community of South Los Angeles, and Rose Troche and Morris May's <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/perspective-chapter-2-the-misdemeanor"><em>Perspective 2: The Misdemeanour</em></a>. Both works drop the viewer into the scene of a police shooting, where they experience powerlessness and confusion as seemingly mundane everyday events escalate into violent acts and potentially loss of life. Covering some similar subject matter, Kahlil Joseph's two-channel film <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/double-conscience"><em>Double Conscience</em></a> delivers us into a fervid dreamlike state of uncertainty in contemporary Compton, California, accompanied by a soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar. Where a work like <em>Through the Eyes of the Animal</em> cites the power of the first person viewpoint to promote empathy, Bravo and Morris and May instead use multiple perspectives to capture our fallibility and the ambiguity of reality. By allowing us to experience multiple perspectives, these works question the authority of narrative, and the notion of any single truth: the fact that we are present is not a guarantee that we see what really truly happens.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206174215-1_IntheEyesoftheAnimal_still6_byLucaMarziale.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>In the Eyes&nbsp;</em>of&nbsp;<em>the Animal&nbsp;</em>(Barnaby Steel, Robin McNicholas). Credit: Luca Marziale</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">With the question of how artists are choosing to tell stories also comes the question of how they reach their audience. Many of these VR works are accessed via Oculus Rift, a headset that combines audio and video creating a navigable 360-degree world. The team behind <em>Eyes of the Animal</em> offered an alternative experience, creating a custom all-enveloping, sculptural headset. In terms of effectiveness, the headsets can feel cumbersome, while the act of tracking back and forth to see your full range can be dizzying, the perspective can be off, and you can hear the crowd around you, which can be distracting. Yet, once you are immersed it is genuinely possible to suspend disbelief. Works such as <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/the-leviathan-project"><em>The Leviathan Project</em></a>&nbsp;(Alex McDowell and Bradley Newman) and <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/real-virtuality-immersive-explorers"><em>Real Virtuality: Immersive</em> <em>Explorers</em></a>&nbsp;(Sylvain Chagu&eacute; and Caecilia Charbonnier) go a step further and are fully interactive, tracking your movements via sensors on your hands and feet; they set tasks involving 3D objects (glorious on screen, mundane in reality) for you to pick up as you navigate your way through their brightly imagined worlds. Whether you love or hate an experience, the impact is often forceful: people laugh, smile, call out&mdash;one viewer even dropped to the floor in apparent shock when watching <em>Across the Line</em>. As an audience we are becoming less inhibited, more confident in how to interact with the experiences.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206131329-9_WalkingtheLine_still3_KristinaNailen__byJeffFitzsimmons.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Across the</em>&nbsp;<em>Line&nbsp;</em>(Nonny de la Pe&ntilde;a, Brad Lichtenstein, and Jeff Fitzsimmons). Credit: Jeff Fitzsimmons</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The question, however, of how to democratize VR and allow people access on a wider scale is key. Most people have never had the opportunity to even try it. In a huge move to make the New Frontier works accessible, a number are accessible <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=immersive.com.sundancevr">via an app</a> and, bypassing the need for expensive headsets, Google cardboard headsets to which you attach your own smartphone were also handed out to allow you to view cinematic virtual reality anywhere you choose. The viability of this, as with the <em>New York Times </em>campaign, as a means of bringing VR experiences out of the traditional museum or cinema environment and into our own homes is still unclear, but it will be interesting to watch progress. With so much energy directed towards the world of VR it is probably a fair assumption that the technical solutions for access to this kind of material will get better and better.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206130201-11_Collisions_still3_LynetteWallworthandNolaTaylor__byPeteBrundle.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Collisions</em> (Lynette Wallworth). Credit: Pete Brundle</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Sundance Institute and Jaunt Studios recently established a cinematic <a href="https://www.sundance.org/blogs/news/launch-of-new-frontier-jaunt-vr-residency">virtual reality residency program</a> designed to fund and showcase artists on the cutting edge of technology and storytelling. Jaunt explain that unlike cinema, photography and other media, &ldquo;there is still no established language for virtual reality,&rdquo; and the residency will allow artists to work directly with Jaunt to navigate the technical hurdles and devise solutions specific to their stories. Lynette Wallworth was the first artist to receive support through the residency for <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/collisions"><em>Collisions</em></a>, a work which examines the clash of Aboriginal and Western cultures in rural Australia, and between traditional world views and cutting edge technology. In keeping with the Sundance Institute's ethos of independent thinking, this program will ideally provide a haven from commercial incentives, where technical innovation can be driven by artistic, creative, or narrative ideas.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The progress sought by the artists of New Frontier may just be the next logical step forward both in sensory understanding and creative departure. Honoring that the program is couched in a tradition of change, the New Frontier anniversary celebrates storytelling as &ldquo;an ancient practice that continues to reflect and shape the way we experience our world&rdquo; just as it has done throughout history: &ldquo;from oral traditions and paintings on cave walls to radio transmissions and film.&rdquo; This point is beautifully referenced in Chris Milk's <a href="http://www.sundance.org/projects/the-treachery-of-sanctuary"><em>Treachery of Sanctuary</em></a>, one of the biggest crowd-draws on display this year. A large-scale interactive triptych inspired by the prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux, the piece parallels the universal human experience with that of the creative process and references age-old themes of rebirth and redemption. As participants move through the three phases of the triptych finding freedom of expression and realizing their own transfiguration, the work &ldquo;picks up where we left off dancing in caves 40,000 ago, cultivating primal human experiences with new technology.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160206130442-4_FestivalAtmosphere_TheTreacheryofSanctuary_AbbeyHoekzema_0539.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Treachery of Sanctuary</em> installation view at Sundance Film Festival (Chris Milk). Credit: &copy; 2016 Sundance Institute. Photo by Abbey Hoekzema</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The 10th anniversary of New Frontier is powerful testament to how artists are using new media to make a more direct connection between subject matter and audience, and to engage today&rsquo;s pertinent social, political, and environmental issues. Interactive media and virtual reality have a profound capacity to implicate the viewer, introduce us to new worlds, widen our perspectives, inspire empathy and compassion, and create a call to action. Their pursuit just might be the next logical level of artistic and scientific enquiry, vital to understanding how we perceive and think in relation to others and the rapidly globalizing world around us. Despite expected growing pains, the language and the technology continue to evolve, and as the adoption of storytelling forms like immersive journalism and VR grows, there is great promise that these works will find a means of reaching a wider audience.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The New Frontier 10th anniversary program continues with </span></em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Slithering Screens</span><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> at MoMA in New York, opening in April, and an exhibition organized with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis as part of <a href="http://2015.northernspark.org/">Northern Spark</a> in June.</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/414240-antonia-ward?tab=REVIEWS">Antonia Ward</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top:&nbsp;<em>In the Eyes&nbsp;</em>of&nbsp;<em>the Animal&nbsp;</em>(Barnaby Steel, Robin McNicholas). Credit: Luca Marziale)</span></p> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:01:50 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list In Fact and Fiction, Almagul Menlibayeva Imagines Kazakhstan's Repressed Cultural History Today <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Kazakhstan is caught between worlds. A prominent part of Alexander the Great&rsquo;s Hellenistic Empire, the territory served as a middle ground between east and west&mdash;a crossroads where traders, warlords, and conquerors projected their will, forever altering the landscape and people of the region. Most recently the 60-year Soviet occupation, which ended in 1991, left an indelible mark on the Central Asian nation.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Kazakh video artist Almagul Menlibayeva unpacks the mixed cultural and political history, and the aftereffects, of that brutal period. Her first US solo show <em>My Silk Road to You</em>, currently on view at Art Lex&iuml;ng in Miami, Florida, brings together a series of still images from an eponymous video work, meant to interrogate the harsh policies that left her homeland ravaged and discarded by the wayside. Though taken from a video project, the images on display stand on their own.</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160204121212-Menlibayeva_2010pr_em_Tengri__1_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Extending from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Aral Mountains in the east, Kazakhstan once served as a trade hub for nomadic Persian and Turan tribes. Later, as a stop on the Northern Silk Road, the region flourished with an influx of commerce, and these centuries of exchange bore a vibrant cultural life. That was all quickly squashed as more than a half century of central planning from its Soviet overlord, who promoted industrialization and societal uniformity, took hold.</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">After the fall of the Iron Curtain the country&rsquo;s industry collapsed and the society was left in limbo. Coming of age in that milieu, Menlibayeva witnessed the crippling effects firsthand. In her native region of Transoxiana the environmental consequences were particularly pernicious. After most of its water was funneled to Russian factories, the once verdant landscape was left barren and its nomadic tribal people out in the cold. Menlibayeva addressed these concerns in her film,<em> Transoxiana Dreams</em>, screened at MoMA PS1 in 2013. The narrative tells the fantastical story of a young fisherman&rsquo;s daughter experiencing the cataclysmic outcomes of environmental devastation.</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160204121608-Menlibayeva_2009pr_em_Exodus_5__1_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In <em>My Silk Road to You</em>, the artist celebrates the multifarious roots of Kazakh culture. Shamanism, Islam, and mythic symbolism all blend together along with images of brightly colored silk prints and costumes, vestiges of a heritage strictly repressed by the Soviets. The body of work is less an indictment than a celebration of tradition. &ldquo;The indigenous Kazakh people are becoming their own after 80 years of Soviet domination and cultural genocide,&rdquo; the artist says.</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The desolate landscape that serves as the backdrop for most of her still photography is a haunting reminder of ravages of the last century. Yet, the striking figures she places front and center are a testament to the possibilities of the future. These models aren&rsquo;t victims of the overwhelming adversity they face, they&rsquo;re stalwart in their heritage, finding strength in a newfound cultural freedom.</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160204121444-Menlibayeva_2010pr_em_Butterfly.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The images are also delicate and beautiful. Standing in contrast to the harsh realities of the region, Menlibayeva chooses fantasy to tell her story. Centaurs, warlocks, and other beings mix with the documentary footage of the region. Blending these elements together is more than just an artistic flourish; it is as if her construction of a vivid imaginary world filled with otherworldly beings is a defense mechanism, permanently shielding the victims from the cruel truth of their existence.</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Menlibayeva is reaching back to extract the most salient aspects of her nation&rsquo;s past, long obscured by outside forces, to construct a new image of modern day Kazakhstan</span><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Major European artists at the end of the nineteenth century were also interested in constructing cultural archetypes in response to growing nationalist trends. Menlibayeva is similarly digging through years of repression to find and visually represent the true essence of her homeland.</span></span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Yet, her use of literal fantasy mixed with documentary footage suggests that it&rsquo;s all for naught. Despite an artist&rsquo;s best attempts at rendering the true substance of a nation, any attempt will fall short of actual truth. In place of trying to objectively depict Kazakhstan, she prefers the fantastical imagery that&rsquo;s endemic to the nation within her own consciousness.</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Neil Vazquez</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(All images:&nbsp;Almagul Menlibayeva, Photographs from the series&nbsp;<em>My Silk Road to You</em>. Courtesy of the artist and ART LEX&Iuml;NG, Miami)</span></p> <p class="Body" style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 16:34:43 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Great Art Reduced to Origins in <em>What about Africa?</em> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>What about Africa?</em>, at Witteveen Visual Art Centre in Amsterdam, is an exhibition with top-notch art on display. At the same time, its concept is highly problematic. The show brings together works by fourteen artists, who have little in common besides being African. They hail from countries like Morocco, South Africa, Benin, and Kenya&mdash;places removed from each other by the full length and breadth of a vast continent. In terms of social background, national history, or ethnicity the participants are as much alike as an Icelander and an Albanian. Still, in this show they appear lumped together as if Africa were a homogeneous &ldquo;country&rdquo;&mdash;as it still is in many people&rsquo;s minds.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There&rsquo;s no reason to doubt the curator&rsquo;s noble intentions. Rob Perr&eacute;e got interested in African-American art some twenty years ago. With nothing short of missionary zeal he has been promoting art from Africa and the African diaspora, through exhibitions, publications and, for the last two years, his website <a href="http://africanah.org/" target="_blank">Africanah.org</a>. His efforts have been met with very little response here in the Netherlands, however, which he attributes to the fact that the county&rsquo;s most recognized colonial history is largely South-American (Surinam) and Asian (Indonesia), and not African as it is in France or the UK.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160203112230-GopalDinner_with_poultries_150x150cm_-Acrylic_and_pastel_on_canvas_-__2015__2_.jpeg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Gopal Dagnogo,&nbsp;<em>Dinner with poultries</em>, 2015</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160203112337-ZBhimji_20x16_300dpi-DaDa.jpeg" alt="" width="600" /></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Zarina Bhimji,&nbsp;<em>Da-Da</em>, 2001&ndash;2006</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">International recognition of African artists has been slow, not just in the Netherlands. <em>Magiciens de la Terre</em> (1989) at Centre Pompidou famously brought non-western contemporary art, including African, to the attention of a broader audience, though not without missteps. Since then several prominent shows have attempted making a dent in western dominance of the art arena, most notably <em>Documenta 11</em> (2002). Its director, Okwui Enwezor, also curated <em>Snap Judgments</em> (2006), an overview of new African photography, which made it to the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 2008. But not much else has been available in the Netherlands, except for shows of inconsistent quality by a few specialized galleries such as <a href="http://www.sbk.nl/index.php?r=site/page&amp;view=exposities&amp;tijd=vestiging&amp;locatie=7" target="_blank">Galerie 23</a> and <a href="http://www.galeriesanaa.nl/" target="_blank">Sanaa</a>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This lack of exposure breeds indifference and encourages misapprehensions to fester. The fact that Southern Africa has a lively gallery scene, non-profit art spaces flourish in Cotonou, Cairo, Lagos, and Douala, and the continent hosts at least four biennials of international repute, is easily overlooked, or simply unknown.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Reason enough to take counteractive measures, no doubt. But with a presentation like <em>What about Africa?</em> there&rsquo;s a real risk of preaching to the choir; if attendance at the exhibition&rsquo;s&nbsp;opening is any indicator, the show might reach some people not familiar with contemporary African art, but likely not many. The less receptive viewers, the crowd Perr&eacute;e is purportedly targeting, will probably ignore the show, exactly because of its emphasis on the participants&rsquo; origin. Furthermore, the broad &ldquo;African&rdquo; rubric applied to the show may even backfire: applied to such diverse artists, the label reinforces novelty and otherness through the measure of geography, rather than suggesting the artists be evaluated by any number of criteria the way their northern peers are.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160203111642-Thierry_Oussou_Trace_XII_2015.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Thierry Oussou,&nbsp;<em>Trace XII</em>, 2015</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Perr&eacute;e himself identifies another danger of highlighting African artists as such. &ldquo;African art is threatening to become popular,&rdquo; he writes in the show&rsquo;s catalogue. So Thierry Oussou (1988) or Phoebe Boswell (1982) might become the next hot young &amp; new thing on the art market, to be hyped, squeezed and eventually ditched? That would be a waste of talent for sure, but these young Africans have as much right to be successful/exploited as their European or American counterparts&mdash;indeed, <a href="http://www.artnews.com/2015/08/25/jute-sack-artworks-are-at-the-center-of-simchowitz-lawsuit-against-venice-biennale-artist/">some already are</a>. Moreover, their older colleagues in <em>What about Africa?</em>&mdash;Meschac Gaba, William Kentridge, but also the rather young Omar Victor Diop&mdash;have proven that as an African artist you can enjoy a steady market value and not succumb at the hands of art speculators.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A bubble and a subsequent burst like the market for contemporary Chinese art experienced a couple of years ago, is unlikely to happen to African art. There simply aren&rsquo;t enough artists to sustain it. And the artists achieving the quality and output level necessary for the international market are highly individualistic. In China, contemporary art boils down to three or four major movements, making the market at once deeper and more narrow. But it&rsquo;s hard to imagine Gopal Dagnogo&rsquo;s chaotic, lively, and slightly disturbing brand of painting to evolve into a school, or Zarina Bhimji&rsquo;s inquisitive photographs of stark interiors. They are just too personal and specific.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160203111148-Nour-Eddine_Jarram_Zonder_Titel_2015_3__Neu.jpeg" alt="" height="450" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160203111228-HamidElKabouhi_detailinstallationNest_2015.jpeg" alt="" height="450" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(left)&nbsp;Nour-Eddine Jarram,&nbsp;<em>Untitled</em>, 2015<br />(right)&nbsp;Hamid El Kanbouchi,&nbsp;<em>mal din dymak/What the fuck is with the religion of your mother</em>, 2015, Detail from installation at Nest, The Hague</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">That&rsquo;s also what makes reviewing a show like <em>What about Africa?</em>&mdash;its title ringing somewhere between rhetorical and hesitant&mdash;an almost impossible task. The works all have their own merits&mdash;from Nour-Eddine Jarram&rsquo;s exquisite watercolors to the in-your-face quality of Hamid El Kanbouchi&rsquo;s painted installation of Kalashnikov-toting women in burqas. But the artists represent fourteen completely different positions. This is not a show with great African art. It&rsquo;s a show with great art, period. And it should be presented as such, concentrating on the content rather than its origins.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/356010-edo-dijksterhuis?tab=REVIEWS">Edo Dijksterhuis</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Omar Victor Diop, <em>Ikhlas Khan Diaspora series,&nbsp;</em>2015. All images:&nbsp;Courtesy of the Artist and Witteveen Visual Art Centre, Amsterdam)</span><br /></span></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:03:37 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Help This Artist Fight for Reproductive Justice in Texas—by Picking Up a Needle and Thread <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">On March 2, 2016, the Supreme Court will hear the most important reproductive rights case in nearly a quarter century. The justices will weigh the legality of an underhanded and medically unnecessary 2013 Texas law that would shut down 75 percent of the state&rsquo;s abortion clinics, leaving just 10, or fewer, women&rsquo;s health clinics providing abortion services. The requirements of the law, known as HB2, are partially in effect today, and only 19 of the 42 clinics open in 2013 are currently in operation. At stake are the rights and access of 5.4 million women of reproductive age to safe and legal abortion care.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">That&rsquo;s 5.4 million women across the nation&rsquo;s second-most-populous state: how can the public understand the scope of this threat&mdash;to them, and to the reproductive rights of women more broadly&mdash;and show support? In 2015, Brooklyn-based artist Chi Nguyen visited Texas&rsquo; Rio Grande Valley with the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she works as a graphic designer.&nbsp;There she met women organizing on the front lines of the fight for their right to reproductive health care. Inspired by this experience and the imminent&nbsp;Supreme Court case, <em><a href="http://www.reproductiverights.org/case/whole-womans-health-v-hellerstedt" target="_blank">Whole Woman&rsquo;s Health v. Hellerstedt</a></em>, she initiated the collaborative project <em><a href="http://whatchidid.com/post/138280380064/on-march-2nd-2016-the-united-states-supreme" target="_blank">5.4 Million and Counting</a></em>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In partnership with the&nbsp;<a href="http://textileartscenter.com/index.php?route=common/home" target="_blank">Textile Arts Center</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reproductiverights.org/" target="_blank">Center for Reproductive Rights</a>, <em>5.4 Million and Counting</em> is a work of art and activism in which Nguyen and contributors nationwide will collectively embroider 5.4 million stitches. These will ultimately be shaped into a quilt in what Nguyen calls &ldquo;an homage to the Rio Grande Valley and the 5.4 million Texan women of reproductive age whose right to safe and legal abortion is at risk.&rdquo; On March 2, Nguyen and collaborators from the Textile Arts Center will travel with the quilt to Washington D.C. for a rally to protect abortion access.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">When asked whether she located her project in the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craftivism" target="_blank">craftivism</a> tradition, a form of activism that incorporates &ldquo;domestic arts&rdquo; like needlework,&nbsp;Nguyen cited political activist, artist, and writer Toni Cade Bambara: &ldquo;The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible.&rdquo; &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what I believe craftivism can do,&rdquo; she continued, &ldquo;With the <em>5.4 Million and Counting</em> project, I hope the public will use the quilt as a stepping stone to learn more about the Supreme Court case and the condition of reproductive health care in the U.S. today.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Materially, the patchwork quilt will also symbolize the unity and support people across the United States have for Texan women and abortion access. But there is a contradiction to the medium as well. &ldquo;The quilt implies a sense of comfort, safety, and security, yet the lack of access to safe and legal abortion care is anything but,&rdquo; says the artist.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160201162402-DTL_How_to_Submit_Rectangle_Small.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Later this month <a href="http://textileartscenter.com/blog/5-4-million-and-counting-embroidery-project-with-chi-nguyen/" target="_blank">collaborative stitch-in events</a> will be held at Textile Arts Center studios in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where members of the public are invited to embroider lines or help sew together completed swatches that will become the quilt. Those outside the New York area can participate by sending in their own 10 by 10 inch swatches with as many tally marks (卌) as they would like to embroider. The project joins other gestures of solidarity and taking a stand in the Center for Reproductive Rights&rsquo; <a href="http://www.drawtheline.org/" target="_blank">Draw the Line</a> campaign.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Nguyen says of participants:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>5.4 Million and Counting</em> is a very public and collaborative process so I don&rsquo;t want to dictate where someone&rsquo;s journey begins or ends. Some might want to embroider one line and others might want to embroider all 5.4 million. I think that&rsquo;s the beauty of it. When we surpass the original number, we ourselves become &lsquo;<em>and Counting.</em>&rsquo; </span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Does she have a personal goal for how many stitches she wants to make?&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;As many lines as it will take to raise awareness for the women in Texas, and to show the Supreme Court that their decision won&rsquo;t just affect Texan women but all women across the United States.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Indeed, what&rsquo;s at stake is much greater than Texan women&rsquo;s access to reproductive health care and abortion providers. If the court rules in favor of HB2, the law, which demands clinics comply with targeted and often unattainable regulations, could become a template for limiting abortion access across the country.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Aware of the significance, s</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">upporters of overturning the law will head to D.C. for the March 2 rally timed with the opening of oral arguments. Outside the Supreme Court, Nguyen and Textile Arts Center collaborators will hold an open stitch-in, embroidering throughout the rally from 8 am until noon. If all 5.4 millions lines are completed before or during the rally, the quilt will be used as a banner to show the Supreme Court the public support for abortion access.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160201162523-TXAfterHB2.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Texas after HB2. Courtesy of the <a href="http://www.reproductiverights.org/protectabortionaccess" target="_blank">Center for Reproductive Rights</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>5.4 Million and Counting</em>&nbsp;is only complete once all 5.4 million stitches have been embroidered.&nbsp;Thus, there is no clear end date for the project&mdash;a construct Nguyen, whose practice often incorporates endurance and performance, has worked with in the past.&nbsp;&ldquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I like the open-endedness of duration performance,&rdquo; she says,&nbsp;&ldquo;the piece is only finished when you have gone through every necessary step, physically or emotionally.&rdquo; Nguyen says her favorite aspect of</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;durational performance is the commitment: &ldquo;the commitment to yourself, your subject, and your audience. It is a conscious effort to carve out time and space to explore an emotion or idea unquestioned and unrestricted.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Just as the duration of the project remains open-ended, is also unclear what form the final quilt will take. When asked to speculate on its magnitude, she used her first sampler&mdash;a 10-by-10-inch swatch containing 500 lines&mdash;to do some arithmetic. Assuming that swatch were average, there would be around 10,800 swatches to sew together, with the final quilt measuring around 86 by 86 feet, or a third of a football field.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While that nebulous final form may be the sum of the work, it is in the process, its collective accumulation of millions of embodied gestures where the project will really come together:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For the <em>5.4 Million and Counting</em> project, I&rsquo;m most excited to see the range in the aesthetics of the fabric and embroidery. All different personalities will shine through and the quilt will become a collective object. The different aesthetics are also illustrative of the range of women&mdash;across the U.S. and the globe&mdash;who are harmed by these attacks on reproductive health care.&nbsp; All women need access to safe, legal, compassionate care. This quilt won&rsquo;t belong to me but to all of us.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For more information on public stitch-in sessions in the New York City area, as well as instructions on how to participate if you cannot join the public stitch-ins, visit the project page on <a href="http://textileartscenter.com/blog/5-4-million-and-counting-embroidery-project-with-chi-nguyen/" target="_blank">Textile Arts Center website</a>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/95201-andrea-alessi?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Andrea Alessi</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>ArtSlant would like to thank Chi Nguyen and Jennifer Miller of The Center for Reproductive Rights for their assistance.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">(Unless otherwise specified, images courtesy of Chi Nguyen)</span></span></p> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 20:10:07 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list It’s the Best of Times, It's the Worst of Times: Making the Political Palatable <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">At 6:50 pm on opening night, a ladder is still out in the middle of the gallery floor. Frederick Guerrero stands nearby, co-founder of Slow Culture and co-organizer of the finale show at its current Highland Park spot, set to begin at his space in less than ten minutes: <em>What A Time To Be Alive</em>.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Atop the ladder sits Adi Rajkovic of Sunday gallery, who is busy helping to align a piece with floral lettering that will soon spell the phrase &ldquo;SAY HER NAME,&rdquo; as others around her either tidy up or skateboard around the space that is lined with a truly multimedia&mdash;if not hodgepodge&mdash;display of works arranged along two parallel walls.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127113834-GNAR9977.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Guerrero leads me straight toward the back door, to a cement-lined outdoor space where a crude bar will later serve up free Pabst.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The partnership between Slow Culture and Sunday is a first for both galleries, who joined forces in an effort to integrate their distinct networks of artists, collaborators, and patrons and talk about &ldquo;social issues and current events.&rdquo; According to the show&rsquo;s press release: &ldquo;<em>WATTBA</em> is a critique and celebration of the modern world; solidarity and political platforms through social media, the emergence and importance of contemporary pop culture; the distrust of institutions, and the instigation of meaningful conversation between all people.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;It's two galleries' perspective on this topic,&rdquo; said Guerrero, taking a seat outside, away from the last-minute chaos.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;I wasn't always in [this] position, with the gallery, where we had this platform where we're, like, saying something,&rdquo; Guerrero said, &ldquo;I think for the artists, it's about choice and that they're using their talents, their artworks, their platform to say something about something&mdash;about these topics.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The group show features work from over eighty artists, each chosen based on how their work relates to the rather all-encompassing theme that evolved as more artists joined the roster. &ldquo;I guess ideally [the show] is about [social justice] but it's also how&hellip;those things are more prevalent because of internet.&rdquo; As Guerrero puts it, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the best of times, it's the worst of times.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127113910-GNAR0003.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Adi Rajkovic sits down to chat after finishing up inside. It&rsquo;s now minutes past the hour and there are people forming a long line at the front door.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The concept for <em>WATTBA</em> has been rattling around in her brain since she was thrust out of the college bubble at CalArts and, even before that, when she worked as an intern for far-left Pacifica Radio during high school in her hometown of Houston. Later as a post-grad in Los Angeles Rajkovic&nbsp;did research centered around the death penalty and mass incarceration, subjects that &ldquo;have always really, really fucked me up,&rdquo; she said.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;I started just, I don't know,&rdquo; she paused, &ldquo;I started feeling really empty, or something, like, not doing anything and then all of a sudden I decided to start paying attention to the news and the world around me.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Sunday began two years ago in Rajkovic&rsquo;s living room with music and art shows as an all-around DIY community space; now, she and her co-founders also offer free art classes to the kids in her neighborhood who are affected by gentrification. &ldquo;I've become so tight with these kids who live next door,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I'm just trying to change the things that I can immediately around me.&rdquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Part of the problem, according to Rajkovic, is lack of interaction among class groups: &ldquo;People are living in unnecessary exile of each other because that's how we're set up, taught to fear and hate each other,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;Why can't I interact with the people in my neighborhood? Why are there these boundaries between us?&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">At its heart, <em>WATTBA</em> fractures the rigid duality of the internet as a great force of both good and bad and brings forth the notion that with its great power comes great, and perhaps great<em>er</em>, responsibility. A smartphone grants those of us with enough privilege the world&rsquo;s information at the tip of our fingers. Now what are we going to do with it?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127113949-GNAR0192.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Not even half an hour into the night and the room was bursting at the seams. At a table set up amid the bustling crowd sat members from the LA chapter of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots volunteer-based prison abolitionist organization founded by Angela Davis, among others.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;At a show like this, at a gallery that's gentrifying the neighborhood and where you have a lot of different people from a lot of different class backgrounds and a lot of different racial backgrounds, this is an opportunity to talk to people who are usually not present at those organizing meetings and at those organizing tables and who aren't usually at the forefront of the fight,&rdquo; said Chaandni Raat of Critical Resistance. &ldquo;[The goal] is to get people to see that they have a stake in this too and that they are also responsible for dismantling these systems that are not working,&rdquo; said Raat.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;These are communities we haven't really been able to collaborate with so kind of the most radical work that we can do is infusing these worlds,&rdquo; confirmed Ru Struct, also with Critical Resistance.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127115157-GNAR0141.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Slow Culture tapped into their network of usual corporate sponsors including Vans, Huf, The Hundreds, Obey, Altamont, and Quiet Life to design relevant t-shirts&mdash;20 percent of total sales will go to Inner City Arts, a non-profit art-subsidizing program for low-income kids based out of Skid Row. Sunday worked with LA-based clothing brand UNIF and Critical Resistance to design a t-shirt and 100 percent of those profits will go to the organization, along with a portion of the artwork sold.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Insta-celeb @OfficialSeanPenn acted as both DJ and artist, creating a soundscape of heavy pop and circa-2000 R&amp;B influences; at least three Bieber songs registered throughout the three hours of sifting back and forth through the dense crowd of predominantly young&mdash;or yung&mdash;people. I overheard a guy telling a friend that people in the crowd were dressed just like characters he remembered from high school back in &rsquo;91.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The art along with the crowd looked like they stepped out of my Tumblr dashboard, their physical appearances were as varied as the works presented.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127115242-GNAR0048.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Coco Howard showed part one of her series of 8-by-12-foot American flags on which she sequined in memorandum the names of those killed by the police since 2000, obtained from a comprehensive list of names by the founder of Fatal Encounters, a crowd-sourced database that documents police killings in the US. Howard told me:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I do feel like we've entered into a time in America where there is a social justice awareness awakening, which I think is really evidence to the Bernie Sanders campaign in a lot of ways; people are waking up to the fact that life is hard here versus the rhetoric about what America is.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I feel kind of hopeful for the first time in a long time; I was a punk kid and my attitude was really like fuck the world. I still kind of have that but I'm starting now to think&mdash;I'm 48&mdash;about the need to unify and are there people that are down for that.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I ask if she&rsquo;s planning to vote for Bernie. &ldquo;Yeah, but I've never voted in my life.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127114324-GNAR0179.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Jackie Robledo is lost in the crowd, clutching a skateboard tight against her side. She&rsquo;s been coming to Slow Culture &ldquo;for an entire year&rdquo; and as she puts it, &ldquo;this is definitely the most impactful show that I&rsquo;ve been to&hellip; the shows that had been here previously have been artists that I've liked, and I'd never really visited Sunday, but I know they're strictly laced with all girls, you know, it means something.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Yung Jake is one of the online superstars on the roster of artists participating in <em>WATTBA</em>, known for being something of an internet omnipresence. His work in the show is a portrait of Bernie Sanders whose likeness is created using only iPhone emoji.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;I voted in 2008 and then I didn't vote in 2012, half because I was lazy and half because I didn't feel a change,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;I know that there was but I didn't feel it and what's proposed by Bernie makes me actually feel something.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;I don't know, I didn't like look that much into it,&rdquo; said Yung Jake, referring to the theme of the show. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been doing these [emoji portraits] and, like, the most political statement I could make would be to like actually, like, endorse someone.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127115629-GNAR9978.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Another version of fandom was exercised by Mikal Howard, who created a piece centered around promoting rap artist and Twitter hero, Lil B.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Listen to him&hellip; It might take a couple of albums, maybe a couple of readings, he has a book, you can read the book,&rdquo; said Howard, who read the material &ldquo;just once; it&rsquo;s in Tweet form.&rdquo; His message, albeit sparse, did get at the idea that in order to be prolific, artists like Lil B no longer need to rely on traditional outlets of expression to reach an otherwise nonpolitical audience of sympathizers.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127115334-GNAR0068.jpg" alt="" />&nbsp;<span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A friend points out Hobbes Ginsberg, who is navigating through a sea of bodies inside the gallery, &ldquo;I follow Hobbes on Tumblr,&rdquo; she tells me.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Working in collaboration with her girlfriend, Chloe Feller, their photography piece in <em>WATTBA</em> explores identity and how growing up &ldquo;as a boy&rdquo; plays into her love of cars and other &ldquo;weird tomboy things,&rdquo; according to Ginsberg.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ginsberg has worked with UNIF and Sunday before, crediting Adi for her constant push for bringing diversity to the shows that she curates.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Art shows sometimes tend to be like socialization instead of looking at the art, which you have to balance,&rdquo; said Ginsberg. &ldquo;I think what's most important and what I really try to strive for is being thorough and being nuanced. I talk about nuance a lot, I think that's really, really, <em>really</em> important; with art, with politics, with everything.&rdquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;It's really great to see a lot of people coming out and I think that's the one thing about art is you can put something in a way that's palatable&hellip; I think this show could be a good starting point, and I think as long as you view it that way then you don't need to, like, shit on people for just making art instead of doing something, because everything adds a little bit to the greater picture.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/431064-lauren-mcquade?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Lauren McQuade</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(All images: <em>What A Time To Be Alive</em>, Installation Views, Slow Culture &amp; Sunday Los Angeles. Images:&nbsp;Morgan Rindengan)</span></p> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 13:43:20 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Wednesday Web Artist of the Week: Carla Gannis <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">New York-based Carla Gannis&rsquo; reputation as an dynamic force in international New Media art was sealed with her 2014 piece <em>The Garden of Emoji Delights.&nbsp;</em>It is one of the few pieces of work of this kind that has has universal appeal beyond the rarefied borders of the Net Art scene. Gannis embraces all of the familiar themes of the discipline, but also avoids its many tired aesthetic clich&eacute;s. She produces work that is instantly recognizable as her own&mdash;the mark of a truly special artist.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127121950-CarlaG_NudeDescendingPredella.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p3" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Gannis&rsquo; new solo show <em>A Subject Self-Defined</em> is based upon her still series entitled <em>The Selfie Drawings</em> from 2015. It opens at New York&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/events/show/406529-a-subject-self-defined" target="_blank">Transfer Gallery</a> this week. The show consists of several &ldquo;large-format looped moving images&rdquo; exploring the significance of the &ldquo;selfie&rdquo; and the fact that we currently &ldquo;find art in an age of networked identity and digital dematerialization.&rdquo; Tellingly, the title of the show comes from a Joseph Kosuth 1966 neon sculpture.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p3" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127122346-CarlaG_WomanInLandscape.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p5" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Gannis says:</span></p> <blockquote> <p class="p5" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Selfies involve a kind of online performance, where we act out our lives through a device, and, more importantly, where we are in control of framing how we want to be perceived. This agency is key and very potent when we think about the context in which we are making and sharing these selfies. We&rsquo;re projecting ourselves, our faces, across networks at a time when climate change could, in a near future, eradicate our &ldquo;collective human face&rdquo; from the planet; when artificial intelligence and machine development threatens to replace us as the most intelligent life forms on Earth; when an ever increasing global population obscures the meaningfulness of a single human life. </span></p> </blockquote> <p class="p5" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">However, she doesn&rsquo;t think this is entirely negative and believe that selfies &ldquo;express a lot more about us than ubiquitous cultural narcissism.&rdquo; Gannis believes they help us &ldquo;lay claim to our lives&rdquo; and identities in a similar way that &ldquo;40,000 years ago we felt a necessity to imprint our hands on cave walls.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The opening reception of &nbsp;<em>A Subject Self-Defined</em>&nbsp;at&nbsp;Transfer Gallery is happening this Saturday, January 30, and the show runs until March 12. Gannis generously made this series of GIFs, based on the work in the show, exclusively for ArtSlant.</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127121406-CarlaG_Babel.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127121553-CarlaG_Abstraction.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127121757-CarlaG_TheresaWAngel.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127122512-CarlaG_LittleGreenWoman.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160127122700-CarlaG_PeerToPeer.gif" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/441718-christian-petersen?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Christian Petersen</a></span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 14:06:57 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list The Object of Guns and the Subject of Violence: The American Gun (Art) Show <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A report published in September 2015 on </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://247wallst.com/special-report/2015/09/30/the-most-dangerous-cities-in-america-5/4/" target="_blank"><em>247 Wall Street</em></a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> stated that Oakland is the third most dangerous city in the United States, following Memphis and Detroit. The Bay Area in general, from the East Bay to the South Bay, is plagued with violence, though the entire nation could use an attitude adjustment&mdash;particularly when it comes to gun violence.&nbsp;I live in Oakland, and as can be expected when someone&rsquo;s town or city is wracked with hostile incidents, there is a tendency to localize fear and pain, to localize conversation. Sometimes art and daily violence intersect, sharpening the distinction between tragedy and expression.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In November, Marquese Holloway was charged with shooting and <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/44110">killing artist Antonio Ramos</a> in Oakland on September 29, 2015. The gun Holloway used to kill Ramos was stolen from the car of a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, who reported it stolen on September 13. Ramos was painting a public outdoor mural at the underpass of the 580 freeway when he was confronted, then shot in front of peers working nearby. The mural was by the Oakland Superheroes Mural Project, led by Attitudinal Healing Connection of Oakland (AHC). AHC is an Oakland-based organization that works with individuals whose lives have been affected or influenced by violence. They provide workshops, particularly art programs that encourage people to make &ldquo;<a href="http://ahc-oakland.org/what-we-do/" target="_blank">positive choices to break the cycle of violence for themselves and their communities</a>.&rdquo; The chilling irony of Ramos&rsquo;s death is beyond cruel: an artist shot while working on a community project that supports anti-violence&mdash;it&rsquo;s just inconceivable.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Just three days after Ramos&rsquo;s death, on October 2, <em><a href="http://www.workssanjose.org/wordpress/2015/09/20/american-gun-show-opens-first-friday-october-2/" target="_blank">American Gun Show</a>,&nbsp;</em>an art exhibition curated by <a href="http://dorothysantos.com/home.html" target="_blank">Dorothy Santos</a> and James Morgan, opened at Works gallery in nearby San Jos&eacute;. Santos remarked that several people pointed out that the show was &ldquo;timely,&rdquo; while others thought it to be &ldquo;bad timing.&rdquo; But both statements are somewhat misguided. The truth is that gun violence is prevalent everywhere, on a daily basis, be it perpetrated by citizens, insurgents, terrorists, or police.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160126192217-1._liberator_by_cody_wilson_printed_by_james_morgan_3d_print_abs_2013.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Liberator by Cody Wilson printed by James Morgan, 3D print ABS, 2013. Courtesy of Dorothy Santos and James Morgan</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The impetus for the exhibition was the case of Cody Wilson, the crypto-anarchist, co-founder of Dark Wallet, an online wallet tool for securing <a href="https://bitcoin.org/en/">Bitcoin</a>, and the founder of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_Distributed">Defense Distributed</a>, a non-profit organization that develops and distributes open source gun designs to the 3D printing community. In 2013 Wilson created a functional single-fire pistol called the Liberator, which was built using a 3D printer. In two days the plans for the Liberator were downloaded over 100,000 times before the US State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls demanded that the plans be removed. When Morgan heard about it, he was curious about what it means to make a gun, and printed one himself, which took approximately 22 hours to make. &ldquo;It was the first time that Morgan started to see relationships with the Second Amendment,&rdquo; Santos explained.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>American Gun Show</em> aimed to examine the concepts of online networks, and communities that are built there, particularly looking at print-on-demand technologies and sharing ethos, open sourcing, and free access. The curators wanted to also make sure that the notion of &ldquo;networks&rdquo; also included other forms of community, particularly queer, trans and people of color. Identity was another theme that permeated the show, whether pertaining to issues of access; the impact gun ownership has on citizens&rsquo; right to bear arms; or the impact of violence. The curators&rsquo; statement reads: &ldquo;As curators, we explored artists, artistic practices, and expressions that can offer a form of neutrality or balanced perspectives on the issue of gun creation and control. This show is an exploration of the American psyche and history steeped by gun violence.&rdquo; As with many art exhibitions, the show was a catalyst for conversation, bringing difficult topics to the fore. <em>American Gun Show</em> contends with the Constitution&rsquo;s First Amendment governing free speech (or in this case art), and the Second Amendment governing the right to bear arms.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Santos and Morgan wanted to create an open platform for discussion and to build a greater understanding between differing views. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t select people because of their politics, we kept it really open and focused on the work,&rdquo; Santos said. There are over 20 artists in the show, whose personal perspectives were both pro and anti-gun. The range of work was broad, including sex toys in the shape of guns, works testing DIY armor, 3D-printed objects, and film.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160126192248-4._Nika_Cherrelle._Prototype__2012__Courtesy_of_the_Artist._Photo_by_Tiffany_Calabaza..jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Marnika Shelton (aka Nika Cherrelle),&nbsp;<em>The Nikita (prototype)</em>, 2012, Silicone rubber. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Tiffany Calabaza</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A few of the artists&rsquo; works stood out as most controversial. For example, Marnika Shelton (aka <a href="http://www.nikacherrelles.com/" target="_blank">Nika Cherrelle</a>), based in Oakland, manufactures 100 percent silicone dildos in the shape of a pistol. Produced by her company Trigger Happy Toys, the dildo called The Nikita boasts the slogan &ldquo;Make Love Not War.&rdquo; In an attempt to address difficult issues by shrouding them in humor, the dildos offer a way for people to feel &ldquo;powerful and sexy&rdquo; in the bedroom. Plainly, it is a toy gun to be used for sexual pleasure. Cherrelle earned a graduate degree from California College of the Arts where she studied ceramics and made a series of sculpture titled <em>Trigger Happy</em>, which focused on violence and sexuality. She is a sex and gender educator and advocate, and is active in other social issues that surround technology and how children or families engage with it. She also recognizes that in our culture both violence and sexuality are as &ldquo;<a href="https://bitchmedia.org/post/say-hello-to-the-nikita-a-gun-shaped-dildo" target="_blank">equally promoted as they are taboo</a>.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Indiegogo campaign to launch the product line was not successful, which poses the question: is the public ready for this blatantly symbolic and highly provocative sex toy?&nbsp;Her sculptures definitively show a double standard between fine art and functional craft, particularly when thinking about the function of a gun&mdash;its main purpose is to maim or kill.&nbsp;While her sculpture as objects discuss the concerns of sexual violence,&nbsp;guns as a sexual object&nbsp;(actual or toy or dildo) is a completely different matter;&nbsp;it is impossible to disassociate the object from its cultural meaning as a harbinger of violence.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/71826503?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" frameborder="0" width="700" height="394"></iframe></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em><a href="https://vimeo.com/71826503" target="_blank">Fly Revolver</a> </em>from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user6061255" target="_blank">David Bowen</a><br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There are two works in the show that use actual guns as agents or tools to make the work. David Bowen&rsquo;s <a href="https://vimeo.com/71826503" target="_blank"><em>Fly Revolver</em></a> is an unsettling and harrowing experiment in sharpshooting using houseflies as targets. The absurdity of the project brings up many issues: firstly, the perceived value of targets (and in this case, live beings that are houseflies); secondly, the chilling science of accuracy; and thirdly, distributing responsibility&mdash;think, &ldquo;guns don&rsquo;t kill, people do,&rdquo; but without a person behind the gun. A large plastic sphere contains several dozen houseflies that swarm around a target. The gun is fastened to an armature that points it in different directions, based upon the flies&rsquo; movements. Bowen states that the flies are &ldquo;essentially the brain of the device controlling the revolver and determining when it is fired.&rdquo; The gun erratically jolts and wavers, without any seemingly rational patterns or intention, further imparting a harrowing affect if one were to imagine a person on the other end waving a gun in this manner.&nbsp;A shot rings out when a fly finally lands on the center of the target. The gun is a Zoraki made by Atak Arms, which is designed for blanks, but it can still be harmful and in some cases lethal, and the sound is nonetheless unnerving.<br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160126192407-8._witecki.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Henry Witecki,&nbsp;<em>Untitled (performance)</em>, 2015, Gunshot on particle board. Courtesy of the artist</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Henry Witecki created <em>Untitled (performance)</em><em>,</em> a conceptual work that involved a theoretical &ldquo;performance that took place in the gallery,&rdquo; where witnesses were invited to see the artist shoot the gallery walls. In reality, Witecki legally shot several panels of plywood at an outdoor shooting range, which he then installed in the gallery completely plumb with the existing architecture. The piece addressed multi-fold concepts of safety, shelter and perviousness, and of witnessing a crime. &ldquo;Crime and murder are&hellip;the human condition expressing itself in a moment,&rdquo; Witecki shared. &nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">More importantly it is vital to look at gun ownership itself and citizen&rsquo;s ability to understand how they are implicated with it as a political tool. &ldquo;The fact that the gun is the most popular tool used for acts [of political resistance or crime affiliated with regaining social injustice, restitution, or domination] demonstrates its power, but also, crucially, these acts demonstrate that the power of the gun is transitive,&rdquo; he states. Meaning: the gun itself is a sophisticated object that can be directly used as a tool of power. Witecki went on:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Very few power structures in our current systems are transitive through readily available tools, meaning power is not something someone can easily acquire. For those who are in an always already marginalized position, the gun is, in some cases, the only remaining option to gain enough power to overcome their circumstances of oppression, if only momentarily.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">By taking direct action coupled with complex discussion about serious issues, Witecki educates viewers that the gun is more than a symbol and tool wrapped in metaphor.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/119373719?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" frameborder="0" width="700" height="394"></iframe></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em><a href="https://vimeo.com/119373719" target="_blank">W&amp;P Chords</a> </em>from <a href="https://vimeo.com/minoosh" target="_blank">Minoosh Zomorodinia</a><br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> Other works were more subtle and poignant. <a href="https://vimeo.com/119373719" target="_blank"><em>W&amp;P Chords</em></a> by Raheleh Minoosh Zomorodinia is a sound and video piece that uses the clanging of bullet brass to create a haunting resonance akin to incessant dripping water or delicate tolling bells. The chords and tones symbolically repeat, mirroring unending violence. The shells and casings are slowly lined up in rows as if they are bodies. Morehshin Allahyari is currently working on <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/44105" target="_blank">a series of 3D-printed sculptures</a> that reconstruct the ancient relics that have been destroyed by ISIS. For this show, the 3D-printed <em>Pig Gun </em>featuresa pig with a gun on its back. It is from the series <em>Dark Matter</em>, which juxtaposes things &nbsp;that are taken for granted in the US, but that are forbidden in Islamic Iranian culture: in this case the consumption of swine and owning of firearms. <a href="http://incainstitute.org/unstoppable/" target="_blank"><em>UNSTOPPABLE</em></a> is a bulletproof fabric designed by micha c&aacute;rdenas, Patrisse Cullors, Edxie Betts, and Chris Head. Bulletproof&nbsp; clothes were made as prototypes to begin conversations about ending the murder of black lives, and trans people of color. &ldquo;Their argument is that guns are not going anywhere so how do we protect queer, trans, and people of color from gun violence?&rdquo; Santos explained. Nancy Floyd has used guns and women in her series <em>Ten Point Nine</em>, featuring the US women&rsquo;s rifle team. &ldquo;In many portrayals of women and guns we think of Laura Croft, or Quinton Tarantino <em>Kill Bill</em> type women who are very buxom and sexy,&rdquo; Santos points out. &ldquo;The beauty of Floyd&rsquo;s portraits is that she is capturing women in a serious light.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160126192543-6_Morehshin_Allahyari_pig_gun__2014.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Morehshin Allahyari, <em>Pig Gun</em>, 2014, 3D-printed plastic. Courtesy of the artist</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">During the exhibition the curators held a round-table dialogue in hopes of starting conversations within the community and to hear what the public had to say about the show and about guns. Santos used to be very anti-gun, but once she started doing her research and talking to more people, &ldquo;my views became more balanced,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Gun owners were there, and they felt that they needed guns for protection. On the other hand there were other extremists that felt that no one should have guns, not even the police.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Two weeks after the show closed, the Bay Area was once again outraged by violence. On the busy afternoon of December 2, in the working class neighborhood of Bayview, more than eight police officers pursued Mario Woods as the suspect in a stabbing a few blocks away. After they subdued Woods with pepper spray and bean-bag ammunition, they attempted to apprehend him, but he would not drop the kitchen knife he was holding. Fearing that he was brandishing the knife at their colleague, officers proceeded to shoot Woods 15 times. In plain sight of neighbors and city busses traveling on their usual routes, citizens documented the horrifying scene on their phones and video recorders, sharing the images immediately on public television and social media. Viewing the videos is blood curdling and heart wrenching&mdash;warning: <a href="http://www.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2015/12/03/man-shot-by-sfpd-idd-as-mario-woods-was-on-gang-injunction">the footage</a> is extremely graphic.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Violence in the Bay Area continues&mdash;a suspect is still at large after shooting 19-year-old Carlos Misael Funez-Romero multiple times on January 9 on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train as it stopped at the West Oakland station en route to San Francisco. But according to the website <a href="http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/">Gun Violence Archive</a> there have already been over 600 deaths by gunshot in the United States this year, meaning January 2016. As Santos said, &ldquo;there will never be &lsquo;good timing&rsquo; for a gun show.&rdquo; And since gun violence is practically a daily occurrence across the nation, happening at any given time in any town or city, it is illogical to say that a show about guns would be bad timing.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The truth is, anytime needs to be a good time to discuss the issues surrounding guns, be it ownership or responsibility, laws governing gun acquisitions or even materiality. &ldquo;Everyone thinks it is so radical to 3D print a gun,&rdquo; Santos remarked, &ldquo;but we can go to Walmart and purchase a gun very easily.&rdquo; Guns as objects will continue to be purchased, made, fetishized, coveted, represented&hellip; despised. And the value of human life will continue to be considered on artists&rsquo; terms. The conversations need to keep happening until greater change is made. The fear and pain is real, extending beyond gallery exhibitions and much farther and deeper than our own towns and cities.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">American Gun Show<em> ran October 2&ndash;November 15, 2015 at Work/San Jos&eacute;.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/1872-leora-lutz?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Leora Lutz</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Linda Lighton, <em>Love and War: The Ammunition</em>, 2015, Clay, glaze, China paint, lustres, (18K gold and silver in a ceramic medium and fired). Courtesy of the artist. Photo: E.G. Schempf)</span></p> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 19:31:18 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list stARTup Co-founders on the Art Fair for Artists Without Gallery Representation <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Los Angeles hasn&rsquo;t always been an art fair destination&mdash;its commercial art scene development has yet to reach the breakneck pace and spectacle seen in New York, Miami, or London. Nevertheless, it&rsquo;s got a solid core that&rsquo;s been <a href="http://www.artslant.com/la/articles/show/41764" target="_blank">expanding and garnering more attention in recent years</a>. Long-standing regional fairs, the LA Art Show and Photo LA, have entered their 21st and 25th seasons respectively, and they&rsquo;re joined this January by the 7th edition of the increasingly influential and trendy Art Los Angeles Contemporary and the 3rd reprise of the irreverent Paramount Ranch. <a href="http://www.artslant.com/la/articles/show/43805" target="_blank">New museums</a>, an <a href="http://www.artslant.com/la/articles/show/43457" target="_blank">exploding gallery scene</a>, and this growing fair landscape certainly attract a global audience of collectors, art tourists, and professionals. But are the artists at the wide base of the region&rsquo;s art pyramid able to gain access to the resources, funds, and collectors at the top? As the commercial influence of the city grows, can artists connect with and tap into these expanding networks of galleries, fairs, collectors, and institutions?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20160126190428-DairyQueen_Print.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Arturo Herrera, <em>Dairy Queen</em>, 2013. Exhibitor at stARTup Art Fair LA</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Raising similar questions about the position of artists in the Bay Area, in 2015 Ray Beldner and Steve Zavattero <a href="http://www.artslant.com/sf/articles/show/42937" target="_blank">launched stARTup Art Fair in San Francisco</a> as a way to bring artists without gallery representation into the marketplace, connecting them with collectors and art professionals. The goal was to provide a platform &ldquo;that gives the artist the power to present and sell work&mdash;and keep 100 percent of their sales proceeds&mdash;on their own terms.&rdquo; After the successful inaugural edition, they&rsquo;re bringing the operation to Los Angeles this week.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We spoke with the stARTup co-founders about the needs of unrepresented artists, how the fair fits into the LA scene, and the possibility of evolving new, alternative economic models for the art world.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20160126184142-Steve_Zavattero_and_Ray_Beldner__Photo_Mido_Lee_Productions.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">stArt Up Co-founders,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Steve Zavattero and Ray Beldner. Photo: Mido Lee Productions</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">ArtSlant: How did stARTup come about? Why did you decide to focus on unrepresented artists?</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Ray Beldner and Steve Zavattero:</strong> A lot of the energy and money in the art world in the past decade has shifted towards art fairs. Here in the US, art fairs are primarily geared to help galleries reach a broader, international audience for their artists. That&rsquo;s terrific except when you consider how many artists are out there working without the benefit of any galleries to represent them and take their work to that fair-going audience. Those artists represent the majority of the art production in this country and they have few outlets for their work. stARTup Art Fair was conceived to serve artists who may have lost galleries and others who never had gallery representation because they are recently out of school or couldn&rsquo;t break into that world. We want to put those unrepresented artists on a level playing field with represented artists, help them promote and sell their work, get their art in front of curators, critics, art consultants, gallerists, and perhaps some will even find gallery representation if they want that.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In recent years, Los Angeles has really grown as an art fair destination. How do you envision stARTup fitting into the LA commercial ecosystem? What&rsquo;s the role of stARTup?</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We love LA and the scene here; it&rsquo;s full of energy, hope, and creative risk-taking. There are lots of exhibition spaces, great museums, exciting artists and adventuresome collectors. We would like to think our role in LA is similar to San Francisco: to give space to art and artists and create a fun event that brings the various groups in this art ecosystem together. We don't think we will change the art world overnight, but rather like to think that we are contributing to an evolving new model. One that is more independent, self-sufficient, and artist-facing, rather than institution-centric.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20160126191610-Highland_Gardens_Hotel__2_.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Highland Gardens Hotel, site of stARTup LA</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">How has the shift from San Francisco to Los Angeles been? Is the niche of stARTup any different between these two cities? Are you seeing a difference in the needs and concerns of artists from SF and LA?</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">From what we are starting to gather, there are even more unrepresented artists in LA than SF&mdash;and it&rsquo;s often by choice, which is a hopeful sign. However, the concerns are still the same: not enough galleries, not enough collectors, not enough support of the local scene by museums.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">What did you learn from the inaugural edition of stARTup in San Francisco last year? Is there anything you&rsquo;re hoping to avoid or recreate in Los Angeles?</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We had high hopes for the first edition of the fair in San Francisco, but it exceeded our expectations beautifully. Most artists made sales, some sold out their rooms, many got into museum and gallery shows, a few got gallery representation; and in general, most told us that they felt like the entire endeavor was well worth the cost and the effort. On top of that, we had fantastic press with front-page coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, and about a dozen other major pieces online and off written about the fair. Obviously, we'd like to see those same things happen here: good positive press, more visitors, more doors opening for our exhibiting artists.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">One of the critiques of stARTup in San Francisco was that artists were assuming all the financial risks (for increased financial gain, of course). Can you speak to this at all? Has anything changed in the way the fair has gone about securing funding?</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Artists assume a financial risk the moment they wake up in the morning. Many of them are already in debt from their MFA programs. They have to pay rent, buy materials, make art objects completely on spec, pay for websites/email lists/marketing, etc.; all of that is taking a risk. We like to think of our fair not as a risk, but as a unique growth opportunity for artists, if they are willing to believe both in us&mdash;and in themselves. Our fair is not for everybody. It is especially not for those who believe in the status quo and cling to the outdated notion that work never need leave the studio, because a mystery benefactor will magically appear.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We have tried extremely hard to secure financial sponsorships in order to lower our exhibitor fees, but have had only a little success as of yet. Hopefully&hellip; as the fair becomes more established we will. For the time being, we have made every effort to keep our exhibitor fees as low as possible. We are very confident that our cost&mdash;both per square foot and per linear foot of usable wall space&mdash;is a fraction of costs at commercial booth fairs and other independent art fairs.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160127130048-sarah_ratchye" alt="" width="500" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Sarah Ratchye, <em>enchantikAt</em>, 2014, Oil on wood.&nbsp;Exhibitor at stARTup Art Fair LA</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">How did you reach out to artists? What was the curatorial/selection process like?</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We recruit through an open call for submissions via some of the usual channels like call for submission websites, for example. But we also do a lot of personal outreach by going to art exhibitions, other art fairs, using social media, and by tapping into our personal networks. The stARTup artists themselves have been a great help in spreading the word about the fair and getting other artists to apply.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">When we put together our Selection Committee, we are trying to find a good representation of art world professionals: artists, dealers, consultants, and curators. We also try to balance the male/female ratio because we believe that is important. We work with mainly local art professionals because we think that most of the artists likely to apply will be local. Who best to vet them but respected people who may already be aware of them and understand their practice.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Advisory Council is similarly comprised of local art professionals and they are there to help us understand and connect to the regional art scene. They also advise us on non-profit partnerships, how to reach artists in the area to apply, and other opportunities for the fair that we may not be aware of.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">What are you most looking forward to about stARTup Fair LA?</span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The opportunity for our exhibiting artists to meet and reconnect with a wide range of people, and present them with an excellent, juried show. Hopefully, to cultivate a new breed of contemporary art collectors, who realize the importance of supporting living, working artists!</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">stARTup Art Fair runs January 29&ndash;31 at the Highland Gardens Hotel, 7047 Franklin Avenue Hollywood, CA.</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;The ArtSlant Team</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Gillian Keller,&nbsp;<em>Goddess of Uninhibited Ideals</em>, 2015. Exhibitor at stARTup Art Fair LA)</span></p> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 13:02:19 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Editors' Picks: Art Los Angeles Contemporary 2016 <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;"><a href="https://artlosangelesfair.com/">Art Los Angeles Contemporary</a>&nbsp;opens this week&mdash;arguably the West Coast's key commercial event for the year, especially for local galleries who feature heavily in the line-up. Looking at artwork in an art fair can be a bit like viewing art on the internet: the structure often strips work of its full effect. To remedy the fatigue of serial image consumption&mdash;and give more credit to the artists, looking past their works'&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">obvious marketability and apparent aesthetic trends&mdash;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">we're giving you something to chew over for the artists we've picked out from the 2016 edition of ALAC. Consume with a bit of context.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.aneukamp.com/" target="_blank">Anne Neukamp</a> at Valentin, Paris</span></p> <p><a href="http://www.aneukamp.com/"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121121016-ALAC-086-valentin-anneneukamp.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <div dir="auto"> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Anne Neukamp,&nbsp;<em>Juggler,&nbsp;</em>2015, Oil, tempera and acrylic on canvas, 78 x 59 in, unique. &copy; Cary Whittier.&nbsp;Courtesy of the artist and Valentin</span></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></div> </div> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Neukamp&rsquo;s enormous pictograms definitely deserve to be seen in the flesh to unpack their deliberate layers: she uses nameable images&mdash;taken from stickers, logos, postcards&mdash;and painting, to force abstraction and representation to meet and fight it out with a seriously funky outcome on the canvas.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Sojourner Truth Parsons at Night Gallery, Los Angeles&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121121207-ALAC-193-nightgallery-sojournertruthparsons.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div dir="auto"> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Sojourner Truth Parsons,&nbsp;<em>Embracing joy (alone) with nails,&nbsp;</em>2015,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Acrylic on canvas,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">50 x 72 in. Courtesy of Night Gallery</span></div> </div> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">If, like us, you like artists who have a healthy shot of misanthropic humor in their spleen, you should take a look at the work of Sojourner Truth Parsons. It looks naive and folksy at first, but the more you see the more you get a sense of the grim strangeness of life.&nbsp;You&rsquo;ll learn a little more about the artist too looking at the work of her partner Brad Phillips&mdash;a sometime&nbsp;<em>ArtSlant</em>&nbsp;contributor, and painter&mdash;who has said his work is much inspired by his relationship with Parsons.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.racheldejoode.com/" target="_blank">Rachel de Joode</a> at&nbsp;Neumeister Bar-Am, Berlin</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121121408-ALAC-079-neumeisterbaram-racheldejoode.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div dir="auto"> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: 26px;">Rachel de Joode,&nbsp;<em>Large Pinky Toe in Bronze,&nbsp;</em>2015, Bronze, 6 x 4&frac14; x 3&frac12; in, unique. Courtesy Rachel de Joode, KANSAS Gallery and Neumeister Bar-Am</span></div> </div> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">It&rsquo;s apt that we&rsquo;ve chosen to expand a little on Rachel de Joode's work, presented by Berlin-based gallery Neumeister Bar-Am. The artist works in photography and sculpture to explore the relationship between two dimensions and three, and examine that common context of contemporary art, when it&rsquo;s constantly flattened by our screens.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.marcelvaneeden.nl/" target="_blank">Marcel van Eeden</a> at Clint Roenisch, Toronto</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121124126-ALAC-107-clintroenisch-marcelvaneeden.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div dir="auto"> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Marcel van Eeden,&nbsp;<em>Untitled,&nbsp;</em>2015, Oil pastel on paper, 45 &times; 62 in, unique. Courtesy Clint Roenisch</span><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></div> </div> <p><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Clint Roenisch gallery, Toronto, are presenting a solo booth of work by Dutch artist <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ams/articles/show/39648">Marcel van Eeden</a>. We love his hand reproductions of old photographs&mdash;he has an extensive archive of images that all predate his birth in 1965&mdash;and especially his Noir-meets-Pop lithography catalogues of desserts and cream cakes. His works are usually arranged into a storyline, but it won&rsquo;t necessarily unfold as a logical narrative.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://cheryldonegan.com/" target="_blank">Cheryl Donegan</a> at Ashes/Ashes, Los Angeles</span></p> <p><a href="http://cheryldonegan.com/"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121121112-ALAC-214-ashesashes-cheryldonegan.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <div dir="auto"> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Cheryl Donegan,&nbsp;<em>Untitled (Spring Green and Blue Grey on Pink)&nbsp;</em>2013, Acrylic on jute, 40 x 30 in. &copy; Cheryl Donegan. Courtesy of the artist and ASHES/ASHES</span></div> </div> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Out of context this is a quite nice, faded check painting by New Yorker Cheryl Donegan, a video artist and painter who has been making art&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">with vigorous humor&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">since the 80s. But this painting from 2013, on show with other works by Donegan at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ashesonashes.com/home.html">Ashes/Ashes</a> booth, represents a return to painting for the artist and an interest in high fashion&mdash;patterns, textiles, and surface&mdash;that make an object or image attractive.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;Aaron Morse at ACME, Los Angeles</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121121456-ALAC-119-acme-aaronmorse.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div dir="auto"> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Aaron Morse,&nbsp;<em>Mata Atlantica (#2),&nbsp;</em><span style="text-align: left;">2015, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 46 x 59 in.&nbsp;</span>Courtesy of the artist and ACME</span></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></div> </div> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">The lush colors of Aaron Morse&rsquo;s canvases translate well for an online viewership, but expect the large paintings to stand out in the flesh this week as well. Morse&rsquo;s tropical tableaux and new cartographic canvases are seductive, for sure, but with their mixed source materials&mdash;encyclopedic imagery of flora, fauna, natural systems, and topographies&mdash;they also metabolize histories of conquest, colonization, and ecological destruction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Tamar Halpern at On Stellar Rays, New York City</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121121542-ALAC-157-onstellarrays-tamarhalpern.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Tamar Halpern,&nbsp;<em>Broken Toys</em>,&nbsp;2014,&nbsp;UltraChrome ink and archival paper on linen,&nbsp;68 x 58 in. Courtesy of On Stellar Rays</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Tamar Halpern&rsquo;s layered works on linen synthesize digital and mechanical modes of production with the physicality of painting, the human gesture. Crossing that increasingly porous digital/physical divide, her works perfectly exemplify some of the most enduring trends we&rsquo;re expecting at ALAC this year. Are they paintings? Photographs? Collage? Are they abstract? Representational? Sure!</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.derekpaulboyle.com/" target="_blank">Derek Paul Boyle</a> at Smart Objects, Los Angeles</span></p> <p><a href="http://www.derekpaulboyle.com/"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121121629-05_SmartObjects.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Installation view of Derek Paul Boyle,&nbsp;<em>Salt and Pennies</em>,&nbsp;2015,&nbsp;Dye Sublimation Aluminum Print,&nbsp;36 x 60 in.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Courtesy of Smart Objects</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Derek Paul Boyle is great because he finds hilarious juxtapositions between ordinary, banal objects that bring out qualities, textures, and meanings that you&rsquo;d never thought of before. That&rsquo;s why we also listed his show at <a href="http://smartobjects.la/" target="_blank">Smart Objects</a>, a great physical space for net-based artists in East LA, as one <a href="http://www.artslant.com/la/articles/show/43886" target="_blank">our shows to see in North America </a>last Autumn.&nbsp;Check out his Instagram project <a href="https://www.instagram.com/meatwreck/">Meatwreck&mdash;</a>a collaboration with artist Mitra Saboury&mdash;too. &nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://barbarakasten.net/" target="_blank">Barbara Kasten </a>at Galerie Kadel Willborn, D&uuml;sseldorf</span><img style="font-size: 12px;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121122053-ALAC-019-galeriekadelwillborn-barbarakasten.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div dir="auto"> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Barbara Kasten,&nbsp;<em>Transposition 21,&nbsp;</em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">2014, Fujiflex Digital Print, 60 x 48 in, unique + 1 AP. Courtesy of the artist and Kadel Willborn, D&uuml;sseldorf</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></div> </div> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Long before the illusory &ldquo;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/44470" target="_blank">Photography Is Magic</a>&rdquo; trends characterizing image-making today, Barbara Kasten was staging theatrical abstractions, taking photographs that conflate sculpture, photography, and assemblage. Her widely acclaimed 2015 ICA Philadelphia solo, <em>Barbara Kasten: Stages</em>, travels to LA's MOCA Pacific Design Center in May, but this week fair-goers will get a sneak peek at work demonstrating Kasten&rsquo;s pioneering mastery of her craft.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.toddgrayart.com/" target="_blank">Todd Gray</a> at Meliksetian Briggs, West Hollywood</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121121823-ALAC-165-meliksetianbriggs-toddgray.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="auto"> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Todd Gray,&nbsp;<em>Cosmic Speakers,&nbsp;</em>2015, Three archival pigment prints with found frames and artist frames, 46 &frac12; &times; 43 &frac34; &times; 4 &frac12; in, unique. <br />Courtesy of the artist and&nbsp;Meliksetian Briggs</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></div> </div> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Todd Gray&rsquo;s tightly executed assemblages have an irresistible aesthetic uniting cosmic montage, colorful textiles, and musical legends. The artist sets his own archival pigment prints in found antique frames, drawing layered, non-linear image constellations. Pop culture, intimate moments, and the vast universe come together with his vintage photographs of Michael Jackson, documentary photography from Ghana (where Gray has a studio), and visions from the Hubble telescope.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Erica Baum at Bureau, New York City</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160121121929-ALAC-127-bureau-ericabaum.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div dir="auto"> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Erica Baum,&nbsp;<em>Investigation,</em>&nbsp;<em>(Naked Eye)</em>, 2014, Archival pigment print, 15 &frac12; &times; 19 &frac12; in, Edition of 6 plus II AP. Courtesy of the artist and Bureau New York</span></div> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></div> </div> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Erica Baum has been combining text and image&mdash;her photographs are often described as "poems"&mdash;for over two decades. Her <em>Naked Eye</em> series cleverly plays on vision and our expectations of the photograph and the book-as-object. What reads as a collage is actually a single, unmodified photograph of a vintage stipple-edged paperback book. Blown up, observed from an oblique angle, these books are transformed into abstracted lines of color, image, and text. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We think Baum's photos are a perfect example of the nuance so often glanced over online or amongst bustling fair booths. Here's to taking the time this week to find the quiet and subtle moments so easily missed.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;The ArtSlant Team</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 23:18:01 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Ceramics and Concrete: A Material Fascination at ALAC 2016 <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Day one at Art Los Angeles Contemporary, and there's a clear trend emerging for chunky, rough-looking ceramics and heavy concrete. Why? We'd like to think that galleries are enjoying presenting art made with these materials, as they're an aesthetic antidote to the shiny plasticity that is expected in Los Angeles.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px; text-align: left;">Why are so many artists are experimenting with these mediums? All over the world of late, there's been a revived interest in clay and concrete from the market and makers, with new artists often manipulating the matter to give a raw, unfinessed, primitive appearance.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">This resurgence has also uncovered some works from the past decades that were neglected at the time. It's as if the British socialist Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century has been revived; in other words, the crap sides of the internet and modern life in the West could be spurring on this interest in concete, ceramics, textiles, and the "return to craft" and physical process in art making, for political reasons as well as aesthetic ones.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">That's what we'd like to think, anyway, with the hope they can concretely contribute to the future. Here are our favorite ceramic and concrete works, ranging from 1985 to 2016,&nbsp;that we've spotted on show at ALAC this week.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160125124851-ALAC-082-ibid-christophweber.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="https://artlosangelesfair.com/exhibitor/570" target="_blank">Ibid.</a>, London and Los Angeles, is showing this untitled<em class="worktitle">&nbsp;</em>concrete work from 2012 by Christoph Weber. Booth B15</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12px; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160125124911-Samantha_Thomas_-_LANDSCAPIFICATION__16__2015.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://www.samanthathomasart.com/" target="_blank">Samantha Thomas</a>' concrete-inspired <em>LANDSCAPIFICATION #16</em>&nbsp;(2015) is actually acrylic, <br />thread and charcoal on canvas. Shown by <a href="https://artlosangelesfair.com/exhibitor/527/Anat-Ebgi" target="_blank">Anat Ebgi</a>, Los Angeles, Booth D15</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160125124933-20151110_CAO_Sawatsky_003.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="https://artlosangelesfair.com/exhibitor/312/China-Art-Objects-Galleries" target="_blank">China Art Objects</a>, Los Angeles, presents watercolor on ceramic work by Rachelle Sawatsky, <br />pictured here and at top (both&nbsp;2015). Booth C2</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160125124955-ALAC-035-marcselwynfineart-leemullican.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Lee Mullican's untitled work in&nbsp;fired and glazed ceramic dates to 1985. Exhibited by <a href="http://artlosangelesfair.com/exhibitor/491/MarcSelwynFineArt/" target="_blank">Marc Selwyn Fine Art</a>, <br />Beverly Hills, booth B7</span></span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160125125011-b3ff57b3-ac3a-4b1d-a3e0-07fdfb8b8ed2Sony.jpg.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="https://artlosangelesfair.com/exhibitor/630/GillmeierRech/topimg46" target="_blank">Gillmeier Rech</a>, Berlin, is showcasing&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lindsaylawson.com/" target="_blank">Lindsay Lawson</a>'s&nbsp;<em>Sony</em>&nbsp;(2016), made from scarf, stones, <br />zippo lighter, plastic cup, plaster, pigment, and varnish. Booth F2</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160125125032-2014.111_Freeda_evergold.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a href="http://www.tomsachs.org/" target="_blank">Tom Sachs</a>'&nbsp;<em>Freeda</em>&nbsp;(2015) mixed high and low with English porcelain, temple white glaze, <br />and red engobe inlay. Presented by <a href="https://artlosangelesfair.com/exhibitor/628" target="_blank">Ever Gold Projects</a>, San Francisco, booth D13</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160125125048-CC_Chloe_Seibert_Big_Fist.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Chloe Seibert's mixed media sculpture&nbsp;<em>Big Fist</em>&nbsp;(2015) is presented by&nbsp;<a href="https://artlosangelesfair.com/exhibitor/644" target="_blank">COOPER COLE</a>, Toronto. Booth F10&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160125125104-Platinum-Musing-2011-Elizabeth-Jaeger.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="https://artlosangelesfair.com/exhibitor/349" target="_blank">Jack Hanley Gallery,</a> New York has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.elizabethjaeger.com/" target="_blank">Elizabeth Jaeger</a>'s&nbsp;<em>Platinum Musing I</em>&nbsp;(2011), made from plaster, ceramic, latex paint, synthetic wig, fake eyelashes, gold lam&eacute; and found boots. Booth A5</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&mdash;The ArtSlant Team</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">(Image at the top: Rachelle Sawatsky,&nbsp;<em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 12px;">ceramic and watercolor</em>, 2105, Approx. 24 x 24 x 3 in, Courtesy China Art Objects)</span></p> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 12:41:18 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Photo50 Preview: What Happens, or Doesn't Happen, Between Men and Women <p><span style="line-height: 26px; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The London Art Fair's </span><a style="line-height: 26px; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.londonartfair.co.uk/photo50" target="_blank">Photo50</a><span style="line-height: 26px; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;exhibition, <em>Feminine Masculine</em>,&nbsp;opens today, January 20. There are two reasons to like this year's edition. First, it is an exhibition that clearly gives the feminine voice precedence, but without excluding male artists. Second, it doesn't plaster slapdash the word #feminism on its statement. I'm not against the use of #feminism, of course, but: feminine does not mean feminist. (And #feminist does not always been feminist, either.) This presentation seems to be to be a more subtle and considered way of bringing women to the fore in the art world without reducing the works to a single political agenda.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The showcase is a critical mediation on the tensions that may or may not exist between men and women&mdash;as handled by contemporary photographers working around the world. Roughly inspired by Jean-Luc Godard's 1966 film <em>Masculin F&eacute;minin</em>, the 50 selected works represent "the mysterious, at times ineffable and immaterial" differences that exist between people in different kinds of relationships. It is not intended to have an answer, but is a visual exploration of sexuality, romance, and emotional clich&eacute;s, while incorporating some of the distinctive aesthetic trends emerging in photographic practice now. Names such as Maya Rochat, Mariken Wessels, and Jo Broughton are among our ones to watch, brought together below with some of our</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;favorite works from Photo50's 2016 edition.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117111156-Photo50_-_Francesca_Catastini__Italy___Happy_Together_No.1__2010.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://francescacatastini.it/" target="_blank">Francesca Catastini</a>, <em>Happy Together No.1</em>, 2010</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117111545-Photo50_-_Jo_Broughton__UK___Egg_Shell_pink_set__from_the_series_Empty_Porn_Sets__2010.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://www.jobroughton.com/" target="_blank">Jo Broughton</a>, <em>Egg Shell pink set</em>, from the series <em>Empty Porn Sets,</em> 2010</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117111651-Photo50_-_Mariken_Wessels__NL___from_the_series_Taking_Off._Henry_My_Neighbor__Taking_Off__2015_-_22_x_30cm__loose-leaf_print_on_barite_paper.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><a href="http://www.marikenwessels.com/" target="_blank">Mariken Wessels</a>, from the series <em>Taking Off. Henry My Neighbor, Taking Off</em>, 2015 - 22 x 30cm, loose-leaf print on barite paper</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117112041-Photo50_-_Laia_Abril__Spain___from_the_series_Tediousphilia__2014__5_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a href="http://www.laiaabril.com/" target="_blank">Laia Abril</a>, from the series <em>Tediousphilia</em>, 2014</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117112056-Photo50_-_Ekaterina_Anokhina__Russia___from_the_series_25_Weeks_of_Winter__2_.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://ekaterina-anokhina.com/" target="_blank">Ekaterina Anokhina</a>, from the series 25 <em>Weeks of Winter</em>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117112140-Photo50_-_Maya_Rochat__Switzerland___from_the_series_Mystic_Fatal_errors__photography___2014.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://www.mayarochat.com/" target="_blank">Maya Rochat</a>, from the series <em>Mystic Fatal errors</em> (photography), 2014</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/162742-char-jansen?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Char Jansen</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: Maya Rochat,&nbsp;from the series <em>Stinkt der Mensch</em>, <em>solang er lebt</em> <em>(at the park)</em>, 2009)</span></p> Wed, 20 Jan 2016 11:14:59 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list London Art Fair: Who Are the UK's Best New Artists? <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">One of the things we most look forward to at the London Art Fair is the official launch of the<a href="http://www.xlcatlinart.com/en/" target="_blank"> XL Catlin Guide</a>. Curated by Justin Hammond, the guide is a selection of 30 of the best graduates from art schools across the UK. Over the last ten years Hammond and his team have helped launch artists who have gone on to excel in the art world. Among them, <a href="http://junocalypso.com/" target="_blank">Juno Ca</a></span><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a href="http://junocalypso.com/" target="_blank">lypso </a>(the winner of the 2013 Visitor Vote) who was awarded the British Photographer of the Year 2015;&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a href="http://jasminacibic.org/" target="_blank">Jasmina&nbsp;Cibic </a>(included in the first edition in 2007) who went on to represent Slovenia at the 55th Venice Biennial, and had a recent solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade;<a href="http://noemiegoudal.com/">&nbsp;</a><a href="http://noemiegoudal.com/" target="_blank">Noemie Goudal </a>(2011), represented by Edel Assanti, and who had a solo presentation in 2015 at the Photographers' Gallery; and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.adelinedemonseignat.com/" target="_blank">Adeline de Monseignat</a> (winner of 2012's Visitor Vote) now represented by Ronchini Gallery, where she has curated their current show, <em>Whispers</em>.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This year's guide focuses on graduate work in all media exhibited in final shows from BA, MA, and postgraduate diploma programs, and has the new addition of PhD artists. As Hammond asserts, the selection criteria, though, have remained the same since day one: "promise, spirit, skill and integrity." This year, Hammond identifies that in his meetings with young artists across the country, there has been a shared concern for maintaining community outside of the institution&mdash;something we're very keen to facilitate here too. With so much doom and gloom in the art world, and in the world in general, building a supportive network for peer exchange is essential.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Last May, the <a href="http://londonewcastle.com/arts-programme/events/2015-05-07/catlin-art-prize-2015/" target="_blank">prize exhibition</a> moved to Londonewcastle Project Space in Shoreditch, with the winners announced at the end of show run.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ahead of the official reveal at the London Art Fair, Hammond gives us a sneak peak of the artists in the XL Catlin Guide 2016. Who gets your vote?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117094018-Declan_Jenkins__Next_on_the_Microphone_I__2015_Woodcut_print_on_Stockwell_Cartridge_paper__135_x__84cm_Ed_of_3_low_res.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://www.declanjenkins.com/" target="_blank">Declan Jenkins</a>,&nbsp;<em>Next on the Microphone I</em>, 2015, Woodcut print on Stockwell Cartridge paper, 135 x &nbsp;84 cm, Ed of 3</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117094044-Jane_Hayes_Greenwood__Standard_Setting__2015._Acrylic_and_oil_on_linen_45_x_55_cm.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://www.janehayesgreenwood.co.uk/" target="_blank">Jane Hayes Greenwood</a>, <em>Standard Setting</em>, 2015, Acrylic and oil on linen, 45 x 55 cm</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117094118-Jack_Otway__Slot_Machine_Dreaming__2016__Acrylic_on_wet-sanded_gesso__25.4_x_20.3_cm_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://jackotway.wix.com/paintings" target="_blank">Jack Otway</a>,&nbsp;<em>Slot Machine Dreaming</em>, 2016, Acrylic on wet-sanded gesso, 25.4 x 20.3 cm</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117095343-Jamie_Fitzpatrick__The_King___detail__2015__Wax__polyurethane_foam__polystyrene__steel_243_x_164_x_130cm__low_res.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://www.jamiefitzpatrick.co.uk/" target="_blank">Jamie Fitzpatrick</a>, <em>The King</em>&nbsp;(detail), 2015, Wax, polyurethane foam, polystyrene, steel 243 x 164 x 130cm</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117094211-Albert_Elm__Untitled__2015__35mm_colour_film__C-type_print_low_res__3_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a href="http://www.albertelm.com/" target="_blank">Albert Elm</a>, <em>Untitled,</em>&nbsp;2015, 35mm color film, C-type print</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160117094234-Joseph_Ball__Dead_Ghosts_on_TV___detail_3__2015__Zine_printed_on_crumpled__recycled_newsprint_20_x_28cm__low_res.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a href="http://josefball.com" target="_blank">Joseph Ball,</a> <em>Dead Ghosts on TV&nbsp;</em>(detail 3), 2015, Zine printed on crumpled, recycled newsprint 20 x 28 cm</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/162742-char-jansen?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Char Jansen</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>ArtSlant thanks Justin Hammond for his assistance.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">(</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Image at the top:&nbsp;<a href="http://riikkahyvonen.com/" target="_blank">Riikka Hyvönen</a>, <em>OMG, UK Made in UK</em>, 2015, Acrylic on MDF and leather, 110 x 170 x 14 cm; All images: Courtesy of the artists and XL Catlin Guide 2016)</span></span></p> Wed, 20 Jan 2016 09:51:28 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Behind the Grin: Unmasking the Political Aesthetic in Kathryn Andrews' <em>Run for President</em> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Few things could be as topical. The image-culture created out of broadcast television&rsquo;s commoditized framing of electoral coverage is precise, yet entirely ubiquitous. Kathryn Andrews&rsquo; <em>Run for President,</em> currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, pictures the hamster wheel of these aesthetic politics.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Under the premise of a fictive presidential campaign, Andrews uses Bozo the Clown as the central figure within her electoral landscape. The personas born from Bozo represent either the Left or the Right (his party is unclear&mdash;he is, after all, red and blue). Throughout the installation, the clown becomes caricature, a rarified political cartoon.&nbsp;The production of the political image manifests in a few ways; Bozo stands behind a branded cartoon podium. His security staff, right at hand, stand with arms crossed in front of their black suits. This scene from the campaign trail is familiar to us, though&mdash;as the clown noses worn by the men in black suggest&mdash;Andrews critiques these signals of familiarity. The construction of broadcasting is unrecognizable until it is displaced.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160118123359-KathrynAndrews_20151123_006.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Installation view, <em>Kathryn Andrews: Run for President</em>, MCA Chicago, Nov 21, 2015&mdash;May 8, 2016. Photo: Nathan Keay, &copy; MCA Chicago</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The exhibition is provocative, the surfaces of the work seductive, and its aims challenging, clever, and stimulating. While the work initially leaves viewers rallying (in a moment between excitement and temperance, I questioned titling this review &ldquo;I Vote For Kathryn Andrews!&rdquo;), its implications echo in our consciousness long after we see it, slowly fading from conviction to doubt.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The sensory decrescendo of <em>Run for President</em> asks: what are we racing for? This sort of baseless crisis at the foundation of the show is a purposeful mirroring of the current political conversation in America. Here, the basis of uncertainty is cloaked in what appears to be a very sure thing. As such, <em>Run for President</em> takes on different contexts, becoming more conflicted (and thus, more relevant) with each televised debate, each paradoxical development on both the Right and the Left throughout the course of the exhibition.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Bozo the Clown, purportedly played by some 200 actors over a half century, is one of the most recognizable examples of the &ldquo;replica&rdquo; on broadcast television. The history of franchise vs. syndication built into Andrews&rsquo; source material allows her to move fluidly through the political and aesthetic aims of the show. Chicago&rsquo;s Bozo, debuting in 1960 on WGN-TV, was the most successful locally produced children&rsquo;s program in television history; but there were multiple Bozos, in Boston, Washington, even extending to Brazil and Mexico. Unlike presidential candidates, Bozo was not a fixed persona pictured for the masses, but instead was an idea adapted by many. As an artist, Andrews works within a similarly flexible identity, inserting her humorous and off-the-cuff subject matter into pre-determined formal approaches&mdash;such as minimalism, conceptual art, and the camp iconography of pop art.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160118123518-KathrynAndrews_20151123_014.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Installation view, <em>Kathryn Andrews: Run for President</em>, MCA Chicago, Nov 21, 2015&mdash;May 8, 2016. Photo: Nathan Keay, &copy; MCA Chicago</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In <em>Lethal Weapon</em> (2012), a curved monolithic wall dissects the gallery, picturing in its enclave a black and white reproduction of a slightly distorted, pixelated interior of the oval office. In the center of the piece, a chrome-faced cylinder stands starkly, podium-like, its only feature a deep black hole staring into the face of viewers. The expectation of the work welcomes onlookers to peer into its darkness, that small but perfect abyss: stare long enough and you might see the barrel of a pistol. Bang.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">An undercurrent of this derision flows through <em>Run&nbsp;for President</em>. Beyond its flashy displays, meticulously finished production, and grandiosity of scale, there is the sense that the exhibition harbors mistrust.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If not mistrust, then contempt.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Structurally speaking, the clown is the perfect archetype for Andrews to engage her electoral subject matter; it is silly and sinister, puerile and sadistic. We need only look to Trump. The danger and recklessness of language built into Republican rhetoric has stakes. In a culture so easily swayed by image and opinion&mdash;where visibility and airtime have the power to supplant fact&mdash;you can believe the political Right is foolish at your own risk.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160118123558-KA_March_30-600x899.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Installation view, <em>Kathryn Andrews: Run for President</em>, MCA Chicago, Nov 21, 2015&mdash;May 8, 2016. <br />Work shown: <em>Kathryn Andrews, October 16, 2012</em>. The Eugene Sadovoy Collection. Photo: Nathan Keay, &copy; MCA Chicago</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Despite all its vibrant appeal, the sense of isolation born out of the exhibition&rsquo;s installation serves the content of the work well. When the idea of <em>public</em> is treated so anonymously in the broadcasting of American politics, little differentiates person from object. In a work titled <em>Kathryn Andrews, October 16, 2012</em>, multicolored plastic and foil balloons hang limply from a highly polished chrome gate. The work, named for the date of its &ldquo;birthday,&rdquo; is adorned with a new crop of helium balloons once a year. A visual pun, the piece seems to announce: <em>Welcome to the miserable party</em>. With their levity depreciating immediately, each day marks another step in the work&rsquo;s wilted celebration, sinking subtly from amusement to sadness. Still we celebrate for it. The overt melancholy in the piece is paired with a more understated current in the work&mdash;its dumb sentimentality. This is one of <em>Run for President</em>&rsquo;s finest strengths.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20160118123723-KathrynAndrews_20151123_028.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Installation view, <em>Kathryn Andrews: Run for President</em>, MCA Chicago, Nov 21, 2015&mdash;May 8, 2016. Photo: Nathan Keay, &copy; MCA Chicago</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If not for this melodramatic quality, <em>Run for President</em> would poke you and run away, taunt and prod you to make fun of its foolhardy aims, its seemingly daft foundation. Critique it in this way, and it sneers back at you.&nbsp;<em>Run for President</em>&nbsp;wears a mask. Under the fa&ccedil;ade, we do not know whether its expression is cynical or sincere. Like Bozo, the exhibition maintains a permanent grin. The clown is comfortable with the perpetual falsity of its own image. Are the aesthetics of politics any different?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/183982-stephanie-cristello?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Stephanie Cristello</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Kathryn Andrews,&nbsp;<em>Hobo (Santa&rsquo;s Helper No. 2)</em>, 2014, Ink on paper and Plexiglas, aluminum, paint, and mixed media, 43 &frac34; x 37 x 2 &frac14; in. (111.1 x 94 x 5.7 cm)&nbsp;Photo: Fredrik Nilsen&nbsp;Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> Mon, 18 Jan 2016 16:28:21 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Annie Leibovitz's WOMEN in 2016: Does Success Mean Celebrity? <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&ldquo;Ask me anything&mdash;I&rsquo;m not afraid of anything, anymore,&rdquo; Annie Leibovitz told a room packed with cameras and journalists who had flown in from around the world for the grand opening of <em><a href="https://www.ubs.com/microsites/annie-leibovitz/en/exhibition.html" target="_blank">WOMEN: New Portraits</a>&nbsp;</em>at the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station in East London,&nbsp;the first stint in a world-touring exhibition. It was a rare audience with a woman who is now as famous as many of the famous people she has photographed.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Yet hyperbole <em>is</em>&nbsp;necessary when talking about the portraits Annie Leibovitz has created throughout her career, because they genuinely are some of the most indelible cultural images of our time: there&rsquo;s that photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, taken just five hours before Lennon was shot and killed; that controversial image of the &ldquo;naked&rdquo; 15-year-old Miley Cyrus; that portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Not to mention the countless work and covers for <em>Rolling Stone, Vogue</em>, and <em>Vanity Fair, The New York Times</em>, and, of course, her 2016 Pirelli calendar.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Perhaps all this, all the celebrity that surrounds Leibovitz, is why it&rsquo;s hard&mdash;particularly for critics in the US, as some of my American colleagues have informed me&mdash;to really see through to her work neutrally. Celebrity is an unavoidable topic in her new portraits, which continue <em>WOMEN</em>, the ongoing project she began in 1999 with Susan Sontag. Some of those earlier works, ones not featuring celebrities, appear in the installation at a former power station in Wapping, East London, alongside her latest subjects including Caitlyn Jenner, Adele, Lena Dunham, Lupita Nyong'o, and Taylor Swift.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Away from her commercial work, Leibovitz&rsquo; practice has often been collaborative, informed by writers: it was Sontag who came up with idea for the project, Leibovitz told the press, and Sontag who drew up the initial list of subjects. For <em>WOMEN</em>'s latest&nbsp;iteration, Leibovitz worked with erudite feminist writer Gloria Steinem, whose portrait also appears in the exhibition, and who has written the show&rsquo;s stirring entry text.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Leibovitz&rsquo;s continued collaboration with writers and cultural theorists in part explains the narrative feeling often traced in her photographs: &ldquo;the human story,&rdquo; as Steinem described it at the opening. It is also traceable back to Leibovitz&rsquo;s early work in the 70s, as a photojournalist at <em>Rolling Stone</em>. Her fondness of adding text (in the form of biographies of her subjects) and context to connect her images seems a strategy to deal with misrepresentation, a problem that has plagued Leibovitz&rsquo;s career&mdash;prominently in cases of the portraits of Miley Cyrus and Queen Elizabeth II.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20160118212022-Gloria_Steinem__New_York_City_2015__Annie_Leibovitz__1_.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: 26px;">Annie Leibovitz, <em>Gloria Steinem, New York City 2015</em>, &copy; Annie Leibovitz, exhibited in&nbsp;<em>WOMEN: New Portraits</em> exhibition commissioned by <br />UBS Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, January 16&ndash;February 7, 2016</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I wonder if the new portraits lose that narrative quality because the stories are already so well known; it feels there&rsquo;s nothing in them for the viewer to complete. Leibovitz remains a resolute champion of women and of female image-making, but these new images of famous female subjects come with a blatant story. Biographies for each woman accompany the portrait pictures, but they&rsquo;re almost redundant. The single image to correlate with earlier <em>WOMEN</em> works of 15 years ago</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;is a portrait of pediatric AIDs unit worker, Denise Manong.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Leibovitz talked to the audience about the violence perpetrated against women, at a peak now, the first time there are more men than women in the world. She spoke of the physical and mental suffering of women around the world. She has lived, in her 66 years, through her own struggles and challenges. She became a mother in her 50s. A statement a friend&rsquo;s daughter made to the artist after seeing the photographs published&mdash;&ldquo;When I grow up, I want to be a woman&rdquo;&mdash;was something Leibovitz seemed to cherish above all.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But I did find it problematic that the new series&mdash;with its clear social mission to redress the way women are portrayed in photography and art, and to celebrate diversity and success&mdash;has shifted away from the &ldquo;regular&rdquo; working women. In 1999, the WOMEN were soldiers, miners, schoolteachers, astronauts, powerfully portrayed in their working environments. The new portraits seem to understand professional success as somehow equated to celebrity in the public eye: in sports, entertainment, arts, politics. Where did those anonymous working women go? What of the women who don't find professional success, at all? There doesn't seem to be a place for them.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">John Berger&mdash;himself profoundly inspired by Sontag&rsquo;s ideas on photography&mdash;suggested that the medium is the perfect partner to capitalism. Photography is aspirational, it never tells the truth, and it borrows constantly from elsewhere. It is judged on popularity&mdash;a popularity that is now very visible to all.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I felt, naturally perhaps, distant, even as a western, 30-year-old working woman, from these portraits. Despite the fact that all of the women portrayed have achieved remarkable things, with such an overwhelming focus on popular and famous women, the residual feeling was that there was little I could do to be like them: famous, wealthy, recognized all over the world. Not that that is really Leibovitz&rsquo; fault. But to go back to Berger, it does harness the non-truthful, capitalistic power of the photograph. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">(It is also not Leibovitz's fault that Group Chief Exec of UBS, the global finance firm who exclusively commissioned the new work, swung a big phallus over the event in his introductory speech, patronizingly pointing out that it is "good for society" to accept women and let them work, even at big important banks, and that doing this of course is a good look for business: there are now even 45 self-made billionaires in China. As in, they're rich women, who are not even married to rich men!)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The work has come to exist though multiple hands at work. And Leibovitz points out, it is best viewed as a whole&mdash;&ldquo;the images are brothers and sisters to each other&rdquo;&mdash;and that the project is bigger than her. Perhaps these new photographs reflect more than they project.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The image I was most drawn to, (unsurprisingly) was the one Leibovitz also conceded was her favorite. It&rsquo;s a portrait of her mother, pinned up on a board with other more personal earlier works. Leibovitz described how hard that picture was to shoot, for both of them. It connotes all of the sadness of a photograph: a moment becoming a memory. A present that is being lost. The end of communication. &ldquo;The more you know about someone, the harder it is to photograph them,&rdquo; Leibovitz says. That, to me, explains a lot.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/162742-char-jansen?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Char Jansen</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Annie Leibovitz WOMEN: New Portraits exhibition commissioned by UBS.&nbsp;Wapping Hydraulic Power Station.&nbsp;16 January &ndash; 7 February,&nbsp;Pictured: Annie Leibovitz and Sergio P. Ermotti, Group CEO, UBS &copy;Peter Macdiarmid)</span></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:45:10 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Trends at Moniker and The Other Art Fair: Ink and Etching <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Producing a trend report for <a href="http://www.theotherartfair.com/" target="_blank">The Other Art Fair</a> and <a href="http://monikerartfair.com/" target="_blank">Moniker</a> is an almost impossible task given the diversity of the work on display, which is another way to say that there is a really mixed bag in terms of both quality and aspiration.</span>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It might indeed be the best place to pick up some really good quality pictures for relatively little money, but I&rsquo;ll spill the naked truth and admit that if you&rsquo;re hoping to find the next big thing and make a million bucks, that isn&rsquo;t going to happen here. If you want something that makes you happy then that you just might.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016193608-Benjamin_Parkerdivide-and-conquer-small-feature-2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Benjamin Parker, <em>Divide and Conquer</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016193636-betweenotherthere_desade.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Delores de Sade,&nbsp;<em>Between Other There</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The strongest trend was found in term of media, namely ink drawing and etching. It's the type of thing that is heavy on detail and displays a weight of craft. It&rsquo;s funny that something so formal, and perhaps you could even say anachronistic, should be at the forefront of the "cool" East London art fairs, but then again, given that it&rsquo;s an artist rather than gallery-lead fair space, and that their market are real people who are going to buy art, rather than "art buyers" or collectors, it&rsquo;s perhaps not a massive surprise that this consistently appealing form should take trend.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016193729-Dan_Hilier_Meta_FLAT.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Dan Hillier,&nbsp;<em>Meta&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016193922-Olivier_Marc_Thomas_Leger_-_Whale_Song.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Olivier Marc Thomas Leger, <em>Whale Song</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016194517-Delores_desade_thesecondlabourofhercules.JPG" alt="" /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Delores de Sade, <em>the second labour of hercules</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/273879-james-loks?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">James Loks</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>You can follow these links to find James' mini trend reports from Frieze Week 2015's other art fairs:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/articles/show/44242" target="_blank">Frieze London</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/articles/show/44241" target="_blank">1:54</a>, and <a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/articles/show/44243" target="_blank">Sunday Art Fair</a>.&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: Delores de Sade,<em> ARE the seventh labour of hercules</em>, etching)</span></p> Sat, 17 Oct 2015 09:43:30 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Trends at Sunday Art Fair: Everyday Objects <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I feel a little sorry for the<a href="http://www.sundayartfair.com/" target="_blank"> Sunday Art Fair</a>.&nbsp;As the fair for emerging art it should really be the offshoot of Frieze that shows the cutting-edge work, the small galleries, the artist run spaces, and so on.</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Instead it can unfortunately feel like forgotten backwater of the whole event, stuck as it is just a little bit too far location-wise, just a bit too hidden in the basement of Westminster University, and not as big and buzzing as it could be. Which isn&rsquo;t to say that you can&rsquo;t see good work on display. And, you have the chance to talk to both gallerists and artists.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If I said The Other Art Fair and Moniker (trend reports <a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/articles/show/44244" target="_blank">here</a>) aren&rsquo;t really the place to find the next big thing, then this just might be.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The noticeable trend at this fair was for everyday objects being perverted in someway into art objects. Sure, this is pretty standard business these days, and part of me was left wondering whether this was self-consciousness or lack of self-confidence? Or just that this generation of artists have turned their back on making the grand gesture and find their authenticity in reimagining the quotidian.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016192537-Diago_Grantina_-_Negligencia.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;<span style="font-size: x-small;">Daiga Grantina, <em>Negligencia</em></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016192600-Giulia_Cenci_2014_almost_invisible_5.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Giulia Cenci, <em>almost invisible#5&nbsp;, 2014</em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016192618-James_Lewis_-_all_bodies_of_whatever.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">James Lewis, <em>All bodies of whatever&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016192640-Dora_Budor_-_The_Architect__Mind_Falls_Apart__2014.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;Dora Budor, <em>The Architect, Mind Falls Apart</em>, 2014</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151017201634-lea_sculpts_-246.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;Lea Cetera&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/273879-james-loks?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">James Loks</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">You can follow these links to find James' mini trend reports from Frieze Week 2015's other art fairs: <a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/articles/show/44242" target="_blank">Frieze London</a>, <a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/articles/show/44241" target="_blank">1:54</a>, <a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/articles/show/44244" target="_blank">Moniker, and The Other Art Fair</a>.&nbsp;</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Lea Cetera)</span></p> Sat, 17 Oct 2015 20:17:17 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Looking for the Future at Frieze London <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Looking around an art fair with a fixed criteria is an amazing thing. I&rsquo;d recommend it to any visitor as a tool to cut through the vast amount of work that will pass in front of their eyes. It doesn&rsquo;t have to be fancy or intelligent. It can be as simple as &ldquo;I&rsquo;m only looking for blue,&rdquo; or &ldquo;ceramics,&rdquo; or &ldquo;a piece of work that I would hang above the fireplace.&rdquo;&nbsp;In all instances it forms connections between works that wouldn&rsquo;t otherwise be connected, and makes viewing the fair active rather than passive, less monotonous and less tiring. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">My personal criteria this year was to look for work that was ultra modern: by this I mean absolutely <em>now</em>, not five years ago, not post-millennial, but right this second. Of course a kind of absurd thing to do, but also if you can&rsquo;t do it at an art fair where can you? The genesis of the idea came from a <a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/events/show/395640-a-particular-turbulent-wave" target="_blank">show by Jonathan Zawada</a> that was at Beers gallery in East London a few weeks ago. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Zawada is an LA-based Australian-born artist who creates wall pieces and sculptures based on mathematical and cryptogramic functions. Sounds wild. And it is actually wild. The painting/sculpture/thing on the wall pieces he does, where he stretches a mesh over a lazer-cut background, look like OpArt on steroids, the surface of the work shifting and spiralling and making it difficult to look directly at it. Which is of course a wonderful thing. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016183129-Jonathan_Zawada_The-Plural-of-Anecdote-is-Data.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">In a weird way they look like the future; but I&rsquo;ll come back to this.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">I wanted to find pieces that wouldn&rsquo;t have been able to be created fifteen or maybe even ten years ago because you wouldn&rsquo;t have access to either the laser cutting technology nor the computer power required to make it. But there&rsquo;s also something about the color here. The two colors you see above, one the color of the mesh, the other the color of the background (it&rsquo;s the interplay between the two that produces the powerful OpArt effect), have something particularly modern about them. To quote the German artist Elisabeth Reupold, &ldquo;Neons are the only truly modern colors.&rdquo; When I first heard this statement a puritanical part of me was offended, as I basically thought these colors were naff. Now I&rsquo;m not so sure. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">I am sure, however, that there are probably important distinctions between these three: neon, day-glo, and fluorescent&mdash;but that&rsquo;s not so important to me for the purposes of this piece. Here, we might just call them Lurid Modern Hues (LMH&rsquo;s).</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">The second contributing factor to this article was that the first thing I did on getting into Frieze&mdash;and perhaps the highlight&mdash;which was to attend a talk with <a href="http://www.friezeprojects.org/talks/detail/energy-as-clickbait-douglas-coupland-in-conversation-with-emily-segal/" target="_blank">Douglas Coupland and Emily Segal</a>&nbsp;(of trend-predicting artist&rsquo;s group K-Hole, associated with coining the term "normcore"). I highly recommend you listen to it if you have the time. Not least because (as I mentioned <a href="https://twitter.com/James_loks/status/654419922743857156" target="_blank">on Twitter</a>) Emily Segal came across as impressively smart and switched on and funny and personable, so much so I started to feel sorry for poor old Coupland. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">The talk was about predicting the future, but as Segal says, &ldquo;[The] future is a way to talk about the present with more credibility.&rdquo; So when I say Zawada&rsquo;s work looks like the future, perhaps what I mean is that they look like now. So finally, the three factors that I used to look for work around the Frieze were modern techniques, modern colors, and me perceiving them as modern. What this meant in practice was that if I could immediately reference it to something, say, &ldquo;it&rsquo;s a bit like&hellip;&rdquo; or &ldquo;it references&hellip;&rdquo; then it was out. Here are the examples.</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016184637-Kyungah_Ham_SMS_series_-_Money_never_sleeps__2012-2013__high_.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px; text-align: left;">This picture,&nbsp;<em>Money Never Sleeps</em>,&nbsp;by Kyungah Ham, was the first to absolutely launch itself right off the wall and in my direction. The descriptions read &ldquo;North Korean hand embroidery, silk threads on cotton, middle man, anxiety, censorship, wooden frame, approx. 1200hrs/2 persons.&rdquo; Between the popping colors, the incredible convolutions, the overlaid message, and circumstances under which it was produced this seems a picture for our times.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016183249-SMukherjee-Untitled_Pinwheel__detail_4.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">This is a detail of a piece by artist Sandeep Mukherjee called </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Untitled [pinwheel]</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">, that met the criteria, not least because of the green (that was somewhat brighter than in these digital images) but also because of the intense detail of the printing and the acrylic, a strong contrast between the luscious print and low-quality materials.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016183350--Gimhongsok_Ten_Sizes_of_Breaths_01-gimhongsok.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Ten Sizes of Breath</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;"> by Gimhongsuk, made it onto the list on the use of color alone, but also because of the perfection of the balloons.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016183405-Doh_Ho_Su.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Then, we have the more established Do Ho Suh, who must have been particularly hot this year as he was being shown by three galleries. Do Ho Suh is kind of the older statesperson of this group, and his colors (here suffering somewhat from my photography) aren&rsquo;t quite a lurid as some, but he gains inclusion as a kind of Rachel Whiteread hypermodern alter-ego.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016183425-Ryan_Trecartin_Leash_Fest_Pet_Send_Don_t_Hit_Animation_Companion.jpg" alt="" /> </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Finally, there's Ryan Trecartin. What can we say about Ryan Trecartin? Well, the American artist is the only Westerner on this list. His images are grotesque, and kind of <em>faible</em>, in a very appealing way, capturing this drone-flying, reality-altering, persona-creating, image-mediated-digital world in which we live.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Conclusions drawn from this exercise? Firstly, that it was interesting for me that the vast majority of work fitting my criteria didn&rsquo;t come from Western artists or galleries. This perhaps shouldn&rsquo;t be a surprise. I did question if simply a different visual context was the reason why I perceived these pieces as being "modern."</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">This might be true, or it might just be the case that Asia is a place where interesting work is being made at the moment. How exclusive my criteria were! In a sense you&rsquo;d imagine that at one of the world&rsquo;s biggest contemporary art fairs you wouldn&rsquo;t be able to move without coming across the new, but this obviously wasn't the case, as so much of the work on display wouldn&rsquo;t look out of place if shifted back thirty, fifty, eighty years into the past.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/273879-james-loks?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">James Loks</a></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: 26px;">(Image at the top: detail,&nbsp;Sandeep Mukherjee,&nbsp;<em>Untitled [pinwheel],&nbsp;</em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">All images courtesy the author)</span></p> Sat, 17 Oct 2015 09:24:50 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list 1:54 Trend Report: Found Objects and Photography <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">I had a sense of unease as I approached the <a href="http://1-54.com/london/" target="_blank">1:54</a> fair.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016190428-Maimouna_Guerresi__Genitilla_Al_wilada___Mariane_Ibrahim..jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Ma&iuml;mouna Guerresi, <em>Genitilla Al wilada</em>, 2007. &copy; Mariane Ibrahim</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">As I parked my bicycle all sorts of uncomfortable ideas were floating through my head about what I could and couldn&rsquo;t say about African art, not least of which being the perception, dealt with by the fair&rsquo;s title, that Africa is this big single thing, and not the 54 independent nations of which it&rsquo;s comprised.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;<img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016190400-Echoes_-_Wallen_Mapondera.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Wallen Mapondera,&nbsp;<em>Echoes</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">So, putting cultural and intellectual imperialism to one side, 1:54 this year is great, and it is housed wonderfully by Somerset House in a series of rooms that give it a very nice feel in comparison to the booth format of all the other fairs.</span><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016185942-Jebila_Okongwu_1.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Jebila Okongwu, Image courtesy the author<br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016190017-Omar_Victor_Diop_-_Malik_Ambar.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;Omar Victor Diop, <em>Malik Ambar</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016190040-Hassan_Hajjaj_-_Karima_Stylin.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Hassan Hajjaj, <em>Karima&nbsp;Stylin</em>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016190341-Fabrice_Monteiro__The_Prophecy__Untitled__7__Mariane_Ibrahim.jpeg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Fabrice Monteiro, <em>The Prophecy</em>, <em>Untitled #7</em>. &copy;Mariane Ibrahim</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The two identifiable trends at this fair were a predominance of work made from found objects, and a proliferation of photographic work.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016190135-Leon_Krige_-_Dark_City_End_Street.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Leon Krige, <em>Dark City End Street</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016190242-El_Anatusi_-_fresh_and_fading_memories_pt_IV.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">El Anatsui, <em>Fresh and fading memories pt IV&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20151016190312-Mohammed_Camera._Certains_matins__ma_cousine_me_fait_des_trucs_que_je_ne_comprends_pas_digital_c-print__48_x_59_cm__framed__2007.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Mohamed Camara. <em>Certains matins, ma cousine me fait des trucs que je ne comprends pas</em> digital c-print, 48 x 59 cm (framed) 2007</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Unsurprisingly, though, 1:54 was incredibly diverse, from Leon Krige&rsquo;s vast and luscious prints of South Africa to Mohamed Camara&rsquo;s lo-fi autodidactic captured images, to Ma&iuml;mouna Guerresi&rsquo;s surrealist take on things or the difference between Jebila Okongwu banana boxes and El Anatsui&rsquo;s incredible handmade wall coverings. It was probably the most rewarding of all the fringe fairs taking place this week.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/273879-james-loks?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">James Loks</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>You can follow these links to find James' mini trend reports from Frieze Week 2015's other art fairs:<a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/articles/show/44242" target="_blank">Frieze London</a>, <a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/articles/show/44243" target="_blank">Sunday Art Fair</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/articles/show/44244" target="_blank">Moniker, and The Other Art Fair</a>.&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: Jean-Claude Moschetti, <em>Zangbèto</em>)</span></p> Sat, 17 Oct 2015 09:58:27 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Frieze Week London 2015: The Instagrammies <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">We love a big city art week because it's like taking your mind to a theme park. If ever there's a time for critical thinkers to kick back and allow themselves to not take things too seriously, it's Frieze Week. From your relegated position at the bottom of the art hierarchy, you laugh as the art PR attempt to placate the elite with the deftness of a headless chicken. Meanwhile, artists pretend to be sociable creatures and woo museum people and curators do their best impression of being unpretentious. And the critics really get to have fun: no writer is really at Frieze to apply their critical faculties but to wear their most outlandish outfit, make fun of the art, and all the people who have annoyed them, and, of course, drink up the free booze. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">And there's got to be a reason there is so much genitalia flying around this year.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">This is Frieze London&mdash;as seen on Instagram.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Most Helpful Signage</span></p> <table width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50% 0px; width: 100%; background: #f8f8f8;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://instagram.com/p/85wnqkvCND/" target="_blank">A photo posted by Nelleke Visser (@la_vie_de_nelly)</a> on Oct 16, 2015 at 7:52am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Most Engaging Party&nbsp;</span></p> <table width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://instagram.com/p/85zM-wBl1f/" target="_blank">A photo posted by Aysha Al Humairi (@3awashanista)</a> on Oct 16, 2015 at 8:14am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Best Commentary on the Meaning of Life</span></p> <table width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://instagram.com/p/82xqntpflw/" target="_blank">A photo posted by Irina Turcan (@irina_turcan)</a> on Oct 15, 2015 at 4:03am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Most Consciously Selfie-Baiting Artwork</span></p> <table width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 34.4907407407% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://instagram.com/p/81jNUIRtin/" target="_blank">A photo posted by Tania Hergenhahn (@taniahergenhahn)</a> on Oct 14, 2015 at 4:38pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Best Trophy Accessory</span>&nbsp;</p> <table width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://instagram.com/p/85LaYVDCHa/" target="_blank">A photo posted by Artistic Ventures (@artisticventures)</a> on Oct 16, 2015 at 2:27am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Most Influential Collector 2015</span></p> <table width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://instagram.com/p/81UcmCt8uk/" target="_blank">A photo posted by Gloria Maria Cappelletti (@gloriamariagallery)</a> on Oct 14, 2015 at 2:29pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Best Face Off &nbsp;</span></p> <table width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://instagram.com/p/8540T8iY53/" target="_blank">A photo posted by David Arment (@davidarment_dallas)</a> on Oct 16, 2015 at 9:03am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Smuggest Rich White Mom</span></p> <table width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://instagram.com/p/85p0xTGVq3/" target="_blank">A photo posted by @prototyping_context</a> on Oct 16, 2015 at 6:52am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Best Attempt to Own It&nbsp;</span></p> <table width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" href="https://instagram.com/p/85oiu0pWW9/" target="_blank">#frieze #friezelondon #friezeartfair #regentspark #london #art</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A photo posted by myleslea (@myleslea) on Oct 16, 2015 at 6:41am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Best Impression of a Pervert Disguised as an Artist&nbsp;</span></p> <table width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://instagram.com/p/85L0zQgiKt/" target="_blank">A photo posted by Ocula (@oculadotcom)</a> on Oct 16, 2015 at 2:30am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="p1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Best Visualization of a Pussy Fart&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-version="5"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;">&nbsp;</div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://instagram.com/p/843BEMlUWW/" target="_blank">A photo posted by Helena Raywood (@hellyraywood)</a> on Oct 15, 2015 at 11:28pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <script type="text/javascript" src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js" defer="defer"></script> Sat, 17 Oct 2015 08:57:12 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list Exposing Visual Rhymes: An Interview with Mario Ybarra Jr. <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em><strong>This interview was <a href="http://www.artslant.com/chi/artists/rackroom/450" target="_blank">originally published</a> way back on ArtSlant Chicago, in May, 2008, on the occasion of&nbsp; Mario Ybarra Jr.'s exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. The LA-based artist is known for his installations drawing from pop and street culture, including a recent solo show examining the mythos of Scarface at LA's Honor Fraser Gallery. Right now his work can be found <a href="http://nomadicdivision.org/exhibition/mario-ybarra-jr/" target="_blank">on a billboard in Mobile, AL</a>, part of Los Angeles Nomadic Division's Manifest Destiny Project.</strong></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"> Mario Ybarra, Jr. is a LA-based visual and performance artist who has created room-sized installations all over the world and most recently right here in Chicago for the Art Institute of Chicago. This year Ybarra was also selected to participate in the Whitney Biennial. Beneath Ybarra's friendly demeanor lies a keen observer who is quick to expose visual rhymes in seemingly unrelated sources and to expand and build upon those connections until a cohesion is reached, or as he might say, a story. Ybarra graciously met with ArtSlant's Abraham Ritchie while putting the finishing touches on his installation at the Art Institute. Ever the raconteur, Ybarra talked about his native LA, baseball and King Arthur. Below is an excerpt of our conversation.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img style="margin: 10px auto; vertical-align: middle; display: block;" src="/userimages/3151/PICT0018.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <hr style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;" /> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>Abraham Richie: I think a lot of Chicagoans, and everyone, might want to know what the connection is between Southern Los Angeles, Catalina Island and Wrigley Field? It&rsquo;s kind of funny to think that Wrigley Field had a &ldquo;secret brother&rdquo; or something like that on the West Coast, because I am not sure that many people remember or know about this other Wrigley Field.</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>Mario Ybarra, Jr.:</strong> Well that&rsquo;s where this whole project started for me. About a year ago Lisa Dorin, the Assistant Curator in the Contemporary Art Department, asked me if I wanted to come up with a proposal to do a Focus project here at the Art Institute of Chicago, and I said I would think about it a little bit. The way that I try to work is that I try to make some kind of relationship between a personal experience, or my personal understanding or knowledge and the place that I show. I don&rsquo;t like the idea of coming in and claiming an expertise on a place that I know nothing about. I&rsquo;ve found that doing something that starts in the realm of the personal and then taking it out to another place and trying to make relationships between those two places is the most successful tactic for me. . . I try to make bridges, so to speak.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">As a kid we would take trips out to Catalina Island, which is part of the Channel Islands, about 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. I remember part of the tour was the local history. They&rsquo;d always tell us that William Wrigley, Jr. owned Catalina Island and he had famous movie stars of the time going out there, like Clark Gable. His Chicago Cubs would go out and have their spring training there. The main town there is called Avalon and it gets its name from [Wrigley&rsquo;s] niece, who told [Wrigley] to name it that after the Avalon of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and those stories. So it has this mythological side of it too. It has real histories, the local histories, of it being owned by Wrigley, and it has this mythological history through the King Arthur association. My studio back in LA is on Avalon Boulevard and they named [the street] that because that&rsquo;s where the boats used to take people out to Avalon Harbor on the island. I started doing research about that, I&rsquo;m like a de facto historian, and I found that Wrigley, along with owning the island, owned this other Wrigley Field that was in South Central Los Angeles on Avalon and 66th street. So we had the Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island, my studio on Avalon, this field that Wrigley owned was also on Avalon, I just kept following the line. I thought I could take this story from Avalon, to Avalon Boulevard, to my studio, to Avalon were the stadium was, to all the way down Highway 66 to Chicago and the Art Institute.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I&rsquo;m figuring out ways to make these relationships between historical figures like William Wrigley, who was important to historical cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, and bring these stories together somehow, make bridges between the stories. Between what I know and my experiences and the places that I go.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>AR: Sports are the site of an obvious physical conflict and throughout the exhibit are interesting juxtapositions: the Mexican flag and the U.S. flag, the sword and the baseball bat, the fist of the Revolution and an image of a capitalist&rsquo;s private island. The history of the island reflects conflict as well, in the seventies it was occupied by the Brown Berets. How are sports, especially baseball, viewed both literally and metaphorically for this project, and the issues it raises?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>MY:</strong> Well I have always thought of the history of baseball as particularly related to the United States. It&rsquo;s billed as &ldquo;the American Game;&rdquo; it&rsquo;s not really played around the world at all other than some Latin American countries, like the Dominican Republic where all these new players are coming from and where young people are specifically groomed to be ball players. But in relation to the United States, and this comes from the different things that I have watched or read, the developments of social movements in the United States almost always came ten years later than in the ball game itself. Baseball has been very slow to change, and it hasn&rsquo;t changed really over the few centuries its been played here. But it still has these kind of leading edges. Let&rsquo;s take for example the story of integration and civil rights. Jackie Robinson starts playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950's and certain places, like schools, weren&rsquo;t integrated until the early sixties or late sixties. Baseball reflects a little bit in advance the kind of social movements that will happen in the United States.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Another thing that I think is very interesting in terms of conflict and it being a spectator sport, even though there are rival teams and most big cities have their own team, [there is a sense of unity]. Before professional baseball, each little town would have a team, even though there was a sense of rivalry or competition, the people were brought together as spectators to cheer on their team. So even though there was a site of conflict, it wasn&rsquo;t like it was Rome and gladiators were getting fed to lions [laughter]. There is a sense of sportsmanship [. . .]</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Related to issues of capitalism and revolution, or acts of civil disobedience, there is a sense of teams. I play off that with the posters, we have here a baseball with two bats crossed, but instead of a regular team you have the Brown Beret guys who tried to occupy the island in 1972 so they&rsquo;re like &ldquo;the team.&rdquo; The idea of &ldquo;the team&rdquo; is important too and the metaphor of a team. The idea that everyone has their positions but also act as a unit is very important and is a metaphor for myself.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="/userimages/3151/PICT0019.JPG" alt="" width="338" height="443" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><br /><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>AR: The idea of teams is also apparent in this wall of flags you have installed. What are the flags we have here?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>MY:</strong> This is the state of Illinois&rsquo; flag. The flags are also stadium-esque, they always have them. The other thing, again about making relationships, is this is the state of Illinois&rsquo; flag, which has an eagle perched on a rock holding a shield and in his mouth is a banner. I thought that is very interesting, because over here is the Mexican flag, and again we have the eagle, this time perched on the cactus, and the snake in his mouth pretty much mimics the banner in the Illinois flag. Those kinds of aesthetic relationships and symbolic choices are very interesting.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img style="margin: 10px; vertical-align: middle;" src="/userimages/3151/PICT0015.JPG" alt="" width="430" height="328" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><br /><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>AR: Even looking at the Illinois flag, that&rsquo;s more of an Aztec style eagle than a typical American-style eagle.</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>MY:</strong> Yeah. Those are the kinds of things I noticed in my visits to Chicago to prepare for this show, last year and earlier this year. I started seeing these kinds of relationships, like the Illinois flag&rsquo;s similarity to the flag of Mexico.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">This row of flags will start off with the U.S. flag, the state of Illinois flag, Chicago flag, Los Angeles flag, state of California flag, and the Mexican flag. We have these different relationships between these two places starting with the cities and then going to the states. We have the state of Mexico flag, even though California is not part of Mexico, it used to be part of Mexico, but it&rsquo;s related to the histories that we have here. Catalina Island was occupied by the Brown Berets because in the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which separated the Southwest from Mexico after the Mexican-American War, the island wasn&rsquo;t specifically mentioned. This is why the Brown Berets tried to occupy it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">There are interrelationships between the two places [Chicago and LA]. I thought that was another kind of metaphor for the show, in terms of Wrigley being this character and starting with him, saying no man is an island, or no city, or no country or land is an island. They&rsquo;re all in relationship, in context, to their neighbors. Imagine if we thought that we could do everything, under our own power, we&rsquo;d get ourselves in trouble. We can talk about it in relationship to land, in relationship to people. Or no island is a man, we could even switch it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I wanted to draw these kinds of relationships together, one between Los Angeles and Chicago, two between Mexico and the States, three between baseball and mythology. Different symbolic orders, things like ships or bubble gum.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>ArtSlant would like to thank Mario Ybarra, Jr., Jenny Gheith and Lisa Dorin for their assistance in making this interview possible. Additional thanks to the Anna Helwing Gallery and the Art Institute of Chicago</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">-<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/16747-abraham-ritchie?tab=REVIEWS"><span style="color: #000000;"> Abraham Ritchie</span></a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;">(Top image: <strong>Mario Ybarra Jr</strong>, Manifest Destiny Project billboard, 2014; Courtesy of LAND. All other images are installation views of <em>Take Me Out. . . No Man Is an Island</em>, 2008; Courtesy of the Artist)</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 21:52:42 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list F.A.T. Lab, F.A.T. GOLD Europe: Five Years of Free Art & Technology <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I crouched down, picked up a marker, and tried to remember the illegible scribble that used to be my &ldquo;tag&rdquo;: a gesture of sharp points and steady curves punctuated by a strategic line slashed through the whole inscription. In high school I would trace it onto book covers and notepads and think I was cool. It came to me eventually, the first delivery unsteady as I carefully considered which shapes fit where; in a second, more successful attempt, I let my arm do the work, confidently forging my mark in muscle memory.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140558-me_tagging.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Yours truly, tagging the graffiti wall, <em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>; Photo: Ben Harvey.</span></p> <div><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"> <br /></span></div> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I was in Eindhoven attending the Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.) Lab&rsquo;s exhibition <em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>&nbsp;at <a href="http://www.mu.nl/" target="_blank">MU</a>, which ended in January. The show, which also took place in April last year at <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/venues/show/335-eyebeam?tab=VENUE" target="_blank">Eyebeam</a> in New York, was a sort of five-year anniversary round up of the Internet collective&rsquo;s practice. (F.A.T. Lab has now entered its seventh year, but the originally scheduled retrospective was put on hiatus in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.) But back to the incident at hand. Why, at an exhibition dedicated to a network ostensibly operating online, was I contributing my meager tag to a sanctioned graffiti wall?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140845-installation_view1.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi.</span></div> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">The connection isn&rsquo;t so far fetched. Some of F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s twenty-five <a href="http://fffff.at/people/" target="_blank">members</a>&mdash;an international network of artists, engineers, scientists, lawyers, and musicians&mdash;are themselves graffiti artists. Their core values, which include &ldquo;spreading open source and free ideals into popular culture&rdquo; through DIY entrepreneurship, open source, and activism, have more than a few intersections with street art. On the one hand, art on the Internet can be viewed through a street lens: it can bypass normal distribution channels, appealing directly to viewers. Turning the comparison on its head, street art can be seen as a form of &ldquo;hack&rdquo;&mdash;an unendorsed appropriation of space, medium, or idea.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302135918-ideas_worth_spreading.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Evan Roth</strong><em>, <em><a href="http://fffff.at/ideas-worth-spreading/" target="_blank">Ideas Worth Spreading</a> (TED Talks)</em></em>, at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">In his recent book, <a href="http://viralart.vandalog.com/read/" target="_blank"><em>Viral Art</em></a>, <a href="http://blog.vandalog.com/" target="_blank">Vandalog</a> blogger RJ Rushmore looks at how the future of street art, with its focus on &ldquo;unmediated distribution,&rdquo; might find a natural home in the digital domain. He uses the term &ldquo;Viral Art&rdquo; to describe both shareable and invasive online practices that have an affinity, if not a direct evolutionary line, to street art (n.b. &ldquo;Viral&rdquo; here implies a level of approachability that excludes some older forms of Internet Art. The pioneering duo JODI, for example, have a great exhibition at <a href="http://www.showroommama.nl/nl/" target="_blank">Showroom MAMA</a> in Rotterdam right now that isn&rsquo;t particularly accessible or viral). F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s <a href="http://fffff.at/category/projects/" target="_blank">projects</a> don&rsquo;t always fall within the categories Rushmore outlines either&mdash;viewers may seek out content rather than encounter it serendipitously&mdash;yet they do open onto notions of self-dissemination, egalitarianism, activism, and anonymity. In fact, there are examples at MU of some of the <a href="http://viralart.vandalog.com/read/chapter/google-bombs/" target="_blank">very</a> <a href="http://viralart.vandalog.com/read/chapter/katsu-getting-up-in-digital-space/" target="_blank">works</a> discussed in Rushmore&rsquo;s text&mdash;namely, <a href="http://fffff.at/ideas-worth-spreading/" target="_blank"><em>Ideas Worth Spreading</em></a>, a mock-up TED Talk stage where visitors can record images of their own &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to share online, and <em>40,000 GML Tags</em>, a massive screen showcasing graffiti gestures in <a href="http://fffff.at/tag/gml/" target="_blank">GML</a>, or Graffiti Markup Language, &ldquo;a file format designed to be a universal structure for storing digitized graffiti motion data.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140719-kopyfamo.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Geraldine Juarez, <a style="font-style: italic;" href="http://fffff.at/kopyfamo-free-copyright/" target="_blank">Kopyfamo'</a>, watermark on mirror, at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span><em> <br /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Some F.A.T. Lab projects exist in the real world, others are strictly manifest online, and many straddle the two&mdash;that is, projects shaped in the real world and shared online. The MU exhibition, curated by <a href="http://www.lindsayhoward.net/" target="_blank">Lindsay Howard</a>, highlighted them all, offering documentation, online viewing stations, and even physical objects and artworks. Where <em>F.A.T. GOLD</em> differed from the typical exhibition was that most works were not autonomous objects, but rather reproducible examples of a wider practice. Motivated viewers could (and can) recreate many of these works on the web or at home*, and the materials for some projects, like an <a href="http://fffff.at/obama-google-glass-prism-mask/" target="_blank">Obama PRISM mask</a>, were even available at the exhibition.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140049-free_universal_construction_kit.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;"><em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view with&nbsp;<a href="http://fffff.at/free-universal-construction-kit/" target="_blank"><em>Free Universal Construction Kit</em></a>, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Good fun is always on the menu: in <em>F.A.T. GOLD</em> there was a sub-genre of works touting the douchiness of Google Glass and its adopters, and a presentation of Greg Leuch&rsquo;s viral Add-on <a href="http://fffff.at/shaved-bieber/" target="_blank"><em>Shaved Bieber</em></a>, which censors all mentions of Justin Bieber online (earning Leuch more than a little hate mail from teenage fans). But some of the best and most shareable projects are greater than their capacity for the lulz. The <a href="http://fffff.at/free-universal-construction-kit/" target="_blank">Free Universal Construction Kit</a> is a set of adapters that makes ten brands of children&rsquo;s construction sets, like Lego and K&rsquo;Nex, interoperable. It&rsquo;s eminently cool/novel/clever, but it also visualizes the ways in which childhood playthings ostensibly meant to spark creativity are limited by proprietary measures. The F.U.C.K. undermines these protective implements, removing barriers to cross-trademark creativity. The exhibition featured a complete set of adapters, a construction/play station, and a 3D printer that staff members kindly set to printing new pieces whenever visitors turned up. (3D models of the adapters in .STL format are available online for <a href="http://www.thingiverse.com/uck/designs" target="_blank">free download</a>.)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140151-facebook_id_card.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Tobias Leingruber</strong>, <em><a href="http://fffff.at/tag/fb-bureau/" target="_blank">Facebook Identity Card</a></em>, video presentation of ARTE Creative, <em><a href="http://fbbureau.com/" target="_blank">Social ID Bureau</a></em>, 2012,&nbsp;portrait of Mark Zuckerberg,&nbsp;at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span><em> <br /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s perspective seems carefully poised between an irreverent techno-optimism (&ldquo;look at these cool things we can do!&rdquo;) and deep skepticism at the ways in which technologies can be regulated, marketed, and used for power and control. Given these positions, in which use of certain technologies seems self-evident, it&rsquo;s easy to forget that not everyone has access to the distributional paradigm shift that is the digital domain. Rushmore&rsquo;s account also overstates viral art&rsquo;s present accessibility: an encounter with this type of work is more likely to be spread within specific enclaves of Internet activity, with limiting factors being not geography, but usage. The case for &ldquo;unmediated&rdquo; distribution is further undermined by the cryptic algorithms used by Facebook and Google for post placement and search results&mdash;the very systems F.A.T. Lab exploits when images of their fake TED Talks turn up in search results. In a destabilizing twist, F.A.T. Lab often coopts the very technologies and systems it protests (or defends).</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140313-skatekeyboard.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Tobias Leingruber</strong>, <em><a href="http://fffff.at/skatekeyboard/" target="_blank">Skatekeyboard</a></em>, keyboard attached to skateboard deck,&nbsp;at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span><em> <br /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">In a way, that&rsquo;s why it was such a treat to see some of F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s works in physical form, Away From Keyboard as it were. <em>F.A.T. GOLD</em> did a great job of making works and ideas accessible to people who might not be tech-savvy or know what terms like &ldquo;net neutrality&rdquo; and &ldquo;Open Web&rdquo; mean. Or those who aren&rsquo;t necessarily ready to accept or understand this sort of practice as &ldquo;art.&rdquo; The exhibition was forward looking, but also rooted in the past and present&mdash;a thought-provoking bridge between time, technologies, and disciplines. Be it in a subway tunnel or on a homepage, a mark on the wall is a sign of presence; it can be a declaration of ego, of resistance. Or like my clumsy signature, it can be an affirmation, a &ldquo;Like&rdquo; or an &ldquo;upvote&rdquo;: I was here, with so many others, and I want to be counted.</span></p> <p><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/1538/2dh/20140303002936-compubody_interface.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Becky Stern</strong>,&nbsp;<em><em><a href="http://fffff.at/knitted-compubody-interface/" target="_blank">Knitted Compubody Interface</a>&nbsp;</em>(<a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Laptop-Compubody-Sock/" target="_blank">knit one</a> yourself!), at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; </em>&copy; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">*The MU exhibition ended on January 26th, but interested readers can see the projects <a href="http://fffff.at/category/projects/" target="_blank">online</a> or in the new <a href="http://fffff.at/the-fat-manual/" target="_blank"><em>F.A.T. Manual</em></a> (available for purchase or <a href="http://www.lulu.com/shop/domenico-quaranta-and-geraldine-ju%C3%A1rez/the-fat-manual/ebook/product-21251172.html" target="_blank">free download</a>), released on the occasion of the exhibition and the collective&rsquo;s five-year anniversary.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&mdash;Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302141000-installation_view3.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <div>&nbsp;<span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small;">Image on top: <em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi.<span style="color: #000000;">]</span></span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 00:40:07 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/mia/Articles/list