ArtSlant https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/show en-us 40 Minaa Mohsin Answers 5 Questions <p><em>This is&nbsp;5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/46437" target="_blank">Under the Radar</a>, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from </em><em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/459461-minaa-mohsin?tab=PROFILE" target="_blank"><em>Minaa Mohsin</em></a></em><em>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What are you trying to communicate with your work?</strong></p> <p>We live our lives in the middle of things. The homes we maintain and the items we collect are all documentation of our personal histories for which we seek acknowledgment. Material objects are given life by the meaning we attach to them. With this bestowed power, inanimate objects participate as important decision makers in one&rsquo;s life. Attachment with objects, specifically household items of utility, fascinates me. By creating portraits of these articles, I elevate their status from being mere possessions to being actual people, and thus, try to communicate the idea that for humans, making associations is second nature, may it be with other humans or animals or simply objects&mdash;with the latter becoming increasingly problematic in our society. Humor is important to me. Like a standup comedian who makes jokes about family, I use humor to talk about attachment with material culture, and bourgeois aesthetics and aspirations that I have experienced growing up in Pakistan.</p> <p>Several studio visitors have opened up about their homes and families upon looking at my work&mdash;about how their grandma in upstate New York had the same table, about how their parents would not let go of the bookshelf they bought three decades ago, about how oddly attached some of us are to our homes and domestic possessions, and about life before Ikea and Apple. Wherever in the world one is from, home is a subject that can start endless conversations.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170327135651-Minaa_Mohsin__2_.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>The maid must&rsquo;ve taken it</em>, 2016, Mixed media on canvas, 66 x 42 inches</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What is an artist&rsquo;s responsibility?</strong></p> <p>The responsibility of artists is to thoughtfully use the language of art (in any genre), to the best of their ability, to communicate the message they attempt to convey even if they are unsure of what the message is; to have an inquisitive mind and vigor to constantly dig deeper and seek more from the world around them; and most importantly, to empathize&mdash;whether it is with others or with their own selves.</p> <p><strong>Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)? </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170327135722-Minaa_Mohsin__1_.JPG" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>The Pleasure Principle</em>, 2013, Mixed media on canvas, 96 X 96 inches</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>To me, this painting marks a turning point. In the course of collecting references for this visual, I literally experienced the pain and pleasure of maintaining appearances that I attempted to portray. Being a regular salon goer, I had always found it extremely uncomfortable when the salon staff would start working on me all at once, killing the whole point of relaxation for which one goes to spas and salons in the first place. I felt like a product being repaired with other products sitting in line for their turn. I saw bridal make-up being applied in assembly line with each bride hoping to look different than the other. The whole production house feel was amusing to me and I somehow wanted to stay and remain an observer despite my annoyance.</p> <p>This painting allowed me to witness interesting salon dynamics. The employees came from entirely different backgrounds to work in beauty parlors which cater to a class whose life they may never get to experience. Clients would have at least one favorite employee who they would always ask for at each visit. These salons serve as meeting grounds that allow bonds to be formed between different social classes, and power structures to be switched in a way where the less fortunate is the star upon which relies the fate of the fortunate.</p> <p>For this painting I asked the salon girls to attend to me like they would normally to a client while a friend documented the whole process. The resulting images were used to create an ironic and almost otherworldly pleasure parlor that depicted with humor what goes into keeping up this beautiful fa&ccedil;ade. With a painfully bright color palette, massive scale, and subjects engaged in grotesque acts of grooming, I think I was pretty successful in achieving that. The painting now hangs in one of Pakistan&rsquo;s most well-known hair and wardrobe stylist, Tariq Amin&rsquo;s studio. It could not have found a better home and I wonder what people feel when they encounter it.</p> <p><strong>Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:</strong></p> <p>As it is said, never say never! There are countless ideas and projects that I want to accomplish. It&rsquo;s only a matter of time and availability of resources that will allow their eventual execution. I am working on potential projects in my mind (and journal) but for now I&rsquo;m keeping it a surprise, even for myself!</p> <p><strong>Who are three artists we should know but probably don&rsquo;t?</strong></p> <p>I feel an immediate connection with the work of <a href="http://sabakhan.com/" target="_blank">Saba Khan</a>. The heightened use of non-traditional mediums and techniques as a tool of irony, accurately depicts her concern regarding the gaudy display of abundance in the Pakistani nouveau riche. <a href="http://heraakhan.wixsite.com/heraakhan" target="_blank">Hera Khan</a>, on the other hand, uses traditional miniature painting to comment on the absurd material attachment and self-consciousness that accompanies the lavish lifestyles led by a slim segment of the Pakistani society. I would like to mention <a href="http://www.rukheneelofer.com" target="_blank">Rukh-e-Neelofer Zaidi</a> (who happens to already be <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/86669-rukhe-neelofer-zaidi?tab=PROFILE">on ArtSlant</a>) because her paintings are one of the first pieces of art I experienced in a museum setting in Pakistan. Her large-scale, dazzlingly bright, flat paintings speak volumes about femininity, culture and the everyday. I came across her work at the Pakistan National Art Gallery in Islamabad in 2008 and ever since then I have admired and taken inspiration from it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;The ArtSlant Team</p> <div> <hr align="left" noshade="noshade" size="0" width="100%" /></div> <p><em>ArtSlant is an open Arts community with over 200,000 free, user-generated&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans" target="_blank">artist profiles</a>. The support of our community is an essential part of our mission &mdash; from our&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/editorial" target="_blank">magazine</a>&nbsp;to our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/33747" target="_blank">residency</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" target="_blank">prize</a>.&nbsp;Follow your favorite artists to see new work and exhibitions by adding them to your&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/articles/show/11143" target="_blank">watchlist.</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: <em>Just put a flower pot on it</em>, 2016, Mixed Media on Printed Fabric, 54 X 40.5 inches)</span></p> Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:59:34 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Under the Radar: Winnie Chan | Suzanne Dittenber | Young Eun Kang <table style="width: 100%;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <table align="center" border="0" style="width: 100%;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; line-height: 24px;">ArtSlant is an open Arts community with over 200,000 free, user-generated <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Subs" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">artist profiles</a>. The support of our community is an essential part of our mission &mdash; from our <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/editorial?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Mag" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">magazine</a> to our <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/33747" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">residency</a> and <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">prize</a>. Every week our editors select the best artist profiles from under the radar. </span></em></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; line-height: 24px;">Follow your favorite artists to see new work and exhibitions by adding them to your <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/articles/show/11143" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">watchlist.</a></span></em></span></p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/477835-winnie-chan?utm_source=WinnieChan&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;"><span color="#097ff5" face="georgia, palatino" georgia="" large="" palatino="" size="4" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">Winnie Chan &ndash; London &amp; Exeter</span></span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/lon/works/show/1033362?utm_source=WinnieChan&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033362/u3azr9/20170301000653-DSC_0210.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/lon/works/show/1033352?utm_source=WinnieChan&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033352/mf2ji7/20170301000530-IMG_5352.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/lon/works/show/1033359?utm_source=WinnieChan&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033359/mf2ji7/20170301000641-2013_Two_pillows.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/lon/works/show/1033345?utm_source=WinnieChan&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033345/mf2ji7/20170301000510-london_bucket_list.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/477960-suzanne-dittenber?utm_source=SuzanneDittenber&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="color: #097ff5; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;">Suzanne Dittenber &ndash; Indiana </span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/works/show/1033830?utm_source= SuzanneDittenber&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033830/u3azr9/20170302045407-6.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/works/show/1033833?utm_source=SuzanneDittenber&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033833/mf2ji7/20170302045409-7.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/works/show/1033831?utm_source=SuzanneDittenber&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033831/mf2ji7/20170302045407-5.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/works/show/1033832?utm_source=SuzanneDittenber&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033832/mf2ji7/20170302045408-10.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/477834-young-eun-kang?utm_source=YoungEunKang&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span color="#097ff5" face="georgia, palatino" size="4" style="color: #097ff5; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;">Young Eun Kang &ndash; Seoul</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/works/show/1033333?utm_source=YoungEunKang&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033333/u3azr9/20170301000021-______c.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/works/show/1033558?utm_source=YoungEunKang&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033558/u3azr9/20170301145658-___1_MG_9135_1.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/works/show/1033555?utm_source=YoungEunKang&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033555/u3azr9/20170301145550-_MG_9139_1.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/works/show/1033556?utm_source=YoungEunKang&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1033556/u3azr9/20170301145623-_MG_9156_1.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 24px;">ArtSlant supports thousands of contemporary artists through our outreach and exposure programs&mdash;come join the best online arts community today!</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/84518/3mfh/20170213165906-ArtSlant_Prize_IX_2017-01.jpg" style="width: 100%;" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/par/foundation?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Residency"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182447-residency-logo-300.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="https://www.amazon.com/s?marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;me=A2JPU387EQQ9HR&amp;merchant=A2JPU387EQQ9HR&amp;redirect=true" style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182634-sales-room-200-logo.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Subs"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182549-profile-subscriptions-logo-300.jpg" width="100%" /></span></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:21:23 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Portrait: Director Daniel Hug Gets Ready for the World’s Oldest Art Fair <p><em>This photo portrait was originally published as a longer feature on <a href="http://bit.ly/2nYodIc" target="_blank">Freunde von Freunden</a></em><em>&nbsp;under the title &ldquo;Daniel Hug, director of Art Cologne, on the Cologne art scene and the Germans&rsquo; passion for collecting.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Cologne wasn&#39;t cool when I got here&mdash;everyone wanted to go to Berlin,&rdquo; Daniel Hug, the Managing Director for Art Cologne recalls. Yet this &ldquo;uncool&rdquo; city on the Rhine has a long and important history with art. Hug explains:</p> <p style="margin-left: 80px;">Starting in the &rsquo;60s, Cologne was the art capital of Germany. The Cologne-based art collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig were collecting Pop Art before the Americans themselves had even thought about it. Even today, the city has a very strong art scene. There are important and established galleries here. Cologne is a large city and at the same time intimate. You can build and maintain personal relationships and friendships within the industry and have more opportunities for exchange than anywhere else.</p> <p>As the Managing Director of Art Cologne since 2008, Hug has made some crucial changes to the fair, making it more competitive, but also championing young galleries and artists. He reduced the number of exhibitors from nearly 300 down to around 190 galleries, and introduced new, logical structures: small stalls at cheaper rents for emerging galleries and more space for established exhibitors. &ldquo;Critical thinking,&rdquo; claims Hug as he describes his approach, &ldquo;you find creative ways to solve a problem. And don&#39;t go by the book.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170323144209-Freunde-von-Freunden-Daniel-Hug-2961.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In particular, he wants to use Art Cologne to better promote and support young galleries. Calling it the &ldquo;Neumarkt&rdquo; (new market), this year Hug is introducing a private area in which young exhibitors can present individually or as part of a group. He&rsquo;s keenly aware of trends, but also his responsibilities in the capricious business of art: &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re not a young gallery owner anymore, you&#39;re no longer interesting. The expiration date of a gallery is about five years nowadays. A trade show has about 10&ndash;12 years before they start having difficulties.&rdquo; Yet as the oldest art fair in the world, celebrating its 51st season this April, Art Cologne has long left this limit far behind.</p> <p>Leading up to Art Cologne, which runs April 26&ndash;29, photographer Michael Englert trailed Daniel Hug at his home, office, and gallery in Cologne for Freunde von Freunden. You can read the whole profile <a href="http://http://bit.ly/2nYodIc" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170323144250-Freunde-von-Freunden-Daniel-Hug-2494.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170323144317-Freunde-von-Freunden-Daniel-Hug-2651.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170323144747-Freunde-von-Freunden-Daniel-Hug-2756.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170323144721-Freunde-von-Freunden-Daniel-Hug-2977.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170323144844-Freunde-von-Freunden-Daniel-Hug-2673.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170323144855-Freunde-von-Freunden-Daniel-Hug-2449.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170323144655-Freunde-von-Freunden-Daniel-Hug-2390.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170323144812-Freunde-von-Freunden-Daniel-Hug-3037.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Photography: Michael Englert<br /> Adapted from text by: Sascha Abel; Translation: Brenton Withers<br /> See the full portrait on <a href="http://http://bit.ly/2nYodIc" target="_blank">Freunde von Freunden</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:59:15 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Wednesday Web Artist of the Week: Tea Strazicic <p><a href="http://flufflord.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">Tea Strazicic</a> is a Croatian new media artist currently based in Los Angeles. Much of her work is heavily influenced by Japanese popular culture but distorted through a tripped-out lens of western internet art youth culture.</p> <p>The cuteness of the Kawaii influences is generally offset by a subversive tension that is further explored in her more sculptural digital creations. Strazicic&rsquo;s feverish visions collide slick digital surfaces with alien cyber organics and contemporary emoji culture. Her work offers a vital reflection of the myriad obsessions of a rapidly rising generation of digital artists.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322110516-tumblr_o7rd3b1AwZ1rs4tkio1_r2_1280.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Christian Petersen: Tell us a little about yourself.</strong></p> <p><strong>Tea Strazicic:</strong> Hello! I&rsquo;m from Croatia. I grew up on the Adriatic coast switching between Dubrovnik and Biograd. It was just at the time of war between Croatia and Serbia.</p> <p>Croatia is so pretty, and it is quite intense for such a small country. Zagreb is a dirty European town, but it is filled with interesting gorgeous people who throw great events and film festivals.</p> <p>Our government sucks like any other.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322110553-SWAMP03.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: </strong><strong>What were you like as a teenager?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> Savage. But not all the time. I was a small bookworm level 1 goth kid. Used to listen to Korn, play &ldquo;Fallout,&rdquo; took a lot of photos, was into sword fighting for a while. Most of the time I was drawing or painting. Actually I&rsquo;m still basically the same&mdash;the only difference is that I listen to remixed Korn.</p> <p><strong>CP: What are you first memories of computers?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> My dad is techno-dad. The first games I played on his laptop were &ldquo;MDK,&rdquo; &ldquo;Abe&#39;s Escape,&rdquo; &ldquo;Myst,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Freddi Fish.&rdquo; Now my mom and him video call me from five different devices at the same time, and they have a strange thing in the kitchen that talks to them about weather when they ask it. Sometimes it plays music but they don&rsquo;t like music.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322110618-tumblr_o5fqswyQvm1rs4tkio1_1280.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: When did you first realize that you could use them creatively?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> In &ldquo;Freddi Fish&rdquo; you had the option to create custom maps, then &ldquo;RollerCoaster Tycoon&rdquo; came up and absorbed me. Photoshop and Corel Paint where my first actual digital painting programs.</p> <p>Once I had to PS paint an &ldquo;Unreal Tournament&rdquo; character&rsquo;s camo skin into rainbow skin so I could spot and shoot him in the dark forest more easily. To be honest I didn&rsquo;t know what creativity was back then and I was never proud of being an artist until it became fashionable (and annoying), but whatever I did then influenced my style a lot.</p> <p><strong>CP: How did you get into working with 3D? What attracted you to it?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> Hollywood&rsquo;s highly professional pyrotechnic 3D was never my cup of tea. It took a lot of research, social media friendships, and growing apart from Academy art to find out about other possibilities 3D animation can offer. Recently that art is part of the academic world. Now I kind of leaned towards making VR pyrotechnics myself. Circle of life. I have to thank my sister Marta&mdash;<a href="https://www.instagram.com/pirate_sheep/" target="_blank">@pirate_sheep</a>&mdash;the most for pushing me towards all the different software. Our first <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oeN6kCWn0A" target="_blank">music video collaboration</a> was made for <a href="https://soundcloud.com/strahinja-arbutina" target="_blank">Strahinja Arbutina</a>. She just started using Maya and Poser and I combined it into a fake TV report. It was insanely fun. Otherwise I hate animating on my own&mdash;it&rsquo;s so much hard labor.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322113711-hellovatican_01.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: What were your first experiences of the internet? </strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> Neopets and stupid chats. Those where such suspicious times.</p> <p><strong>CP: When did you first realize you could use the internet as a platform for your ideas?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> If Facebook was like &ldquo;World of Warcraft,&rdquo; I would be over level 90. The best thing I brought there is my diverse link sharing habit, ranging from art cinema to rare SoundCloud links. I like communicating through images more than words so it is like a utopian thing for me already. Wish Mr. Mark would pay me for it :(</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322111623-SWAMP02.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: That&rsquo;s true&mdash;it&rsquo;s notoriously hard for new media artist to earn money from their work. Do you think that will ever change?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong>&nbsp;I work hard on getting paid for my work. Last September I was in a collective (Slavic only) exhibition curated by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.netdotcube.org/" target="_blank">NetDotCube</a>&nbsp;around the theme &ldquo;Economy of the virtual world.&rdquo; My work was based on the primitive exchange of my visual services to&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/filipscekic" target="_blank">SZCH&rsquo;s</a>&nbsp;music services. Now we published that work on a DIY cassette tape you can buy on&nbsp;<a href="https://lowincomesquad.bandcamp.com/" target="_blank">Low Income Squad</a>. I still don&rsquo;t know anything about earning money and I wish someone can manage me so I don&rsquo;t die in a standard poor artist way.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322110818-LeMakeup_AlbumArt.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Cover art for Le Makeup&rsquo;s EP</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: When did you first realize that there was a &ldquo;new media&rdquo; community&nbsp;online that you could be a part of? </strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> My IRL friends and URL life have merged by now. For example I live with artist <a href="https://www.facebook.com/iiqopii?fref=ts" target="_blank">Nick Zhu</a> who I first got introduced to about three years ago while he was making an online art museum. Even before that, being a resident VJ for <a href="https://www.facebook.com/zivamuzika/" target="_blank">Živa Muzika</a> connected me to a lot of great musicians touring through Zagreb in the same &ldquo;new media&rdquo; community as visual artists, filmmakers, and meme creators. Now that I&rsquo;m in LA everything makes so much sense and everyone knows each other already.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322110051-tumblr_o3c3wl7SCt1rs4tkio1_1280.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: A lot of your work is influenced by Japanese art and culture&mdash;how did your interest in that begin?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> I think Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball are masterpieces that influenced so many people. Anime to me was a passage through the other side of a mirror considering&nbsp;all I&rsquo;ve been surrounded by was originating from western ideas and storytelling. Starting with Osamu Tezuka and Studio Ghibli, micro to macro narratives, to the diverse ethics of <em>One Piece</em> saga, anime by far offers the most advanced package of speculative, practical, and spectacular. It&rsquo;s so relatable too (and it&rsquo;s sooo much work). I&rsquo;ve finished new media school with a great focus on experimental cinema and art cinema, but every theory professor ignored the fact (good) anime existed. It didn&rsquo;t stop it from becoming the primeval forest of all fandom today. Other than that I was largely influenced by Hentai and Ero-Guro.</p> <p><strong>CP: How would you describe your aesthetic?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> <em>Heavy Metal Magazine</em> meets emotional Catholic kid in Koreatown.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322110208-tumblr_om2puz6cqa1rs4tkio1_1280.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: Your work ranges from super cute and fun to&nbsp;serious, strange, and distorted. Do these different styles</strong> <strong>represent different aspects of your personality?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> Yes, I&rsquo;m still struggling with that. It feels like pulling a large medieval cropper over the potato field while what I should be doing is concentrating on one thing and pushing it to the end as advised by successful men. But I think that way works for hard working men and I&rsquo;m too wavy for that, I wouldn&rsquo;t feel happy, it wouldn&rsquo;t be really me.</p> <p>So right now I&rsquo;ve been working on a <a href="https://www.instagram.com/beefycakegastronaut/" target="_blank">cute graphic space saga,</a> making album art, planning a clothing line, and writing exhibition proposals.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="394" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lgw8iRwbTR0?rel=0&amp;controls=0" width="700"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: What artists in the new media community do you particularly admire and why?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> <a href="https://www.facebook.com/hellyfalcon" target="_blank">Helin Sahin</a>, Marta Strazicic, Dina Karadzic, <a href="http://mayabendavid.net/" target="_blank">Maya Ben David</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/l.tavi.666" target="_blank">Tavi Lee</a>, Holly Herndon, <a href="https://www.instagram.com/inomoxo/?hl=en" target="_blank">Filip Ugrin</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1193550956" target="_blank">Motorola Beeper</a>, <a href="http://www.nicholaszhu.com/" target="_blank">Nicholas Zhu</a>, Berliac Yungqin, Mario Udzenija, Ashida Park, Low Income Squad, BB5000 and The Garden Ceremony, Katrin Krumm, Lara Joy Evans, Donnie Fredericks, Dar&iacute;o Alva, Klara Vincent-Novotna, Pax Lyorn, Bora Akinciturk, Caterpillart Ludvicat, Lea Anic, <a href="https://soundcloud.com/vilentsiolence" target="_blank">Violence</a>, Chino Amobi, Svengali, Swan Meat, xo.nighttime.xo&hellip; I&rsquo;m already feeling guilty for not mentioning all the names but you can look up <a href="https://www.facebook.com/FeltZine/" target="_blank">Felt Zine </a>and find some there. Or just text me <a href="https://www.instagram.com/flufflord/" target="_blank">on Instagram</a>.</p> <p>I admire them because they are all honest. Their art is not ruled by stock markets and white walls; their language is in tune with the time we live in; they create the most independent and diverse art one can imagine. I&rsquo;m so grateful every day to be able to see their content on my timelines and even share the table with some of them.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322111032-Cell_AlbumArt.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: What music and musicians influences your work the most and why?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> I mentioned some of them before, but I missed out on <a href="https://soundcloud.com/eande" target="_blank"><u>Elysia Crampton</u></a>. Her music evokes empathy and her sounds can travel through memories.</p> <p><strong>CP: What do you think makes something &ldquo;new media&rdquo; as opposed</strong> <strong>to other types of art? </strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> What used to be distinctive passed from Yves Michaud&rsquo;s art in a state of vapor to a very fluid understanding of new media that depends on how deep your personal knowledge is. Not even the curators of, for example, the Whitney Biennial know what is exactly happening, and they are supposed to be most informed about it&mdash;what is the real NEW. New can be hidden from them deep in Shanghai&rsquo;s underground club and they will never notice it. It can be in an insignificant Polish village connected to SoundCloud. My knowledge of New can last only for so long to be witnessed. If it gets noticed it slides into some institution where it&rsquo;s frozen. The state of frozen art is viewed mostly by white people with little notebooks. Also maybe there is something so new media that I can&rsquo;t see because I don&rsquo;t have money for it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322111753-SwS_4_EA_1_1_SV_.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: New media has become a vital home for the expression of feminist, sexuality and gender ideas. Why do you think that is?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> People scroll through content more than ever. Our diet is full of info. I hope it helps to correct injustice done to so many people and reaches the minds of ones with a lesser gift of compassion. We don&rsquo;t rely on the same structure people relied on before the internet. Next generations will be so insane, smart and caring too.</p> <p><strong>CP: What else do you do you have coming up?</strong></p> <p><strong>TS:</strong> I hope my art visa comes up. Also there is a SwS [Smut with Substance] issue for <a href="https://news.feltzine.us/" target="_blank">Felt Zine</a> in April, music video for <a href="https://soundcloud.com/shashakimbo" target="_blank">Sha Sha Kimbo</a> and some album artwork for <a href="https://soundcloud.com/gnucci" target="_blank">Gnucci</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170322111103-BGSSR02.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/441718-christian-petersen?tab=REVIEWS">Christian Petersen</a></p> <p><em>We run an online magazine, so of course, we&#39;re interested in what&#39;s happening with art on the web. We invited online gallerist, founder, and curator of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.digitalsweatgallery.com/">Digital Sweat Gallery</a>, Christian Petersen, to write a bi-monthly column for us. Every other Wednesday he selects a Web Artist of the Week.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(All images: Courtesy of the artist)</span></p> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 11:13:21 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Can Collecting Digital Art Make Museums More Competitive? <p>Exactly one hundred years after Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings started Cabaret Voltaire, Z&uuml;rich was once again the stage of an art revolution. This time it wasn&rsquo;t Dada, however, but data. On February 13, 2016, <a href="http://muda.co/zurich/" target="_blank">The Museum of Digital Art</a> opened its doors on the ground floor of the monumental Herdern Hochhaus. It&rsquo;s the first physical and virtual museum dedicated to digital art in Europe. Worldwide, there are only a few institutions like it, most of them American. There is, of course, the pioneering <a href="http://www.amoda.org/" target="_blank">Austin Museum of Digital Art</a> (AMODA), founded in 1997 and embellished with a full-fledged exhibition program five years later. And on the West Coast the <a href="http://www.lacda.com/">Los Angeles Center for Digital Art</a> (LACDA) has been going strong since 2006.</p> <p>The fact that these are brick and mortar entities is more significant than one might think. Their physical nature allows them to showcase a much wider range of artworks than any of the online museums dedicated to digital art. Those have been around since the start of the World Wide Web and include the <a href="http://moca.virtual.museum/" target="_blank">Museum of Computer Art</a> (MOCA, since 1993), the <a href="http://dam.org/home" target="_blank">Digital Art Museum</a> (DAM, since 1999), and the <a href="https://dimoda.art/" target="_blank">Digital Museum of Digital Art</a> (DiMoDA, since 2015). They are quite proficient at documenting the fifty-plus-year history of digital art and often put on virtual exhibitions. But the curating and staging is limited to the screen, so what you&rsquo;re looking at is basically net art or documentation. Lenticular prints, 3D-printing, animatronics, and all other varieties of art involving computers in the creation process are excluded. That makes for a very narrow interpretation of an art form that keeps redefining its boundaries as technological evolution speeds forward.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170321103654-Screen_Shot_2017-03-21_at_11.32.41.png" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Screengrab of <a href="https://dimoda.art/" target="_blank">DiMoDA</a>, Digital Museum of Digital Art</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another great advantage of a building with the word &ldquo;museum&rdquo; on the fa&ccedil;ade: it&rsquo;s much more visible. Whereas digital traffic tends to become compartmentalized by algorithms feeding us information tailored to our personal preferences and previous behavior, a physical structure is less easily overlooked. Moreover, it&rsquo;s potentially a place where people meet and interact, thus investing the art on display with the humanity necessary for it to be accepted and adopted by the public at large. (This is not to say that online interactions concerning digital art are inauthentic or lack human presence, but they are typically confined to communities who are already aware of or sold on the medium.) Still, while attempting to help along the emancipation of digital art, the museums dedicated exclusively to it tend not to grow beyond the status of oddity. They are well outside the mainstream and attract mostly techies and art geeks, largely failing to cross over into the regular museum-going crowd.</p> <p>Traditional museums, on the other hand, are extremely slow on the uptake where digital art is concerned. While our everyday lives are increasingly saturated with digital technology and many feel it&rsquo;s nearly impossible to even imagine life before the internet, smart phones, and laptop computers, we see very little of that when entering a museum. Some institutions do organize exhibitions by digital natives, post-internet artists, or whatever label they choose to categorize digital artists under, but these tend to be one-offs. The Whitney Museum in New York dedicated a retrospective to <a href="http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/CoryArcangel" target="_blank">Cory Arcangel</a> in 2011, when the artist was still in his early thirties. Chris Bodman curated a number of important shows at the Barbican and Tate Modern in London. And right now, the <a href="http://www.kunsthal.nl/en/plan-your-visit/exhibitions/human-digital-symbiotic-love-affair/" target="_blank">Kunsthal in Rotterdam</a> is presenting the Hugo Brown family&rsquo;s digital art collection: a worthwhile presentation of works produced and collected over the last decade and a half. But after these shows close, the flat screens and heavy-duty hardware go back to the rental shop and the works are returned to their owners.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170321105938-tabor_robak.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Tabor Robak, <em>A*</em>, 2014 14-channel HD video; 8 minutes, Hugo Brown Family Collection. Currently on display in&nbsp;<em>Human/Digital: A Symbiotic Love Affair</em>&nbsp;at Kunsthal Rotterdam</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The number of general art museums collecting digital art on a regular basis is negligible. In recent years MoMA has been catching up, but most of its acquisitions are in the realm of pixel icons and antiquated videogames like Pac-Man, Tetris, and SimCity. Worldwide there is basically only one museum with a sizeable digital art collection spanning the entire history of the medium, and that is, perhaps surprisingly, the <a href="http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/v-and-a-computer-art-collections/" target="_blank">Victoria &amp; Albert Museum</a> in London. The museum owes its wealth of digital art to the donation of two private collections: the Computer Art Society Collection and the Patric Prince Archive. Although the V&amp;A regularly stages digital art exhibitions, it too fails to integrate this facet of its collection with the rest and make it part of the museum&rsquo;s DNA.</p> <table align="right" width="400"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding: 10px;"> <p style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large; color: #1f1f1f;"><span style="font-size: x-large;"><em>Focusing on digital art could be a strategy to strengthen a museum&rsquo;s position in an increasingly competitive market.</em></span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>One could argue there&rsquo;s no urgency for the V&amp;A to do so: the museum is primarily known for its vast and excellent collections of fashion and design, and presents itself as such. Why develop a new USP when you already have one? The V&amp;A is in the luxury position not having to rethink its position in the light of technological evolution. This is not the case, however, for quite a few modern and contemporary art museums. For them,<strong> </strong>focusing on digital art could be a strategy to strengthen their position in an increasingly competitive market.</p> <p>Case in point is the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. In the period following World War II this institution qualified as one of the world&rsquo;s top modern art museums. It was one of the first to embrace photography as a legitimate art form, acquired absolute masterpieces by German and American abstract painters and conceptualists in the sixties and seventies, and classifies as an early adopter where video art is concerned. But in the late twentieth century it was overtaken left and right by museums with bigger budgets and more decisive directors. A complicated overhaul and expansion of the building, which took five years, was supposed to help bring the Stedelijk &ldquo;back into the Champions League of museums,&rdquo; as then-director Gijs van Tuyl put it. This is not achieved by focusing on twentieth century art, however. In a world where the likes of the Al Thani family dominate the art market and don&rsquo;t think twice about spending millions of dollars to procure the latest C&eacute;zanne, Rothko, or Warhol at auction, a museum like the Stedelijk doesn&rsquo;t stand a chance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170321102611-Screen_Shot_2017-03-20_at_16.26.05.png" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Rosa Menkman, <em><a href="http://rosa-menkman.blogspot.nl/2010/08/vernacular-of-file-formats-2-workshop.html" target="_blank">A Vernacular of File Formats</a></em>, 2010. Work recently acquired by Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and MOTI, Museum of the Image, Breda</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It could make a killing in the digital art market, though. This type of art is still relatively cheap. Its makers are eager to acquire recognition by formal art institutes and are probably willing to set aside exclusive works for museums. Even early net art from the 1990s is quite easily obtained. With a modest but earmarked budget the Stedelijk could quickly assemble a consistent and coherent digital art collection, which it could deploy to revitalize its image and redirect its course, setting it apart from the rest of the museum field, ahead of the competition.</p> <p>Not only would such a digital art collection boost the Stedelijk&rsquo;s contemporariness, it could also refresh its permanent collection. The museum has been experimenting with new ways of presenting the collection, most notably in the 2014 Matisse show, which mixed up a monographic blockbuster with more or less forgotten treasures from the storage rooms. How great would it be to see Dominik Starch&rsquo;s flickering screens combined with color field paintings by Ellsworth Kelly, C&eacute;cile B. Evans next to surrealists, or Petra Cortright <a href="https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-petra-cortright-is-the-monet-of-the-21st-century" target="_blank">dialoguing with Claude Monet</a>? These combinations&mdash;and these are only some of the most obvious&mdash;could provide a &ldquo;point of entry&rdquo; for a new audience, viewers conditioned by a digital visual culture. By incorporating their aesthetic and everyday frame of reference, the museum could reinsert itself in contemporary life and regain a sense of urgency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170321102713-008.SM-JON_RAFMAN_-06-2016-PH.GJ.vanROOIJ.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Installation view of <em>Jon Rafman: I Have Ten Thousand Compound Eyes and Each Is Named Suffering</em>, Installation view at the Stedelijk Museum, 2016. Photo: Gert-Jan van Rooij</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Already the Stedelijk is on the right path. High profile exhibitions like <a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/articles/show/42287-interview-with-ed-atkins-cadavers-telling-you-to-shut-up" target="_blank">Ed Atkins&rsquo; 2015 <em>Recent Ouija</em></a> show and the current <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/events/show/434925-part-2-truth-love" target="_blank">Jordan Wolfson diptych </a>bring the 21st century into the museum. And in December 2016, in partnership with <a href="https://www.motimuseum.nl/" target="_blank">MOTI</a>, the Museum of the Image in Breda, the Stedelijk announced its acquisition of seventeen digital artworks by artists ranging from 1990s pioneers JODI and Dutch greats such as Constant Dullaart and Jan Robert Leegte to international mainstays like Jonas Lund and Jon Rafman. But more could be done, and should be done. Digital art should be fully integrated in the presentation of the permanent collection so as to persuade private collectors to donate their works or even help fill in the blanks. Moreover, digital artists should be actively invited to co-curate exhibitions the way Director Willem Sandberg once opened up the doors to CoBrA members, kinetic artists, and other avant-gardists which resulted in legendary exhibitions like <em>Bewogen Beweging</em> (1961) and <em>Dylaby </em>(1962). Digital art could function as a prism to look at both the museum&rsquo;s collection and society as a whole. It could catapult the Stedelijk not only back into Champions League position, but into the heart of contemporary life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/356010-edo-dijksterhuis?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Edo Dijksterhuis</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Stedelijk permanent collection. Photo: Gert-Jan van Rooij. Illustration: Andrea Alessi and Joel Kuennen)</span></p> Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:58:42 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Under the Radar: Noe Serrano | Anna Kim | Christopher Squier <table style="width: 100%;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <table align="center" border="0" style="width: 100%;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; line-height: 24px;">ArtSlant is an open Arts community with over 200,000 free, user-generated <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Subs" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">artist profiles</a>. The support of our community is an essential part of our mission &mdash; from our <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/editorial?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Mag" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">magazine</a> to our <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/33747" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">residency</a> and <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">prize</a>. Every week our editors select the best artist profiles from under the radar. </span></em></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; line-height: 24px;">Follow your favorite artists to see new work and exhibitions by adding them to your <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/articles/show/11143" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">watchlist.</a></span></em></span></p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/254880-noe-serrano?utm_source=NoeSerrano&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;"><span color="#097ff5" face="georgia, palatino" georgia="" large="" palatino="" size="4" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">Noe Serrano &ndash; Spain</span></span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1037732?utm_source=NoeSerrano&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1037732/u3azr9/20170316145704-Screen_Shot_2017-03-16_at_10.54.29_AM.png" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/530663?utm_source=NoeSerrano&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/530663/y8wnrh/20120105182735-Serrano_El_Pastor_2007_Resina_80_5x26_5x54_5cm_n.755_b_low.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/530662?utm_source=NoeSerrano&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/530662/y8wnrh/20120105182313-Serrano_Funcionario_2005_Resina_60x70x25cm_n.385_marcadeagua_low.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/530664?utm_source=NoeSerrano&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/530664/y8wnrh/20120105182942-Serrano_El_Peque_o_Dictador_Grande_2011_Resina_57_5x126x202cm_n.1431low_c.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/477577-anna-kim?utm_source=Anna-Kim&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="color: #097ff5; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;">Anna Kim &ndash; Los Angeles </span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1034376?utm_source=Anna-Kim&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1034376/u3azr9/20170304003408-Tree-Pearl.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1034384?utm_source=Anna-Kim&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1034384/y8wnrh/20170304004021-T_K.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1034382?utm_source=Anna-Kim&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1034382/y8wnrh/20170304003816-Auspices.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1034368?utm_source=Anna-Kim&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1034368/y8wnrh/20170304001516-Forest-yours-and-mine1-1.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/428101-christopher-squier?utm_source=ChristopherSquier&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span color="#097ff5" face="georgia, palatino" size="4" style="color: #097ff5; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;">Christopher Squier &ndash; San Francisco</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/919066?utm_source=ChristopherSquier&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/919066/u3azr9/20150610183505-asquier3.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/919067?utm_source=ChristopherSquier&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/919067/y8wnrh/20150610183535-Farewell_Moon_Jar.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1034188?utm_source=ChristopherSquier&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1034188/y8wnrh/20170303175118-Squier_09__2_.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/919071?utm_source=ChristopherSquier&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/919071/y8wnrh/20150610183717-003Squier.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 24px;">ArtSlant supports thousands of contemporary artists through our outreach and exposure programs&mdash;come join the best online arts community today!</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/84518/3mfh/20170213165906-ArtSlant_Prize_IX_2017-01.jpg" style="width: 100%;" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/par/foundation?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Residency"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182447-residency-logo-300.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="https://www.amazon.com/s?marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;me=A2JPU387EQQ9HR&amp;merchant=A2JPU387EQQ9HR&amp;redirect=true" style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182634-sales-room-200-logo.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Subs"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182549-profile-subscriptions-logo-300.jpg" width="100%" /></span></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 12:52:08 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list (In)visibility in New Black Portraiture: Aria Dean and Hamishi Farah in Dialogue <p>In March 2016, Los Angeles-based artist and writer <a href="https://twitter.com/lol_prosciutto?lang=en" target="_blank">Aria Dean</a> penned an essay entitled &ldquo;<a href="https://thenewinquiry.com/essays/closing-the-loop/" target="_blank">Closing the Loop&rdquo; for The New Inquiry</a> about the white monopolization of feminist selfie art. I remember reading the essay and feeling its urgency and necessity at a time when the spotlight on selfie art and culture was (and still is) dominated by white cis-hetero young women. When I think of the canon of feminist art and the &ldquo;trailblazers&rdquo; that paved the way for subsequent generations of women artists, I see a very similar process of erasure repeating itself. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Women artists of color from the 1970s were sidelined by white feminism, or what is now known as the Feminist Avant-garde in art history, which is gently nestled under the more general but equally white-dominant umbrella of the women&rsquo;s liberation movement. Ana Mendieta&rsquo;s dissatisfaction with the movement, with groups like New York&rsquo;s white-centric A.I.R. collective, is well documented. As is the exclusion of black artists such as Dindga McCannon, Pat Davis, and Carol Blank from the &ldquo;official&rdquo; canon of Feminist Art in America from the 70s. These artists made &nbsp;independent efforts to be visible with the formation of the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_We_At" target="_blank">Where We At</a> (WWA) organization following their 1971 exhibition <em>&ldquo;Where We At&rdquo; Black Women Artists: 1971</em>.</p> <p>What fundamentally separates these groups today remains the same: artists of color have a shared activist focus on intersectional issues while white artists largely continue to prioritize their own privileged ones. There is no room for the &ldquo;other&rdquo; in history books and the heavy baggage that the &ldquo;other&rdquo; carries makes it difficult for marginalized artists to find the right language to speak it in. In the history of art and otherwise all the words belong to White Supremacy: all the pages of history have been written for and in favor of it. Finding one&rsquo;s non-white place within this history becomes a dexterous task that often entails feelings of complicity or guilt. When the extant systems for visibility are moderated, co-opted, and monetized by White Supremacy, it&rsquo;s no surprise that the terrain is difficult to navigate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170317152737-WPTIR-11.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Aria Dean and Hamishi Farah, <em>White ppl think I&#39;m radical, </em>Installation View at Arcadia Missa, London<br /> Courtesy the Artists &amp; Arcadia Missa. Photo: Tim Bowditch</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is in this vein that Aria Dean and Melbourne-based artist <a href="http://hamishi.asia/" target="_blank">Hamishi Farah</a> have worked somewhat allusively in a prefatory effort that seems to propose a definition for New Black Portraiture in art following Dean&rsquo;s 2016 posture. Their two-person exhibition, <a href="https://www.artslant.com/lon/events/show/442440-white-ppl-think-im-radical" target="_blank"><em>White ppl think I&rsquo;m radical</em></a> at London&rsquo;s <a href="http://arcadiamissa.com/white-ppl-think-im-radical/" target="_blank">Arcadia Missa</a> (through April 29) presents an inclusive, more collective idea of self-portraiture. One where the black artist is simultaneously present and absent from the picture, where the self is at once he, she, and they&mdash;an outlook that contradicts western philosophy&rsquo;s emphasis on the ideologically capitalist individual.</p> <p>I spoke with Dean and Farah on the occasion of the exhibition regarding the complicated nature of black portraiture today. In both the show and conversation, the two artists pass on proposing any explicit manifestos, instead choosing to work within a cogitative grey area that isn&rsquo;t as totalizing or burdensome. They give themselves the necessary space to move boundlessly between the intersections and problematics of image and representation.</p> <p>In the exhibition Dean presents two self-produced photographs: one of herself and the other of a woman named Aallyah Wright with whom she collaborated to make <em>Wata</em>, a video of the Yazoo River in Mississippi, where Dean&rsquo;s grandfather was from and where Wright currently resides. Dean found, contacted, and commissioned Wright via Facebook to create the video, saying of Wright, &ldquo;She and I are interchangeable, you can&rsquo;t see our faces.&rdquo; She describes them as &ldquo;blurred out in a way that is a shout out to police footage or CCTV-type surveillance, which perhaps [also] makes us interchangeable with the larger ecosystem of images of black femmes.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170317152831-WPTIR-43.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Aria Dean &amp; Aallyah Wright, <em>Wata (Yazoo, MS)</em>. Courtesy the Artists &amp; Arcadia Missa. Photo: Tim Bowditch</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dean has a specific interest in &ldquo;the problems and violences&rdquo; of portraiture. It is the first time she has ever shown an image of a human body. She is largely against representation in her work, preferring abstraction if she senses her art will be evaluated by placing her identity on a binary or spectrum. &ldquo;I wanted to do violence to portraiture here, in a rather timid way,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;I guess I&rsquo;m often trying to find that sweet spot between refusal of the figurative image and an artistic program of representation &agrave; la Kerry James Marshall or Mickalene Thomas.&rdquo; Dean views the video &ldquo;as a portrait of Aallyah,&rdquo; but playfully asks: &ldquo;Can seeing through someone&rsquo;s eyes become a portrait of them...or myself?&rdquo;</p> <p>Situated next to Farah&rsquo;s self-portraits in the exhibition, a coded visual language begins to emerge with both artists presenting themselves by proxy. None of Farah&rsquo;s paintings include physical or literal representations of him. In terms of portraiture Farah likes to think about &ldquo;double consciousness, the white gaze and [Frantz] Fanon&rsquo;s ontology of blackness.&rdquo; He doesn&rsquo;t consider the theories themselves, but &ldquo;the lived experiences of them.&rdquo;</p> <p>He explains:</p> <p style="margin-left: 80px;">I approach it this way because my experience of myself in art is very much through how I am seen [by white people]. Even an understanding of my own blackness very much came about through its forced opposition to whiteness. In terms of the portraits, you could think of it as a reclamation [of] my inner ontological life through a black gaze&mdash;that is, one that is aware of how it is viewed by whiteness. I think this is very reductive and annoys white people&mdash;as it should. I believe white ontological life is entirely rooted in or based on anti-blackness so perhaps I am also contesting Fanon&rsquo;s own euro-centrism.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170317152915-WPTIR-28.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Hamishi Farah, <em>Photographer. </em>Courtesy the Artists &amp; Arcadia Missa. Photo: Tim Bowditch</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Farah describes a painting he made of a widely circulated photo of Kanye West&rsquo;s first public appearance after being hospitalized, where he is walking out of Trump Tower after meeting with the then President-elect. The artist differentiates it from his other works:</p> <p style="margin-left: 80px;">I am always hesitant to represent black people...I identify a lot with Kanye, especially in his problem-ness and the way he wields it, but also in his misery in white spaces and obsessiveness. I think a lot of black men do. I can&rsquo;t think of many black men whose audience has such an ubiquitous and violent understanding of the intricacies and contradictions of public black masculinity. His representation might be able to stand in for that alone, and perhaps contextualize some of the other self-portraits.</p> <p>Both artists expressed difficulty in choosing how to represent themselves while maintaining a certain secrecy about the work in an effort to protect it and themselves. There is an inherent relationship between representation and secrecy when there are so many contradictions and violence in black portraiture. When presenting yourself from a marginalized position, there can be a lot of power in remaining invisible in public. If you make yourself visible, you risk giving yourself away to more violence, exploitation, and nonconsensual erasure, the Arcadia Missa collaboration seems to say. Finding a healthy balance is hard. Marginalized groups have been violated on so many levels and yet often still need to pander to a white market in order to speak to other marginalized groups and survive.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170317153101-WPTIR-21.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Hamishi Farah, <em>George. </em>Courtesy the Artist &amp; Arcadia Missa. Photo: Tim Bowditch</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The remaining invisible thing is such a conundrum,&rdquo; says Farah. He continues:</p> <p style="margin-left: 80px;">Western art is like a history of blowing off black art as white genius. This makes it interesting to think about why so many black artists gravitate towards performance and music. Sometimes all we have is to use that hypervisibility. A lot of the black artists I know are so much more visible than they get paid for. Same goes with viral blackness. Last year I made a painting of this person, Aallyah, who punched this white girl [who had called her the n-word], hoping that when it sells I can send her a stack or two&mdash;kind of as a &ldquo;blacceleration&rdquo; or &ldquo;reparative blackitalism,&rdquo; trying to use the violent gaze to make sure niggas get paid.</p> <p>Dean also grapples with the tensions between the power of invisibility and the simultaneous importance of proliferation. She paraphrases New York-based artist and critic Lorraine O&rsquo;Grady from a conversation she organized between O&rsquo;Grady and New York-based artist and writer Juliana Huxtable last year:</p> <p style="margin-left: 80px;">When your subject matter is so big and cumbersome as blackness then you may feel compelled to attack it from all sides. Black artists have to have the tightest fucking program of attack: writing, performing, making objects, music, etc. I think this is part of why David Hammons is so fucking cool, because somehow he sort of doesn&rsquo;t give into the compulsion to arrive with a thesis, you know? Like he keeps the mystery.</p> <p style="margin-left: 80px;">Lorraine and Juliana both felt like the body was really important because we can&rsquo;t do away with aberrant bodies before they&rsquo;ve been come to terms with. They talked about the funny timeline where various western philosophical and theoretical trends arrive to conveniently do away with &ldquo;the body&rdquo; or &ldquo;the author&rdquo; at moments when marginalized people are making themselves heard more loudly. Which I agree with but I think I&rsquo;m really preoccupied with the ontology of blackness when it comes to representation&mdash;it&rsquo;s so messy. Blackness doesn&rsquo;t precede the image really and that seems like a really difficult thing to grapple with when you&rsquo;re working with images, or yourself as image in performance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170317153156-WPTIR-24.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Aria Dean and Hamishi Farah, <em>White ppl think I&#39;m radical, </em>Installation View at Arcadia Missa, London<br /> Courtesy the Artists &amp; Arcadia Missa. Photo: Tim Bowditch</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dean laughs and continues:</p> <p style="margin-left: 80px;">I think it is important to represent yourself, but my big thing is that politics of representation and theories of representation that were devised, let&#39;s say circa 1970, just don&rsquo;t work when your image can be ripped and bounced across the internet. It stresses me out so much. Because like&mdash;and this is what I was whining about in that selfie article&mdash;I really don&#39;t care very much about selfie artists. A lot of the theories of the body and the image that artists reference just don&rsquo;t fit; it&rsquo;s all wonky. And my whole thing is that critically looking at the (non) ontology of blackness, black theory, black art, black everything can teach us so much about confronting a body and a life that is so so entangled with images.</p> <p>Farah adds:</p> <p style="margin-left: 80px;">I think it is important to note something about the politicization of aesthetics and that aesthetics in &ldquo;the commons&rdquo; are traditionally an anti-black battleground or colonial frontier. What happens when pro-blackness is subsumed into an aesthetic turnstile? I think the black NFL players who won the Superbowl understand this and I support their boycott [of visiting the White House]. I think black critics of Obama also understand this. This is part of the difficulty of even participating in an art dialogue, whether it be institutional spaces or not. I just got the news that I&rsquo;m now represented by two amazing galleries, I love the people who run them and this is definitely about my survival. But it&rsquo;s hard to be happy about it until I actually do something with that survival and those resources. I see contributing to &ldquo;art&rdquo; (in opposition to using art and its culture, agency, and resources as a tool) as being a snitch.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/lon/events/show/442440-white-ppl-think-im-radical" target="_blank"><em>White ppl think I&rsquo;m radical</em></a><em> continues at Arcadia Missa, London, through April 29.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/472848-audrey-l-phillips?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Audrey L. Phillips</a></p> <p><em>Audrey Phillips is a Toronto-based writer. She is a regular contributor to AQNB.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Aria Dean &amp; Aallyah Wright, <em>Wata Proxy (Yazoo, MS). </em>Courtesy the Artists &amp; Arcadia Missa. Photo: Tim Bowditch)</span></p> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 06:35:08 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Reading Joshua Goode’s Childhood Mythologies in a Post-Fact World <p>If Freud had chosen another profession, he might have become an archaeologist. After all, the mythology of personality has its roots in childhood. Memory is a retroactive alloy, and introspection can sometimes muddy our grasp on the past. Too much nostalgia transforms our beloved childhood mementos (favorite toys, teddy bears, and such) into prescient talismans of the future, justifying our adult delights and detestations. Too much nostalgia and we long for a promised time when America used to be &ldquo;great,&rdquo; forgetting it wasn&rsquo;t so great for everyone. We create and edit our own histories accordingly&mdash;objects of our past are retconned to suit our reality. Fiction becomes reality.</p> <p>Joshua Goode&rsquo;s newest exhibition,<em> <a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/events/show/442439-origin-of-myth">Origin of Myth</a></em> at Ivy Brown Gallery, is a clever satire on the ability of childhood ephemera to reshape our pasts&mdash;and perhaps, in turn, our understanding of the present. Further, it&rsquo;s a suitable art analogue to the oddly postmodern political debates surrounding truth and &ldquo;alternative facts.&rdquo; Learning about the tools of fiction, or how fiction underscores and replaces the truth, can be read as an important lesson for the Trumpian world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170316113953-DSCN4667.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Joshua Goode, <em>Origin of Myth</em>, Installation view at Ivy Brown Gallery, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Ivy Brown Gallery, New York</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Adopting the guise of an amateur archaeologist, Goode &ldquo;excavates&rdquo; his past, animating his simple Texan origins with an alternate history and mythology. He retrofits the objects and images of his childhood into ancient objects, weaponry, and remains from a bygone era that never existed. Trading cards and POG bottle caps become suites of armor; seemingly ancient tusks carry pop cultural references to cartoons like The Simpsons.</p> <p>And through his faux research institute, The Aurora-Rhoman Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Relics, Goode elaborates on his hoaxes with the fallacy of institutional accreditation. If an organization deems his findings legitimate, who&rsquo;s to say they aren&rsquo;t? In reality, Goode&rsquo;s institute is an ode to the many deceptions knowingly and unknowingly committed by other amateur archaeologists who presented forgeries as facts. How are we supposed to trust our most prestigious institutions when they too are susceptible to forgeries? (For example, both the <a href="http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/10930/unknown-maker-kouros-greek-about-530-bc-or-modern-forgery/" target="_blank">Getty Museum</a> and the <a href="http://archive.archaeology.org/online/features/hoaxes/warriors.html" target="_blank">Metropolitan Museum of Art</a> were famously fooled by Greco-Roman forgeries, which were displayed in their galleries among real artifacts for years.) Who are we to trust if not the professionals?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170316113936-DSCN4753.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Joshua Goode, <em>Origin of Myth</em>, Installation view at Ivy Brown Gallery, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Ivy Brown Gallery, New York</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Accordingly, Goode funnels the virtues of craft and professionality into his work, paradoxically announcing himself as a great, bad forger. What catches the viewer&rsquo;s eye here is not the authenticity of Goode&rsquo;s artifacts, but its vagueness, its truthiness. (Similarly, Trump and his administration hardly try to hide their falsehoods. But when they do, they use vague language and untruths to sweeten their bitter insincerity.) We <em>want</em> to believe in the veracity of Goode&rsquo;s forgeries because of the care he invests in them. Even animal parts created with plaster look real. But as soon as you start believing that <em>some</em> part of this exhibition is true, Goode hits you over the head with fiction. That impressively large mammoth tusk? Unbelievable once you notice the MTV Moon Men have been carved into its ivory.</p> <p>Elsewhere, Goode downplays craft to comment on how collecting culture is a defensive impulse. To fabricate <em>Donrus 88 Samurai Armor</em>, Goode ties his baseball trading cards together with sinew and coats their surfaces with a light oil paint, which creates a shiny, metallic effect. Visually, he obscures the faces on his trading cards with paint, reconstituting them as eerie ghosts on a suit of armor meant to ward off foes. Thus, the solaces of a childhood collection calcify as literal defenses against the real world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170316114028-baseball_cards.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Joshua Goode, <em>Donruss 88 Samurai Armor</em> (detail), 2015, The artist&rsquo;s 1988 Donruss baseball cards, oil paint,<br /> cardboard, sinew, metal, 60 x 20 x 12. Courtesy of the artist</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More lightheartedly, Goode has also developed a series of crude little monsters composed of melded toys. Dotting the gallery shelves we see the iconography of Goode&rsquo;s new mythology: elephant-giraffes, shark-pterodactyls, and gorilla-horses renamed as long-legged mammoths, sharkysauruses, and three-assed centaurs, respectively. There is something wonderfully boyish about this section of Goode&rsquo;s work. As he creates and collects mythology, we are reminded of our own impulses to believe in spectacle, simply because it captures our eye.</p> <p><em>Joshua Goode&rsquo;s </em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/events/show/442439-origin-of-myth">Origin of Myth</a><em> continues at Ivy Brown Gallery, New York, through April 12.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/477123-zachary-small">Zachary Small</a></p> <p><em>Zachary Small is a New York-based genderqueer writer. He&rsquo;s written for many publications including Hyperallergic, BOMB Magazine, Artinfo Magazine, and HowlRound. He was recently named the 2017 recipient of the CUE Foundation&rsquo;s Young Art Critic Mentorship Program. His latest play, /VANITAS/ debuted at Dixon Place. He tweets from @ZSmall93 and can be reached at zsmall93[at]gmail[dot]com.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Joshua Goode, <em>Ceremonial Mastodon Tusk Sword Fragment 13,200 BCE</em>, 2013, Plaster, metal, ink, plastic, gold leaf, 18 x 5 x 5. Courtesy of the artist)</span></p> Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:03:32 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list In Search of a Body: A.K. Burns’ Ode to Endurance <p>One of the most unassuming artworks in A.K. Burns&rsquo; exhibition and residency, <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/events/show/437829-shabby-but-thriving" target="_blank"><em>Shabby but Thriving</em></a>, is perhaps also the best reflection of the artist&rsquo;s three-month tenure at the New Museum and her concurrent Callicoon Fine Arts exhibition, <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/events/show/441970-fault-lines" target="_blank"><em>Fault Lines</em></a>. Nestled at the end of a corridor on the museum&rsquo;s fifth floor, <em>Post Times (drop open)</em> straddles the rift between utility and inertia, the body and environment, endurance and decay. A thin wooden latch, running the length of two closet doors is fully plastered with pages of <em>The New York Times</em>, a publication that has become emblematic of the country&rsquo;s current political turmoil. From Donald Trump&rsquo;s much discussed visit to its Times Square headquarters following the election, to the paper&rsquo;s blockage from a White House briefing in late February, the<em> Times</em> found itself both reporting on, and in the front row for backlash against (and from) the Trump administration. Shrouding a functional object belonging to the museum&rsquo;s architecture with such a pennant of social and political unrest, Burns blends anima into the building&rsquo;s fa&ccedil;ade, pondering the exchange and resistance between the self and its surrounding.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170314151918-VIEW_23.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Installation view of <em>A.K. Burns: Shabby but Thriving</em> at New Museum, New York, 2017. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Post Times</em> may get to the heart of Burns&rsquo; message, but <em>Living Room </em>is the exhibition&rsquo;s visual and conceptual centerpiece. The latest installment in an ongoing video project that began with 2015&rsquo;s <em>A Smeary Spot </em>at Participant Inc., Burns shot the <em>Living Room</em>&nbsp;inside the New Museum&rsquo;s adjunct building on 231 Bowery, a once crumbling prewar building that now houses the museum&rsquo;s artist-in-residence program. In the video, characters wander within this habitat in a state of unstable equilibrium, reminiscent of Maya Deren-esque existentialism. They strive to communicate with themselves, each other, and their environment, but the possibility for them to find a harmonious state is obstructed by challenges placed en route: one character clumsily wears high heels, a Chelsea Manning name tag on his chest; another, a woman sporting a faux pregnancy belly, lifts a cluster of furniture heavier than she can carry. As they try to ascend the building&rsquo;s narrow stairwell these aloof characters touch, crash, and stumble around the space, struggling to survive or feel comfortable. Is the building&rsquo;s bitter absorption of these characters a microcosm for one&rsquo;s presence within a prevailing political regime? Is it thwarting these human protagonists? Or is <em>the building</em> the hero in this story, bravely resisting an unwanted invasion?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170314155041-VIEW_7_SCREEN_2.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Installation view of <em>A.K. Burns: Shabby but Thriving</em> at New Museum, New York, 2017. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The exchange between the building and its inhabitants is a fluctuating dialogue in which the occupier and its object systematically fuse. The building, with its rooms and niches, reflects a body, exposed, yet resisting; the film&rsquo;s protagonists, hence, wear the shoes of intruders, invading the object&rsquo;s physicality and spirit. In contrast, they seem to equally face challenges, too, embodied in the physical or ethereal strains imposed by the building. The human body&mdash;a target of civic duress and autonomous activism&mdash;finds its empowering celebration at the end of the film when various dancers rejoice in the basement, dancing in broken harmony, their gestures oscillating between army precision and nightclub moves. They wear black, uniform-like attire with various words printed on their shirts: &ldquo;Her&rdquo; and &ldquo;No,&rdquo; for example. The pressure the basement space imposes on their routine is visible on their worn faces; however, once the rhythmic beat winds down, it becomes clear what the exhibition title solidifies: <em>we are all shabby but thriving&hellip;</em></p> <p>Installed throughout the rest of the exhibition space is a series of site-specific mixed-media sculptures combining arbitrary objects such as fish hooks, pennies, feathers, and beads hanging on fishing lines clutched by concrete hands. The fishing baits and lures echo the dynamics of predator and prey. Reinforcing the aforementioned interplay between occupant and body, Burns&rsquo; assemblage speaks to the individual and their body, especially those objectified due to their gender, skin color, or faith, particularly those currently exposed to public investigation and institutionalized aggression.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170314152100-fault_lines_install_view.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">A.K. Burns, <em>Fault Lines</em>, Installation view at Callicoon Fine Arts, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Down the Bowery on Delancey Street, the artist&rsquo;s Callicoon Fine Arts exhibition expands the conversation on the fluid borders between individuals and their environments, both in terms of physical hindrances and cerebral challenges. Alluding to sexual liberties, reproductive rights, or religious freedoms, Burns resumes her juxtaposition of the body as a socio-political territory whose autonomy endures scrutiny by authorities. Three sandblasted steel sculptures recall gates. The words &ldquo;Known&rdquo; and &ldquo;Unknown&rdquo; are faintly legible within the metal slats, emphasizing the dilemma of the two opposing words as well as the society&rsquo;s predominant fear for the unfamiliar.</p> <p>The most striking piece in the calmly-hung exhibition is <em>She Was Warned</em>, a cement, concrete, and steel tribute to Greek goddess Artemis, with recycled Gatorade bottles standing in for five pairs of breasts. The solitary right foot supporting the structure is the sole representative of an otherwise abstracted human body, shaped from building materials. Artemis is the mythological symbol of wilderness, nature, womanhood, and birth, but Burns&rsquo; drained dystopian version of the goddess signals dearth and despair. Her breasts, after all, are the empty vessels of an energy drink that not only promotes itself as alternative to water, but also espouses a masculine and virile attitude. The life-sized sculpture encapsulates the systemic dominance of masculine perspectives over women&rsquo;s bodies and identities.</p> <p>Back in the New Museum, disembodied hands hold fishing lines to encapsulate societal tensions. At Callicoon, Burns takes no prisoners calling back to this work: here, in <em>Hand Out (She Was Warned)</em>, a cement hand protrudes from the wall, grasping a necklace embellished with an intrauterine device (IUD) as a charm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170314152031-Hand_Out.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">A.K. Burns, <em>Hand Out (She Was Warned)</em>, 2017, Cement hydrocal mix, rebar, steel wire, nitrile glove, gold-plated brass<br /> Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/events/show/437829-shabby-but-thriving" target="_blank">Shabby but Thriving</a><em>&nbsp;runs through April 23 at the New Museum.</em></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/events/show/441970-fault-lines" target="_blank">Fault Lines</a><em> continues through April 9 at Callicoon Fine Arts, Delancey Street.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/216750-osman-can-yerebakan?tab=REVIEWS">Osman Can Yerebakan</a></p> <p><em>Osman Can Yerebakan is a writer and curator based in New York.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Image at top: Installation view of <em>A.K. Burns: Shabby but Thriving</em> at New Museum, New York, 2017. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 10:52:28 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list At Locust Projects, a Tale of Two Factories and Two Artists <p>As we seemingly find ourselves spectators to the acceleration of political and environmental decline, two Israeli artists, Rotem Tamir and Omri Zin, are targeting industrial factory processes in an exploratory, performative project. The husband-and-wife team are collaborating for the first time in <em>Larval Acceleration: A Conversation in Chunks</em> at Locust Projects in Miami. The piece encompasses two independent, modular &ldquo;factories,&rdquo; each managed and operated by the respective artists.</p> <p>Tamir&rsquo;s factory produces helium-filled latex balloons, in various organic shapes and colors, that rise to the ceiling before falling to the floor over a 24-hour period; Zin&rsquo;s factory renders an industrial byproduct made primarily from lard (pig fat) that is pressed on the floor and will gradually build up, hampering the function of his factory, which is a mobile unit on wheels. Besides the obvious reactionary connotations, <em>Larval Acceleration</em> is an active dialogue between two disparate practices as they come together for the very first time. It&rsquo;s both a testament to a personal and artistic relationship between the artists and a comment on the functional relationships between humans and machines.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170310081643-IMG_0041.JPG" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Zin and Tamir first met as undergraduate art students at Bezalel Academy for Art and Design in Jerusalem. They moved to States to pursue MFAs and stayed for teaching positions. They now live and work in Florida, where Tamir holds a position as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s funny that our first collaboration came only after we had a baby together,&rdquo; Tamir shared the day before the show&rsquo;s opening. &ldquo;You always hear about one artist in a couple having to stop working to support the other&rsquo;s work, or manage a family&hellip; this was a way to support both our work,&rdquo; added Zin.</p> <p>Though there are natural benefits to a joint project between an artistic couple, the crux of the work lies beyond the logistical plusses. Over two weeks each artist will work independently at their station, for four to five hours a day. The rub is that the artists themselves are unaware of the result of their endeavors. &ldquo;We haven&rsquo;t really planned what is going to happen,&rdquo; explained Zin. &ldquo;Whatever is left in the space after the two weeks will be the physical remnant of the project.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170310082350-IMG_0015.JPG" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Will Tamir&rsquo;s balloons gradually float down to the floor, getting caught in Zin&rsquo;s sticky residue? How will these two self-contained operations meet, mingle, and interact? Those questions are left to time, chance, and hard work, in very much the same way an intimate relationship between two partners is often left to forces outside of their control.</p> <p>But don&rsquo;t let the couple&rsquo;s blas&eacute; attitude towards the project&rsquo;s material outcome fool you. Both artists have backgrounds in sculpture and installation, and place particular importance on the stability of the art object. For them the relationship between process and resultant object is imbued with meaning. The object serves as a remnant, artifact, or better yet, a footprint of the complex process that forged its existence. Whether the object can fully tell the story of the process is less important than eliciting inquiry from the viewer: <em>What went on here? How did these materials come to be?</em> These questions entice viewers to project causality unto the objects themselves, rendering Zin and Tamir&rsquo;s process as a passive rather than active creative agent.</p> <p>The piece takes its ideological bent from the work of philosopher Levi R. Bryant, who expounded on the relationships between humans and machines. Much like Marshall McLuhan&rsquo;s theory that media are natural extensions of the human psyche or psychoanalytic concepts of inanimate objects as projections of the human body, Bryant believes that machines pick up where the human body leaves off, aiding in its functionality. Zin and Tamir share Bryant&rsquo;s practical view of human-machine relations, a fairly atypical characterization and one that is often marked by a deep dystopian sensibility.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170310081954-IMG_0135.JPG" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Perhaps the most unexpected implications of <em>Larval Acceleration</em> is its ambiguous stance towards the socio-political effects of industrial practice. Ostensibly the work is a bitter indictment of the monotony of industrial systems&mdash;generating work that is fundamentally unfulfilling for human beings&mdash;and the environmental effects of those same processes. The artists have even added an aural component to the piece: two different voice-overs are pumped into the gallery space as they work, recalling a radio played over a factory floor. The voice-overs tell tongue-in-cheek stories related to the respective products the two stations produce: the various sexual uses of lard and a cultural history of balloons.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s this same sense of humor the belies the work&rsquo;s reactionary connotations, and the artists are also quick to downplay the reactionary elements. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not really criticism of industry, because factories actually have to make something useful,&rdquo; Tamir related. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re making objects for no useful reason&hellip; it&rsquo;s more about the process.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170310081728-IMG_0022.JPG" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>Still, that process is marked by overt references to industrial practices that increasingly bring our planet to the brink of environmental collapse. Indeed, it&rsquo;s the industrial residue of each factory&mdash;deflated balloon casings and fatty sludge floor&mdash;promise to linger after the artists have closed up shop. <em>Larval Acceleration&rsquo;s</em> environmental implications grow even more prescient in its South Florida setting. Low lying areas of Florida&rsquo;s coast are particularly prone to some of the most pernicious effects of climate change, particularly sea-level rise. Local artists have <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/visual-arts/art-basel/article47456370.html" target="_blank">drawn attention to the problem</a>, <a href="http://miami.curbed.com/2017/2/14/14601176/miami-saltmates-wynwood-climate-change" target="_blank">lambasted climate-change deniers</a>, and even <a href="http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/sea-level-rise-will-drown-hialeah-too-and-this-artist-is-showing-how-8120420" target="_blank">offered solutions</a> in their work.</p> <p>For Zin and Tamir the question of how to combat environmental waste created by industry is more nuanced than outright deindustrialization. Their work points to the ambiguities of human-machine relationships. Machines at once add functionality and aid in creativity, while generating potential damaging and harmful consequences. How to mitigate the latter while expanding on the former is left up in the air, like a balloon before it falls.</p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/mia/events/show/440505-larval-acceleration-a-conversation-in-chunks">Larval Acceleration: A Conversation in Chunks</a><em>&nbsp;is currently on view through April 15 at Locust Projects, Miami.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/448412-neil-vazquez?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Neil Vazquez</a></p> <p><em>Neil Vazquez is a Miami-based writer and Northwestern University graduate. He usually can be found sipping overpriced coffee, walking his golden retriever, or profusely sweating in yoga classes around town.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(All images:&nbsp;Rotem Tamir &amp; Omri Zin,&nbsp;<em>Larval Acceleration: A Conversation in Chunks</em>, 2017, Installation view at Locust Projects, Miami. Photo credit: Marilyn Loddi)</p> Fri, 10 Mar 2017 18:28:51 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Wednesday Web Artist of the Week: Sofía Córdova <p><a href="http://www.sofiacordova.com/">Sof&iacute;a C&oacute;rdova</a> is a Puerto Rican multi-media artist and musician currently based in Oakland, California. Her work collides the sacred, mystical, and ancient with the disposable obsessions of our consumer age. These juxtapositions are not arbitrary, though; C&oacute;rdova draws distinct lines between the ultra-traditional and the hyper-modern to tell a deeply engaging story mediated through the lens of a Puerto Rican artist living in the United States.</p> <p>C&oacute;rdova frequently reflects on her Caribbean heritage to explore both her own identity as well as the complexity of the experience of colonized and marginalized people. The clear cohesive threads running through her art do not diminish her ability to surprise, both in content and aesthetics. A good example of this is her appreciation of science fiction as a transgressive space for marginalized people, an interest that has informed much of her recent work. In her enticing digital imagery, there is much to enjoy on the surface but depth and substance are never compromised in C&oacute;rdova&rsquo;s rigorous, exploratory practice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><img alt="" src="http://payload106.cargocollective.com/1/6/216285/4439237/SofiaCordova_Echoes-8-2_1000.jpg" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>Echoes of A Tumbling Throne (Odas Al Fin De Los Tiempos),&nbsp;Livel 8: COOERPOH A COOERPOH</em>, 2016&ndash;2017,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:12px;">Video still</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Christian Petersen: Did you have a creative childhood?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sof&iacute;a C&oacute;rdova:</strong> I always had a really rich internal life and was very observant&mdash;always watching adults and fixating on their words&mdash;so I think I developed a need for outlets for all this looking around, thinking and input.&nbsp;I spent a lot of time with my sister and mother or otherwise alone and so we always got up to the sort of things one can when one knows another through and through and no one else is watching. One summer we all got into Yanni&rsquo;s <em>Live at the Acropolis</em> and the three of us would dance around the pool&mdash;my sister and I would run in circles while my mother swayed towels to the beat. She&rsquo;d shampoo our hair outside, making swirls of shampoo on our heads to the beat. We sang a lot and were always joking and playing imaginary games&mdash;to get us to go to the grocery store she&rsquo;d ask us in the car what &ldquo;world&rdquo; we were visiting and what kind of creatures lived there. This also created a sort of bubble where we could grow up, if briefly, less tied to the gendering/socializing children our age are typically subjected to within the culture of the island <em>and</em> under the globalizing shadow of the U.S. and its specific culture.</p> <p><strong>CP: What aspects of Puerto Rican culture have had the most lasting impact</strong> <strong>on you creativity?</strong></p> <p><strong>SC: </strong>Thinking back to being little, the visual impact of <em>los Vejigantes</em> and the rhythm and lyricism of <em>bomba y plena</em> come to mind immediately as holding an almost primal spot of influence in my imagination. Same with <em>Santos de Palo</em> (carved saints), the painting <em>El Velorio</em> by Francisco Oller, the dungeon of the Castillo de San Cristobal in Old San Juan. Music, performance, art made out of necessity, communing with spirits, syncretic religions, places haunted by history&mdash;all of these are held in those examples and all of these are things that still plague my work.</p> <p>These things also all take root in slave culture, blackness, and indigeneity on the island, and their relationship to our colonizers (Spain, U.S.). This dance with race is something I&rsquo;m always considering in life and work especially as it is complicated by the roles of race I&rsquo;ve had to learn and play (willingly or not) in the U.S.&mdash;the way race defines me differently to white people, black Americans (because of historical difference in our blacknesses) and to &ldquo;latinos.&rdquo;</p> <p>A note on the latter: too often we cling to &ldquo;latinidad&rdquo; ignoring how our desire to organize around our Spanish-speakingness is a colonial exercise in itself. In PR I grew up being told that everyone is a &ldquo;mix of the three races&rdquo; (my coloring for example is regularly called <em>trigue&ntilde;a</em> which denotes &ldquo;a mix of three&rdquo;). This takes root in the same colonial practices that gave us words like <em>mestizo</em> or &ldquo;creole&rdquo;&mdash;a denoting of contamination. While these terms have been reclaimed to take back power they&rsquo;re also weaponized to brush blackness and indigeneity under the rug of whiteness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://payload106.cargocollective.com/1/6/216285/4439237/Echoes-8-SEQUENCE.00_10_38_06.Still049_1000.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>Echoes of A Tumbling Throne (Odas Al Fin De Los Tiempos), 8: COOERPOH A COOERPOH</em>, 2016&ndash;2017,&nbsp;Video still</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: When did you first realize that you could use computers creatively?</strong></p> <p><strong>SC: </strong>I actually took a while to make that leap. While my work is born from the hyperdigital present, I&rsquo;m still the type of artist who likes to work materially first. I map everything out on paper before sitting in front of a computer now. I rely on computers a lot but the pleasure of making for me needs to be a balance between analogue and digital.</p> <p><strong>CP: What were your early impressions of the Internet?</strong></p> <p><strong>SC:</strong> That it was like I&rsquo;d found a secret portal, hidden in plain sight. My first internet experiences were of sitting next to a friend or cousin and jumping around chatrooms. On the surface we were looking for laughs but we were also being lured by the possibility of an odd or shocking encounter. This was also a time of early sexual understanding. While my body was a new puzzle for me IRL, other people&#39;s bodies were being communicated to me every time I was online revealing something about the role of language in sexual self-presentation.</p> <p><strong>CP: What did you think of America when you moved from Puerto Rico to attend college?</strong></p> <p><strong>SC: </strong>I moved to the States at 15 to go to an experimental college (Simon&rsquo;s Rock College of Bard in rural Massachusetts) so I landed in a space station before entering what typically defines America (New York then California). Before that, because I went to middle school inside a U.S. Naval Base I had a partial&mdash;if mediated by the active circumstance of the colonizing occupation of my island&mdash;understanding of American culture before arriving. Beyond any understanding of America, what I gained was that I&rsquo;d been let loose somewhere where nobody knew me. I felt completely free to prod and push at myself from the inside; those first years I was a different person every minute.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://payload106.cargocollective.com/1/6/216285/4439237/Screen-Shot-2015-07-21-at-1.41.38-PM_1000.png" style="text-align: center;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>Echoes of A Tumbling Throne (Odas Al Fin De Los Tiempos),</em>&nbsp;<em>La Citad</em>, 2014</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: Do you feel your identity changed since you made that move? </strong></p> <p><strong>SC: </strong>&nbsp;I wouldn&rsquo;t say &ldquo;changed&rdquo; so much as gained new dimensions. The moment I left home&mdash;and I didn&rsquo;t know this consciously at the time&mdash;I stopped being fully acknowledged as from there by my own people. <em>Ella se fue p&rsquo;all&aacute; afuera</em>, &ldquo;She went &lsquo;out there&rsquo;&rdquo;: a common phrase used openly for Boricuas who leave home. This isn&#39;t to say it&rsquo;s a permanent denomination but it is one I&rsquo;ll carry until I fully move back.</p> <p>On the other hand, even as it has been painful and like being reborn out of fire again and again, in some distorted way I&rsquo;m grateful to have come to the U.S. because in its best moments, out in deep Queens or here in Oakland, it is truly made up of a cultural mashup unlike any other place. I have participated in communities with people from countries that I might not have ever met otherwise. It frustrates me to no end that those who deem themselves &ldquo;real Americans&rdquo; can&rsquo;t see that the best things about this country are those things born of the strange soup that gets cooked when people are smashed together here under often chaotic circumstances.</p> <p>I had to leave home to pick apart my &ldquo;mixed&rdquo; heritage, to understand my blackness, my indigeneity, and that in me too is the blood of my oppressor. To have come to define that while navigating the complex and twisted system of race in the States wasn&rsquo;t simple but what lesson about self is simple?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://payload106.cargocollective.com/1/6/216285/4439237/Echoes-8-SEQUENCE.00_01_18_19.Still031_1000.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>Echoes of A Tumbling Throne (Odas Al Fin De Los Tiempos),&nbsp;Livel 8: COOERPOH A COOERPOH</em>, 2016&ndash;2017,&nbsp;Video still</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: You moved from the East to the West Coast. Do you think there is a distinction</strong> <strong>in the approach to creativity between those places?</strong></p> <p><strong>SC:</strong> It is so clich&eacute;, but there are some real differences. Obviously history has a lot to do with it&mdash;the East Coast is the earliest settled in the U.S. while the West is the last lending it a &ldquo;still under construction&rdquo; quality which spreads to contemporary culture (of course, duh, Native peoples and Mexicans were here before &ldquo;American newness&rdquo; came but y&rsquo;know...).</p> <p>Experimentation feels more welcome in the West, while the East Coast is studied and clinical. I do miss how guarded the East Coast can be too; California can so often present a false openness. California can also be all crystals and horoscopes but I&rsquo;ve come to love that part of life here, especially in reminding myself that much of what we call &ldquo;new age&rdquo; in this white world is actually the remnants of ancient, colored ritual.</p> <p><strong>CP: You trained as a formal photographer. Why did you make the transition to more new media/multi media based art? </strong></p> <p><strong>SC:</strong> I felt like the bounds of photography were constraining me at a time when I was trying to make early work about identity&mdash;specifically my colored femme identity as corrupted by the domestic space (ugh). I came to realize the medium had become literally too static, so I started playing with video, at first sequencing my images with some rudimentary sound pieces put together really haphazardly and later with the help of my partner (musician Matthew Gonzalez Kirkland). These experiments opened the possibilities in working with time itself. Around then too, I read Frank Kogan&rsquo;s <em>Real Punks Don&rsquo;t Wear Black</em> and Junot D&iacute;az&rsquo;s <em>The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao</em> which simultaneously opened me up to music as a site for transgressive work and the creation of space and to the idea that digging into the pleasure and pain of my Caribbean subjectivity and journey was worthy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="394" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lVOYyPDEyQQ?rel=0&amp;controls=0" width="700"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: Tell us a little about your music project </strong><a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAnu5Z4J5Kw1zm-flQvRMnw" target="_blank"><strong>XUXA SANTAMARIA</strong></a><strong>.</strong></p> <p><strong>SC:</strong> <a href="https://soundcloud.com/xuxasantamaria" target="_blank">XUXA SANTAMARIA</a> is the current name of my continued collaboration with Matt, but the name originally belonged to an alter ego, ChuCha Santamaria. I created ChuCha to be a receptacle for the histories and players in the period of colonization of the Caribbean starting in 1492 and the arrival of Columbus&nbsp;through the great migrations out of the Caribbean and into the States in the 20th century. My interest in making that alter ego a performer, a singer, came from the idea of Caribbean migrants engaging in the ebb and flow of living between their respective islands and the States. While engaging in this painful and dislocating process, they were responsible for a cross pollination of rhythms and traditions that led to the creation of seminal musical genres: salsa, boogaloo, latin freestyle, early hip hop, and reggaeton. ChuCha went on to become an anonymous character in my current works and her name, slightly altered, now belongs to the collaborative musical efforts between Matt and me. Our work ranges from experimental to dance concept albums and scoring my video work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170308084617-1._Still_from_Fiebre_Tropical__2012.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>Fiebre Tropical</em>, Still, 2012</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: How has the current political climate affected your creative output?</strong></p> <p><strong>SC:</strong> When the election happened I felt no surprise; if you have lived a single day as a person of color in America, this is how it always has been. Things feel extreme and messy and public, but not new. Since, I&rsquo;ve spent my days considering what role, if any, art plays now. That&rsquo;s been akin to depression wherein even getting to the work is a herculean task.</p> <p>I have become resolute to just keep going, to continue to be a filter for all of this shit and transcribe it into the work. I think equally important to continuing my work, one foot before the other, I have turned my attentions to organizing, actions, and community. I&rsquo;m personally fascinated and invested in the Panthers&rsquo; model. How do we take care of each other? How do we feed the minds and bodies of black and brown babies so that they can imagine and do better than what we have given them?</p> <p><strong>CP: It feels like there are more and more artists of color using new media as</strong> <strong>a primary form of expression. Do you agree? </strong></p> <p><strong>SC: </strong>It&rsquo;s because it feels like a newish frontier, one where the flag of white supremacy and patriarchy isn&rsquo;t yet firmly planted. I think, too, there is a certain conceptual inventiveness needed to make good work within it. Particularly because tech has become so good at mimicking the aesthetic language of it, successful new media works need something beyond technical proficiency. It is a natural space for our activities&mdash;the innate porousness of its interfaces so embodies intersectionality and fluidity.</p> <p>Employing new media becomes about finding an alternative solution, a place of our own. In doing so it is also providing viable channels for art to exist that don&rsquo;t rely on the traditional model which can in itself be a radical act (though lord knows there is plenty to be said about the ills of rendering the self online as it relates to technocapitalism&mdash;branding ourselves to be consumed). I don&#39;t want to over-credit new media though; after all, it already has an art historical denomination.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://payload106.cargocollective.com/1/6/216285/4439237/Screen-Shot-2015-07-21-at-1.41.12-PM_1000.png" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>Echoes of a Tumbling Throne 2: Rudos del Mar</em>, Video still, 2014</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: I read that you see sci-fi as a potentially transgressive space for marginalized people. What did you mean by that?</strong></p> <p><strong>SC: </strong>Working within speculative models and with sci-fi came from understanding both beyond purely formal exercises in fiction. For those in the margins it has historically served as a site for alternative histories. It&rsquo;s a form of acknowledging that things as they are aren&#39;t working and never were and that there is no rehabilitating the systems we are trapped by (patriarchy, late-industrial capitalism, racism, anthropo-related environmental ruin and how these things are all related).</p> <p>By working with the language of what lies beyond our epoch, I am proposing that the only way out is to imagine every molecule of reality entirely differently. In my work, a narrative wherein our ravaging of the natural world (due to late industrial technocapitalism) leads to a slow death for our species (an attempt to exist in the sci-fi subgenre of &ldquo;dying earth&rdquo;) and the oppressive hierarchies of class, gender, and race, lending those who remain the space to reimagine everything.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://payload106.cargocollective.com/1/6/216285/4439237/Sofia-Cordova_BilongoEsmeralda._1000.png" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>Echoes of a Tumbling Throne, 5: La Irmanda Del Glaci</em>, Video still, 2015</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: I see a meditative, spiritual, and almost psychedelic aspect to some of your work. Do you agree?</strong></p> <p><strong><em>SC:</em></strong> I&rsquo;m wary of the work getting locked into very de rigueur practices that are interested in New Age-ness itself but, yes, in a carefully studied way those things are in the work. When dealing with issues around the end of &ldquo;historical&rdquo; time and the liberation born of it, which is the heart of the work, I had to inevitably deal with the mechanisms and pattern-reading that we as a species employ to make sense of terror, of uncertainty. While I work with clear concepts, I don&rsquo;t like my work to be sententious or devoid of rigorous poetics and strangeness. I want the work to be mysterious and not entirely clear to allow for various reads. For one, I trust my audience to either get it or simply bask in the baroque layering of visuals and sound. Secondly, I have to remain wary of making &ldquo;good-for-you-broccoli-art&rdquo; which too often is what we think of when we think of work that is concerned with politics, the personal, and the spiritual.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="394" mozallowfullscreen="" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/205099370" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="700"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/205099370" target="_blank">Excerpt 1: Echoes of a Tumbling Throne (Odas Al Fin De Los Tiempos) #8: COOERPOH A COOERPOH, 2016-2017</a></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: Are altered states important to you?</strong></p> <p><strong>SC:</strong> I wouldn&rsquo;t say &ldquo;important,&rdquo; but they&rsquo;re certainly influential and a tool I turn to when I&rsquo;m feeling tied down by the dullness of unexamined being. I first did psychedelics at Simon&rsquo;s Rock where a mix of very open and experimental academics coupled with a dry campus led to some very wannabe Leary moments.</p> <p>I learned right away that for me it wasn&rsquo;t purely recreational but something else, an agreed-to trial-by-fire, a dissolution of ego, a real reset. After these initial interactions back East, my West Coast life has opened new dimensions of this. On my 25th birthday, for example, a dear friend gifted me an ayahuasca ceremony from which I derived tons and tons of the material that made up the texture of original ChuCha record, project, and videos.</p> <p>One a personal level, I went deep on that trip, I saw my anxiety and whittled at it, I saw where I was from and realized that I&rsquo;d forever be one with that place, molecularly, regardless of the anxiety I&rsquo;d been feeling about my displacement. I saw myself die and cities and their leveling all happening above my body and I wasn&rsquo;t afraid. Recently, I took mushrooms in considering the &ldquo;plot&rdquo; of the latest <em>Echoes</em>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="394" mozallowfullscreen="" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/153305014" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="700"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/153305014" target="_blank">EXCERPTS from Echoes of A Tumbling Throne (Odas Al Fin De Los Tiempos), 5, 6 + 7, 2015</a></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: What projects do you have coming up?</strong></p> <p><strong>SC: </strong>Right now, I&rsquo;m doing a residency at the Mills College Museum and I&rsquo;m working with the music and dance departments on a live performance. It will involve video projections describing my future world through hyper-digital landscapes wherein nature consumes everything&mdash;I just read Jeff VanderMeer&rsquo;s <em>Annihilation</em> so a sort of pulsing, psychedelic ecology is heavy on my mind. In addition, the piece will involve choreography and various performers, live instrumentation of a score ranging from covers of pop songs to stuff closer to musique concr&egrave;te, with a degree of improvisation to allow for a mutable experience for the audience. In a sense, when I began this work 5 years ago, this was the thing I wanted to put on but I, a wannabe sci-fi author, had a lot of world building to do before I could put this together.</p> <p>The piece will place the audience in the role of protagonist and through mild suggestion act almost like a guided meditation through this perilous world. I think of it like an IRL and collective VR. I&rsquo;m also working on new videos.&nbsp;Most exciting to me right now is the three-part <em>dawn chorus</em> series, which is a prequel to this world where nature still hasn&rsquo;t been fully merged with the digital as it has in <em>Echoes</em>&hellip;. I&rsquo;m also mid-dalliance with sculpture;&nbsp;I have begun working with taxidermy as a way of underlining mutation as a way out of our binary and biologically-driven thinking around bodies and identity by extension.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170308085827-11._10._Still_from_dawn_chorus-_LA_PREKUELA__in_progress_.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170308085944-10._Still_from_dawn_chorus-_LA_PREKUELA__in_progress_.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Stills from <em>dawn chorus&mdash;LA PREKUELA</em> (in progress)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/441718-christian-petersen?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Christian Petersen</a></p> <p><em>We run an online magazine, so of course, we&#39;re interested in what&#39;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 selects a Web Artist of the Week.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: <em>Echoes of A Tumbling Throne (Odas Al Fin De Los Tiempos), El Perrog Negro</em>, 2014 Video still. All images: Courtesy of Sof&iacute;a C&oacute;rdova)</span></p> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 06:50:58 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list They Had Whole Buildings For That (Now We Use Diapers) <p><em>What year is it, anyway?</em></p> <p>Only 90s kids would know. Only 80s kids would know. Only Gen-X or Y or Z-ers would know. Jon Rafman might know, but he also knows that prolepsis, anachronism, and non-location are more suitable benchmarks for this twisted ouroboros we&rsquo;ve made of time. <a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/events/show/441495-jon-rafmanstan-vanderbeek" target="_blank">At Spr&uuml;th Magers</a> in Los Angeles, the juxtaposition of immersive films by Rafman and Stan VanDerBeek, made decades apart, charts a rising threshold of popular vision that correlates to a kind of political decline&mdash;the history of cinema as protracted backfire.</p> <p>Activist VanDerBeek made the majority of his films in the 1950s and 60s. Steeped in idealism, he believed avant-garde cinema could point the way toward a utopian marriage of art and technology, bringing individual human consciousness to a level of collective global understanding. Today, Rafman&rsquo;s bleeding-edge cinematic techniques burrow the rift between the promises of expanded technology and its various fumbles&mdash;at the hands of those who create it, or those it&rsquo;s supposed to serve.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170306083342-Rafman_VanDerBeek_Install_SM_LA_2017_03.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Installation view of
&nbsp;<em>Jon Rafman/Stan VanDerBeek</em>,
 Curated by Johannes Fricke Waldthausen,
Spr&uuml;th Magers, Los Angeles, January 20&ndash;March 4, 2017. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.
Courtesy Spr&uuml;th Magers</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>VanDerBeek&rsquo;s three abstract, psychedelic animations triptych-ed here seem almost quaint next to Rafman&rsquo;s Cronenberg-drenched, body-horror phantasmagoria&mdash;a first-person shooter game soundtracked by Linkin Park and come to life. Put on the Oculus Rift VR headset for <em>Transdimensional Serpent</em> (2016) and, seated on a winding snake munching its own tail, you will hear snippets of the band&rsquo;s early-aughts hit, an anthem of white male angst that quickly achieved secondary popularity as an ironic meme: <em>I tried so hard, and got so far, but in the end, it doesn&rsquo;t even matter.</em></p> <p>The avant-garde is a moving target. But we&rsquo;re still trying.</p> <p>Rafman&rsquo;s aesthetics have shed the vestiges of Romanticism that characterized earlier projects like the disturbing but ultimately poignant photo essay <a href="http://9-eyes.com/" target="_blank"><em>The 9 Eyes of Google Street View</em> </a>(2009). His three film installations here don&rsquo;t merely depict the subject of the basement-dwelling betamale, but command an escalating immersion that places us in his very headspace. <em>Poor Magic </em>(2017) situates us in a theater of globby, pustulous seating shaped after megaplex movie chairs and domestic patio furniture: picture a young man swinging sulkily in a hanging chaise at the edge of the family barbeque, ears plugged with Linkin Park, every happy face and idle chat colored with his disgust. <em>Open Heart Warrior </em>(2016) is a kind of guided meditation that undermines its own mindfulness with paranoid fatalisms (&ldquo;you are a slave to your body&rdquo;) while <em>Transdimensional Serpent</em> swallows you whole, zipping you through a collage of crowded landscapes redolent of moralistic sci-fi blockbusters like <em>The Matrix</em> and <em>Avatar</em>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170306164649-Rafman_VanDerBeek_Install_SM_LA_2017_04.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Jon Rafman, <em>Open Heart Warrior</em>, 2016,
Three-channel HD video, Sculptural Installation, 13:30 min. Installation view of <em>Jon Rafman/Stan VanDerBeek</em>. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.
Courtesy Spr&uuml;th Magers</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Benjamin&rsquo;s assertion that &ldquo;the ancient truth expressed by Heraclitus, that those who are awake have a world in common while each sleeper has a world of his own, has been invalidated by film,&rdquo; is both mangled and affirmed in the theta-male poetics of <em>Poor Magic</em>, where a voice&mdash;reminiscent of Liam Neeson&rsquo;s signature histrionics in the <em>Taken</em> movie franchise&mdash;warns: &ldquo;If you can&rsquo;t sleep at night, it means you&rsquo;re trapped in someone else&rsquo;s dream.&rdquo; Neeson&rsquo;s portrayal of angst has also been extensively mocked through the meme-iverse, a world created by the kind of self-disenfranchised males Rafman encounters through his online <em>fl&acirc;neurie </em>in anonymous forums like 4chan (indeed the conventions of the static meme&mdash;white impact bold typeface over an image&mdash;have been traced to 4chan specifically).</p> <p>Why all the body-horror in the midst these fantasies? Images that emanate from screens must also cross the transom of individual subjective consciousness, a non-location Jacques Lacan characterized as a kind of screen, which later theorists proceeded to flip this way and that, until the internet married the two and we wrapped ourselves up in it like a digital blankie, an Oculus Rift, an online fantasy life some would occupy indefinitely if they didn&rsquo;t have to shit at least once in a while&mdash;though <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1149400304/underscares-the-diaper-from-the-creators-of-outlas/description" target="_blank">adult diapers</a> marketed specifically to gamers might make quick work of that. Are Rafman&rsquo;s fleshy seats our collective bedsore?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170306082745-Rafman_VanDerBeek_Install_SM_LA_2017_19.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Installation view of 
<em>Jon Rafman/Stan VanDerBeek</em>,
 Curated by Johannes Fricke Waldthausen,
Spr&uuml;th Magers, Los Angeles, January 20&ndash;March 4, 2017. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.
Courtesy Spr&uuml;th Magers</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The backfire of cinematic promise articulated in VanDerBeek&rsquo;s <em>Astral Man</em> (1959) is the danger of a subjective reality structurally impeding the kind of collective reality that actually changes the world&mdash;that place where laws are made, bills are signed, forests are razed, people are dying, loving, getting rejected, and moving on with it. Cheat codes don&rsquo;t work there. Gaston Bachelard&rsquo;s theories about psychic architecture being modeled after one&rsquo;s childhood home have a sinister parallel intimated here: a political nihilism shaped by frittering away one&rsquo;s &ldquo;best&rdquo; years in mom&rsquo;s basement. <a href="https://medium.com/@DaleBeran/4chan-the-skeleton-key-to-the-rise-of-trump-624e7cb798cb#.brb20133d" target="_blank">An interesting case has been made</a> for a radicalization of young American men online that has led us to this fraught moment: one where the fight for equal rights has been taken as a grab for privilege (as if it were a zero-sum game). We don&rsquo;t know what a world of equal privilege looks like, and we don&rsquo;t have to know as long as we can retreat into whatever world suits each of us best. Only 90s kids would know what it&rsquo;s like to act like we&rsquo;re still in the 90s.</p> <p>Bachelard also said that, &ldquo;When the image is new, the world is new.&rdquo; If that&rsquo;s true, then we are stuck. Western society has crafted itself as an image out of time, straining to halt its own displacement by a new image: that free and equitable rainbow world VanDerBeek so ecstatically believed we were capable of creating.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.spruethmagers.com/exhibitions/434@@press_en" target="_blank">Jon Rafman/Stan VanDerBeek</a> ran at Spr&uuml;th Magers Los Angeles from January 20&ndash;March 4, 2017.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/214407-christina-catherine-martinez?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Christina Catherine Martinez</a></p> <p><em>Christina Catherine Martinez is an art writer and comedian based in Los Angeles.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Installation view of
&nbsp;<em>Jon Rafman/Stan VanDerBeek</em>,
 Curated by Johannes Fricke Waldthausen,
Spr&uuml;th Magers, Los Angeles, January 20&ndash;March 4, 2017. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.
Courtesy Spr&uuml;th Magers)</span></p> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 04:34:45 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Bex Ilsley Answers 5 Questions <p><em>This is&nbsp;5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist in the ArtSlant network whose work we love. This week we seek answers from Bex Ilsley.</em></p> <p><em>Bex Ilsley received an ArtSlant Prize 2016 Honorable Mention. We&rsquo;re presenting Bex&rsquo;s work this week at</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1874240336181007/">SPRING/BREAK Art Show</a>.</em></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What are you trying to communicate with your work?</strong></p> <p>Something about what it&rsquo;s like to always live one step removed from yourself. I experience this sensation of always watching myself while I perform the person I am. I had built this largish following on social media and the sensation became stronger. I started to try and embrace that sensation through using the mediated body, the constructed self, as the focus of my work.</p> <p>I question my authenticity. I strive for my work to respond in some way to the sensation of my existence as something performative, and the predicament of being seen or judged by unseen others. I think about fantasy and retreating to the safe stages of cyberspace. This place can be a refuge from an equally wobbly wider reality, post-truth, while also providing the instant (and questionable) service of being a validation engine for the filling of my psychological voids. What does that say about a human, or about these times?&nbsp;</p> <p>What about my body&rsquo;s new position as a flat object? The issues raised are complex to me, as I am a woman who seemingly aims to transition into object or symbol, watching myself through the eyes of some shallow misogynist who lives inside my head. Ultimately, it&rsquo;s thinking about living like a puppet, something malleable. If I embrace the mask and talk about it, is that then paradoxically more &ldquo;authentic&rdquo; than pretending to be real?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170303025311-0A4A4135_5000.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>Puerta del Cielo</em>, Shot at Hotel Silken Puerta Am&eacute;rica, Madrid, Spain 2016</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What is an artist&rsquo;s responsibility?</strong></p> <p>I accept a responsibility to think about why I&rsquo;m doing everything that I&rsquo;m doing, to remain interested. I suppose I consider that a responsibility to the work, rather than responsibility to an audience. Even if I&rsquo;m not ultimately sure what I&rsquo;m trying to communicate, that is okay&mdash;it usually becomes clear in later stages. I don&rsquo;t necessarily have to feel proud of, or correct about what I&rsquo;m communicating. Raising a discussion with my work is enough. In the past it&rsquo;s been suggested that I am actively contributing to the age-old practice of sexualizing and objectifying female bodies. I&rsquo;ve been told that I am making yet more White Feminist privileged art that doesn&rsquo;t talk about real problems. I recognize that, but I also don&rsquo;t try to speak for others, or to make decisions about anybody&rsquo;s representation other than my own. If my work raises a discussion about representation, or narcissism, then that is a valuable conversation to have.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170303025055-bex.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.bexilsley.com/Your-Cities-Will-Shine-Forever" target="_blank">This</a>&nbsp;is the piece I&rsquo;m most proud of. It was the last work I made doing my degree. I learned how to use Unity to build a 360 environment for the Gear VR and I used 3D scans of my own face to create floating masks, both physical and virtual. It was complex and expensive and I didn&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;d pull it off alongside everything else I had going on, but somehow I did.</p> <p><strong>Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:</strong></p> <p>I have a stupid amount of notes saved on my phone, full of ideas for pieces that I&rsquo;ve usually come up with when I&rsquo;ve been half asleep. I don&rsquo;t even know what some of them mean anymore. There isn&rsquo;t really a &ldquo;never&rdquo; file for those though; I see this as a lifetime commitment. If I want to make something, I&rsquo;ll find a way eventually.</p> <p>Last night in bed I was thinking about whether or not being an oversharer is a manipulation tactic or not. I thought about vlogging and stream-of-consciousness. I fantasized about turning my camera on and sitting there to talk and talk about everything. I&rsquo;d go on and on and then also verbally acknowledge how self indulgent doing that is, but then do it anyway. I&rsquo;m not going to make that video, because it would be terrible. Sometimes I wonder what this practice is doing to my brain.</p> <p><strong>Who are three artists we should know but probably don&rsquo;t?</strong></p> <p><a href="http://rebeccakay.format.com/" target="_blank">Rebecca Halliwell-Sutton</a>&nbsp;is one of my best friends personally, but she also happens to be a phenomenally talented artist. She&rsquo;s the current Woon Fellow at BALTIC (Newcastle) &amp; Northumbria University.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.coriedenbymcgowan.uk/" target="_blank">Corie Denby McGowan</a>&nbsp;remains a favorite artist of mine. I am very much in tune with her work and I&rsquo;m always excited to see what she does next. I would say the same about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aoifedunne.com/" target="_blank">Aoife Dunne</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;The ArtSlant Team</p> <p><em>ArtSlant is an open Arts community with over 200,000 free, user-generated&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans">artist profiles</a>. The support of our community is an essential part of our mission &mdash; from our&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/editorial">magazine</a>&nbsp;to our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/33747">residency</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize">prize</a>.&nbsp;Follow your favorite artists to see new work and exhibitions by adding them to your&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/articles/show/11143">watchlist.</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Bex Ilsley, <em>Eject</em>, 2015)</span></p> Tue, 14 Mar 2017 07:40:46 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Facing the Black Mirror: Sean Fader’s Awesome Year <p><em>Oscar Wilde famously suggested great art &ldquo;reveal beauty and hide the artist.&rdquo; For the 2017 BLACK MIRROR exhibition at </em><a href="http://www.springbreakartshow.com/"><em>SPRING/BREAK</em></a><em>, more than 100 curators will feature artworks that explore the dance of identity the artist undergoes&mdash;between showing what&rsquo;s unseen and hiding in plain sight&mdash;especially in the face of modern technology, political unrest, and glimmers from ghosts of Art History&rsquo;s past.</em></p> <p><em>ArtSlant is&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1874240336181007/"><em>exhibiting the ArtSlant Prize 2016 Winners</em></a><em> at SPRING/BREAK. In partnership this uniquely site-specific, curatorial fair, we&rsquo;re featuring interviews with participating curators and artists, asking them what they see reflected in the black mirror.</em></p> <p><em>Previous interviews: </em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47337-facing-the-black-mirror-jack-leigh-ruby-cut-up-reality-at-the-barbershop"><em>Eve Sussman and Simon Lee on curating Jack &amp; Leigh Ruby</em></a><em>, </em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47383-facing-the-black-mirror-chashama-transforms-unused-properties-into-art-venues"><em>Janusz Jaworski on chashama</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47438-facing-the-black-mirror-michael-holman-owns-the-confederate-flag"><em>Michael Holman</em></a></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If the original black mirror, the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_glass">Claude glass</a>, hid the artist to reveal the idealized subject, then Sean Fader&rsquo;s <em>365 Profile Pics</em> is its modern day progeny indeed. Despite comprising some 365 images of the artist&rsquo;s face, the expansive artwork reveals very little about Fader himself, turning its lens instead onto contemporary culture, image making, and consumption.</p> <p>Every day for a year, Fader has uploaded a new profile picture on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.instagram.com/photoartstar/">Instagram</a>, Facebook, and Twitter. Using sites like Fiverr and Craigslist, the artist hired image retouchers from around the world to fabricate profile pics for him, pulling from 400 green-screened selfies and instructions to &ldquo;make me look amazing and my life look awesome.&rdquo; Over the course of the year, posting a new pic each day, Fader encouraged captions and comments from his followers.</p> <p>Through the exercise, Fader&rsquo;s face became the medium through which others projected their ideas of awesomeness, individuality, or conformity. In concert, the images are a broad register of generic moments, surreal scenes, and cultural and political touchstones from the past year. Pouts and red flannel shirts abound, as do well-lit offices and tailored suits. The artist had brief stints as an astronaut and a mega-church preacher. He went surfing, walked some red carpets, and stood behind Melania Trump at the Inauguration.</p> <p>At SPRING/BREAK, in a <a href="http://dennygallery.com/art-fairs/springbreak-art-show-2/" target="_blank">presentation by Denny Gallery</a>, Fader transformed his year of profile pics into an ensemble wallpaper. An augmented reality app allows viewers to hover their phone over an image to see the social media comments it received over the past year and to contribute new ones. Like a proud voter fulfilling their civic duty, participating viewers walk away with an &ldquo;I commented&rdquo; sticker. Because there&rsquo;s a little bit of us all reflected in Fader&rsquo;s black mirror.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><br /> <img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170302135515-SeanFader_365ProfilePics_015_hr.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>365 Profile Pics 15/365</em>, 2016-2017. Archival inkjet print. 30 x 45 in, Edition of 1 + 1 AP &amp; 16 x 24 in, Edition of 3 + 1 AP</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>How does it feel having your likeness proliferated like this? Have you come to identify with these images?</strong></p> <p>My father wanted to direct movies and my mother was an amateur photographer, so I grew up thinking about my body as a stand-in or stage for many types of ideas. Until my mid-twenties I trained for a career in musical theater, so my view of my body and my performance of self were malleable. I <em>did</em> believe that there was a one &quot;true&rdquo; me that I was trying to reveal, but as a&nbsp;performer I also believed that I could transcend myself for the &ldquo;character.&rdquo; So many of the Seans you see in this project are characters of someone. Whenever I would get an email with an image of me that seemed exciting, I <em>did</em> feel excited.<em> Look, that&rsquo;s me as an&nbsp;astronaut or a cowboy! Don&rsquo;t I look like a good businessman, or a sad bro?</em></p> <p>They all feel like me and yet they&rsquo;re not me at all&mdash;but isn&rsquo;t this what everyone is doing these days? People distill themselves into a snap, a gram, a tweet, or a status. These tiny bits are meant to project who they are, but in fact these images are <em>and</em> are not them.</p> <p>When I started this project I was thinking a lot about the profile pic as a performance site. For instance, when a stranger emails me, I look them up on&nbsp;Facebook and I click as fast as I can through all of their profile pics, which is a little performance of their identity in a tiny square on my computer screen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170302140213-SeanFader_SPRINGBREAK_DennyGallery_2017_A_hr.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>365 Profile Pics</em>, 2016&ndash;2017, Installation view at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, February 28&ndash;March 6, 2017</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Talk to me about ownership.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>It is so hard to think about authorship these days without viewing the Internet as a place where you can steal another&rsquo;s work or be stolen from. In the United States (and the West) we value creativity as a commodity. We want to make one thing that we can get residuals from for the rest of our lives, and we want to claim things as our own. Funny thing, in the &ldquo;Art World&rdquo; much of the work is outsourced labor to studio assistants, fabricators, and craftsmen, but somehow because I didn&rsquo;t take the picture or compose these images there is a question of authorship.</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s your conception of the Black Mirror and how do you see&nbsp;<em>365 Profile Pics</em>&nbsp;engaging with it?</strong></p> <p>Honestly when I read the concept text for SPRING/BREAK this year I thought, <em>OMG I think they are writing about my work.</em> I mean&hellip;&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left:36.0pt;">Innovation has enhanced the way in which the self is documented, exhumed, and proliferated on the day-to-day. A &ldquo;keeping up with the Joneses&rdquo;&ndash;style attention to self-portraiture on social media, an embrace of video communication software in the live stream, even the self grooming to meet standards of omnipresent surveillance documentation, or bystander photo-bomb, all keep us constantly rebounding from our subjective experiences back to a meditation on the &ldquo;me.&rdquo;</p> <p>In addition to being obsessed with the&nbsp;performance of the profile pic, I was also looking&nbsp;at how people cultivate fame in&nbsp;social media and how we are outsourcing much of that work. Today celebrities and brands have&nbsp;people that manage their social media accounts; sites like Fiverr are dedicated to retouching people&rsquo;s&nbsp;photographs for five bucks, you can buy followers; there are social&nbsp;media analytics companies; and there are PR firms that only work in social media. I wanted to use these very same mechanisms in this project, so I decided to&nbsp;outsource the PR of my own&nbsp;identity on Fiverr. I would pay anyone who was interested to take a crack at it. What is the most important thing in social media? To look amazing and to make your life look awesome, so those were my instructions for the retouchers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170302135328-SeanFader_365ProfilePics_025_hr.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>365 Profile Pics 25/365 (Trump got me all like: Preparing to get the fuck out of here!)</em>, 2016-2017. Archival inkjet print, 37 x 30 in, Edition of 1 + 1 AP&amp; 20 x 16 in, Edition of 3 + 1 AP</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s the role of the online viewer, and how crucial is a commenting social media community to realizing this project? </strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;m a huge fan of C&eacute;cile B. Evans so I feel like the answer is &ldquo;Hyperlinks or it didn&#39;t happen&rdquo; (an amazing piece of hers). Look at Google: their algorithm determines what we know about the world and is based on PageRank, the original algorithm that determines a website&rsquo;s importance by the number and quality of links to a page. It&rsquo;s all about connections. I really wanted to understand how the Internet&rsquo;s hive mind thinks through images. Memes rise and fall in a day but hover in our subconscious, so people commenting in social media is a key component to the project. On the final page of the book I have a thank you page that lists everyone who made images and/or commented on social media. They are all part of this work and continue to be.</p> <p>I have been feeling like these dual lives&mdash;social&nbsp;media and my studio practice&mdash;have been the same. The photo print on the wall and the photo shared on&nbsp;Instagram feel like they are parallel practices. I wanted to make the space of the exhibition the liminal space where these two&nbsp;practices collide, so I worked with Erin Ko and Alex Chouls to create an augmented reality. At SPRING/BREAK, people can download the PhotoArtStar app (named after my Insta handle) and point&nbsp;their&nbsp;iPhone at the images on the wall. For 100 of the photos, the app will pull all the Instagram comments on that image and will overlay them on top of the photo. You can also press a button to open that very image in your own Instagram. If you do that and&nbsp;comment, I will give you an&nbsp;&ldquo;I commented&rdquo;&nbsp;sticker for you to wear IRL. The stickers look very much like the&nbsp;&ldquo;I voted&rdquo; stickers from elections. I&rsquo;m doing this because, first, I&nbsp;love giving things away. I also love the idea that&nbsp;participation and having your voice heard is a badge of pride, but this also has the&nbsp;angle of a marketing campaign. So it works both ways.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170302135607-SeanFader_SPRINGBREAK_DennyGallery_2017_D_hr.jpg" style="text-align: center;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em style="text-align: center;">365 Profile Pics</em><span style="text-align: center;">, 2016&ndash;2017, Installation view with App at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, February 28&ndash;March 6, 2017</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What are some of the weirdest moments you&rsquo;ve experienced working on&nbsp;<em>365 Profile Pics</em>? Were you ever uncomfortable with any of the retouched images?</strong></p> <p>I was disappointed by how many people depicted me with all the tropes of a straight white American man. You can see how deeply American mass media has penetrated the planet by how many of my retouchers assumed that is who I wanted to be. In many ways my prompt of make me look amazing and my life look awesome&mdash;combined with the availability of hi-resolution stock photography&mdash;was intended to critically activate these stereotypes in order to address how they propagate heteonormativity, whiteness, and consumerism. Throughout mass media and visual culture, these circulate as assumptions of what normalcy looks like, so I designed the prompt to draw them to the surface and allow us to critique them. The scale of the project (and its humor) mark these normally unmarked assumptions, and it challenges their power by making them ludicrous and revealing the clich&eacute;s they rely on. By working with a global team of collaborators on this, I was able to show how widely these stereotypes circulate and how they have fed into a narrow and problematic stereotype of American culture. Any one of the images can be funny or innocuous, but 365 of them show the force of these norms operating in visual culture. By visualizing them, we can turn that humor against them to reveal how hollow and fragile they really are.</p> <p><strong>Did you learn anything from working on this project for a year that you hadn&rsquo;t anticipated at the beginning? </strong></p> <p>I was shocked people believed that these images were real. On Instagram we seem to suspend disbelief in this way. For those of us that grew up around computers, the idea of realness is no longer tied to an objective photographic reality in the traditional sense. We don&rsquo;t look at an image and decide it is real because x, y, and z things were in front of a camera at a specific time and the camera&nbsp;shutter was pressed&mdash;the&nbsp;decisive&nbsp;moment. But it still was funny that people thought the images were real in this way.</p> <p>The <em>365 Profile Pics</em> don&rsquo;t necessarily describe a traditional photographic reality but they are still <em>real</em> photographs because all of them do represent something. Many of us seem to be expanding what we think of as real and that is really exciting. I also love that the images on&nbsp;the Internet are small and&nbsp;digital and low-resolution so they actually look more convincing as&nbsp;decisive moments, and I&nbsp;continue to post pics of my own day between each of the profile pics so they even sit side by side. When you see them blown up and printed, the illusion of&nbsp;Photoshop&nbsp;composites&nbsp;often falls apart.</p> <p>I also learned that&nbsp;outsourcing is&nbsp;really complicated. Many of the&nbsp;retouchers&nbsp;I worked with did not&nbsp;want to be creative. I gave them tech specs and&nbsp;total creative freedom, which made a lot&nbsp;of them angry. They wanted to be told exactly what to do and they wanted to&nbsp;execute it. They also didn&rsquo;t want to&nbsp;follow my tech specs and kept telling me I didn&rsquo;t need a high-res image, even when that was outlined in the original&nbsp;advertisement. I also spent so much time back-and-forth arguing with them that it would have taken me less time to do it myself. I felt bad about paying five dollars an image but felt gouged if they wanted 10. It churned up so much Western guilt and complex ideas about the&nbsp;global market and my idea of my position in it.</p> <p>I was happy to find that lots of people loved this project, and getting to&nbsp;participate and comment was so much fun and funny.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170302140044-STICKERS-04.png" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;Andrea Alessi</p> <p><em>Andrea Alessi is the Managing Editor of ArtSlant.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(All images: Sean Fader,&nbsp;<em>365 Profile Pics</em>, 2016&ndash;2017. Courtesy of the artist and Denny Gallery)</span></p> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 11:09:25 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Sterling Crispin: Begin at the End <p><em>This essay was first published in the ArtSlant Prize 2016 Catalogue, on the occasion of the<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/535855966564505/">&nbsp;ArtSlant Prize Shortlist exhibition</a>&nbsp;at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, from February 28&ndash;March 6, 2017.&nbsp;Sterling Crispin is the ArtSlant Prize 2016 Third Prize winner.&nbsp;Other ArtSlant Prize 2016 catalogue essays:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47473-brigitta-varadi-marking-memory">Brigitta Varadi</a> &amp; <a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47474-tiffany-smith-the-perpetual-tourist">Tiffany Smith</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>What does the end, <em>The End</em>, look like? Is it a transcendent experience like the religious and singularitarians believe? Will humans transform into iridescent angels of ethereal nature, timeless in their march towards oneness? Will the end look like an episode of <em>The Walking Dead</em>? Like an episode of <em>Doomsday Preppers</em>? Will the remnants of society scrabble together the few resources left to find baseline survival the underlying truth of excess? Does the end resemble a person sitting in a concrete box buried underground swallowing baked beans out of a can, or do we become waves of energy, identifiable not by our body but by a collection of experiences and tropes traveling from host to host, like a <em>Westworld</em> protagonist? &nbsp;</p> <p>It is hard to conceive of a greater tension between these two visions and yet they exist, in tandem, in our collective imaginations. &ldquo;To imagine civilization dwindling down to a couple thousand people, the Earth in environmental hell, taking global collapse to its conclusion&mdash;it&rsquo;s unimaginably terrible,&rdquo; says artist Sterling Crispin. &ldquo;But,&rdquo; he continues, &ldquo;take techno-optimism to its extreme, with humans living for hundreds of thousands of years, and it&rsquo;s also kind of unimaginable.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sterling Crispin explores the end. From a fascination with Buddhist conceptions of oneness and propelled by the rapid technological pace in the era of Moore&rsquo;s Law<span style="font-size: 13.3333px;">&nbsp;[<a href="#f1">1</a>]</span>, Crispin takes as his subject the hurtling hulk of humanity as it flies towards some kind of imagined or real conclusion. &ldquo;Transhumanism is on my mind a lot,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Crispin&rsquo;s materials are birthed in today&rsquo;s technology. Aluminum server frames, Alexa towers, emergency water filtration systems, canned food, Bitcoin miners, extruded plastics and resins&mdash;these are the vocabulary of an end-times practice.</p> <p>The singularity as a concept comes from a 1993 paper<span style="font-size: 13.3333px;">&nbsp;[<a href="#f2">2</a>]</span>&nbsp;by mathematician Vernor Vinge in which he states: &ldquo;We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater-than-human intelligence.&rdquo; The basic principle of singularitarianism is that, at a certain point, advancement will be out of human hands. Technology will be free to replicate and improve on its own. Futurist Ray Kurzweil&nbsp;believes that at this point a massive rupture in human culture, philosophy, and civilization will occur, characterized by the end of death and anthropocentric evolution. Kurzweil&rsquo;s end is an apocalypse of a different sort.[<a href="#f3">3</a>] His is a moment of becoming and transcendence beyond the human.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170227165216-_0003836-l.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Sterling Crispin, <em>Self-Contained Investment Module and Contingency Package (Cloud-Enabled Modular Emergency-Enterprise Application Platform)</em>,&nbsp;2015. Courtesy of the artist</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The globe just scored a hat trick of hottest years on record. The doomsday clock has begun ticking towards midnight again. Amidst the statistical evidence, markers of impending doom keep pinging us. The cries of apocryphal evangelists are beginning to ring true.</p> <p>With each passing meteor, every seemingly-significant date on an ancient calendar that appears on our Julian calendar, throngs proclaim the end with rapturous fervency. But the end interrogated by Crispin is not fanciful. His work has a sincere immediacy: &ldquo;Trump&rsquo;s presidency and the collapse of civil society really gets you thinking about how fragile our whole global economy is and how loosely everything is held together.&rdquo; He goes on, &ldquo;Next month, some catastrophe could happen that could close down international shipping, close off the internet; millions of people could die because there wasn&rsquo;t enough food. We&rsquo;re just on the edge of this all of the time.&rdquo;</p> <p>Never has the world been so interconnected. In 2015, $16 trillion (21% of GWP) in merchandise exchanged hands across the world. In 2013, one fifth of the average American&rsquo;s diet was imported. This interdependence isn&rsquo;t trivial. As political forces around the world begin to pull back from the integrated system of globalized advanced capitalism, the connections holding it all together seem more tenuous than ever.</p> <p>Crispin&rsquo;s suite of four sculptures, <em>N.A.N.O., B.I.O., I.N.F.O., C.O.G.N.O.</em> (2015), serves as sentries. Each monolith is attached to an industry stock: <em>N.A.N.O.</em> comes with 100 shares of stock in a nanotechnology company, <em>B.I.O.</em>, biotechnology, <em>I.N.F.O.</em>, informatics, and <em>C.O.G.N.O.</em>, cognitive research. If separated, these Gundam-like structures will track each other: a GPS display shows you where the other three horsemen are at all times. An emergency water purifier and food rations anchor the sculptures. <em>N.A.N.O.</em> et al. recall ancient statues guarding a crypt, protectors of humanity straight out of anime waiting for the right time to awaken and save the world. They reach towards the promises of advanced capital, zeroing in on the industries most likely to transform humanity via the singularity and save it from itself.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170227165014-nano_bio_info_cogno-l.jpg" style="text-align: center;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Sterling Crispin, <em>N.A.N.O. , B.I.O. , I.N.F.O. , C.O.G.N.O.</em>, 2015. Courtesy of the artist</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, if that doesn&rsquo;t work out, there&rsquo;s always a jerrycan of clean water and some freeze-dried beef.<span style="font-size: 13.3333px;">[<a href="#f4">4</a>]</span></p> <p><em>Self-Contained Investment Module and Contingency Package</em> (2015), like <em>N.A.N.O</em>&hellip;., is practical and sculptural. Inside an aluminum frame sits an ASIC Bitcoin mining tube, a Lifesaver Systems 4000 ultra-filtration water bottle, an emergency radio, Mayday emergency food rations, a knife, heirloom seeds, etc. The connections are barely waiting to be pieced together by the viewer: they&rsquo;re all there, visible in the cube. Crispin&rsquo;s work makes hard connections, direct metaphors, in his search for the aesthetic of the end. &ldquo;The metaphors I use are heavy-handed but rounded in the utility of their function in reality,&rdquo; relays the artist.</p> <p>This frankness fights the obfuscating nature of reality. Are things really as dire as they seem? It is readily accepted that things will be okay; we tell ourselves the same often enough. But why is it so difficult to accept that things might not be okay? Is it so difficult to imagine that, <em>shit, we&rsquo;re fucked</em>?</p> <p>In some remote corner of the universe, flickering in the light of the countless solar systems into which it had been poured, there was once a planet on which clever animals invented cognition. It was the most arrogant and most mendacious minute in the &ldquo;history of the world&rdquo;; but a minute was all it was. After nature had drawn just a few more breaths the planet froze and the clever animals had to die.<span style="font-size: 13.3333px;">[<a href="#f5">5</a>]</span></p> <p>There is something reflected in the gleaming aluminum, the candy-apple neon, and low hum of <em>Self-Contained</em>. An optimism, perhaps, that if we structure things just right, if we allow for recursive corrections, if we prepare and adjust, we won&rsquo;t be the ones responsible for bringing the short reign of humanity to an end. We might not be Nietzsche&rsquo;s arrogant creatures doomed to death on a frozen, or in this case, scorched Earth. We may just be the ones that <em>become</em> what&rsquo;s next. Either way, be prepared.</p> <p><br /> &mdash;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/153044-joel-kuennen?tab=REVIEWS">Joel Kuennen</a></p> <p><em>Joel Kuennen&nbsp;is the Chief Operations Officer and a Senior Editor at ArtSlant.</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">[<a id="f1" name="f1"></a>1] Moore&rsquo;s Law holds that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years. This law has been extrapolated to include the exponential rate of computational and technological advancement more broadly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">[2<a id="f2" name="f2"></a>] Vernor Vinge, &ldquo;The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era&rdquo; (paper presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, March 30-31, 1993).</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">[3]<a id="f3" name="f3"></a> Kurzweil, it should be noted, is driven to defeat death so that he may resurrect his father who died early on in Kurzweil&rsquo;s life. How human is that?!</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">[<a id="f4" name="f4"></a>4] It&rsquo;s difficult to ignore humor when discussing the end. One cannot approach nothingness without being a bit glib.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">[<a id="f5" name="f5"></a>5] Friedrich Nietzsche, <em>On Truth and Lies in a Non-Moral Sense</em>, Trans. Ronald Spiers. 1873.</span></p> <p><br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Sterling Crispin, <em>Self-Contained Investment Module and Contingency Package (Cloud-Enabled Modular Emergency-Enterprise Application Platform)</em> (detail), 2015. Courtesy of the artist)</span></p> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 02:58:43 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Tiffany Smith: The Perpetual Tourist <p><em>This essay was first published in the ArtSlant Prize 2016 Catalogue, on the occasion of the<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/535855966564505/" target="_blank">&nbsp;ArtSlant Prize Shortlist exhibition</a>&nbsp;at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, from February 28&ndash;March 6, 2017.&nbsp;Tiffany Smith is the ArtSlant Prize 2016 Second Prize winner.&nbsp;Other ArtSlant Prize 2016 catalogue essays:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47473-brigitta-varadi-marking-memory" target="_blank">Brigitta Varadi</a> &amp;&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47475-sterling-crispin-begin-at-the-end" target="_blank">Sterling Crispin</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When Tiffany Smith enters a home, she looks at every item, searching for clues to reveal identity and personal history. She combs the space for intimate hints that work together to tell a story.</p> <p>Raised between Nassau, Bahamas, and Miami, Florida, by her Caribbean parents, Smith has put her faith in photography, using the camera to confront stereotypes about Caribbean culture and identity formation. While earning her BA in photography at the Savannah School of Art and Design, Smith would spend 4&ndash;5 hours working on one image, becoming lost in her process; procedure turned to ritual. This same process taught Smith to understand the magic of letting go, of waiting for the unpredictable moment to occur&mdash;the moment when the portrait is truly made. Foraging for hints of cultural identity had its limitations. Instead, she waited for the clues to surface to the top, learning to trust they would appear naturally in her subject&rsquo;s pose. Smith says, &ldquo;The image doesn&rsquo;t come together until the person lets their guard down. That&rsquo;s when you know it&rsquo;s the shot. You can&rsquo;t control that moment.&rdquo;</p> <p>Each of Smith&rsquo;s portraits is a carefully crafted story that weaves together truth and myth, the here and the there, the foreigner and the native inhabiting the same self. Her current photo series, <em>A Woman, Phenomenally</em>, has been slow to develop, a measured and gradual simmer involving hours of intimate conversation with her subjects coupled with intense research about their homelands and histories.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170227163203-Study6-l.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Tiffany Smith, <em>Study 6</em> from the series <em>For Tropical Girls Who Have Considered Ethnogenesis When the Native Sun is Remote</em>, 2014. Courtesy of the artist</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Her portraits started as a conversation with close friends sharing the similarities of their island-life childhoods and celebrating the differences of their cultures. Smith isn&rsquo;t looking for performers in her work. Instead, she provides us with gestures and guides that all point to the subjects&rsquo; cultural realities, rather than the falsity of performance. The artist wants to build on the rhythm of her subjects&rsquo; overlapping experiences. The work becomes about the way women of color experience each other&rsquo;s sameness and uniqueness. What comes through most triumphantly is how these women are bonded through oppression and mutual misrepresentation.</p> <p>Before she began taking photographs of other women, Smith&rsquo;s first ethnographic study was focused on investigating her own narrative. Making self-portraits was a growth process that helped her to empathize with the position of the subject. &ldquo;I needed to know what I wanted to bring out of the other women,&rdquo; she explains. The artist explored turn-of-the-century portraiture of women of color and homed in on the exoticized gaze, asking herself, <em>Who is looking at these women? Why are they taking these photos? How much power do these women have over how they are being depicted?</em> It is through these questions that Smith begins to investigate the idea of the non-native self. Her first images in this research are studies, points of discovery imparted with her own memory of growing up between worlds.</p> <p>Creating the portraits in <em>A Woman, Phenomenally</em>, Smith focused on the construction of identity, returning to the idea of having agency in assembling the way we are seen, authoring our own narratives. Visual propping and symbolism are critical devices of communication laced between the portraits. The props, including bright blue, hand-made paper boats, wooden Filipino kitchenware, and African headdresses stacked to form a crown, are not only objects developed from her conversations with these women, but opportunities to draw direct, trustworthy routes to the sitter&rsquo;s culture for the witness. As the series develops, the way the photos are shown together is also transformed. A portrait of a woman veiled in white lace becomes a resting image tucked in between the tropical forest of bright greens, purples, and pinks, a quiet moment and necessary breath in the series.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170227163228-Indoor_Outdoor2-l.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Tiffany Smith, <i>Taproot</i>, 2015. Courtesy of the artist</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During graduate school at the School of Visual Arts, Smith started experimenting with installations, her way of stretching the portraits into experiences. Organizing the portraits into installations was a way to demarcate space, to force the viewer into a curated experience using markers that operate both as authentic cultural symbols for the subject and as stereotypes of an island lifestyle being applied from the outside(r). Smith uses these props to lure viewers into a more melodramatic moment with the subject, but also as stand-in cultural references to actual Caribbean life. The wallpaper backgrounds are created with colorful, botanical illustrations of plants that are native to the same places the subjects are from. Her use of artificial tropical plants produces a distancing exoticism she wants her viewer to grapple with, heightened by the apparent tension between impression and reality. Smith is challenging stereotypes and exotified depictions of the women in her photographs, blurring the line between what is factual and what is artificial.</p> <p>In her series, <em>From Foreign</em>, the artist confronts stereotypes about Jamaican life and culture, searching for connections to herself and revealing the many ways cultural identity can be formed. Creating candid photographs of her family in Jamaica, Smith constructs a figurative pathway into a typical Caribbean home, featuring concrete block patterns, curtains the colors of the Jamaican flag, and a white, wire dish filled with tropical fruits. The photographs are a push-and-pull, offering a glimpse into Smith&rsquo;s experience as both a native and a foreigner in this place, or, as she has often called herself, &ldquo;the perpetual tourist.&rdquo;</p> <p>They are also her tools to tell the story of an individual, much like herself, who feels foreign in their home. Four of the photos in <em>From Foreign</em> feature some sort of a veil/curtain, highlighting the way one shifts in different locations and circumstances. Smith draws attention to a portal that can push you out or pull you into a cultural identity or place. These veils allow the artist to explore what it means to have a fluid sense of home and how an individual can form an identity within that fluidity. They encourage us to ask: &ldquo;Where is home?&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;Suhaly Bautista-Carolina</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top:&nbsp;Tiffany Smith, <em>Perpetual Tourist</em> from the series <em>For Tropical Girls Who Have Considered Ethnogenesis When the Native Sun is Remote</em>, 2015. Courtesy of the artist)</span></p> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 02:58:13 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Brigitta Varadi: Marking Memory <p><em>This essay was first published in the ArtSlant Prize 2016 Catalogue, on the occasion of the<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/535855966564505/">&nbsp;ArtSlant Prize Shortlist exhibition</a>&nbsp;at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, from February 28&ndash;March 6, 2017.&nbsp;Brigitta Varadi is the ArtSlant Prize 2016 Grand Prize winner.&nbsp;Other ArtSlant Prize 2016 catalogue essays:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47474-tiffany-smith-the-perpetual-tourist" target="_blank">Tiffany Smith</a> &amp;&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47475-sterling-crispin-begin-at-the-end" target="_blank">Sterling Crispin</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left: 80px;">In some way, all things are congealed moments in a longer social trajectory. All things are brief deposits of this or that property, photographs that conceal the reality of the motion from which their objecthood is a momentary respite. &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left: 400px;">&mdash;Arjun Appadurai, &ldquo;The Thing Itself&rdquo; [<a href="#fn1">1</a>]</p> <p>To hear Brigitta Varadi talk about sheep is to hear her effuse about something bigger than wool, felt, or the declining carpet and farming industries in the remote corner of North West Ireland where she lives. Her animated descriptions of how highland farmers mark and identify their sheep spin into ruminations on knowledge, memory, commerce, and social relations&mdash;and how each may be sketched onto downy fleeces or mapped onto the rural landscape.</p> <p>But you don&rsquo;t need to hear her speak about it; spend time with Varadi&rsquo;s large, woollen paintings and you will understand how something so procedural&mdash;namely, the marking of sheep with brightly colored paint&mdash;could be the yarn knitting together an investigation of traditions, commodities, art objects, and the social relations that constitute them.</p> <p>Originally from Hungary, Varadi moved to County Leitrim, in hilly North West Ireland, in 2001. Sheep farming defines the region&rsquo;s rustic landscape, with enclosures tracing lines to the horizon and colorful, polka-dotted fleeces shuffling across the mountainside. Varadi, who has used wool throughout her career, first began working with farmers in the collaborative project <em>Talk About Fracking</em>, which amplified the concerns of local residents regarding hydraulic fracturing. In 2014, as she established deeper trust, farmers in Leitrim and nearby Sligo began teaching her about their work with sheep: breeding, lambing, dosing, shearing, and marking.</p> <p>The resulting project, <em>Markings&nbsp;</em>[<a href="#fn2">2</a>], is a series of large, hand-felted canvases made from regional wool and painted using animal branding fluid, marking crayon, and marker spray. Each painting pays tribute to the farmer whose wool it comprises; painted dot motifs replicate symbols from each farmer&rsquo;s unique sheep-marking vocabulary.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170227161627-_Lorraine_Brennan___Brigitta_Varadi_image.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Brigitta Varadi,&nbsp;<em>Lorraine Brennan</em>, 2015. Photo: Keith Nolan Photography</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In <em>Lorraine Brennan</em>, an orange line traces a circle inside a square canvas. It&rsquo;s an abstract gesture&mdash;evoking modern art movements like Suprematism and Minimalism&mdash;but it&rsquo;s also the mark that farmer Lorraine Brennan uses to record a sheep as carrying no lamb. The empty circle &ldquo;is full of the emotion of a barren sheep destined to the next meat market,&rdquo; describes Varadi. For farmers like Brennan, colors and shapes are cues, a legible code revealing information about ownership, sex, fertility, and vaccinations. The blue and red dots in <em>Noel Ruane</em>, for example, designate a sheep as belonging to the eponymous farmer&rsquo;s flock. But to understand <em>Markings</em>, you need not know that, say, a green splotch on the chest of a ram means one thing, two red circles on an ewe, another.</p> <p>The act of inscription&mdash;more than the content of the inscribed markings&mdash;is paramount. In visual and material fidelity, each artwork represents a person, one whose occupation and knowledge, their ownership and memory, leave a bold mark on the canvas. These graphic representations&mdash;and they are both mimetic representations <em>and</em> abstractions&mdash;could be equally at home on a damp Irish hillside or in the modern art gallery. In the shared gestures of the farmer and the artist, two lineages come together.</p> <p>Indeed, embedded into these artworks&mdash;literally felted and matted, smeared onto their surfaces&mdash;is a history of labor and tradition: men&rsquo;s and women&rsquo;s, commercial and domestic, craft and fine art. Like Pollock straddling his drip paintings, Varadi crouches atop the wool as she felts it, counting, rolling a single piece&mdash;the fleeces of five sheep&mdash;up to 25,000 times. She works each textile as if making pastry, turning it to ensure even shrinkage as its wet fibers hook together. The physical properties of wool fight back, taxing Varadi&rsquo;s body as she transforms it from raw material into singular artwork.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170227161502-IMG_7628.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In &ldquo;The Thing Itself,&rdquo; social anthropologist Arjun Appadurai writes:</p> <blockquote> <p>I have continued to be engaged with the idea that persons and things are not radically distinct categories, and that the transactions that surround things are invested with the properties of social relations. Thus, today&rsquo;s gift is tomorrow&rsquo;s commodity. Yesterday&rsquo;s commodity is tomorrow&rsquo;s found art object. Today&rsquo;s art object is tomorrow&rsquo;s junk. And yesterday&rsquo;s junk is tomorrow&rsquo;s heirloom.</p> </blockquote> <p>Varadi rescues the thing from stasis. What was once the body of a living animal was briefly a commodity, then a gift (the farmers donated their wool), and now an artwork. Her fleeces are a document, a &ldquo;congealed moment&rdquo; in the social life of the wool, but one that acknowledges its own instability. Her paintings are the object <em>in transition</em>, slipping from one phase to another and also from one visual language to another: from a sign to an aesthetic, from the vernacular of farming to the parlance of minimalism.</p> <p>Her artworks resist discrete ascriptions of meaning from these social frameworks, however. Varadi wrestles with her medium but never tames it into complete submission. Materially, it remains &ldquo;the thing itself&rdquo;: raw wool, its fibers reconfigured, but smelling, looking, feeling like itself. Locks pull away from the felted base, each canvas defiantly flocculent, sheep-like. At a human scale&mdash;just over six feet tall&mdash;these paintings assert their woolliness, suggesting comfort and physical intimacy. In a related sculpture, fittingly titled <em>Transition</em>, viewers are invited to sit inside a fleece-lined box, to touch and surround themselves in the shaggy material, to bury their noses and inhale its earthy fragrance.</p> <p>But let us return to the farmers, as Varadi&rsquo;s passion for wool is matched only by her enthusiasm for the people and interactions surrounding it. At a time when traditional methods of farming are in decline, her artworks are vessels, repositories of knowledge and memory. Many farmers have taken up second jobs as the price of raw wool remains low. Three farmers Varadi documented are bachelors, with no children to inherit their flocks or their expertise. They are, says Varadi, &ldquo;really, really happy that somebody is talking about sheep farming.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170227161555-IMG_8158.JPG" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Today, under European regulations, sheep must be marked with a uniformly coded ear tag. But farmers persist in painting their sheep. What may seem like an anachronism demonstrates hard-earned knowledge, pragmatism, and creativity. A few years ago, in Devon, UK, one farmer painted his entire flock orange to combat the growing threat of sheep rustling during the recession (no harm came to the sheep, nor the farmer&rsquo;s bottom line&mdash;none were stolen that season). Like distinctive enclosure fences mended with found objects&mdash;Varadi says she can tell whose land is whose just by looking&mdash;these visual cues represent a history of human ingenuity mapped onto the bodies of animals and the environment.</p> <p>The artist recently completed a residency in Upstate New York, a place where first-generation farmers are leaving the city to raise animals for small-batch wool production. Only two larger, traditional sheep farms remain in the area. &ldquo;These newcomers are setting up a farm after the traditional knowledge is gone,&rdquo; Varadi says, &ldquo;There is a gap between tradition dying out and the new generation starting over, and in that gap there is a lot of lost knowledge. A lot of lost information.&rdquo;</p> <p>Back in Ireland, Benedict Gallagher, a farmer whose wool appears in <em>Markings</em> and other projects, realized he hadn&rsquo;t even told his sons the things he had divulged to Varadi about his vocation. As oral tradition breaks down, material culture&mdash;maintaining its own rich social life, but also imbued with meaning and legacies shared amongst people&mdash;steps up. Through mark-making and learned, practiced gestures, Varadi inscribes and embodies the memories of a place, its people, their labor, and her own. <em>Markings</em> is the residue of this memorializing practice.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no record of these markings and there&rsquo;s no record of this creativity,&rdquo; says the artist. &ldquo;In a small way I am trying to record the tradition for future resources, not only by written knowledge, or images or recordings, but with the work to awake memories through all the senses in people.&rdquo; In their journey from one space, one cultural language, to another, Varadi&rsquo;s woolly canvases are record and receptacle, something owned and something given, something remembered and something passed on.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/95201-andrea-alessi?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Andrea Alessi</a></p> <p><i>Andrea Alessi is the Managing Editor of ArtSlant.</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;"><a id="fn1" name="fn1">[1]</a> Appadurai, Arjun. &ldquo;The Thing Itself.&rdquo;&nbsp;<em>Public Culture 18</em>, no. 1 (2006): 15-22.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;"><a id="fn2" name="fn2">[2]</a> Supported by Leitrim Sculpture Centre Fellowship and Artist in Residence Programme, Arts Council of Ireland, Leitrim County Council Art Office</span></p> Wed, 01 Mar 2017 02:57:44 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Cristina BanBan Answers 5 Questions <p><em>This is&nbsp;5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/45967-b-stylecolor-333333under-the-radar-cristina-banban-xi-zhang-max-gomesb" target="_blank">Under the Radar</a>, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/457872-cristina-banban" target="_blank">Cristina BanBan</a>.</em></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What are you trying to communicate with your work?</strong></p> <p>I pay attention to the unique moments of daily life in order to represent personal difficulties or simply exalt some aspects of the mundane, to raise awareness of the type of society in which we are all involved. This, alongside a satisfaction for the aesthetic, is what drives me to work.</p> <p><strong>What is an artist&rsquo;s responsibility?</strong></p> <p>I suppose that each type of art or any form of artistic expression has its objectives, whether it is a manifestation that leads to reflection or simply evokes a feeling. I would be satisfied if, as well as making people happy for contemplating something they like, they could receive the message behind the painting.</p> <p><strong>Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t know if this is the best or not that I have done but it is one of my favorite pieces:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170223134321-untitled_cristinabanban_.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>Untitled</em>, 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 180&nbsp;cm</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:</strong></p> <p>I would love to make a mural located in a busy public space where people of all types could have access to look at it.</p> <p><strong>Who are three artists we should know but probably don&rsquo;t? </strong></p> <p><a href="http://fabiantreiber.de/" target="_blank">Fabian Treiber</a>, <a href="https://www.instagram.com/robertaberdein/" target="_blank">Robert Aberdein</a>, and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/bensledsens/" target="_blank">Ben Sledsens</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;The ArtSlant Team</p> <div align="center"> <hr align="center" noshade="noshade" size="0" width="100%" /></div> <p><em>ArtSlant is an open Arts community with over 200,000 free, user-generated&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans" target="_blank">artist profiles</a>. The support of our community is an essential part of our mission &mdash; from our&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/editorial" target="_blank">magazine</a>&nbsp;to our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/33747" target="_blank">residency</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" target="_blank">prize</a>.&nbsp;Follow your favorite artists to see new work and exhibitions by adding them to your&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/articles/show/11143" target="_blank">watchlist.</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Cristina BanBan, <em>Friday Night</em>, 2016, Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 153 x 122 cm)</span></p> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 15:11:47 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Wednesday Web Artist of the Week: Martina Menegon <p><a href="http://martinamenegon.tumblr.com/">Martina Menegon</a> is an Italian new media artist and educator currently based in Vienna, Austria. <a href="http://martinamenegon.tumblr.com/bio">Her art explores</a> &ldquo;the instability and ephemerality of the human body as well as the alienation from physicality in today&rsquo;s digital age, questioning the gap between real and virtual, flesh and data.&rdquo; Menegon&rsquo;s expression of these ideas range from uncanny scenes of endless, undulating fleshy figures to far more personal depictions of her own digitally distorted physical form. Her work reveals the ever-evolving relationship between all of us and the inescapable digital world, as well as a complex, autobiographical representation of one artist&rsquo;s journey through it.</p> <p>I asked Menegon about her history of using computers to make art, the origins of her fascination with the human body, and the difference between selfies and self-portraits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170111132734-2.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Martina Menegon,&nbsp;<em>Virtual Narcissism</em>, 2016&ndash;ongoing, Various multimedia installations</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Christian Petersen: What were your earliest memories of computers?</strong></p> <p><strong>Martina Menegon:</strong> Some years ago my mother was a graphic designer, often freelancing, so as far as I can remember, we always had a computer at home for her to work. Me and my brother were allowed to use it when she didn&rsquo;t need it for work. I remember once I wanted to clean up the desktop and somehow I trashed everything (including the Macintosh HD icon) and the computer never started up again. It was terrifying and I must admit, back then I blamed my little brother (shame on me!).</p> <p><strong>CP: When and why did you first go online?</strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> I honestly cannot remember. It must have been early and probably just because it was finally possible to go online at home. My earliest memory of going online is during my first year of high school, when I opened my first blog where I was writing and posting pictures everyday (back then I was very much into writing little poems or short texts). But I already knew how to use the internet so I must have been online way before this memory.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><br /> <img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170111131135-3.I_ll_Keep_You_Warm_and_Safe_in_My_People_Zoo__3.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170111131024-5.I_LL-KEEP-YOU-WARM-AND-SAFE-IN-MY-PEOPLE-ZOO-x-Paper-Thin-V2.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Martina Menegon, <em>I&rsquo;ll Keep You Warm and Safe in My People Zoo</em>, 2016, VR installation Sounds by&nbsp;Stefano D&rsquo;Alessio</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: When did you first think about computers as a creative tool?</strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> I guess it always was for me. My mother&rsquo;s computer only had software she needed for work (Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.) and she also installed for me and my brother the amazing &ldquo;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kid_Pix">Kid-Pix</a>.&rdquo; I was always playing and drawing and creating with it since I can remember. I always treated computers as creative tools somehow.</p> <p><strong>CP: When did you start to experiment with 3D?</strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> It was in 2008 during my study in Visual and Performing Arts at the IUAV University in Venice. I followed a 3D animation class where I learned how to model and animate and render in Cinema4D. It was such a fun experience, and I never stopped working with 3D since then. I think I even repeated the class just for the fun of it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170111132915-7.SPLITS-ARE-PARTED.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Martina Menegon,&nbsp;<em>Splits Are Parted</em>, 2016, Interactive installation,&nbsp;sounds by&nbsp;Stefano D&#39;Alessio</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: How and why did the human body, and your own body, become such a constant theme in your work? </strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> I think it always was. I can&rsquo;t say why. I think many different aspects and events of my life brought me to focus a lot on the human body: growing up as a synchronized swimmer, going to art school, experimenting with some performance art, studying performance and interactive art in Venice, being in Second Life, etc.</p> <p>In general I am quite a shy person, always scared of exposing myself publically. This is way I rarely ended up performing in real life. But for some reason, exposing myself in a digital realm does not bother me much. Maybe the only challenge for me is at openings, where people watch or interact with my 3D-scanned body and I am next to it. I sometimes try to blend in with the gallery walls :-P</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170111131341-1.Virtual_Narcissism_-_making_of.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Martina Menegon,&nbsp;<em>Virtual Narcissism</em>&nbsp;(making of), 2016&ndash;ongoing, Various multimedia installations</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: How has the digital age changed our relationship with the human body? How do you think the digital age has changed your relationship with your own body?</strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> I will not speak for others, but for me, the digital age gave me the possibility of exploring my body in many different ways: through audio, photo, videos, slow-mo, 3D, etc. It made it possible for me to augment and expand the relationship I had with my body. Sometimes I think it&rsquo;s my body that changed my relationship with the digital age: as I am more and more anxious in memorizing its changes and visualizing its data, I feel the urge to explore different techniques and tools.</p> <p><strong>CP: Do you think Virtual Reality will distort this relationship even further? </strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> I think VR is going to create another way for us to relate to our body and it is not going to be necessarily a distortion, just another form. And I am definitely interested in exploring this.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="394" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pzd2UI9_pHg?rel=0&amp;controls=0" width="700"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: Your project <em><a href="http://martinamenegon.tumblr.com/post/144465199907/virtual-narcissism-various-multimedia" target="_blank">Virtual Narcissism</a></em> feels very autobiographical.</strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> <em>Virtual Narcissism</em> is definitely autobiographical. It started as an experiment and ended up being an ongoing project, based on my digital archive of 3D-scanned selfies. In real life, I am generally a very shy person: I feel very uncomfortable being photographed or filmed. When I am alone I am of course less self-conscious, and it&rsquo;s virtually sculpting those moments that interests me the most at the moment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" class="giphy-embed" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//giphy.com/embed/3o6ZtnBPZyoiR2c9tS" width="480"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Martina Menegon,&nbsp;<em>Virtual Narcissism</em>&nbsp;(making of), 2016&ndash;ongoing, Various multimedia installations</span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <p><strong>CP: What do you think is the difference between a self-portrait and a selfie? </strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> When I 3D scan myself, I never really think ahead about what kind of pose or where to sit. I usually plug in my Kinect, open the software, and it gives me 10 seconds to find a pose before the scan starts. I want to be as spontaneous as I can, given that a scan takes a bit longer than a photograph to be done. The results are untouched; all my <em>Virtual Narcissism</em> scans are uploaded as the software puts them out. There is no selection. All my scans are going to be uploaded in my Sketchfab account. So if we stick with the common distinction that sees self-portraiture as a representation of a person and a selfie as an insight into a person&rsquo;s life, then I should consider my work as selfies. But I am not sure this distinction is valid anymore.</p> <p><strong>CP: You regularly collaborate with certain artists. Why is collaboration important to you and your work? </strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> I always loved collaborating with other artists, I think it is a great way to grow artistically as well as share knowledge. I am very fond of this. I never hide my process in art making&mdash;I believe in sharing. I guess this is also why I love teaching. Of the many collaborations I do with artists, two are regular and very important to me and my art. One is with <a href="http://cargocollective.com/stefanodalessio/" target="_blank">Stefano D&rsquo;Alessio</a>, with whom I create interactive installations and some performances. Even when we work separately, I regularly ask him for support in programming or audio design. My collaboration with <a href="http://www.exile.at/ko/" target="_blank">Klaus Obermaier</a> started back in 2010, after I took his <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_(software)" target="_blank">Max/MSP</a> workshop in Venice, where I learned how to create interactive tools for art practice. It was an important event in my artistic career, a major turning point. His works have been influencing me since then.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="394" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KzDifurF9wQ?rel=0&amp;controls=0" width="700"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Klaus Obermaier, Stefano D&rsquo;Alessio, and Martina Menegon, <em>EGO</em>, Interactive installation, 2015</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: Tell us about your experience playing Second Life? </strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> Second Life has been and still is a big and important experience and influence for my art. It was the first place where I experienced tridimensional glitches, the frustration of being stuck in a wall, having an arm passing through my body, etc. It was also the place where I started socializing, as I had a little shop where I was selling clothes and furniture. I was part of a design community that created amazing artistic events, and I was always trying to go to art performances and installations there as well.</p> <p>I was a Second Life resident for almost 10 years, and the only reason I am using the past tense is because I somehow destroyed my poor virtual me for an art project: I wanted to record the result of me attaching everything I owned in Second Life to my avatar (thousands of different hair styles and colors, clothes, shoes, animations, furniture, houses, etc.). I somehow overloaded the system and my avatar started changing, then transformed into a white cloud, and then the software crashed. Since then, whenever I try to open Second Life, the app crashes. I tried some solutions I found online but nothing worked. I will try to contact the Linden Lab soon, because I have to admit, I miss being in Second Life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="394" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-ibWVK9QBco?rel=0&amp;controls=0" width="700"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Martina Menegon, <em>Ouch!</em>, 2014</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CP: How is the new media art scene in Vienna ?</strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> I have to admit most new media works I see here in Vienna are mainly in university exhibitions or small art spaces. In general I have the feeling there is not really a community here for new media, yet. But I guess it&rsquo;s just a matter of time. Just before Christmas, for example, at the Angewandte Innovation Lab (AIL) there was a very nice exhibition, <em><a href="http://www.ailab.at/archive/the-age-of-experience/" target="_blank">The Age of Experience</a></em>, featuring among others <em>The Legible City</em> by Jeffrey Shaw and a great work by Ip Yuk-Yiu, <em>S for Sisyphus</em>. I have to say I felt almost &ldquo;at home&rdquo; while visiting.</p> <p><strong>CP: What do you have coming up in 2017?</strong></p> <p><strong>MM:</strong> Apart from exhibitions and teaching, I will definitely keep working on new developments in&nbsp;<em>Virtual Narcissism</em>. I am currently working on a VR version of it, struggling around with some intricate scripting in Unity3D. I plan to play around with some augmented reality projects as well, as soon as the VR one is done. In general, I will keep working.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/441718-christian-petersen?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Christian Petersen</a></p> <p><em>We run an online magazine, so of course, we&#39;re interested in what&#39;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 selects a Web Artist of the Week.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Martina Menegon,&nbsp;<em>I&#39;ll Keep You Warm and Safe in My People Zoo #2</em>, 2016, Video loop. All images: Courtesy of the artist)</span></p> Wed, 11 Jan 2017 13:01:05 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Natalia Zuluaga Kicks Off ArtCenter/South Florida’s Latest Chapter with “An Image” <p>When <a href="http://www.artcentersf.org/" target="_blank"><strong>ArtCenter/South Florida</strong></a> opened on Lincoln Road in 1984, in the heart of South Beach, the street was &ldquo;nearly abandoned and severely dilapidated.&rdquo; Today the center, which hosts exhibitions, classes, and a studio residency program, is credited with kickstarting the revitalization of the mall and its surrounding area. Following the appointment of Natalia Zuluaga as Artistic Director this August, ArtCenter itself is getting something of a revitalization. Dynamic changes are underway as the promising Bard Center for Curatorial Studies graduate begins her tenure with an ambitious exhibition that rethinks the space&#39;s programming structure&mdash;and the very shape of what an exhibition can be.</p> <p>Part of an emerging generation of local creatives that have been actively distinguishing Miami&rsquo;s cultural identity through art&mdash;challenging stereotypes about the city and bringing it visibility outside of the annual art fair invasion&mdash;Zuluaga will oversee programming, education initiatives, and artist residencies. In addition, she works on a variety of collaborative curatorial and publishing projects such as <a href="http://namepublications.org/" target="_blank"><strong>[NAME] Publications</strong></a> and PDP/PLP, a transdisciplinary &ldquo;think tank&rdquo; co-run by <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/334661-alan-gutierrezhttps://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/334661-alan-gutierrez" target="_blank"><strong>Alan Gutierrez</strong>,</a> <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/228798-patricia-margarita-hernandez" target="_blank"><strong>Patricia Margarita Hernandez</strong></a>, and <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/223455-domingo-castillo" target="_blank"><strong>Domingo Castillo</strong></a>. &nbsp;</p> <p>For her debut ArtCenter exhibition, she worked with Castillo, an artist and co-founding <a href="http://noguchibreton.net/" target="_blank"><strong>Noguchi Breton</strong></a> gallerist, to co-curate <a href="http://www.artcentersf.org/fall2016/animage/" target="_blank"><strong><em>An Image</em></strong></a>, which runs through December 18. Together, they organized an exhibition that deconstructs, subverts, and reasserts notions of <em>the image</em>: what it is, what it could be, and how it functions in culture. The exhibition title is borrowed from Harun Farocki&rsquo;s film, included in the show, and the installation presents a smart selection of video art, objects, performance, and talks.</p> <p>I spoke recently with Zuluaga and Castillo about their conceptual framework and the intricacies of their robust exhibition, which is a must-see during Miami Art Week next month.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161121180139-ArtCenter_An_Image_Exterior_View.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Exterior view of <em>An Image</em>,&nbsp;ArtCenter South/Florida. Photo: Zack Balber</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Audrey Phillips: Natalia, what led to your move to ArtCenter/South Florida and what shape do you see things taking with future exhibitions? &nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Natalia Zuluaga: </strong>My move to ArtCenter was really the result of a confluence of things, and luckily so. I think the institution is going through an interesting transition period and was a great place from which to explore my own interests in &ldquo;institutional forms&rdquo; and programming. So the invitation to come in and re-imagine the way ArtCenter&rsquo;s many pieces fit together (exhibitions, residencies, pedagogy) was particularly exciting for me.</p> <p><em>An Image</em> reflects a way of programming that allowed us to think through ideas over longer periods of time. So, instead of thinking about an exhibition schedule that included 10 exhibitions a year, I figured we could shorten that down to 3-4, and instead unpack the ideas over longer periods of time and through a variety of engagements. This is where the thinking behind an exhibition in the shape of objects, lectures, screenings, and using the exhibition space as the site where most of these things happen came into fruition. So future programs at ArtCenter may not be exhibitions at all, and instead focus on the necessary outputs for the content we want to engage with and breaking with the demands we place on ourselves to produce (or overproduce!) in one particular way.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161121181003-ArtCenter_An_Image_Barbara_Kasten__2_.jpg" style="width: 700px; height: 467px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Barbara Kasten,&nbsp;Installation view of&nbsp;<em>An Image</em>&nbsp;at ArtCenter/South Florida.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 14px; text-align: center;">Photo: Zack Balber</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>AP: The exhibition seems so thoughtful, even the design of the </strong><a href="http://www.artcentersf.org/fall2016/animage/" target="_blank"><strong>web page</strong></a><strong>&mdash;which is beautiful. I imagine it was also approached as an image in and of itself. Could you talk about the process of selecting works and how they operate in relation to one another?</strong></p> <p><strong>NZ: </strong>Domingo and I really did want to think about all of the components in the exhibition as images, or as contributing factors to the construction of an image. We wanted to move beyond the representational force of an image which had dominated so much of &ldquo;image&rdquo; discourse/politics and think about the way an image is both imbricated and a catalyst for a number of social/political processes. So yes, the website, and especially the installation was important for this because we knew that the exhibition space as an image would travel further than the amount of people who could possibly access it in person.</p> <p>As a project we like to think that it works on two registers: that the exhibition space itself works as the place where the construction of an image is set to play, and that the public programs were a way of thinking through effects and gamuts of temporalities. In the space you have works by Harun Farocki, Enrique Castro-Cid, Barbara Kasten, and Suzan Pitt as immediate examples bolstered by the exhibition design and by the lighting, which Alan Gutierrez so carefully designed. Each one of these pieces does something slightly different: Farocki gives you the careful construction of desire in an image; Pitt&mdash;the presence of the hand in her very rich imagery; Castro-Cid in the relation between reality, computer-aided design, and painting. &nbsp;</p> <p>I think together the pieces are more than individual images&mdash;and this is important because we weren&rsquo;t interested in <em>importing </em>images; we wanted to create one too.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161121180257-ArtCenter_An_Image_Alan_Gutierrez.jpg" style="width: 700px; height: 467px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Alan Gutierrez, Installation view of&nbsp;<em>An Image</em>&nbsp;at ArtCenter/South Florida.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 14px; text-align: center;">Photo: Zack Balber</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Domingo Castillo:</strong> We looked at <a href="http://arquitectonica.com/blog/portfolio/residential/the-pink-house/" target="_blank">ARQUITECTONICA&rsquo;s Pink House</a> as a case study of a project that literally reprogramed the visual identity of Miami for the 80s and made ARQUITECTONICA an instant global architecture firm. The house, which perfectly exemplifies the &ldquo;post-modern&rdquo; in architecture, won multiple awards before it was even built. The proposal of which was first designed by Laurinda Spear and Rem Koolhaas, showed a return to the hand-painted and romanticized rendering which clearly highlighted their admiration of the Bauhaus thinking but begins to do something else.</p> <p>When the house is finally constructed it&rsquo;s redesigned by the newly established firm. It begins getting highlighted for its five Shades of Pink and it continues to get awards through all the photography-based architectural magazines. Luxury brands use the house as a stage for their advertisements, becoming the actual post-modern moment. The functionality of the house as a house comes second to it functioning as a stage where images are created. Due to the sheer amount of images that are generated through the house and its positioned branding of the image, the City of Miami starts to pivot towards the lifestyle, colors, and aesthetics laid out by the house and the images of its use. That to this day continues informing a &ldquo;luxurious&rdquo; understanding of the city, as per <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKbR7u8J5PU" target="_blank">Pitbull and Chris Brown&rsquo;s &ldquo;Fun&rdquo; music video.</a></p> <p>This is the grounding logic we wanted to work through with the exhibition as a whole. Instead of bringing in archival material, the logic is re-performed and our study of the house gets incorporated into the exhibition design and promotional apparatus of the exhibition.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161121180722-ArtCenter_An_Image_Enrique_Castro_Cid.jpg" style="width: 467px; height: 700px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Enrique Castro-Cid,&nbsp;Installation view of&nbsp;<em>An Image</em>&nbsp;at ArtCenter/South Florida.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 14px; text-align: center;">Photo: Zack Balber</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>AP: You mention that the exhibition is &ldquo;an inherent political project&rdquo; that looks at &ldquo;image in relation to power structures and pseudo-agency&rdquo; referencing a &ldquo;history of anxiety,&rdquo; then tie these themes to the image of Miami as &ldquo;colonial fantasies of Latin America&rdquo; in your press release. Further to that, you assert that &ldquo;images are coded by different cosmologies in order to reconfigure the politics of visibility and presence.&rdquo; I&rsquo;m curious to know how or where these different cosmologies exist and am also interested in your thoughts related to these aspects of your statement.</strong></p> <p><strong>NZ: </strong>Alan Poma&rsquo;s <em>La Victoria Sobre el Sol </em>[Victory Over the Sun], which is the multi-media opera we are presenting at the conclusion of the exhibition that re-appropriates the Russian futurist play by the same name, is a good example of what we mean by the way in which different cosmologies code images. The play translates the opera both visually and linguistically to incorporate both Andean visions of the last moments of the solar system -- a story that has its origins in pre-columbian cultures. This incorporation is not in effect to translate the story, but to reclaim and decolonize the notion of futurity as a narrative that is strictly european in origin and in doing so re-situates the way in which that narrative has a <em>presence</em>, and is made <em>visible</em>; and that is inherently a political act.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s great that you picked up on the &ldquo;colonial fantasies.&rdquo; This was a slight jab at the idea that Miami is the &ldquo;gateway to the Americas&rdquo; or the &ldquo;capital of Latin America.&rdquo; This is language that has been disseminated by economic and tourist development boards in an effort to really sell Miami as that; but for us that idea pointed to a kind of colonial fantasy that doesn&rsquo;t play out through the dispossession of land or the acquisition of it for a nation state, but through a more pervasive form of economic colonialism. One key example that Domingo and I are always talking about is <a href="http://www.verizonenterprise.com/infrastructure/data-centers/north-america/nap/nap-americas.xml" target="_blank">NAP of The Americas</a>. This data site located just north of downtown Miami is where a large amount of internet traffic from the Americas is funneled through. So if you send an email, say, from Brazil to Chile, there&rsquo;s a chance it has to travel up here before reaching its destination. This subtle crossing of territories says more about Miami as a gateway and capital and the power structures that support and propel this vision forward than palm trees and sunsets do.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161121180826-ArtCenter_An_Image_Installation_shot.jpg" style="width: 700px; height: 467px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Installation view of&nbsp;<em>An Image</em>&nbsp;at ArtCenter/South Florida.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 14px; text-align: center;">Photo: Zack Balber</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>AP: What makes Miami unique in relation to other &ldquo;art worlds&rdquo;?</strong></p> <p><strong>DC:</strong> Miami is just another node within the larger network of Contemporary Art. A place of constant contestation, natural disasters, racial inequality, financial inequality, constant land (re)development, and the ecological harmony of the Everglades are a few things of many that constantly rub up against each other and have to be constantly negotiated. The politics of the image become almost obvious if we start thinking about the way that art has always been instrumentalized within the creation and development of this city&rsquo;s imagery. When used with this kind of awareness and agency images and art can be used as a great vehicle where one can act and possibly change the course or at least the conversation towards more radicalized and empowered futures.</p> <p><strong>AP: What are your top Miami picks for Art Basel week?</strong></p> <p><strong>NZ: </strong>To see:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/mia/events/show/427723-an-image" target="_blank"><em>AN IMAGE</em></a> :) and <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/events/show/433501-sometimes-random" target="_blank">Lynne Golob Gelfman</a> at Noguchi Breton.</p> <p>To eat: <a href="http://www.chefcreole.com/" target="_blank">Chef Creole</a> (200 NW 54th Street in Little Haiti), <a href="http://www.lapalapahondurena.com/" target="_blank">La Palapa</a> (2699 Biscayne Boulevard in Edgewater), and <a href="http://www.lacamaronera.com/" target="_blank">La Camaronera</a> (1952 W Flagler Street in Little Havana).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;Audrey L. Phillips</p> <p><em>Audrey Phillips is a Toronto-based writer. She is a regular contributor to AQNB.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">(Image to top: Installation view of <em>An Image</em> at ArtCenter/South Florida. Harun Farocki and Alan Gutierrez. Photos: Zack Balber. All images courtesy of ArtCenter/South Florida)</span></p> Tue, 29 Nov 2016 15:23:06 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list The Artist Positioning Himself as Richter’s Crown Prince <p>Next year Eberhard Havekost turns fifty: time to balance the books. The press release for his current solo at KINDL positions Havekost &ldquo;among the most important German artists of his generation.&rdquo; The artist himself probably doesn&rsquo;t agree with an accolade this generic, especially when it&rsquo;s accompanying the kind of self-confident display of painterly power that is <em>Inhalt</em>. The show takes up two full floors and doesn&rsquo;t leave much wall space unused. The works on show are so diverse, they could have been created by three or four different artists.</p> <p>Most recognizable as Havekost&rsquo;s are the flat figurative paintings of everyday objects and scenes. They&rsquo;re based on photographs, either Havekost&rsquo;s own or found footage, which have been digitally enhanced and transferred to canvas with a minimum of depth or visible brushstroke. A lipsticked mouth blowing out smoke, a close-up of a sugar cube, a bent, tanned leg framing the ocean behind. It&rsquo;s imagery with a pop-art charm, somewhere between social and photo realism. And it is what it is. Only occasionally does Havekost allow himself an ironic wink, like in the <em>Transformers</em>-titled depiction of a car wreck.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161120222950-KINDL_Havekost_01_300dpi.jpg" style="width: 413px; height: 700px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Eberhard Havekost, <em>Baum, B15</em>, 2015, Oil on canvas, 270 x 160 cm.<br /> Courtesy of Galerie Gebr. Lehmann and Anton Kern Gallery. Photo: Werner Lieberknecht</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Havekost&rsquo;s most vacant paintings are of dead screens, of TVs, computers, or mobile phones. The vast pools of grey nothingness hold promises of light and pigment but they turn out to be the dull opposite of everything painterly. In their off mode it&rsquo;s almost impossible to imagine we spend hours every day looking at them, our windows to the world. With sardonic delight Havekost exposes the soul of the virtual world in <em>Baum</em>: the colorful electronic bits inside a cracked iPhone are more real than the numb screen.</p> <p>With a series of iridescent works Havekost bounces to the other side of the spectrum. One triptych is even called <em>Light</em>. It&rsquo;s a depiction of basic physics but the result is both kitschy and hysterical. Havekost offsets these luminary explosions with measured color schemes, rhythmic compositions of six shades of secondary colors with titles such as <em>Copy + Property</em> or <em>Sch&ouml;ner Wohnen</em>. Here, the natural force of light and reflection has been categorized and domesticated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161120222918-KINDL_Havekost_M1_02_300dpi.jpg" style="width: 700px; height: 518px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Eberhard Havekost, Installation view of <em>Inhalt</em> at KINDL&rsquo;s Power House (first floor, M1). Photo: Jens Ziehe, 2016</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Up to this point the works in <em>Inhalt </em>can somehow be linked together, however diverse they may be. But Havekost rudely breaks this logic by adding half a dozen semi-abstract expressionist paintings, scattered across the walls, often right next to the flattest images in the presentation. The palette is geared towards contrast, the paint seems to have been forcefully smeared onto the canvas, attacked with sharp objects. To see <em>Zimmerpflanze</em> (House plants), a violent clash of sweeping greens, blacks, and yellows, right next to the perfectly realistic flowers in <em>Poison</em>, is nothing short of shocking.</p> <p><em>Inhalt</em> is Havekost flexing his painterly muscles. He obviously feels the need to showcase the full range of his skills. And he is explicitly competing with Gerhard Richter, the greatest German painter alive today, the best of not just his own but of all generations. The color schemes, the abstract work, the photorealistic images&mdash;they echo Richter&rsquo;s multi-faceted oeuvre. The standoff between the now 84-year-old Nestor and his would-be crown prince doesn&rsquo;t end favorably for Havekost, though. As Frieze critic Kristy Bell noticed in her review of his 2006 show at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg: &ldquo;Richter described the process of painting from photographs as being about making the banal &lsquo;more than just banal,&rsquo; but the problem with Havekost&rsquo;s paintings is that the banal just becomes more banal.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161120222822-KINDL_Havekost_02_300dpi.jpg" style="width: 391px; height: 700px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Eberhard Havekost, <em>Gef&uuml;hl, B15</em>, 2015, Oil on canvas, 80 x 45 cm.<br /> Courtesy of Galerie Gebr. Lehmann and Anton Kern Gallery. Photo: Werner Lieberknecht</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>What holds true for Havekost&rsquo;s photographically inspired paintings, applies to his entire body of work. Richter&rsquo;s works are about history and painting, memory and painting, identity and painting, a lot of different subjects combined with painting. Havekost&rsquo;s are only about painting. His subject matter is of secondary concern; the images are first and foremost shapes and colors. His large-scale reproduction of an illustration from a history book he received as a child might inspire mild bewilderment but his decision to paint it seems random. In that light the show&rsquo;s title, <em>Inhalt</em> (Content), feels deeply ironic. To be counted amongst the truly greatest painters of his age, however, Havekost needs to go beyond his noncommittal game of half-hearted references.</p> <p><em>Eberhard Havekost&rsquo;s </em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/events/show/433413-inhalt" target="_blank">Inhalt</a><em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/events/show/433413-inhalt" target="_blank"> </a>is on display at KINDL &ndash; Zentrum f&uuml;r zeitgen&ouml;ssische Kunst, Berlin, until February 19. 2017.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/356010-edo-dijksterhuis?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Edo Dijksterhuis</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">(Image at top: Eberhard Havekost, Installation view of <em>Inhalt</em> at KINDL&rsquo;s Power House (second floor, M2). Photo: Jens Ziehe, 2016)</span></p> Sat, 26 Nov 2016 14:13:28 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Relentlessly Dissecting Beauty, Marilyn Minter Gets at the Guts of Glamour <p><em>October saw the launch of&nbsp;A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum, a yearlong series of ten exhibitions celebrating the 10th anniversary of the museum&rsquo;s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. The series&rsquo; first two exhibitions honor two unique feminisms. Today, we&rsquo;re taking a look at them both: Beverly Buchanan&rsquo;s&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/46824-beverly-buchanan">Ruins and Rituals&nbsp;</a><em>and Marilyn Minter&rsquo;s&nbsp;</em>Pretty/Dirty<em>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A woman just beginning to show the signs of a life well-worn, with deeply impressed laugh lines and a made-up face sagging ever so slightly, stares almost seductively, or maybe placidly at you from her bed. A cigarette burns in her liver-spotted hand, the strap of her nightgown barely hangs on to one shoulder. The photograph is titled <em>Coral Ridge Towers (Mom Smoking) </em>(1969/1995), and as titled, along with the eight other photos in the series, it depicts the artist&rsquo;s mother in her Florida home. But there is a reason it took Marilyn Minter over twenty years to print and show this series.</p> <p>On a walk-through of her recently opened retrospective at Brooklyn Museum, Minter stops at the Coral Ridge Tower series, which begins the show, to recall how she didn&rsquo;t feel there was anything special about these photos when she took them&mdash;she was simply snapping photos of her mother in her apartment, doing the things she usually did. But upon showing them to some classmates, she realized that what she&rsquo;d captured was something entirely different. She saw what they saw: a woman defeated by the patriarchal standards of femininity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161110130743-Coral_Ridge_Towers__Mom_Smoking_.jpg" style="width: 700px; height: 543px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Marilyn Minter, <em>Coral Ridge Towers (Mom Smoking)</em>, 1969/1995, Gelatin silver print. Collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Pretty/Dirty</em>, Minter&rsquo;s first major retrospective, explores this idea of abject beauty that we see running throughout her entire oeuvre&mdash;from her first student photographs, to her current paintings and videos. As a show, it is concise and clear cut, taking a few choice samples from each era of the artist&rsquo;s history in order to create a trajectory to understanding more fully how she arrived at her current work: the glossy, high production value, artificial colored, painted lips and lacquered nails&mdash;all resulting in what looks almost like Maybelline advertisements on acid.</p> <p>But the early works play an important role in understanding this largely misunderstood artist, because we see that there is a desire throughout to give agency to the unspoken, the overlooked, the scoffed, the embarrassing. Through the photographs, paintings, and videos she dissects this idea of beauty, a beauty that has been forced down the throats of women like her mother, a beauty that she herself would not be consumed by, rather she would turn in on itself, revealing the guts of glamour.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161110130636-Big_Girls.jpg" style="width: 700px; height: 508px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Marilyn Minter, <em>Big Girls</em>, 1986, Enamel on canvas, 2 panels. Collection of Bill Contente, New York</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The first real hint of this after the early photographs is <em>Little Girls #1 </em>(1986) and <em>Big Girls </em>(1986), both of which depict a deconstruction of women&rsquo;s bodies via the media they are most widely represented in: magazines. Each painting is constructed from source images ripped apart and put back together, representing the scrutiny women&rsquo;s bodies are put through on a daily basis. This is the beginning of Minter&rsquo;s interest in reclaiming oppressive images from the media for her own feminist agenda.</p> <p>Included as well are her photorealist paintings of floors and sinks, mostly taken from her home and in her studio. Here, in a collision of the domestic realm with the workspace, we see that she trained her photorealist eye on the mundane, turning the ordinary into something beautiful, something to look at or even objectify. It&rsquo;s not until later in her career that she brings this technique back, focusing instead on the absurdity of realism&mdash;the freckles the fashion industry takes such pains to erase (<em>Blue Poles,</em> 2007), the stubble still visible in freshly shaved underarms (<em>Armpit</em>, 2006), the unsightly marks binding clothes leave on bodies (<em>Sock</em>, 2005). Even the close-up shots in <em>Plush </em>(2016) are beautiful, taking a kind of professional care to make each individual bush look like a star&mdash;a head shot for your vulva.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161110130547-Armpit.jpg" style="width: 467px; height: 700px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Marilyn Minter, <em>Armpit</em>, 2006, C-print. Courtesy of the artist, Salon 94, New York, and Regen Projects, Los Angeles</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This sort of sexual glorification is also visible in her first hardcore porn paintings, like <em>Porn Grid </em>(1989). To a contemporary audience the paintings might seem quaint, portrayed in bright colors, with an almost cartoonish halftone dot matrix, which was actually a laborious hand-painted effect. In fact, the depictions may not even register as &ldquo;hardcore porn&rdquo; anymore, as we see things almost as graphic on HBO these days. But it&rsquo;s important to note that these paintings were coming out of a time wrought with identity politics, and just by daring to go tackle the issue of porn had established Minter as something of a feminist-outcast, a traitor to the rhetoric of the time, shunned as a perceived accomplice of oppression.</p> <p>Looking back we can see that she was taking a feminist stance that was way ahead of her time with these paintings. Minter, as a heterosexual woman, was reclaiming the oppressive images from porn in hopes to turn them on their head with a female sex-positive message. Porn has been a reality of our culture for longer than most like to admit, so by co-opting these images of consensual sex, she was giving women agency over their sexuality, agency to enjoy and indulge in their sexuality. Plus, she noted, &ldquo;no one has PC fantasies, anyways,&rdquo; so we might as well get it all out there in the open. She was also searching for subject matter that would indeed shock and alarm for the very fact that a woman was dealing with it, noting that &ldquo;if Mike Kelley could mine 13-year-old girl culture of mall culture, unicorns, crushes&hellip;&rdquo; the equivalent would be her mining hardcore porn.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161110130449-Orange_Crush.jpg" style="width: 700px; height: 420px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Marilyn Minter, <em>Orange Crush</em>, 2009, Enamel on metal, 108 x 180 in. Private collection</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Her practice and eye have certainly grown and evolved along with the available technology, now incorporating higher production photo shoots, from which she constructs Photoshopped images, called &ldquo;cobbles,&rdquo; to create the perfect source image, from which she then makes her signature photorealistic enamel on metal paintings. She has moved away from the explicitly sexual, and back into a world of opulent sensuality. In the video <em>Meltdown</em> (2011), a silver-heeled and bejeweled foot dripping in metallic silver, kicks through an invisible plane of glass in slow motion. And paintings like <em>Drizzle (Wangechi Mutu)</em> (2010) and <em>Orange Crush</em> (2009) display similar dripping, metallic, almost ravenous mouths pouring over with glimmering substances.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s something insatiable about these paintings and videos. They contain a force that draws you in and pushes you away at the very same time, imploring you to consume them, much like their subjects slurp and taste and lick. Minter is creating seductive, yet off-putting steamy, frosty, wet, crystalized, shiny gem-filled fantasy worlds. You look in and look in, until you pull back, for fear of being consumed. This is the power of subverting the patriarchal gaze, the confinement and rule of imposed femininity&mdash;that the beauty and lust can linger along with the abject and repellent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/452624-olivia-b-murphy?tab=REVIEWS">Olivia B. Murphy</a></p> <p><em>Olivia Murphy is a writer and editor based in New York, covering arts and culture. Her work has appeared in various publications both in print and online, including&nbsp;</em>L&#39;Officiel Magazine<em>,&nbsp;</em>Freunde Von Freunden<em>,&nbsp;</em>Whitehot<em>,&nbsp;</em>Riot of Perfume<em>,&nbsp;</em>doingbird<em>, and&nbsp;</em>Whitewall Magazine<em>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">(Image at top: Marilyn Minter, <em>Blue Poles</em>, 2007, Enamel on metal. Private collection, Switzerland)</span></p> Fri, 11 Nov 2016 09:21:50 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Beverly Buchanan and the Architecture of Blackness <p><em>October saw the launch of&nbsp;A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum, a yearlong series of ten exhibitions celebrating the 10th anniversary of the museum&rsquo;s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. The series&rsquo; first two exhibitions honor two unique feminisms. Today, we&rsquo;re taking a look at them both:&nbsp;Beverly Buchanan&rsquo;s </em>Ruins and Rituals<em> and Marilyn Minter&rsquo;s </em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/46826-relentlessly-dissecting-beauty-marilyn-minter-gets-at-the-guts-of-glamour">Pretty/Dirty</a><em>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>How might we understand a spatial and architectural discourse that marks a black subjectivity? This is the question that lingers in my thoughts as I reflect on <em>Ruins and Rituals</em>, a retrospective exhibition presenting the work of the late Beverly Buchanan, now on view at the Brooklyn Museum&rsquo;s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Sackler Family Curator Catherine Morris considers Buchanan a game changer, which is not untrue; I would consider Buchanan a witness.</p> <p>Beverly Buchanan was a black Southern woman. As a black Southern woman myself, many of those in my personal circles ascribe to this positionality a type of unspoken power. However, as <a href="http://4columns.org/d-souza-aruna/beverly-buchanan">critics</a> have already rightfully articulated, within the parameters of the mainstream (read: New York City) art world during the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s&mdash;the periods during which Buchanan was most active&mdash;to be Southern and black and woman often resulted in an overlooking. Buchanan worked anyway, creating a repository of site-specific earthworks, sculptures, self-portraits, and other assemblage objects that move across the schools of conceptual and land art, while responding to the idiosyncrasies of the geographies in which she lived. So, as the artist traversed multiple landscapes, so too did her ever evolving canon traverse the political histories of the land, which often revolved explicitly around blackness(es).</p> <p>Organized by guest curators Jennifer Burris and Park McArthur, <em>Ruins and Rituals </em>points a critical, unprecedented eye towards Buchanan&rsquo;s multi-disciplined oeuvre. (Full disclosure: I am now employed at the organization where McArthur was once an artist-in-residence.) The exhibition is divided among three galleries, resisting a chronological viewing experience while still offering an obvious thread of conceptual connectivity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161110165731-Untitled__Slab-Works_1_.jpg" style="width: 700px; height: 560px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Beverly Buchanan, <em>Untitled (Slab Works 1)</em>, circa 1978&ndash;80, Black-and-white photograph of cast concrete sculptures with acrylic paint in artist studio. Private collection. &copy; Estate of Beverly Buchanan</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>Upon entering the Sackler Center, one is drawn towards Buchanan&rsquo;s <em>Frustuala</em> series: small, concrete blocks and columns the artist utilized as markers of presence, or, in some cases, the withering away of that which once was. When she began the series in the late 70s, Buchanan was employed in the public health field in New York and New Jersey. She used the stones to respond to the urban decay she was encountering, acutely aware that the materials she used to compose the works were also subject to weathering and aging. In a document on view in the archival section of the exhibition, Buchanan writes that she was &ldquo;...interested in urban walls when they [were] in various stages of decay; walls as part of a landscape.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>Buchanan&rsquo;s topographical engagement embodies critic (and close friend of the artist) Lucy Lippard&rsquo;s meditations on place&mdash;that is, a location in which space meets memory. <em>Marsh Ruins</em> (1981), for example, marks the memory of a group of Igbo slaves who drowned themselves off the coast of St. Simons Island, Georgia, as a way of resisting enslavement. Buchanan built these ruins in the marshes of Glynn, in Brunswick, Georgia, and in the show we encounter them via a video created by Burris, McArthur, and Jason Hirata. <em>Marsh Ruins</em> is a material reckoning with the earth in which its stone are planted, certainly, but also a physical (perhaps even spiritual) negotiation through unseen remnants of time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161110170452-Shack_Stories__Part_I_.jpg" style="width: 531px; height: 700px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Beverly Buchanan, with poet Alice Lovelace, <em>Shack Stories (Part I)</em>, 1990, Unpublished handmade book of ink and crayon drawings with watercolor and collaged typewritten text. Private collection. &copy; Estate of Beverly Buchanan</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>The same might be said of Buchanan&rsquo;s small shack sculptures. It is in these works that we see the artist most vividly address a Southern, black, architectural vernacular. That is to say, the shack, in Buchanan&rsquo;s hands, is not merely a signifier of social status, but rather a framework&mdash;literally and figuratively&mdash;through which we might understand the nuances of black Southern life. The form represents an important site of social and familial interactions such as weddings, births, and religious gatherings. The centering of the shack as structure<em>&nbsp;but also&nbsp;</em>cultural idiom places blackness within the frame of reference for spatial inclusion, as architect Mario Gooden describes in his book&nbsp;<em><a href="https://www.arch.columbia.edu/books/catalog/3-dark-space-architecture-representation-black-identity">Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity</a></em>. Through these loaded forms, Buchanan speaks to the particularities of a black Southern subjectivity, past and present.&nbsp;<em>Low Country House</em>&nbsp;(date unknown), a small, unpainted wood shack, is an eloquent illustration of Buchanan&rsquo;s deftness for the subtle processes of commemoration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161110170038-Low_Country_House.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Beverly Buchanan, <em>Low Country House</em>, date unknown, Wood. &copy; Estate of Beverly Buchanan, courtesy of Jane Bridges. Photo: Adam Reich, courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>In the 90s, Buchanan also began to make assemblage pieces, often dedicated to or named after close friends, once again embodying experience and memory within material form. In the final gallery we see the bulk of this later work alongside a trove of photos, letters, and other textual ephemera produced by Buchanan throughout her life. In this room, though full of works ostensibly different in form, we still encounter Buchanan&rsquo;s entanglement with space, object, and memory. Here, the artist turns inward, tracing a personal relationship to the people she loved and the spaces she called home. In one black and white photograph, <em>Hunger and Hardship Creek</em> (1977/1994), Buchanan grips a sign pole with her right arm while staring intently at the camera. In an untitled, undated photocopied business card, she has drawn an image of herself as working artist/good cook/drama queen/safe driver. She is naming herself.</p> <p>McArthur and Burris have gifted us with a well-deserved exhibition that offers a full picture of the prolific artist. The curatorial narrative surrounding the exhibition is concise and direct, some may argue approaching the didactic. But, for me, the texts and exhibition materials feel extremely important as a narrative tool, especially when Buchanan is unfamiliar to many who will first encounter her story through this exhibition.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20161110170211-Untitled__The_Doctor_will__if_you_re_lucky__see_you__now_.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:14px;">Beverly Buchanan, <em>Untitled (&ldquo;The doctor will, if you&rsquo;re lucky, see you, now.&rdquo;)</em>, July 1993, Unpublished writing in notebook. Private collection. &copy; Estate of Beverly Buchanan</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>In <em>Dark Space</em> Gooden goes on to remark that &ldquo;...the black female body occupies a space within the matrix of subjectivities and bodies, and as such, its spatial praxes, whether visible or invisible, yield its potential agency to reference its own self.&rdquo; Gooden makes this statement with specific regard to the ways blackness has (or has not) tended to operate within spatial and architectural theories and dialogues. Buchanan then, it can be argued, transgresses the boundaries of seen and unseen in order to map a non-linear grid, a dark <em>place</em>, to borrow again from Lippard, where blackness is represented through memory, structure, or through her own image, her body.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/417193-jessica-lynne?tab=REVIEWS">Jessica Lynne</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Jessica Lynne is co-editor of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.arts.black/">ARTS.BLACK</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:14px;">(Image at top: Beverly Buchanan,&nbsp;<em>Untitled (Double Portrait of Artist with Frustula Sculpture) (detail)</em>, n.d. Black-and-white Photograph With Original Paint Marks, 8&frac12; x 11 in. Private Collection. &copy; Estate of Beverly Buchanan)</span></p> Fri, 11 Nov 2016 09:22:37 -0300 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list