Filtering by Category: video
simply too good not to share...
In gearing up for my TA duties for "Intro to Art Theory," I'm making an attempt to see things from the student's perspective... from the perspective of those who may not be predisposed to admire poop-making machines (see Wim Delvoye) or painfully minimal descriptions of nothing (see Martin Creed) like I am. Being in art school, it's easy to forget that the majority of the viewing public just doesn't "get it." Without an art-historical and theoretical context, much of modern and contemporary art may seem unreachable to the masses who have their their own ideas and preconceived notions of what IS and is NOT "Art."
Below, I've identified a number of categories that tend to be a bit more difficult to digest... especially for a "non-art" audience. The distinctions are not cut and dry, but often seem to blend into one another. They are...
abstract: does not attempt to represent external, recognizable reality but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors, and textures
|Cy Twombly, Untitled VII from Bacchus Series, 2005.|
minimal: set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features, or concepts
|Robert Morris, installation in the Green Gallery, New York, 1964. |
Seven geometric plywood structures painted grey.
conceptual: the idea presented by the artist is considered more important than the finished product, if any exists
|Robert Rauschenberg, Erased de Kooning, 1953 (more HERE)|
readymade: created from undisguised, but often modified, objects that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function
banal: comment on or acknowledgement of that which is so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring (often overlaps with readymade)
|Jeff Koons, Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank, 1985|
process-based: the process of making is not hidden but remains a prominent aspect of the completed work so that a part or even the whole of its subject is the making of the work
|Richard Serra, Splashing, 1968, molten lead splashed into corner and solidified|
performative: the medium is the artist's own body and the artwork takes the form of actions performed by the artist
|Chris Burden, Shoot, 1971, artist shot in the arm in gallery|
relational: takes as its theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space
|Félix González-Torres, untitled (Portrait of Ross in LA), 1991, viewers invited to take a piece of candy|
I recently came across this BBC series about Goldsmiths (a famous art school in London) called "But is it Art?" It's made up of two 1-hr episodes (which are both on YouTube). The first follows several MFA students in the weeks leading up to their thesis shows, and the second tracks them in the months following their graduation. I quite enjoyed it... but I can understand why it might elicit some giggles and rolling of eyes. Art school is a curious place... more on that to come...
While I was visiting the MoMA several weeks ago, I stumbled upon this installation/happening/experience orchestrated by NYC-based Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. The piece, a rendition of an event the artist first organized in 1992, and a recent acquisition of MoMA's collection, is basically, in the simplest of terms, a meal. Following in Gordon Matta-Clark's footsteps (see Food), Tiravanija has orchestrated a space in which viewers quite literally become a part of the work, activating it you might say, by partaking in a bowl of vegetarian curry and rice (quite delicious I must add), experiencing the event alongside other visitors.
This type of social organization is part of the growing discourse surrounding the relatively new (past 20 years) artistic genre known as "relational aesthetics" or in some cases, "social practice."
(another work by Rirkrit Tiravanija featured on the cover of Bourriaud's Relational Aesthetics)
Curator and critic, Nicolas Bourriaud coined the term "relational aesthetics" in 1995 and authored the seminal text of the same title (more here). In it, he defines relational art as "a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space." So rather than producing objects (paintings, sculptures, photographs, etc.), artists in this field are more interested in eliciting audience participation, in staging interactions among viewers, and calling these events/interactions the work itself.
YouTube personality Hennesey Youngman does a pretty good job explaining the subject in a rather cynical, yet quietly hilarious manner. Notice he alludes to Rirkrit Tiravanija's "covivial happening in the antiseptic confines of an art gallery." This guy knows his stuff, despite his appearance and less than tasteful vocabulary (please excuse the potty words). See more of his Art Thoughtz here!
In preparation for the upcoming semester, I've been poring over some art theory textbooks (I'll be TA-ing for an intro Art Theory course) hoping to familiarize myself with the material before I have to discuss it with a class full of students (all by myself). Towards the end of one of the books, I came across a page or so about Palestinian artist, Mona Hatoum. The description of one of her most well-known pieces, Corps Etranger, particularly caught my attention. The video installation consists of projections, on the floor, of the artist's various bodily orifices. With the help of a doctor, she used an endoscopic camera to trace the surface and various orifices of her body, including the lining of her digestive track. Viewers were invited to step inside of a dark built cylinder, atop of the projection. I can only image how surreal and disorienting it must have felt - like being swallowed into the scale-less abyss of fleshy membranes.
In a fantastic interview with Janine Antoni, Mona Hatoum says of her work...
I want the work in the first instance to have a strong formal presence, and through the physical experience to activate a psychological and emotional response. In a very general sense I want to create a situation where reality itself becomes a questionable point. Where one has to reassess their assumptions and their relationship to things around them. A kind of self-examination and an examination of the power structures that control us: Am I the jailed or the jailer? The oppressed or the oppressor? or both. I want the work to complicate these positions and offer an ambiguity and ambivalence rather than concrete and sure answers. An object from a distance might look like a carpet made out of lush velvet, but when you approach it you realize it’s made out of stainless steel pins which turns it into a threatening and cold object rather than an inviting one. It’s not what it promises to be. So it makes you question the solidity of the ground you walk on, which is also the basis on which your attitudes and beliefs lie.
(read the rest of the interview HERE)
I've come across Mona Hatoum's work in various forms, but never have I looked at it together, all at once, as a body, if you will. Despite the variety of materials and forms that they take on, her sculptures and installations deal with some over-arching themes/concepts that carry over quite nicely from piece to piece. The human body and its evocations of the familiar/ambiguous, enticing/disgusting, political/social, etc. Many of these themes (as well as some strikingly similar formal investigations of such) have been creeping up in my work as well.
Here are some examples of some of her other projects...
Grater Divide, 2002
Socle du Monde, 1992–93
iron filings on magnetic fabricated steel structure
Entrails (detail), 1995
"Half-recollections emerge in feelings of unease, only to be held just out of reach in any kind of firm and knowable sense." more here
"I am an artist. My job is to make drawings, not to make sense." WK
I just watched the PBS documentary on South African artist, William Kentridge, called Anything is Possible. I know I've seen it before, but I can't remember for the life of me when/where. If ever I teach a drawing class of my own, I will definitely show this film to my students. He pushes "drawing" like no artist I've seen. William Kentridge's work is quite amazing, involving so many factors yet flowing so smoothly. I particularly enjoy watching footage from the opera he staged and directed called The Nose.
I often talk about wanting to incite a childlike enthusiasm in my work... and this is what I mean by that!
He can't get enough of Yayoi Kusama's infinite dot room! What energy!
He can't get enough of Yayoi Kusama's infinite dot room! What energy!
This adorable vintage Disney cartoon came on yesterday while I was babysitting and I was completely mesmerized. The entire aesthetic appealed to me, with the luscious pastels, and the mouthwatering sweets. And I love the attention to detail... the integration of sound, movement, color, etc. Can't wait to watch more of these old-timey cartoons!