The School of Fine and Performing Arts at DEREE – The American College of Greece is celebrating the completion of its first academic year with a month of artistic and educational events that are open to the public. The Arts Festival started May 7, 2012 and will continue through June 7.
Attendees thus far have had the opportunity to visit exhibitions and attend concerts, performances, workshops, discussions, and master classes offered by DEREE faculty members and acclaimed artists and professionals. All four SFPA programs – Music and Music Performance, Theater Arts, Visual Arts, and Dance – are participating in the festival.
In today’s post, I would like to report on the Visual Arts Department of the School of Fine and Performing Arts of DEREE – ACG programming. The Festival began by welcoming New York based artist Sheila Pepe. The artist worked on a community-based installation in the Arts Center Gallery, from May 8-15. Over the duration of the installation, Pepe’s audiences and participants were invited to take part in an interactive “creational” experience. Interwoven with Pepe’s installations were a series of lectures and presentations.
On May 9th, along with artist and Visual Arts Department head Effie Halivopoulou, I took part in the Festival by presenting my “Inside the Artist’s Studio” column, where I discussed its initiation process, influences, structure, and the idea of visual artists developing habits of inquiry that could potentially inform their practice. I will elaborate on my presentation further on, but before doing so I should note that my presentation was followed by Artemis Potamianou‘s on “Art Therapy,” the radio show she hosts with psychologist George Oraiopoulos at Beton 7 in Athens every second Thursday of the month at 9 pm. Potamianou is a visual artist, curator and most recently a radio host who continues to astonish me with her multi-tasking abilities.
Last week we introduced Tricia Fitzpatrick and Don Ball, our first program participants from Canada. This week, in the third installment of Art21 Educators introductions, we present Craig Newsom and Carl Andersen! In addition to being educators, Craig and Carl are working artists and have exhibited together. Craig’s current collaborative project, Coalfather Industries, produces short videos that have been screened internationally. Both Craig and Carl described their unique experiences teaching with contemporary art in their classrooms.
Craig has been teaching studio art at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois for the past seven years. Recently, he introduced the work of William Kentridge (Season 5 of Art in the Twenty First Century) as a source of inspiration for his students.
“I like how all of it rises up out of drawing for him. Drawing is the foundation for everything he does and it informs everything. A couple semesters ago, one of my Seminar students really took to Kentridge’s work and began making videos based on his own drawings. One of his videos was eventually screened at an event at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.”
Nine hours north by car, Carl has been teaching Language Arts and English to middle and high school students in Minneapolis, MN for the past twelve years.
Describing how he weaves together the work of contemporary visual artists with themes in literature, Carl told us about his use of the Matthew Ritchie segment in particular:
“I came upon the Matthew Ritchie film in ‘Structures’ (Season Three of Art in the Twenty First Century), around five years ago, first while teaching a unit on Naturalism to an American Literature class and later while teaching Hamlet to AP Literature and Composition students. Ritchie’s thesis of being imprisoned by our universe, one’s given situation, which offers a series of choices in terms of the possibilities offered by a set of limitations is a powerful metaphor for students understanding their own lives while glimpsing Hamlet’s predicament through the same lens. And the notion of having one’s life shaped and somewhat defined by a set of circumstances outside of one’s control—heredity, environment (time and place), socio-economic situation, family life, etc… is something stressed through naturalist writers like Kate Chopin, Stephen Crane, Emile Zola, and revisited by John Steinbeck. I see Ritchie’s work as a compelling investigation of this view, and I was taken with how Ritchie’s drawings-cum-sculptures investigate Hamlet’s paradoxical remark about his and the human condition: “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space.”
Welcome Craig and Carl!
* This post was written with Dana Helwick, Art21 Educators Intern.
Our latest Exclusive video is now live! Watch assume vivid astro focus: Masks on Art21.org!
Filmed in his Brooklyn studio, Eli Sudbrack—founding member of assume vivid astro focus—discusses the motivations behind the collective’s use of masks during public events and installations. Originally created to enjoy personal anonymity at openings, avaf have continued to use masks in their work as a way to create equality between itself and the audience and to encourage free personal expression. Masks have had an important role in avaf’s numerous projects including “assume vivid astro focus XI” at the Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz Private Collection, Miami (2004), “homocrap#1″ at MOCA, Los Angeles (2005), “Super #3″ at Maison des Arts de Créteil, Paris (2008), “absolutely venomous accurately fallacious (naturally delicious)” at Deitch Projects, Long Island City (2008), and “antonella varicella arabella fiorella” at Enel Contemporanea, Rome (2008).
assume vivid astro focus is featured in the Season 6 (2012) episode “Boundaries” of the Art in the Twenty-First Century series on PBS. Watch full episodes online for free via Art21.org, PBS Video or Hulu, as a paid download via iTunes, or as part of a Netflix streaming subscription.
CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Roger Phenix. Editor: Morgan Riles & Mark Sutton. Artwork Courtesy: assume vivid astro focus. Additional Photography Courtesy: Rick Castro, Rodrigo Garcia Dutra, Steph Goralnick, Kristy Leibowitz, Yves Malenfer, Kat Mareck, Kleber Matheus, Marino Paoloni, Alfredo Piola, Tom Powel, Bec Stupak & Josh White. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
I came across a photograph of Richard Long’s A Line Made By Walking this past weekend and was especially drawn to it in the midst of a late spring swelter. Rather than a more standard suggestion for educators or a possibility for the classroom this week, I wanted to share some recent thoughts about this particular work and perhaps use the time (in the season of developing SLOs) as an opportunity to reflect on its broader connections to teaching.
First, a few connected (and disconnected) notes…
- A Line Made By Walking exists as a photograph of an act. Richard Long has done us all a big favor by framing the act and making visible what many people would have never seen. His photograph serves to focus the viewer.
- Long is interested in simple lines and shapes- straight lines, circles, spirals- because they are timeless and belong equally to all moments in history. The work is timeless because it can be anywhere. Any time.
- When I share this work with students, many often respond by asking if it’s an Andy Goldsworthy piece. Andy Goldsworthy was eleven when Richard Long created A Line Made By Walking in 1967.
I see Long’s A Line Made By Walking as a metaphor for teaching. He makes visible his process, which is quietly relentless. He creates order through a meditative act. He provides focus. He makes us see something quite simple in a completely new way through transforming the process of making a line.
Can we do this for our students? Can we teach and emphasize process more often than product? Can we create an order and the conditions for learning through experimentation? Simultaneously, can we provide focus? Can we offer alternatives to the habitual through our teaching? Can we help students to even perhaps make work that is… timeless?
Graduation day came on Sunday, with the expected trepidation, congratulatory remarks, and conferred honorary degrees. It seems fitting to write about the MFA experience as it comes to a close, with the accompanying sense of ambivalence.
So much of the discourse around current college grads and education now centers on debt, lack of job prospects, and declining quality of life. On the other hand we are told from our schools that things will be fine after all, that artists are positioned to withstand change and hardship because we are “creative thinkers,” and that creative thinking will somehow lead us out of troubled waters.
In a sense, it is true. I see my friends and peers relentlessly looking for a way to survive, and keeping on being artists by piecing together several jobs, moving into smaller and crappier housing, and creating their own online businesses.
We are also told that we should consider ourselves lucky because we get to be artists, as if that privilege or choice should forever sustain us, and strip away any demands for a decent life.
At the same time the art market continues to use artists to produce the content needed to sell, buy and profit. Artists are supposed to be grateful and subservient to the needs and whims of galleries, dealers and collectors. We are fed images in the media of artists as being successful, ambitious people with endless resources, which in turn feeds society’s view of artists as elitist, full of themselves and out of touch. It is true that many artists come from privilege and wealth, but in my experience, even at one of the most prestigious schools in the country, most artists are living a precarious life, struggling to pay bills and living off of temporary freelance jobs without any benefits or security. The hefty debt that comes with grad school only adds to the struggle.
We at Art21 are thrilled to announce the addition of eight new featured artists to our Webby-nominated online documentary series New York Close Up! This expands the project’s roster to a total of eighteen artists in the first decade of their careers, all of whom are living and working in New York City. In addition, Art21 is extending its collaboration with all of the artists in this multi-year film web series, committing to telling multiple stories with each artist into 2013. Mark your calendars now: new artists and films premiere this Friday, June 1st!
The eight artists joining the project broaden the scope of stories about cultural production in New York City. Mirroring the multiculturalism of the city, new artists include the series’ first international/foreign-born artists: Diana Al-Hadid (Syria), Alejandro Almanza Pereda (Mexico), Mika Rottenberg (Argentina & Israel), and Erin Shirreff (Canada); as well as the series’ first native New Yorker: Liz Magic Laser. The new artists also bring fresh perspectives to media, genres, and process—such as different takes on the tradition of painting by Josephine Halvorson and Eddie Martinez—and contemporary art’s integration into the fabric of the city—such as in public artworks by David Brooks.
Stories woven into the films with these eight artists include the drama of completing major commissions from Performa, Public Art Fund, MASSMoCA, and Art Production Fund; artists’ first performances and one-person exhibitions; art education as a day job from the perspectives of being a teacher or MFA student; the business of art via sales, real estate, and studio assistants; political art and actual protests; as well as the fluid concept of New York as home, explored through artists both moving to and leaving the city.
Here’s the upcoming New York Close Up premiere schedule (click here to view the latest NYCU films):
June 1st : Mika Rottenberg
June 15th: Eddie Martinez
June 29th: Liz Magic Laser
July 13th: David Brooks
July 27th: Diana Al-Hadid
August 10th: Josephine Halvorson
August 24th: Alejandro Almanza Pereda
September 7th: Erin Shirreff
And watch the just-released trailer for the new additions to New York Close Up:
(Wondering where the fantastic background music in the trailer comes from? It’s a live recording of the phenomenal one-man band Zack Orion recorded in New York on 05.04.12. To learn more about Zack Orion see reverbnation.com/zackorion and facebook.com/zackorion).
Beginning Fall 2012, New York Close Up will release additional new films on all of the featured artists, including the ten rising stars in the project’s starting roster: Lucas Blalock, Martha Colburn, Keltie Ferris, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Tommy Hartung, Rashid Johnson, Kalup Linzy, Shana Moulton, Mariah Robertson, and Mika Tajima. To date, the series has released twenty-one five to ten minute films crafted from over 200 hours of original, high-definition documentary footage.
What’s more, on June 18th, from 6:00-8:30pm, Art21 is presenting an Outdoor Summer Film Fest at Big Screen Plaza on 6th Avenue between 29th and 30th Street. A full retrospective of New York Close Up films, along with premieres of new films, will screen on a 30 x 16 foot HD-format LED screen, nestled within a 10,000 square foot outdoor venue complete with wood boardwalk, bistro tables, tiki bar, and fish/burger shacks. So if you’re in New York, please join us!
New York Close Up is supported, in part, by: the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Toby Devan Lewis, the Dedalus Foundation, and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc. Additional support provided by The 1896 Studios & Stages, and by individual contributors.
First of all, thanks to those who participated in sharing a few titles from their bookshelves last month! Now, I am happy to share with you the selections of British artist Richard T. Walker. In his videos, performances and photographs, Richard appears alone, speaking or singing in the midst of vast landscapes. The works seem to reveal an internal dialogue, shaped and contextualized through the dominant visual of the landscape. You can view Richard’s work on his website: http://richardtwalker.net.
Richard is premiering a work this week at the Loop art fair in Barcelona with Christopher Grimes Gallery. He will be doing performances at SFMOMA on August 30, September 1 and September 2, 2012 as part of the exhibition, “Stage Presence,” and is currently working on a commission for Arthouse in Austin, Texas for 2013. He is also preparing for his solo show at Carroll/Fletcher gallery in London, set for January 2013.
Here is a selection of texts Richard chose to highlight as influential to his practice:
Jeanette Bicknell, Why Music Moves Us (2010)
Italo Calvino, Mr. Palomar (1983)
Walker Percy, The Message in the Bottle (1976)
William Carlos Williams, The Descent (1948)
Rachael Ziady DeLue and James Elkins, Landscape Theory (2008)
Richard’s comments on these texts follows:
Kelly Huang: Jeanette Bicknell, Walker Percy and Italo Calvino’s books all struck me as ruminations on what it means to be a person in this world, taking in experiences of all kinds–be it visual, written, or aural. Your works include all of these elements and, in some ways, function similarly to these texts. Can you describe your process? At what point in your process do these texts play a role?
Richard T. Walker: My process is one of attempting to articulate or speak of a certain type of articulation, or comprehension. So it is in a way an act of attempting to comprehend something, even if that something is a lack of comprehension—understanding what it is to not understand. It seems to me that music, text and dialogue are three of the main instruments we have to determine our existence in the world. I suppose this is why they are present in my work, as they are tools, along with the visual, that we use to come to understand things, and arguably these are the tools that enable things to exist, including ourselves.
In this week’s roundup Kiki Smith pays tribute to Josephine Baker, Tom Waits narrates for John Baldessari and more.
- Kiki Smith will be the third artist to be featured in the Art Production Fund’s Last Lot series that brings art to a deserted lot in Times Square at 8th Avenue and West 46th Street (NYC). Smith’s rainbow-colored star clusters will pay tribute to Josephine Baker, the American-born French burlesque dancer, singer and actress, who epitomized the sensuality and spectacle of the burlesque follies of the 1920’s. The piece will be in Times Square until September 4.
- Hiroshi Sugimoto‘s work is part of a large-scale exhibition of contemporary art organized by the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco). Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past features more than 60 works by 31 contemporary artists, including Sugimoto. The works on display explore the complex, diverse, cross-cultural perspectives of Asian cosmology and spirituality through a compelling interplay of art from the past and present. The show closes September 2.
- Josiah McElheny‘s Some thoughts about the abstract body is on view at the Andrea Rosen Gallery (NYC). McElheny uses historical examples of artistic clothing and costume design as a starting point to present his own set of models for abstract form today. The show consists of a series of sculptural assemblages, wall works, and performance with props to present a diverse library of possible forms for the expression of images of an abstract physical and psychic body. This exhibition runs through June 30.
- John Baldessari requested singer Tom Waits narrate A Brief History of John Baldessari which has been recently posted online. Waits moves between facts from the artist’s life, and includes a mash-up of his creations – films, sculptures, paintings, photographs, billboards, credit cards and an iPhone app – paired with details of the artist’s day, such as his push pins, coffee machine and Wi-Fi password.
- LaToya Ruby Frazier’s A Haunted Capital which was to have opened at the Brooklyn Museum (NYC) in June 2012 has been postponed to March 2013. The change in dates is due to scheduling conflicts.
Eve Babitz first came into my life via an Amazon book transaction. I had purchased the out-of-print Marcel Duchamp study, West Coast Duchamp, for the amazing price of $6.99. It later turned out that the seller had accidentally left out a digit—the price should have been $64.99. But she was good-humored about it, and let me have the book anyway.
Tucked into the back of the book was a faded Xerox copy of plate no. 34—the legendary photograph you see above of Eve playing chess nude with Marcel Duchamp, as part of the opening reception for his landmark Pasadena Art Museum retrospective. I don’t know why it was there—apparently the previous owner had taken a special interest in the chess match, and perhaps he or she had wanted to share it with others.
I didn’t think about Eve again until she started to snake her way back into L.A.’s public consciousness via the resuscitative festivities of Pacific Standard Time. Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, who came out with the historic tell-all book Rebels in Paradise last year, claimed that Eve’s writing had enabled her to find the right tone to use in her own book. In August of 2011, she corralled the acclaimed writer and storied ex-groupie into giving a talk with her at the Hammer, which generated quite a bit of buzz and brought out legions of people who had been devoted fans of Eve for years. The talk, which is thankfully archived on the Hammer website, is a gem, filled with great stories, witticisms, and Eve’s effervescent personality.
On May 3, 2012, artist Zoe Crosher held something of a conceptual séance for Eve, attempting to bring her out into the public again with an event called For an Evening with Eve Babitz. Done under the auspices of Los Angeles Nomadic Division’s Nomadic Nights, an ongoing series of pop-up art events, For an Evening with Eve Babitz was held in the penthouse suite of the Chateau Marmont hotel, the beloved site of many of Eve’s adventures back in the day.
Last week we introduced Shannah Burton and Linda Churchwell-Vega from the New City School in St. Louis, Missouri. This week, in the second installment of Art21 Educators introductions, we bring you Tricia Fitzpatrick and Don Ball, our first participants from Canada!
Tricia and Don teach 9-12th grade students at Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario, home to a regional arts program. The two had been working at the same school for over a year when they were each asked to attend a summer workshop for teachers. They quickly realized that they had similar approaches to education–valuing creative thinking, experiential learning, and the intersections between art and science. In a system that compartmentalizes learning, Tricia and Don think more holistically.
Over the past ten years, Tricia and Don have been developing and implementing a cross-curricular, international, Visual Arts and Science travel program. It began with a goal to show students how visual art and science are connected both here at home, and in cultures far away. Tricia and Don have traveled with students to Costa Rica (2003, 2005), Ecuador (2007, 2009), and Peru (2011), to experience the art and science of Central and South America through home-stay cultural exchanges (living with Spanish speaking families and working in the community), visits to contemporary art galleries and historical museums, and the exploration of diverse ecosystems. Additionally, their students have learned to appreciate the value of responsible travel.
Don, who is the art teacher, introduced Tricia, the science teacher, to Art21 a number of years ago. Tricia told us:
“…I have come to see contemporary art as a lens through which you can see the world as well as a tool by which artists communicate their ideas about the world. It is fluid and broad–it is more than just the art of our time, it is the art of expressing ideas, emotion, values, view points on the events and issues that frame our experience of the world around us.
I also believe contemporary art can be a tool for students to use to express their ideas and to investigate their surroundings. Like science, my own field, contemporary art makes observations, asks questions and looks for possible answers. It tests its subjects and its audience. It invites participation, not passive viewing. Contemporary art has a place in most classrooms. I want to explore how I can help students step outside the traditional lab report and written paper to express their understanding and questions about the science around them.”
Tricia and Don will continue to work together during the 2012-2013 school year as part of the Art21 Educators program. We are curious to see how Art21 will influence their curricula and cultural exchange programs!
* This post was written with Dana Helwick, Art21 Educators Intern.