I have to acknowledge that this post is coming at a weird time — like, weirder than usual. Students are gearing up for winter break, Philly is still cleaning up from Hurricane Sandy, and now election day. Things just feel a little surreal to me right now.
I’ve been feeling a little out of it in general. In fact it wasn’t until I was in the middle of my most recent “Non Silver Photography” class that I realized it has been over TEN years since I stepped foot in a dark room of any kind, for any reason. I found that my love for alternative photography, particularly cyanotype and vandyke brown, is still strong. I decided to dig a little further into alternative photography: know a little more of the history, find some contemporary artists working in these processes, and figure out just what it is that attracts me so.
As Art21 returns to its lower Manhattan office after a week with no power, our thoughts are with those still enduring the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The New York Foundation for the Arts has compiled a list of resources providing help to the art community, as well as general disaster relief organizations. We encourage our followers to contribute however possible.
We at Art21 stand in solidarity with our fellow art organizations and New Yorkers and hope the collective relief efforts continue to help everyone impacted.
With my heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery to all those who are suffering the aftereffects of this powerful storm,
IMAGE: Do-Ho Suh, Floor, detail, 1997. Installation view at the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA, 2002. Production still from the series, Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 2; Episode: Stories. © Art21, Inc. 2003.
We’re pleased to announce our latest blogger-in-residence, Honora Shea. A native of Pittsburgh, Honora Shea has a BA in international studies from Johns Hopkins University, and began her professional associations with art and architecture in the offices of Steven Holl Architects in New York. She is now based in Beijing, where she previously worked as the project manager of artist Cao Fei’s virtual urban planning project RMB City, and with the gallery Vitamin Creative Space, as well as on freelance writing, design and curatorial projects. In keeping with her interest in spatial studies, she is now considering the potential of art in the online space, as a member of the team behind theartstack.com.
Our latest Exclusive video is now live! Click to watch Robert Mangold: Town & Country on Art21.org.
Filmed at Robert Mangold’s upstate New York home and studio in 2011, the artist describes his experiences living and working in New York City in the early 1960s as well as his decision to move to the country later that decade. Mangold’s shift from the city to the country is reflected in his work including the series Walls and Areas (1963) and Curved Areas (1968). Robert Mangold and his wife, painter Sylvia Plimack Mangold, provided images from their personal archive for this video.
Robert Mangold translates the most basic of formal elements—shape, line, and color—into paintings, prints, and drawings whose simplicity of form expresses complex ideas. He renders the surface of each canvas with subtle color modulations and sinewy, hand-drawn graphite lines. Mangold works in multiple series of shaped canvases over many years, exploring variations on rings, columns, trapezoids, arches, and crosses, and compositions without centers.
Robert Mangold is featured in the Season 6 (2012) episode “Balance” of the Art in the Twenty-First Century program 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. Artwork Courtesy: Robert Mangold. Archival Images Courtesy: Al Held Foundation, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold. Photography: John Sherman. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
In this week’s roundup Andrea Zittel receives an award, Krzysztof Wodiczko projects Abraham Lincoln, James Turrell installs a new Skyspace, and more.
- Andrea Zittel has been awarded the 2012 Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts. The award is bestowed “for outstanding achievements in the field of architecture and the arts that conform to Frederick Kiesler’s experimental, innovative conceptions and his theory of correlated arts” and will be presented by the Vienna City Councillor for Cultural Affairs, Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, on November 15 at the New Museum in New York.
- Andrea Zittel, as part of the Kiesler Prize, is presenting work at Mariahilfer Straße (Vienna). Andrea Zittel: Artist-Architect underlines the decision of the jury in 2012 who selected the artist primarily for her experimental and innovative work that has extended the dialogue of contemporary art and ideas. In the spirit of Frederick Kiesler, her work is both intellectual and yet deals with real life situations and occurrences. The show runs through December 1, 2013.
- Carrie Mae Weems‘ The Obama Project (2012) can be viewed online:
- Krzysztof Wodiczko‘s video projection onto the Abraham Lincoln statue in New York’s Union Square will run for a full month, from November 8-December 9. Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection, co-presented by More Art and the Polish Cultural Institute, will feature the sounds and images of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans projected onto the 142-year-old Lincoln statue.
Charles Ray’s massive reproduction of a fallen redwood tree, Hinoki, fills one room in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. The room it occupies was built around the work. At 2,100 pounds and 38 feet long, it’s that big. The piece originated in California where the original tree died, sunk into the ground, and began to decompose. Allegedly the artist was so taken with the shape and form of the tree and its state of decomposition, he wanted to preserve it somehow. Without permission, Ray removed the tree to his LA Studio and cast it. The resulting cast was sent to Japan where traditional woodworkers spent four years carving a replica out of Japanese cypress (Hinoki). Ray describes his interest in pneuma (Greek for breath or life) and admits a desire to try and transfer that life from one body to another via sculpture. The dead log was resuscitated like a zombie maybe, or a benign vampire, to be formally and forever persevered in the canonic halls of a national institution. According to museum text, Hinoki will remain, unchanged and unchanging for 400 years, at which time the work will go through a period of crisis (during which it will crack and resettle for 200 years), after which point it will carry on, post-crisis without changing for another 400 years. Only then will it start to decompose. It’s hard to imagine anything extending so far into the future, let alone a fallen tree, or the museum that flanks it. Or even, perhaps, the “natural world” we know. Placed on a wall behind the tree, adjacent museum text provides a narrative, through which one can conceive an otherwise impossible expanse of time, a time beyond the life of America thus far.
Hinoki has a seductive, tactile presence. It boasts impeccable craftsmanship with an ornate and varied surface where original impressions of bark have been translated into an expert vocabulary of descriptive lines. As such it is constantly shifting, depending on your vantage, between a carved surface and a trompe l’oeil reproduction. Up close, the human hand is evidenced in those lines: they sit like hatch marks on a charcoal sketch, some are deeper, others thicker, still others more worm-like; nevertheless each stroke, though varied, belongs to the same family of strokes. It is therefore cohesive. As a literal translation, the redwood was physically transformed from a corrupt (i.e. rotten/rotting) body into a new, pristine one. One could imagine the original tree contained a history in its form: the width of the trunk for instance, is evidence of its life, just as certain areas were more exposed to moisture and thus more decomposed. Footprints of termites have been similarly transferred and lay alongside jointed inlays and Dutchman. The physical tree is a replica that takes pleasure in its own fabrication.
As one of the few female Chinese artists to emerge from the generation born in the 1960s and to come of age during the Cultural Revolution, Lin Tianmiao’s rise to international prominence in 1990s is in itself significant. The current exhibition of Lin’s work at the Asia Society Museum in New York—her first major solo exhibition in the United States—confirms that her status as an important artistic voice within Chinese contemporary art is indeed warranted. “Bound Unbound: Lin Tianmiao” traces the arc of Lin’s career from the mid-1990s, foregounding a body of work that addresses a broad set of concerns that range from gender roles to personal and cultural identity in post-Tiananmen China.
The mixed-media installation that gives this exhibition its title, Bound and Unbound, is among the earliest on view, dating from 1997. First shown in Beijing at a time when installation art was rarely seen in and often banned from state-run museums, Bound and Unbound consists of 548 household objects strewn across the gallery floor. Off to one side hangs a scrim with a video projected upon it. The objects on the floor are all wrapped cocoon-like in white cotton thread, a signature technique of Lin’s that she calls thread winding, where she winds silk or cotton thread tightly around an object until it is completely enveloped. Close inspection yields the identity of many of these cocooned objects scattered around the room: pots and pans, woks, teapots, toys, various drinking vessels and a sewing machine.
[Ed. Note: The Art21 Blog is running a bit behind this week due to superstorm Sandy. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by this storm; we hope that all of you out there are safe, warm, and dry.]
This is a slightly delayed post due to Frankenstorm Sandy taking out Internet access for the past few days. My thoughts are with those who, like our family member who lives in Sheepshead Bay, had their home totaled, possessions lost, or power and sanity cut by the crazy weather.
This time two weeks ago I was in sunny Durham, North Carolina, for SECAC (the Southeastern College Art Conference) and I presented on a project I have shared on Art 21 before, Art History Teaching Resources (AHResources). I first began to conceptualize AHResources almost two years ago while speaking to my academic advisor at the Graduate Center and telling him how my first semester as a Graduate Teaching Fellow had gone. I think I used the phrases “baptism of fire,” “like jumping off a cliff,” “like bungee jumping – in both good and bad ways,” and “[expletive] Stokstad.” Teaching the art history survey certainly felt like a rite of passge somewhere in-between sweet sixteen and blood sacrifice.
My main concern was that, unlike at my previous place of work (the Guggenheim Museum), I hadn’t found any basic template or peer-to-peer platform for sharing teaching resources. I felt like I’d spent a semester reinventing a very linear wheel. I was searching for the conversations teachers of all levels have (or don’t get to have) around such issues as how we prepare to teach, what professional development we have (or don’t), what obstacles and frustrations we face in terms of implementing best teaching practices (and identifying these pratices), and what to do with the contentious beast that is the chronological art history survey. Now three years in, I realized that it’s not just newbie me. I have found that survey instructors are often teaching in the dark, isolated from opportunities to converse on this subject, afraid to ask for help for fear of seeming somehow incapable, or often just too time-strapped. Whether tenured or contingent teacher, it can be difficult to innovate and experiment with teaching the art history survey when so much else is demanded from our time. How often do we observe other teachers teach survey? Give constructive feedback to our peers? Have time to practice and refine class activities before debuting them?