This entry takes up where I left off last December, when I documented my encounter with electronics artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer who lectured at the High Museum of Art (Atlanta) about art that engages in “the realm of social interaction and content.” Since then, I successfully completed my first year in a digital media Ph.D program and I continue to cover emerging contemporary artistic practices in the social realm. Writing posts about socially-engaged and paradoxical art in popular culture led me into the topic of mobile augmented reality (defined below). The AR movement at first may seem like a novelty, but a closer look reveals interdisciplinary perspectives that involve aesthetic explorations of blended realities as a new kind of artistic practice and cultural space.
Augmented reality is becoming more accessible and new uses continue to emerge as tools for creating and customizing applications become easier to use. The layering of information over 3D space produces new ways to experience content that is fueling the broader migration of computing from the desktop to the mobile device, bringing with it opportunities for broader user dynamic engagement with social media. Artists and other users are being encouraged to view their smart phones, iPods ,and tablet computers as tools for production and display. Augmented Reality tools can be used to explore concepts in ways that are ‘user led’ and increasingly participatory. Last year, a rogue augmented reality art show made its debut at MoMA (NYC). The physical show was visible to regular visitors, but those who were using a mobile phone application called Layar on their smart phones could see additional works on each of the floors, merging form and content in a non-didactic way.
Here, I return to Relational Aesthetics, Nicholas Bourriaud’s approach to examining contemporary art by getting as close as possible to artists’ works in order to reveal interlocking social structures that link curators, artists, and audiences together. Beyond designing or re-designing amenities within existing cultural spaces, new media artists have their own motives. They are using alternative platforms for the production and experiencing of art within social contexts, presenting interactive environments within cultural frameworks and, as stated by curator Claire Bishop in her essay, “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics,” creating a “buzz of creativity and the aura of being at the vanguard of contemporary production.” In exploring mobile augmented reality (AR), Amir Baradaran offers his own declaration as a “provocation and proposition.” Regarding a movement he calls FutARism, Baradaran writes,
Under the auspices of FutARism, Augmented Reality (AR) is employed as a new artistic medium, as it adds virtual content to a given space that is experienced in real-time and in semantic context with the real-world environment. Canonical artworks and sites will be appropriated and augmented. These virtual installations will be viewable with a smartphone application.
In this week’s roundup, Charles Atlas gets close-up on Merce Cunningham’s joints, Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photography is explored, Shana Moulton creates on-site art in China, and more.
- Charles Atlas‘s Joints Array is on view in the ground-floor gallery at the New Museum (NYC). This multimedia installation features excerpts of Atlas’s first Super-8 color films of Merce Cunningham: close-up shots of a wrist, elbow, ankle, and knee capture the dancer’s unique style of movement and function as a fractured portrait of motion and form. Atlas’s films, videos, installations, performances, set, and lighting designs have involved several collaborations with artists, including Mika Tajima. This show closes August 28.
- Hiroshi Sugimoto‘s year-long project, Origins of Art is a four-part exhibition that began at the Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art (Japan) last year and explores the inspirations behind the artist’s photography. The third exhibition, entitled History, includes prints from negatives created by the inventor of negative-positive photography William Henry Fox Talbot, stylized sculpture images of the changing forms of twentieth century fashion in context, and other works of historical inquiry. The current exhibition is on view until August 21.
- Jessica Stockholder is part of the group exhibition, Not About Paint, at Steven Zevitas Gallery (Boston). In this show, Stockholder’s featured work investigates the ordinary as art object and the artist lists as its components: “carpet, framed leather, yarn, plastic parts, place mat, shelving unit part …’’ The show closes August 20.
- Shana Moulton is part of Shift, an exhibition on young American and Chinese artists creating on-site artwork at the Guangdong Times Museum in China The show features various works that use materials found in major wholesale markets in Guangzhou and local manpower. Additionally, five Chinese artists from around the country will interact with the Americans at the Museum. Each evening seminar invites one Chinese artist and one American artist to present their works, followed by discussions and idea exchanges with the other artists on issues that concern them. This exhibition is on view until August 28.
In this week’s roundup, Doris Salcedo evokes memorials, Cao Fei explores play time, several artists are celebrated and more.
- Doris Salcedo: Plegaria Muda unveils the newest sculptural work by Doris Salcedo in the turbine hall of Moderna Museet Malmö (Sweden). The show contains multiple references and as an installation, Plegaria Muda can evoke associations of a memorial or a collective burial site. It springs out of a three-year-long research of the ghettoes of South East Los Angeles, but is also a direct answer to repeated atrocities committed by groupings within the Colombian army between 2003 and 2009. This exhibition closes September 4.
- Cao Fei‘s Play Time is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at Lombard Freid Projects (New York City). Play Time returns to Cao Fei’s previous interest in the convergence of fantasy and reality and premieres her latest works. She continues to utilize different types of media including video, photography and sculptural installations that evoke childhood games, story telling and TV programs that have a profound influence on children. This show closes June 25.
- John Baldessari will be presented with the 2011 Alumni Achievement Award at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday, May 31. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards provides early recognition and support for teenagers, many who go on to become some of the country’s most important artists.
In this week’s roundup, Barbara Kruger on an 18-wheeler, Cao Fei presents on art and technology, artists receive awards, and more.
- Barbara Kruger is one of the 150 artists, poets, musicians, writers, filmmakers and actors who created work for America: Here and Now, a traveling exhibition that includes 18-wheeler truck-art project by Kruger. Artwork by Laurie Anderson and Kiki Smith are also in the show.
- Cao Fei is part Seven on Seven, a conference that will feature presentations by seven teams, each comprised of one artist and one technologist, who will share a new idea they have developed while working in collaboration over the course of a single day. The conference is organized by Rhizome and an affiliate of the New Museum in New York. The event will take place on May 14, 2011 from 1–6pm at the New Museum (NYC).
- Sarah Lawrence College alum Janine Antoni was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and she was selected from 3,000 applicants on the basis of achievement and exceptional promise.
- Fred Wilson was honored at the 2011 Brooklyn Artists Ball held last week at The Brooklyn Museum (NY) for his influence in the field of visual arts.
- Ursula von Rydingsvard was awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture for her outstanding service to artists and the arts. This year, Ms. von Rydingsvard will be honored along with Mark Bradford and a few others.
- Mark your calendars. Laurie Simmons‘s next exhibition will take place at Wilkinson (London) June 10 – July 10.
Episode #140: Artist Cao Fei discusses her multi-media theatrical work “PRD Anti-Heroes” (2005), a play performed by non-professional actors. Investigating the “anonymous and unsung heroes” of the Pearl River Delta or “the factory of the world,” Cao’s production incorporates elements of traditional Chinese legends, Hong Kong soap operas, and Cantonese farces.
Cao’s work reflects the fluidity of a world in which cultures have mixed and diverged in rapid evolution. Her video installations and new media works explore perception and reality in places as diverse as a Chinese factory and the virtual world of Second Life. Depictions of Chinese architecture and landscape abound in scenes of hyper-capitalistic Pearl River Delta development, in images that echo traditional Chinese painting, and in the design of her own virtual utopia, “RMB City.” Fascinated by the world of Second Life, Cao Fei has created several works in which she is both participant and observer through her Second Life avatar, China Tracy, who acts as a guide, philosopher, and tourist.
Cao Fei is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Fantasy of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch full episodes online for free via PBS Video or Hulu, as a paid download via iTunes (link opens application), or as part of a Netflix streaming subscription.
In this week’s roundup, Laurie Anderson performs for Japan aid, Maya Lin is honored, several artists are keeping it real in London, work by An-My Lê and Richard Serra soon to come at The Met, and much more.
- Laurie Anderson and several others will perform at a Japan Society concert to benefit the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Concert for Japan will be a 12-hour marathon event on Saturday, April 9, in New York City to benefit organizations that directly help people affected by the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan.
- Maya Lin is the winner of an architecture medal presented by The University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. The Thomas Jefferson Medals recognize the achievements of those who excel in areas in which Jefferson did significant work.
- Do Ho Suh, Kimsooja, and Mark Bradford are part of a group of artists whose work is included in The Spirituality of Place at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Gutstein Gallery. The show focuses on artists working in a variety of media who explore the sense, spirit and memory of place and reinterpret it poetically through their art. This exhibition closes on April 17.
- Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Mike Kelley, Julie Mehretu, Arturo Herrera, Gabriel Orozco and other artists are part Keeping it Real: An Exhibition in 4 Acts: Act 4: Material Intelligence at Whitechapel Gallery (London). These artists use existing images as a material in their work, including cuttings from newspapers or using common technologies such as desktop scanners, they heighten the physicality of their chosen images by cropping, distorting and layering them. The exhibition is on view from March 18 – May 22.
In this week’s roundup, Louise Bourgeois’s art arrives in Latin America, Margaret Kilgallen and Barry McGee are part of a major street art exhibition, Tim Hawkinson plans to build a 41-foot guardian in San Francisco, and more.
- Louise Bourgeois is being presented for the first time in Latin America at Fundación Proa (Buenos Aires) and Instituto Tomie Ohtake (Sao Paulo). Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed, a comprehensive overview covering 60 years of artistic production, from her early beginnings until 2009. In the curator’s words, “All the works have been selected to highlight the enduring presence of psychoanalysis as a motivational force and a site of exploration in her life and work.” The exhibition will be on view March 19 — June 19.
- Margaret Kilgallen, Barry McGee, and several other artists are part of Art in the Streets, the first major U.S. museum exhibition of the history of graffiti and street art. The show originates at MOCA in Los Angeles and will be at the Brooklyn Museum in 2012. A highlight of the exhibition will be a Los Angeles version of Street Market, a re-creation of an urban street complete with overturned trucks by Barry McGee, Todd James, and Steve Powers. The MOCA exhibition will be on view from April 17 — August 8.
- Eleanor Antin collaborates with artists, musicians, and scholars to present Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale,” which is part of the UCSD chamber music series, Camera Lucida, now in its third season. Stravinsky’s rarely played piece is a collaboration between UCSD and the San Diego Symphony. The performance will take place on Monday, April 11, at 8pm.
In this week’s roundup, Cao Fei puts avatars on stage, Laurie Anderson to be on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Barbara Kruger looks back in Dazed & Confused, Laylah Ali and Do-Ho Suh have uncommon portraits, and much more.
- Cao Fei‘s RMB City Opera is at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the first place in the United States to host this installation, and it is the only place in the world to host it at the moment. RMB City Opera highlights RMB City’s virtual cityscape and allows the viewer to enter the city and experience interaction as actors on a stage and as avatars in the virtual world. The show is open until June 5.
- Laurie Anderson will perform on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this Thursday, February 24. The show is giving Anderson’s fans a shot at sitting up-close as the performance unfolds.
- Nancy Spero‘s work will be on view at the Serpentine Gallery (London) in the first major presentation following her death in autumn 2009. Spero drew upon a broad range of visual sources to create images representing women from pre-history to the present. The exhibition will be on view March 3 – May 2.
With Inspire Your Heart With Art Day in mind, this week’s roundup finds the New Museum rethinking contemporary art through several Art21 artists’ works, Arturo Herrera exploring abstraction in two exhibitions, Gabriel Orozco boomeranging, and more.
- Several Art21 artists are featured in New Museum’s Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education including Mark Bradford, Cao Fei, Margaret Kilgallen, An-My Lê, Barry McGee, Julie Mehretu, and Kara Walker. This publication provides accessible and practical tools for teachers while offering new art, essays, and content to account for transitions and changes in both the fields of art and education.
- Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education will also host a related discussion on contemporary art and education featuring Kara Walker, among a few others. A reception for the book, participating artists, and contributors immediately follows the discussion. The event will take place on February 24, 7:00 pm.
- Arturo Herrera has work currently on view at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. (NYC). His self-titled exhibition features new works on paper and large scale wall paintings that explore fragmentations as a mode for abstraction. The show will be on view until March 5.
In this week’s roundup, Ellen Gallagher engages the empirical, Cindy Sherman breaks out of the frame, Nancy Spero is honored, Cao Fei employs virtuality and more.
- Ellen Gallagher‘s latest work will soon be on view at the Gagosian Gallery (NYC). Her experimental works on canvas constitute a syntax of marks, gestures and windswept ephemera collected by the artist. Gallagher’s approach navigates unfamiliar territories and liminal realms that swings back and forth between “legibility and blankness and which appears at different velocities, both sudden and perpetual.” This exhibition will run from January 22 – February 26.
- Nancy Spero is honored in Christopher Lyon’s Nancy Spero: The Work, a “sweeping survey” of her expressive text-and-image art, investigations of pain and torture in her innovative works on paper and bold site installations.
- Cao Fei‘s RMB City is part of the Museum of the Moving Image’s Real Virtuality exhibition. Coming from artists from multiple disciplines, the works on display employ “video game engines, motion- and position-tracking, stereoscopic (3-D) digital video, and sophisticated image processing software to create simulated worlds that extend, augment, or disrupt the physical environment of the Museum space.” This exhibition is on view January 15 – June 12.
- Cindy Sherman has new work on view at Sprüth Magers (London). For this series, Sherman has assembled a cast of uniquely individual characters on large photographic murals, marking a departure within Cindy Sherman’s artistic practice from the format of the framed photograph. This show will run until February 19.
- James Turrel‘s Atlan is a highlight of the Musee d’Art Contemporain (Montreal) Blue exhibition. Atlan is a room-sized optical illusion of ultraviolet blue lighting. The exhibition will close on March 27.
- In conjunction with Triumphs — the current Dublin City Gallery exhibition by Richard Tuttle — The Hugh Lane will present a seminar series that engages artists, critics, and curators in conversations as a response and “a point of departure to discuss current art practice.” The seminars will look at Tuttle’s work in the context of aesthetics, philosophy, science and history. These sessions take place starting on Thursday, January 20.