Monday, January 31, 2011

Regina Jose Galindo

"Regina José Galindo’s practice is the embodiment of Akira Kurosawa’s dictum, “To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes,” and she challenges the viewer to do the same, even as she’s carving the word “perra” (“bitch”) into the flesh of her thigh." - Brooklyn Rail. Check out her website and this interview from BOMB Magazine.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tips on fashion for artists

There may be a quiz on this material.

Days of Yore

don't know if you guys have seen this website, this is their mission:

interviews artists about the years before they had money, fame,
or road maps to success, and inspires you to find your own.

 this is an interview with my friend tim davis, there are lots of other interesting interviews!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Art History in the Midst of History

This is unconfirmed news coming out of Cairo tonight, but it appears that both citizens and the Egyptian military have been reported as protecting the Egyptian Museum from looting and fire even as the neighboring headquarters of the ruling party is aflame.

I'll also mention that our own Mariam Stephan is still in Cairo, finishing out her Fulbright stay in the country. Nikki Blair told me today that she spoke to Mariam this week, and that she was safe and due home Sunday. With events in Cairo developing so rapidly, I just wanted to give folks the latest information that I have.

The NYT has continuing coverage of what more and more looks like a revolution.

great documentary on william kentridge

p.s. thanks again to the fellas who helped move the photo stuff today!

The human imagination

is spatial and it is constantly constructing an architectonic whole from landscapes remembered or imagined; it progresses from what is closest to what is farther away, winding layers or strands around a single axis, which begins where the feet touch the ground.” Czeslaw Milosz, Where I Am

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The End of Nature

This is the Bill McKibben book I mentioned in class today. I think it's an important book for thinking about the future of such environmental activities as land conservation and habitat restoration, but don't read it if you're feeling a little depressed already.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Summary & Study Guide - Annie Dillard -

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Summary & Study Guide - Annie Dillard -

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mark Lombardi's Drawn Worlds

Mark Lombardi, World Finance Corporation and Associates, ca. 1970-84: Miami, Ajman, and Bogota-Caracas (Brigada 2506: Cuban Anti-Castro Bay of Pigs Veteran) (7th Version), 1999. Colored pencil and graphite on paper, 69-1/8 x 84 inches.

I held off on discussing Mark Lombardi until now because I think he is the perfect artist to help us segue from our initial discussion of politically engaged artwork to our next conversation, which will focus squarely on drawing. Lombardi's work was intensely concerned with the political, and his enormous drawings were an attempt to see clearly the complex interrelations at the heart of the major financial and political scandals of the time (Iran-Contra, Keating Savings and Loan, BCCI, etc.) This article, written by his dealer, is a brief inside look at how central a role drawing itself played in Lombardi's approach to his work, and insists how necessary it is to see the works as drawings.

Personally, I think that the drawings that Lombardi completed in the 6 short years before his death in 2000 are the most perfect artworks of the 1990's.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Studio Practice?

I am spending a lot of time working in a new space. It is carrel 976 on the 9th floor of the Jackson Library. I wanted to invite everyone to visit the space. There is a pen and paper in the carrel and I would love to hear some of your thoughts about the space. I am working here in conjunction with looking at artists like, Mario Garcia Torres, Frances Stark, Allora and Calzadilla, and Suzanne Lacy to name a few.


I found this project on Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's website Microphones.

The Strange Saga of Steve Kurtz

Although Critical Art Ensemble's work is decidedly political, and takes advantage of all sorts of performative and socially embedded strategies, founder Steve Kurtz is probably best known for waking up one tragic morning in 2004 and entering a Kafkaesque nightmare that ended only after a four year legal battle.

I've had the TLC order the documentary Strange Fruit for us, and we'll screen it once it comes in. Until then, learn more about the case here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Contemporary Political Art in Zimbabwe

Today's New York Times has an article on the shuttered exhibit of Zimbabwe artist Owen Maseko, whose installation of paintings and sculptures depicts the mid-80's slaughter of thousands of minority Ndebele citizens at the hand of government-controlled paramilitary forces. Maseko faces up to 20 years in prison for insulting President-for-life Robert Mugabe.

Artists as producers

I thought of Benjamin's essay today looking through the NY Times, which has two stories about artists looking for new forms.

Laurel Nakadate is an artist who began making videos and photography with strangers after randomly meeting a man in a Home Depot parking lot and being interested in his life. She suggested they make a video together and she began exploring the unknown by creating relationships with strangers. In the article she says:

It was just one of those moments where I had no idea what I was saying,” she remembered. “I really wanted to push myself. And I think I was in this place where I was so afraid to fail that I thought, ‘Well, I just have to take fear out of this. Fear’s not an element, and I don’t have to follow any social codes, so what can happen? Anything can happen.’

The other article that reminded me of Benjamin is about Brock Enright, a Columbia MFA grad who has created a company that creates "reality adventures" for clients. He and his team script stories and events to occur in people's lives that blur the boundaries between fact, fiction, script, spontaneity, etc. The enterprise reminds me of the movie "The Game."

The article likens Enright's adventures to a kind of relational aesthetics. Enright's response is that “A lot of artists say, ‘If just one person sees my work, it’s worth it,’ ... “But I literally make works that only one person will ever experience.” Read it here. Just know that I'm watching you.

Steve Lambert and the Anti-Advertising Agency

Light Criticism from Steve Lambert on Vimeo.

Steve Lambert came to the Weatherspoon in the summer of 2009, in conjunction with the "Our Subject Is You" exhibition at WAM, curated by Lee Walton and Xandra Eden. He gave an amazing talk which featured some work from the Anti-Advertising Agency. The talk itself contained elements of the power dynamics inherent with artists and audiences, in which Steve asked us to remove our shoes at the beginning, only to reveal at the talk's conclusion that he did this merely to prove that he, as artist, could do so without being challenged. The exhibition and Steve's talk in particular completely changed my perspective on contemporary art. Props to Lee and the Weatherspoon for bringing this to Greensboro. We want more!


Great to see the conversation coming to life. I encourage everyone to submit content that you think is relevant to the discussion, or more news-related stuff you think we should see. If you have links to websites you think we should list, just send them to me by email (or put them in a comment to this post), and I'll add them. I'll also be editing your posts to add labels, if you haven't already, or to adjust image sizes or formatting problems, but that's the only tampering I'll do.

I'd like to ask contributors to chime in on commenting. Right now I've limited posting to just the grads, Lee and I, but I'd love to cast a wider net amongst interested faculty. Also, commenting is now limited to contributors only, but we can change that too if you think it's appropriate.

No, I actually seem to have set commenting as open to registered users and OpenID. We'll leave it like that and see how it goes. I encourage everyone to recommend their own and others' posts through FB, Twitter and the little social networking devices we'll all have implanted in our frontal lobes next week.

Wafaa Bilal

When trying to think of an artist with a Brechtian practice, I immediately thought of Wafaa Bilal. He visited ECU a few years back, and gave a talk about his project, "Domestic Tension," in which Bilal lived in a small gallery room for a month with a robotic paintball gun, which people online could use to shoot him. As a result of the project, he suffered mentally and physically, showing clear symptoms of PTSD and insomnia. One of the more memorable things he shared was that a group of people online chose to defend him from other shooters, by using the controls to divert the gun's shots. He discusses the project in a short video, and his website and a link to the project's daily video blog can be found by clicking here. A newer project, "... and Counting" (shown in the picture on the left) involved tattooing Iraqi cities onto his back in Arabic, along with a dot in red ink for every American soldier killed (5,000 total). Iraqi deaths were represented by dots in invisible ink. The project was meant to be a commentary on the lack of press or attention on Iraqi deaths, as well as a permanent memorial. The 24 hr tattooing process was filmed and could be seen live by viewers online. Make sure to watch the video on his site - the sound of the tattoo gun combined with the names of the victims being read is eerie and unsettling.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Mierle Laderman Ukeles is someone who I think isn't recognized nearly enough for the revolutionary nature of her thinking and practice. Her Manifesto for Maintenance Art is a principled challenge to the traditional romantic (and traditionally male) notion of the artist as creator of something new. Her determination to assert the creative validity and necessity of the regular, repetitive acts of all those who keep things from falling apart, breaking down, or overflowing is an important contribution to the expansion of what an artist's role in the world can be. I think it's particularly compelling that she has found a way to extend the creative potential of her thinking, beyond the earlier activist performances, through a fruitful 40 year long collaboration with the NY Department of Sanitation as their first and continuing Artist in Residence. A recent interview from Art in America captures a bit of her formidable intelligence and sharp wit.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Voina art collective

Members of Voina art collective are currently being held in a Russian prison. The video piece I included is the one of a man running in traffic with a bucket on his head. I also included several links. BOMBLOG, ART THREAT , FREE VOINA

Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971

© 2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

This is the other early Haacke work that I was thinking of. It's similar to Moma Poll in its critique of specific powerful individuals, this time the Shapolsky family whose Manhattan real estate empire is characterized by Haacke as being largely composed of slums. The specificity of this critique is what led the Guggenheim to cancel the exhibition just six weeks prior to its scheduled opening, and to dismiss the curator, Edward Fry, who continued to support the piece.

The work was conceived as an unremittingly didactic work, with the ramp of the Guggenheim punctuated by 142 sets of photos and datasheets representing each of the buildings, with accompanying maps and charts demonstrating their place in Manhattan's geographic and financial context.

A good but brief recent article on Haacke by Manfred Hermes in Frieze.

Artists taking up Benjamin's challenge

Continuing forward from the discussion of "The Author as Producer" in the last Art 641 meeting, I wanted to flesh out the picture of Hans Haacke's work, specifically the works he did in the early 70s calling out the political and economic networks supporting major arts institutions. First up is 1970's MOMA Poll, featured in a Museum of Modern Art exhibition of systems-based work titled Information.

If you can't read the text pictured, it says:


Would the fact that Governor Rockefeller has not denounced President Nixon's Indochina policy be a reason for you not to vote for him in November ?


If 'yes'
please cast your ballot into the left box
if 'no'
into the right box.

The context is that Nelson Rockefeller was both a member of the Board of Trustees of the museum and considering a presidential run at the time.

Contemporary Art Talks at the Mint

New Visions: Contemporary Masterworks from the Bank of America Collection
Two Sundays:
23 & 30 January 2011
3:00 p.m.
Registration requested: 704.337.2098 |
Free to Mint Members, or after admission

Learn in-depth information about contemporary art, artists, and the pieces in this extraordinary exhibition. Led by University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Winthrop University art history professors.
Supported in part by the generous contribution of Barbara & Ed Crutchfield.
23 January
Professor Jae Emerling, The Afterlife of Contemporary Art
30 January
Professor Karen Stock, Feminism and Formalism:
Where the Social and the Aesthetic Intersect

Mint Museum UPTOWN at Levine Center for the Arts
500 South Tryon Street | Charlotte, NC 28202 |

Perform @ SECCA event

Production still from The Key Said Run and The Door Said Fly
Image courtesy Sacred Heart Archive©

Saturday, Jan. 22, 7 pm
$12/adult non-members, $8/members & students.
WFU students and faculty are admitted free of charge.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Kristin Ashley at 336.725.1904.
All seating is general admission and is provided on a first-come first-seated basis on the day of the performance. Doors open at 6 p.m.

"Lady Mary was young, and Lady Mary was fair, and she had more lovers than she could count on the fingers of both hands..."

SECCA and the Wake Forest University Department of Theatre and Dance, along with Wake Forest University Theatre, are pleased to present this innovative performance piece. Devised by The Sacred Heart Archive, a multi-disciplinary arts project, The Key Said Run and the Door Said Fly reinvents the folk tale of Mr. Fox - the perpetual bridegroom and both figurative and literal lady-killer-using physical performance, traditional songs, and found objects. Incorporating a daring use of autobiography, this performance blurs the line between myth and personal experience.

The Key Said Run and the Door Said Fly is supported by the Wake Forest University's Provost Office.