Often the role of an artist is simply to disrupt and create a perceptual shift. This past April, I was invited to participate in a residency program where the studios were on the outskirts of a small town, scattered among a forest. The residency promoted its relationship between artists, nature and quiet contemplation. Upon arrival, I was confronted with this somewhat contrived environment, but also with performance artist Jordan McKenzie.
Artist Fernando Orellana is making work for a very specific audience: the recently departed. His current project, Shadows, consists of interactive works designed for posthumous use. Inspired by paranormal research, spiritualism and ghost folklore, Orellana’s machines continuously search for the dead, attempting to allow the departed a chance to interact with the world they left.
During last night’s Arthur Miller Freedom to Write event, writer Salman Rushie talked about the fact that censorship exists to change the subject. When it is introduced in the realm of art, it becomes the subject; the attack onto the work becomes the work. As Rushdie said, “Assumptions of guilt replace assumptions of innocence.” The question redirects to, why are artists so troublesome?
Studio portraits do not document an event; the making of the photograph is the event. In order to create a series titled Free Sitting, artist Nora Herting got a job as a trade photographer at a portrait studio in a JC Penney department store in Ohio.
Monica Cook’s Volley features a full cast of blemished bedazzled half-human, half-monkey sculptures. When I asked one viewer what he thought his response was, “It’s pretty dark, I mean, this ain’t no Winnie the Pooh you know …”
The Skybridge Art & Sound Space inside the Eugene Lang College currently has an installation on view until January 31, 2012. Artifix Mori, by John Ensor Parker and Jason Krugman, both visiting artists in the visual arts program at Eugene Lang, is paradoxically whimsical and ominous in its collision of science, nature, art and technology.
In October I had the opportunity to go to the opening of Tour and Trance, Matt Blackwell’s exhibition at the Edward Thorp Gallery. It’s a strange animated narrative that contains a whole cast of characters experiencing events and simultaneously forming and disintegrating in one moment. That evening we had some conversations on his life and thoughts and the stories that came out felt like some of the missing puzzle pieces. So, we began a conversation. I realized, I didn’t want to ask him the details behind specific pieces or anything detailed in general. I wanted to ask him vague open questions with a lot of room for rambling so we could meander around in his thought process the way his paintings meander around this weird world.
Perhaps from embarrassment or hitting a deep seated pain. A sensitive nerve that doesn’t like to be touched or exposed. Whatever the particular cause, its effect is a shutter that runs down the spine. A quivering sensation starting at the nape of the neck and rolling like a barbed ball of wire down each vertebrate, prickling until it strikes the tailbone and exits the body. The shoulders shift a bit at the beginning to reorient their position, and the back wiggles at the release of each tingle. There is an old adage that instructs ‘shake it off’ when something upsetting occurs. This advice incited our inquiry.
“Occupy Wall Street and the Right to Protest: What’s Next?” was a conversation which took place yesterday on the heels of The New School’s Teach-in on October 22. The event highlighted the perspectives of critical theorists, historians, lawyers and sociologists and presented their predictions for the future of public protests.
When director Victor Ruano was a teenager, he wanted to make a movie that could reflect in time, sound and images what that still painting said to him. In his mind, it stood as a description of certain aspects of his society and the country of El Salvador. He would dare to say, that in a sense El Cadáver Exquisito is that painting at 24 frames per second. This image is superimposed onto a billboard in the beginning of the film and serves as a kind of table of contents of what is to come. It stands as a form of dialogue in time, between generations, and through conflicts.
Sarah makes small matchbook sculptures that are designed to be left in public spaces. They are intimate art works that are part of the ritual of her practice. She believes in the words of Margaret Meade, who said, “When justice is lost, we have ritual. We need more ritual in our daily lives.”