Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Hiroshi Sugimoto is a Japanese born photographer who works in primarily black and white whose work sometimes borders scientific study. His series Lightning Fields, appears as almost a personal study of light and electricity to verify scientific findings from Benjamin Franklin to William Fox Talbot's discovery of the calotype. He says,

"The idea of observing the effects of electrical discharges on photographic dry plates reflects my desire to re-create the major discoveries of these scientific pioneers in the darkroom and verify them with my own eyes."

Adam Ekberg

Top: Balloons Over an Empty Field    Bottom:  Aberration #7

Adam Ekberg

This Chicago based photographer's work borders on abstraction, his website is:

Ekberg uses photography to document performances, and constructions that imply traces.  Many have an implied self-portrait even though he is not in the frame.  

homework, due march 8th

do a performance and document it with a photo and if desired, text....bring the piece to class

do another performance and don't document it, simply present text to the class about what you did

write a post to the blog with the following by march 7th:

1. a new internet/photoshop mock-up of a sculpture or sculpture
2. a short paragraph and image from a favorite performance by another artist

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

michael vahrenwald


michael's work is verging on the abstract, he certainly portrays the familiar in new visual terms....go to his website to learn the conceptual framework that drives his photographs...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tino Sehgal

...Even though no material relic of Sehgal's work remains after its presentation, in 2008 the Museum of Modern Art acquired his work "Kiss" for $70,000. In accordance with the artist's purist principles, the purchase (completed with an oral agreement and handshake) entails only the right to reproduce the work. No tangible document changed hands.

For those who need a bit of background on why the artist eschews conventional art objects: A student of economics and former dancer and choreographer, Sehgal maintains that the developed world has too much stuff. His favored means of creating art does not diminish Earth's dwindling resources or contribute to the excess of consumer goods. His art exists only transiently and leaves no physical trace. Like Brigadoon blossoming one day each century, Sehgal's art lives during the experience and afterward persists in memory and legend....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

ross-ho excerpts

Ross-Ho spoke about the “sculptural identity of the picture,” in one of her pieces, implying there are multiple characteristics of an image taken and that it is possible for a photograph to exist on multiple planes outside of a traditional representation or as document. This could be an example of the inner-connectivity Ross-Ho was mentioning throughout her lecture ­– the notion that all artwork, despite specified medium, and without a direct explicitness, can share a general access into other sub-mediums; the specified medium is only a representation and does not hold an entirety over the other. In Ross-Ho’s words, “nothing is fixed, everything is movable.” She is talking about language.  -bea
A sculptor or creator of game maps is in a similar business. They start with a chunk of raw data, and subtract to form an arm, a penis, or a boiler room. What Ross-Ho does is a bit more pointed. She created her own raw data a few years ago, and is now in the process of subtracting from it to the point that her “thing” is not so much the sculpture, as it is the space around it.
All this aside, I’m unsure as to whether or not her holes can be said to represent her, if the perimeter of past works are merely framing the gallery space, thus negating her intent, or if she is laying claim to the gallery space by artfully framing it. The likely answer is all three.       -matthew

She discussed that some subtle moments such as the single earrings used to mimic patterns in the cloths hung on the wall in one of her exhibitions caused viewers to get close to the artwork but then back up again to view it as a whole and I found this to be a nice notion of back and forth that she mirrored in a lot of other aspects of her work such as the constant reuse of objects and materials. I enjoyed the constant idea of revisitation and personal history. She displayed one show in a space that she had already had an exhibition in and so she tried to initiate specific echoes to the older show, once again adding in small subtle secrets that only a viewer who had seen the previous show would recognize and I found this notion very endearing.              -daryl

  Specifically, this gesture that I speak of is presented in one instance, with the piece that included a light box with an image of a painting she had done on one of the walls of her studio space, and facing it, a section of drywall of the studio itself.  This piece seemed to not just draw upon the relationship of the studio to the gallery, but more so the represent a sort of marriage of the document to a piece of artwork that was produced.  The connection that joins the two to be fitting for a gallery space is that they both are talking about how the presence of either a document of a work of art, or that of a work of art itself, demands this conversation to take place between the viewer and itself; asking, what is it that really defines the space in which the producer produces a product, (the studio), and the space in which it ultimately, or potentially, will inhabit, (the gallery).  The interesting thing is that either the piece of drywall, or the light box mounted photograph could not exist.           -billy

.  The viewer has to step into the space in order to experience what is trying to be said, or more so, the feeling that is trying to be created.  But once the presentation is over, the space is taken down then the experience is lost.  The experience of the room, of the space is temporary.  Can her work fulfill that outside of the space? Or does it then become about aesthetics, loss and gain, and decoration or presentation.
            She is quickly making connections to things.  Making sense of things.  Reusing past material shows this.  She is taking thoughts she once had and expanding upon them, meditating on them, seeing how they fit into new thoughts, making connections.  She talks about using the remainder of work, the periphery, and turning it into new work, how both are equal.  She refers to instruction books, how they can be seen as art, and then from them creating art.         -brandy
Quite literally, in fact her work is turning more into a personal tour of her studio and less of work created in the gallery.  The idea of her studio walls becoming the work leads me to question her thought process. She intended to bring the place of consummation to the space of show.  However her place of consummation has become the shown object, and I feel that this negates her works.  It leads one down a never-ending spiral.  If one wishes to show the place of consummation then there should be something consummated to be juxtaposed against the place of creation.  However, when all she is showing is her place of creation it really isn’t her place of creation anymore it becomes the created.  Where will it end?     -aaron

Friday, February 12, 2010


We briefly talked about sarcasm in response to Billy's passive aggressive piece and I think that it was mentioned that sarcasm is a relatively new way of communicating or interacting with one another.  Correct me if I remembered that conversation wrong. Anyway, sarcasm dates back to ancient Greece. And I found this article that I think also speaks to passive aggressive behavior.  Passive aggressive behavior is a social calculation as well but more often an unconscious one.  

Quote from the article posted:
"Evolutionary biologists claim that sociality is what has made humans such a successful species. We are masters at what anthropologists and others call "social intelligence." We recognize and keep track of hundreds of relationships, and we easily distinguish between enemies and friends.  More important, we run our lives by social calculation."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

michael rakowitz

this coming Monday, February 15th, an artist talk by Michael
Rakowitz at the Cochrane-Woods Arts Center, 5440 South Greenwood Avenue,
Room 157 at 4:30pm.

Hope to see you there!

Michael Rakowitz’s work confronts our shared political consciousness
through performance, sculpture, graphic design and derives
it particular poignancy from an engagement with the world that is
at once pragmatic and poetic. His work has appeared in venues
worldwide, including: P.S.1, MoMA, MassMOCA, Castello di
Rivoli, the 10th Istanbul Biennial, Sharjah Biennial 8, Tirana
Biennale, National Design Triennial at the Cooper Hewitt,
Transmediale 05, and 16th Biennale of Sydney 2008. His recent
public project, Return, was presented by Creative Time in New
York. He is the recipient of a 2008 Creative Capital Grant for a
collaboration with Emna Zghal, the Sharjah Biennial Jury Award, a
2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant in
Architecture and Environmental Structures, the 2003 Dena
Foundations Award, and the 2002 Design 21 Grand Prix from
UNESCO. Rakowitz is also Contributing Editor for Surface
Tension: A Journal on Spatial Arts.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Austin Kleon: Newspaper Blackout Poems

To the person in critique today with the book pages. First off: Sorry, I forgot your name. Secondly: You should check out Austin Kleon's Newspaper Blackout Poems. The example one above is a bit trite, but he has some good work mixed in there. It's interesting to see the unused words totally redacted.


anyone who didn't get to critique today, please send your text pieces to

please email your amanda ross-ho papers to me by friday at noon...selections will be posted to the blog.


i really enjoyed the beginning of our critique process today...i want to reiterate a few things:

1.  be ready to talk about your work...these crits should be efficient and dense in terms of exchange of ideas!!!  we don't have time to 'poke around for meaning'...take responsibility for your work/strategy, milk us in the class for feedback!

2.  remember, you are encouraged to revisit any assignment before including it in the final documentation of your work for the final book

3.  don't take for granted any assignment...all of these develop critical thinking skills, push your awareness of artistic strategies, plant seeds for future harvesting...everything will ADD TO YOUR PRACTICE!

4.  keep up your stamina and attitude, don't let an assignment that seems unproductive get you down.  you learn the most when you miss the mark....happens to me constantly!

peace in the middle-east!  (now more than ever)

superbowl!  a contemporary american spectacle rife with material for artists...what does the 2010 superbowl spectacle reveal about us?  there are simple and really complicated answers to this question...

wafaa bilaal (politics in art!!!!!)

keith arnatt (as mentioned for billy's interest in notes)

Aunia Kahn

Aunia Kahn is a mixed media artist who creates dark, emotionally charged self-portraits derived from personal experiences living with abuse. In my favorite image by Aunia, "In Case of Emergency," she successfully uses text within the image as an almost instruction manual for reading and understanding the piece. I personally feel that without those bold, black confident, words, the tension and feelings of anxiety would be almost completely lost for me.


The left - The Fall of the Tower of Babel - is by John Furnival, and more closely represents our assignment to research a "text artist." It has an awesome amount of detail, and as subject, depicts a fascinating topic.

The right - Permanently - is a poem by Kenneth Koch. It is hilarious, and lightheartedly critical of grammar within poetry. Though it is the final sentence - "Until the destruction of language" that really gets me.

-Matthew Keable
PS: Sorry for posting the morning of the due date.

Unknown Artist.
I find this work very funny. It presents this comical finger-paint style of presenting the alphabet juxtaposed with the disgusting manipulation of smiling pageant winners. Possibly a comment on photoshopping.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lawrence Weiner

In the 1960's Lawrence Weiner began experimenting with language's capacity to stand for something, using letters on the wall or in books or posters as his mode of presentation. Some of his work describes a physical object, such as Many Colored Objects Placed Side by Side to Form a Row of Many Colored Objects, usually leaving the description general enough for the viewers to supply missing elements in their own imagination. Other works often describe an abstract action, such as this one or The Joining of France Germany and Switzerland by Rope. I think his work is very relevant to our assignment to think of art projects we'd like to accomplish that aren't possible.

amanda ross-ho

We'll be seeing amanda ross-ho speak at a noontime lecture tomorrow...her work is part of the MCA's just opened exhibition:

Production Site: The Artist’s Studio Inside-Out February 6 - May 30, 2010

Roger Brown- Kissin' Cousins

This painting was created by Chicago Imagist Roger Brown in 1990 after he found out that he was a distant cousin to Elvis. Roger Brown made a number of paintings using the format of circus freak-show banners from his time and adapting it to address other issues. This piece utilizes the absurdity of the circus banners with a sense of humor.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Judd Morrissey - The Jew's Daughter

Judd Morrissey teaches at SAIC in the Art & Tech department and refers to his work as "electronic literature / data poetics / performance and installation" which is pretty awesome in itself (re: data poetics).

The project I am linking, The Jew's Daughter, is described by Morrissey as "an interactive, non-linear, multi-valent narrative, a storyspace that is unstable but nonetheless remains organically intact, progressively weaving itself together by way of subtle transformations on a single virtual page."

I think it's awesome for a couple reasons: The meaning of the text changes. It is constantly rearranging its own narrative so that you are reading and rereading everything and as a consequence are forced to reconsider your own interpretations of it. It plays with the idea that a phrase can be poetic, beautiful and meaningful and still completely applicable to a whole range of different subjects. You'll understand what I mean when you go to the site and start reconfiguring.


>Monday, February 22, 6 p.m.
>Fullerton Hall, The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave.
>FREE Admission
>Thursday, March 11, 6 p.m.
>SAIC Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Drive
>Monday, March 15,  6 p.m.
>SAIC Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Drive
>This lecture is co-presented by the William Bronson and Grayce Slovet
Mitchell Lectureship in Fiber and Material Studies at SAIC and is part
of the Common Languages Lecture Series.
>Tuesday, April 6, 6 p.m.
>SAIC Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Drive
>*Artist Talk: Wednesday, April 14, 6 p.m.
>SAIC Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Drive
>FREE Admission

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kay Rosen


Kay Rosen plays with the construction of words and phrases, manipulating their format, and placement to create context that generates new meanings.  Rosen’s later work relies more on these attributes but “Oh, Eua,”, one of her earlier works is a short narrative whose context emerges simply from punctuation change.  That gesture creates significant differences made between the two texts, speaking to the complexity of language.

-how meaning (of language) changes based on slight factors, like variations of tone.

-how every thing can be two things at once.  Or is it every thing can be many things at once?


 “Nothing Will Be As Before”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

link to a post called 'artists holding signs'

Christopher Wool

Christopher Wool's text pieces are minimal, monochromatics, and for the large part words stenciled on aluminum. The sharp contrast of the dark text and light background lead the veiwer into reading the pieces as if they are a warning or declaration of truth, despite the absurdity of text itself. The text is found and it many times applied in a manner that forces the viewer to read the piece several times before the proper wording of the phrase is established (awkward spacing between letters is usually Wool's prefered method). Additionally, I find a subtle, and usually dark, humor in the phrases themselves, which only adds to the pieces.
-Aaron Smith

Bruce Nauman

Run From Fear, Fun From Rear (1972) is a neon text piece by artist Bruce Nauman. Run From Fear expresses the manipulative quality in language and communication which Nauman is fascinated by and I am most interested in. The popularity of the piece grew most during the aids epidemic in the early 80's. I once heard an interesting fact about Nauman's neon pieces – I guess his neon works are never sold(?)...and after all of his shows, the neon pieces are all destroyed(?). Crazy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Slemmons, Rod, “Between Language and Perception,” Exit, No. 16-2004, pp.48-49, 132.

here is a link to the full essay i mentioned in class...the one page excerpt was distributed in class today.


new works by greg stimac / this sat 4-7pm -highly recommended!

Text-Art Pick

I have always had an extreme dislike of text-art, but this guy makes it sexy. I appreciate the hand built lighting setups to display his text choices, and the obvious care he has taken in photographing the completed installation. His work is the first I've seen that makes me interested in experimenting with text-art.