Sunday, October 31, 2004

Christine Hiebert

I have more from the Ingrid Schaffner lecture I'd like to share, but before that take a look at the feature artnet has on Christine Hiebert. She's a fellow graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art(now called the University of the Arts), class of 1983. In a previous post I mentioned Joe Fyfe, class of 1976. Woo-hoo! I love Philadelphia!

Ingrid Schaffner

Last Wednesday I attended Philadelphia ICA curator Ingrid Schaffner's lecture on Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus, Dali's surrealist funhouse contribution to the 1939 World's Fair.

Dali's sea-themed, Botticelli-referencing, coral-coated pavilion was entered by passing through an enormous pair of woman's legs, above which women in bikini tops and holding fishing poles attempted to reel in passerby. One of the attractions inside the funhouse was a big tank of topless aqua-ballerinas. It was interesting, in light of Janet Jackson's recent wardrobe malfunction and the subsequent public outrage, to learn about how much uninhibited public nudity this family fair in the heart of the Midwest included. Aside from Dali's mermaids, other fair attractions included Sally Rand and her Nude Ranch, the Frozen Alive Girl, nude Cuban dancing girls, and what was supposedly the most titillating, Billy Rose's Aquacade.

Schaffner attempted to relate Dali's spectacle to the efforts of more recent artists like Damien Hirst's Gagosian show (I think she was showing slides of the 2000 show, Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results, and Findings), Matthew Barney's Cremaster, Jeff Koon's Puppy, Thomas Hirshhorn's Cavemanman, and something by Mariko Mori, but these connections seem a little forced. Yes, these works are all spectacles, but Dali's funhouse was entertainment for the masses, art second. The projects of these other artist's are all definitely capital-A Art first, and with the exception of Koons' Puppy I doubt anyone outside of the art audience is aware of them. A better example might have been Olafur Eliasson's The Weather Project, which all of London turned out for, but even that was in a museum. The best might be Arakawa & Gins' park, Site of Reversible Destiny. (Update: Re-reading this I've just realized that most, if not all, of the examples Ms. Schaffner cited were of projects shown in NYC, aaargh! And at least three of those are artists who show at Barbara Gladstone. Another Barbara Gladstone artist whose recent project would have related very well to the talk is Anish Kapoor, and this piece isn't in NYC! Barbara Gladstone is a kick-ass gallery though, that's for sure.)

For all the talk of "an image of a world without form", references to Deleuze, "rhizomes", and "a new world order based on non-hierarchical structures" I wondered how artists in the audience - mostly younger students - might best respond to the contemporary projects cited in the lecture. The pieces referenced required enormous amounts of money and organization, and most of us can barely afford basic art supplies or even just having slides made. Artists have to hire grantwriters to write proposals to raise the funds to make the projects that best meet the mission statements of the foundations doing the funding. It doesn't seem very non-hierachichal to me.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Something for Someone

Here's something for someone I know, from James Wagner's artblog.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Tilo Baumgartel

"You know what's happening in Richmond now? Collectors are flocking there and demanding paintings, and they can't make them fast enough".

Ha Ha, just kidding! I meant Leipzig!

These look nice.

Marsh Art Gallery

University of Richmond's Marsh Art Gallery has a new show up, called New Math: Contemporary Art and the Mathematical Instinct, and I wish I had posted this earlier to announce the two related lectures. Unfortunately I'm too late to announce the first lecture, it's over, but you can still catch the second one given by artist Anne Morgan Spalter on Thursday, November 4, 9-7pm.

I haven't been to the show yet but am told it's a group exhibition of art inspired by math theories and concepts, and it's got everything from knitted hats to robotics to computer art to Alfred Jensen, structured around four themes. One of the artists included is Mel Bochner, who had my favorite piece at the Reynolds Gallery's summer works on paper show.

I bet I can get my buddy Mike to take me, he'd be into it.

Hal Foster

I'm still looking at Hal Foster.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Virginia Commission for the Arts

Got my rejection for the 2004-2005 Fellowships in Painting from the Virginia Commission for the Arts today. The Commission received 104 applications for the four fellowships. The jury panel consisted of the following four Virginia painters.

Steven Kenney (no images available)
Priscilla Treacy
Heide Trepanier
Gayle Paul (no images available)

Not a big fan of Heide's work, I still think it is stylistically too derivative of Inka Essenhigh and Giles Lyon, but I did manage to catch her show at Stux earlier this year and was surprised that it looked a lot better than I had expected. Her wall piece there was better than the wall piece she had at Reynolds Gallery, and whoever hung the paintings did a good job.

I did notice in the sign-in book that her show had also been visited by Roberta Smith and some other big NY reviewing names, but never saw a review. That most be very frustrating for an artist, to see that these people have visited and then wait in vain for a review. But I guess the consolation is knowing they are following your work. I bet her next show in the new Stux space gets some reviews.

Don't know yet who actually won the VA Fellowships in Painting, congratulations to the lucky four! Those who didn't win take heart, not winning doesn't mean your work is no good, only that four people with four very different preferences were able to agree on something else. I do know that in this particular competition if only one of the four panel-members said "no", you were out of the running. You may in fact have had one or two people who felt passionately about your work, but it had to be a decision all four were comfortable with. This often leads to the selection of work everybody likes and nobody loves (or hates). Anybody have a better way?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Dan Flavin

Boring Flavin Panel

Jeffrey Weiss, Curator and Head of Modern and Contemporary Art, National Gallery
Michael Govan, Dia
Alex Potts, University of Michigan
Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Art Center College of Design
Briony Fer, University College, London
Anne Wagner, University of California, Berkeley
Hal Foster, Princeton

Two of them are artists, Gilbert-Rolfe and Hal Foster.

Barbara Fox

The Queen of Birch Crescent, Barbara Fox, will be showing new work October 29th - November 14th, at the Lab Space at ROCO. Reception Friday 10/29 7-10pm.

137 East Avenue
Rochester, NY

Where's the Beef?

Here's Tyler explaining yesterday about how academics don't really have any power in contemporary art -

"within the context of contemporary art - - or even recent art such as Flavin's - - they just don't matter. Collectors and gallerists have the first impact on new art, then curators and critics who can broaden the audience for that work. Institutions (and more curators) step in next to canonize the work, and only then do academic theorizers get a shot."

Anyone notice who's missing? The ones who really don't have any power are the ones not even mentioned... the artists!

I disagree though that institutions and academics don't have any power. If anything they have a disproportionate amount of power. Why else would Tyler spend so much time covering them? And I'm glad he's doing it.

Universities are heavily invested in promoting their own and Tyler might be surprised at the amount of university money paying for Brooklyn/Chelsea gallery receptions and art magazine advertisements. A gallery started by an Acme University graduate filled with artists who are also Acme University graduates, do you really think Acme University doesn't do anything to support and encourage that?

The university ranking system has contributed to many schools making the choice to gut actual programs in favor of the marketing of those programs, and some university administrators will do almost anything to raise and maintain their rankings. Are the rise in importance of a school's ranking and the artworld's concurrent adulation of youth unrelated phenomena? I don't think so!

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Alliance of Artists Communities

Got my rejection from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Center's studio program this weekend. I think they take applications twice a year. This is a studio program only, the same one that previously had studio space in the World Trade Center.

Here's a great source for those interested in pursuing a full residency, The Alliance of Artists Communities. I have multiple rejections from many of these programs, and some are much more competitive than others.

The Vermont Studio Center is an excellent residency program, and you have a better chance of acceptance by submitting to the Vermont Studio Center, because this is a year-round program, as opposed to something like Skowhegan, which holds only one summer session each year.

All of these programs have different missions, merits, and reputations. A residency at Skowhegan is, rightly or wrongly, considered a better "get" than one at the Vermont Studio Center. Both offer relatively the same thing, but because VSC operates year-round it can serve ten times the number of artists who are able to attend Skowhegan, and Skowhegan consequently is regarded as the more competitive and intense session. I know one guy who went to Skowhegan after VSC and when he said to his Skowhegan friends he was looking forward to going back to VSC someday was told "you can't go back". I've got three Skowhegan rejections so can't report first-hand, but from what I understand it is on average a much younger, intense, ambitious, and competitive crowd than you will meet at VSC.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Upcoming Talks

Very much looking forward to the upcoming talks by Shirley Kaneda and Ingrid Schaffner.

Ingrid Schaffner is the Senior Curator at the Philadelphia ICA, which always has something worth seeing. Her talk is entitled "Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus: The Surrealist Funhouse from the 1939 World's Fair". I imagine she will talk about how relevant that project is to so much installation and performance art today. Thomas Hirschhorn's fantastic Cavemanman and Matthew Barney come quickly to mind.

Shirley Kaneda is a painter, and had one of the best pieces in the Chelsea Art Museum's recent Surface Tension show. Her piece was the perfect size for where it was hung, and really lit up the corner. I almost didn't go in, because they charge an admission fee and the place is surrounded by free galleries, but very happy I did.

Ingrid Schaffner - Wednesday, October 27. 3 pm. 934 W Grace Street., Grace Street Theatre
Shirley Kaneda - Wednesday, November 3. 3pm. VCU Art Foundations Building. 609 Bowe Street, 5th Floor (this is easy to get confused about, it's on the top-floor of a parking garage).

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Giorgio Morandi

Joe Fyfe vs. Tyler Green!

Two reviews of the same show by two of my recent mentors, and I've met both of them in Richmond. These are interesting reading if you are like me and trying to learn different approaches to writing about art.

Coincidentally, Joe and I both got our BFA's in painting from the same place, Philadelphia's University of the Arts, and studied under the same man, the late Warren Rohrer. There was a big Art in America article on Warren earlier this year, that was very nice to see.

If you had never been to artcritical.com before, I'm glad I could introduce it to you.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Sculpture/Crafts Show

The previous post only talks about Derek Cote's contribution to the show currently on view in the VCU Fine Arts Building first floor gallery space, but there are in fact ten other artists also showing, each represented by a single work.

Three of the works feature a single commonplace material (tape, cake boxes, extension cords) in abundance, arranged in what Jerry Saltz refers to here as a "squirrely, self-replicating building system", a method of working that has quickly become tiresome. The examples seen in this show each seem to be only glimpses of unrealized room-filling installations, which even then would be unsatisfying. One of the best-known practitioners of this process is Tara Donovan, another former VCU student. DC-based Dan Steinhilber also recently showed in Richmond.

What for me is most interesting about this group show of graduate students from the separate Crafts and Sculpture departments is that you cannot tell which artist is from which department, none of the work is functional. Crafts departments in art schools across the country have long suffered from an inferiority-complex in comparison with the so-called Fine Arts, and in fact the VCU Crafts Department is now called Material Studies. What does it mean when work being created in the Materials Studies Department can't be differentiated from what is created in the #1 ranked sculpture program in the country?

I took Kiersten Ware's excellent non-profit management class last year and have become a big believer in the mission statement. Departments, what are your mission statements? And if they are all the same, why bother being separate departments?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Tangled Web

Thanks to art-bloggers From The Floor , DC Art News, and Bloggy for the mentions and links today.

For my friends here in Richmond who might be new to this, a good listing of art-blogs from around the country can be found at Dangerous Chunky. Click on "art portal".

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Chop Suey!

Chop Suey Books will be hosting another Bizarre Market on October 30th. Chop Suey is a Richmond used-bookstore/gallery, with bargains galore. I recently bought the 1973 Whitney Biennial catalogue there, for something like $4.00. The 1973 Biennial was the first, and a lot's changed since then! A real surprise for me was seeing that recently retired VCU sculpture professor Lester Van Winkle had been included.

The Bizarre Market is a street market on the block behind Chop Suey, with people selling all kinds of stuff, including art. Last time I went I got one of Nicholas Kuszyk's cool t-shirts and a very strange little robot made by a guy named Eric Hall. It's reminiscent of a Star Wars action-figure, silver, about five inches tall, with articulated joints. Eric had about eight of these robots, male and female, that he had cobbled together from other plastic toys, putty, and I don't know what else. Looking at the robot now it's hard to figure out what the individual pieces are. Eric said he was making these robots as a hobby, and when I asked for contact info he wrote "toy guy" in parenthesis after his name, so I'm not even sure if he considers them art. Don't know if he'll be at the upcoming market, but that's the kind of stuff you can expect to find. I've got his phone number if anyone wants it. Oh yeah, the price. It was only $15.00!

This time the market is being held to help benefit Art 180, a group working to provide art related programs to Richmond youth.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Thomas Cole

Speaking of the New York Academy in Rome (see earlier post), probably my favorite New York artist to draw inspiration from a trip to Italy is Thomas Cole. I'm from upstate NY, and have always been a fan of what is generally known as the Hudson River School, but really became interested after seeing the American Sublime exhibition at Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts a couple years ago. That show was terrifically invigorating, and I really enjoyed organizer Tim Barringer's lecture. If you get a chance, he's a great speaker.

The show included all five of Cole's Course of the Empire paintings, which were themselves inspired by his travels in Italy and Byron's Childe Harold. Here is a timely quote from that poem -

"First Freedom, and then Glory; when that fails, Wealth, Vice, Corruption."

Something interesting learned at the lecture is that the term Hudson River School was actually a derogatory term used by European artists of the time in describing the work being made in the States. If anything, Cole and his contemporaries would have most likely referred to themselves as Sublimists.

VCU Open Studios

I heard that VCU might not be holding an open studio night this year. That would be a disappointment.

VCU kids, why would you not want to do this? Last year didn't have the greatest turnout, but people still came, including Virginia Museum of Fine Arts curator John Ravenal.

Please reconsider!

Monday, October 18, 2004


Another upcoming deadline you might want to consider is the Rome Prize, to spend a year at the American Academy in Rome. The deadline is November 1st, and it's a real long-shot, and if you don't live in NYC you can pretty much forget it. In fact, they should change the name of the place to the New York Academy in Rome.

2004/2005 Winners

Lucky DeBellevue, NY
Franco Mondini Ruiz, NY
Jackie Saccoccio, NY
George Stoll, CA

and the judges were:

Chuck Close, NY
Nayland Blake, NY
Paul Ha, MO (but he previously ran White Columns, so we'll call it NY)
Lyle Ashton Harris, NY
Barbara London, NY
Elizabeth Murray, NY
Martin Puryear, NY (although he is upstate)

So we had a grand total of seven New Yorkers choosing 3 New Yorkers and a guy in LA.

2003/2004 Winners

Diana Cooper, NY
Maria Elena Gonzalez, NY
Matvey Levenstein, NY
John Newman, NY

and the judges were:

Agnes Gund, NY
Dawoud Bey, Chicago!
Susan Crile, NY
Paul Ha, MO via NY
Barbara London, NY
Philip Pearlstein, NY
Jack Risley, NY

In this case we had six New Yorkers and a Chicagoan choose four New Yorkers.

You can draw your own conclusions, but my opinion is that it's all pretty much fixed, they all know each other and/or are somehow invested in each other's work, and if you live in Nebraska and have spent the past couple months researching Rome to best explain in your proposal how important it is in this stage of your career that you be in Rome, you're a sucker.

Are you listening, artists of Miami, Los Angeles, Texas, DC, Chicago, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Seattle, and everywhere else?


I've just started this blog, so forgive me for posting these opportunities so close to the deadlines.

Sculptors, you might want to look into the residency program at Sculpture Space. The deadline is November 1st.

And a sculptor who has recently left Richmond for New York, Kai Vierstra, is showing at Smack Mellon. Kai is one of their 2004 studio artists. If you are interested in applying for a studio at Smack Mellon or would like to go see Kai's work, learn more here. The deadline is October 30th.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Berkenblit vs. Birch

In the corner on my left, showing at Anton Kern Gallery, she brings a professional record of 11 solo exhibitions, more than twenty years of group exhibitions, and a successful sideline as a fashion designer, ladies and gentleman, please welcome, Ellen Berkenblit!

And in the corner on my right, the challenger, fighting out of the Bellwether Gallery, with four solo shows already to his credit, please give a big welcome to... "Mighty" Ion Birch!

But really, is this a reference to something I'm not aware of?

Rochester Contemporary

ROCO is looking for a new director. Information on applying can be found here. Rachael, you're in Rochester, aren't you?

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Ota Museum

I've been putting together my application for the Ota Museum's research grant. I don't know if they get many applications from artists, I think it is mostly academics that apply, but I'll give it a shot. Meant to apply for this last year but didn't get it together in time.

The Ota Museum of Ukiyoe is one of the nicest small museums in Tokyo, with a fantastic collection from which they mount changing exhibits. Last time I was there I saw this piece by Hiroshige, "Futami Bay in Ise Province", of the Shinto shrine Futamigaura. Futamigaura, which might be translated into English as "the wedding rocks", consists of two rocky outcroppings just off-shore, one larger than the other, which have been bound together with ropes. This is one of those famous places so popular with Japanese artists, and you can get a better idea of what I'm describing by taking a look at this print by Hasui. A couple of my own pieces inspired by this place, or rather the idea of the place and Hiroshige's print, can be seen here and here.

Ukiyoe is most often translated as "art of the floating world". "Yo" is world, and "e" is picture or art, but I'm not convinced that the "uki" part was originally understood as floating. "Uki" can also be translated as fleeting, meaning ephemeral and transient, and seems much more in keeping with Japanese and later Impressionist sensibilities. This may be a case of an early mistranslation that has stuck, as "uki" does primarily mean float.

The best way to go is to take the Yamanote line to Harajuku Station and head down Omotesando, the museum will be on your left, up some steep stone steps.

Cremaster at The Byrd Theatre

All five of Matthew Barney's Cremaster movies are going to be shown at The Byrd Theatre at the end of the month. If you don't know the Byrd, it's a 1928 movie palace, in gorgeous condition, which shows second-run movies for only $1.99! Last week they had Spider-Man 2 and I think now they're playing The Manchurian Candidate and The Village. I am super excited to be able to see one of the Cremaster movies in such a beautiful theater. Thank you for putting this together!

Hit this link for all the info.

Friday, October 15, 2004

New American Paintings

Hey Mid-Atlantic painters!

The next annual deadline to submit to New American Paintings is October 31. This is great exposure, I've even seen it in bookstores in Tokyo, and have known a number of people who've been included. Some of them have been contacted by gallerists to be included in shows, and some never heard from anybody. The first time I saw Laylah Ali's work was when she was featured on the cover. Shortly after that I was in Boston and able to see some of her work for real at the Miller-Block Gallery, which happened to have a summer show up including an emerging artist named Amy Cutler. Both of them were in the last Whitney Biennial, and I had an early opportunity to get something relatively cheap and blew it! Aaargh!

As for New American Paintings, I've entered a few times and have yet to get in, but I 'll keep trying!

Andy Warhol

My friend Al started this site, Japander, of mostly American celebrities endorsing products on Japanese television. He's been threatened with lawsuits from Meg Ryan and Leonardo Dicaprio, so they might not still be on the site, but the best one of all is this one of Andy Warhol selling a television.

In case you don't speak Japanese, he is saying the names of colors, and then he says "pretty". It's hilarious!

Carolyn Henne

Last night I went to Carolyn Henne's artist talk at ADA Gallery.

First impression on seeing the show last week brought to mind the Mutter Museum or perhaps the trophy room of the hunter that killed Babar's mother, with amputated stumps made into seats and plant stands. The pieces on stilts or legs were especially disconcerting, simultaneously repulsive and cartoony cute. Those pieces sway when lightly pushed and I was able to experience that bit of surprise mentioned by Carolyn when I first saw one get pushed last week. The lower pieces are intended to be sat on. All of these pieces are malleable and feel like an artificial skin. Remember those action figure dolls, the Fem-bots and the Bionic Man, and you could roll the skin up their faces or arms? They feel like that.

The floor-to-ceiling column is intentionally squished in, folding a bit in places. Carolyn talked about how she is interested in "pressures". Internal forces pushing out creating forms, and the affects of external pressures on those forms. Like being squished into a room or sat on.

It was interesting to learn that these pieces can be considered self-portraits. Carolyn made a full body cast of herself some years ago, which she then gridded off and it sounds like cut into pieces. Carolyn refers to these pieces as "tiles" and I'm not clear if the pieces are more like slices or cubes, but they have been the building blocks of all her subsequent work. The pieces in this show are mostly made from tiles taken from her lower back, recast in multiples, rearranged and recombined. The spindly legs of the pieces I mentioned above are the same tiles in a smaller scale. The whole room is full of models of genetically engineered Carolyn-creatures turning their backs to us. I wouldn't want to be in that room during a lightning storm!

A woman asked how Carolyn would feel showing at the American Craft Museum, I guess because some of Carolyn's sculpture is functional and would therefore be considered craft. Didn't that woman watch the debates? Aren't we through with labels?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Iona Rozeal Brown

Tyler Green talks a bit about the development he feels is being made by Iona Rozeal Brown. I agree with Tyler in finding her work rather one-note. Hip-hop meets ukiyoe, Japanese girls in blackface. Brown bases it on her experiences with the ganguro phenomenon. But the ganguro she references was a blip on the fashion screen. I do remember seeing one girl in line at KFC or someplace who looked burnt to a crisp, but that black skin thing has been toned down. I don't think it was ever really about being black at all, but being "x-rays". Black hair gone blonde or white, white skin gone black, and super white eyeshadow and lip gloss, and those girls really were at the extremes of the trend. Most of them seemed to be going for some beach tramp look.

I did see something much different from the artist at Ty Stokes "Stop Bush!" show in Atlanta. Can't remember clearly enough to describe it well now, but it featured two women in burkhas holding guns. That was a nice surprise. It was also I think one of the few pieces in the show that had anything to do with Bush or politics. I heard that Bill Bounds, the owner of the gallery, just wanted to have an excuse to make "Stop Bush!" postcards. Good one!

Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby is one of my favorite artists and a big influence. Why isn't this stuff in art museums yet? It will be soon. If I had any money, I would buy a Kirby. Where can I see one for real? Probably at a comic book convention. Am I the only one that thinks Kirby may have been influenced by Japanese prints? Especially Hokusai and Hiroshige. Lot of parallels between American comics and ukiyoe.

Segal Foundation

Mailed in my application for a grant to the George and Helen Segal Foundation today. Wish me luck! Everyone else, keep them in mind for next year. I think they alternate years with awards to painters and sculptors. Next year will probably be for sculptors.

Today was also the deadline for the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program. I've applied to this a couple times before, to no avail. I'll try again sometime, but not this year. New Mexico is beautiful beautiful beautiful though. I lived in Albuquerque for about seven months back in '94 and loved it. They have the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta there in October.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

the meaning of anaba

I'm calling this blog anaba, the same name I gave my first solo show. Anaba is Japanese and can be understood as a special place known only to a few. Like a secret swimming hole that only the locals know about. It's a kanji compound word combining the character for hole(ana) with the character for place(ba), but "anaba" sounds a lot prettier than "hole-place".

test post

First test post.