Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Performance and installation Art

Marina Abramovic, uses her body in extreme ways to make statements. Believed in spiritual transcendence through these physical expressions. "Abramović's work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind."

In one of her pieces, she creates a star, lights it on fire and goes in the middle of it.
She didn't realize the fire surrounding the star would suck up all the oxygen around her, and she actually went unconscious during her 90 minute session inside the outline of the star.

Rhythm 5, 1974

"Abramović sought to re-evoke the energy of extreme body pain, in this case using a large petroleum-drenched star, which the artist lit at the start of the performance. Standing outside the star, Abramovic cut her nails, toenails, and hair. When finished with each, she threw the clippings into the flames, creating a burst of light each time. Burning the communist five-four rayed star represented a physical and mental purification, while addressing the political traditions of her past.

In the final act of purification, Abramović leapt across the flames, propelling herself into center of the large star. Due to the light and smoke given off by the fire, the observing audience didn’t realize that, once inside the star, the artist had lost consciousness due to a lack of oxygen. Some members of the audienced realized what had occurred only when the flames came very near to her body and she remained inert. A doctor and several members of the audience intervened and extricated her from the star.

Abramović later commented upon this experience: “I was very angry because I understood there is a physical limit: when you lose consciousness you can’t be present; you can’t perform.” (Daneri, 29).

-excerpt from wikipedia.

Rhythm 0, 1974 - AMAZING

To test the limits of the relationship between performer and audience, Abramović developed one of her most challenging (and best-known) performances. She assigned a passive role to herself, with the public being the force which would act on her.

Abramović had placed upon a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use (a sign informed them) in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were scissors, a knife, a whip, and, most notoriously, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions.

Initially, members of the audience reacted with caution and modesty, but as time passed (and the artist remained impassive) several people began to act quite aggressively. As Abramović described it later:

“The experience I learned was that…if you leave decision to the public, you can be killed.” ... “I felt really violated: they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the public. Everyone ran away, escaping an actual confrontation.” (Daneri, 29; and 30).

Vanessa herself had an eating disorder.

Vanessa's VB55 Piece:
For this one, they tried to teach the models to "let go" so the audience could also let go. A mass of people came to view another mass of people.
-Took both models and non-models for this project.

This artist has undergone seven plastic surgeries on her face, each of which she calls performances that she documents at every step of the way.
-Her goal is not to become beautiful but rather to suggest that objective beauty is unattainable and in turn the process is painful and horrifying. Allows you to view her plastic surgeries.

-Recently had two goldish bumps put in near her temples, to show that her surgeries were not about being beautiful.

"An author, speaker, artist, performer, and catalyst for change." Improv everywhere --- causes scenes of chaos and joy in public plays.
-Art deals with issues of rate, specifically African American in this society.
--She sat in streets in Portland and gathered money from white people for reparations payments and gave them right back to black people and said, "Here's your first reparations payment." Her objective was not to just collect money but to make a point. Trying to expose the race issue, not enforce it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

(Mainly) Performance Art & Photography

The Sacred and Profane - Joel-Peter Witkin. Mother of the Future (2004). -Seeks to redefine beauty -- seeking unity in the grotesque. -Makes the impossible, possible. Attempting to communicate what is incommunicable. Robert Mapplethorpe Photos - Erotic type photos with a message. Andres Serrano - Piss Christ, 1989. A controversial photo he took, submerged in his own urine. -Many people accusing him of being anti-Christian, where that was not his intent here. "You can't have the sacred without the profane" he says. He wouldn't spend time with christianity if he had no feeling for it. PERFORMANCE, INSTALLATION AND VIDEO in Contemporary Art produce alternative forms of expression and communication, manifesting often in hybrid artistic practices. Artists and viewers become linked to real-time experiences through art. Performance Art, Body Art, Happening, Event:
Live art activity that encompasses elements of theatre and visual art. Origins in the Fluxus Movement of the 1960s and the work of Allan Kaprow. Expanding the boundaries of space and time. Blurring the line between art & life, between reality and fiction.

May have (but not always):

-audience (happening: audience is performer)
-use of body as medium.

Performance/Body Art: Five Day Locker Piece. Chris Burden.
-Artist locked himself in a locker for five days.

“I was locked in locker No.5 for five consecutive days and did not leave the locker during this time. The locker measurements were two feet high, two feet wide, three feet deep. I stopped eating several days prior to entry, thereby eliminating the problem of solid waste. The locker directly above me contained five gallons of bottled water; the locker below me contained an empty five-gallon bottle.” Chris Burden

-In a way shows a way of life, in that we can survive off of minimal needs -- or brings out the things many of us shower ourselves with for comfort in our everyday lives.
-Or simply just pushes the body to extremes.

Chris Burden - Transfixed. 1974.
"In 1974 Burden performed Transfixed in which his body was stretched along the roof of a Volkswagen Bug while a friend drove spikes through his hands nailing him to the car. The vehicle was then driven out into the street where it obstructed traffic. Aside from the strange religious connotations of this piece, the point of Transfixed might have been merely to shock and disturb."

Touch & Tap Cinema, 1968. Still photo documentation.
"Valie EXPORT’s early guerilla performances have attained an iconic status in feminist art history. Tapp- und Tast-Kino ("Tap and Touch Cinema") was performed in ten European cities in 1968-1971. In this avowedly revolutionary work, Valie Export wore a tiny "movie theater" around her naked upper body, so that her body could not be seen but could be touched by anyone reaching through the curtained front of the "theater." She then went into the street and invited men, women, and children to come and touch her."
-She is trying to subvert visual communication by doing this as well, since "seeing the cinema" in this case was done only by touch.
Did work in trying to create and portray woman as the subject rather than the object. She is free to expose her breasts and is no longer confined by social ideas of a woman and of what's right or wrong. Many people though don't believe she was successful in how she tried to portray the message, yet others did - and said she was still in control of her sexuality, even though she was letting many people feel her. She is still the one in control of it.
Joseph Beuys - I Like America and America Likes Me, 1974.

-In this performance and ritual piece he bridges the duality between coyote and shepherd -- shepherd usually drives coyotes away from the domestic animal. In this he attempts to make friends with the coyote rather than drive it away. Spent a week in a room with the coyote. CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN - Up to and Including Her Limits. Uses her body and bodily fluids in her art. Idea of liberating the feminine. Releasing the female body from male attitudes. 1973-76. Performance, live video relay.
-Transforming male desire into feminine experience."I am suspended in a tree surgeon's harness on a three-quarter-inch manila rope, a rope which I can raise or lower manually to sustain an entranced period of drawing– my extended arm holds crayons which stroke the surrounding walls, accumulating a web of colored marks. My entire body becomes the agency of visual traces, vestige of the body's energy in motion."
-Role of the body and the mind in executing these concepts.
-She talks about emancipating herself from male-centric subject matter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More contemporary artists

Jeff Wall, Photographer from BC, Canada. Image above: A Sudden Gust Of Wind, 1993. Inspired by/after Hokusai. Image Above: Dead Troops Talk (Jeff Wall). 1992. Henry Peach Robinson, Fading Away. 1858. Printed using five negatives.

More Conceptualist Artists, Feminist Artists

Sophie Calle in her series of "The Hotel," tries to define private space and public space (for one, she enters into private spaces, yet then exposes them to the public), to investigate art and life, fiction and reality.

--However, how much of what a photograph reveals is actually true, though? Is Sophie truly exposing someone's private space, or is it she just making it appear that way?
Sophie Calle : "Exquisite Pain." In this work of art/photography, her theme is dealing with exquisite pain, more in relation to her personal story of a breakup with someone, with whom later she was supposed to meet somewhere but then he blew her off. She then also documents her friends' own experiences of pain, yet again displaying the idea of relative truth. "Exquisite Pain" is actually an installation on embroidered panels. Barbara Kruger - "I Shop Therefore I Am": Barbara takes images to reinforce the thinks that we think we value in our society. She is particularly critical about the way women are portrayed in the media. She mentions how there is politics in everything -- in every exchange with every person; in every exchange there is a power play. She makes her art about politics, life, death, power, etc.
"I'm living my life, not buying a lifestyle.
" Barbara Kruger Look, we're all saddled with things that make us better or worse. This world is a crazy place, and I've chosen to make my work about that insanity. Barbara Kruger

Doubt tempers belief with sanity. -Barbara Kruger "I think that I'm trying to engage issues of power and sexuality and money and life and death and power. Power is the most free-flowing element in society, maybe next to money, but in fact they both motor each other." - Barbara Kruger Cindy Sherman.
Appropriation of the medium of films. She saw Femininity as a Construct, not as something innate. Above photo is an Untitled Film Still. 1977-1980. She is the woman in the picture, as well as the one photographing herself. She is interpreting how she will be seen here by photographing herself, to oppose to the idea of being an object of desire in the man's eyes. She plays upon the idea of the "male gaze."
Laurie Simmons - Interested in the idea of identity, the role of women in society, sense of nostalgia in her work. It is about creating a narrative that is left to the viewer.
Displaying women's role, especially as it was in the 50s.
Above house is "The Kaleidoscope House," where she collaborated with an architect to make this. A Toy company contacted her though, and there are now limited edition toy reproductions of it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Conceptual Art's Legacy to Photography

Photographic use in post-modernism and challenges thus proposed by such post-modern works of art.
  • A challenge to the traditional/historical notion of "Photograph as Documentary" in nature + examination of history of documentation.
  • Use of photography as a critique of mass media (we are a product of such images; such images do not reflect who we are).
  • Photography as poised to counter the traditional notion of the "male gaze" (for whom works of art are made).
  • Photography confounding the truth: Constructed images + fictionalized histories (documents v. pictures).
DOROTHEA LANGE - migrant mother, Nipomo, California. 1936. WALKER EVANS - Hale County, Alabama. 1936. Consider: How objective ARE these photos? Their objective was to bring to light the reality of these people. "Their aim has been not to reform life but to know it. Not to persuade but to understand." - John Szarkowski said of the photographers.
By the 1970s, the era of social reform, documentary is being considered as remnant, an act of refusal; is seeing really believing?
Martha Rosler - Red Stripe Kitchen:Above image attempting to show daily life in the U.S... "Red Stripe Kitchen is also a harbinger of our own present moment, in which media images of domestic comfort and security no longer seem to keep the violence and chaos of the outside world at bay."
Allan Sekula, Aerospace Folktales - creates a series of folktales as yet another way to approach the public documentary.

Victor Burgins: "Life Demands a Little Give and Take" Pedro Meyer - also works to redefine documentary. "Documentary photography has implied a practice in which the photographer examined a socially conscious concern of the time within an extended form. An extensive series of images as well as the use of text are utilized to provide an in-depth examination into a subject with the intention to suggest empathy and/or social change."

Artists are turning the nature of traditional documentary on its side. How objective is documentary?

Documentary photography is interesting because people normally expect a the contents of a photo to be true, as opposed to an interpretation of reality (such as like in a painting) -- but it isn't always entirely fully true.

How do we know if something is true or not in a documentary?

One person's idea of documentary photography is to bring awareness to an issue.

From Here I Saw what Happened and I cried: - Reinterpretation of a historical document.

Carrie Mae Weems - Kitchen Table Series.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


By Oliver Munday.

Intelligentsia Coffee Packaging

Monday, October 13, 2008

Post-Modernism Painting

Post-Modernism Painting Shows:
-Variation of Styles
-Historical pastiche

-Appropriation -Response to mass media and media-driven imagery.
-Critique of authorship and originality.

Gerhard Richter - Atlas Sheet 515. 1994. Understanding painting by understanding photography.
A New Spirit in Painting, 1981
1980s interest in return to the figure and expression in painting, especially in response to de-materialized art forms of the 1960s and 1970s.

Lucian Freud, Reflection, 1985.
Lucien Freud's painting of a woman: This sold for $33 million.

Francis Bacon, Self-Portrait, 1979.

George Baselitz, The Gleaner, August 1978. Oil and tempera on canvas.
Neo-expressionist, focuses on re-formation of the figure, on vibrant color.

Sigmar Polke, Another Neo-Expressionist.
'Untitled (Abstract Red Transparent Picture with Arrow Pointing Upward). 1990.

Land Art - Postmodernism

Postmodernist Art

Land Art
-New Possibilities for Medium in Art -Temporary Works -Site-based Works -A Challenge to the notion of "object for institution"

Walter De Maria - The Lightning Field, 1977. Western New Mexico.
Lightning hits the poles, you can pay to go there and witness the lightning.

Walter De Maria - The New York Earth Room, 1977
-An Interior Earth Sculpture, 250 cubic yards of earth, within a space of 3600 sq. feet. 22" depth of the material.

Richard Long - A Line Made by Walking. 1967
Richard Long often incorporates circles and lines in his art. He doesn't want to change or alter landscape on a permanent scale, but accept that their art will return to their natural state after it is created (like with his line made by walking).

Richard Long - Red Slate Circle, 1980. Red slate stones. Diameter: 336 inches. Goldsworthy, Andy. Snowballs in Summer.
In 1999 he collected snowballs, filled each one with surprise in the center -- pebbles, sheep wools, etc. Put the finished snowballs in a deep freeze storage until summer, then transported them to London in refrigerated trucks. Midnight June 21st, 2000, he rolled these snowballs out all throughout parts of London.
They melted in two days, but what remained were the natural elements embedded within the snow.

Pop Vs. Soda Map

Information Design

Examples of Information Design

Graphs, Charts, and other ways of mapping information in a visually appealing, clear way.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I found these guys through one of my studio classes. They are based in Portland, OR. I love the work!

some of their posters: