Monday, December 13, 2010

Christine Mehring

In her discussion of the emergence of art fairs, Christine Mehring speaks about some unsettling parallels between them and flea markets, or at the most generous, Walmart. When presented with her context of the budding art fair it is startling to see the similarities between Basel and Red Barn. There are differences and those are pointed out as well. The fringe shows are one example. One of the biggest examples are that in art fairs the booths set up by a person do not sell their belongings but another person's belongings. In essence they are selling a piece of a reputation. She explains that the Art Fair sets up the desire to own rather than just view. She finishes by showing the shift in financial motivation from the gallery spaces to the Art Fair.

Roberta Smith 3

In the final article by Roberta Smith, she takes a look at the "Skin Fruit" Exhibition in New Museum. The show was from the private collection of Dakis Joannou, one of it's trustees and curated by Jeff Koons. Yet again the political implications of the show were downplayed in favor of an analysis of the show itself. The idea of a trustee being allowed to play their private collection in the museum is yet another strange leap across a line that has been drawn in the sand for some time. In the new world of gallery owners as museum directors and trustees using museums as places to showcase their own collections, the future of the art market is uncertain.

Roberta Smith 2

the next Roberta Smith article, "A New Boss, and a Jolt of Real-World Expertise" talks about the appointment of Jeffery Deitch as director of MoCA in Los Angeles. As briefly explained in the article people are wary because one of the main trustee's for the MoCA is Eli Broad who's collection is financially tied to Jeffery Deitch. The concern is that by directing the museum Mr. Deitch can effect the value of his own artists and thus the value of Mr. Broad's collection which is primarily composed of artists from the Deitch gallery. It is a slippery slope that can have broad implications on the art market in the years to come.

Roberta Smith

In Who Needs a White Cube These Days, Roberta Smith takes a look at the culture trends of Gallery owners and the moderate outstretches from the standard gallery model. She looks at Mary Boone's use of another gallery owner, the small spaces of the Wrong Galleries and Gavin Brown's Bar. She looks at Michele Maccarone's "retail space" and Emily Sundblad's "living room" gallery. She shows many forms of the same beast and keeps it within the bounds of high class society.

This is another example of a reading that is important for us in that it is relevant to the market we are going to find ourselves in next year (a few years if we are attending grad school.) It is interesting to see the ways that the art market folds out and then folds back in on itself as Dave Hickey alluded to in the previous reading.

Dave Hickey

In the Birth of the Big, Beautiful Art Market, Dave Hickey shows some emotional angst that is not found in the other chapters of Air Guitar. He relates modern art customizing to the car Renaissance of the 50's and 60's. He writes about his excitement over the new customizable art of the 60's and the synergy between the market of art and the art of American commerce. He then goes on to relate how the art market grabbed the tweaking and customizing and enfolded it back into itself. How it succeeded in sucking in all a attempts to break free of it. It became an Oroborus. Perpetuating itself by becoming what was created to destroy it. He talks about art moving to the floor not as a rebellion against the standard but because the standard had left no other place for it. Art had outpaced it's demand.

I think this reading affects how I view the market of art and how the "Art World" functions. My own work is at it's heart more in the direction of public art and is not fully tied to the contemporary art market, but I do intend to do some work that will be placed into this machine and the views in this article are a good reality check for people about to enter this world.

Jack Burgess

In this video Jack Burgess makes an interesting clip on what modern contemporary art is and how to look at it. His main definitions are that it is conceptual, made of all kinds of stuff, and interactive. Although his explanation is thin and simple, it is a good base explanation for the person that has trouble looking at contemporary art. There is no real way to parallel this to my own work as it is a bit too vague but it was a good watch.

Frontline Documentary

In the show, the effects of the internet on modern society is given careful examination. The effects of online activity and social networking on the classroom setting and even everyday life. How teachers are combating lower attention spans and the pressure to "outflash" the allure of the net. They show case studies of the effects of internet use and the hazards of misuse.

This show was very relevant to the times we live in and on a large amount of work being made today. There is much that can be said about, for, against, or in reference to this that directly relates to our modern lives. It is not particularly informative to my own work as I do not deal with this subject, but I do find the conversations that can be derived from it interesting.

Erica Goode

In "Among the Inept, Researchers Discover, Ignorance Is Bliss" Erica Goode recounts a study done by Dr. David A. Dunning at Cornell University. In the study Dr. Dunning finds that the more incompetent a person is at something, the more likely they are to think they are doing well. He finds that the ability to judge our own abilities is linked to our knowledge.

This reading is completely relevant to my own work. As I was saying in a critique last week, we are all ignorant of our own ignorance and our subconscious has the unique ability to fill in our ignorance with half formed information and relay it to the conscious as absolute truth. I was saddened that someone argued the point even after reading this article. The subject of "What we don't know about ourselves" is the main crux of my work. Sifting the mind for the context by which it relates information to events. Also the judging of abilities, personality traits, and knowledge and how our self perceptions do not always stem from truth but sub-conscious fabrication. This reading was custom tailored for my work.

Slavoj Zizek

In Zizek's article "Rumsfeld's Unknown Known, or Iraq's Initiation into Democratic Practice" He writes about the torture at Abu Ghraib. He relates the incidents not to modern torture but to hazing rituals and American cult phenomena. He states that the it is an induction into the dark underside of American Democracy. An inclusion into the First World. He sites that Bush's defense instead of totalitarian cover-up as an empirical difference.

My own work deals with the darker sides of self and has a level of parallel with this reading. His description of the events as opposite sides of the same coin as opposed to exceptions is interesting. I do feel that in my work, exposing the darker sides of my psyche is just as important as the brighter. One informs the other.

Flash Mob, Belgum

In this video a flash mob begins to dance to the song Do, Re, Mi from The Sound of Music. Over two hundred people begin to form rough lines and more pour in as the song progresses. I find the idea of flash mobs interesting. Although it is funny to me that they seem to be predominantly at train stations. The idea of people coming together for a brief time and then returning to their lives is a nice concept. Although that is not truly the case. It is only spontaneous to the viewers. The performers have practiced this routine for some time and the "spontaneous" is actually a well choreographed and planned out event. The actors are not taking a break from their daily lives. This duality is the more interesting content. As irony and duality are a big part of my work I can appreciate this although in my case it is intentional and I don't believe that this irony is intended in the work of flash mobs.


My research this semester has been internal. I have explored as many ways as I can of self discovery. There are two types of research I have been doing, self analysis and external analysis.


*Daily journal broken down as follows

1) Events | Emotions | Intellectual Responses to the Emotion

2) Events | Thought | Emotional Response to Thought

I alternate these Journals daily so as to get a better understanding of the synergy between my thought process and my emotional process. These journals will not be available for viewing but the content will be reinterpreted into kinetic sculpture.


*Interviews of people that know me at this moment.
*4 to date, roughly 7 will be conducted.
*these will be incorporated into sculpture work.

*These will be single question and will be used directly in performance work for my senior show.
*One completed, two more will be conducted before the show.

*Professional Analysis
*I have finished my first round of sessions with the Physcologist and will begin with a Psychiatrist in the Spring semester.
*These will be displayed directly. Being spoken in a performance for the senior show.

My research is coming along very well. The process is excruciatingly tedious and long. Breaking down a persons mentality into the smallest common denominators is not a quick one, but the results are interesting and will make for work that does not leave room for dismissal as half-assed. It is very important to me that in my work, people see the depth of my analysis so they cannot dismiss it on the grounds that it was not through. I want people to be taken aback at the level to which I excavated my subconscious.

Grad School, Residencies, Grants

I am 32. I have a stable life with many responsibilities. At this time in my life it would be impossible and irresponsible for me to go to grad school or attend a residency. I believe that it is important for me to start making work and putting it out into the world. Of these application process, I would be willing to try applying for grants. Unfortunately, not much information was given on where to find lists of grants, or the differences between applying for those versus grad school. We were made aware that of the things to apply for, these were the hardest to get. I will be submitting proposals for public works pieces in the spring semester and hope that although they are not on the list they fulfill the professional practice requirement of application submission.

thesis hypothesis

My thesis and the passion of my work now and in the far conceivable future is on internal change. What motivates us to change ourselves. How we perceive ourselves and how that is different from how others perceive us. How to gauge the validity of the perceptions of others and even the authenticity of our own self perceptions. I am taking a thorough journey through my own mental process in an attempt to understand how my mind reacts to the world. How my subconscious takes thing in and skews them without my own conscious awareness.

My work has solidified into the use of vague symbol and visual metaphor. The theory of universal symbolism has been tested and dismissed in the 60's and 70's but I believe that there is still untested waters. To use a metaphor to explain my use of metaphor. When presented with a cryptogram, the first symbol can mean any of twenty six possibilities. But it is not alone, it is placed next to other symbols, narrowing the list of possibilities. Finally when placed in a particular order the list of possibilities diminishes to one. In this way I use symbolism and metaphor, not as universal symbols but as vague ideas. It is in the context of other metaphors and symbols in proper order that narrow the possible interpretations. This is far from an exact science, but it is a very tangential way to speak to people visually.

This use of "Cryptographic Symbolism" is vital to my self analysis. By giving a very understandable representation of my inner self, I lay myself completely bare. If it were not as clear it would be less profound. By placing my mind in front of the viewer, I essentially remove myself from the artwork. I let the viewer identify with me and then to BECOME me. I let the viewer join in my analysis, placing themselves into it and asking themselves the same questions I am asking myself. By letting the viewer begin the journey as me, I open the door for people to begin to look at themselves without their ego defenses being raised. By tearing down my own walls, I am at the same time tearing down the viewers walls. I can bring about a willingness to look. And as I have found in myself, once we are willing to really look, we become willing to change.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


In this video Zizek says that the movie The Sound of Music actually glorified the Nazi's as the Jewish cosmopolitan and denounced the Austrians as the uptight Fascists. I can see his point and the point of the writer who says that it was always the intent of the Nazi's to emulate the Jews. The hard part is allocating intent. It is almost impossible to see whether it was the intent of the writer to create this role reversal, the director of the film, the costume designer or even Walt Disney himself. Or if the intent was there purposefully at all. These are questions that I do ask myself in my own work. What do I WANT it to say, what does it ACTUALLY say, which opinion is the more valid, and do they digress or coalesce.

Mark Byrne

In his article, Mark Byrne explains the discrepancy between the intent of Marina Abramovic's work in the MoMa and the reality of the work. Her intent is to give undivided attention to a singular person, but by allowing VIP privileges to celebrities she is telling the crowd that there is a difference in the "quality" of her attention. That there are people more worthy of her attention than others. This informs us that the time a person spends in line is actually inversely proportionate to the quality of the time with the artist.

It is hard to make a judgment on how this article relates to my work as it is a direct comment on someone else's work. I guess I hope my work is more thought out so as to be less hypocritical.

Claire Bishop

In the reading "Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics" Claire Bishop writes about the trend of relational art and the 1990's concept of relational aesthetics. She heavily sites Nicolas Bourriaud, coiner of the phrases and then begins to break down the meaning behind the terms. She gives descriptions of the works of Rirkrit Tiravanija and Liam Gillick. In these descriptions she displays how the works function as literal relations but do not function about relations. They set up actual relations but never comment on the relations being created. She then writes that democracy is a constantly shifting antagonism between parties. It is a push and pull that leaves everyone free to disagree. She then goes on to explain her interpretation of the works of Santiago Sierra and Thomas Hirschhorn. Explaining that these artists do not create artificial relations or endeavor to create small microtopias, but rather comment on realtions as they are found in the world we live in.

I found the reading very interesting. She had many good points on the differences in the artists. I didn't particularly find one more valid than the other, just different. My work is not very similar to either style of relational art. Both sought the external which is a common enough practice, while my work starts with the internal.

Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" talks about what the shift from manual to mechanical reproduction had on art in the 1930's. With most of the technologies he touched on being new at the time. He writes about nature and original art having a common "aura" that is lost in mechanical reproduction. Destroying the aura of art frees it from the constraints of tradition. He states that from tradition it falls into the realm of economy and politics. It becomes a thing for distribution and not pilgrimage. He goes on to site the many differences between physical viewing and surrogate viewing. He hints on the paradox that a stage made to look like a place is far more real than the actual view of a place as seen in a movie. He also looks at the way in which photography has informed painting and visa versa, vis a vie close ups.

I found this reading did not have very much to offer my work. It was an interesting thing to read how someone from 80 odd years ago thought of the impact on reproduction on art. But given the nature of my work, I don't feel it had much more to offer than a history lesson.

Roland Barthes

In his work, The Death Of The Author, Roland Barthes gives the history of the Author as an entity. He goes on to explain the rise of viewing a writing in the context of the Author. That by knowing the Author, we have a better understanding of the writing. He writes about words themselves being only explainable with other words and that all words are cryptic in nature. His final thought is that the true identity of a Writing lies in the reader and not the Author.

I think this reading is fantastic. Even though it is speaking about writing, it alludes to a very real concept in my work. So much critique in artwork is done through the filter of the artist. By completely laying myself bare in the work I paradoxically take myself out of it. In effect, by placing so much of myself in the work, I remove myself from it. This forces the viewer to make the choice of either rejecting the work or placing themselves into it.

Elezabeth Grosz

In the chapter of her book "Chaos, Territory, Art" titled "Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth" Elezabeth Grosz postulates that art comments on concepts instead of creating them. It intensifies sensation through organization. It injests materials and excretes concept. She examines the origins of life and says that by being an unstable process, the evolution of life is an artistic one. She states that aesthetics were birthed by the creation of dual sexes. She expresses that art pulls from the excess of nature to create it's own excess. For her, the axiom of art is the frame, binding and limiting chaos. She uses architecture as an example of the framing,condensing and processing of nature. Art for her is about rhythm and vibration. Enacting these on the viewer in ways that other forces cannot.

This reading did not have much of an effect on the way I look at my work. She speaks about making the invisible visable through art, which I agree with. My work is more about breaking down the barriers between the minds eye and what it COULD see, if it only tried. Her views on framing and containing chaos is interesting but also does not greatly affect my work as my work is about splicing art seamlessly into the world.

Artist Statement

I chose Hannah Piper Burns description of a concise, well written artist statement. The steps she laid out are easy to understand, and have a resonance with what I feel about proper writing.

I can't change the world. I can't change people. I can't even change one person. What I can do is help one person to want to change themselves. If enough people were to choose to change themselves, it could change the world. I investigate what it means to exist, to live. I pry into the way we react to the human condition. By searching myself and pulling back the curtain on my mind, I alleviate the fear others have of doing the same within themselves. My work is a window not only into myself, but also a mirror for the viewer. I am an illuminator.

Semester Plan

This semester I am starting an artistic journey that will span decades. Affecting change is something many people strive toward. However, most people fail to truly reach the place where change begins. I am looking inward this semester. I am dissecting my mind and my mode of living. In this, I don't seek to unravel who I am. Who I am is a matter of history and my experiences. I am endeavoring to unlock HOW I am. How I accept or reject input from my surroundings. How I process that input. How I feel about it and why.

As a first step I will be devoting the semester to an array of psychoanalytical process. I will be in therapy sessions with the psychologist at the Pearson Counseling Center. I will also be interviewing people that know me on various levels. These will be conducted in standard Q&A style as well as in other less traditional methods. I will also be keeping research journals detailing my daily experiences and the various ways that my mental reactions to those can be broken down.

The work that is based on this research will be as my work has always been, content created. It will be primarily sculpture and installation. The material will be dictated by the concept of the work. As I am devoting a large amount of time to the very slow and tedious process of mental analysis most of my finished work will be in the second semester. If additional work is needed, side work will be created.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why I do this.

This essay will detail the decisions that brought me to where I am as a Senior Fine Art student. It will also expand upon the rational and process behind my current body of work.

I arrived at this professional choice by my dissatisfaction with all non-creative endeavors. I have always been a creative thinker and through trial and error found some proficiency in artistic process. I joined the arts because a friend had suggested that it would be a fitting venue to outlet my desire for creativity. It is also a place from which voices and opinions can be given public reception. I entered Ringling the next year and knew that fine art was the place where I could create on my own terms and have my own art viewed without the need of sponsorship or corporate responsibility.

The direction for my current direction came from an interaction I had this summer. A character trait of mine that I was up until then oblivious to made itself known to me. The epiphany that not only was this trait a part of my behavior, but also antithetical to who I had always imagined myself to be was startling. I then began to wonder what other parts of my psyche were built into myself without my conscious consent. The idea evolved into cataloging the traits that make up my being and discovering how to erase and correct the parts I had not approved. The body of work will be almost a by-product of this process. It will in some instances be a chronology, and a commentary in others. By discussing and evaluating the merits with peers I finally settled on selected parts of the process I could reasonably work through in a semester.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Agnes Martin Interview

She was a very nice lady.  She had found the perfect peace which can usually only be found in the minds of lobotomy patients and those with downs syndrome.  The peace of the vacant mind is a profoundly tempting peace.  It was a manifestation of the old adage "ignorance is bliss."  I think there is merit in the statement, and for those that choose it, I wish them all the best.  I feel that it is a bliss that must be constantly maintained to work.  A person must always remind themselves that they are happier off not knowing to be happy.  It is in the end a blanket they must constantly pull over themselves.  Unfortunately, I think all who follow that, in the end realize it was an exercise in self-deception.  There is built in to every human a desire to know.  To analyze the world and our place in it.  But she is right that being certain is also a lie.  I think the middle ground of always looking for answers and never being content with the answers that are found is the best route.  Learning, unlearning, and relearning show us the greatest truths.  It is up to time to tell if we were right or wrong, but in the process we find validation.

Against Interpretation

Susan Sontag

I find it interesting that over the course of the last four years that this same idea has cropped up.  The amusing part is that it tends to crop up when the artist is standing before their work and have gone on the defensive, having a lack of substance to back up the work.  I believe that this idea of "just let the work be, it, itself" is fine if you have no desire to know anything more.  There is no reason a person cannot live life and make art based on the surface of themselves, never gaining any true revelation into who and what they really are.  Ignorance is a choice, and one people make every day.  The immutable fact is that the deeper content IS there, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not.  A piece is NEVER just about the surface.  The human existence cannot help but place what it is into everything it does.  It is fine to say "I only want you to see the surface of my work" but the fact remains that there is always something underneath.  I don't think the author ever denied this fact as I have heard others do, but articles such as this paved a delusional path for the self-imposed ignorance of the modern flippant artist.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Challenging The Literal

David Chandler
Semiotics: The Basics

I really did not enjoy this reading.  The author seemed to confirm my theory that a person willing to write an entire book on verbal meaning and understanding is themselves afraid of being misunderstood.  The length to which he went to break down, analyze, reanalyze, word, and reword his thoughts took repetition into the absurd.  The biggest problem I had with his initial theories was that he never took into account that most people speak with MULTIPLE meanings in mind, both consciously and subconsciously.  His ideas on base meaning were undeniable, if only by merit of their over exhaustive browbeating.  But it never took into account that people hardly ever choose words with the intent of only saying one thing.  It is the way they say a thing which can not just mean another thing but can ALSO mean another thing.  The breakdowns of the different forms of allusion was well stated, if overstated.