Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Laetitia Sonami

In my senior seminar class the artist Latitia Sonami came in to talk about her work.  Lantitia Sonami is a French performance and sound artist.  She spoke about and demonstrated her project which she class the "Lady's Glove".  It is a glove that is wired with sensors that are feed into a processor that creates sound when she touches and moves her hand.  The glove she describes as her instrument in which she conducts her music and performance.  The performance felt graceful, organic, and natural because she was using her won body to create this piece.

I also found it amazing that as an artists Sonami can stick with this project for many years slowly altering, refining, and improving it.  She explain that when she first constructed the glove that it was large and bulky but with the improvements in technology her glove has become for refined and smaller.  I can admire her dedication because I feel that in my own work i tend to skitter from one idea to another.

Overall it was a very interesting lecture/performance.

UC Berkeley Anthropology Museum

I stumbled upon this museum one day while walking around the campus with a friend.  I was pleasantly surprised with the exhibits and general layout of the collection.  It was very informative and covered a wide range of cultures (ie. ancient Mediterranean, ancient Egypt, south America etc.) and topics (ie. religion, war, textiles ect.).  Their where some activities that where very hands on such as making fabric or using magnets to design a cloak.  Even though the museum is small (perhaps a bit bigger then the prieto lab) it was well designed and informative. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oakland 1946!

Here's the link to our show's blog, with the front page Tribune article. Photos coming in that spot soon.

Jason Hanasik

It was very easy to relate to Hanasik for me... I really felt like none of his art was going over my head. Which is kind of nice.

I loved his perspective on the portrayal of men and manliness. I found it interesting that his softer view of men was interpreted as some kind of "gay gaze", in which all images of men looking vulnerable are viewed through a lens of desire.

I also appreciated his conflict with not wanting to give away queer subculture to the masses. It's a fine line between keeping something sacred and exposing it to the public, and his project on cruising and dens really skirts that line in a beautifully subtle way.

Faviana Rodriguez

I was so inspired by Rodriguez's lecture. For one, I loved her views on the accessibility of art. It definitely made me reconsider an academic paper I was supposed to be writing for queer studies. Instead I chose to do a zine, for reasons of reproducibility, etc. Secondly, I loved the boldness of her graphics, and found some of her images to be picasso-esque. Thirdly, I didn't have any real grasp on what the Mexican government thought of art before, and was amazed to find out that art is views as a human right.

She covered a ton of ground in her talk, and I thought she was so well spoken and inspirational.

Ginger Wolfe Suarez

I watched the video for Wolfe-Suarez. But the audio was all kinds of messed up. Most of what I gathered was that she draws inspiration primarily from the work of her peers. She really didn't discuss her own work. But at the end of the lecture I came to the conclusion that one does not need to be skilled in a craft to be an artist. Only a fondness for art, good connections in the art community, and lots of ideas.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Okay, so I'm looking over my meager posts and I don't see the one I thought I did about the Ginger Wolfe Suarez + Korean women artists exhibit that's been running all this fall at the art museum. I'm not sure where in cyber space it may have wound up. Sigh.
Anyway, I did go check it out way back in the early fall. I enjoyed seeing the work of the women artists, especially the ones with the tiny red beans that looked like pomegranate seeds and the flowing one in the center that looked like people moving. Originally I had all of the names of the artists, but I'm old and I've forgotten them by now.
The Suarez installation was moving, especially the old banners, but I'd have to say honestly that I didn't really "get" the telephone poles and sandbags.
Probably more later.

Chris Santa Maria

Another Arizona artist who I first discovered at Eye Lounge gallery during a split show with my photo teacher, and later saw his work again at the Phoenix Art Museum. He is a painter, and of his work that I've seen that I find most striking are of seven very life like bust portraits that are about 3 by 5 feet in size. He uses texture like you wouldn't believe, the paint literally comes inches of the canvas. They're so intricately detailed that you can make out pores on the subjects skin, they look like photographs from a distance. I'm not familiar with the rest of his work, but from what I have seen, he seems like an artist worth getting to know.

Faviana Rodriguez lecture

Last but not least (sorry to have dumped all these in one day!). I also was able to watch the video of Rodriguez’ lecture. I had looked at her work online, but it was great to get to hear her speak about her images, where they came from and their effect. I love that she uses her work to send a message not from a gallery, but through the public and public space. I was also excited about the conceptual website she created pulling images based on data ‘representing’ perceptions and judgments of illegal immigrants. I found her clarity about the connections between her personal self and her political passions and how she represents that in her work inspiring! Also inspiring to me is the range of issues she deals with, her deep understanding about where they are connected, and her ability to educate and motivate others around them.

Chad Knapp

Swat Team- The Musical
Chad Knapp is an Arizona artist, who used to show his work in the gallery I worked at. He is a high school art teacher, but he continues to make these pen and ink drawings which I happen to enjoy very much. He always incorporated the blankness of the canvas and I like the emphasis that it gives to his subjects. He has a series of work that are all titled "Self Portrait" though they are all portrait of various individuals doing many random things. The two images above are of some of my favorites that he showed in the gallery. The actual size of his drawings are generally quite large, but these images don't translate the size very well.

I posted this site before, but here is another look. How can we reconcile beauty with destruction or the sins of excess? I don’t think Chris Jordan sets out to answer this question with his photographs, but they are, despite their disturbing subject matter and the issues he presents, beautiful. Jordan’s most recent collection, In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster, offers over three dozen portraits of destruction and decay, each one harmonically composed, and many giving us striking glimpses of the intricate patterns and varieties of color that destruction and decay have shaped. It is as if he stumbled upon a city of strange found-object sculptures, or remnants of a film set. It is only because we know so well what Katrina truly was that we can draw the more disturbing conclusions from these pictures. Jordan says he is exploring Katrina as an “unnatural” disaster, likely connected to the global warming created by us. Initially, I saw the power of nature to destroy a city as if it were a tiny, inconsequential thing, but knowing Jordan’s intent, I was able to broaden my perspective and see a possible (probable?) cycle- these things as they were before, how they may have contributed to an imbalance in our environment, and the consequences of that imbalance. This is all the more powerful a work in that it follows Jordan’s previous projects looking at the sheer amount of material waste we create. In his previous two works, Intolerable Beauty and Running the Numbers, Jordan also used enticing and beautiful images to convey his message. Does this approach make it more tolerant to look directly at these things no one wants to see about ourselves? I think so.

Kate Pzsotka

I went to Kate Pzsotka, who if I'm not mistaken, is a grad here at Mills. She uses many mediums including painting, sculpture, and ceramics to present her work. Some of her more interesting pieces we of cut up maps, or old report cards, or other random papers that she then weaved together. Some of the pieces were more three dimensional, while others lied flat. Much of her work seemed incomplete, or that she needed to push her ideas further, and I think she has the potential to do that, she just seemed unsure of where she wanted her work to go, but i think if she can figure that out she'll have a pretty interesting body of work. Some of her other work involved using crime reports or aerial maps to create a system of mapping out different points. Her goals were a little unclear, but her ideas have an interesting start, and it'd be nice to see where she goes with them in the future.

Ginger Wolfe Suarez

So I watched the video of Ginger Wolfe Suarez's lecture, however the audio tracking was scratched, so I only heard about every other few seconds. What I gathered from what I could hear is that she really likes other artists a lot, and that she really doesn't have much to show of her own work. I already knew this from having worked at the art museum all semester and seeing her "work" in the gallery every week. Most of it is appropriated historical pieces, and what is her own is not of much interest to me. I think her position that she takes to bring light to these historical political events, like the suffrage movement, is necessary. However, I feel that she should steer clear of labeling herself an artist, and stick to calling herself an activist.

Jason Hanasik

I went to Jason Hanasik's lunch lecture some weeks back, and was really interested in what he had to say about photographing your own family and presenting that as art. He said he struggled with what was appropriate and considerate of him to publish from photographs of his parents and his sister. Much like myself, he wonders if his family is aware of the way people may interpret his work by the way the subjects of the photograph are presented. He frequently works with presenting male subjects that challenge the standards for what is considered "normal" masculine representation. Which is why I was very interested in the image above, which features his father in a rather passive position, while his mother appears much more aggressive and assertive. In regards to my own work, he had mentioned a photograph that his father asked him to no longer show, and since then has never shown it, so I imagine I will continue to use the work of my own family until they ask me not too.

SFMOMA: Brought To Light: Photography and the Invisible 1840-1900

Brought To Light: Photography and the Invisible 1840-1900 is an exhibit of early scientific photography by both professional and amateur scientists. The curator, Corey Keller wrote of the photographs, “If they appear remarkably modern to us, it is in large part because science and photography have determined our idea of what modernity looks like.” And they did look aesthetically quite modern to me, but more interesting was the point that this early link between photography and science contributed to breaking down our civilization’s belief that seeing and knowing are the same. The show is broken down into several categories. “Spirit Photography” represents that period of time when multiple exposures gave Occultists wonderful “proof” of their work, and exposes (sorry ft pun) the disintegrating connection between truth and photography (still a tenuous connection we often make). The collection “Microscopes” when seen in the museum context certainly gave me a strong aesthetic impression- I was reminded of Abstract Expressionism, as if the photographers were capturing their psychologies in compositions of single-celled organisms. GE's early demo pictures of alternating current (above) in "Electricity" are almost breathtakingly beautiful (except that I am a little jaded by ugly fractals). Another collection with a strong artistic bent is the “X-Rays,” where images of subjects skeletons seem to purposefully focus on identity through the presence of jewelry and clothes. “Motion Studies” (Muybridge) and “Telescopes” had less of an overall aesthetic impression on me, but were strong reminders of how our seeing has changed because of these very images. This show is on through Jan 4, 2009. www.sfmoma.org

Dustin Fosnot @ Steven Wolf Gallery

Cyanide was Dustin Fosnot’s debut solo exhibit and although a few pieces were on display, the piece Cyanide caught my attention and kept it so that I can hardly remember the others. On the floor were three blue mattresses, each with the outline of the artist’s body created by a cyanotype process. Initially I associated the blue of the mattresses, which was uneven and dotted like a starry sky, and the outlines of a person lying on them with the excitement and awe of childhood nights spent outside staring up at the sky, but after learning about Fosnot’s personal history and the process with which he made the piece, I had an altogether different impression. Fosnot spent several years homeless in the Bay Area and the first mattress was found on the streets where he had slept (all the mattresses were old and used). Creating a cyanotype with these mattresses meant lying on a cyanide coating and, knowing this, the outlines and materials shifted to associations with the outlines of dead bodies in crime scenes and the precariousness of life in the streets. I was then able to switch back and forth between these two impressions leaving me with feelings of both wonder and fear.

Todd Hido @ Stephen Wirtz Gallery

Todd Hido is another Bay Area photographer and this exhibit, A Road Divided, focused on landscapes. All the photographs appeared to be taken on the road and from inside a car. The weather is rainy or snowy in all of them and there is usually a mostly natural lanscape broken by the line of the road or telephone poles. But what made these images stand out is the painterly and cinematic quality of them created by blurred sections due to rain on glass (presumably the windshield). They are haunting and beautiful while feeling very contemporary. They appear to be manipulated, but, intriguingly, I could not tell what the manipulation might be, what was ‘natural’ and what created. You can see this collection on his site www.toddhido.com.

Sarah Hirneisen @ Mark Wolfe Gallery

There were several artists showing at the Mark Wolfe Gallery, but by far I was most moved by two pieces by Sarah Hirneisen, a local sculptor. The first, Naming Conventions, was an immaculate white case filled with rows of glass shelves on which sat small glass vials of Iraqi oil and carefully etched onto each of these was the name of an Iraqi citizen killed in the Iraq war. I found the juxtapositions of sterility with the messiness of oil, politics, death, and war, and the fragility of etched glass a powerful metaphor for the American-Iraqi relationship. The second piece, Inventory, was a spare metal house-shaped frame with glass squares filled with the contents of vacuum cleaners of various homes. On the back of each square, the contents within were meticulously cataloged. For me, the piece again dealt with juxtaposition, this time the work of the artist against domestic housework, pointing to how much meaning and value are changed by context. I also highly recommend her website www.sarahhirneisen.com!

David Nash @ The Haines Gallery

The Haines Gallery had an exhibit of David Nash’s work, a British artist who does mainly large wooden sculptures fastidiously carved with a chainsaw. I don’t connect with these sculptures, however, Nash’s work Wooden Boulder, reminiscent of Andy Goldsworthy’s series of Time pieces but with more of a sense of humor, gave me great pleasure. Nash carved the ‘boulder’ out of a very old oak tree which had been felled, then followed its journey with (almost) no intervention down a stream to the ocean over the next 25 years. Nash documented the journey with video, photos, and whimsical line drawings. This piece made me think about our intent in our creative work and how this intent might infuse our pieces. In the case of the boulder, I felt as if the witnessing and documenting of its intermittent journey might be animating it, transforming the journey into a performance more than a circumstance. I smiled a lot.

Garry Winogrand: The Sixties @ The Fraenkel Gallery

B&W works from the 1960s. Winogrand was one of the most influential photographers of his time (whose work I had never encountered before this exhibition). His work reminded me of Diane Arbus’ (who was also on exhibition here) because of the focus on people in their contexts, but with much more focus on the context- the era and the places where he was shooting. Two photos in particular struck me: He Had It: John F. Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in 1960, and Los Angeles 1969. In the first image (above), we are seeing JFK from behind and, through the wonder of the video age, from the front; we are seeing the photographers aiming their cameras from behind a metal enclosure and the image they are capturing. We are also seeing this moment of leadership and hope as if amplified by the light reflecting off Kennedy’s face and raised hand. In Los Angeles in 1960, 3 women with black bouffants are wandering down Hollywood boulevard. They are looking down and to their right and we can wonder if they are noticing the Hollywood stars on the pavement or perhaps glancing at their own reflections in a large window. More probably they are seeing the figure of a disabled man drooping in his wheelchair as a little boy sitting at the nearby bustop is staring at him. But alongside all these interconnections, I am largely drawn to the geometric patterns of the shadows cast before the women, lining up in perfect symmetry with the stars on the pavement and I wonder if the man in the wheelchair sees them too. These images, as with Tama Hochbaum’s work, capture various aspects and the complexity of their subjects, also creating multiple frames within the image, but this time through the magic of a single shot. To see the second image go here: http://www.fraenkelgallery.com/index.php#mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=4&a=1&p=0&at=0

Tama Hochbaum @ Room For Painting Room For Paper

This is a new gallery at 49 Geary and Hochbaum was 1/2 of the first exhibition in the Room For Paper. Hochbaum uses a photographic collage technique similar to Masumi Hayashi (from Cocoa’s blog) and this exhibition was of her series of trees. I had an immediate visceral reaction to her work, the trees seemed alive, to be bursting through the multiple borders of the compositions. Her images brought to mind Cubism, of seeing many aspects at once, and also memory, how we perceive in such complex ways (angles, details, filters, moods, associations) and how our memory reflects that complexity sometimes more than present experience, how the photographic subjects themselves are complex, far too complex perhaps to capture in a single frame, which for me was particulary relevant to photographing trees. Some of the pieces were especially strong in this such as High Tree (above), High Trees at Dusk, and Evening on Gimghoul. You can see Hochbaum’s work at www.tamahochbaum.com.

I went to http://www.odcap.com/ today, which is short for Open Door-Contemporary Art Projects. The curator describes her mission as having a site where everyone, even those outside the art community, can contribute ideas or artists who they think should be noticed. I really enjoyed the work that was shown, especially Osi Audu and his Bodies of Water. The featured pieces were filled bottles of water formed into bodily shapes like that of a mermaid. I found it odd, however, that it was not overly clear where and how you could contribute. There was a contact email, but I thought that it was odd that I really had to search to figure out how I could directly contribute. Also it didn't specify what was contributed to the site by her or by others. I did, however, particularly like the voices section where there where contributions by various authors discussing artist shows and exhibits as well as sustainability which is a focus of the site as well.

Stanley Greene

"I want everyone to be as angry as I am," is Stanley Greene's answer as to why he feels he has to photograph death and violence. Stanley Greene was born in New York City in 1949 and later attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and then the SFAI where he was a member of the Black Panthers and anti-Vietnam war activist. Greene first came to international fame after he photographed the falling of the Berlin wall, but he is perhaps best known for his photojournalism in Chechnya. I unfortunately missed the first half because of unexpected and incredibly long traffic, but I arrived just in time to see him present Chalk Lines (15). The work was a video collection of his haunting and ghostly black and white images taken in Chechnya. Death and despair flooded every image in the form of blood-spattered walls, bomb and bullet ridden buildings, and charred, mutilated, and bloodied bodies. He described how he couldn't remain objective while amongst the people of Chechnya. He was right there with them as bombs were being dropped over head running alongside them while snapping photographs. The whole experience was incredibly intense for utter lack of a better word. Greene proved he is a war torn man as he cautioned those who want to become conflict photographers. He spoke of how he is 59 years old, single, and with only $100 in the bank and he said all of this without making eye contact with anyone. He explained that he developed what he called the 100 yard stare, where he can't look at people in the eye, but rather past them or he would simply look down at his podium. He described how overwhelmed he felt by all that he had experiences, yet strangely addicted to following conflicts at the same time. Greene perfectly highlights the incredible sacrifice that photojournalists and conflict photographers make in the attempt to share the truth with the rest of the world.

Electric Works

Hi y'all,

Me again. Again.

Friday night I went to an exhibit opening at Electric Works Gallery on 8th St. in SF.
It's a very interesting place and the exhibit had some wonderful stuff. Drawings by Paul Madonna, which really capture the feeling of SF, pencil sculptures by Bob van Breda that were imaginative (and expensive) origami sculptures, prints and more. The exhibit runs several more weeks, so check it out.

Here's the website: http://www.sfelectricworks.com/ew.htm


Friday, December 5, 2008

Favianna Rodriguez DVD

I am SO bummed that I missed the lecture! But I'm so glad that I was able to watch it on that dvd. The entire time I was nodding my head in agreement and was so into what she was talking about that I didn't even write any notes. I was told by a few people that I would really like her work and her ideas and style, and I was blown away with her art and its amazing connection to social justice resistance and education. She was so fluid with her transition between topics and spoke in a way that was easy to understand. It was apparent in her presentation that her art and ideas is for everyone and the fact that her art is not elitist or exclusive really echos in me. Favianna is articulate and seems like she would be a fun person to collaborate or work with. 

In the lecture she brought up the topic of the difference (if there is one) between art and propaganda. I thought it was a really interesting since i was asking similar questions when we were doing the propaganda posters. For me, successful art is when a piece is both aesthetically appealing and conceptually solid. It isn't an easy thing to balance most of the time and finding the equilibrium between the two is worth it in the end. Her work I feel takes both of those parts and puts it into a harmonious and fruitful relationship. 

I am definitely going to check out her upcoming events and keep looking at her work. Most inspiring! Thanks for the dvd! 
Me again. I'm updating my list of posts and wanted to say again how amazing I think Loretta Lux work is. I admire that no matter how pure and uncomplicated her work looks, it's got so many layers of interpretation. I'm still wondering if she alters the images to make the heads look just that bit larger.
It's so fitting that her own self-portrait is another surreal child-like image.
Here's a link, if you haven't already been here: http://www.lorettalux.de/
Ciao for now.
Thanks, Deirdre, for sharing the DVD of Favianna Rodriguez' lecture.
Her work is amazing and blurs the lines I've always drawn around photography and other media. It must be satisfying for her to pursue her passion while raising the awareness of everyone who comes in contact with her work.
I'll be interested in other reactions to it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

stretcher review

Still from taH pagh taHbe (To Be or Not to Be) (2006), Maria Antelman

I went to http://www.stretcher.org/ and was surprised to see reviews on shows that I had actually been to and seen. One of which was a review on We Interrupt Your Program from last Spring at the Mills Art Museum. The reviewer, Meredith Trumble, spoke on Maria Antelman's taH pagh taHbe, which was a particularly memorable piece for me. She also gave further insight into pieces that I hadn't spent much time with. Another review by Tucker Nichols was for the Lee Friedlander exhibit at the SFMOMA and video footage of commentary at the de Young by Gilbert and George amongst other local and the few international shows. I thought the reviews were thoughtful and intimate and only wished that the site had more current projects up.

MOMA otra vez...

So I went to the MOMA the other week and experienced, not saw, "The Art of Participation, 1950 To Now" exhibition. I was enthralled in how amazing it was. Almost the entire show was interactive, where the viewers could participate, build ongoing sculptures, act out a scene or touch the art. Since the first time any of us has walked into a museum, we've been told, "do not touch the work of art!!" either nicely or in a menacing way...so it was quite refreshing to touch the art. There was one exception to this. In the final corner of the exhibit, there was a sculpture/ installation piece featuring a wall full of beer on shelves. In front of that was a large fridge with the words "free beer" written on the fridge door. Instantly I wanted to open the fridge, and instantly the docent came over and reprimanded a man who actually followed through and was trying to open it!
I was very excited by Erwin Wurm's work. He had an entire wall covered in his one minute sculptures, and then a platform with implements and instructions for the viewers participation. I participated, of course. There was a video of the original "Cut Piece" by Yoko Ono viewed next to a current remake of the same piece. There was an entire piano along with blank liner notes in ode to John Cage. The exhibit could have been borderline childish, but it was more like a sophisticated Exploratorium for adults. I loved it!

Kurt Kauper

I went to hear Kurt Kauper lecture last night at SFAI. I definitely was a little nervous looking at his work. He said that that was his intention but by painting nude self-portraits and saying that all of his nude hockey players are him from the waist down, I was kind of speechless. He spoke about how he wanted to challenge the role of the male nude as being simply an example of homoerotism and into a form of admiration and respect. Yet his own professed idolization and obsession with Bobby Orr, (the Boston Bruins hockey player) was admittedly his childhood love. I really liked how he drew the parallel of how boys' sport collecting cards, are actually the size and shape of locket portraits. That the hyper-masculine sport idols are kind of doled out to these young boys in a kind of love relationship that challenges the boundaries of male gender roles. 

Masumi Hayashi

Masumi Hayashi is one of my new found favorite photographers. Maritess I think you would love her work if you are a fan of David Hilliard. What she does is amazing, creative and difficult. I've been trying to work in the vein of her work, and have found it to be extremely difficult and rewarding. Check out her photography online. She has visited all these beautiful places around the world and I think that the way she presents her ideas is more closer to the truth than most photography. Yeah she's tight. 

Bik Van Der Pol

I went to the Bik Van Der Pol lecture at SfAi. They have been working collaboratively since '95 and their work spans installation, public temporary architecture, live art, and sculpture. Architecture is a constant thread and influence in their work. 

What struck me most about the lecture was the fluidity between one another in terms of talking about their work. I have not done much highly collaborative work outside of class assignments and I admire the chemistry between them, just from hearing them speak and seeing images of their work it was obvious that they make a good team. Perhaps what interested me most about the lecture was the fact that they make decisions together and work as a team and not individuals and their collaboration goes beyond sporadic projects. 

It was interesting to go to a lecture that wasn't given by a painter or photographer. I think that Dena mentioned the bookshop project in her blog. That project was really cool to me also. They built a complete copy of a bookshop that they fell in love with in London. The exact measurements and books were available for sale to the public. How time consuming! But it seemed so worth it, the final product was amazing. 

My favorite work that they presented was 'sleep with me' an andy warhol film that they played in a gallery, with beds set up for viewers to lay down in and watch the film and eventually fall asleep. They did this a few times in different places. It was also shown in Tokyo in a museum and they talked about how it was interesting to see it open during normal business hours as opposed to the sleep over that they had inside a museum somewhere in Europe. The piece became a central spot in the museum exhibits since people kept walking around and going back to it, to sleep, to sit and chat and watch the film. 

This got me thinking about the comfort of a place or object somewhere that is set up to bring people to it. It reminded me of my old apartment on the corner of Haight and Fillmore in san francisco and someone had dumped an old couch on the corner. It was there for a couple of days and since I sat in my window to smoke and watch the street I was able to see all the different people that would come and sit on it, even though it was a really trashy neighborhood. Before it was taken away, I got locked outside by an angry exgirlfriend and I remember sitting on that couch for quite sometime. I was so glad it was there. A comfy couch in the middle of chaos. 

Anyways. Those are some of the things that appealed to me about the lecture!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bik Van Der Pol

( Inside Sunset Theater in Luxembourg)

Last night I went to the San Francisco Art Institute to see Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol who have collaborated as Bik Van Der Pol since 1995. The focus of their artwork has widely focused on public space and its function, cinema, and architecture. They began by showing images from their Book Shop Project, from 1995-96 which is one of my favorites. They said they were inspired by the process of stumbling upon a great or important book. I love the process of walking into a book store without any idea of what you want and walking out with something you didn't know you needed. Liesbeth apparently had walked into a fantastically small bookstore that was filled with books on social theory, gay theory, art history, and philosophy to name a few. She decided that they would recreate this book store inside a Rotterdam Museum. They hand selected all the books that they felt were important to stumble upon and actually made them available to buy and take home. Another project they discussed was Sleep with Me in 97 where they laid down rows of mattresses and pillows and invited people to come fall asleep to Andy Warhol's movie, Sleep. They recreated the piece for multiple museums in different forms and settings including a gallery in Tokyo. Another one of my favorites, which they concluded with, was Sunset Cinema. This was a work for a public space in which they created a movie theater which consisted of box of stairs, the size of the projected image, which was directly facing the side of a house which served as the screen. I was overall very impressed with their thoughtful insight on their past projects, however long, they were incredibly informative and interesting.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Josephine Taylor

I absolutely love this artist. She does these large scale ink drawings on paper and helioprints that are visually stunning, delicate, stark and luminescent all at the same time. I had seen her speak at SFAI and was waiting for this show, Bomb Landscapes, to open at Catherine Clark Gallery.
This body of work shows a lot of animals that look like wolves or deranged cats that are intertwined with female bodies. They're either devouring or suckling her, or she's devouring them or wearing them as a hat. The starkness of what she does choose to show illustrates the themes behind her portraits. She highlights the figures' eyes, nipples, genitalia and hair. You can feel the struggle within each piece, how each is riddled with symbolism and pain.
Her website:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I tried to resist... Lois Greenfield

(Julie I thought of your dance photos)

(Lilly I thought of you)

Try as I might to subdue my inclination, the human body is my favorite thing to look at. I almost navigated away from this page dismissing it as 'just commercial photography' but then I looked closer...and had to keep looking... and looking. I am quite seduced and have given into a Degas type photographer fantasy fueled by these amazing photos. Shooting at 1/5ooth of a second Greenfield shows us moments our feeble eyes can not perceive. Interestingly, the artist had no formal training but was self taught and stemmed from photojournalism. She found and refined her personal aesthetic over many shoots finally getting her own studio and artistic voice in her shots. www.loisgreenfield.com/

Barbara Kruger

For the propaganda poster project, I borrowed the book "Love for Sale" which features Barbara Kruger's work. She uses appropriated images and adds text to make very interesting and blunt, and sometimes political statements. With many of her images, I had to stop and think for a while, which is actually the purpose of propaganda, so that's good! I've also noticed that I see a lot of other artists and images that have been inspired by Barbara Kruger, and I'm glad that I can now reference her.

David Hilliard

David Hilliard's works is very interesting! I love how his images are somewhat a narrative sequence, but it looks like a panoramic image just split up into multiple images. I really enjoyed looking at all of his photos, I kind of wish I knew about him when I was working on my narrative project because I'm really inspired by it. I like how the images look good on their own, but when it's in a sequence it looks so much better, and they all tell a story, its amazing!

Amy Stein

I really liked Amy Stein's "stranded" collection out of the rest of her portfolio. The photos showed people, all sorts of people, being stranded on the road, and it was so interesting. Her statement talked about how the New Orleans Hurricane tragedy and the idea of being stranded inspired her. I loved how she said that the reason for the photographs taking place on the road is because of the interruption of a journey it shows.

I had a hard time grasping her concept of her "domesticated" and "women and guns" collection. I was actually really disturbed by the "women and guns" work because of the photos of the deer. :( However, I did like her "Halloween in Harlem" work which showed children in Harlem all dressed up in costumes for Halloween.


I was so bummed that I couldn't attend Favianna Rodriguez's lecture, so I am writing a post about her based on her website.

I love her work! Her posters are very striking and beautiful with vectored images, and strong colors. I also admire the fact that she wants to make art accessible because going to galleries and museums is pretty difficult! Her art deals with the struggles of immigrants, and other social justice topics that are very big issues and I'm glad she's bring awareness to them.

Friday, November 28, 2008

(my new love) David Hillard

(Boys Tethered-2008)
Really breath taking work.

My first reaction to his work was just to slowly click and re click through all of the images. I found myself disappointed when I reached the end of his work on his website. I didn't want to stop discovering it. His work is subtle but each element is composed eloquently. There is so much poise and contemplation evident in the images. It interested me that this photographer had such a seemingly simple visual vocabulary that he had used to build a congruent and psychological body of work.

I love the way David Hillard extends our perspective by using multiple images to create a panoramic shot. I feel oddly like life might be in panoramic. As though all the extra details from the multiple frames rendered life with a fuller perspective. His use of the ordinary conveyed great intimacy and emotional depth. Another exquisite aspect of his work is his use of available light. It highlights the feeling of the shot while still falling in the realm of completely natural. I feel inspired to work more with sunlight.


O Zhang

My introduction to O Zhang's photography was at the current exhibition in Berkeley (Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection). In the lower portion of the museum a wall of young Chinese girls stare at you from their portraits. There is an inescapable weight to their expressions. Something stern, unabashed, and honest emanates from them. Though while I was there the majority of conversation in front of the portraits was how cute they were (this is perhaps an entire other subject to tackle).

I decided to visit her website and discovered she has many different and intriguing series available for viewing online. Her portrait series Daddy and I of western men with adopted Chinese daughters made me incredibly uncomfortable which had me running for her artist statement.

O Zhang photographed elements of the body with projections of paintings on her subject's skin in both her series Water Moon and Eyes. The deep colors in her projections obscure the body just enough to make me really analyze what I was seeing. Her work is definitely worth seeing! www.ozhang.com/.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Call for Emerging Artists! (that's you guys)

I hope some of you will consider submitting your work! Talk to me for more info.

"Young Ampersand invites emerging Bay Area artists to participate in an upcoming group exhibition scheduled for June 2009.

Ampersand International Arts in San Francisco has invited young local art aficianados to curate the first ever Young Ampersand exhibition.

Choosing a subject familiar to all, the Young Ampersand curators with to explore individual interpretations of the idea of Home by artists living and working in the Bay Area."

• open to young artists
• all media expect film and large-scale installation will be considered
• each artist can submit up to 5 pieces
• deadline for entry is Friday, January 16th, 2009
• selected artists will be notified by Friday, January 30th, 2009

For more info email: youngampersandsf@gmail.com

Or see me for more information.

gamer portraits

just something short and interesting-- be sure to click the scrollbar beneath the first bit of text.

Bruce Yonemoto

On November 21st I went to go see Bruce Yonemoto at SFAI's Spheres of Interest lecture. He works mainly in video, photo and installation and showed a few of his video projects. One of his  most ambitious projects is Sounds Like the Sound of Music. The idea that he was working with here was the transference that happens in therapy between a patient and therapist and what is re-enacted in those relationships. He also uses the idea of communal intellectual involvement and how we dismiss certain cultures in the face of more domineering ones. For this piece he went to Peru and used an all Peruvian cast to recreate the Sound of Music. It is word for word and song for song translated into the native language of Peru, Quechau. Yonemoto wanted to use this language and use such an iconic film to make a statement about cultural sensitivity. He compared his film depiction of this culture with George Lucas's film character Jabba the Hut, who is a mongrel criminal in his Star Wars series. Jabba the Hut speaks Quechau and Lucas decided to use this language because he wanted a language that no one understands, yet 5 million Peruvians speak it. 
Another project that he talked about was Hanabi Fireworks. This was an installation piece that takes the spectacle of what we usually consider anti-social communal experiences and tried to create a space for more communal interaction. He used all digital fireworks, to create a re-created moment. He intended for the individual to be able to recognize himself in a certain architecture so that he'd be able to manipulate a distinct emotional experience. He compared this piece to the opening fireworks ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. For individuals throughout the world this was an amazing display, yet they were entirely computer generated. When he asked Beijing natives what they thought of the fireworks they had no idea what he was talking about, they hadn't been aware that it existed at all. It was put on to elicit a certain reaction in the viewer and it succeeded. 

Lecture Requirement

Hey there,

You can continue to post your lecture notes through December 8, the last day of class.
Remember that six should be on attended/viewed lectures, and 3 can be artist website reviews, lunchtime lectures, etc. If you haven't been able to attend 6 lectures, consider reviewing additional blogs/websites/readings etc of artists we've looked at this term, or introducing us to artists you're particularly interested in.

Thanks for the question, Cocoa.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

lecture req

Does anyone know what the last day is to post about our lecture visits? 

Thanks, Cocoa. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jo Whaley Lecture

I attended the Jo Whaley concert last night, which was packed. Jo Whaley is a photographer who was discussing her most recent work, Theater of Insects. In this series Whaley has created painting- like scenes with insects, often butterflys, on a set around five inches by seven inches. She creates miniature sets often using glass plates about an inch and a half deep which house an exotic insect with an interesting backdrop. Her backdrops are perhaps some of her most interesting additions as they have come from various materials such as burnt airplane parts, warped plastics, and occasionally treated paper. Whaley has had a background in theater lighting and photography which can be seen in her project in the dramatic lighting of her tiny sets. I found her work to be largely decorative and perhaps not to my particular taste, but I could definately apreciate their painting-like aesthetic. I thought that she was an interesting speaker and felt that she only improved my opinions of her work after hearing more about their creation. perhaps what stood out to me most was when she said, "by working with fiction you have the ability to say more." I definately agree and personally enjoy the freedom of working in surreal or fictional terms as Jo Whaley has.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Banned & Recovered: Artists Respond to Censorship

This past Thursday I went with my Book Arts class to the African American Museum in Oakland to see the exhibition, Banned & Recovered: Artists Respond to Censorship.  I really enjoyed looking at the work and the artist insperation because it dealt with censorship.  Specifically banned books (of which I have an interest in).  Hence most of the pieced where a form of "book art".  Not only did the show address issues of censorship but also brought up the question of what is "book arts" or more specifically "what is a book"?  For example my teacher had a project in the show that was a cabin that you go into and read from a newspaper.  She later asked if we thought her piece was a form of book art.  I can't say i have a definite answer to it but I'm going to say yes because it involved a idea/story that was tactile. 

I only wished I could have stayed longer because I do not feel I got to finish looking at all the pieces thoroughly.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lunchtime lecture, Friday

Ace Lehner, a grad student in photography at CCA, will be joining us this coming Friday to talk about his work.

Pizza and art.
Friday at noon in the photography classroom.

Hope to see you there.

Artist Lectures

Hey I figured others may be desperately needing to see some more lectures, like me, so I thought I would pass on a few that I planned on going to:

Jo Whaley- UC Berkeley
Thursday, Nov 20th 7-8 pm North Gate Hall, Library

For one evening butterflies, beetles, dragonflies, and other colorful insects take center stage. Come see photographer Jo Whaley’s newest work, celebrated in her book, The Theater of Insects, and highlighted this evening with a special lecture and book-signing. Jo Whaley is an accomplished photographer with a strong background as a scenic artist, Whaley developed a style of photographic work that is based on theatrical tradition. She has exhibited internationally for more than thirty years, and is held in the permanent collections of institutions and museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, among others. She resides in Oakland, California and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Books will be available before and after the presentation.
Event Contact: 510-642-3394

SF art institute:

Monday, December 1 — 7:30pm Bik Van der Pol

Since 1995, Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol have collaborated as Bik Van der Pol. Their socially based work explores the potential of art to produce and transmit knowledge. They employ research methodologies to create installations and publications that encourage various kinds of communicative activities. They have recently exhibited at Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (the Netherlands), European Kunsthalle in Cologne, Associates in London, INSA Art Space in Seoul, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, and Secession in Vienna. Bik van der Pol’s publications include Catching Some Air: Library Drawings (2002) and Fly Me to the Moon (2006). Bik Van der Pol: With Love from the Kitchen (2005) is an overview of their work. In the fall of 2008, they will be artists in residence at the Sally and Don Lucas Artists Program at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga (California). http://www.bikvanderpol.net/

Tuesday, December 2 — 7:30pm Kurt KauperWinifred Johnson Clive Foundation
Distinguished Visiting Painting FellowKurt Kauper is known for figurative paintings that occupy a space between realism and artificiality. In his Diva Fiction series (1996–2000), he uses the vernacular of painterly realism to depict imaginary opera singers—depictions which radiate hyperrealism through a methodical manipulation of makeup, gowns, and theatrical gestures. His recent series of male nudes—including imagined life-sized portraits of Hollywood legend Cary Grant and various Canadian hockey heroes—wittily and erotically challenges artistic conventions of representing the male body. He explores the perceptual slippage from certain expectations of brute masculinity to vulnerability and tenderness. He has had solo exhibitions at Deitch Projects in NYC and ACME in Los Angeles and was included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial. He has also exhibited, in Paris, at Centre Pompidou and the Musée National d’Art Moderne; and at the San Jose Museum of Art. Kauper has received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.

Saturday, December 6 — 7:30pm Stanley Greene
Pilara Foundation Distinguished Visiting Photography FellowBorn in New York City in 1949, Stanley Greene joined the Black Panthers and was an anti–Vietnam War activist as a teenager. He studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and at SFAI, where he took his BFA in 1978 and his MFA in 1980. He worked as a photographer for a number of magazines in New York and, in 1986, moved to Paris. Living in Europe, he was on hand to record the fall of the Berlin Wall, his documentation of which soon made his photojournalism internationally known. Having documented wars and poverty in Africa, the former Soviet Union, Central America, Asia, and the Middle East, he is perhaps best known for the work he has done in Chechnya, collected in Open Wound: Chechnya 1994 to 2003 (2003). Greene was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography for 2004—a fitting tribute to the fact that it was Smith himself who encouraged Green to study photography in the first place.

Phone Sex


I thought this was a great example of pairing text and image. Also, a really beautiful and interesting project. Would love to see more than what's on the website, if anyone can figure that out.

New Land

Tessa Crawford (a dear friend of mine since high school when we decided to conduct covert figure drawing classes in the girls locker room) had her senior show on the CCA campus. Her work was mainly landscape and I was deeply impressed how a subject so classical could (when addressed well) cause me to feel anew. She gave such weight to the earth and the color told the truth about the stillness, maybe breathlessness, of land. (I am realizing how hard I find it to talk about art. I can address it formally but emotionally is a challenge. Odd since that aspect is what keeps me viewing and making art.) It was really inspiring to see her finished work presented in the gallery and helped ground my own ideas about the Mills senior show.

Jefferson Pinder

Afro Cosmonaut/Alien (White Noise) is now at the Patricia Sweetow Gallery, 77 Geary Street in SF. I went to go see this installation video piece that is an animated collection of over 2,000 photographs.  In addition Pinder includes a series of photographs of himself painting his face white so that he disappears into the all white background/world. 
The video is very visually stunning, with sound that incorporates Butoh performances and speeches from both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama. Pinder uses images of fire, civil rights demonstrations, the Earth from outer space surveillance and other aeronautic displays to superimpose on him as a kind of a passive figure. Like he is a victim of technological torture and there is a huge burden on him, as he is engulfed by his world, both past and present, with an unknown future. 

Debra Pinkus

I too attended the Debra Pinkus lecture... with a seemingly different expectation. I thought that she would be speaking on the rediscovery of ancient texts and how exposure to them during the Renaissance inspired or altered the work being made. I envisioned Botticelli or at least some impassioned theories about the link between literature and art. While I was totally wrong about the subject matter, the lecture was delivered very passionately. I get weak in the knees looking at old manuscript pages and her slides were amazing! I must also admit I learned all kinds of things... many of them things I had no idea people studied. I will end with my favorite quote, "It is very moving to see the co existence of these letter forms."

Momentum (Nov. 3-29)

A couple weeks back, I went to a film festival called TrannyFest at Mama Calizo's Voice Factory in the city. Before the movies started, I found a small gallery in the corner for a small show called Momentum.

Four Artists were featured. I didn't particularly care for one, a video piece that showed someone arranging marbles (I really don't understand video art most of the time). But the other three were interesting.

One was Sela Davis, with a piece called "Balance (Before & After)". She used acid-etched steel to create images of herself (crude assumption, I know) before and after her MtF transition. The piece was, aesthetically speaking, very referential of computer programming, hacking, and just-outdated technologies. In my opinion, this transition narrative is an overused one, heavily relied upon by the queer community to express a sense of completion, as though the journey ends after the makeover. Still, it was an interesting medium in which I hadn't seen this story portrayed, so that was good.

A second artist was Rae Strozzo, whose work took up an entire wall. He had two pieces,"What we talk about when we talk about love" and "A month of beds". The first piece consisted of postcard sized pieces of white paper with quick doodles on them, divided in to three sections: "There isn't time now", "Just wait" and "not now." The imagery consisted of hospital scenes, chest binders, catheters, needles, dildos, band-aids. I read it as the story of waiting patiently with a loved one who is in the hospital, perhaps having some sort of sex reassignment surgery. The layout of the drawings was very fluid, and forced the viewer to walk along the wall to view the entire thing. The other piece was smaller and used the same sized papers to create a calendar with sketches of what I presume to be the artist's bed, unmade in different ways over the course of a month. I loved the ideas behind Strozzo's work, but was thrown off by the style of his drawings, which weren't precise enough to be considered "art", but not crude enough to be considered "hip" or "simplistic".

Lastly was the artist Miss Day, who had about five collage pieces in a series called "Tuesday Smilie (Sew Witch)". The collages were small, contained in your average picture frame, and consisted of drawings of sewing machines and scissors, sewing pins puncturing the image and self portraits of a transwoman partially nude and covered in glitter. I enjoyed this section of the show quite a bit, and really took a lot from the images of sewing and transition. I read themes of cutting one's self up, sewing one's self back together, literally or figuratively, for the sake of gender expression. This was such a creative way to display the Transition Narrative that I've gotten so bored of. Also, the collages were interestingly done but completely unpretentious in style.

Overall the show was imperfect, but interesting in topic matter. I like the idea of stumbling across queer art made for queer consumption at a queer event by up and coming queer artists. It feels much more accessible than MoMA's giant prints from renowned artists.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Favianna Rodriguez

Looking back at notes:

I was lucky enough to get excused from a night class to attend a lecture by Favianna Rodriguez. An artist who not only creates art as a form of resistance but lives her life as an activist and uses her medium of print making as her voice, eyes, tongue and fist raised up. Rodriguez is the daughter of immigrants and has grown up in the barrios of oakland. This has inspired her to bring her art to the open canvases of walls and street buildings instead of the traditional and not so accessible spaces of museums. She touched on the signifcance of collaborationg with other artist, organizing, educating, and public speaking as her extended platform from her print making in order to educate her peers, students and audience on global issues to issues that are happeing in our local communites. Getrification, immigration, and education are all topics that she tackles over in her political art. She allows issues to become more visible and relatable for youth to particpate in a creative field to have their voices heard. She is also co-founder of th east bay art alliance building in fruitvale and has open houses for all artist to partipate in an art and action movement.

Debra Pinkus

I attended the Debra Pinkus lecture last Wednesday, and it was okay. I researched about her beforehand and was still so surprised at the PACKED lecture hall. I have an interest in typography, so I enjoyed that aspect. However it was a little dry, and I found myself wondering.. "why?" But, some of the images she showed us were beautiful! She also was an excellent speaker, and very well-regarded since she had a very long introduction in her honor.

Debra Pinkus Lecture

I attended the Debra Pinkus lecture on campus (i don't know if this counts towards my artist lectures because she is an art historian, not necessarily an artist) last wednesday. I must say, I had a very hard time connecting with the subject material. Maybe it was because I haven't studied the subject of ancient Roman literature before, but I really couldn't understand what was going on, nor why it was so fascinating for everyone else. I must have been on a different wavelength. The lecture hall was completely packed and I was sitting in the aisle, along with 20 other people doing the same, and I was on time! Pinkus talked a lot about the uncial E and how it was used, how the letters changed over the years and how the effect us today. I wanted to hear more about how they influence our text culture today. I appreciated the visuals, and she was very well spoken, but the subject material was a bit dry.

Richard Avedon at Fraenkel Gallery

The Fraenkel Gallery at 49 Geary in San Francisco is currently showing the photographs of Richard Avedon for the Performance exhibit. I'm sure most of you have already heard of him. But I went last week and really loved the work in person. He is known for his reinvention of portraiture and the idea of 'performance' was one of his main concerns. It was really nice for me again to see the way that photographs can be displayed. The lighting and framing was beautiful and although I couldn't find an image online to post there was a large photograph up of a bare foot on toe (obviously a dancer). Its an amazing photograph, it shows every callous, line, wrinkle and hair of the dancers foot while the position looks effortless and painless the physical markers say another. I think this is a really interesting shot. 

Many things that people do or perform often appear effortless and painless. Most of the time though, thats not the case. There is a degree of pain and struggle to everything. Beautiful and fun things many times carry the burden beneath the surface or the danger where it can remain secret. Dancers, actors, etc.. just people.. we perform our best as much as possible and hide the hardships underneath as much as possible. 

If anyone gets a chance, its worth it to go to the gallery. But beware of the lady who sits in the lobby of the building, she is such a troll! 

Mahjong at BAM/PFA

Hey everyone check out the mahjong exhibit at Berkeley Art Museum.  There are over 2000 pieces from the Sigg Collection. The collection was built in order to provide an overview of the cultural revolution era. There is tons of art work I liked most of it. Especially the above which totally talks to me. I love appropriated images, the style of pop art and propaganda and my own work more than often reflects this attraction. Not to mention that this actual piece is HUGE and sometimes bigger is definitely better.  There was a lot of work that stood out to me, the museum is a lot of fun and is certainly not to be missed. The show goes until January so be sure to see it!

CCA Lecture> Simon Leung

Simon Leung_CCA. 

So I went to see Simon Leung speak at cca last Thursday. The work he showed was rarely seen in the states. the topic he presented was sitting in a squatting position and the associations we make with it. He explores the physical remainders of racial issues such as squatting and talked about the techniques of the body -something we perform over and over. The surrounding ideas of performing ethnicity and the racialized body in relation to his work was very interesting. 

One of the projects he briefly presented was a series of 1000 posters of a person squatting wheatpasted in germany. The creation of a chair with ones own body is interesting and it was interesting to see the posters out in the world and invited the viewers to observe from this position. 

Another project he shared was his piece titled "Farewell to post colonialism" An image of a statue of George Washington from a Chicago University photoshopped into a squatting position. The statue itself was 200 or so years old so it was quite a sight to see it function in a new position. He mentioned that he was addressing the issues of power relations of squatting and the categorizing  of a single country. 

So, basically I really liked his actual work and ideas. But the lecture... SO BORING. Perhaps if there was more images then looking at the same one for fifteen minutes straight. I feel bad for being a little bored, but I feel as if I would have had more fun just researching his work on my own. 

Until next time

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Excerpted Story from This American Life_Reflections on Photography

Sorting through old links I came again across this amazing story from This American Life. I encourage you to check it out.



Maya Lin exhibit

I also saw the Maya Lin show at the de Young, and was really interested in her sculpture. She created these interesting systematic landscapes, a three dimensional recreation of invisible geography, like the underwater topography of a lake or river. Her notions of landscape and geologic phenomena are carried through by carvings of particle board, humongous wire interweaving, and pastel etchings. I was really taken with her sculpture of a bisected topography map of a specific body of water (i forget the title) made with many many layers of carved particle board. Upon entering the room, I immediately thought that it was an upside down mountain range, and never considered it to be of a lake! Her work was very negative space oriented. I was really interested in her notions of land and geography, and thought it was a really good exhibit.

Yves Saint Laurent exhibit

I went to the de Young museum last weekend to view the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective exhibit. I was blown away by the variety of the Saint Laurent couture collection and the specificity of the chosen pieces as well as the compiled information about each item. Saint Laurent designed many garments in tribute to different artists (Matisse, Van Gogh, etc). In 1966, Saint Laurent designed his first "le smoking" which is the first woman's tuxedo. Since then, the woman's tuxedo has become a staple in fashion, always resurfacing in style. One of his pieces that really stuck with me was an encrusted gold suit from Fall 1981. It was entirely covered in sequins, rhinestones, and made of shiny gold fabric and was the essence of the 80's. Saint Laurent, unlike other designers, did not go to far off lands to get "inspired" for his runway collections. Instead, he took the armchair anthropologist approach and read about different countries to get a sense for the culture and designed lines off of what he found intriguing through images and literature. When I saw some of the Russian and African themed outfits, I assumed he went to those countries. But the description on the wall told me otherwise. Most designers that were approved by the Ministry of Industry in France (what is required of you in order to be a couturier house) made only 35 looks a season, and Saint Laurent made over 100 looks a year. Quotes that really stuck with me were "I craft happiness to free the body from its constraints" and "Is elegance forgetting what one is wearing?" Something I thought I should note, while Saint Laurent died this year and is now showing his retrospective, he was also the very first designer to have a retrospective while living, in 1983. How exciting! He had amassed that much work and was so well known that he didn't even have to be deceased to get a retrospective? How amazing.

Touching Strangers

an interesting project by Richard Renaldi

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kate Pszotka, Friday at Noon - Don't miss it!

Friday, Noon
The Photo Classroom
Kate Pszotka

Monday, November 10, 2008

Afghanistan Exhibit at Asian Art Museum

Over the weekend I went with Mitch's anthropology class to see the Afghanistan exhibit at the Asian Art Museum. It was a very cool experience getting a chance to look at all of the artifacts from Afghanistan, especially since their future is such an unsure one. The artifacts had been taken from the National Museum of Afghanistan to avoid being taken or destroyed by the Taliban after the Soviet invasion and were secretly hidden in the vaults of the Central Bank within the presidential palace in Kabul. Now many of the "highlights" are on display from three different sites Ai Khanum, Begram, and Tillya Tepe. I especially like the artifacts from Tillya Tepe which means "hill of gold." The artifacts in this room are all of an unbelievably beautiful gold that is a deep, rich color and is often inlaid with turqoise. There were headress ornaments, decorations for the shrouds of the dead, daggers and sheaths, boot buckles and necklaces, all made of gold. If there is anyone who has not yet been to the Afghanistan exhibit at the Asian Art Museum I highly recommend it; the exhibit will be there until January 25th.

Rolleiflex Twin Lens Digital Camera

At first glance this seemed to me a little like the retro-chic "rotary phones" that are actually push button, but this one actually functions like a twin lens reflex camera, only the capture is digital.
I don't know what the crank arm does, though.

Narrative Tableaus

When we meet on Wednesday we'll be exploring digital SLRs and tungsten lighting as we create narrative tableaus. The practice in contemporary photography suggests a single image that is highly constructed (it might use public space as a backdrop for the scene) and narrative in nature. All the elements are contained in this one image. The practice references theatre and tableau vivant paintings.

Before class take a look at the following artists:

Gregory Crewdson (does not have a site - you can google him and come up with scores of image links.)

David Hilliard

Philip-Lorca DiCorcia (also no site - Google)

Amy Stein

Jeff Wall (Google)

Anthony Marchetti

Anthony Marchetti works for a company that cleans suburban apartments after renters have moved on. His work opened up a dialogue for me about the changing nature of suburbia.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Artists on my mind - Carlos Diaz, Glynnis Reed

check 'em out - both carlos and glynnis make really interesting work - their names are linked to sites.

Invented Landscape 80F-NY (2005)

Carlos Diaz

Water No Get Enemy, 2008

Glynnis Reed

Laetitia Sonami

Last week I saw installation artist/composer/performer Laetitia Sonami speak and demonstrate her lady's glove. The glove is an evening-style lady's glove that is wired with sensors that feed into a Midi processor loaded with sound programs and sample, and which she plays as an instrument. It was great to see an artist speak specifically about one project - she has been working with the lady's glove since the 90s. She said that she gets a lot of negative reactions from other artists and critics about having spent so long on one concept/project -- which I thought was interesting to consider at a time when most artists or musicians move from piece to piece within the space of a year or two, usually. She said "People always ask me, oh are you STILL doing that glove thing?' and I say 'yeah- are you STILL playing the piano' (or painting, or using the same camera, etc...)

I also enjoyed her discussion of two installations, both of which I'd coincidentally seen in the Bay Area in the past few years -- "Bags", at New Langton Arts, and "Sounds of War," at YBCA.
check her out: http://www.sonami.net/

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday's lunchtime event

I really enjoyed today's lunchtime lecture by Jason Hanasik. It was a preview of the lecture he will give next weekend at SPE.
He's an interesting man and super photographer, in my humble opinion.
I was particularly interested in his portraits of friends and family and the insight into relationships that his photographs capture. Totally powerful.


Great pizza, too!

49 Geary!

I went to 49 Geary a couple of weeks ago. At the Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art Gallery there was a show with some of Jeremy Mora's sculptures up. He uses "humble" materials (foam, sand paper, teeny tiny miniature things) to create these miniature environments that address the juxtaposition between nature and culture. He draws his inspiration from the miniature things like doll houses, bonsai, and models because they all have the same status as being environments that humans have complete control over nature. The sculptures are very small, but extremely interesting to look at, they have many layers. An example would be a tiny little plastic person ( smaller than a fly) on top of layers that reference the layers of the earths surface. Some were right in the middle of the room on the floor going up quit high and some were coming out of the wall. I thought it was a beautiful set up. But with that maybe there wasn't so many pieces, they all began to look the same after a while. 
I just liked how he took the idea of a humans actual size on our planet in comparison to how big we really think we are. This also goes along with my personal love for paleontology and paleobiology. When I remember how small I really am, and how short my life really is in the timeline of all things I feel more at ease to take risks and do as I please.. especially in terms of making art. Its strange but very inspiring. I also respected the fact that he used simple materials -seemingly valueless materials to illustrate a complex idea.  If anyone got a chance to see it I'd like to know what you thought! Have a great weekend everyone! 

Prop 8 Protest tonight in San Francisco at 5:30 at civic center to the castro ending at Dolores park. Be there or be lame. Cheers!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Scheduling revisions thru Thanksgiving

Hey all,

Please remember that class begins at 9:00. Really.

Also, for those of you who missed class yesterday, we've made a couple of revisions to the schedule that should help:

Monday, November 10
meet in Photo
We'll be covering tungsten studio lighting.

Wednesday, November 12
meet in Photo
Sequential Narrative due
Intro to Digital SLRs

Monday and Wednesday November 17 and 19
We'll be splitting the class in two parts.
1/2 the class will work on strobe lighting on Monday and 1/2 on Wednesday.
The half that's NOT doing strobe lighting will have an open lab.

This week we'll be shooting high school portraits. Come prepared. (note that I'm
using HS portraits as a catch all. You may choose a studio portrait of yourself at any age to reproduce. Have fun with it. Think about the backdrop, the lighting. What were you wearing? How was your hair? Makeup?

Monday, November 24
Meet in the Prieto
Demo with Blurb on-demand printing

Wednesday, November 26
Open Studio

Please contact me with questions.
Have a great weekend!

Working in Narrative Sequences

From Carrie Mae Weems' Kitchen Table Series

Paradise Regained, Duane Michals, 1968

Duane Michals essay by James Cotter in PhotoInsider