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.

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!

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:

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).

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:

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


Friday, November 7th

Please join us tomorrow, Friday the 7th of November for some art and some pizza (and a small celebration of Obama's election.) 12:00 noon in the photo classroom.

(x-tra credit available)


"I am a graduate student at CCA in the MFA Fine Arts program. I mainly work in photo, video, and installation. I am currently working on a project called He Opened Up Somewhere Along the Eastern Shore. This project looks at the liminal space between the gay male civilian and the heterosexual male Marine returning from war.

You can see a very small selection of the work at

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Photo Alliance

Barbara Bosworth will be giving a lecture at SFAI on Friday December 5th at 7:30pm. This lecture will be sponsored by the Photo Alliance. To check out more about what the Photo Alliance does in the Bay Area, look at their website:
This non-profit holds workshops and lectures with contemporary photographers. Other photographers that they have recently brought to the public to talk about their work include Hank Willis Thomas and Phyllis Galembo. I'd keep an eye on this group to see if you'd want to participate in any of their workshops, in order to learn any specialized techniques that they may offer or just to be able to see/hear some really thought provoking artists.

Faviana Rodriguez

Faviana's lecture really opened my eyes to the ongoing social movements that surround us today. I was interested in how she addressed ways to communicate art and how to get it out in public. Rodriguez places her artwork in the neighborhoods and city that she lives in, and in doing so, exposes more people to art. Rodriguez told us about "arte para todos," which means art for everyone. It interested me to hear about how important it was for Rodriguez to make art accessible to everyone, and not just those with money. I wasn't aware that immigrants were bring depicted so poorly in the art world, and love that Rodriguez is addressing the issue and putting them in a positive light. Overall, I found Rodriguez to be an amazing, powerful speaker. Her work is very media-savvy and graphic, and I loved how direct it was.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Creative Growth

I went to an opening at Creative Growth (an Art Center that serves adult artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities and provides a stimulating environment for artistic instruction, gallery promotion and personal expression). The show that went up titled, "Altered" has a Dia de Los Muertos/ Halloween theme. They had a beautiful alter set up with a variety of ceramic works that also held candles. There was an immense variety of pieces (no photography... I think the studios might not have a facility for it). The pieces that intrigued me most were two beautiful bundles of twisted cloth. They were very meditative and meticulous with sumptuous color. The gallery is located in Oakland if anyone wants to go view the work.
355 24th Street, Oakland, CA 94612