Monday, September 30, 2013

Derrick Adams

"Derrick Adams is a multidisciplinary New York-based artist with practices rooted in Deconstructivist philosophies" (Derrick's bio 1). Wikipedia describes Deconstuctivist architecture as "characterized by fragmentation, and interest in manipulating a structure's surface or skin, non-rectilinear shapes which appear to distort and dislocate elements of architecture, such as structure and envelope" (Deconstructivism 1). Deconstructivism's emergence in architecture is tied to two preceding forms of art, minimalism and cubism, "Analytical cubism has a sure effect on deconstructivism, as forms and content are dissected and viewed from different perspectives simultaneously" Deconstructivism 2. "The collage works on paper create minimal geometric constructions of angular figures that seemingly live both in a state of deconstruction at the same time as if in the process of being built" (Derrick bio 2).
HEAD #12 (floor plan), Mixed media collage on paper, 36 inches x 36 inches, 2012.
In Head #12 (floor plan) Derrick successfully manipulates depth, particularly how the surface of the figure is read. The darkest section lays directly against the lightest at the cheekbone, contradicting the way shadows naturally form. Head #12 (floor plan) seems unfinished in this respect, as if fragmented layers are coming through prematurely. "Architectural processes and their different presentation strategies are important in the work: footprints, floor plans, elevation sections, visual rendering and the constructed object, acts as various developmental states and approaches and serve as a comparative investigation into the physical construction of the figure" (Derrick's bio 3).

Derrick's "focus is on fragmentation and manipulation of structure and surface - exploring shape-shifting forces of popular culture and its counter balances in our lives" (Derrick's bio 4). Derrick's performative works shares these philosophies.
Ask The President, performance documentation, Adams’ Go Stand Next To The Mountain, The Kitchen,  NYC, 2012.
In Ask The President Adams's has brought to life a man who would normally be existing as a deceased president on U.S. notes. This is communicated simply enough by creating a cut-out in a large hundred-dollar bill wooden, sculptural object. Here he explores popular culture as he transforms into arguably the most powerful being on the planet.

What I can take away from Derrick Adams is his use of props. Adams's genius with theatrical objects is evident here as well,
Crossroads, Digital Photograph, edition of 5, 34 in. x 48 in., 2012.
Derrick Adams use of props is thought out and simple. Lessons are to be learned here.

Friday, September 27, 2013

John Cage's 4:33

John Cage was an American experimental composer. He famously had his ensemble play nothing. This piece, void of any musical instruments, is known as 4 minutes and 33 seconds. The audience is suppose to hear the environment as it is when the piece is being "performed."

This is performance art. Cage activated the audience and gave them a memorable experience that challenged one's notion of what a performance can be.

What I can appropriate from this?

My work with stasis has me standing still or "doing nothing," and an in-depth look at Cage's piece will take one's focus away from the orchestra altogether, shifting the focus to audience shared experience. This could prove important to master in my own work, because there may be times when I do not want myself to be the subject of the attention, and rather have the audience either knowingly or unbeknownst take center stage.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Thoughts on Chris Burden 1

Chris Burden continuously questions the established order. One of my favorites is You'll Never See My Face In Kansas City, 1971. With this piece he discusses notions of celebrity. Paid engagements that require access to a celebrity and the idea of the artist becoming more important than the work are two thoughts that come to mind. Burden dons a ski mask whenever he is not behind the panel located in the gallery. He no doubt alarmed people during his stay due to the inability to perform facial recognition. Not only are ski masks associated with burglars, a face has a lot of information that would bode well for one to read accurately; the intentions of said individual are important to the group and the face will usually tell the story.

Chris Burden was present during the opening, but not accessible. If you were able to catch a few moments with him around town, your conversation, visually, was one-sided. You, as a patron/fan/gallerist, were stripped of the facial cues involved in every human interaction. Mind you, this if you were able to track him down.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Marina Abramovic Institute

Planning for the Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI) is well underway as seen in this video by the artist. The mission "is dedicated to the presentation and preservation of long durational work." Marina goes on to say, "You come here not to just to see the work but to change yourself through the work."

MAI is asking the world if this is the future. Nothing like this exists. The chance for meaningful change to take place in someone's life when they surrender their time and the outside world is an extraordinary prospect.

What I can appropriate for my practice is thinking about the lasting effect my work will have on people's lives. With my pull-up bar installation I will hopefully be introducing someone to this movement for the first time, and possibly creating a lifestyle of fitness.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hirschhorn's Summer Stay in The Bronx

Thomas Hirschhorn at his monument to Antonio Gramsci in the Bronx, NY.
Thomas Hirschhorn, the famous Swiss artist, has installed his version of a monument to Marxist thinker Antonio Gramaci located in the Forest Houses housing project of the South Bronx in New York City.

What is Hirschhorn asking with the erection of this contemporary temporary monument? Well, he chose this site due to the inhabitants low incomes, and filled this site with Gramsci-approved literature, thereby sewing the revolutionary seeds needed for the proletariat to overthrow the bourgeois. Ken Johnson gives a clearer account of Hirschhorn's intentions in The New York Times, "Gramsci thought that the overthrow of capitalist hegemony should come not by violent revolution but through the rise of “counter-hegemonies” — alternative cultures developed by disenfranchised groups. Through self-education, self-organization and the creation of its own institutions, a proletarian culture might someday become powerful enough to displace the bourgeois culture of modern, industrial society." Those that say real change is not possible and this just a big ego stroke are seeing the glass half empty. Regardless of my political philosophies, I can appreciate Hischhorn's goal in making meaningful discussion, self-education and exposure tenets of this monument.

What I can appropriate from this piece is what the person takes away with them, forever. Hirschhorn's Gramsci Monument is temporary, but the ideas passed on will last a lifetime. My pull-up bar sculpture is going to be permanent, not temporary, but the skills learned will hopefully stay with someone a lifetime.

My sculpture will be in a place where you may not expect to find a pull-up bar. Stressing the notion that movement is possible anywhere, just like how you wouldn't expect to find a Marxist cultural center in a South Bronx housing project courtyard. Stressing the notion that serious discourse should and can happen anywhere.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

First Day Back & Typewriters, Pianos and Pull-Up Bars

Working Out:
Today was the first day I worked out since mid-summer. I am looking forward to creating projects and performances that call for an exertion of the body.

Typewriters, Pianos and Pull-Up Bars:
Henry Goldkamp is a St. Louis poet who has installed 37 typewriters around his hometown. This public art installation invites people to convey their thoughts. Erin Williams, contributor for NPR, provides input from Liesel Fenner, the public art manager at Americans for the Arts in Washington, "Successful public art engages the viewer, and whether that's hands-on participation, or the viewer coming away with a tangible change in how they experienced that space, that place... [has] a really lasting impact [on the viewer] for years to come." Goldkamp may have been influenced by Luke Jerram's Play Me, I'm Yours which has installed more than 900 pianos in 36 cities across the globe. Setting up interactive opportunities for the public to collaborate with objects at their disposal is a theme I am currently working on with my WorkoutAnywhere Pull-Up Bar installation. Accompanying the pull-up bar will be a 3 foot by 3 foot aluminum sign that is in the process of being rendered by a graphic designer and then it is off to Berry & Homer for 2D printing. The image below will give you an idea of what the sign will look like. My hope is that people, who may not normally engage with a pull-up bar, will "hang."Small communities may form around this installation, creating a home base for those that realize they don't need a pair of the latest, greatest sneakers or a $100 gym membership to sweat, build muscle and get their heart rate up. They can produce movements in public that are typically relegated to the gym/home space, thus reshaping the idea of site specificity in the minds of others.