The exhibition in the Guggenheim was pretty cool. It was really interesting to see all the different media that these people were working in. It shows how many ideas people had to express once China was free from just making propaganda art.
What really stuck out to me in the push against propaganda like art was Welcome to Xijing – Xijing Olympics, a piece of video art. These three men were mocking the Olympics, participating in silly events with the same name, like Diving where they dropped paper into a small bowl of water rather than actually diving. I thought it was interesting, because the Olympics are always such an important event, especially for the hosting nation. These men were mocking the games and the hosting nation of China for the 2008 games. With how impressive it was on the international screen, I would assume everyone was in support of the Olympics and the money China had put into them. It’s interesting to see a different side of it.
The other piece I really enjoyed was the giant hanging sculpture in the middle of the rotunda, Theater of the World. I was just struck by how massive the sculpture was, but how delicate it looked at the same time. I really enjoyed that it was made from found objects as well. It’s really inspiring to me, and I’d love to make something like this for the next semester.
In her article ”International players vie for a slice of Shanghai”, Lisa Movius on The Art Newspaper talks about two art fairs about to open. The two fairs are Art021 and West Bund Art & Design in Shanghai. This is the fifth year for the fairs and everything is completely booked. Artists from all over are planned to be shown, not just those from China.
This article caught my eye considering we’re going to see a giant show on Chinese art in just a few days. It’s somewhat like an art swap in a way, since western art will be shown over in China at the same time. As the article on the Guggenheim show said western viewers only think of Ai WeiWei when they think of Chinese art, so having various western artists on display during this fair might show Chinese viewers that there are more artists than maybe Jeff Koons or Damion Hirst, or whoever they think of.
This article also shows how art has grown in China. “This is our first time to have the Shanghai Exhibition Centre fully booked,” Kelly Ying, the co-founder of Art021, told Movius. It had been happening for years but it’s just now full. More galleries are trying to get in and show work, as well as more artists are trying to get a spot to show. In this western artworld where art is just everywhere, it’s amazing to hear that art is finally having a strong presence in China.
I found it interesting how important diversity was to Project Row Houses, but it seemed difficult to achieve. In such a big program about bettering the community, I would expect people from all work of life to take part in this project. In the interview, Rick Lowe say a Mormon Church would come in to help on volunteer day, but wouldn’t have been in before that. Along the same lines, Lowe states how there were smaller African American groups trying to control their identity and didn’t engage as much with the community, supporting the diversity. In a way, it makes sense though, because they’re in their own little groups where people won’t be critical of them and they can be their own community. But that defeats the purpose of Project Row Houses.
Trying to work with the community and make this a project for everyone is amazing. When thinking about a community project, I think of just a small neighborhood, like Mark Stern describe “grandmothers with coloring books in their front yards.” Community art, especially in Project Row Houses goes far beyond just this little neighborhood project. It gets people thinking about the artist and their art after they’ve left the project. It gets them thinking beyond just their neighborhood and connects them to the whole art world. The project just grows on itself as people follow their favorite visiting artist and go out into the world.
As a senior, it’s always so helpful now to hear artists talk about their processes. Lindsay Deifik was no exception last night. I really enjoyed the process she explained for two of her fabric prints, how the pattern she had made on them was, in its original real-world form, it was intended to protect, but now as fabric, it would be useless for that purpose. She works with anxiety in her works, relating to the current world happenings. She talked, in particular, about her amphora images, how they were filled with the ‘caution orange’ of modern times and how they relate the Roman Empire to the present day nuclear war worries. The orange was even painted in the shape of a mushroom cloud, which pushed the connection even closer.
It was also interesting to hear how she worked with anxiety in her art, but when she’s creating the art, Deifik isn’t anxious. Even so, she captures that feeling so well.
Marina Abramović has an interesting relationship with performance art. Not only does she have her own pieces she has created and performed, but she reperforms other artists’ performances. In traditional artforms, it’s commonplace to recreated past works, creating artists copies. I never thought about recreating performance art though. It’s much more temporal and if I wasn’t there for the original, I wouldn’t expect to see it ever performed.
Throughout the reading, Jones and Abramović discuss the recreation process, how it was difficult to get clear instructions and permission. The instructions were important so Abramović could perform these pieces as close to original as possible. It was just as important to get permission to perform the pieces, a thought that never crossed my mind. It goes beyond the artist copy though, since she was working the performances into her own new piece. On page 551, she describes how she was only given permission to perform one part of Gina Pane’s performance, affecting the relationship between the original and the recreation. The idea of permission changes the piece dramatically, because some pieces can be shortened like Pane’s piece, or not approved of whatsoever like Chris Burden’s piece, which in turn effects Abramović’s new recreation piece.
Along with her recreation of the pieces, Abramović takes future recreation of her pieces very seriously. On page 562, she explains how she’s training young performance artists on how to perform her pieces, leaving clear instructions and making sure they perform properly. It’s in reaction to the few instructions she could find with some of the pieces she used for Seven Easy Pieces. It’s a whole new kind of curation in a way, just to make sure the piece lives on properly without traditional documentation.
Kara Walker has always been an artist I come back to. When I start struggling with making art, just looking at her work gets me inspired again. She puts so much energy behind the images she makes, possibly enough to give me a little boost.
Walker is using such an overlooked subject matter with her silhouettes. The simple style she’s using, I feel, gets people to look at her work and see the societal problems most viewers want to ignore. Working on such a big scale helps with this. Her works engulf the viewer, making it impossible for the viewer to look away. Her current works do this too. We saw a recent show of hers in New York and most of her work is massive, 20-foot-tall drawings with live size figures in some case. Even though they were set in the antebellum South, as mentioned in the reading, they were focused on contemporary issues, a few reminding me of people tearing down the Confederate Memorials. It’s amazing how she can capture so much into these simple drawings.
As mentioned above, I always end up coming back to Walker’s work, which speaks for her work. She’s able to handle hot topics and not scare people off with overly graphic images. I think that’s important for the African-American art movement and history in general, because people are looking and learning.
In the political climate right now, I’m excited for sculptures/statues like these going up. When I saw this come up earlier this week, I couldn’t help but make the connection to removing Confederate soldier statues. Not that this statue is a replacement for one those, it seems like it could be to me. It’s highlight a high point in American history, when blacks received the right to vote, by honoring Octavius Catto who fought for equality in the 1800s. This feels like a positive response to the political tensions we are living in right now. Rather than be destructive, we’re displaying a positive party of history not many people know about. Catto did so much for the nation and equal rights in the 19th century, but as it’s said in the article, “We know more about Rocky — who’s not even a real person — than we know about Octavius, which says a lot.” The statue was erected in Philadelphia, the same city with the Rocky statue. This statue is a good turn in art education and hopefully national healing.
The feminist art movement is not really one I’ve ever studied. In 102, you hear about Judy Chicago, her Dinner Party table settings, and the Woman House. It’s never been much more than those two works and a single artist for me. Just reading over the Broude and Garrard introduction, I’m finding out about a lot more of female artists I haven’t heard about before. Going into this, I also expected all the women mentioned to be huge advocates for feminist art. Many seemed very hesitating about the movement actually. In the 1950s through the 60s, it seemed like many of the women just wanted to be accepted as artists more than anything else. Before then, they had simply been known as wives, helpers, or inspiration for male artists.
Because they were women, gender became a huge topic of discussion about their art. Questions that had never been asked before were aimed at these women because, or it seems to me, they were women. Eva Hesse is a great example the introduction gives, when she was asked if her works were gender based at any point. That wasn’t a question to men before. I find it curious of how women were treated differently even in the art world.
In her show Earth Potential, Katja Novitskova pairs together the micros and macros of science. They aren’t quite photographs. The images she used were taken from scientific articles, since she wouldn’t be able to get a good picture of Earth from orbit. These images are between six to eight feet in diameter, blowing up the micro-organisms and shrinking the celestial bodies. By doing this, Novitskova brought these images to a level where we can understand them more, since we can’t see many of these with our naked eyes.
These images work together to show how life can be viewed. Seeing a hydra, a regenerative creature thought to be the key of immortality, placed on top of Venus, the fiery planet lacking life, shows how the idea of life has changed and how we could one day be living on different planets. Earth Potential goes beyond what we know as life here on Earth, taking it to different planets and different ways of creating life, like genetic engineering as mentioned in the article.