Posts filed under ‘Art Trips’
My first full day in Stockholm was fast-paced, with new experiences abounding.
My first stop was to the studio of a collaborative group of nine artists, all past graduates of Konsfack, Stockholm’s design/craft school. Above, on the left is Linus Errson and right, Jakob Robertsson. They showed a Powerpoint of six past projects, including one at PS 1 and the V & A. Bright group working in a variety of media.
Next stop down the street was the Bonniers Konsthall, a contemporary museum (below).
Then off to visit two premier craft galleries: Konsthantverkarna and Blas & Knada, pictured below. Work was generally functional with a twist and, like all global craftsmen worldwide, currently geared towards the gift-giving season.
Ended the day in the beautiful Gambla Stan neighborhood and after hours of being chilly outside, stopped by to visit my fair glogg barkeeps, below:
On the subway home the graffiti caught my eye.
Tomorrow off to Gustavsberg.
Happy Yuletide greetings from the great north!
–Peter Held, Curator of Ceramics
I took the train today to Humlebaek, about 25 miles north of Copenhagen, to visit the Louisiana Museum. Was excited as they recently opened an Ai Wei Wei exhibition. Here are two photos of the primary installations with many video projects and interviews with the artist. Also a great show of Klee and the CoBrA group. And I saw the sun for the first time in three days!
Peter Held, curator of ceramics for the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center, is on a research trip through Scandinavia (funded by a generous grant for that purpose), and he’ll be sending us periodic updates from the road. Here’s his first, sent a few hours before he took off from New York for Denmark.
“So what do you do with a 2 hour layover in NY before leaving for Europe? As a native New Yorker you get a pastrami sandwich. Katz’s is no Carnegie Deli, no — but good enough to cross the ocean.”
And he even sent a photo of his sandwich:
We are now officially hungry. And a little bit envious.
Last week at work, I had to find and compile images (and the necessary credit lines, of course) for an online slideshow presenting some of the works of Juan Downey. The cool part? Once I was done, I got to go look at the works in person.
In case it wasn’t already obvious, I work at the ASU Art Museum, which is currently exhibiting Juan Downey: The Invisible Architect, the first U.S. museum survey of Chilean artist Juan Downey’s work. There are three whole galleries worth of his work here, one on each floor, but unfortunately I only had time to properly appreciate two.
Now, I might not be someone exactly qualified to comment on art (I’m a marketing and economics major, very boring), but Downey’s work is awesome. The gallery on the first floor contained some of Downey’s more technical pieces, sketches and drafts of his experiments in performance art examining the interactions between man and machine. I was amazed by the depth of the contrast. Downey documents his inquiries into invisible energies existing in human-machine communication in the crisp, precise detail of an architect’s draft, but done with such simple mediums, color pencil and graphite.
Downey’s projects are complex investigations and experiments with robots, machines, and conditions. Yet, such seemingly intricate, technical undertakings are juxtaposed against the simple, even humble, but loving detail he used to document them. His sketches, as I mentioned, are done on paper with pencil, and while devoid of much color and punctuated with Downey’s scribbles and annotations, still retain a perfect feel and respect for space and position, nothing random, everything with a purpose.
While interactions between man and machine and invisible energies seem as though they could easily be boring, high-brow and scientific, they’re not. Downey’s innovative sense of whimsy avoids anything detached and pretentious. My personal favorite is Downey’s transcription of Pollution Robot, decomposed into three pieces: Inside the Robot, Follows People And….., And Breathes Stuffy Air On Them.
If the names of the works are amusing, then Downey’s performance of Pollution Robot must have been even more so. In Pollution Robot, Downey hid himself within a robot box, followed people, and breathed stuffy air on them. I loved it, the lack of pretention in the names and the act, that Downey himself was in the robot following people, and the fact that in the robot, Downey’s main purpose was, rather than anything else one could imagine, to follow people and breathe stuffy air on them. It makes the complexity of the themes explored in Downey’s performance accessible and entertaining.
Unfortunately, I am now out of time and space, and I didn’t even get to mention the exhibition in the second gallery featuring some of Downey’s more traditional (but still far from it) art. But hopefully, that’s another story for another day, or another blog post for another day at work.
–Karen Enters, PR and Marketing Intern
Diablo the anaconda has finally arrived.
He wasn’t thrilled about being moved, and released an indescribable smell to express his displeasure, but he is now safely installed in his enclosure on the third floor, as part of an installation by Juan Downey titled “Anaconda Map of Chile.” It’s an important piece, and it’s never been shown in the U.S. the way the artist intended; because of Downey’s point about the Anaconda Copper Mining Company’s role in the downfall of Salvador Allende and the installation of dictator Augusto Pinochet, the piece was censored more than once.
Diablo is a 6-foot Eunectes notaeus (Yellow Anaconda), on loan to the Museum from the Phoenix Herpetological Society, a non-profit reptile education and conservation group. He was rescued by his current owner, Russ Johnson, who is president of the Phoenix Herpetological Society, when he was just about year old. Diablo’s enclosure is heated, and is one-and-a-half times larger than his cage at the Society, giving him more room to stretch out, although he likes to spend most of his time coiled up. During his stay at the Museum, two staff members of the PHS will come regularly to care for him.
Native to tropical South America, anacondas are members of the boa constrictor family and are the largest of the snakes of the Americas. Yellow Anacondas live about 15 to 20 years and grow to be 8 to 12 feet long. Diablo is a young snake, probably 8 or 9 years old, and his diet consists of rats. In the wild, anacondas eat fish, alligators, birds, small deer and large rodents. The anaconda can unhinge its lower jaw, allowing it to swallow animals whole after squeezing them to death with its powerful body.
At the time of his rescue, Diablo belonged to a young man who had purchased him from a local pet store but didn’t know anything about anacondas. Diablo had grown very sick, so someone contacted Russ, who nursed Diablo back to health. It took almost two years. “It was a labor of love,” Russ says.
Now Diablo’s skin is the right color and is iridescent, as it should be. Russ notes that under normal circumstances, people should not own anacondas, but because Diablo was born in captivity, it is against international regulations to release him back into the wild. So Russ will always take care of him.
The museum is grateful to Russ and to the Phoenix Herpetological Society for helping us make sure that Diablo is well cared for during his stay at the ASU Art Museum.
Tonight at 6 p.m., Marilys Belt de Downey, director of the Juan Downey Foundation, will speak with Curator Valerie Smith about her late husband’s work, including “Anaconda Map of Chile,” followed by our Season Opening Reception from 7 to 9 p.m. We hope you’ll come visit Diablo during the course of the season, to see the significant role he plays in the Juan Downey retrospective here at the Museum. If you do, we ask only that you please refrain from touching or tapping on his enclosure. He won’t enjoy that. As a preschool teacher we know tells her students, “Touch with your eyes.”
That hasn’t been her only project. She extended her internship into the summer and has helped research and plan our patron trip to London this fall. We have pored over maps and sent off scads of emails as we work on an itinerary that focuses on contemporary art galleries, museums and studios, and goes beyond the obvious to explore the international work being made and presented in this great city. What I didn’t know when I asked Meredith to work on this project was that she would be attending Sotheby’s Master’s of Art Business program in London this fall. So now she goes as an expert on the contemporary art scene AND she will join us on some of our appointments in London, including the Feast on the Bridge by artist Clare Patey. (Watch for a large and ambitious project with Clare at the ASU Art Museum in the future!)
Meredith just got her visa and has her travel plans set. Now she’s trying to find a flat. She has taken full advantage of the opportunities at the ASU Art Museum and has been a great member of our team. We will miss her but look forward to following her career in the field.
–Heather Sealy Lineberry
Senior Curator and Associate Director