Posts filed under ‘ASU Art Museum’
Each piece in the exhibition Turn off the Sun, on view at the ASU Art Museum through Sept. 7, packs tremendous heat, power and impact. Drawn from La Colección Jumex in Mexico City, an incredible private contemporary art collection of about 2,600 works, Turn off the Sun displays two dozen of these searingly honest and beautiful pieces. This is only the second time that any of the Jumex collection has been shown in the United States.
The exhibition title did not come about from a concentrated brainstorm though, but rather from joking about the weather. During Jumex director Patrick Charpenel and curator Michel Blancsubé’s site visit to the ASU Art Museum in the summer of 2012, the two started an ongoing joke about how someone needs to “turn off the sun.” When curator Julio César Morales joined the staff in the fall and heard it, he pointed out how that’s not necessarily a joke—that’s a great name.
“When I heard this phrase, I thought it was a brilliant title, and the more it was discussed by myself and Heather Sealy Lineberry, the more we thought the title really connected with artworks in the exhibition and addressed ideas of site, adaptability and physical displacement,” Morales said.
ASU Art Museum senior curator and associate director Heather Sealy Lineberry said the museum staff became interested in the social and political implications of brining the contemporary art collection from Mexico to Arizona and how the content of the work would shift just by the very nature of having it here.
The artworks address several types of issues between Mexico and the United States, among them borders, landscape, lines, labor, politics, economics, faith and awareness.
One example is “Cuando La Fe Mueve Montañas” (“When Faith Moves Mountains”) by Francis Alÿs, a conceptual performance artist. In the multimedia installation, the artist has a group of people move a mountain with shovels to create a line, like a curious border. Another is “Security Fence” by Liza Lou, which explores dark psychological spaces of violence and confinement. Santiago Sierra’s artwork “3000 holes of 180 x 50 x 50 cm each” is a triptych of three photographs and a performance piece that he created while in southern Spain, looking across to North Africa where many immigrants come into Spain. On video Sierra highlights matters of struggle and immigration by showing the 3,000 shoveled holes, mostly dug by Senegalese and Moroccan day workers over the course of a month with a Spanish foreman overseeing the labor.
“These three pieces pulled at our imagination and were tremendous anchors for what we wanted to do with the exhibition,” Lineberry said.
In an interview with San Francisco Arts Quarterly, Blancsubé also explained, “I generally don’t choose a theme and then look for artworks to sustain or feed it… I am seduced by artworks and imagine funny games between them. The theme or the discourse comes after or during the construction, and in a way it is suggested by the artworks themselves.”
Along with the choosing of the exhibition title, another unexpected aspect of Turn off the Sun is that there are no labels next to the pieces. Instead, there is printed material at the entrance of every gallery space that includes technical information, biographies and further text about the artistic process of all the artworks. This allows people who want to make their own relationships with the work to have that possibility. With each exhibition, the museum experiments with how to provide information for the visitor, and different kinds of exhibitions warrant different information systems.
Blancsubé said the information related to the artworks is accessible for curious visitors, “but not having plaques plugged on the wall near the artworks allows visitors to have a first approach of the artworks on their own without receiving from the beginning glasses that oriented their viewing.”
“We thought the design and artworks look so clean and beautifully installed that labels would interrupt the artwork itself,” Morales said. “I was more interested in the audience having a visceral experience of the work and engaging with it without any other materials to distract from that experience.”
Though some visitors are more comfortable with text panels, many are pleasantly surprised and enjoy the practice of making their own connections with the works.
Lineberry said she sees people relating to the artworks and broadening their thoughts about the border: “I think a lot of people are coming away with a pretty amazing experience of the works individually and the process of piecing them together as a narrative in their minds.”
–Mary Grace Richardson
Images, from top: “Overpass,” by Jeff Wall; “Cuando La Fe Mueve Montañas” (“When Faith Moves Mountains”), by Francis Alÿs; “Security Fence,” by Liza Lou, and “3000 holes of 180 x 50 x 50 cm each,” by Santiago Sierra. All photos by Craig Smith.
Editor’s Note: Because we’re a university art museum, we have the good fortune of working with some extraordinary students — like Juno Schaser, who’s been making PR and marketing magic for us this year AND is an artist herself. This week Juno graduates with a BFA in Photography and a BA in Museum Studies from the ASU School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. We wish her great good luck in everything she does, and we look forward to following her career. Here’s an article about Juno’s experience at ASU, which first appeared in ASU News.
When Jeanne (Juno) Schaser came to ASU two years ago as a transfer student from Eastern Arizona College, she was excited to be taking classes from some of the top photographers in the field, people whose work appeared in major museum collections around the world.
What she didn’t realize was that she would be learning as much outside the classroom as inside, through internships, work-study programs and capstone projects that stretched her abilities and helped her talent bloom.
Schaser originally applied and was accepted to both Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona, but chose ASU for its excellent photography program. She isn’t regretting her choice – the ASU School of Art was the only program in Arizona to rank in the top 25 on the 2014 U.S. News & World Report.
As a double major in photography and museum studies, she works as an intern at the ASU Art Museum and also an editorial assistant in ASU Media Relations, and she has curated an exhibition of her own at ASU’s Step Gallery. This semester she’s also working at ASU’s Northlight Gallery, learning how to care for archived photographs as well as how to plan and coordinate exhibitions from the gallery’s collection.
“I’ve gotten to pursue so many diverse opportunities, I don’t think I could have done this anywhere else but ASU,” Schaser says. “I’ve gotten hands-on experience at every place I’ve worked. I’ve tried out a lot of things and learned a lot of different components of what a career could offer.”
Transferring from Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, Schaser was drawn to ASU by its top-notch faculty in photography, including Elizabeth (Betsy) Schneider, an associate professor in the School of Art who won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011.
“Professor Schneider is great, one of my favorite professors,” says Schaser. “She has such a great energy and is always willing to meet with you at any time and to look at your work and offer suggestions. I still meet with her, because I value her input so much.”
Another formative experience was taking a course on gallery exhibitions from faculty associate Peter Bugg. She was required to create a proposal for a gallery show, and with Bugg’s encouragement she submitted her exhibition proposal to a campus committee and was selected to curate a show at the Step Gallery.
Her show, “Crave: The Art of Dependency,” looked at the phenomenon of addiction through various media produced by different artists, about half of them students and the other half photographers in Northlight’s archive. It was a moving, personal show that also boosted Schaser’s resume.
“The exhibition was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done,” she says.
Schaser’s father gave her a camera when she was seven years old, and after seeing her delight with the hobby he bought her a digital camera a few years later. Fresh out of high school, she was doing freelance photography for the local newspaper, the Eastern Arizona Courier.
She says she loves the dynamic nature of photography, and the way it both records and interprets culture.
At ASU Media Relations she puts both her writing and artistic skills to work, helping edit the ASU News website, posting the weekly photo gallery and managing the ASU News Twitter account. She also has taken photos at ASU commencement ceremonies, an event she says is “really exciting, with a lot of different moving parts.”
Schaser will attend her own commencement on May 9 at Sun Devil Stadium, graduating cum laude. She has several internship offers this summer, including one from a museum in New York City, but she’s not sure what her next step will be.
“I’m excited that I have so many opportunities. I don’t have to run out and take the first job. I love it that my path isn’t set in stone.”
Christine Lee takes in the disregarded, salvages the thrown away and harbors the excess. For this wood-based artist, the original intention of a material is only a hint of a much more meaningful possibility, making Lee’s artwork a process-driven venture and a thorough material investigation.
Lee’s work crosses back and forth between sculpture, furniture, woodworking and installation. As part of the ASU Art Museum’s Crafting a Continuum series, Lee has given public lectures, taught classes and installed her own work at Combine Studio in downtown Phoenix.
The Crafting a Continuum series is sponsored by a Windgate Charitable Foundation grant, which has enabled the museum to attract and support craft-based visiting artists, such as Lee, who incorporate new ideas and technologies into their artwork.
“I think they were interested that I was working with a range of composite material and creating functional and sculptural work,” Lee said. “I feel like they both can happen in the same studio space.”
Lee’s work stretches the standard associations and intended functions of ordinary materials. According to Lee, people now are looking at the material and how it is being used, but not in a way to determine which medium is better than another: “It’s not so much about the end result of what you make but how you take that material and transform it. It’s the process and where it goes.”
In this sense, public perception of what is craft art and what is fine art is changing. Lee says she believes the line between the two will either significantly blur or be completely nonexistent in the future. “People realize it’s not so much about categorizing everything,” she said. “It’s more about seeing what can happen when you start weaving things together.”
Last month Lee put together Piece by Piece, an exhibition at the ASU International Artist Residency facility at Combine Studios, in downtown Phoenix, for which she stacked slender individual pieces of wood to fan out over an entire wall. No glue, no nails — just balance. This wasn’t her first endeavor for a project like this, however. In other galleries she has created similar works on walls, spanning up to 26 by 12 feet.
With her own art, Lee strives to create substantive art that is both useful and aesthetic. She added, “It seems these days there’s more exciting work out there that straddle those areas.”
Lee finds potential in material that people casually throw out, a trait she attributes to her family’s concern about not wasting and appreciating the value of things.“We would reuse things like aluminum foil and we wouldn’t throw it away unless we absolutely knew we couldn’t use it,” she said. “And that stayed with me. I’m always very conscious about what I use and if someone throws away a scrap, I’m like, ‘That’s perfectly usable.’”
As part of her residency Lee taught a class for the Fall 2012 semester — ART 494/598, Sustainable Wood Art, an upper division seminar in the wood program of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts — which she is teaching the Spring 2013 semester as well. Lee’s students use composite boards formed by collecting sawdust and fibers and putting the raw materials into processing chambers. Prototypical, a show on view in December and January in Wrigley Hall, home to ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability, highlighted work Lee’s students made using a patent-pending interior composite panel developed by Lee and research engineer John F. Hunt of the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. The panels are naturally bonded without an adhesive binder such as urea or phenol formaldehyde and are biodegradable.
What Lee enjoys most about teaching is watching her students as they grow to understand the process and connect with what they make. “Teaching for me is really exciting because I like the dynamics between interacting with people who are very excited about learning something new, and I also like watching them kind of see that transformation of material happen,” she said.
By encouraging recycling and reuse, her students have initiated a sustainable practice in their work. Peter Held, the curator of ceramics at the museum, said the students’ work has evolved as they applied the lessons they learned in Lee’s clas: “ [She] is not only a talented and innovative artist but is exploring the intersections of art, craft, design and application of new materials in her artistic practice. This interdisciplinary approach to the arts is an important initiative for the museum. When Lee taught the wood class, she brought fresh ideas and techniques to the students.”
Maren Romney, a senior sculpture major and former student of Lee, explained she more consciously considers the materials she uses when making art after taking Lee’s class. “[Her] class… helped me to understand what I can do on an individual level,” Romney said. “She really did a great job of creating discussions about the importance of sustainable design and living and brought up points from multiple points of view, which I really appreciate.”
Romney added she feels privileged to have taken a class under Lee’s direction, and she hopes Lee makes Arizona a permanent home.
During her time in Phoenix and Tempe, Lee has found a wealth of possibilities.
“I feel like there is so much to tap in here,” Lee said. “I just felt it was very serendipitous that I could be here working on this.”
–Mary Grace Richardson
To see more images of Christine Lee’s show at Combine, visit the ASU Art Museum International Artists Residency at Combine Studios Facebook page.
One of 832 Art Works grants totalling $23.3 million in funding nationwide
Nov 29, 2012
Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), announced that the ASU Art Museum in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The ASU Art Museum is recommended for a $45,000 grant to support its International Artist Residency Program at Combine Studios in downtown Phoenix.
“We’re immensely honored that the NEA recognizes and supports the work of the ASU Art Museum to serve as a catalyst for social change through the innovative vision and work of international artists,” said Gordon Knox, Director of the ASU Art Museum. “Art is a way of knowing and investigating the world and this grant allows us to build more collaborations and reach new audiences.”
The NEA funds will support the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program at Combine Studios which brings accomplished professional artists from around the world to develop new work in partnership with the intellectual resources of Arizona State University and the diverse communities within Arizona. Through the program, artists develop work in collaboration with scientists, technologists, social agencies and community organizations that investigate the pressing issues of our time.
Greg Esser, director of the International Artist Residency program and the Desert Initiative, plans to bring four international artists to Arizona to develop new work. “This program represents an incredible opportunity for Arizona residents to engage with international artists and to deepen the impact of research and learning at ASU,” said Esser.
In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works grants requesting more than $74 million in funding. Those recommended for grants span 13 artistic disciplines and fields and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.
Combine Studios is located at 821 N. Third St. connecting the ASU campus to the Roosevelt Row Arts District. The building, owned by Phoenix artists Matthew Moore and Carrie Marill, includes six residential units for visiting artists, a common kitchen area, resource library and a storefront gallery and event space. For more information about the international residency program, visit the Desert Initiative website.
Deborah Sussman Susser
ASU Art Museum
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Click. A photo of desert scenery. Click. Another photo of the desert. Is that the same one? Click. Oh, another! Have I seen this one already? Click. And another? This one’s probably different. Click. Is it? It is. Click.
The slide projector spins the wheel of slides. Each of the 50 some-odd photos are shots of the desert, a part of Miguel Palma’s latest exhibition, “Trajectory.”
The photos are projected onto a white wall by an old-fashioned slide projector set on a timer. The photos roll around, each a different photo of Arizona’s desert scenery.
On the other side of the wall, there is an orange astronaut suit with one noticeable addition: several dozen small, black computer fans attached to the outside of the suit. Palma wore this suit as he traversed the desert, taking photos of the sights and scenery. The black computer fans were used to keep him cool during his expedition.
Click. Drip. Suddenly, I notice a new sound in the exhibit. Drip. Drip. Click. I realize that the sound of the projector isn’t alone. The sound is coming from a piece called “Bypass.”
“Bypass” is a device that Palma created. It takes water from a bucket, runs it up tubing into a chunk of wood, and then drips the water back down into the bucket. The natural and organic element of the wood and the water contrasts with the metal and silicone. There is a pump inside the bucket of water that looks like it was put there to bring water to the tree, but then the tubing and the metal cause the water to bypass the tree and return to the bucket. The manmade apparatus of tubing and silicone is depriving the tree of the water that it needs. The hunk of wood is supported in the air by metal and a hydraulic lift. The manmade system isn’t only depriving the tree of water, but it also supports the tree and holds it up. This brings up a question: is this what we’re doing to the desert? Are we trying our best to uphold it and support it, yet ultimately just depriving it of what it needs to survive? I arrive at more questions than I have answers. I have to move on.
Along the northern and eastern wall, there is an absolute cascade of poster paper full of art and ideas. Each poster contains ideas about the desert and the culture of the people who live in it. Palma uses collages, images, drawings and commentary of our culture to show these ideas. As I walk and read each poster, I see themes connect and I begin to understand the corollaries between them. For example, Palma wrote about swimming pool shapes, and the purpose of each shape. He wrote about L-shaped pools. “The L-shape fits easily into a corner or around a house projection.” I see that phrase written multiple times around swimming pools and even around old desert photos where, presumably, a pool would eventually go. There are stories about the destruction of the desert, and how manmade tools changed the scenery into what we call Phoenix.
I notice one piece called “War Games.” It shows photos of the desert, with yellow dots painted over it. Each dot has a line pointing at a construction truck, many with Xs drawn over them. Palma seems to be trying to show that people are at war with the desert; our weapons are the tools we used to put ourselves into the desert with, like tools of construction, transportation and infrastructure. I have never thought of it like that. Are we at war with the desert?
Palma was a visitor to our desert, but it took me a while to connect the dots. He wasn’t just an explorer of the desert; he is implying that he is like an astronaut exploring unknown worlds with his space suit and his rover vehicle. It all became clear to me. His art is a tale of his exploration of the unknown territory, the Arizona desert. He charted our destruction of the desert as well; we have been using our war tools to build our L-shaped pools and destroy the beauty of the desert around us. Palma researched our history and recorded lives, not just our lives, but also the life of the desert itself.
But what does that make me, a desert-dweller observing Palma’s observations? I suppose I’m the Martian who lives on this strange planet of rock and cacti. I suppose we should all take a better look at the world outside our cities. It’s beautiful.
“Miguel Palma: Trajectory” is on display at the ASU Art Museum until February 9, 2013
ASU Art Museum Intern
Thanks to Sean Deckert and the Desert Initiative for use of their photographs.
ASU Art Museum and First Saturdays for families are pleased to be having fine arts bookmaker Alice Vinson returning for a kids bookmaking workshop on November 3. Alice is an award-winning book artist as well as a children’s bookmaking workshop instructor for The Drawing Studio, in Tucson AZ.
Due to overwhelming response to her first workshop, Alice will be doing two sessions. The first session is from 11:30 – 1:00pm and the second is from 1:30 – 3:00pm. The workshop sessions and supplies are FREE!
There is very limited space, so sign-up is first-come, first-serve, so save your spot by emailing Aimee Leon at Aimee.Leon@asu.edu with the name(s) and age(s) of the child(ren), attending parent(s) names, a contact phone number and which session you’d like to attend.
We will be providing activities in rotating hour-long intervals. If you come for the first session, feel free to stay after. If you are in the second session we hope to see you a little early.Photo by Tim Trumble.