Posts tagged ‘ASU’
Below: Gordon Knox (Director, ASU Art Museum) looks on curiously as Julie Thies, left, performs one of her TMS training sessions. Heather Sealy Lineberry (Senior Curator and Associate Director) also attends. Photo by Stu Mitnik.
Transitions are happening everywhere, from the changing seasons (which in Phoenix we call “hot” and “really, really hot”), to the updated layout on Facebook that caused millions to panic. The Arizona State University Art Museum is no exception to these recent shifts.
The art museum has recently made a transition from an unwieldy Access Database to The Museum System (TMS), a super sleek and powerful database, software which also graces the collections of such prestigious institutions as the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and the Metropolitan in New York City. The Museum System combines user-friendly features with a multi-faceted, innovative approach to adding in-depth details to collections and records. With TMS, the simplest aspects of an artwork are easily accessible, such as an artist’s birthplace or the year a piece was made, yet it also allows for users to find pieces using ambiguous terms, dates and locations, because of its extensive database.
Julie Thies, an independent consultant who has worked with TMS for 12 years, says, “If I didn’t have TMS, there are some questions I would have a hard time answering.” She recollects an instance in which a museum goer called about a piece he had seen several years prior: “With TMS, I didn’t have to hunt through tons of filing drawers to try to find the answer. And I don’t think the answer was anywhere in a drawer.”
Julie, who was the collections database manager at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky for 10 years and who got her start using TMS as an intern at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Sackler Gallery, both of which are part of the Smithsonian Institution, came to the ASU Art Museum in December as an independent consultant to assist with the launch of The Museum System. Without Julie’s expertise, the switch to TMS would have seemed almost impossible, as she was a beacon of hope and calm when we were caught in the tumultuous and dark seas of database conversion.
The breadth and intensity of the switch to TMS is almost hard to describe, but mentioning the numbers — a migration of close to 14, 000 objects as well as 14, 000 object images — it’s a bit easier to understand the magnitude of such an undertaking. Regardless of the time, energy and potential loss of sanity, however, the database conversion is a welcome and much needed improvement to the museum collection, one that is incredibly valuable, time-saving, in-depth, and a rescuer of busy museum professionals.
Each user of The Museum System is bound to have a favorite feature that makes their life easier. For Julie Thies, the Wisest of All Who Use TMS, it’s the endless possibilities that rank number one for her. “You can track anything about an object, where it has been, where it is and where it is going. You can manage exhibitions, images and artist information. Over the years it is nice to watch the information grow and develop, and you can see a real history of an object within the institution.”
A conversion to a new database system not only eases the collection process but helps people to better understand a collection as a whole, in parts, or as singular objects. With this understanding, our museum then becomes a more accessible platform from which to be involved in a dialogue about art. And in the end, isn’t that what a collection should do?
- Aubree Jacobs, Assistant to the Registrar, True TMS believer.
Above, left to right, Gordon Knox, Heather Sealy Lineberry and ASU Art Museum Registrar Anne Sullivan take in a TMS training session. Photo by Stu Mitnik.
Yesterday an event was held at the home of Sara and David Lieberman to raise awareness and support for the future Don Reitz Residency in the Arts.
On his 80th birthday, master ceramic artist and teacher Don Reitz envisioned a program designed to enhance artistic and creative experiences for students, faculty and artists nationwide. Considering himself a teacher’s teacher, Reitz wanted his legacy to be a residency program that transcends academic disciplines in a collaborative, inspirational space.
The artist was joined by 35 local patrons to learn more about ASU’s plans to bring about Don’s vision.
–Peter Held, Curator of Ceramics
What it means to be human is changing. Emerging technologies are transforming our minds, our relationships, everything we own and the very landscapes in which we live. What kinds of humans will we become? What kinds of humans should we become?
These are just some of the big questions that artists and scientists explored March 1–3, 2012, when Arizona State University hosted Emerge – an unparalleled campus-wide event uniting artists, engineers, bio scientists, social scientists, story–tellers and designers to build, draw, write and rethink the future of the human species and the environments that we share.
On April 10, the exhibition Emerge: Redesigning the Future opened at the ASU Art Museum. This unusual show gives audiences a chance to sample some of the futures imagined during the three-day Emerge event, and includes hands-on activities that make the viewer part of the project.
On Tuesday, April 17, we’ll celebrate the opening of Emerge from 5 to 8 p.m., at a reception sponsored by ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. The exhibition will be up through Aug. 25, and is free and open to the public.
Many thanks to the partners who worked so thoughtfully and so hard to bring this exhibition together, and to the sponsors and partners who made Emerge possible!
Emerge exhibition team
Daragh Byrne, School of Arts, Media + Engineering in the Herberger Institute
Sarah Davies, Center for Nanotechnology in Society
Aisling Kelliher, School of Arts, Media + Engineering and The Design School in the Herberger Institute
Cynthia Selin, School of Sustainability, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes
Lead developers of Emerge
Thanassis Rikakis, director of the ASU School of Arts, Media + Engineering and the Digital Culture Initiative in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Joel Garreau, Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture and Values at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Cynthia Selin, assistant professor, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes and the School of Sustainability
Sponsors and partners
- Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
- The Center for Nanotechnology in Society
- ASU Office of the President
- The Prevail Project of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
- School of Sustainability
- Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
- ASU LightWorks
- ASU Art Museum
Image above: A moment during Immerge, a performance on Nelson Fine Arts Plaza during the Emerge conference. Photo by Tim Trumble.
Attendants of “The Precession” on Feb. 17-18, at the ASU Art Museum, took away not just an experience but a feeling. Artists Judd Morrissey and Mark Jeffery blend otherworldly and secular references. The performers seemed to allude to the working man, while the winged figures suggested a more ethereal source.
Morrissey and Jeffery began to work together creatively when they both became involved with Goat Island, a collaborative performance group based in Chicago. During that time, the artists started to forge their own collaboration, merging live choreography and large-scale digital text installations to create a strange hybrid out of the individual practices.
Moved by the celestial map memorial at the Hoover Dam that Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated in 1935, Jeffery and Morrissey decided to make a piece that responded to the engraved imprint of the stars. However, the work also presents others complexities. With Morrissey’s background in digital art and visual poetics and Jeffery’s experience in choreography and live performance, the two formed a complex piece about celestial patterns, the economy and contemporary issues.
Museum-goer and sculpting student Mikey Estes recounted, “The part that stood out to me was when the four performers were all doing separate actions. One laid on the floor with his face in a shovel, another was looking at the wall frantically as if he was analyzing it, another was making hand movements, and the fourth wasn’t in the room but I heard a lot of clatter …. The reason that stood out to me was because all these different things were going on simultaneously and rather chaotically, but it all had this calming unity about it.”
Though “The Precession” can be interpreted in many different ways, Morrissey and Jeffery offered insight into the creative process of their piece.
What inspired “The Precession”?
Judd Morrissey: We started thinking about this site at the Hoover Dam, a monument to the building of it. What we did is we each responded in our own way to the site as a creative starting point. One way in which I responded was by doing some writing and then taking that writing into the computer and coding it and playing with the visuality of it.
It started from that point, and it’s a very complicated trajectory. But it involves working both separately and together. Whereas I’m working on the screen-based components, Mark also develops his own interventions into the performance, so it’s an organic conversation we’re always having. A lot of the things that I do will come back and play into the physical structure of the space.
Mark Jeffery: This is a piece that’s been going for four years, so we’re happy for these natural intrusions to take place. The video actually is, for here, three websites that will be simultaneously playing. There is still video integrated, which allows for Twitter within a mile radius of the museum to be pulled in. So we actually have this live data that can be charged. The way we’ve been able to keep working is through our residency and an invitation to do an exhibition we’ve been able to feed a particular piece into the main work. For the three-month exhibition we did at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, we opened on the winter solstice and closed on the spring equinox. It was important that we did it those days.
Why is this work called “The Precession”?
JM: We visited the Hoover Dam at the time that Obama’s campaign was going and there was a lot of this New Deal type of talk. There was a different kind of spirit in the air. A lot of people were digging back into the idea of fixing the economy and putting people to work. There was a lot of rhetoric circulating around the New Deal emerging. We decided to look at that. In the celestial map that’s engraved, there is a depiction of precession, and what it is in astronomy is the fact that the sky is slowly changing so that the pole star changes over thousands of years. Right now our pole star is Polaris, but a few thousand years ago it was something else and in a few thousand years it will be Vaga. So actually over time people will see a different sky, different locations, and will have to navigate differently. It’s sort of a representation of time at a monumental scale, and the reason the pole star shifts is because the Earth’s axis is gradually increasing its tilt by one degree every 72 years. It was discovering this concept and playing with the idea of the recession within the word “precession” and the economic cycles. The word has also been used in a lot of other contexts. The philosopher Baudrillard talks about the simulated overtaking the real as though it precedes it. There is also a concept in Buckminster Fuller that has to do with the way human behavior impacts other humans. He uses the concept of precession to discuss the effects of our actions on other people. There was all this strange research around the term. That’s some of the sort of density of our starting point.
MJ: You’ll see here that we’re very interested in research and we’re interested in looking at facts as a way to move a work on, but when people come to the see the work, you don’t need to know. There are anchors there but for us, the audience becomes another respondent to the work. How we like to work is from a number of sources whether that’s historical, personal, social or political. It’s that we’re giving ourselves a certain number of clues that shouldn’t normally be put together and we’re trying during this two or three year process to arrive at a moment of “Here we are, and this is the piece we’ve decided upon.”
“The Precession” seems to have evolved a lot. What changes have been made over the four years?
JM: It’s been quite strange. We started with a residency at Brown University at a gallery in Rhode Island, a little firehouse. We made an initial focus which involved both the projection of real-time text and performers looking at this form called the Living Newspaper, a 1930s style of theater funded by Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration, which was designed to create jobs and also work theater and the arts, which now seems remarkable. These were socially-oriented plays designed to raise awareness around the economic plight of the farmer, for instance, and health epidemics like the syphilis epidemic.
So we were looking at those sources, and we got an invitation to make a piece for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. We developed, based on the Living Newspaper, a work where people were behaving as them. So instead of talking to the concerns of the 30s, they were channeling, through earbuds connected to mobile phones, texts from social networks where people were talking about different contemporary concerns they had. They were acting as puppets, in a way, by receiving texts and speaking them.
That piece was called “The Living Newspaper,” but part of The Hoover Dam memorial is these two winged 32 ft. tall figures that are seated within the celestial map so at some point these Living Newspaper people transform into that image with these massive wings. That was another piece where we started to develop — how do we put the real-time stuff that happens onscreen? How do we put that into people’s mouths and bodies?
Then later on we did another piece for the Museum of Contemporary Art, and we used that piece to develop another further component that would ultimately become “The Precession.” In this one, we interviewed museum visitors about their labor histories. We had them teach us gestures from their occupations and worked with a group of 10 male dancers to develop a choreography out of the interviews.
But returning again to the original celestial map at the site, the dancers’ positions within the choreography are determined by a map of the position of the stars over the building. This piece was mainly a choreographic piece where the dancers are both building and responding to this database of data gestures, but they are also being plotted according to the position of the stars.
“The Precession” is all of these things mashed up and choreographed together. All of these things are happening simultaneously or through a score, so it’s a very organic process. This piece was based on taking small components to specific places. Then when we got to Hyde Park we had an 80-foot 10-screen façade and giant gallery space we could put everything together and the piece became a 10-screen web browser installation. It’s fairly complicated, really process based, but we think the thematics of it come through to some degree. It sounds like it could be a mess, but I think it creates a very discrete vocabulary and certain kinds of imagery comes through. It sort of becomes a piece of visual art performance that is in some ways its own world and in some way rooted to these references. It’s somewhere between having the source and then no longer needing one.
Why do you think this project has been so successful?
MJ: Artists are interested in invitation, and in some respects, it’s probably because of the richness of the vocabulary we’ve discovered. We’re creating an exhibition around monumentality, but then what is it do to look at images that are rather discrete versus images that are semi-spectacle? One of the things about being able to work over a long period of time is that you got to let the world affect what you’re seeing. You’ll see the dam flood into the space trying to become a figure in the night sky. It’ll feel like the dam is flooding over this huge territory and landscape. There’s a sense of how those two things come together in a very powerful way. Because we knew we were coming here, we adapted it and wanted to investigate. A contemporary theme in performance art right now is how to make performance an exhibition. There’s a return to performance coming back into gallery spaces, so this is a test in some respect with doing it here for two days. There’s something about occupying and thinking about time and thinking about how to structure work in a museum space rather than a theater space.
JM: It’s an environment and in many ways immersive. I think the way we work is that we tap into iconographies that speak to the time we live in now as well as previous times. You get the history that communicates to people on a visual level, not just a logical level. I also think that when you make work that is process driven and evolves over a long period of time and has a specific vocabulary, people tend to interpret it within their own vocabulary or within their own lives, whatever narrative they’re bringing to the piece. It enters into that. With a certain kind of experimental work, people become embedded into the narrative. They may have their own sort of epiphany and they may find something that speaks directly to them. And it may not be some prescribed meaning that we’ve created, but it’s chance. Something we’ve noticed over many years is that people tend to get other things from the piece because they’re projecting onto the space, so it’s that network of the individual’s narrative patterns. The audience doesn’t always meet the narrative pattern we’re constructing, and I think these strange conjunctions happen, just in the sense that they’re open to creating your own reading. Not so much that you generate them, just so much that you have them.
“The Precession” was curated by Angela Ellsworth, with support from the ASU School of Art, Live Art Platform and Live Art Club.
All photographs by Sean Deckert
The ASU Art Museum’s exhibition Performing for the Camera deserves an encore. The exhibition is a collection of large, glossy, striking photographs. This is no mere point-click-shoot scenario; these pictures are scenes, not snapshots of a moment in time. Every crisply displayed image is performance art at its finest. The splendor and exquisite precision of the images illustrates the same dedication and patience as a wildlife photographer entrenched in the jungle waiting for the perfect shot. However unlike the photographer who must ultimately rely on luck, the images in Performing for the Camera are the result of the artists’ talent and ingenuity. These artists have moved beyond the concept of the photographer and his camera as merely operator and tool. By expertly staging the captured image, these artists have used photography as a medium to construct alternate, imaginary worlds inhabited by the beautiful and bizarre.
Moving from one photograph to the next, the viewer will experience anything but the ordinary. Spencer Tunick’s work features hundreds of naked men and women, uniform in their nudity, distributed across the landscape. Individually and unclothed they seem strangely small, lost, and nondescript, but as a collective they form a striking human monument.
Charlie White’s work, titled Sherrie’s Living Room, toys with our sense of intimacy. White’s photograph mimics a scene common in every home. In a (Sherrie’s) living room a nude couple reclines on the couch, bathed in the warm glow of dim lamplight. He lies on his side brooding and dejected as she comforts him. She is an attractive brunette, he is a humanoid puppet. It is as creepy as it sounds. Looking at White’s work, the viewer can’t help but feel unease and revulsion. The familiarity of this interaction between couples, combined with our perception of the home as a place of privacy and comfort, allows White to create a distortion disturbing to some intrinsic value within us. One can also not help but feel an odd empathy for the puppet. Despite our discomfort, the puppet is just human enough to symbolize the insecurity and alienation equally as intrinsic to us.
Duane Michals’ Grandpa Goes to Heaven is one such piece. This series of slightly unfocused black and white photographs depicts a boy waiting patiently by his grandfather’s bedside. From one photograph to the next, the child’s grandfather, displaying what is unmistakably a pair of wings, rises from bed and waves good-bye to his grandson before departing out the window. In the final shot, the child leans out the window and waves after his grandfather.
The presentation makes the images feel like a half remembered dream one can only hope is true. The old man got to wish his grandson farewell before going to heaven, and the boy, not yet comprehending death, only knows his grandfather is now gone but happy. The child’s innocent acceptance of his grandfather’s quite unusual behavior invokes an odd mixture of hope and melancholia.
This is a story we all wish were true. Yet with age and experience we cannot believe in such a miraculous occurrence like the child can. Do yourself a favor and see it. We might be tired, stressed, and jaded, but seeing Grandpa Goes to Heaven evokes memories of childhood innocence at which we can’t help but smile (even if just a little).
Duane Michals’ Grandpa Goes to Heaven. Courtesy of Stéphane Janssen
– Karen Enters, Intern
The Museum of Modern Art in New York has just added Brent Green’s film Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then to its permanent collection.
The ASU Art Museum is proud to have premiered the complete Gravity installation in 2010, with the film, videos and four houses in our top gallery. (Installation shots are here.).
Here’s a link to Brent’s blog — and watch for a new acquisition to the ASU Art Museum’s collection of a sculpture by Brent.
–Heather Sealy Lineberry, Senior Curator and Associate Director
Above: Installation shot of Brent Green’s Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then at the ASU Art Museum, Fall, 2010. Photograph by Craig Smith.
Above: Image from The Precession. Photograph by John W. Sisson Jr.
February 17th and 18th, 2012 from 1 – 4pm (ASU Art Museum Top Gallery)
The Precession, a project of Judd Morrissey and Mark Jeffery with Claire Ashley, constructs a performance, installation and an 80-foot internet projection of visual poetics and movement combining writing, text-mining and processing, the real-time positions of celestial objects, and depictions of the laboring body.
The Precession: AN 80-FOOT-LONG INTERNET ART PERFORMANCE POEM is a 3-hour durational digital literary / visual performance art work in 10 parts. Each part lasts between 9–18 minutes. This durational event extends and activates The Precession, via a systematic orchestration of live elements within the Arizona State University Art Museum.
Performance components include choreographed readings of texts being generated on ASU Art Museum gallery walls, a Busby-Berkeley inspired movement sequence mixing gestures of labor with embodied formations based on the stars above the building, and live and screen-based responses to works by Sol LeWitt (the sun) and Rebecca Horn (the horned moon). A chorus will sing a song, an incoming stream of Twitter texts, and excerpts from the source code of The Precession.
Visitors may enter or leave at any point.
The Precession began with an accidental road trip to the Hoover Dam in Nevada in January of 2008 and the discovery of the Works Progress Administration sculpture The Winged Figures of the Republic. We began to look at this public sculpture in residence and presented a work in progress presentation at Firehouse 13, Providence, Rhode Island on the Spring Equinox in 2009. The work has since developed through a 6-month residency at Hyde Park Art Centre throughout 2010, a month long Residency in Performance Writing at Dartington College of Arts, UK in summer 2009, and two residencies at Catwalk Art Residency, NY. Additional exhibits and presentations have taken place at PSi 15 Zagreb, MCA Chicago, Chicago Dancemakers Forum, post_moot, poetry + performance convocation at Miami University in Ohio, ELO_ AI at Brown University, NOISE! 2010 at the Ontological Theatre NYC, and Radical Citizenship: The Tutorials organized by the Anhoek School on Governor’s Island in NYC and Southern Exposure in San Francisco.
Wings, Floor & Wall Installation by Claire Ashley
Finger Extensions (Rebecca Horn 1973) by Sarah Belknap and Joseph Belknap
Justin Deschamps, Sam Hertz, Zihan Loo (performing his absence) Josh Rackliffe, Blake Russell
Thanks to Christopher Knowlton and Isaac Fosl–van Wyke for their contributions to the choreography in previous performances
On-screen Night Sky Workmen and Winged Men
Mark Beasley, Joseph Belknap, Chris Cuellar, Fred DeMarco, Ron Ewert
Charles Fogarty, Mike Fleming, The Lenox Twins, Nick Lowe, Anthony Romero
On-screen Night Sky Choir
David Arcade, Benjamin Chaffee, Walter Latimer, Abel Ortiz, Nick Williams
Video Wonderstars Daniele Wilmouth, Razvan Botea, Irina Botea
Video Editor WonderStar Steven Hudosh
Judd Morrissey and Mark Jeffery have presented throughout the US, UK and Europe, with recent venues including Lincoln Cathedral Quarter (UK commissioned performance distributed throughout multiple outdoor sites), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Center of Contemporary Culture Barcelona, Bergen Art Museum, House of World Cultures Berlin, Chicago Cultural Center and the Ontological-Hysteric Theater in NYC. Both artists teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and were members of the seminal international performance collective Goat Island.
This visiting artist residency is supported by the School of Art, Intermedia, Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), Live Art Club, and the ASU Art Museum, all within ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
Other events of interest with artists Mark Jeffery and Judd Morrissey include:
Monday, February 13
2 – 5 pm: Performance Art workshop for graduate students. Please RSVP for this workshop to angela.ellsworth @asu.edu
6 – 7 pm: Performative lecture by Mark Jeffery and Judd Morrissey
For more on this lecture, please see: https://www.facebook.com/events/355371767819886/
7 pm: Live Art Platform. Pieces from performance workshop will also be presented at LAP.
Workshop, lecture, and Live Art Platform all take place at the ASU Performing and Media Arts Center, Suite 127 (University and Rural). The talk and workshop are free, and so is parking.
All images by John W. Sisson Jr.
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