Posts filed under ‘First Saturdays for Families’

Looking forward, looking back: “Emerge: Redesigning the Future” at the ASU Art Museum

We bade farewell to the Emerge exhibition this month. Here’s a look back at the show in pictures:

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Photos by Tim Trumble.

August 29, 2012 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment

Serious play: Matteo Rubbi at the ASU Art Museum

Visiting artist Matteo Rubbi, right, explains the game of “Goose” to Museum visitors. Photo by Neil Borowicz.

There was a lot of clucking, growling, mooing and hopping at the ASU Art Museum on Saturday, June 2, and most of all, there was a lot of giggling. The source of the giggling – and all the other sounds – was an artist-led game of “Goose,” patterned after a board game that has been popular in Europe for centuries.

The artist leading the game was Matteo Rubbi, winner of the Furla Foundation Prize for 2011 and one of the first residents of the newly opened ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency facility at Combine Studios in downtown Phoenix, although you’d be forgiven for mistaking him for a gregarious and enthusiastic camp counselor. It’s unlikely that any of the dozens of visitors who played the game that day knew that Frieze magazine calls Rubbi one of the most interesting Italian artists today, and Rubbi isn’t the kind of artist who’d need to let you know that anyway. He’s much more interested in what he calls “social sculpture” and in pulling people into situations that force them to think creatively – and to become co-artists with Rubbi.

Rubbi’s game was  the featured activity during one of the ASU Art Museum’s First Saturdays for Families, which take place on the first Saturday of every month (except July, when the Museum hosts Family Fun Day) and  which are increasingly about artist-led experiences within the museum. (Don’t miss the next First Saturday, on Aug. 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

In an interview in Italian Vogue last summer, Rubbi was asked why it’s so important to him to involve the public in his work. He answered: “I believe it is the audience that brings a new dimension to my work. Eliminating the concepts of ‘viewer’ and ‘work of art’ from the equation opens up a brand new world, full of unexpected elements and possibilities. I always try to create the conditions for the audience and my work to negotiate their own relationship, which has to be improvised and invented on the spot (as in the case of board games that the public is encouraged to play). I believe this is the most challenging part of my research. It is always quite hard to ‘let go’ of something – an attitude, behavior – we have grown accustomed to.”

In fact, the international jury that awarded Rubbi the Furla Prize, led by artist Christian Boltanski, did so “for his capacity to interact with the viewer and to create new links between exhibition and public space.”

Click here for a clip of Rubbi explaining his work (produced in conjunction with his winning the Furla Prize).

Rubbi’s work is engaging on multiple levels, the most obvious being that almost every piece is a kind of invitation, sometimes a literal one. Shortly after arriving in Phoenix, Rubbi established a series of communal meals served in the Museum lobby for staff and invited guests; he called the lunches, which took place on Fridays, “Magic Friday.”

“Magic Friday” was about food and eating, certainly – each Friday brought a different international taste to the Museum, from Portuguese artist Miguel Palma’s sourda  to Rubbi’s own mushroom risotto, but more than that, it was about bridging communities, and about how communal meals knit people together in both expected and unexpected ways.

One Friday, Rubbi invited members of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who live in Phoenix, to lunch, and they prepared an African dish. One Friday, we celebrated the Ephiphany with a traditional French cake that had some beans hidden in it; those who found the beans got a home-made paper crown. At each lunch, the guests graciously shared their perspectives, as well as examples of their cuisine, and Rubbi has maintained a journal containing the various recipes as well as a wall of photos in the Museum kitchen documenting the events.

Rubbi’s work fits into and expands upon the Museum’s overall emphasis on social practice, an art form that is particularly appropriate for an experimental university art museum and one that the Museum has been at the forefront of developing, particularly in its ongoing Social Studies series.

In a very real way, Rubbi transformed the Museum lobby into a kind of public square, where people gather to meet and talk – which is what ASU Art Museum Director Gordon Knox believes the ASU Art Museum should, in fact, be.

“At its core, a museum should be a safe place for the exchange of ideas, a location where past and present can contemplate each other and people with different cultural or generational perspectives can communicate,” Knox said. “We walk into a museum with an open attitude – what will I learn here? This is a very different starting point from the more transactional one we have when walking into a store, a business, a city, state or federal office. Dialogue is possible in a museum and expected of a university museum; Matteo’s work, evolving out of art and action traditions centuries old, pushes this conversation beyond words and – gently – beyond comfort zones as audience and artist blend and as we all contemplate how much we are in this together, and that we are far more similar than different.”

Rubbi’s game of “Goose” exemplified the kind of creative investigation of the world that art encourages us to undertake. Nothing about the game was expected, or predictable, although elements were familiar – the rolling of dice to determine outcome, the pleasure of playing a game with others. The “spaces” were all drawings of animals made by visitors and the artist himself, then scattered throughout the Museum. Some were recognizable, like rabbits and snakes. Others were creatures from the visitors’ imaginations, animals you won’t find in any dictionary.

At one point in the game, a young boy landed on a “butterfly” space, and Rubbi instructed him to be a butterfly, saying, “Okay, you’re a butterfly – so be colorful!” The change in expression on the boy’s face, from expectation (clearly he thought Rubbi was going to tell him to flap his wings or something equally obvious) to genuine curiosity (be colorful? How does one be colorful? How do I express that in my movements?) captured the very shift in thinking that art allows us all, young and old: from inside the box to utterly outside, being a colorful butterfly.

Rubbi has now returned to Italy for a few months. Currently he is conducting workshops at the Castello di Rivoli, near Turin, but in the fall he will return to the Museum and to Combine Studios. We’re fortunate that Rubbi is one of the artists to inaugurate the International Residency. His openness and engagement with the Phoenix community underscore the enormous benefits that the residency brings, providing the opportunity for students and the public to interface with significant international artists – and for these artists from around the world to be equally affected by the people and places they encounter here in Arizona, forming connections that will ripple out from their origins in wild and wonderful ways.

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Photos by Neil Borowicz.

July 6, 2012 at 10:10 pm 2 comments

Meet Diablo

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, front and center. Photo by Anne Sullivan.

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.”

September 30, 2011 at 10:55 pm 1 comment

Family So-Much-Fun Day!

Family Fun Day. Photo by Stephen Gittins.

“Okay, I’ll dance to one more song, but then I HAVE to get in line to get my face painted,” said one adorable young girl who was dancing in the gallery with the Zumbatomics participatory activity, led by Melinda Mills-Walkey.

“I want to be KISS,” said one young man as he approached the face painter. His mother explained that he was very interested in becoming a rock star and that she had no idea how he had even found out about KISS, but she saw nothing wrong with it.

Another child suddenly halted working on the art project in front of her when she saw her favorite PBS character, Super Why, and only returned to the table after having her photograph taken with him.

I observed each of these moments at the ASU Art Museum’s Family Fun Day on July 9th, 2011. With hands-on art-making activities, interactive performances and readings and illustration demonstrations by Chris Gall and Alex Rex, everyone at the museum on Saturday had a great day.

This is my fifth year organizing the Family Fun Day with the help of our Windgate Intern, who also curates an exhibition based on a theme, pulling works broadly from our collection.  It’s so rewarding to see the hours put into planning the crafts, contacting performers and working with our fabulous community partners result in such an entertaining day for families. My favorite part of Family Fun Day is that the entire event is free, allowing families to have fun without worrying about how much it costs. This year, more than 1,200 people stopped by to enjoy the four-hour event, and that’s not including visitors to the Ceramics Research Center across the street.

Now we’re putting the supplies away from Saturday’s activities, and starting to prep for next month’s 1st Saturdays for Families (Saturday, Aug. 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), which explores the exhibition By myself and with my friends through an interactive dance led by choreographer Elizabeth Johnson, a special visit from the Arizona Animal Welfare League (and animal friends), and a fun animal-making art craft.

And I also will start planning next year’s Family Fun Day — after I finish recovering from this year’s event.

 –Andrea Feller, Curator of Education

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Photos in the slideshow are by Stephen Gittins and Stu Mitnick.

July 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm

By myself and with my friends… July 2 – August 27 @ ASU Art Museum

By myself and with my friends…
July 2 – August  27, 2011

Krista Birnbaum (Houston)
Donna Conlon (Panama City)
Rivane Neuenschwander and Sergio Neuenschwander (Belo Horizonte / Frankfurt)
Connie Samaras (Los Angeles)
Corinna Schnitt (Hamburg)

We spend time by ourselves; we spend time with others. We are aware that these two circumstances differ greatly.

Time alone can be a period of comfort and reflection — or of nervousness and despair. It can be a time of rejuvenating our bodies, peaceful silences, an opportunity to become one with ourselves or perhaps engage in an act of individual creativity. But alone time can also be filled with boredom, fidgetiness and a restless mind that wanders in uncomfortable directions.

On the other hand, when we are with others, we can be influenced by peers to participate in activities we would never consider as individuals. Ordinary people can gain empowerment by acting collectively, with both positive and negative results. Looking no further than recent headlines, we can see examples of different kinds of group behavior – from post-sports-championship rioting to the anti-government protests occurring throughout the Middle East and Europe.

In By myself and with my friends . . . six artists explore the complexities of human nature by looking at some of the things we have in common with other living creatures, from our herd mentality to our moments of solace. The exhibition provides an opportunity for reflection, a time to examine and reconsider our own behaviors, to slow down and breathe. It is a chance to realize that even when we are alone, we are all in this together.

Featured videos include work by Krista Birnbaum, Donna Conlon, Rivane Neuenschwander and Sergio Neuenschwander, Corinna Schnitt and Connie Samaras.

Curated by John D. Spiak, ASU Art Museum, this project is generously made possible by the Everlyn Smith Family Exhibition Fund and Friends of the Arizona State University Art Museum.

COMPLETE EXHIBITION CHECKLIST:


Krista Birnbaum
Constance, 2006
running time: 3:00min
DVD
Courtesy of the artist.


Donna Conlon
Coexistence, 2003
running time: 5:26min
DVD
Courtesy of the artist.


Rivane Neuenschwander and Sergio Neuenschwander
Sunday, 2010
running time: 5:17min
DVD
Courtesy of the artists and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.


Connie Samaras
Untitled (Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica), 2005
running time: 4:30min
DVD
Courtesy of the artist.


Corinna Schnitt
Once upon a time, 2005
running time: 25:07min
DVD
Courtesy of the artist.

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June 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm 1 comment

Events at ASU Art Museum, April 2010

Events at Arizona State University Art Museum for April 2010:

April 3: First Saturdays for Families, a free hands-on art project for kids 4-12 and their families. This month’s art project is watercolors! See our blog post for more information.

[EDIT: The list of films to be screened on April 17 is now available on our site!]

April 10: Street Party, at Hoskin Ryan Consultants property, Indian School Rd and 2nd Ave, Phoenix. From 4 – 10 p.m., $5 at the gate or online, and kids 12 and younger are free! Proceeds benefit ASU Art Museum exhibitions and programs.

April 17: ASU Art Museum 14th Annual Short Film & Video Festival, out on the plaza behind the museum. Bring your own chairs and blankets to be comfy for a gorgeous night under the stars watching short films submitted from all over the world. A totally free event!

April 20: Gallery talks by guest curator Bobby Silverman (at the Ceramics Research Center) and artist William Wylie (in the top gallery).

Arizona State University Art Museum is free and open to the public. The main museum is located at the southeast corner of Mill Avenue at 10th Street, in Tempe, Arizona. The ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center is just across the street at the northeast corner of Mill Avenue at 10th Street, and free parking for museum visitors is available directly outside in marked spaces. Please visit our web site for hours and current exhibitions and events.

See you in April!

-diane

March 29, 2010 at 5:06 pm 1 comment

our next First Saturdays for Families project

watercolor project at ASU Art Museum First Saturdays

watercolor painting by our talented Education Assistant Teresa

April is quickly approaching and we still have lots going on at ASU Art Museum!

First Saturdays for Families is Saturday, April 3, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  This month we’re playing with watercolors – what a fun spring project!

And don’t forget about the second annual Street Party coming up on Saturday, April 10! This year’s event will be at the Hoskin Ryan property, on Indian School and 2nd Ave. in Phoenix, from 4 – 10 p.m.  I’ll post more about that soon, but in the meantime, you can get tickets on our site.

If that’s not enough for you, the 14th Annual Short Film & Video Festival is screening on the back plaza Saturday, April 17! Bring out your stadium chairs, blankets and anything else to get comfy for a night out under the stars and some great short films. As soon as our web page is up with the official selections I’ll post again with more information on what you’ll see that night.

And hey- we’re on Yelp! If you’re on Yelp and have been to the museum or any of our events, tell us what you think! We’d love to hear your feedback and your suggestions to keep making our events even better for you.

-diane

March 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm 1 comment

Top 3 Things to Do at ASU Art Museum, March 2010

While it may seem that Dawn is taking over our blog, and we’re ok with that, she has some fun stuff to share with you from the museum for this month:

First Saturdays for Families, March 6, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
– kids ages 4-12 and their families can make free art projects based on an artist currently showing in the museum. All materials are supplied free at the museum, and kids get to keep their art. No registration is required – just show up any time during the posted hours.

make clay sculptures based on artist Wanxin Zhang's work, March 6

make clay sculptures based on artist Wanxin Zhang's work, March 6

(I just really like this little guy, made by Teresa in our education department.)

Forged Power: Ferran Mendoza, Alvaro Sau and William Wylie (through May 29)
– video art exhibition that focuses on people at work. *Note: there are a few scenes that may be inappropriate for younger kids.

Ceram-a-Rama: a *really progressive clay affair (March 4 – 7)
– There’s still time to get tickets to the weekend’s ceramic art events – just go to http://ASUArtMuseum.asu.edu.
If you can’t make the whole weekend, join us just Saturday night on the rooftop of the W Hotel in Scottsdale for our very swank after-party. Tickets for the party are only $25 at the door!

March 1, 2010 at 8:36 pm 1 comment

ASU Art Museum ♥s Video Art

Annual Short Film & Video Festival on ASU Art Museum plaza!

Annual Short Film & Video Festival on ASU Art Museum plaza!

Ah, I love the museum in the spring. The students are coming back with new excitement after the holiday break, the weather outside is perfect, the exhibitions at the museum are world-class (as always) and we have great annual events coming up soon!

This season is especially great for us video fans (of which I am one!):

  • We have video art as part of the new exhibition Altered States: Paintings by Gordon Cheung, opening Jan. 9.  Four of his new pieces, to be exact.
  • We’ll be screening Mel Chin’s award-winning video work 9-11/9-11 on Feb. 2 – look for details shortly! (I was watching a bit of this earlier – it’s like an animated graphic novel and very cool.)
  • There’s a full-on video exhibition opening Feb. 20 called Forged Power: Ferran Mendoza, Alvaro Sau and William Wylie – this will be open through May 29.
  • And wrapping it up (at least for the spring season) on April 17, the 14th Annual Short Film and Video Festival! You don’t want to miss this great evening out on the plaza behind the museum – we screen the selected films out on the back wall of the museum. Bring a chair for a really fun night out under the stars. And IT’S FREE.

Speaking of the Film Festival, this is your reminder that your deadline for submissions is Feb. 5! Check out our web site for details on how and where to send your short film for consideration into our juried festival. There’s no cost to submit your film.

Of course, we have way more going on this season than just video art. First Saturdays for Families is in full swing starting Feb. 6; the Ceramics Research Center’s studio tour weekend is Feb. 27-28 and Ceram-A-Rama is March 4-7; back by popular demand, the 2nd annual Street Party is planned for April 10 (watch this blog for more details to come!) and of course, great exhibitions year-round. (I’m really looking forward to seeing Wanxin Zhang’s Ten Year Survey exhibition).

We have a very busy spring season planned and hope you’ll join us for the fun, and the art!

-diane

January 8, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Indie Chic preview

children's designs by All A Flutter

children's designs by All A Flutter

In case you were wondering who’s going to be at Indie Chic, here are a few photos of just some of the artists’ work. We’ve got art, jewelry, ceramics, wood cutting boards and bowls, clothes, paper items, and because we’re feeling it lately, some zombies, too.  (You didn’t think we’d finish out the year without them, did you?) Everything is handmade by local artists- this is a great way to support our own community.  (And how else are zombies made?!)

Indie Chic is the alternative craft fair being held at ASU Art Museum on December 5.  It’s the same day as our First Saturdays event (this month’s project: spin art!) and also the Tempe Festival of the Arts.

If you’re afraid of parking in downtown Tempe with all this fabulous stuff going on, don’t be! Tempe is public transit-friendly: check out the free Orbit buses in Tempe or take light rail from everywhere else to the Mill Ave and 3rd Street station and walk south. Both get you here conveniently and you won’t have to worry about your car!

Tom Budzak

Tom Budzak

Monsoon Woodworks

Monsoon Woodworks

Betsy Rosenmiller

Betsy Rosenmiller

December 5 is THIS SATURDAY! Make it a creative day!

-diane

November 30, 2009 at 9:21 pm

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