Posts filed under ‘ASU Art Museum: Behind-the-scenes’

An Alternate Reality Check

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.

Some works in Performing for the Camera also overextend reality into a reflection of our hopes.

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

March 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm Leave a comment

MoMA acquires Brent Green film

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has just added Brent Green’s film Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then to its permanent collection.

Congratulations, Brent!

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.

February 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm 3 comments

The Precession: An 80-foot-long Internet Art Performance Poem

Above: Image from The Precession. Photograph by John W. Sisson Jr.

THE PRECESSION

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

Dancers

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

Artist Bios
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.
http://www.judisdaid.com/
http://www.markjefferyartist.org/

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.

 

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All images by John W. Sisson Jr.

January 31, 2012 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

Magic Fridays, continued: Crowns!!!

Above: Visiting artist Matteo Rubbi and his crown in downtown Phoenix.

You may have seen the earlier post on this blog about “Magic Fridays” at the Museum. They are the brainchild of visiting artist-in-residence Matteo Rubbi, from Bergamo, Italy, and his girlfriend, French artist Béatrice Bailet, both of whom have shared their fine cooking and their insights with the Museum staff and lucky visitors at several congenial potlucks served in the Museum lobby.

Earlier this month, “Magic Friday” coincided Epiphany (Jan. 6), and for the occasion, Béatrice made a galette des rois, or “king cake.” This delicious confection — thin layers of pastry with a frangipane center — contained two dried beans, and the finders of those beans each received a paper crown, and became king for the day.

That evening, which was also First Friday on downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row, Matteo and Béatrice took the tradition to the streets, making paper crowns with passersby outside the house in which the two artists had been staying.

Béatrice wrote a blog post about the event, which is on her blog:

http://beatricebailet.over-blog.com/article-c-r-o-w-n-96645968.html

And here is our own rough translation of Beatrice’s post, which was originally in French. Merci, Béatrice!

Every First Friday of the month, the center of Phoenix is swarmed by people.

Phoenix is the capital of Arizona, in the United States. It’s a city of extraordinary dimensions, with a density of 1,084 inhabitants/km2, and an overall surface area of 1334,1 km2 (Paris: 21,196 inhabitants/km2 for 105,4 km2!) It’s built in the Sonoran Desert, which allows it to expand without limits. This fact means there’s a good quality of life, with a private garden for everyone, but prevents those moments of meeting that occur in a city built on a human scale. In Phoenix, you don’t walk or borrow the rare shared mode of transportation. You have to take your car, even for short trips.

That’s why First Fridays are such a big success: In the arts neighborhood in downtown Phoenix, a kind of art market takes place in the evening, allowing the art galleries to stay open, the food trucks to gather, and musicians to play in the street.

It’s within this context that I suggested a crown-making workshop. Everybody was free to stop and make a crown with the salvaged materials we had available (paper, stickers, images, pens…)

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January 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm Leave a comment

Looking for miracles at the ASU Art Museum

Julianne Swartz and Ken Landauer are looking for miracles at the ASU Art Museum this January. As the Social Studies artists for the spring, they will be in residence much of January exploring the miraculous through people’s perceptions of it in their lives. Julianne and Ken will interview school children, ASU students and community members of all ages and backgrounds to gather a range of definitions and life experiences. Their findings will be combined in an installation of fleeting vignettes in video and sound playing on all of the Museum’s available equipment.

Andrea Feller, Nicole Herden and I have been doing advance work talking to teachers, faculty and community members about the project. We just received more than 100 student projects back from Tesseract School and ACP (Academy with Community Partners) High School, grades 5 through 12. The written stories, guided by questions from the artists, are heart wrenching and compelling. They include a child telling the story of his great grandmother dancing with the ghost of her late husband in his wedding suit to a child’s story of the miracle of her own birth to teenagers with siblings surviving near-fatal war injuries.

An incredible start to Miracle Report, the eighth Social Studies project at the ASU Art Museum.

Heather Sealy Lineberry, Senior Curator and Associate Director

For more information, or if you would like to schedule a session with the artists to retell your own miracle, contact Nicole Herden at Nicole.herden @asu.edu.

Here are the dates of the project and the artists’ mission statement:

Artist Residency: December 26, 2011 – January 20, 2012

Exhibition: January 21 – June 2, 2012

Reception: Friday, January 20, 5-7pm; Julianne Swartz will speak at the opening.

Mission Statement:

-We will spend our Social Studies Residency looking for miracles.

-We will locate the miraculous through other people’s perception of it in their lives.

-We will interview many local residents and ask them to “describe a miracle you have experienced”.

– Interviewees will be of varied ages and backgrounds. We will gratefully record anyone who wishes to retell his or her own miracle.

-We will record audio and video from these interviews, but identities will be obscured.

-The recordings will be edited into fleeting vignettes that attempt to establish “the miraculous” through many entirely subjective perspectives.

-We will seek to use all of the available audio and visual equipment in the museum’s possession to display the recordings.

-Our installation will strive to embody some beauty, some hocus-pocus, and some unexplainable magic.

January 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm 2 comments

Peter Held sends Yuletide Greetings from Stockholm!

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

December 19, 2011 at 9:04 pm Leave a comment

Magic Fridays at the Museum with Matteo Rubbi

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Matteo Rubbi arrived from Italy a few weeks ago to begin his six-month residency at the ASU Art Museum, and he has already changed the way we do things here (in a very good way). Last Friday, Matteo and his girlfriend, French artist Béatrice Bailet, invited the Museum staff to eat lunch with them — mushroom risotto, quiche Lorraine, pasta Bolognese — under unusual circumstances. They called it “Magic Friday,” and there will be more of them in the future. Chris Miller, the Museum’s exhibition specialist, was moved to write about the experience:

Today the ASU Art Museum staff was treated to a delicious lunch prepared by the 2011 Furla Prize winner and visiting Artist in Residence Matteo Rubbi, and his girlfriend, Beatrice Bailet. While it’s not uncommon to find us gathered together in small groups for lunch, or the occasional birthday or going away celebration, today was a bit different. Tables were set up in the lobby and the door to the museum kitchen was open and decorated with lights, and the savory smells from within drifted out into the open spaces of the museum. Music played, laughter and conversation filled the room, and we all wore the smiles of people who were being fed. I understand there was an element of performance involved on our part, in that, while we ate in the lobby, people entering the museum would be immediately aware of our banquet. Any other time we would be doing this behind closed doors, trying to minimize the impact on the museum patrons, but today there we were enjoying a meal out in the lobby for all to see. What’s all this cooking and eating in front of everyone about?

 –Chris Miller, Exhibition Specialist

December 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm 1 comment

Notes from Art Basel Miami Beach 2011

I’m starting to emerge from the haze of overstimulation and lack of sleep that is the Art Basel Miami Beach experience. This year Lekha Hileman Waitoller and I from the Museum went with a group from the School of Art that included Adriene Jenik, Director;  two faculty members, Susan Beiner and Mark Pomilio; and eight graduate students from a variety of media,  funded by a local donor. The benefit to all of us — particularly the grad students — is tremendous, as we fanned out all over the city to visit art fairs, private collections, museums, special installations and exhibitions. We noticed a number of trends, in particular painting that utilizes a range of processes and materials, and may not use paint at all, and text-based work diagramming systems and worlds, like the art world or the war.

Here are my highlights:

  • De La Cruz Collection, a spectacular building that rivals any museum and was thoughtfully installed with groupings of international contemporary works, dominated by paintings, that explored media and process
  • Pulse fair, established international galleries who represent edgier contemporary artists, I took copious notes and photos
  • Seven, an offshoot fair/installation by seven New York galleries, with, among other things, a small installation of new drawings and photographs by Anthony Goicolea, who will be in our Performing for the Camera show this spring
  • Bass Museum of Art’s perplexing exhibition of sculptor Erwin Wurm, which stays with me
  • the chance to spend time with work by two of the most important women artists of the twentieth century: at the Miami Art Museum Faith Ringgold’s paintings from the 1960s and 70s exploring race relations, and several installations in the private collections of Ana Mendieta’s performance videos and photographs
  • the main fair, Art Basel, which seemed livelier this year in terms of the art shown and the crowds and had great programs (we saw the Russian installation artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, among others)
  • the video programs in the pods at the main fair — which I immediately photographed for our installation crew — and projected at night outside on one of the largest screens that I have ever seen
  • and, finally, the opportunity to meet and connect with artists, curators, collectors and gallerists from across the country.

–Heather Sealy Lineberry, Senior Curator and Associate Director

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December 12, 2011 at 8:50 pm Leave a comment

Dispatches from Peter Held, curator abroad, cont’d…

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!

December 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Dispatches from Peter Held, curator abroad

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.

December 6, 2011 at 10:18 pm

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