Posts filed under ‘video art’

Defending Diablo

NOTE: This is a composite photo-illustration of an anaconda by PR Assistant Karen Enters, not an actual representation of Diablo…

Last month, I defended Diablo in front of Arizona State University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Diablo is the 6-foot Anaconda snake that will inhabit one of Juan Downey’s sculptures for the fall exhibition The Invisible Architect.

I have done a lot of things as a contemporary art curator, especially as the role has become more collaborative in the creative process and with the community. I have worked with artists on site-specific installations inside and outside of the Museum, commissions, residencies and socially-engaged work. (John Spiak’s blogs on this site about Gregory Sale’s Social Studies project are a great example.) But this is the first time that I’ve had to defend a live animal “protocol” or investigate the eating (and defecating) habits of large snakes.

We will be borrowing Diablo from the Phoenix Herpetological Society, and they will be caring for him throughout the exhibition and have fully vetted his three-month habitat.

Curiosity and spectacle aside, the reason that I’m doing this is because it is a very powerful piece. Downey first installed the work in 1973, and it was originally produced for a show at The Americas Society in New York. The snake lives during the exhibition on a spectacular hand-drawn map of Chile and is a reference to the North American multinational copper company the Anaconda Mining Company. Anaconda was active in Chile before the nationalization of mining in Chile, which is one of the factors that led international business and its governmental surrogates to eliminate elected democratic president Salvador Allende and replace his government with the Pinochet military regime.

Over the next few months, we’ll be building the platform for the piece and finalizing the exhibition design towards its opening in late September. Many thanks to Lekha Hileman Waitoller, curatorial assistant, who has been managing this effort. She has an interesting new line on her resume.

–Heather Sealy Lineberry
Senior Curator and Associate Director

August 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm


After 16+ years with the Arizona State University Art Museum I have announced my departure.  I have been fortunate to receive an offer to lead the vision of an institution in Southern California for which I cannot pass up.

(image: Grand Central Art Center)

My new role will be Director/Chief Curator of the California State University, Fullerton, Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, CA.  Located in the historic Grand Central Building (1924) of Downtown Santa Ana, the institution houses a large gallery space, a project gallery, retail space, an 85-seat theater and classrooms.  Another key attraction of the space is the second floor, which houses twenty-seven MFA student apartments with functioning artist studios for each resident on the main floor.  The institution also houses an artist-in-residence apartment and studio with an on-going international residency program.

(image: Grand Central Art Center, CSUF MFA Apartments, Santa Ana, CA)

If you are not yet familiar with the institution, here is a link with some details on the Grand Central Art Center:

The added bonus to this venue is its location, in the heart of a very active and involved community with great diversity of culture, vision and influence, just five minutes from where I grew up.  It will allow me to hit the ground running, knowing the lay of the land, as well as local peer institutions and colleagues with which I am excited to collaborate.

And if that isn’t enough reason to visit, here is another…

Grand Central Art Center with present a solo exhibition with artist George Herms during the Pacific Standard Time exhibitions throughout Southern California:

Chaos’ Job…Restrain Order
September 3 – October 16, 2011

I will begin my new role on September 6th, so if you find yourself in the Southern California area, please let me know so we can connect and I can provide you a tour of the Grand Central Art Center.

My new contact information will be:

John D. Spiak
Director/Chief Curator
Grand Central Art Center
125 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
t. 714.567.7233

Thank you to everyone who has made this journey so wonderful – the artists, students, collectors, community leaders, docents, funders, friends and colleagues. I need to especially give my full gratitude and thanks to Marilyn A. Zeitlin, Heather Sealy Lineberry and Gordon Knox, who provided me with support, guidance and trust, allowing me to curate projects through my vision.

My very best to you,

John D. Spiak
Appointed Director/Chief Curator, CSUF’s Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA

August 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Ralph Lemon and Muntadas: More news from our “Re-Thinking the Museum” series

Thanks to our capable video guy, Robert Madera, we now have abridged versions of the two most recent lectures/presentations in the Re-Thinking the Museum series to share with you. The first is taken from an extraordinary and inspiring multi-media performance by Ralph Lemon that incorporated spoken word and film. The second is an edited version of a slideshow/presentation by Antoni Muntadas, covering the pioneering conceptual artist’s long and esteemed career.

The Re-Thinking series (but certainly not the act of re-thinking) will draw to a close this fall, with a panel to include San Francisco artist Rico Solinas; his 100 Museums: Paintings of Buildings that Have Paintings Inside will be on display in the Museum lobby beginning in September. Here’s a taste:

Rico Solinas, from "100 Paintings of Buildings that Have Paintings Inside," 2011, oil paint on saw blades.

More details to follow on this blog, so stay tuned.

August 1, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Adventures in curating, or “The Invisible Architect”


Juan Downey, “Anaconda Map of Chile,” 1973. Photo by Harry Shunk, courtesy of the Juan Downey Foundation.

Just back from a trip to the East Coast to research several upcoming exhibitions and projects. My first stop was the MIT List Visual Art Center to visit the Juan Downey exhibition, The Invisible Architect, which the ASU Art Museum will be presenting this fall. It is a fascinating and complex body of work by a Chilean-born artist who experimented with new technology and its role in our society beginning in the late 1960s. Downey (1940-1993) worked with a number of artists from that period, including Gordon Matta-Clark and Bill Viola, on interactive performances and videos. Much of his early work explored the invisible connections between and among humans, the body and the built environment .

Later he started to explore issues central to his personal history and experiences. In the mid 1970s, he and his family lived for several months with the Yanomami Indians in the Amazon, arriving by canoe with their art materials and video camera. Downey made ironic, pseudo-documentary videos that critiqued Western anthropological approaches.

The sleepers in the exhibition are the beautiful paintings and drawings, many of them maps of the Americas or fantastic architectural structures. The show was featured in Artforum’s summer preview issue; after showing here in Tempe, it will travel to the Bronx Museum.

Ever since my return, I have been working with the rest of the curatorial team to plan for the installation of The Invisible Architect in three of our galleries. We are juggling multiple videos, installations — and an Anaconda.

You never know where curatorial work will take you…more soon.

Heather Sealy Lineberry
Senior Curator and Associate Director,  ASU Art Museum

July 20, 2011 at 11:34 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.


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

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

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

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

June 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm 1 comment


Mark your calendar…

APRIL 23, 2011 @ 8 p.m.
(Bring Your Own Seating)

Arizona State University Art Museum is proud to present a number of short films and videos by artists from around the world.

Thank you to all the outstanding artists who entered the 2011 Festival. The jury process included 482 entries from 43 states and 36 nations, with 20 works selected for screening.

Organized and juried for the Arizona State University Art Museum by:
Bob Pece, Southern California Filmmaker
John D. Spiak, Curator, Arizona State University Art Museum

*Juror Choice Awards and **AZ Award noted below.  LeBlanc Audience Choice Award will be announced online following the festival.


Werewolf Trouble (*Juror Choice Award)
Charlie Anderson
Boston, Massachusetts
Ryan is a werewolf. Horrified to wake up one morning only partially transformed, he enlists his friends’ aid to restore his full human form in time for an important event.

La Piñata
Manuel Arija
Madrid, Spain
Can a street mime cheer you up?

Cousins: a nature memoir
Stephen Ausherman
Albuquerque, New Mexico
A brief message on an answering machine hints at another death in the family.

Eco Ninja
Jonathan Browning
Los Angeles, California
An environmental short with a kick.

Jon Byron
Orange, California
Three men from three different backgrounds share their introspective view of the world, provoking the realization:  We’re not as different as we think we are.

Enrique Wrecks the World
David Chai
San Jose, California
Enrique learns the hard way that actions speak louder than birds!

Terry Chatkupt
Alhambra, California
Transferase portrays a protagonist overwhelmed with anxiety after receiving a disturbing phone call.  What proceeds is a sequence of small events that operate as a psychological excavation, unveiling the rapidly changing and unstable characteristics of both the protagonist and the LA landscape.

Steven Dorrington
Essex, England
A mockumentary following the Toothfairy’s transformation as she resorts to inventive but unethical methods of tooth collection in her heinous quest for a better life.

Jeremy Fain
New York, New York
A young artist begins mentally undressing a beautiful passerby, yet each layer of clothing he peels away is followed by another, and another, and another…

It’s Over!
Gita Farid
Mesa, Arizona
A ragtag and beaten French Resistance fighter and a courageous and pissed- off nun risk their lives to protect Jewish orphans hidden in a convent in France.

Whirling Dervish
William Fisher
Denver, Colorado
A thoughtful, enchanting reading of a letter from the past.

Ariel Gregory
Missoula, Montana
A typical swamp creature takes a long, hard look at itself.

News, Weather & Sports
Dan Hudson
Canmore, Canada
A beautiful and haunting video that reflects on the human condition.

Yuliya Lanina
Brooklyn, New York
Dodo-Valse depicts a vision of an idyllic past as seen through the eye of a forest deity.

Dan’s Big Find (**AZ Award)
Jane Lindsay
Tempe, Arizona
The story of a man who finds an arrowhead while shooting targets with his black powder pistol.

La Memoria Die Cani (*Juror Choice Award)
Simone Massi
Pergola, Italy
My cheeks brush against the stone, I look out from a break in the wall.

Pretty Kitty
Gregory McDonald
Burbank, California
A man gets revenge on his cat for taunting him with silence.

Ex-Sex (*Juror Choice Award)
Michael Mohan
Los Angeles, California
Two former lovers navigate their fizzled relationship by confusing their emotional needs with their physical desires. Ex-Sex makes it better. Ex-Sex makes it worse.

The Late Mr. Mokun Williams
Kenneth Price
Greensboro, North Carolina
This pre-technological fable mirrors a modern day spam email in a handwritten letter by a frantic African girl on the run.

La La Love You
Max Sokoloff
San Francisco, California
A teenager gets ready for her boyfriend to come over and gets herself into a difficult position.



Visit the ASU Art Museum Festival Page for guidelines regarding next year’s festival and a history of this annual event:

Please show your continued support of the ASU Art Museum by making a donation online through the link provided below. It is a very easy process, and donations of as little as $5 can help provide the foundation for future programs and exhibitions.

March 29, 2011 at 10:50 pm 3 comments

Waiting for Release, Sentencing Reform & Welcoming Home – It’s not just black and white…

As we await our inmate collaborators’ graduation from the ALPHA program, their release from jail and for them to rejoin us in the exhibition space as members of the outside community, the projects and conversation of It’s not just black and white continue to build.

Last week Gregory hosted the students of the Women & Social Change class of Assistant Professor Durfee of Women & Gender Studies at ASU. The students are in the beginning process of organizing a social action on the ASU campus to raise awareness of the untimely death of prison inmate Marcia Powell. Powell, 48, died May 20, 2009, after being kept in an outdoor human cage in Goodyear’s Perryville Prison for at least four hours in the Arizona sun with temperatures in the 107 degree Fahrenheit range.

As a social practice and performance artist, Gregory has much experience with public action. He listened to the student’s ideas and provided insights into possibilities of making the action more impactful. The students were engaged and passionate, and we are excited to see their event in action. We will definitely share dates and times for their action when they have been confirmed.

On Thursday Gregory and I met with Alan Gómez, Borderlands Scholar and Assistant Professor of the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University, and Scott Henderson of theTempe Chapter of Amnesty International. Together, Allan and Scott are developing one day of programming for the 3-day First Annual Human Rights Film Festival at ASU.  On Saturday, April 9, the ASU Art Museum will host the afternoon program PRISONERS’ RIGHTS, MILITARIZATION OF JUSTICE. The afternoon will present three short films: Cointelpro 101, The Response and a new video based on It’s not just black and white by Gregory Sale. The screenings will be followed by a panel discussion on the program topic led by key figures of the community.  I have posted the complete festival screening program below; the panels are still being confirmed, and we’ll share that as well once it is available.

On Friday, GINA’s Team hosted a volunteer informational gathering for the Welcome Home project. The Welcome Home project is a volunteer mentoring organization that welcome’s home female inmates upon release. The program included an amazing introduction and insight from Sue Ellen Allen, a former inmate of Perryville prison and co-founder of GINA’s Team. She shared the story of Gina, a 25-year-old mother who befriended her at Perryville and who died of leukemia while serving time. She introduced Gregory by stating the importance of his project in creating greater community awareness and dialogue, and Gregory shared his project with the audience. Sue Ellen went on to introduce Gina’s mom; Karen Hellman, ATS Program Manager, Counseling & Treatment Services of the Arizona Department of Corrections; Jan Weathers, Re-Entry coordinator, Counseling & Treatment Services of the ADOC; and Marianne Petrilloa, a GINA’s Team board member. They all spoke with grace from multiple perspectives, providing additional insights into the complex topics of the current state of corrections in Arizona.

Lastly, the key note speaker was introduced, member of the Arizona State House of Representatives Cecil Ash (R.Mesa). Rep. Ash shared stories of his years in a position at the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. He presented example after example of cases where he felt the mandatory sentencing (for those not from AZ, mandatory sentencing laws in this State leave very little, if any, flexibility for a judge hearing the case – sentences must also be served consecutively) was beyond extreme. He talked about his efforts to get sentencing reform bills heard on the house floor and the lack of support for such bills at this current time. It was clear that Rep. Ash is passionate, has clear vision and insight, and most of all has complete integrity when it comes to these issues, yet still confesses that he is constantly attacked by those who stick to the “tough on crime” mentality often used as a defense for not even considering possibilities of change to the current system.

It was once again an eye-opening week at the ASU Art Museum, and much more is on the way, like tomorrow’s (3/15) discussion Art’s Role in Resilience Science and Other Innovations in Thinking from 2 – 3:30pm. 

And there’s still time to sign-up for this Saturday’s (3/19) tour of Tent City Jail at 2 p.m.

We hope you’ll join us!

– John Spiak, Curator

It’s not just black and white is supported a grant from
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

First Annual Human Rights Film Festival at ASU 
Free and open to the public; each grouping of films will be followed by panel discussions.

Friday 4/8
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
The Economics of Happiness

Saturday 4/9
ASU Museum of Art, in conjunction with Gregory Sale’s art exhibition “It’s not just black and white”
Cointelpro 101, The Response
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
FILM SHORTS: Dream Act Students, Arizona Women & Children Rise: Resisting SB1070, Testimonies of Resistance from Apartheid Arizona, Exiled in America

Sunday 4/10
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Long Night’s Journey Into Day: South Africa’s Search for Truth & Reconciliation
Armstrong Hall, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
The Snowbowl Effect

Co-sponsored by Human Rights at ASU, the School of Social Transformation, Justice and Social Inquiry, and the Barrett Honors College.

Visit as the festival date approaches, for updated times, locations and final film and panel selections.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Additional Blog Posts
Angela Davis, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Youth in Detention = Social Practice
Reconnecting – It’s not just black and white
Dream like you mean it: The Mother-Daughter Distance Dance
Another Active Week and the Schedule for April
Waiting for Release, Sentencing Reform & Welcoming Home
Invitation to Join Us for Volunteer Event – GINA’s Team
Inside & Outside – It’s not just black and white
More Similar Than Different + Tent City Jail Tour Opportunity
You can’t move forward until you know where you are
Olympic Gold Medalist, Gina’s Team and PVCC Students!
IT’S NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE: Gregory Sale – Social Studies Project 6

March 14, 2011 at 11:19 pm 12 comments

CALL FOR ENTRIES – 15th Annual Short Film and Video Festival

15th Annual
Arizona State University Art Museum
Short Film and Video Festival


Deadline for Entering Work

Brief history of the festival, guidelines for entry, a complete list of the works that have been screened at past festivals and a few success stories can be found online at the following address:

Festival is scheduled to take place

The festival is free for artists to enter their work and free to attend.

ASU Art Museum Short Film and Video Festival is an ASU Art Museum Moving Targets initiative.

January 5, 2011 at 10:52 pm

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!


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.


March 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm 1 comment

Older Posts Newer Posts

August 2022

Follow us on Twitter!

ASU Ceramics Research Center Library