Posts tagged ‘event’

Experiments with robots, machines and conditions: Juan Downey’s Invisible Architect

Last week at work, I had to find and compile images (and the necessary credit lines, of course) for an online slideshow presenting some of the works of Juan Downey. The cool part? Once I was done, I got to go look at the works in person.

In case it wasn’t already obvious, I work at the ASU Art Museum, which is currently exhibiting Juan Downey: The Invisible Architect, the first U.S. museum survey of Chilean artist Juan Downey’s work. There are three whole galleries worth of his work here, one on each floor, but unfortunately I only had time to properly appreciate two.

Now, I might not be someone exactly qualified to comment on art (I’m a marketing and economics major, very boring), but Downey’s work is awesome. The gallery on the first floor contained some of Downey’s more technical pieces, sketches and drafts of his experiments in performance art examining the interactions between man and machine. I was amazed by the depth of the contrast.  Downey documents his inquiries into invisible energies existing in human-machine communication in the crisp, precise detail of an architect’s draft, but done with such simple mediums, color pencil and graphite.

Downey’s projects are complex investigations and experiments with robots, machines, and conditions. Yet, such seemingly intricate, technical undertakings are juxtaposed against the simple, even humble, but loving detail he used to document them. His sketches, as I mentioned, are done on paper with pencil, and while devoid of much color and punctuated with Downey’s scribbles and annotations, still retain a perfect feel and respect for space and position, nothing random, everything with a purpose.

Three pieces by Juan Downey: "Inside the Robot," "Follows People and..." and "...and Breathes Stuffy Air on Them," all 1970, all colored pencil and graphite on paper, all courtesy of Marilys B. Downey.

While interactions between man and machine and invisible energies seem as though they could easily be boring, high-brow and scientific, they’re not. Downey’s innovative sense of whimsy avoids anything detached and pretentious. My personal favorite is Downey’s transcription of Pollution Robot, decomposed into three pieces: Inside the Robot, Follows People And….., And Breathes Stuffy Air On Them.

If the names of the works are amusing, then Downey’s performance of Pollution Robot must have been even more so. In Pollution Robot, Downey hid himself within a robot box, followed people, and breathed stuffy air on them. I loved it, the lack of pretention in the names and the act, that Downey himself was in the robot following people, and the fact that in the robot, Downey’s main purpose was, rather than anything else one could imagine, to follow people and breathe stuffy air on them. It makes the complexity of the themes explored in Downey’s performance accessible and entertaining.

Unfortunately, I am now out of time and space, and I didn’t even get to mention the exhibition in the second gallery featuring some of Downey’s more traditional (but still far from it) art. But hopefully, that’s another story for another day, or another blog post for another day at work.

Karen Enters, PR and Marketing Intern

October 13, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Contemplating security from very different perspectives – Securing a free state: The Second Amendment Project

Thursday, October 13 marks the first field trip for Securing a free state: The Second Amendment Project, currently underway at ASU Art Museum. Jennifer Nelson’s Social Studies project, which focuses on security, takes us to two sites that will force us to contemplate security from very different perspectives.

On Thursday, we will visit Artificial Limb Specialists (2916 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85012) at 6:30 p.m. for a tour of the design facilities where custom prosthetics are made.

An individual who lost a limb  and uses a prosthetic will speak with us about how he inhabits his limb, what the prosthetic means for him emotionally, and his feelings of security or vulnerability with the limb.

On Sunday, October 23 at 11 a.m. we will visit a sniper training school that provides realistic training opportunities for individuals in law enforcement, military as well as civilians. We will observe a group of students as they go through their final exercises in sniper training and will discuss the topic of security from the perspective of someone who is prepared to encounter and deflect threats. The address for this field trip will be provided only to those who sign up to attend the tour. Car pools to the facility can be arranged.

Space for both fieldtrips is limited—for questions, or to sign up for either, please contact the project’s curator, Lekha Hileman Waitoller at lwaitoll@mainex1.asu.eduor 480-965-0497. Attendance to both field trips is suggested in order to more
fully understand the dialogue unfolding in Securing a free state.

–Lekha Hileman Waitoller, Interim Curator

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Photos by Jennifer Nelson.

October 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Opportunities to participate — Securing a free state: The Second Amendment Project – Jennifer Nelson, Social Studies 7

Photograph courtesy of Sean Deckert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Nelson’s Social Studies residency at the ASU Art Museum has been going for about two weeks and we’ve already been to two shooting ranges, a sniper training school and a prosthetics design facility. As if this weren’t enough firsts for me, I also, in a trust-building exercise, allowed a SWAT team commander to lead me around a gallery with my eyes closed (although I cheated when I noted that I was being led into a dark corner). This project is shaping up to be a huge learning experience with nary a dull moment, and we have barely begun.

Securing a free state: The Second Amendment Project is the second in a nonconsecutive series of projects by Jennifer Nelson on the Bill of Rights. While the Second Amendment is commonly thought about only as “the right to bear arms,” Jennifer selected another clause as her starting point for the project: “the security of a free state.”

Throughout the residency, group conversations, field trips and a public panel will engender a dialogue about security—how individuals find it and how we, collectively, think of it. Contemplating private and public security gives rise to a host of complexities, which and can at times seem incompatible. This dynamic negotiation of rights between the public and the private is what this project considers; in fact, it is what Jennifer’s body of work usually considers. (Read about her collaborative project Limerick Cookbook for an example.)

Jennifer, her husband and collaborator, Dimitri, and I have been laying the ground work for this project, which has taken us to the sites mentioned above. This past Saturday and then again next Saturday (October 8 and 15) are the first public opportunities for community members to come to the Museum and take part in the project. From noon-1:30 next Saturday, as we did this past Saturday, we will think about security through activities and conversations that are facilitated by two martial artists, an NRA certified firearms instructor and a trauma therapist.

Check out the full calendar of events below, which will continue to grow as the project develops. (We’ll be updating this blog with new opportunities and events as they arise.)

Lekha Hileman Waitoller, Interim Curator

CALENDAR OF EVENTS:

SATURDAYS IN THE GALLERY: On Saturday, October 8 and 15, members of the public have the opportunity to work with Jennifer from noon-1:30 p.m. These times provide a chance to explore martial practices and therapeutic exercises as we examine strategies for achieving personal security, and ponder what that means in a collective context. Visitors will work in a small group with a martial artist, a shooter and a trauma therapist specializing in somatic treatments to develop choreographies of self-defense and recovery.

Please wear loose-fitting clothes and athletic shoes, and because the gallery is chilly, some may want to bring an extra layer. Please arrive on time and plan to stay for 90 minutes.

PANEL DISCUSSION:
On Saturday, October 22 at 1:00 p.m. we will have a public panel with rotating moderators in the gallery for a discussion of the question: How do people find security? Come prepared to participate in what promises to be a lively discussion.

FIELD TRIPS:

A series of field trips will consider the link between the mind and its extension beyond the body. These include a visit to a prosthetics maker and fitter, which will be thought of as sites where sculpture is made and where one is driven by the need to feel physically whole after a violent interruption of their bodily integrity. The other is a trip to a sniper training facility, which will be considered a performative space where defensive security is practiced.

To sign up for the field trips, please contact Lekha Waitoller at 480-965-0497 or lwaitoll@mainex1.asu.edu

  • Thursday, October 13, 6:30 p.m.: a visit to Artificial Limb Specialists in Phoenix, where we will tour the prosthetics design facility and speak with an amputee who will share his experience about the physical transformation he has been through.
  • Sunday, October 23, 11:00 a.m.: a tour of GPS Defense Sniper School to understand the physical and psychological training for snipers.

This exhibition is supported by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The project was initiated by John D. Spiak and is curated by Lekha Hileman Waitoller.

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October 10, 2011 at 8:48 pm

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

Fundreds closing event

On Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, we say goodbye to all of the creative and unique fundreds that have been donated by our local community members to the Fundred Dollar Bill project. The project’s armored vehicle will arrive at ASU Art Museum at 10 a.m. to pick up our fake Bennies and then continue on until fundreds from around the country are delivered together in Washington, D.C.

To celebrate, we’ll have light refreshments and live music, and special performance art by ASU students. This will be your last chance to participate at the museum, too – we’ll have everything you need to create your own fundred, provided free!, to donate to the project. (After the 25th, you can still go online to Fundred.org to download templates and mail them in. You can also go there for more information on the entire project. )

See you at the museum!

-diane

February 19, 2010 at 6:43 pm

WIN passes to the Rooftop Party at the W!

Win free party passes with your Facebook photos!

Two people will get the opportunity to attend the Ceram-A-Rama gala weekend DJ pumping After Party

at the W Hotel in Scottsdale for FREE!

Here’s How:

1. Attend our free ASU Art Museum season opening reception on Friday, February 19, from 7-9pm.

2. Take a picture of yourself at the opening reception, making sure to follow all museum rules regarding the care of the artwork (i.e., no touching, no flash photography).

3. Post the picture to Facebook using the tag feature to tag both the ASUart Museumstaff and yourself in the image.

4. Next week we will collect all the names of the individuals tagged in the images and verify that the images were taken during the Friday opening reception. One person will be selected based on the creativity of the image and another will be selected randomly for free entry into the Ceram-A-Rama gala weekend DJ pumping After Party at the W Hotel on March 6, 2010.

Click here for more information on the weekend of activities during Ceram-A-Rama.

ASU Art Museum staff on Facebook

Please remember that respect for the artwork  on exhibition is first and foremost. Have fun and be creative!

If you don’t win free tickets but still want to come to this rockin’ party, tickets are only $25 and you can even get them at the door.  See you at the W!

-diane

February 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm

2nd Annual Street Party announcement from ASU Art Museum!

News Flash!  The 2nd Annual Street Party is official! Here are the details:

2ND ANNUAL STREET PARTY to benefit ASU Art Museum

April 10, 2010

4 – 10pm

Event location: Hoskin Ryan Consultants, Inc. property, 2nd Ave and Indian School Road, Phoenix

*Entry is only $5 per person at the gate; kids 12 and under are free.

The ASU Art Museum Street Party is an exciting annual event that includes live bands, hands-on art activities for kids until sundown, and an on-site exhibition of work by local artists curated by the ASU Art Museum. We can now announce that self-described “Acoustic Symphony Indie Rock” band Dry River Yacht Club is confirmed to play that night!

Food and drink will be available for purchase at the event, and an Indie Chic art fair  will have beautiful hand-made arts and crafts for sale by local artists (remember the one at the museum back in December? Yeah, it’s like that! :)

Proceeds from the event benefit ASU Art Museum’s exhibitions, programs and educational outreach. Last year’s event was VOTED BEST OF PHOENIX in Phoenix New Times.

Keep watching our blog as more bands and vendors are announced!

DJ Brazilia at the 2009 Street Party for ASU Art Museum
DJ Brazilia at the 2009 Street Party for ASU Art Museum

February 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm

School of Dance performance art at ASU Art Museum

We were excited to have Yeongwen Lee from the ASU School of Dance and some students working on a project here at the museum yesterday. In case you missed it, here’s a three-minute video of clips I shot during the afternoon.

We love it when students find unique and beautiful ways of using the museum.

-diane

February 3, 2010 at 7:48 pm

A thank you

Thanks to Honest Tea for offering to donate beverages for our Phoenix Phundred Phinale Mardi Gras Part

-diane

January 21, 2010 at 10:12 pm

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