Posts tagged ‘performance’

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos by Jennifer Nelson.

October 12, 2011 at 9:12 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 to download templates and mail them in. You can also go there for more information on the entire project. )

See you at the museum!


February 19, 2010 at 6:43 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

A thank you

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


January 21, 2010 at 10:12 pm

I stole this content

The following post comes courtesy of the City of Tempe’s Green Street Party. You can find it, plus a video and some other details, on their page that’s dedicated to the event, or you can just read below.

This is all happening outside our doors on Mill Avenue at the same time that our reception for Canalscape is happening inside the ASU Art Museum. The reception is FREE and open to everyone. Come inside to see this amazing project and what it could mean for our great city, plus food and beverages, music and a dance performance!

Thank you, Tempe (Tanya and crew) for letting me borrow your info.  Click the title link next to go straight to their site.



Green Street Tempe Party
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | 6 – 9 p.m.

Tempe is taking it to the streets – in a big, green way. On Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. downtown Tempe is the place to be for some good, green fun! You can shop Tempe’s carbon-neutral Community Market, featuring products created by local artists, growers and crafters; hear some great local musicians and performers at Music on Mill, celebrating Tempe’s vibrant music history; or have Drinks and Discussion at one of Tempe’s many charming restaurants. You can also check out sustainable dog houses, see a green film, and visit ASU Art Museum’s Defining Sustainability exhibition – among a variety of other fun, sustainable activities.  Please visit our website periodically for more updates.

Defining Sustainability Art Exhibit
ASU Art Museum presents, Defining Sustainability, a series of dynamic and interactive projects that will come together at the ASU Art Museum and its Ceramics Research Center to illustrate sustainability ideas. Each exhibition or project tells a simple story, an artist’s proposal for green transportation or a designer’s solution for recycled shade structures, which together convey the complexity of sustaining life on earth. The diverse projects range in materials and format, and are installed throughout the ASU Art Museum to tell stories of environmental, social and cultural sustainability. Free bus services is available from Mill Ave. to the ASU Art Museum.

ASU LEEDing the way in green building design –

Drinks and Discussions
Enjoy drinks and discussion with an industry expert at one of Tempe’s many charming restaurants and patio lounges from 7 – 9 p.m.  Enter a raffle to win great prizes by giving your business card at any Drinks and Discussion location.  Increase your odds of winning by visiting all four Drinks and Discussion locations.  Locations include:

o        La Bocca Pizzeria & Wine Bar – 699 S. Mill Avenue –

o        Studio 5C – 200 E. 5th Street – Discussion topic: Integration of Sustainable Design in Moving Towards a Low-Carbon Future

o        House of Tricks– 114 E. 7th Street – Discussion topic: Think Globally, Eat Locally

o        Pho Thang Long – 414 S. Mill Avenue


Desert Doghouse Showcase & Auction
Teams of high school students will collaborate with professionals as they design and construct a sustainable doghouse.  Ten lucky students will be showcasing and auctioning off their creations at the Green Street Tempe party.  Auction will take place at 8 p.m.  All proceeds benefiting the Habitat for Humanity.

Green Film Showcase – Valley Art Theater, located in downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue, will be showcasing No Impact Man Nov. 6 through Nov 12.   Showtimes: 2:00 p.m., 4:10 p.m., 6:20 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

Live Music – Music on Mill
Musicians and performers, covering a gamut of musical genres, will activate the streets and give visitors a positive, unique experience.  Music on Mill is a nod to Tempe’s vibrant music history, and particularly Mill Avenue, where all of the venues were located that sprouted such bands as the Gin Blossoms, The Refreshments, Dead Hot Workshop and the Meat Puppets.

Market Garden – An important component to the Market on Mill, the Market Garden is being created to help offset the carbon footprint of the event and to providing a central downtown location where residents and schools can come and learn how to garden in the desert and how to live more sustainably on their own land or porch or terrace.  It will initially include micro greens and flowers for local restaurants and the Market on Mill.  Phase 1 of the garden should be completed by Nov. 10 for the Green Street Tempe Party.  The land proposed for the garden is the southwest corner of 5th Street and Forest Avenue.

Market on Mill & Green Scene
Tempe’s first carbon neutral, “green” Market on Mill and Green Scene will include products created by local artists, growers and crafters from the greater Tempe community.  The Phoenix Permaculture Guild will be onsite offering classes and demonstrations held in the MADCAP Theater, and a market booth to respond to sustainable gardening issues and provide information on how to “do-it-yourself.”

Transportation, Parking & Maps

For more information about the Green Street event please contact, (480) 858-2215 or e-mail  Visit to connect with the City of Tempe, follow us on Twitter and get our latest news!

November 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm

“It’s not easy being green”

Canalscape being installed at ASU Art Museum

Canalscape being installed at ASU Art Museum

Canalscape turns ASU Art Museum green

Canalscape turns ASU Art Museum green

Actually, it isn’t all that difficult. Especially when the Canalscape installation is in full swing at ASU Art Museum – we have green plants all over the front of the building and in the Nymphaeum (that’s our swanky name for our front entry area that’s located down the stairs). This is going to be an exciting project, and one that I personally hope becomes reality in the near future. Imagine seeing a currently-dull-and-uninhabited canal from the street, fully redesigned with parks, or shopping, or restaurants, or anything creative that reflects the neighborhood around it. We may soon have (more!) really wonderful spaces around our fair city that are inviting, relaxing, invigorating – our very own oases.

Come see what it’s about at the opening reception on Tuesday, November 10, from 6 – 9 pm at ASU Art Museum. It’s free. There will be food, drink, music and a dance performance! All this amid the fun of Tempe Greenstreets, happening outside our door on Mill Avenue in conjunction with the U.S. Greenbuild Conference. It’s going to be an exciting evening!


…in case you missed it, the title reference.


November 5, 2009 at 6:52 pm

WANTED: Artist Jillian Mcdonald seeks actors and makeup artists for vampire and zombie video – no experience necessary!

I arrived at ASU Art Museum on Monday Oct 5, and after brain-storming and visiting local sights I am ready to get started on my first project. See below for details on how you can participate!

Zombie Loop, installation, 2006

Zombie Loop, installation, 2006

Vampire Hunting, installation, 2007

Vampire Hunting, installation, 2007

Jillian Mcdonald, Social Studies artist-in-residence at ASU Art Museum seeks participants in a video installation for her November exhibit at ASU. Interested parties will attend an information session and audition on October 15th at 11 a.m.; attend a rehearsal on Oct 22nd starting at 11 a.m.; and be videotaped together on the afternoon of Oct 31st in the desert. The information session, audition and rehearsal will be held in the project’s gallery at ASU Art Museum. No acting experience or knowledge of vampires and zombies necessary, however feel free to do some research online. There is no cost to be a participant in the project!

Zombies may also, if interested, participate in a further performance on the Light Rail on The Day of the Dead, November 2nd. Watch for more information on this coming soon. Contact Jillian Mcdonald, info below, to receive notifications.

Also seeking enthusiastic makeup artists – with or without experience. Makeup artists will come to an information meeting on Oct 15th at 2p.m., and a workshop Oct 16th or 23rd at a to be determined time. These meetings will also be held in the project’s gallery in ASU Art Museum. Makeup for the video will be done at the museum on the late morning of Oct 31st. There is no cost to participate, makeup will be provided.

Please sign up with Jillian directly if you are interested in participating in the project at 917.443.8107 or – she will also answer any questions or concerns. Interested parties who cannot make the scheduled dates, please inquire about alternative times.

Take advantage of early opportunities to meet the artist on Friday, October 9 at 11 a.m. for a preview gallery talk and from 7-9 p.m. for the FREE public season opening reception at ASU Art Museum (Mill Avenue @ 10th Street). Also during an open class October 13th at 6:30 p.m. at ASU Art Museum.

To see more recent zombie and vampire related events, visit my website!


October 8, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Great date night at ASU Art Museum

opening recpetion banner

Please join us at ASU Art Museum Friday, Oct. 9, from 7 – 9 p.m. for our Defining Sustainability opening reception!

As always, the reception and all activities are FREE and open to the public.

Details follow:


Take the Valley Metro LIGHT RAIL with your friends and family to the MILL AVENUE stop, then stroll south through Downtown Tempe to the ASU ART MUSEUM @ 10th STREET (just south of University).




Refreshments generously provided by Whole Foods, Caffe Boa, Fairytale Brownies, Essence Bakery Café.

Live music provided by Postcommodity Collective.

ArtZone –  Participate in Mel Chin’s current project Fundred Dollar Bill/Operation Paydirt. Come get creative for a great cause!

Community members will present sustainable practices from simple, low-tech ideas to the technologically advanced.

The season opening reception is co-sponsored by the Global Institute for Sustainability and its School of Sustainability.

Organization support for the sustainable demonstrations area provided by EcoAid, Arizona Homegrown Solutions and Tempe’s ERIC, Educational/Recycling Information Center.

Defining Sustainability
exhibitions include:
at the Ceramics Research Center-
Nora Naranjo Morse, Athena & Bill Steen,
Postcommodity Collective (Kade Twist, Steven Yazzie,
Nathan Young and Raven Chacon)

in the main museum:


Julie Anand, Richard Lerman, Carrie Marill

Jason Griffiths and Design Studio

Social Studies residency project:


Moving Targets exhibition:

I’M KEEPING AN EYE ON YOU, group video exhibition

Mounira Al Solh, Rachel Garfield, Charlotte Ginsborg, Pia Greschner,
Myung-Soo Kim, Yaron Lapid, Jeff Luckey, Johnna MacArthur,
Michael Mohan, Corinna Schnitt

Click here to listen to NATIONAL RADIO coverage of the Defining Sustainability season

Defining Sustainability at the ASU Art Museum was co-organized by Global Institute of Sustainability and its School of Sustainability, ASU; School of Art and School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, ASU; School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and American Indian Studies Program, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, ASU; and ASU Institute for Humanities Research.

Projects and exhibitions supported by Helme Prinzen Endowment, Evelyn Smith Family Exhibition Fund, The FUNd at the ASU Art Museum, ASU Art Museum Advisory Board, Joseph Dung Ceramics Initiative, EDAW/AECOM, Arizona Humanities Council, Pyramid Developers, O Premium Waters, Skull Candy, Prisma Graphic, Spicers Paper and SRP.

Educational programs sponsored by Jean Stange Memorial Fund, Red & Alva Foundation, the family of Jan Fisher and Scottsdale League for the Arts.

We look forward to having you JOIN US!

Need more information? Call us! 480.965.2787.

By the way, there’s free parking available! Look outside the Ceramics Research Center, on the Northeast corner of Mill Ave at 10th Street, for the museum-marked spaces. Just log in at the computer on the security desk in either the CRC or the museum, so we know you’re here for us!


October 2, 2009 at 6:04 pm

And that’s not all!

As if tonight’s Night Moves performance wasn’t enough, our Ceramics Research Center also has lots going on all day long! Check this out:

For those of you who missed out on the event during NCECA, we would like to invite you to the A La Carte Trunk Show. For one day the tableware of the following artists will be available for sale:

Jenni Brant                Chandra DeBuse
Andy Brayman          Jana Evans
Sam Chung                 Dandee Pattee
Erica Cioe                   Andy Shaw
Steven Colby              Christian Tonsgard


When:    Tuesday, April 28th     10am-5pm       

100% of all sales will go to the artist.
Cash, check & credit cards accepted.

And from 7 – 9 p.m.:

Presentations by Christian Tonsgard and Darien Johnson, who have completed their master’s degrees in ceramics. Both do fabulous work and your attendance helps support and encourage these talented emerging artists.  Refreshments served.

Don’t forget- Night Moves 11: Breathing is Free and Twelve Squared, is tonight from 6-8 p.m. The performance starts at 6:15. All of our events are FREE and open to the public!

See you there!


April 28, 2009 at 6:54 pm

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