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Activist Art

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It should be apparent that an artist makes art about their social group.  Many artists use art to gain access to a higher social class. In this way art is a tool for the individual perhaps freeing them from the circumstances they are born into.  This is especially true for people who grow up poor or disenfranchised or of modest circumstances. It’s also true of middle class children who make art to escape the restrictions of the middle class, but what about activist art?


Matta-Clark and New Orleans

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There's a bit of back story to Matta-Clark and New Orleans. This has to do with Tina Girouard and Richard Landry who are both from New Orleans as is Keith Sonnier. They formed a Cajun contigent in the 112 Greene street scene.  Landry, a musician, played with Phillip Glass. Girouard, a dancer and mixed media artist, often collaborated with Gordon Matta-Clark. 


What would Matta-Clark do?

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I just finished being interviewed by the San Diego curator about Gordon. Since this summer I’ve been called upon by Jane Crawford and Bob Fiore to speak about Gordon, now the San Diego curator and coming up the Whitney curator. It’s emotionally very taxing because it asks me to go back 30 years and bring up memories I’ve put away. On reflecting a bit about the question; “What would Matta-Clark do?”, I find it a helpful exercise.


Gordon Matta-Clark-2

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This first decade of the new millennium is turning out to be the disaster decade.  The devastation of New Orleans is particularly disturbing. It points out how fragile the infra-structure of our society is, and how easily it can be overwhelmed.  Right now the U.S. government is formulating an urban planning design for the new New Orleans. This sort of top-down planning is something that Gordon Matta Clark was dead set against. He saw the architects and urban planners, who in the 1960’s destroyed many neighborhoods in inner cities, as megalomaniacs.  For the 1970’s generation, moving into run down or neglected parts of the city and creating new communities was preferable to moving out to the planned communities of suburbia. It allowed for creative repurposing of disused factories and warehouses.
 


Where-next.com

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Where-next.com
 
Where-next.com is an exciting gambling game. The most accurate prediction on where terrorists will attack next, wins. The definition of terrorist attack stands here for a war action aimed at any civil target on any location that’s not already involved in any kind of "official" war or so intetend by U.S. administration. Thus comnsider a peaceful territory where there could be at least 10 random civil victims within 48hrs (missing people will not be included).

 


Gordon Matta-Clark-1

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Periodically I am approached by curators and writers asking to interview me about Gordon Matta-Clark.  He was my dearest friend and a mentor when I was a young artist. He also died from cancer after battling the disease for over a year. His death was not easy.  Whenever people ask me to be interviewed about Gordon it creates a tremendous sadness in me.  The times we had together were among the best times of my life.  Reliving them stirs up deep emotions in me and, I am sure, in all of his circle of friends and colleagues. Recently I’ve been approached to be interviewed by two curators one from San Diego and one from New York for upcoming exhibitions of Gordon’s work. In New York there will be a retrospective at the Whitney in 2007.


The Art of Database

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The Art of Database

Much digital art has a database of files as it’s content. In several pieces that I’ve done both in collaboration with Peter Sinclair and in my own solo work assembling the files for the database is a key, if unseen, element to the work.

In A Soapopera for Laptops and A Soapopera for iMacs (1998-2005) a database of text files that were spoken by text-to-speech voices were assembled. The four characters, Fred, Ralph, Princess and Kathy correspond to the native synthetic voices of the Mac OS. Each character had a series of conversational tidbits, repartee, songs and exclamations. The front-end programming, a Max MSP patch assembled the text and fed it to the voices to be spoken using keywords triggered by speech recognition. Therefore the art of database has a synchronic two-part process, the files are assembled according to the manner in which they will be presented by the front-end program and the front-end program is written with the database in mind.


"CAUTION" by DoEAT

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WANTED by DoEATIf you happened to be crisscrossing the border on August 26, 2005, you might have caught site of those ubiquitous yellow caution “3 People Running Across” signs along Interstate 5 and Interstate 905 between Tijuana and San Diego that were modified to say "Free Market", "Wanted", "No Benefits", and "Now Hiring".


Washington was a Hottie

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washingtonpost.com

Buffing Up The Image Of George Washington
Mt. Vernon Creates A Toothsome Teen

By Libby Copeland
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 30, 2005; C01

George WashingtonDespite what he looks like on the dollar bill, it turns out George Washington may have been kind of hot.


Peter Schjeldahl on Robert Smithson

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WHAT ON EARTH
by PETER SCHJELDAHL
A Robert Smithson retrospective.

The New Yorker
Issue of 2005-09-05

Robert Smithson is in fashion, in a hair-shirt kind of way. Excited reverence has marked the art-world response to a retrospective of hi work that opened in Los Angeles last year and is now at the Whitney. This may seem odd, given that Smithson, the mystagogical dandy o postminimalism, who died in a plane crash in 1973, at the age of thirty-five, was a sculptor who made exactly one good sculpture: “Th Spiral Jetty” (1970), a coil of rocks and dirt made with earth-moving equipment, in a remote bay of the Great Salt Lake, which few peopl have seen except in handsome but inevitably misleading photographs. (Underwater for many years, it reëmerged in 2002.) I paid my ow first visit recently, jolting over rudimentary dirt roads. The piece is initially disappointing: a rather dainty geometrical figure that, at about hundred and fifty feet across, is too small—not by a lot, but fatally so—to hold scale against the sun-stunned, distantly islanded lake, ami hills that are strewn with black basalt boulders. (It is within sight of another, truly huge jetty, the site of long-derelict facilities that were onc used for extracting oil from some still seeping, odorous tar pits. Smithson, who loved ruins, wrote about it in connection to his work, but strangely, few others have taken it into account.) The “Jetty” improves dramatically when you tread its jagged surface, which is lapped b syrupy, clear water that is tinted pink by algae, and encrusted with formations of ice-white salt left over from the jetty’s intermitten submersions. Out there, I felt mightily centered in the ambient desolation. In the course of an afternoon, I asked occasional fellow-tourist why they had come. All said that they had heard of the “Jetty” and reckoned that it was something to see—usually along with the nearb Golden Spike National Monument, where, periodically, old-timey locomotives reënact the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, i 1869. (People seemed puzzled when asked if they liked the work. One said, “It’s O.K.”


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