Karen Schmidt: Cozy. Photo by Sandy Sorlien
Bringing comfort to a bleak, cold place makes it warm and inviting. I want to bar entry into the cell to create a sense of longing in the viewer. I want the viewer to want to enter the cell, much like the inmate must have wanted to leave it.” -K.S.
There are a total of 419,879 stitches in Cozy (the bed alone is comprised of 41,998). The piece uses more than 25,000 yards of yarn.
Ms. Schmidt refers in her audio stop to an inmate who escaped by scaling the wall with yarn. The escape took place in 1861, when inmate George Black stole yarn from the penitentiary’s dye shop. He was recaptured.
Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: (215) 236-3300
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Theaster Gates An Epitaph For Civil Rights and Other Domesticated Structures, Lecture, Monday, June 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm.
Theaster Gates, Civil Tapestries, 2011, decommissioned fire hoses and wood, 48" x 123" x 4", photo courtesy of Kavi Gupta CHICAGO | BERLIN
An Epitaph For Civil Rights and Other Domesticated Structures
Lecture, Monday, June 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm
Reception starting at 6:00 pm
Reservations are suggested
The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) in collaboration with Art Sanctuary, the Asian Arts Initiative, and Taller Puertorriqueño is proud to present a lecture by Theaster Gates, An Epitaph For Civil Rights and Other Domesticated Structures, that will be held at The Fabric Workshop and Museum on Monday, June 20th at 7:00 pm. A reception will begin at 6:00 pm.
Theaster Gates (Chicago, IL) is an artist, musician, and "cultural planner," as well as Director of Arts Program Development at the University of Chicago. The artist has described his practice as being "transformative," converting spaces, institutions, traditions, and perceptions through his performances, installations, and urban interventions.
In blending performance art, urban planning and design, and traditional fine art making, Gates presents a platform for communities to understand how to successfully sustain themselves. This approach enables Gates to present challenging issues in new ways to engage a community. Gates is committed to the restoration of poor black neighborhoods by converting abandoned buildings into cultural spaces that allow not only new cultural moments to occur in unexpected places, but raise the city's expectations of where "place-making" happens and why. Using art as a tool for social change gives Gates an opportunity to practice urban planning without having to be part of an institution, and allows him to share his spirit and love with the community.
Theaster Gates received his B.S. from Iowa State University in 1996 in Urban Planning and Ceramics; a M.A. from University of Cape Town in 1998 in Fine Arts and Religious Studies; and in 2006, a M.S. from Iowa State University in Urban Planning, Ceramics, and Religious Studies. Currently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gates has received awards from the Joyce Foundation and the Graham Foundation. He has performed and exhibited at the 2010 Whitney Biennial; the Milwaukee Art Museum; Brunno David Gallery and Pulitzer Museum of Art in St. Louis; the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston; Seattle Art Museum, WA; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI. Theaster Gates is represented by Kavi Gupta CHICAGO | BERLIN.
To reserve your seat, please call 215.561.8888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event is supported by the Fabric Workshop and Museum and, in part, by the following: a professional development grant to Art Sanctuary from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative; the Asian Arts Initiative; and Taller Puertorriqueño.
About The Fabric Workshop and Museum
The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is the only museum of its kind, offering internationally renowned artists the resources to create new work in experimental materials. Artists come from all media—including sculpture, installation, video, painting, ceramics, and architecture—and use FWM's facilities and technical expertise to create works of art that they could not create on their own. Research, construction, and fabrication occur on-site in studios that are open to the public, providing visitors with the opportunity to see works of art from conception to completion. FWM's permanent collections include not only complete works of art, but also material research, samples, prototypes, and photography and video of artists making and speaking about their work. Access to the creative process provides visitors with a point of entry into understanding challenging works of contemporary art. FWM offers an unparalleled experience to the most significant artists of our time, students, and the general public.
The programs of The Fabric Workshop and Museum are supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; LLWW Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Nimoy Foundation; Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; Edna W. Andrade Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation; The Philadelphia Cultural Fund; Institute of Museum and Library Services; AG Foundation; The Judith Rothschild Foundation; The Arcadia Foundation; Claneil Foundation; The Dedalus Foundation, Inc.; Independence Foundation; E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation; The Barra Foundation; LEF Foundation; Louis N. Cassett Foundation; Samuel S. Fels Fund; PNC Bank Foundation; The New York Community Trust; New Millennium Charitable Foundation; Uplands Family Foundation; Quaker Chemical Foundation; and the Board of Directors and members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.
About Art Sanctuary
Art Sanctuary, founded in North Philadelphia, uses the power of black art to transform individuals, unite groups of people, and enrich, and draw inspiration from the inner city. They invite established and aspiring artists to help create excellent lectures, performances, and educational programs.
About Asian Arts Initiative
The Asian Arts Initiative is a community-based arts center in Philadelphia that engages artists and everyday people to create art that explores the diverse experiences of Asian Americans, addresses our social context, and imagines and effects positive community change.
About Taller Puertorriqueño
Taller is committed to its mission of preserving, developing and promoting Puerto Rican artistic and cultural traditions, as well as to the quality representation of other Latin American cultures and our common roots.
For more information, please contact Michele Bregande, Assistant to the Directors, at email@example.com, or 215.561.8888.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Fiberarts magazine is going out of circulation. Summer 2011 issue will be the last published.
Erin M. Riley, Nudes 2 (detail), 2010; hand-dyed wool and nylon warp, handwoven tapestry; 24" x 24". Photo by the artist.
Statement issued on Facebook: Fiberarts magazine has been both an impactful magazine to the art community and a labor of love for us at Interweave. However, times change and the support for Fiberarts has not been strong enough over the past several years to keeping it in circulation. As a result, the Summer 2011 issue will be the last we publish. We at Interweave, thank all those who have contributed to Fiberarts in so many ways.
The magazine will be missed by the Fibers and Material Studies area, Erin M. Riley's, MFA 2009, work was featured in the Spring 2011 issue.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
“1.26“ by Janet Echelman Photo: Janet Echelman
“1.26“ by Janet Echelman Photo: Peter Vanderwarker
“1.26“ by Janet Echelman Photo: Peter Vanderwarker
About this talk
Janet Echelman found her true voice as an artist when her paints went missing -- which forced her to look to an unorthodox new art material. Now she makes billowing, flowing, building-sized sculpture with a surprisingly geeky edge. A transporting 10 minutes of pure creativity.
About Janet Echelman
American artist Janet Echelman reshapes urban airspace with monumental, fluidly moving sculpture that responds to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Video artist Marco Brambilla works on multiple dimensions, by Jori Finkel, Los Angeles Times May 21, 2011
Hundreds of film clips form a 3-D riff on the excesses of Hollywood and consumerism by video artist Marco Brambilla. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times / May 21, 2011)
Brambilla's multi-layered mosaics, going on view at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in 'The Dark Lining,' includes 3-D takes on cinematic and societal excesses.
VIDEO ARTIST MARCO BRAMBILLA KNOWS THAT SOME PEOPLE WILL SEE HIS DECISION TO GO 3-D AS A MARKETING GIMMICK. "IT IS MEANT TO GET ATTENTION," HE SAYS. "WHEN YOU WALK INTO THE GALLERY AND CHARACTERS START COMING OFF THE WALLS, IT FEELS OTHERWORLDLY."But he also sees the 3-D format as a natural fit for his recent work — which is all about the visual excesses of Hollywood moviemaking and the sped-up consumer culture that goes with it. Once a mainstream film director himself, best known for the 1993 action movie "Demolition Man," Brambilla is not afraid to use the tricks of the trade in his museum and gallery work. And he is now using 3-D technology to add another dimension to his hyperactive, super-saturated, collage-style video artworks made exclusively of film clips."My desire was to present the most epic human themes in a way as immediate and bombastic as possible, seeing them all through a pop culture lens," says Brambilla, 50, based in New York. "In my piece 'Civilization' it's the story of Dante's Inferno, the spiritual journey from hell to heaven. In 'Evolution' it's a narrative about conflict throughout the ages."
Both works will be on view at the Santa Monica Museum of Art starting Saturday as part of "The Dark Lining," Brambilla's first museum survey. It's the first public screening of "Evolution (Megaplex)," which debuted at a private party during Art Basel Miami Beach in December. It's also one of the first 3-D viewings of "Civilization (Megaplex)," the video introduced at Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica in 2008 that has since found a permanent home in an elevator at the Standard Hotel in New York.
These two works are clearly designed to be the pièce de résistance of the show, facing off in a large gallery at the back of the museum. They are blockbusters made of blockbusters, packed with apocalyptic imagery of floods, war, fire, and over-populated with characters such as Dirty Harry and King Kong integrated rather seamlessly within a single frame. But the show also includes a handful of earlier, 2-D videos that also reflects his fascination with spectacle.
"In a lot of his work Marco has walked a line very purposefully between celebration and critique," says Santa Monica Museum of Art curator Lisa Melandri, naming consumerism and popular culture as ongoing subjects. "You can come at it from a 'wow, this is gorgeous' angle or walk away thinking 'Oh my God, this is what we've become.'"
More entertaining than a lot of video art, this work is "not at all didactic," she adds. "The hope is that the beauty that sucks you in can lead you to be thoughtful about the content."
Born in Italy but raised from age 10 in Canada, Brambilla got his start making commercials while still in high school in Toronto. He worked his way up to more ambitious projects, landing a million-dollar job making a Canadian television spot for Pepsi. Then, at 29, he was hired to direct his first feature film, "Demolition Man," starring Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and Sandra Bullock. Its budget of $59 million was reported at the time to be the biggest ever given to a first-time director.
"It was very unusual for me to make an action film because I hadn't seen one before. My taste was more European — Fellini and Godard," says Brambilla. "I was a tourist in that industry." He says he was ultimately frustrated by the "formulas" he had to follow for an action movie.
But he enjoyed working with the latest technology and is proud of key images in the film: the beehive-style set he designed where the movie's prisoners were cryogenically frozen and the "virtual sex" scene between Bullock and Stallone, done with strobe lighting and freeze-frame images superimposed over the live action.
Drawn to this sort of image manipulation, he soon began focusing more time on experimental videos he was making on the side. (With this shift came more time in New York, and after splitting his time between the coasts, he finally sold his house in L.A. last year.)
An early art-world breakthrough was "Cyclorama," a multi-screen installation completed in 1999 that he initially financed with more commercial work. A video in the round, it simultaneously shows the sun rising from nine different revolving restaurants in cities across North America. Now in the collection of SFMOMA, it was not replicated for the Santa Monica show for space and logistic reasons, Melandri says.
She mentions "Half Life" from 2002, which is in the show, as another important, early piece. For this work, Brambilla documented teenagers in Garden Grove, Calif., as they played the multi-player shooter game Counter-Strike. The resulting work juxtaposes the violent activity taking place in the game with the teenagers' remarkably calm faces.
A later work, "Cathedral," from 2008, shows Brambilla developing what has arguably become his signature style, combining dozens of filmed images into a single frame. Even though this video draws from his own footage, shot at a soaring, glass-ceilinged mega-mall in Toronto during Christmas shopping season, the work has the dizzying, disorienting effect of a collage.
"Civilization" and "Evolution," made exclusively from other films, take that collage aesthetic to new heights. The artist worked with the Mill post-production studio in Santa Monica to achieve the 3-D effects, created in a software program called Flame.
Each piece, running roughly three minutes on a continuous loop, culls images from some 400 different films. In "Civilization" you can spot E.T. riding his bike in heaven and Arnold Schwarzenegger flexing from "Stay Hungry" (perhaps presciently, Brambilla places him in both heaven and hell). "Evolution" includes Raquel Welch in a cave in "One Million Years B.C.," Daniel Day Lewis in a canoe in "The Last of the Mohicans" and small armies of space-age characters from cult-favorite science-fiction movies.
Brambilla is often grouped with other video artists who sample film — like Christian Marclay and Candice Breitz, but his interests tend to be less narrative. He works with smaller samples, no longer than two seconds, which he says frees him from the legal copyright concerns that have plagued Breitz in particular in the past.
As Brambilla sees it, his work is more painterly: "It's like I'm making a video canvas where the brushstrokes are loops or samples taken from film."
Kanye West used a similar metaphor when Brambilla made a video for his hit single "Power" last year. The video featured West as an imposing god-like figure in a landscape inspired by Botticelli and Michelangelo, only he was surrounded by strippers instead of cherubs. West promoted the video in a tweet as a "moving painting."
The performance artist Marina Abramovic, who has followed Brambilla's work for years, has another analogy. "I see his work as a sort of tapestry, weaving together so much visual information," she says. "'Evolution' is only a few minutes long, but it has so many layers of meaning you can see it over and over again. Your sense of time is totally different — you never see enough."
Friday, June 3, 2011
Inge Jacobsen is an artist based in London whose current body of work incorporates the use of stitch and collage with found photographic advertisements. I recently had a chance to have an interview with Inge about her work and process. Her Degree Show opens tomorrow at Kingston University where she studied Fine Art Photography. Further images of her work can be found on her website(www.ingejacobsen.com) as well as on her blog(http://ingejacobsen-inge.blogspot.com). Many thanks Inge for speaking with me and congratulations on your show opening!
Can you please briefly describe your process in creating your current body of work?
I start by making the holes in the paper with a needle to prevent it from ripping while sewing. I then go about choosing the thread and then start sewing. There is no exact science to choosing the images, it has to appeal to me viusally and look achievable. I try and avoid anything with a lot of tiny details as these are very hard to recreate on an already small image like a magazine cover.
As a student of Fine Art Photography what was the deciding factor for your work to become so tactile and was your mode of working met with any resistance because of its non-traditional photographic approach within your course?
Luckily the course I was studying greatly encouraged the use of photography in non-traditional forms, although at times I did worry if what I was doing was appropriate for a photography course. But the course wasn’t about how good your technical skills were they were about how creatively you could use photography. We were often told that anyone can learn the technical aspects of photography but being conceptual and creative was much harder and that is what would set us apart from the thousands of other graduates. I was and still am exploring the photograph as an object, something to be looked at rather than through. I want to create images that aren’t there just to be looked at but also so be experienced physically.
How do you go about choosing the images that you work with? Are technical concerns deciding factors or is it strictly a conceptual/aesthetic decision?
This is not an exact science. The image has to appeal to me. I prefer magazines that have a nice clear image and layout, big bold writing but not too much of it and a simple image with minimal detail. This is because the final sewn image will be a simplified and pixelated version of the original. Anything fiddly on a small image can cause rips or look messy.
Do you consider yourself to be a feminist artist, either through material use or content?
I would, especially through the material used. It didn’t start off that way. It is primarily an exploration into the photographic object, but it is something that is important to the work and I’m certainly not ashamed of it. I have made a series of pornographic illustrations stitched over adverts from fashion magazines and those are comments about the objectification of women in fashion and porn. Why have naked models advertising women’s clothes in magazines primarily aimed at women? I’m not saying it is wrong; it is just that I personally don’t get it.
The images featured on your website and blog seem to go back and forth between totally concealing the figure represented beneath your stitching with embellishment which mirrors the image and stitching to completely obscure it by using blankets of colour. Are both processes functioning in the same way to you or is one celebratory and the other imposed censorship?
They both impose censorship to some degree; the blocks of colour are more obvious while the Vogue covers only censor minor details and mainly because of the process. I saw the John Baldessari retrospective exhibition in London in 2009 and found his series of images with blocks of colour covering the faces of his subjects clever, brilliant, and simple. The idea was to cover the faces of these irrelevant people who are there to try and sell products. Their face, hair and skin do not need to be seen, they are irrelevant so I covered them up.
The Vogue covers are like you mentioned, the stitch mirrors what is underneath, and are therefore more celebratory. I didn’t set out thinking ‘I love this magazine so much I want to celebrate it’, I began thinking about the mass-produced image and how to make it immune from this by turning it into a handmade and unique object.
Do you feel as though your work loses some aspect of value by being reproduced either through its on-line distribution or by being printed because it then reverts back to being a non-tactile image?
I will say that seeing the images online isn’t that same as viewing them in the flesh. You can’t experience the image as a whole without that tactile appearance that is lost through re-photographing and printing. In some ways that has been a good thing because images of them have ended up on various websites and blogs, but unlike a traditional photograph that will look the same as the original when printed, these are one of a kind so I don’t have to worry about loads of copies showing up all over the place.
I had explored the idea of re-photographing them as a means of completing the cycle of intervention by returning them to their original glossy state but I didn’t feel it was relevant in the end. The tactile surface already does this without it being glossy.
Do you see yourself continuing to incorporate craft into your practice in future projects or does the technique of stitching and embroidery only interest you because of the subject matter you are currently investigating?
At the moment I want to incorporate it into various subject matters and ideas, but that can change depending on if it is relevant to the concept and if I still enjoy it. Sewing is something I enjoy and it has been the most effective method of intervening into images that I have tried thus far. As long as it still interests me, I’ll keep doing it.
Below is a link to an article about a clock by designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen that knits a scarf a year. It is definitely worth checking out and contains more photographs as well as videos of the clock in action.