Sunday, January 27, 2013

Emoji Art History: The Not So Serious Side Project (Part 1)

It began during finals week at the end of last semester while lying in bed unable to sleep. Deliriously I began recreating works of art with the Emoji app on my iPhone and posted 18 of the results on Instagram. I stopped for a month but kept thinking of new ones. Five weeks later with the new Postcard Collective Winter submission deadline looming, I revisited it. I settled on a form, deciding that I would simulate texting the artist at the top and include only the title of the artwork below. There are many limitations of Emoji - unfortunately there are not enough icons to create some of my favorite artworks (I am still wishing I could do more with Duchamp). Here are 28 in no particular order with a list of 15 others to attempt (coming soon).

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: David Hockney

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Walter De Maria

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Yves Klein (with a little help from a friend)

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Wayne Thiebaud

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Vincent van Gogh

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Sol LeWitt

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Sherrie Levine

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Roy Lichtenstein

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Robert Smithson

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Maurizio Cattelan

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Mark Di Suvero

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Marcel Duchamp

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: John Baldessari

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Jeff Koons

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Janine Antoni

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Henri Rousseau

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Grant Wood

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Georgia O'Keeffe

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Frida Kahlo

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Eleanor Antin

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Ed Ruscha

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Damien Hirst

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Christian Marclay (made while staring at Marclay during an artists' conversation at the Wexner Art Center last night)

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Andy Warhol

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Edvard Munch

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Maya Lin

Jacinda Russell, Emoji Art History: Tom Friedman

One of my favorite parts was pretending for a few brief minutes that I did indeed have all these artists as contacts in my phone.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Clock: Prepping for the Art Pilgrimage

I am rereading Zadie Smith's "Killing Orson Wells at Midnight" before this weekend's jaunt to Columbus. I will do everything I possibly can to see it at 12 AM: green tea, snacks, etc.

An excerpt from the above article: "Naturally everyone wants to see midnight. “Why does it always happen at midnight?” asks a young man by a fireplace, underneath a carriage clock. “Because it does!” replies his friend. In the run-up, only Juliette Binoche in France is able to remain calm: quietly, foxily, ironing a bag of laundry, while wearing a bra-less T-shirt. In America everyone’s going crazy. Both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford start building to climaxes of divadom early, at around a quarter to the hour. Jaws going, eyeballs rolling. At ten to midnight Farley Granger looks utterly haunted, though I suppose he always looked that way. At three minutes to midnight people start demanding stays of execution: “I want to speak to the governor!” And the violins start, those rising violins, slashing at their strings, playing on our midnight angst."

Columbus, here we come (almost)!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Favorite Artworks: Vito Acconci's "Estimation" 1970

Vito Acconci, Estimation, 1970
Choose a distant point: photograph it: estimate steps required to reach it.

I saw this piece at an exhibition of photographs from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in 2002. At first I laughed but I was instantly reminded that I do similar activities (but neglect to make art about them). In any case, this photographic grid serves as a marker for not overlooking the mundane (art about walking); not being afraid to show obsessive counting tendencies (and providing visual proof); and owning up to the fact that text will always play an important role in my art (though Acconci's writing is far neater).

I often wondered if the actual steps meant touching the tree. I like to imagine Acconci interacting with it - like shaking hands with a stranger. It's good to set rules for oneself in making a work of art, however, it's equally important to break them. Acconci's grid makes me want to step outside and break some rules, however, I better wait until the wind chill factor is above -10º F.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Constructing James Castle" at the Urban Arts Space

I visited Constructing James Castle at the Urban Arts Space in Columbus today as per Cat Lynch's suggestion. This is the largest show of his work that I have ever seen despite many opportunities in the past. Some observations: 1) His art does not scream Idaho; 2) I am not that interested in the drawings unless they are depicted on atypical paper with strings hanging from them or scraps with other information appearing through the soot; 3) his use of materials to create 3-D objects - ranging from crude books and paper dolls, rope, cardboard, advertisements - were striking. 4) I always knew he was deaf but seeing the references to text and language in his drawings broadened that connection.

This is what a photograph taken of a James Castle constructed object looks like with no distractions in the background and good composition (image via). 

This is what a photograph of the same constructed object looks like while quickly taking a photo in the 5.9 seconds of hiding behind a column before an intimidating security guard drilling holes into my back noticed. For the record, there were no posted signs stating that photographing the exhibition was not allowed.

Overall, I was glad to see the exhibition and visit a new space - one to keep an eye on in the future.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

"Now Here is Also Nowhere Part 1"

From the Henry Art Gallery website: "Now Here is also Nowhere is a two-part meditation and non-linear account of how—in making artworks about ideas and intangible concepts— artists continually question and destabilize the nature of the art object."

I haven't laughed out loud repeatedly in a gallery in a long time. It's quite refreshing when it does happen. I encountered Pierre Bismuth's work before on i like this art but this was the first piece I viewed in person: Following the Right Hand of Sigmund Freud, 2009. It is a one and half minute loop shot on 16 mm film featuring a laser pointer.

Tom Friedman always captures my interest and Open Black Box suspended from the ceiling continues his use of voids and drawing the audience's attention to areas of the gallery not normally used.

Stefan Brüggemann's This Work Should Be Turned Off When I Die made me question how the gallery attendants and preparators feel each time they unplug the neon sculpture at the end of the day or pack it for exhibition. I loved the temporary quality of it and wonder if there are instructions for the work upon the artist's death.

I was also fond of Ján Mančuška's While I walked... in my studio in ISCP, 323 W. 39th Street, #811, New York, 2003. The story wrapped around the room and one had to duck underneath it without touching it to finish reading. The materials were a textile rubber band with white silk screened text but it was reminiscent of old typewriter ribbon.

Hans Peter Feldmann's Lovers is another work devoted to absence - there was also a Felix Gonzalez Torres installation of white candies on display. I enjoyed the presentation of this found image with the wood grain activating the cavities where faces once were.

My favorite work in the exhibition was Francis Alÿs's Watercolor, 2010. It is an inspiration for contemplating what to do with my clear water samples. The video comprises collecting water, traveling with water, unceremoniously dumping water, and the interplay between the color of the water and the name of the location. It reminded me of taking a rock from each earthwork visited in 2009, bringing it to the next location and throwing it into the artwork. My actions remain open as the rock from Amarillo Ramp has yet to be deposited into Spiral Jetty. Alÿs closes the loop however in under two minutes.

I wish I was able to see Part 2 but the coming months will be filled with pilgrimages to the Wexner to see Christian Marclay's The Clock, Chicago for the Society for Photographic Education's 50th anniversary conference, and Photolucida in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Philip Johnson's Glass House - New Canaan, CT

I never thought about visiting Philip Johnson's Glass House until I saw Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. I deem the latter one of the most well known Modernist residences in the United States. This one instantly came to mind as the second most famous (at least in my limited history of 20th century architecture). I had the opportunity to visit it in October and here are some highlights.

I learned so much about Johnson and found that he was quite endearing. He regularly patted the exterior of one area of the visitor's center near the entrance door every morning as if it was his "baby."

Camden Hardy's concrete block visits the Glass House. More on this rock soon, I hereby promise.

View of Phillip Johnson's bed from the interior. Johnson always said he had the world's most expensive wallpaper.

View of his bed from the exterior (not for the night owls as that sun rises way too early). Fans of his architecture would walk right up to the house and knock on the front door. Some even saw him taking a nap here in the middle of the day. Talk about artist stalking...

The kitchen sink (because i had to).

The very small shower in an equally tiny bathroom.

The mildew encrusted beams in the Sculpture Building with a reflection of a George Segal artwork on the ceiling).

A fragment of a large Micheal Heizer sculpture with a white wall in the background (Sculpture Building).

The conical shaped swimming pool (what an unfortunate idea as it limits the space to swim yet oh so inviting despite the fall leaves and cool weather).

Andy Warhol's portrait of Phillip Johnson in the gallery. The walls rotate which facilitates the storage of other paintings. Apparently carpeted gallery walls is not only a Midwest phenomenon. Alas.

Johnson's rolodexes in the visitor's center in New Canaan opened to Robert Rauschenberg (numbers for his warehouse, NYC home and Captiva Island residence) and contacts at MOMA.

I walked away thinking that it would be impossible to collect things if one lived in this house as the storage space was so limited. One would have to construct another space and what do you know? Johnson did. It was surprising how many out buildings there were on the property (visitor's center, greenhouses, guest house, gallery and sculpture building). All but the guest house were available to visit. Also enlightening was how musty everything smelled and how visible mildew was in certain areas. Surely this cannot be a good thing.

Overall, I am so glad I was able to visit. Now I need to break out the 20th century art history book and see what other architecturally famous residences I need to see in the not so distant future (aside from Hearst's Castle).

Clear Water Sample: Montauk, NY

Editing photographs from three months ago...

A very cloudy day a few days before Hurricane Sandy. I need another Atlantic Ocean sample as this one is far from perfect. I am not fond of the lack of contrast and saturation though I do like the sand in the bottom of the glass and the slight green tint also visible in the waves.