Works

Memory of an Artwork: Thomas Demand’s Rain/Regen

A stop-motion that reappears along a river of time.

Thomas Demand, Rain/Regen, (still), 2008. // Source: dhc-art.org.

Thomas Demand, Rain/Regen, (still), 2008. // Source: dhc-art.org.

Certain art-viewing experiences stay with you over time. When they’re pleasant, they can remind you of how meaningful the act of looking can be. Recalling a work of art—like reliving any memory—strengthens its salience. It could be that a series of vital art experiences will one day form a tally of the particular arcs of my life.

I’m in a reflective mood, having just finished William Finnegan’s memoir, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. It’s about a life shaped by a passion, and later, a passion shaped by life, including loss and aging. Along with reading a remembrance of Oliver Sacks, and a book by the late positive psychologist Chris Peterson, my thoughts keep returning to what makes a life worth living.*

One work that I’ve continued to think about is Thomas Demand’s** Rain/Regen (2008). I saw it in 2010 in The Dissolve, the moving-image focused iteration of SITE Santa Fe’s biennial. It was my first visit to SITE and Santa Fe, on my first cross-country drive. We were moving from California to New York. Marking this life change with a road trip was wise. Those two weeks stand out in high relief.

I remember stepping out of Santa Fe’s picturesque, sun-baked adobe environs into the cinematic black box of the ICA. Floating screens and scrims primed me for psychologically-loaded spaces. Teresa Hak Kyung Cha’s notion that video paralleled the cinema of the mind seemed present.

Essentially, Demand makes stop-motion animations using paper constructions that are ever-increasing feats of production value. Rain/Regen is just what it sounds like—it’s an animated image of raindrops falling in a thin, frame-filling puddle. The fact that it’s constructed by hand, frame by frame, is astonishing. In this case, the paper might be bits of thin, clear plastic torn and stretched by hand. But like rain, all you see are streaks and a momentary splash upon impact. It’s gone in a split second. It happens fast, before your eye can catch up to it. It’s startlingly reminiscent of the overall peripheral sensation of rain. The perceptiveness of perception itself seems yet even more impressive. I know crediting this work with technical wow-factor sounds hollow. But the simplicity of the shot, indeed, the everydayness of the concept, paired with the ambition of animating it, forms a curious nexus.

I was moved by many works in that show, but Rain has stuck with me. Even the physics of a seemingly trivial drop of water exceeds the abilities of the human eye. We grasp only its motion, implosion, and disappearance.

*It’s been oddly reassuring that mentions of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances keep popping up in books I’m reading: Ted Purves in Tom Finklepearl’s What We Made, Marshall Trammel in Greg Sholette’s Dark Matter, and a familiar image by Hank Willis Thomas in Jeff Chang’s Who We Be. It’s probably attributable to two truths: the inevitability that a cohort would become the archivists and subjects of our eras, and, though I didn’t know it at the time, I was in the right places at the right times.

**It’s safe to assume that mega-artists like Thomas Demand rely heavily on studio staff for producing artworks, so a more fitting attribution would actually be “Thomas Demand Studio.” Of course sole authorship flows more freely through the systems of capitalism and law, but it’s nice to imagine a day that we drop these pretenses.

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Not because it’s easy, but because it often isn’t:

Susan O'Malley, One Minute Smile (participatory performance documentation), 2013

Susan O’Malley, One Minute Smile (participatory performance documentation), 2013 // Source: SusanOMalley.com

It’s an invitation to us, really. To try to smile every day, even on the days when we least want to.

—Susan O’Malley
Community, Works

Susan O’Malley, One Minute Smile

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Lygia Clark, Óculos’, 1968 // Source: FT.com (From the World of Lygia Clark Cultural Association. Photo: Eduardo Clark)

Lygia Clark, Óculos’, 1968 // Source: FT.com (From the World of Lygia Clark Cultural Association. Photo: Eduardo Clark)

Works

Lygia Clark, Óculos, 1968

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Josiah McElheny, Interactions of the Abstract Body. Choreographed dancers activating mirrored triangular and circular artworks. With alumni from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance: Lorea Burge, Mathilde Lepage Bagatta and Sandro Piccirilli. Co-ordinated with Susan Sentler. // Source: whitechapelgallery.org.

Josiah McElheny, Interactions of the Abstract Body. Choreographed dancers activating mirrored triangular and circular artworks. With alumni from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance: Lorea Burge, Mathilde Lepage Bagatta and Sandro Piccirilli. Co-ordinated with Susan Sentler. // Source: whitechapelgallery.org.

Works

Josiah McElheny: Interactions of the Abstract Body

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Han­nah Jick­ling, Helen Reed and grade 6 students, Your Lupines or Your Life // Source: reheardregalement.com

Han­nah Jick­ling, Helen Reed and grade 6 students, Your Lupines or Your Life, floral bouquets as ‘Abject Awards,’ made from surplus furnerary arrangements // Source: reheardregalement.com

Works

Han­nah Jick­ling, Helen Reed, and grade 6 students, Your Lupines or Your Life

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I love the starkness of Silvio Lorusso’s take on Alfred Barr’s diagram of modern art, minus the text and color.

Silvio Lorusso, Blank Diagrams #2: Alfred H. Barr – Cubism and Abstract Art (1936). // Source: silviolorusso.com

Silvio Lorusso, Blank Diagrams #2: Alfred H. Barr – Cubism and Abstract Art (1936). // Source: silviolorusso.com

 

Research, Works

Barr Chart Sans Text

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Art & Development, Community, Works

My Imaginary Group Show

A few weeks back, I posted about an assignment for artists to describe their own dream group show.

I came up with one version of my own dream group show—it’s local, site-specific and combines numerous interests. I was so excited by all the projects and artists, the only way I could keep my presentation under the six-minute limit was to read out a script of only keywords, and that’s what I’ll include here. Enjoy! And consider coming up with one of your own—it’s a fantastic, liberating exercise.

1,000 Single Steps

For Jeremy Deller,

art isn’t about what you make
but what you make happen.

Inspiration.

Jeremy Deller, Ed Hall, (Banner Maker), Procession, 2009

Jeremy Deller, Ed Hall, (Banner Maker), Procession, 2009

Manchester Int’l Festival.
Manchester History.
Industrial Revolution.
Workshop of the World.
Birthplace of Socialism.
Textile Mills.
People’s History.
Tradition of Banner-making.
Participation.
Contemporary groups working with a banner maker.
Parade.
Absurdist.
Crown of french fries.

Even the emo teens.

Participants. Jeremy Deller, Ed Hall (Banner Maker), Procession, 2009

Participants. Jeremy Deller, Ed Hall (Banner Maker), Procession, 2009

Proposed Site: The Queens Way

Summer of public programming as grand opening.

Map of the Proposed Queens Way. // Source: TheQueensWay.org.

Map of the Proposed Queens Way. // Source: TheQueensWay.org.

• 3.5-mile portion of the abandoned Rockaway Rail Line
• community-led effort
• current status: feasibility studies

Present conditions of the Queens Way. // Source: TheQueensWay.org.

Present conditions of the Queens Way. // Source: TheQueensWay.org.

I am not a natural optimist.
Anxiety and rumination, humans’ natural states.
Exercise, surefire mood-elevation.
Importance of access to clean, green open space.
For Physical health.
For Psychological health.
A society where women can go for a run in their own neighborhoods without fear.
Improve quality of life for generations.

 

Artists and Projects

Susan O’Malley, Community Advice, 2012.

Susan O’Malley, Community Advice, 2012. // Source: susanomalley.org

Susan O’Malley, Community Advice, 2012. // Source: susanomalley.org

Susan O'Malley, Community Advice, 2012. // Source: susanomalley.org

Susan O’Malley, Community Advice, 2012. // Source: susanomalley.org

Classmate, friend.
Based in California.
Site-specific variation on project.
100 participants.
2 questions.
What advice would you give your 80-y-o self? 8?
Collaboration with printmaker.
Wood type posters
Posted in the community.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Transchromie Mécanique 1965, 1965

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Transchromie Mécanique 1965, 1965 // Source: cruz-diez.com

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Transchromie Mécanique 1965, 1965 // Source: cruz-diez.com

Immersive phenomenological optical installations.
Like Eliasson, but earlier.
Like Turrell, but happier.
Commission:
Shadows underneath elevated tracks.
Transformed to spaces of light and color.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Lunch Painting, 1965

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Lunch Painting, 1965 // Source: afasiaarq.blogspot.com

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Lunch Painting, 1965 // Source: afasiaarq.blogspot.com

Arte Povera.
Transition from gallery oriented art object to direct social engagement.
Seminal work.
Blue-chip artist.
Museum collections.
Do not touch.
Proposed exhibition copies as public sculptures.
Please touch.

Bob and Roberta Smith, The Art Party, 2011–ongoing

Bob and Roberta Smith, The ArtParty Conference, 2013 // Source: suegough.blogspot.com

Bob and Roberta Smith, The ArtParty Conference, 2013 // Source: suegough.blogspot.com

Artist mostly known for twee sign paintings on junk.
Recent years’ increasing activism.
Reaction to Tea Party.
Opposition to cuts in Art Education in UK.
Paintings, installations, videos, events.
Defense of accessibility of art education and therefore art.
Earnest.
Populist.
Art is not elitist.
Everything is made.

Agnes Denes, Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space—Map Projections, 1979

Agnes Denes, Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space—Map Projections, 1979 // Source:  students.concordiashanghai.org

Agnes Denes, Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space—Map Projections, 1979 // Source: students.concordiashanghai.org

Proposed billboards.
Artist mostly famous for wheat field in Lower Manhattan.
Beautiful drawings of world maps.
Cube, pyramid, donut.
Love diagrams.
Queens demographics.
Always changing.
Always diverse.

Michael Jones McKean, The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms, 2012

Michael Jones McKean, The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms, 2012 // Source: therainbow.org.

Michael Jones McKean, The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms, 2012 // Source: therainbow.org.

Bemis.
Artificial rainbow.
Water hoses.
Experiment.
Unpredictable results.
Depends on weather.
Ironic.
Makes it even better.

Fourth of July 2012: San Diego Pyrotechnic Accident

san diego 2012 fireworks display

San Diego 2012 fireworks display

Not art.
Curatorial influence of Jenns Hoffmann.
Contemporary art alongside historic art and artifacts.
Contextualizes art practice in wider cultural production.
7,000 fireworks in less than 60 seconds.
Holiday ruined?
Or expectations exceeded.
Grand Finale.

Addendum:

I also recently learned about this other spectacular fun-but-relatively-safe disaster, which I love for the same reasons as the fireworks display:

1986 Cleveland accidental 1.5 m balloon release. // Photo: Thom Sheridan // Source: Gizmodo

1986 Cleveland accidental 1.5 m balloon release. // Photo: Thom Sheridan // Source: Gizmodo

 

 

 

 

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Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson Paulsen. 100 Posterworks, 2009-2013; printed poster; 11 x 17 in. Courtesy of the Artists.  // Source: ArtPractical.com

Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson Paulsen. 100 Posterworks, 2009-2013; printed poster; 11 x 17 in. Courtesy of the Artists. // Source: ArtPractical.com

Works

Happiness is Subversive When It is Collective

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