Make Things (Happen), News

Your Turn: Make Things (Happen) This Weekend

Pick up Make Things (Happen) activity sheets at Interface Gallery this weekend! The gallery is open from 11 to 4.

If you’re not in Oakland, you can download them at

Pavel Romaniko,  Do-It-Yourself Joseph Kosuth “One and Three Chairs” installation

Make your own seminal Conceptual artwork in miniature papercraft form with Pavel Romaniko’s Do-It-Yourself Joseph Kosuth “One and Three Chairs” installation.

Lauren Marie Taylor, Know and Believe

Lauren Marie Taylor, Know and Believe Make your own constellation and consider how you know what you know with Lauren Marie Taylor’s Know and Believe.

And check out what SF Weekly had to say!

Make Things (Happen) includes a great many more participating artists, which means a lot more choices for us. While some of the artists’ instructables can be executed solo, Yap is a great fan of the Venn diagram: Overlapping with others is the real payoff.

Tudor, Silke. “DIY Gallery.” SF Weekly. January 28.

Silke Tudor, DIY Gallery, SF Weekly.

Art & Development, Research

artists talking about their own art

My appreciation for artists who talk about their practices with enthusiasm and curiosity, and are able to articulate their references and ideas, only intensifies. Last Tuesday, I heard the Scottish artist, Dave Sherry, present his work at the Tuesday Talks series at the Whitworth Gallery. Before his lecture, I poked around Sherry’s web site a little. The performances seemed so inconsequential, and drawings and documentation so haphazard, I was skeptical. Is this just another (white) jokey Conceptualist skating by on a boy-genius aura?, I thought. Fortunately, Sherry gave a great talk, interspersing images of his own work with historical reference points that lent his slight gestures the credibility of an established lineage, which includes Ceal Floyer, David Hammons, Bruce Nauman and Martin Creed. Sherry’s talk was well organized and extensive. He also went above the call of duty and conducted a live performance. It was short (maybe 5 minutes?) but with its Beckett-influenced repetition and absurdity, it demonstrated Sherry’s physical mastery and endurance. Learn more about Sherry at his site. I’m especially partial to “Looking through Tom Cruise’s Eyes” (2005) (rollover the thumbnails).

I’m also really impressed with Joseph Kosuth’s Meet the Artists lecture at the Hirshhorn Museum (mp4). Many artists present their work with only rote descriptions (“This slide is of a project I did in 1988”). Descriptions are often necessary, but without a narrative to stitch it together, the lecture can become soulless and awful. Kosuth, on the other hand, presented his work way of an astute art history and theory paper. It’s dense and I’d recommend it — if you can devote an hour of your full attention.

So I’m really excited to check out Verissage.TV art television.

Art & Development, Values

Points of Reference

eclipse installation by Pavel Buchler
Pavel Büchler’ Eclipse at Max Wigram Gallery (London)
I love this simple but thoughtful installation.

Maureen Dowd recently remarked in the New York Times that Barack Obama’s election somehow signified that Americans are post-race. What a tremendously privileged point-of-view to take. Artist Kerry James Marshall doesn’t think we’re post-race, and neither do I. Cheers to SFMOMA for commissioning Marshall, and the two for pulling no punches.

I really appreciated Philip Tinari’s “OPENINGS: CHU YUN” in this month’s Artforum as well. It takes a lot of confidence — more than I’m naturally disposed of — to make works that are authentically minimal at the risk of seeming slight. As Tinari puts it, there’s

something subversive… about making works that were barely works.

Visit Chu Yun’s website. I really love the Constellation installation.

Paul Morrison’s exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery is pretty good. I enjoyed the giant 75′ wide b/w hard-edged mural, which combines source images from 19th-century-style engraving and 20th-century cartoons (I think I saw some Smurfs’ flowers?). I don’t think the shifts in scale is as dark or menacing as the curatorial statement suggests, however. And while I appreciate the white-on-white high-relief picture of dandelions, which is reminiscent of Van Gogh’s sunflowers, I also found the white-gold-and-black-acrylic-on-canvas paintings to slip too easily into collectible luxury items. As I learn more about gold and how, like diamonds, its mining and refinement is inseparable from issues of colonialism, inequality and environmentalism, I can’t see how Morrison justifies his use of gold leaf. Terry Gross’ interview with Brook Larmer on “The Real Price of Gold” is elucidating (Fresh Air, January 8, 2009).

Tomorrow, there’ll be a march on Washington against the use of coal. Writing from Manchester — a city spawned by the Industrial Revolution, whose skies were literally blackened by coal smoke, but has since embraced everything green — coal seems like such a 19th-century phenomenon, and it’s hard to imagine that it’s still a necessity today. Stranger still is how the myth of “clean coal” can persist in America today, despite a relatively educated populous.

Podcast of Joseph Kosuth’s Meet the Artist lecture at the Hirshhorn Museum. I’ve found this podcast series extremely inconsistent, with some poor audio quality of in-gallery recordings. But Kosuth excells in providing a smart, well-prepared lecture about his work and Conceptual Art. Cheers for artists talking with precision about art!

The work of two Mancunian conceptually-oriented object-makers:
Nick Crowe
Ian Rawlinson
and their work as a collaborative team