Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I have always made art and I will always make art. I make art to express what I can't speak. I focus on the beautiful side of memories that normally take place in my childhood. I focus on the past while I stay in the moment.  I connect with Amy Franceschini who runs future farmers.

gentle, selfish, natural

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Benjamin Bjorklund, Nick Runge, William Kentridge
Kevin Wickham sculptural architect

Rena Lavety, Don Smith, Gavin Smith, a guy Dan told me about (I can't remember his name)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

I make art because it is something i enjoy and find appealing. it's also a way to express myself and interests without the use of words. In today's culture, especially with our generation, I think art applies the same way as it does like the artist. The artist contributes to society by allowing other people to express themselves through the artist's creativity.

Bill Brandt

Athlete, Strength, Body

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Assignment for Tuesday, 8/30

I'd like you all to read THE ECSTASY OF INFLUENCE, written by Jonathan Lethem, originally published by Harper's magazine in 2007. I thought it would be a good starting point as an exercise in putting your work in context– looking at works of art, and the creative process, in order to place them within a larger set of references. I think it finds a balance between "thoughtful" and "playful" – although of course, as with any of the reading for this class, if you find it wrong-headed, misguided, obtuse, or inelegant, feel free to argue with it and kick it around. 

Lethem, in this essay, is particularly looking at the way artists take in, and reconfigure, the work of artists who have preceded them. He makes an argument that art is necessarily a process of quotation, and that modern culture can't move forward without a healthy dose of re-mixing and re-purposing what has come before. He sees this as an essential part of postmodernism, but traces examples before postmodernism (at one point asking "what exactly is postmodernism, except modernism without the anxiety?").

As we move forward in this class , one thing I'll highlight is the importance of being vocal and articulate about our influences. And I'm partially using this essay as a springboard for you to talk about your own personal influences, and your history of quotation and transformation in your own practice.

THE ECSTASY OF INFLUENCE is mainly situated within the practice of literary criticism, though the principles are applicable to all disciplines, and Lethem touches on music, film and painting (the article can be tagged as genuinely "interdisciplinary" in that regard). Lethem himself is both an artist and critic – he has written both novels and critical essays, and we think he brings the useful perspective of being a “working artist” to his voice as a critic. Here he is working as a collage artist – as the end-notes to the article reveal, this essay on creative "plagiarism" is in fact assembled, cut-and-paste style, from other sources. So the work of criticism here is also a work of art.

Here are links to two differently-formatted version of the article – the first is a PDF version, with illustrations:

And here is a text version (with no illustrations), which might be useful if you want to copy and paste elements from it for the questions:

As a supplement to the essay, please look at the following short video. It's from the documentary RIP! A REMIX MANIFESTO, directed by Brett Gaylor. That film is a critique of current US copyright law, and in the section below it illustrates the conversation between Muddy Waters and Alan Lomax about the song "Country Blues," which Lethem also addresses in the essay. It's nice to actually hear their voices. And if anyone is interested, the entire film is available for free streaming online – you can just google the title.

For next class (Tuesday, 8/30), please write the answers to the following questions on the reading, and print the answers out (include your name at the top of the paper). We'll discuss the article in class.


Lethem writes (or quotes):

Most artists are brought to their vocation when their own nascent gifts are awakened by the work of a master. That is to say, most artists are converted to art by art itself. Finding one’s voice isn’t just an emptying and purifying oneself of the words of others but an adopting and embracing of filiations, communities, and discourses. Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced.

QUESTION 1. What art “converted” you to your art? What fragments or reverberations of that inspiration/dialogue show up in your work? Where was the "quotation" from, and how did you alter its meaning by putting it in a new context?

Again, from the essay:

We’re surrounded by signs; our imperative is to ignore none of them.

QUESTION 2. What is Lethem driving at here? What is he suggesting the artists' “imperative “ is? What "signs" do you particularly attend to? How do you interpret, translate or illuminate those signs?

From the essay:

Thinking clearly sometimes requires unbraiding our language. The word “copyright” may eventually seem as dubious in its embedded purposes as “family values,” “globalization,” and, sure, “intellectual property.” Copyright is a “right” in no absolute sense; it is a government-granted monopoly on the use of creative results. So let’s try calling it that — not a right but a monopoly on use, a “usemonopoly” — and then consider how the rapacious expansion of monopoly rights has always been counter to the public interest, no matter if it is Andrew Carnegie controlling the price of steel or Walt Disney managing the fate of his mouse.

QUESTION 3. What would a healthy public domain look like? What would happen if artistic achievement was seen as a “cultural achievement” and not an singular individual expression?

QUESTION  4. This loops back, to a degree, on the first question, but broadens it from the instance of a "work of art" to artists themselves - please write at least one short paragraph about an artist who has influenced you - talk about what attracted you to them, and how you’ve adopted some approach, insight, process, or outlook they’ve expressed, while putting your own “spin” on it.

Recent work

I make art because it is my passion and what drives me. It is something I know I want to do forever.
Annie Leibovitz, John Baldessari, Mark Grotjahn
My Recent Work

Timeless  Balance  Freedom

Most Influential Piece 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Welcome – Fall 2016 Class

By Monday's class, you will need to make a post to this blog (which you will be contributing to over the course of the semester, tracking your progress as you work toward MAPR or your BFA show). You need to have at least one post on the blog, answering the following three questions:

1. Why do you make art?

2. What is the function or role of an artist in today's culture? (This is your personal take on this, it doesn't have to be an "objective" or comprehensive analysis)

3. Who are three working artists you can think of, who you might contact to interview about their professional lives? You will only be contacting one, but I want you to have a couple fallback options if your first couple choices end up being unavailable.

ALSO: PLEASE ASSEMBLE A POWERPOINT OR A FOLDER OF IMAGES OF YOUR RECENT WORK. We'll begin giving presentations of our current work, and floating ideas about your coming exhibitions, starting next class. Have at least three words that give you a container for thinking about/talking about your work – the don't have to be "fancy" words, they could be like some of the words Murgida uses, below – PRESSURE – MANIPULATION – SAFETY. Also, have at least one example of an artist who has influenced you, with an example of their work that you can show.

Here is a video we'll watch today:

We may also listen to this interview with Maurice Sendak:

Transcript here:

If you'd like a copy of the syllabus, you can find it here:

FNAR 380:

FNAR 482:

And if you'd like a digital copy of today's handout, "Ways of Being a Working Artist," you can download it here: