Final Project by Cornelius

If one is searching to learn about contemporary art, they will rightly find themselves in New York City to experience it first hand. A thorough exploration of New York’s art scene today is required to just scratch the surface of the art historical significance of the city. This includes visiting museums such as the MoMA, the Whitney, the Guggenheim, and the New Museum as well as exploring various galleries in Chelsea and the Lower East Side. This  prevalent and intimate access to the arts is what makes New York the center of the contemporary art world. However, this museum and gallery art world is not the only thriving art world, and although it often goes unnoticed in the shadow of prestigious white wall exhibition spaces, graffiti and street art is everywhere in New York City.       

On the bustling walks from gallery to gallery, one might be so concentrated on which artist they will be seeing next that they neglect to see all of the art around them. Look to the left--a completely sticker-bombed street light. Look to the right--a throwie on the side of a building that only could have got there by some graffiti artist’s deathly, dangling maneuver. Were these public exhibitions curated by a highly educated art expert? Absolutely not..but are they still art? Absolutely. So why is it so easy for viewers not directly linked to the niche culture to walk by unengaged on their way to the Guggenheim? It could be simply because it is an nontraditional and sketchy medium that often carries a dark connotation due to its illegality. Or it could just be so ingrained in the environment that it sits unilluminated in peripheral vision.

In graffiti and street art culture, there lies a sort of “us and them” vibe in conversation with the gallery space. On top of that, there is an even harsher divide between writers who write and writers who become artists--also known as “selling out”. Graffiti and street art culture have begun to bleed into the gallery world, bringing a little grit to the sterile white walls. The lines of two worlds are being blurred in real time and it is a tad confusing. Can a piece made in the style of graffiti be still considered graffiti? Many graffiti writers would say no, but some galleries would say yes based on the flow of the art market in recent times.

This mixed new media animation attempts to draw attention to this divide between the graffiti/street art culture and gallery culture. Their interpretations of “art” tend to conflict at some times, and at other times, they work symbiotically, thriving in their own ways separately due to their differences and subcultures. The imagery within the animation is meant to be confusing at times to mimic the conflict between the two art worlds--but it is important to note that there is no intended suggestion of a superior art world. The presented cross-culture mingling in the piece suggests the blurring of the lines towards integration but there remains imagery suggesting the hesitation on both sides to meld.

I was inspired to make this piece after viewing a few animations being shown in museums "Tales of Our Time" in the Guggenheim and "Imitation of Life" at the new Whitney) . This is not a typical medium you will find in traditional art, so it further speaks to the evolution of the mainstream art world. Throughout the semester, we began to experience new nontraditional forms of art that fall into the realm on "new media". It is interesting to see how exhibitions like "Dreamlands" are becoming more prevalent in the contemporary art lexicon. In previous years, people didn't know how to experience new media art works, making it harder to access in comparison to a painting or a sculpture. I think that graffiti and street art is experiencing a similar conflict, so to me, it proved interesting to blend the two worlds (graffiti / street art and new media) to draw a parallel.  

Additionally, it peaked my interest to create scenes bringing attention to the graffiti/street art subcultures due to the structure of the NY Semester on Contemporary Art. I absolutely loved the course and it has introduced  me to many of the artists that I now draw inspiration from, I just happened to notice a bit of a disconnect that stood out solely because of my participation in the street art culture. After a conversation with Katie, I realized that the course was just as much about walking through the city and experiencing all of the aspects of what the streets have to offer as it was about visiting galleries, museums, and studios. This really made me consider everything around me. Our destination was often-times a museum or a gallery, all of the sticker art, throwies, street installations, wheat-pastes, and stencils fell to the wayside in pursuit of “real” contemporary art. This also has a lot to do with the fact that it is so hard to cover every type of art in the time constraint of one semester.

Now, it is important to get into the symbolism within my piece. Scattered throughout the piece are scenes depicting a walk through Manhattan. This imagery does not directly allude to art specific to the captures streets, but it represents the journey we took walking from gallery to gallery in the NY semester course and how this time of walking felt like a gallery in it self with all of the street art and graffiti around me; the journey representing the gallery between the galleries. Another important bit of imagery to consider are the scenes in which graffiti mingles in the gallery world and "fine art" mingles in the street. The Matisse being hung on a street wall and a street art piece being sprayed onto a canvas in a gallery playfully highlights the tension between the two worlds having different opinions on what it art worth making/viewing. On top of the narrative imagery was a layer of static in which brought a sense of blurryness to the piece. Its function was to serve as a cloud of uncertain and undefined energy that both graffiti/street art and new media face. It creates a blur between the art worlds not as heavily represented in the contemporary art scene and represents a feeling of anxiety as well as it represents a feeling of crossover as boundaries between the art worlds merge.

My takeaway message (as corny as it may sound) to all of those who participated in the course is: look around you while you walk from the subway to the Met, there is literally art everywhere and you might just see an artist’s work that might make its way into the museum’s collection. It wouldn't be the craziest thing in the world considering the direction new media is taking in the contemporary art world!

Chelsea Galleries & Robert Blackburn Printmaking by Cornelius

On Friday, December 2nd, we had our very last visit into New York City for the Contemporary Art Semester. I have to say that I am pretty bummed that it is over and I wish I was able to do the version of the course where I go into the city two times a week but overall, I am extremely happy with my experience.  We ended our semester strolling in and out of various Chelsea galleries and then visisting the Robert Blackburn printmaking workshop.

I do have to say that most of the galleries we visited were filled with great art but personally did not really appeal to me that much, that is, until we went to see Paul McCarthy's show at Hauser & Wirth entitled "Raw Spinoffs Continuations". As soon as I entered the gallery space, my face lit up. I think it was initially an instinctual reaction to a familiar group of characters from my childhood. However, as I started to comprehend what was in front of me, the smile stuck to my face because of the embedded sexual humor in McCarthy's work. Nothing makes me laugh more then sexual connotations in ridiculous contexts. Deconstructing the dwarves from Snow White in a visually gory manner coupled with the placement of various molded dildos throughout the sculptures brought a strange juxtaposition to the innocence of the childhood movie that manifested as a form of dark and perverse humor. When the familiar is made strange, new images flow through your mind in ways you didn't previously know to be possible--thats what I really enjoy about McCarthy's work and it serves a great deal of inspiration to my personal creative process. 

After popping in and out of various galleries, we got to experience first hand the art of print making at Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop. I have taken three printmaking classes at Drew University so this was a familiar environment for me, but I know that for other in my class, being in a printmaking studio was a new experience. Printmaking gets a pretty bad wrap because people don't know the amount of work and history that goes into hand-making prints. The typical assumption is that prints are cheaper versions of originals and they are just laser printed off from a computer printer. I was glad to see my classmates faces as they learned all that goes into a an addition of prints because it does the art world a greater good for people to know more about the difference between printing off a computer printer and hand-printing onto hand-made paper. Aside from illuminating everyone's view on the art form, our host showed us some AMAZING works of art that they had in the workshop archives. It takes a lot to be a master printer (obviously) and it was crazy to see how perfect the prints were--essentially flawless. I know first hand how impossible it feels to get a print to come out the way you want it because there are countless situations that could go wrong and screw up hours and hours of work. This visit made me realize how much of a noooooby printmaker I am! 

 Robert Blackburn

Robert Blackburn

Whitney: Dreamlands & Jenny Perlin by Cornelius

On Friday, November 18th we journeyed back to the Whitney to see the "new media" exhibition entitled Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905-2016 and later had a studio visit with one of the artists included in the exhibition, Jenny Perlin. I have to point out right now that this was by far my favorite visit to the city all semester--it inspired me to think outside of traditional means of art when considering my own work.

Wow. I walked into Dreamlands not knowing what to expect but after I took a few passes through the space, I could not wipe the smile off of my face. It was incredible. My favorite type of art is the kind where I can feel like I'm a part of it and lose myself--this whole exhibition successfully brought me to other worlds. It is hard to pick favorites but I think I can safely say that two works of art in particular left me in complete and total awe: Mathias Poledna’s Imitation of Life and Anthony McCall's Line Describing a Cone.

Poledna worked closely with disney animators to recreate the traditional medium of animation. This required over 5000 hand-drawn and painted cells and backgrounds. This is such an incredible project to take on in the age of technology we are in now considering how much easier it would have been to make this digitally. However, it is this mechanically tedious process that brings such life to the animation and puts the work into a different context in the world of art. Stripping away the excess in animation brings us to McCall's hypnotic piece. I walked into the room before the film began rolling; it was completely dark and I wasn't exactly sure if I was even allowed to be in there. I found a spot on the wall after slowly inching my way through with my arms out in front of me incase I ran into something. The projection started and I found my spot in the space. I felt as if I was in a sensory depravation chamber (well, besides vision and the sound of the film reel) staring at the line slowly draw a circle onto the black wall and creating a cone of light. Because there were no outside visual distractions I felt completely hypnotized by this light and lost track of time. I have never before felt so engaged in a work of art before--it reminded me of how Lee told us to think of minimalist works of art as if it was music without lyrics focusing on how it makes you feel.     

  After leaving the Whitney filled to the brim with inspiration for my own work, we got to see the behind the scenes of Jenny Perlin's work at her new studio. She was very enthusiastic about meeting with us and it made me much more comfortable asking her some questions and pointing out some observations I saw. I asked her what her very first animation was (if she could remember it), and I was expecting her to just say a little flip-book. I was shocked to hear how innovative her 3rd grade art teacher was with teaching traditional cell style animation. It was cool to hear her go back in time with her while she thought about her cloud and rainbow animation because you could tell that it brought back fond memories. She also mentioned that since that art class, she hasn't really changed with the work she was producing in terms of medium. This was very interesting to hear because it shows how much of the past is poured into her recent art. After viewing her new silent film I found it funny that her work is being made with vintage methods (film) and how it looks ancient basically but there were little confusing hints of the present embedded in it--such as hyperlinks. She said she was glad that I noticed this because she too finds a bit of humor in that relationship between the old and new creating a strange moment of confusion.

Guggenheim & Neue Museum by Cornelius

On Friday, November 11th I entered the Guggenheim for the first time and walked the spiral showing of Agnes Martin's work. We also took a visual trip to Germany while stepping through the doors at the Neue Galerie. The art being shown in both of these spaces greatly contrasted each other--the detailed and representational work of Klimt and the minimalist, yet intricate, work of Martin separated by style but linked by greatness.

Prior to entering the exhibition at the Guggenheim, Professor Arnold set us up with a little disclaimer in hopes that we enter the spiral showing with an open mind to minimalism. He said that, to get the most out of Agnes Martin's work, it would be best to experience it in the same way that you would experience listening to instrumental music. This way, we can focus more on how the work makes us feel rather than expecting some grand narrative. To be honest, I had a bit of distaste for minimalist artwork until Lee made this connection and planted this in my head. I gained a new respect for minimalist artwork like Agnes Martin's. Although I prefer more narrative based work, I focused on how her paintings made me feel and I actually could relate to her work in some ways. First of all, her work made me feel anxious just thinking about how tedious and meticulous he large scale paintings were. I stood in front of her art just wondering how she had the drive to create such intricate gridded structures and I was able to relate it directly, on an emotional level, to the stippling work I have been doing on and off for a few years now. One of my favorite things about her paintings is that from a distance, they essentially just look like white canvases but as you get closer, you begin to see the attention to line and tone.

As I mentioned before, I prefer narrative despite my newfound respect for minimalism. This is why I was more drawn to the side exhibition entitled Tales of Our Time. There were room sized illustrations surrounding a projection of an animated film, films of real world interactions, a giant robotic squidgy, and various other new media pieces. It was truly inspiring to see all of this work inside of a museum because it wasn't what many people would consider to be traditional medium for art. In fact, it was the deciding factor in influencing me to create an animation for my final semester project--although the content is quite unrelated to my style of art. The entire side exhibition made me realize that new media is up-and-coming and I should not be afraid to branch out of traditional means of art to cover a wide range of mediums.

Following our visit to the Guggenheim, we found ourselves smack-dab in the center of Gustav Klimt's masterpieces at the Neue Galerie. There were many other German artists being shown, but it was at times hard to see past the great Klimt works. I think the reason for this was the fact that his work stood out in my mind after learning about him in the Early 20th Century Art history course I took last year. Seeing his portraits in a textbook is one thing, but being able to stand inches from them to soak in then incredible textures is a breathtaking experience. Although there is quite the aesthetic distance between Agnes Martin and Gustav Klimt, I find it easy recognize the attention to pattern both artists have in the realm of gridded textures (as you can see in Klimt's painting The Woman in Gold. It is interesting to draw similarities is such different works.

 

Linda Weintraub & Postmasters Gallery by Cornelius

On Friday, November 4th we stepped outside of the traditional art realm into a more experiential and experimental art world. The day began with a workshop with Eco-artist, Linda Weintraub, and ended with the owner of Postmaster’s Gallery, Magdalena Sawon.

Linda Weintraub prefaced our entry into the “Fire and Ice” workshop she prepared for us with an open invitation to strip down as much as we were comfortable with. I have to admit that once she said that, I had no idea what to expect--I took off my shoes and sweatshirt. The space we walked into was very open, but on the floor laid various patches of unearthed moss and rock infused blocks of ice. We were handed a candle and were asked to sit among the moss and ice, feel it, and later discuss how society has pushed nature aside to make room for safety and sanitation. At this point, the article she asked us to read before coming into the city that day--the one describing ecological art--was starting to ground itself in my mind. Linda was fostering an environment for us to consider and reintroduce ourselves to nature. This felt so strange to me...but that was exactly the point; I was able to immediately realize how much distance I put between myself and the ecosystems I pass through and shield myself from daily.

 Photo: http://opositivefestival.org/

Photo: http://opositivefestival.org/


As a group, we participated in various experiences that highlighted the unique relationship our bodies share with the environment around us. In this fast paced world, we seldom stop to even think about the energy from our body transferring a concentrated area of heat to an ice cube sitting in our hand. I know my first instinct is usually, “Ah that’s cold, get that off of me!” However, being urged to concentrate on that power, as if I was conversing with the ice cube (or matchstick), opened my eyes to begin to understand just why Linda was so passionate about this medium of art.

After experiencing first-hand, the deep relationship between humans and the natural world, we found ourselves in the company of the Queen of New Media herself, Magdalena Sawon of Postmasters Gallery. The greatest thing about this gallery is that they do not prefer any specific type of artwork, medium-wise or contentent-wise, they simply want to show new and exciting artists. This puts Postmasters in a very unique position in which art reigns supreme over commercial success; this results in a gallery that truly cares about delving into uncharted waters in pursuit of unearthing amazingly interesting art. With that said, the works being shown while we were there proved to be no exception to this. The first room we stepped into was filled with large photographs depicting urge to experience male bonding from the perspective of someone who was born in a female body and is transitioning. The second room showed a new media exhibition which included a musical video of a robotic/emotionless real-estate woman showcasing the perfect luxury apartment. Both shows were very interesting in their own right and to my knowledge were completely unique--solidifying in my mind that Postmasters strives for NEW art...not just what's popular in the market.  

I signed up to ask Magdalena a few questions and I was very pleased with her responses. She took the time to thoroughly explain everything that was on her mind regarding the topic. I asked her what the most difficult thing was about dealing with new media pieces and she hit on the art market as well as the difficulties that arise while displaying the nontraditional works of art. It was great to hear the enthusiasm in her voice while speaking with us, It gave me hope in galleries where previously I considered them to be very snooty and not transparent. Postmasters is clearly a pioneer in the art world--in fact, when I asked her about the times she had moved and if other galleries follower, she affirmed that they were the first to move to Tribeca, and others followed in suit. I only wish I was able ask her a few more questions, but the sentiment of my classmates was a tad embarrassing. People began to show obvious signs of fatigue. They stopped paying attention, sat on the floor, and only focused on the dog. I just wanted to get out of there before it got worse and we risked seriously offending her.    

Contemporary Art Review Analysis by Cornelius

On October 11th, author John Sherman wrote an essay on Hyperallergic.com in response to the #DaddyWillSaveUs art show in New York City held on October 8th . The essay is entitled, “The Sordid Irony of a Pro-Trump Art Show”— the starting point for a steadfast declaration against the show and its affiliates. The organizer of this group exhibition, Lucien Wintrich, considers the exhibition to have been the very first conservative art show (of significance) in New York City. Divisive stances have taken root this presidential election season and heated debate continues to rage between a crookedly evil Hillary and a big old steamy dump of a Trump. #DaddyWillSaveUs, in particular, highlights the rightward supporters; this review, in particular, highlights the left’s distain for the creepy-crawly right-dwellers that have surfaced within a very unlikely location called, “the art world”.

Sherman begins by establishing the necessary background information— this gathering was initially denied business from the first art space Wintrich approached on the account of the owner being uncomfortable with the conservative beliefs accompanied by this art show. In the grand scheme of things, this was exactly what the organizer, and the participants, wanted to happen. It brought attention to what they were doing. After describing the sort of art that was shown at #DaddyWillSaveUs (like a Tylenol pill in a shadowbox, autographed by Martin Shkreli selling for $20,000, a foreign-born gay man bathing in pigs' blood, and even MLK Jr. wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat), Sherman equates the show to the House of German Art. This show paid homage to Hitler and all that the Nazi party deemed appropriate for Germans. What would an article about Trump be without the classic Hitler reference? He writes, “it is difficult to allow hate to announce itself in public view, particularly when there seems to be enough already baked into our societal systems not to need any on the side.”

I agree that the art was tasteless and uninteresting from a technical standpoint. I agree that it was childish to hold this art show in the first place—its intent was not to do anything but to highlight the faults of the left and continue this notion that they are against free speech and are sensitive little babies that only speak up to “virtue signal”.  I disagree with the author of this review solely for one reason—he misses that this show was fucking hilarious. He, just like the many other sites who covered this show, fell into an unbelievably obvious trap. The intended audience was not the conservatives that blindly worship what these Internet idols have to say about social and political issues. The intended audience was those who would be so greatly offended by the idea of a right leaning art show in the first place—especially in the stinky wake trump has stirred up in America.  There is nothing funnier to these conservative “artists” than the opportunity to point out how ridiculously emotional people with opposite opinions get. This is trolling 101, and because participants such a Milo Giannopoulos and Gavin McInnes, are so versed in internet culture, they know exactly how to do it. In fact, Lucien Wintrich actually posted a video on YouTube asking for crowd funding to encourage participation in “troll[ing] the art world”. 

What is interesting is the fact that this was an art show, granted in an overwhelmingly liberal art world. The amount of protest and backlash received was literally the art piece from my prospective. The works within the show were sub-par. They were a joke. But it seems clear that they were supposed to be. Trolls work in mysterious ways… and if you do not know the true culture of the Internet, you might not even notice you are being trolled—the reaction always stokes the fire. And yes, this show was born from the Internet. Milo and Gavin are professional provocateurs…they make a ton of money off the Internet inciting the most vocal on the left to clash with the extreme folks on the right. From a troll’s perspective: “what better group to troll than the liberal media in the context of the emotional and sensitive art world?” #DaddyWillSaveUs had to be over the top, it had to be ridiculous, it had to play on the heart-strings and the emotions of the very people who hate Trump, otherwise it would be a complete and total failure.

The pieces within the show were not the focus—they were simply part of the process in which enticed those to write, speak, and protest about it. For the reason that it is going against the status quo of social sentiment within the media today, it was successful in getting a rise out of the art world. Childish or not, they got what the wanted…and this review by John Sherman was music to their ears.

 

Art News & The New Museum by Cornelius

On Friday, October 28th we had the opportunity to get the inside scoop on how an art magazine operates--it was a lot different than I expected prior. We also go to see the exhibitions in the New Museum, and that experience was indeed out of this world.

Although we went in to meet with a representative for Art News, we ended up getting a two-for-one deal because a representative from Art In America also spoke with us; both of their names were Katie. Going into this meeting, I was expecting that magazines were created via the collaboration of dozens of individuals piecing together the layouts, content, images, writing, and such...but it turns out, both Katies basically entirely create their respective magazine's issue each time. This was incredible to learn because a lot of work goes into creating a new issue of a magazine and to be almost solely responsible for it seems a little daunting. When it came time to ask questions about their process, I asked about what software they use to facilitate the transition from concept to finalized design. They answered with various adobe programs--all of the ones I have experience using. I am now considering working for a magazine! I think it is so cool how both Katies can go to work everyday and put to use their creativity and time management in the context of an art world that they love to be a part of.

Upon entry to the New Museum, I went to the first floor where I was met by a nest of beds strewn throughout the showing space. Above those beds filled with viewers (some who even appeared to have fallen asleep) were two large projections spanning most of the ceiling in blob-like forms. The artist, Pipilotti Rist, was inviting the viewer to interact with the work...to be a part of it. The installation was filled with a combination of nature noises that mimics a sort of white noise machine and the images that glided across the screen were very organic and intimate. I personally did not lay down on one of the beds because to me, I could imagine (on a microscopic scale), the sights and sounds present in the installation were occurring in the form of weird germs from the countless people who have laid prior.

My favorite work displayed at the New Museum was a small projection that I stumbled across on the floor. It was essentially a loop of the viewer peering and accelerating towards the artist's mouth and emerging out of her butt hole. The camera was constantly moving and it created a hypnotic effect that put me into a trance. This is such a strange sentence to respond to this piece with but: never before have I stared at someone's mouth and anus for so long that I actually felt as if I was traveling through her body. It is this type of interaction with the viewer that I love with certain artists work. In a weird way, the works of Rist reminded me of the massive works of Richard Serra with how interactive they are with including the viewer into the work. 

Artist Talk: Negar Ahkami by Cornelius

On Thursday October 27th, I attended an artist talk that really opened my eyes to the side of a culture that is cloaked in bad connotation within the United States. Negar Ahkami is an American artist that infuses the Persian influences of her linage with her expressive Western influences in an attempt to shed light on a beautiful culture engulfed by misinformation and misconception. 

Negar began her talk with an interesting bit of background information that I find incredibly inspiring. Prior to becoming an artist, she had quit her legal career. She felt pressured by her family's expectations to go to school for a "real" profession--and although she always felt like the black sheep in the family, she wasn't very rebellious growing up so she did what he parents told her to do essentially. I can connect with this so much--it is the reason I am actually an Economics and Studio Art double major. I'm only starting to make my own path and hearing her story instantly made me that much more interested in her work.

Negar makes meticulous artwork dealing with how culture can be clouded by politically fueled media representation--she spoke about how it became part of the fabric within America given the political climate. I would be lying If I said that, as an American, I didn't initially pull up stereotypical representations of what the media presents as the culture of those living in Iran. Negar even pointed out that the art world--one of the most liberal climates--had a very one sided view of Persian culture, and it was and continues to become a cartoonification of the truth in many ways. The work she showed in her talk was very satirical, yet intricately beautiful, because she felt like it was not right for people to have this misrepresented picture of such a robust culture.    

SO-IL Architecture & Brooklyn Academy of Music by Cornelius

On Friday, October 14th, we visited an architectural design firm named SO-IL and we finished the day off by observing a bit of curatorial work within the Brooklyn Academy of Music. These experiences were very different from what I was expecting from the Contemporary Art Semester, but they proved to be extremely interesting in their own rights. 

Walking into the office of SO-IL, I wasn't expecting the experience to be deeply grounded in art. I figured it was a visit to show, more realistically, what an art major could do after graduation that still maintained an aspect of creativity. However, I learned that this company was different...well, at least different from my vague idea of what drives an average architecture firm. The buildings and the spaces designed by SO-IL are actual works of art, and when you hear them speak about their projects, you can hear the voice of a proud artist who worked for hours to put something unique out into the world. Let me tell you, unique is an understatement. The original and borderline imaginary ideas implemented by this firm are jaw dropping. They designed a building to be entirely covered in chain-mail--basically an armored building. The chain-linked drapery accentuates curves in which the building would not be able to present without. Visually, this reminds me of stippling because it creates texture and depth at a distance but upon closer inspection, it is constructed of countless dots, or in the case of this building, metal rings. This firm is a collective of great artistic and brave minds, I have no doubt about it.   

When I first saw we were going to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, I was a little confused due to its name. I did not know that it was so involved with all of the arts--in fact, I didn't know anything about it until recently so that explains the confusion. This visit, much like the visit to SO-IL, opened my eyes to more than just the gallery world within the art world. Curating in this specific environment seemed less...snobby. I don't know, I just picture art galleries to be snobby but I did not get that sense while looking at the showing at BAM. The best part of the visit was just being in the open space of the lobby where on a busy day, you would not be able to navigate the crowd comfortably. The installation within the architecture of the lobby was awesome, the walls felt as if they were undulating--which I would imagine would have a heightened effect looming over a sea of bodies.  The installation in the middle of the lobby by Esther Ruiz reminded me of our visit to Dia:Beacon where we encountered a lot of work by Dan Flavin. Her work with colored fluorescent lights was similar but made unique with its interplay with the reflective surface and the space within the lobby. I think that the space that holds the art is just as important as the art that inhabits it and the curating skills within BAM definitely present that notion to me--the same goes for the design work of SO-IL!    

Mark Dion & Julie Mehretu by Cornelius

On Friday, September 30th, we were privileged enough to meet two of the most famous artists the Drew Contemporary Art Semester has ever had the opportunity to speak with.  The first artist was Mark Dion, who we met at the Natural History Museum, and the second artist was Julie Mehretu, who we met at her Marian Goodman Gallery showing. 

I thought it was very interesting that Mark Dion wanted to meet us at the Natural History Museum because he considered it more of his "studio" than anywhere else. He focused a lot on the dioramas being a source of time travel and that reminded me of how his work frustrates the process of learning directly from the academic dioramas in the museum. Prior to meeting Mark, I had actually been inside one of his installations a year earlier--it was a large birdcage with a tree in the center, riddled with various books (pictured below). It was so cool how interactive it was, much like how he walked with us through the museum and time. His tour around the museum brought my experience I had with his art full circle and it better contextualized inspiration and purpose. Overall, it was a very awesome experience, he was very down to earth and you could tell the passion he had for the exhibits he was showing us.  

After Mark had to run, we made our way over to Marian Goodman Gallery to talk with Julie Mehretu. She was really cool and her work was even cooler. I loved the way she described the process of her work and how each piece in time influenced the next piece. I never stopped to think about that before, and it was clear that she had spent a lot of time pondering how her work evolves. Of all the pieces in her show, my favorite were the largest ones in the main room. I felt engulfed in the washy gray area trying to find a meaning in it. Recognizable shapes would appear and disappear just as fast as I saw them--her paintings had so much movement embedded in them. I thought it was interesting that she saw these paintings as a small snap shot of something bigger, as if it were just a thumbnail, because I don't typically associate a painting so large as just a small section of something bigger. Regardless, Julie's work is very captivating and I could look at it for hours and frequently find something new; if a painting can do that, its a winner in my book! 

Chelsea Galleries & The Whitney by Cornelius

On Friday, September 25th, we visited various galleries in Chelsea and also got to see the new Whitney Museum of American Art. I have to admit, I was a little nervous commuting into the city this week in light of the terror attacks that occurred in both New York and New Jersey but my fear subsided as the day went on. It helped that I was distracted by seeing amazing art. 

We went to a bunch of galleries in Chelsea so it is hard to recall all of them--some artists didn't stand out at all to me but that is to be expected on a daily basis. Not every person's works resonates with everyone. One of the first shows we saw was called Dark Matter by an artist named Sarah Cain. This show stood out to me for two reasons. The first reason was her use of colors. Walking into the gallery, you were bombarded with color, the floors were covered with vibrant works that consuming the art much more enjoyable due to its interactive attribute. This use of color didn't stop on the floor...her hung canvases were just the right kind of colorful for me. It was also pretty cool how she incorporated jewelry in her painting, giving it a unique draping effect across the painted pieces. The second reason why this show stood out to me was because it was in the same gallery where I saw Yoko Ono's show. Sarah's work, reminded me of how interactive Ono's show was. I think it is a very useful tool to express an idea to a viewer if you can involve them in the work of art within a space.

Later on, we went to another showing of Richard Serra's work at the Gagosian. In my opinion, he never disappoints. I'm typically all about a very graphic and colorful--almost cartoony--style of art, but I am just always in awe at the immensity of his work. It just makes me feel so small within the space. It is interesting because I don't typically think about my size in relation to a work of art. I do have to say that the work we saw at Dia:Beacon was much more captivating to me because we were able to walking inside of it but hey, I never before thought I would enjoy looking at large steel rectangles, until Serra put them in front of me.

At the Whitney, It was really cool to see a collection of work produced strictly by Americans. I started on the 8th floor and worked my way down. I only recognized a handful of pieces/artists along the way, which made me realize I really need to be more involved in the art world so I can truly appreciate all the amazing and historic pieces I was looking at. Oh well, that comes with time--so it's a good thing I'm taking this course. Out of all the work I saw in the Whitney, there was one piece that stands out the most. When I saw it, I couldn't stop thinking about how much of a genius the artist was for conceiving such an idea. The piece I'm talking about is the 8-foot candle sculpture of Julian Schnabe by Urs Fischer. This giant man is LITERALLY a candle. It is lit every day and put out every night, so it is designed to melt away. I think that is so cool  because who said art is to be permanent and archival? When I saw this sculpture his head had already melted and his face was lying on the floor. I just with I was there to watch his face fall off...that would have been incredible!

Storm King & Dia:Beacon by Cornelius

On Friday, September 16th, we visited the Storm King Art Center and Dia:Beacon...in that order. I enjoyed this trip much more than the MoMA, It might have been because these were new places to me. Not long ago, I visited Grounds for Sculpture--so I had some idea of what to expect when it came to the category of a sculpture garden setting. The sculptures were spaced fairly far apart, which lent the opportunity of really letting each piece sink in as I approached them. It was nice to walk around the art center alone because it made me internalize my thoughts on a particular piece rather than being influenced by others around me.

One of my favorite works of art at Storm King was the wall designed by Andy Goldsworthy. I just loved how the perfectly stacked stone snaked around the trees; I walked with the curves along the length of the wall. That's something I probably would not have done if I was around other people. One funny thing I noticed was a little chipmunk running on top of the wall, along the curves. It made me laugh in my head because we as humans put such emphasis on art and what should and should not be done with it--including running on top of a piece--but the chipmunk really didn't give a shit. That moment made me think about why we actually create art in nature if nature doesn't instinctually care for it. 

After Storm King, we went to Dia:Beacon. It was amazing and I loved it so much. Although I enjoyed the sculptures at Storm King very much, they didn't hold a candle to all of the amazing work I saw at Dia. Out of everything I saw, my two favorite exhibitions were that of Dan Flavin and Richard Serra.

During my internship for Curatious in NYC last spring, I had to write a short bio for Dan Flavin and during the research process, I thought that his work was pretty cool. Seeing his pieces in person was a completely new level of cool. The feeling you get in the presence of his work is something that pictures cannot do justice representing. Until I was in the space with the light, I didn't truly understand the appeal of what he had created and explored.

During my time at Curatious, I also had to write a short bio for Richard Serra too. I think I enjoyed his work so much due to the level of interactivity inherent in the giant pieces of art--and very similar to Dan Flavin, its impossible to understand the piece until you've been in its presence. When I began walking through each of his steel sculptures I legitimately had a child-like smile on my face looking up at the massive, spiraling walls. 

MoMa & Conservation by Cornelius

On Friday, September 9th, we visited the Museum of Modern Art. Prior to this trip into the city, I had only been to the MoMA once in my life—I believe it was two years ago. Now, I saw the permanent collection during my last visit but seeing all the iconic works this time around meant something completely different to me because I was seeing them after learning about them in Art History 320: Early 20th-Century Art. When I saw these works two years ago, I didn’t know what I was seeing; the art historical significance flew right over my head.

Out of all of the works in the MoMA’s permanent collection, I enjoyed being face-to-face with Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades. I appreciate the micheif he injected into the art world by questioning the long held assumptions about what art should be and how it was to be made. His intention was to create a work that didn’t have to rely on being aesthetically pleasing, but remained art from a mental aspect—because he had chosen it to be art.

Aside from the art history superstars I got to see, I really took interest in the works of Bruce Conner. His aesthetic has just the right amount of creepiness for my liking. I sat in on the screening of his triptych installation and watched it two times through. This was partly because I was walking a lot and needed to sit for a bit but I did it mostly because it was incredibly interesting. I couldn’t quite comprehend it all just the first time through because all three projections were flashing scenes very rapidly to a point where it was hard to catch up.

 

After strolling around the MoMA, we met up with a conservator who specializes in sculpture conservation. I knew that priceless works of art had to be maintained over the years but I never really stopped to think about how difficult that process is.  It was very interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes at the MoMA. Until I was standing over the works of famous artist, I previously did not know what exactly went into the preservation of genius. It seems like the most stressful job in the world being responsible for revitalizing a delicate work of art that costs more than your life. So much could go wrong and if it does, the whole art world comes down on you for destroying history. I have such respect for the people in this competitive field having learned a bit about what they do on a daily basis. 

 Photo taken inside of the MoMA conservation lab

Photo taken inside of the MoMA conservation lab