As part of my show Ouroboros at the Mazmanian Gallery, I left a blank sketchbook in the gallery and asked visitors to trace their hands on the empty pages. Here are the first six spreads of the book with hands by: (-1) Inessa J. Burnell, (1) Eric Davis, (2) Alexandria Keare, (3) Trinity Infantino, (4) Hannah Ferrante, (5) Julia Wan, (6) Heather Welsh, (7) Susan Scopetski, (8) Sadie Harmon, (9) Carissa Valeri, and (10) Roy S. "Suh Dude"
The 23rd Leonardo Challenge
The theme for the The Eli Whitney Museum's annual fundraiser is "Leonardo in Bloom." Artists are challenged to create a work of art inspired by the fullest expression of a flower, the bloom, and the quintessential "Renaissance man," Leonardo da Vinci.
Leonardo da Vinci
In his notebooks and sketchbooks, the Italian artist and scientist, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), explored botany, geology, geography, cartography, zoology, engineering, anatomy, as well as countless other topics. He adamantly believed that his scientific investigations helped him become a better artist. Indeed many of his scientific illustrations are appreciated as works of art. The artist also believed that reality was fathomable only through what could be observed through the eyes—the most vital organ according to Leonardo.
Below are a few images of my submission for the event, a freestanding sculpture made from paper, glue, turf, glitter, and sand. The shape of the sculpture recalls both an explosion and a geometric interpretation of a dandelion flower. The title, Lion's Tooth, comes from the French name for this common weed, dent de lion.
Click on the image above to see detail shots.
"The title 'realist' has been imposed upon me… Titles have never given a just idea of things; were it otherwise, the work would be superfluous… I have studied the art of the moderns, avoiding any preconceived system and without prejudice. I have no more wanted to imitate the former than to copy the latter; nor have I thought of achieving the idle aim of “art for art’s sake.” No! I have simply wanted to draw from a thorough knowledge of tradition the reasoned and free sense of my own individuality… To be able to translate the customs, ideas, and appearances of my time as I see them—in a word, to create a living art—this has been my aim." - Gustave Courbet, 1855
The First Artist's Manifesto
I became interested in Courbet when I started searching for examples of writings by artists last fall. The quote above is from a statement that the artist wrote after two of his paintings were rejected from the Salon in 1855. Art historians have named this piece of provocative writing the first artist's manifesto, a style of straightforward writing often used by artists to codify their ideas to their critics.
Read more about the French Realist painter Gustave Courbet and his forceful writing in my short essay on Arteidolia.
I have an installation at the Crown Street windows at Artspace this month. Check out the windows from now until April 30, 2017. The reception for these windows, as well as the current exhibition, Laughing Skulls, will take place this Friday. The installation will also be up during the Annual Gala and Silent Auction on April 29.
Crown Street Window Installation
Scroll I installed outside for the Nasty Women Show, New Haven
In honor of International Women's Day and the opening for the Nasty Women Show, I installed a 30-ft. painting, Scroll I, on the facade of the Institute Library. Over the past few weeks, this painting on paper has experienced rain, snow, and significant wind, but I'm happy to report that the painting is still standing with little damage. The paper has started to buckle in places, but overall, the vibrant colors have barely faded or bled.
Nasty Women Exhibition
Organized by Sarah Fritchey, Valerie Garlick, and Lucy McClure, the Nasty Women Show at the Institute Library is part of a movement of similar exhibitions throughout the country, following the lead of the first show at the Knockdown Center in Queens in January.
One of the curators for the Nasty Women Show asked participants what it means to be nasty. I think that being vulnerable to the elements is one way to show perseverance.
Meriem Bennani’s new artwork, Your Year by Fardaous Funjab, features the most recent hijab in the artist’s fictional line of high fashion headscarves. This thirty-second video, part of the Public Art Fund’s Commercial Break series, features an ever-evolving hijab that can be worn throughout the year. One head covering commemorates various Islamic holidays as well as secular events. As the seasons change, the hijab morphs on the Barclays Center’s “Oculus” screen into eight distinct versions, ranging from generic autumnal attire to a headscarf for Ramadan. The functional fashion of the rotating hijab offers a jocular take on the media’s portrayal of the Muslim head covering.
Read the full text on Art21 here.
Meriem Bennani: Your Year by Fardaous Funjab will continue at the Barclays Center, playing on the “Oculus” screen (620 Atlantic Ave. at Flatbush Ave.) as part of the Public Art Fund’s Commercial Break series. The video screens once an hour on Saturdays through March 5.
JG: How does the question, “Is there racism in heaven?” connect to the show’s title, Until?
NC: The title comes from the phrases “innocent until proven guilty” or “guilty until proven innocent.” Both are linked to police brutality in America. This morning, the Chicago crime stats came out for the month of October. Seventy-two people were shot and killed in October. Five hundred eighty-two people have been killed so far this year. I feel called to action, and I’m trying to find a way, as a visual artist with a specific sense of responsibility, to be proactive. How can I create a project that will reach hundreds of thousands of people and raise their level of consciousness about these issues?
READ MORE from my interview with the artist Nick Cave in the "Momentum" issue of the Art21 Magazine here.
MacArthur Fellow Mary Reid Kelley on Dismantling Sexual Taboos with Humor
Read the full text of the interview on Hyperallergic here.
In Mary Reid Kelley’s videos, bawdy characters, performed by the artist, bewitch with complex wordplay. Produced with Patrick Kelley, the videos are set inside a black-and-white world of bespoke props and costumes where ancient Greek mythology mingles with allusions to art history and popular culture alike. The cadence of the scripts, which are written in meter, slows down the spinning narratives, as they delve into gender iniquity and sexual taboos. Last month, Kelley was named a MacArthur Fellow for her cultural contributions, especially her cerebral commentary on women’s roles throughout history.
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Jacquelyn Gleisner: Your process begins with extensive research. While you were working on “You Make Me Iliad” (2010), you read accounts from soldiers and medical officers about prostitutes during World War I. In this film and others, you focus on untold stories of female trauma and working conditions for women. What is important to you about writing and narrating stories from these perspectives?
Mary Reid Kelley: Most World War I material is about the soldier experience, and is from their perspective, but there is significant scholarship about women workers. We know that women drove ambulances. We know that women worked in huge numbers in munitions factories. Women have been interviewed about their work in munitions and nursing. Yet there is an enormous difference between these women and the women who did sex work, about whom there’s almost nothing. We didn’t lose those stories through carelessness. They were suppressed. The primary suppressors were the women themselves because the personal consequences of telling that story would have been enormous.
Mary Reid Kelley: We’re Wallowing Here in Your Disco Tent with High Line Art (High Line Channel 14, 14th Street Passage, on the High Line at West 14th Street) continues through November 2.
Art21, "New Kids on the Block" - Places Within Us: Jesse Chun's On Paper Series
Last month I met up with the Brooklyn-based artist Jesse Chun to talk about the work at her recent show, On Paper. In her recent show at the Spencer Brownstone Gallery in New York City, Chun exhibited three categories of works: landscapes, blueprints, and poetry. Each category begins with the appropriation of immigration paperwork and passports. The landscapes have been digitally manipulated, culled from imagery found inside passports from different countries, while the blueprints and poems result from editing and purging texts on immigration forms. Together the works visualize the collective transit of an increasingly mobile population.
You can read more about Chun's work here.
A belated update! Last month I wrote about the fictional character, Dr. Howard Moseley, who opines on securing gallery representation and the mysterious nature of creative expression.
Read more from the Art21 Magazine here.
"THEY ARE A SHREWD AND WILY BUNCH AND SHOULD NOT BE UNDERESTIMATED, NOR SHOULD YOU STARE THEM DIRECTLY IN THE EYES."
Read more from my satirical piece with Brooklyn-based artist, Paul Gagner:
Q: I am very upset by the haughty, superior attitudes of gallery owners in my area. I want to get my art into a gallery, but do I need to crawl on my knees to get someone to show my work?
A: Galleries are often difficult to approach, and their owners can be cold and even hostile to the public. This is because gallery owners are, in fact, a super-high-functioning alien race with highly evolved powers of observation. Did you know that they see three million more colors than we can? Who better to set the standards of taste than an alien that also has the power to persuade collectors with a hypnotic gaze?
I’m in a helicopter. Below me, the mouth of the Okavango Delta in Maun, Botswana. I see two giraffes, their tall silhouettes blending into the trees. A zeal of zebras emerges from the grass. Then hippos, elephants, and a field full of wildebeests come into view. Dust clouds follow the frantic hooves of a wildebeest running from the herd. Finally, I see three gray baboons moving slowly into the shade.
I wrote a personal essay about my time in Botswana last October through the Art in Embassies Program. I also wrote about a few of the frustrations and joys of creating a career as an artist.
“I wanted to envision a different narrative for these unfinished projects outside of the micro-histories of conflict and capitalism in Lebanon,” said Caitlin Berrigan.
Today in the Art21 magazine, read my article about artist Caitlin Berrigan and her project Unfinished State, an exploration of science fiction and forgotten environments, complicated by present systems of power. This article was published on the 41st anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War.
Purchase the book here.
Six new sketchbook pages... nearing the end of my moleskin sketchbook, the third book in the series.
When the earth is turned in spring
The worms are fat as anything.
And birds come flying all around
To eat the worms right off the ground.
They like the worms just as much as I
Like bread and milk and apple pie.
And once, when I was very young,
I put a worm right on my tongue.
I didn't like the taste a bit,
And so I didn't swallow it.
But oh, it makes my Mother squirm
Because she thinks I ate that worm!
Over the last week I have been at VCCA for a residency. These images are sketches of an idea I am still developing to make a scribble and scrim of a painting on a window. All the pieces of paper in this installation are recycled from earlier works. On a bright day the sun creates a dramatic shadow drawing on the floor.
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts: http://www.vcca.com/main/index.php
If you are flying with Air Botswana this month, be sure to check out the article on Art in Embassies in Peolwane magazine.
Hi Friends! I'm the guest editor for the Art21 magazine, focusing on sincerity as the theme for July and August 2015. You can read my letter from the editor at this link: