Sunday, June 28, 2009

Video Sundaes: Bruce Nauman

I visited the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel, Switzerland recently, a small but lovely space for contemporary art. There were a few Bruce Nauman videos on display and I was reminded how much I really enjoy his performance pieces. They're very simple and personal, and often related to his body or movement in some way. Often he is having a bit of fun, just playing around with expectations of what was considered art, or discovering new ways to relate his body to a certain space.

Stomping in Studio (1968). I don't know why, but this is one of my favorite video performances. It's so simple, yet so mesmerizing to me. I think it's the repetitive sound.

Pinch Neck and Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square (1967-68)

Violin Tuned D.E.A.D. (1968)

Art Make-Up (1967)

I think next week I'll do some less kooky fare. Maybe some music videos?

Friday, June 26, 2009


I'm not really into Flickr because I find the layout confusing, but there are a few accounts I check up on now and then, when I'm feeling like some lovely photography or artworks. Peruse them if you feel so inclined!

Jaclyn. She is an art student working primarily through photography. Also she is from my town and I know her!

McNeil. Gorgeous shots of Toronto and various other subjects, from flowers to portraits to traveling. He also has an excellent movie blog The Dark of the Matinee.

Kayt Hester Lent. She is a really awesome Jersey City artist who creates portraits out of duct/masking tape. In lieu of a regular website, she posts her work as well as photos of her exhibitions here. Plus I met her once and she's really nice!

dadadreams. Fascinating collage work. Check out her Etsy Shop as well for prints and jewelry.

jhandelman. As if I needed any more reminders of how desperately I want to visit Japan.

8mobili. Great shots of street life and architecture in Stuttgart, among other things.

Any other Flickr sets I should be checking out? I am not very familiar with the site so recommendations are appreciated.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hundertwasser: The Right to Dreams

I meant to get this up weeks ago but forgot/things came up. The Städtische Galerie in Albstadt (don't think it has an English website, sorry) just held a very interesting exhibition dedicated to Austrian artist and architect Friedrich Stowasser, better known as just Hundertwasser ("hundred waters" in German). His paper works are characterized by childlike compositions and environmental themes, exploding with vibrant color and meticulous patterns. His architecture, reminiscent of Gaudi, defies straight lines for being "godless" and instead swirls and swoops around in waves and circles. I actually always pass his Wohnen unterm Regenturm in Plochingen when I take the train to Stuttgart. Most of the work at the exhibition focused on his prints, though. Let's look!

The Shadows of the Stars (1967)I was gleeful seeing his metallic paints and eye-popping colors- it kind of reminded me of Dubuffet. So fun! And I love that his prints emulate Japanese-style prints with his personal stamp and everything. Adorable.

Tears of an Artist (1974)Rain Drop Counter (1981)Girl Found in the Grass (1964)The Eyes of Machu Picchu (1966)The Endless Road to You (1967)=City Dwellers (1994)
He also designed a poster for the 1972 Olympics.

He has some wacky building designs.

Good Morning City - Bleeding Town (1970)At the end there were several models designed by school groups who had visited. It's a really cute idea, I think!

I'm really glad I went to see this exhibition, as it offered an interesting window into the life of an artist I had previously known nothing about. There was a lot of biographical and personal information, which I appreciated, as well as a video of him working at home and some of the weirdness of his life (like eating soup over his work, mixing in paprika with paint pigment bottles- yeesh). My next goal is to see more of his architecture- hopefully I will make it to Austria some time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mixin' It Up With Some Videos

Greetings, fair readers. I have been thinking of possibly doing some sort of weekly post of videos I like- short films, performance art, music videos, movie clips, etc, probably related by theme or artist. Just something simple like the Chad VanGaalen post. I think it'd be encouraging for me to have a regular feature here since otherwise I just post sporadically. Thoughts? Please let me know!

We'll try it out today, with some Rebecca Horn performances. I've been studying her in my "German Art 1968-1990 class and I really enjoy her work. After being basically completely bedridden for a year or so, she took to creating body extensions out of soft materials like felt, as she could easily sew in bed. Her pieces from the 70's explore her relationship with her body and its relationship to its surroundings. I find it really interesting and beautifully personal. She also transforms simple and familiar objects into things uncanny in her installations and sculpture. There are some more videos and photos of her performances here.

Berlin, 1974: Segments "Touching the walls with both hands simultaneously" and "Twinkling"

A series of "Art Machines" shown in Basel in 2008. Hers is the first, but they're all very interesting.

Circle for Broken Landscape Installation
rebecca horn

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I just realized that I tantalizingly dangled the promise of photographs I took in Istanbul in front of you, only to quickly forget about it. Sorry! So now here are some pictures from that place I visited a few weeks ago. It was really quite lovely, and very different from anywhere else I've ever been. I am by no means a good photographer; this is more an attempt to give a glimpse of this beautiful, atmospheric, and incredibly colorful city to anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to visit/see some Fatih Akin movies. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kunsthalle Tübingen: The Interior View

Tübingen's main art museum, Kunsthalle Tübingen (sorry but the site is almost completely in German), is actually more of a gallery space, in a small but beautiful and well-laid-out building positioned on a sunny hill. Their current exhibition, titled Der Innere Blick ("The Interior View"), brings together several contemporary painters and photographers who focus on the various aspects of interior spaces. It's a simple but fascinating theme, with much room for exploration.

The first room shows the photography of Marina Gadoneix (France) and Thomas Florschuetz (Germany). The former's work is bright with neon lights and crisp, stark spaces. Everything is sleek and modern and full of contrasting colors. Unfortunately I couldn't get any good photos of her pieces due to the glass reflection, but she has a portfolio on her website. Florschuetz focuses more on the grittiness of large, open interiors such as many-windowed and derelict warehouse-like spaces. There's a halting sense of abandonment throughout his settings, but overall I wasn't especially engrossed by the photos.

Marina Gadonneix, from the Remote Control series (2006) Thomas Florschuetz: Untitled (Palast) (2006)
Thomas Florschuetz: Untitled (2006)I found Peruvian photographer David Zink Yi's Roma series incredibly affecting. He takes quiet, neatly laid-out rooms populated by a scarcely-seen elderly woman (his grandmother). Her veined hand or sandaled foot will edge its way into the frame of the photograph, acting as a disembodied limb. He reminds us that a human presence is necessary for all of the lace table cloths, decorative paintings, and cushy couches seen in the main composition. The works carry with them a strong atmosphere of loneliness, as if this woman has nothing but her surroundings to keep her company. They are both serene and slightly disturbing, creating a unique portrait. They reminded me a bit of William Eggleston's more domestic photos.

One of the reasons I really wanted to visit the Kunsthalle was I'd read that Richard Hamilton's Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Unique, So Appealing? (1956) was part of its collection. Upon learning that it was more of an exhibition space and had no permanent objects of its own, I was pretty sad. But then there it was! All by itself and surprisingly tiny, but there in all its Pop collage glory. I love this piece, and it fits really well into the exhibit's theme, portraying "today's" homes with over-the-top irreverence and familiar trappings of modern living.

British artist Ian Hartshorne's paintings are vibrant and dreamlike, utilizing broken angles and slightly garish colors to create a vaguely surreal interior space. He'll take a familiar substance like wood but break it up unevenly and combine it with a red staircase that seems to float and a statuesque android, catching the viewer off guard. His works are interesting, but I didn't particularly like them. Something about his painting style, I think, but I can't quite put my finger on what I didn't like. They just didn't grab me. Sort of emotionless, I guess.

Ian Hartshorne: When She Was Good (2008)
Ian Hartshorne: Babylon is Burning (2008)I did enjoy Czech artist Daniel Pitin's paintings, dimly lit and full of dripping strokes and unfinished edges. He distorts the spaces that he chooses to depict, with unclear walls and crouched figures who somehow seem disconnected from their surroundings. I especially like Lost Architect. It conveys a sense of loss and uncertainty, but without reverting to despair. There's a large collection of his images here.

Daniel Pitin: Lost Architect (2008)Daniel Pitin: Office (2007)Achim Hoops' works are a surprise delight, at first glance appearing dull and monotonous, but upon closer inspection revealing a keen eye for light and serious skills with crayon and colored pencil. The pieces are small ruminations on various empty interiors and exteriors, with dichromatic palettes and detailed line work. They are textured and grainy, focusing as much on the medium and wooden canvas as the composition. Really a treat to see in real life.

Unfortunately I can't find the video for Swedish artist Sofia Hultén's Familiars (2007), but it is really interesting. It's composed of a selection of short scenes all filmed inside a regular house, in which a figure would set up some sort of strange trick to presumably scare any family member who walked in. A woman lay hidden under a bed and moved it around so it seemed to be levitating. Another hid inside a dresser and hung her arms outside a drawer like a dead body. It's a cool look into the potential terrors of everyday home life. I don't know much about the artist but I'm interested to look into what her other work is like. There some more photos of it here.

Absolutely exploding with color and passion are the large-scale photographs of American artist Raissa Venables. She finds interesting architectural patterns and unreal lighting and exploits them to their fullest potential. Her works are fascinating, decidedly off-beat compositions packed with a nagging feeling that something here isn't quite right.

Raissa Venables: Temple Emanu-El NY Sanctuary (2008)
Raissa Venables: Red Stairs (2005)
Raissa Venables: Green ATM (2007)This is a really wonderful exhibition, with a range of styles from an international collection of artists. The Kunsthalle defies its small space with an impressive display of works, making for an interesting and truly enjoyable visit. This exhibit is up until July 5, if you happen to find yourself in the Tübingen area (though I understand that probably isn't a likely occurance for most of you). Hopefully I'll be able to catch their next exhibition on Israeli artist Tal R before I go back home.