Blog

"The Fall Show" Falls - As Planned

Posted Tuesday October 23, 2012 At 14:36PM . Artists, Blog

Gelitin’s devious scheme could not have been discerned a moment before the opening of their exhibition at the Greene Naftali Gallery in Manhattan. The first visitors beheld a gallery that was tastefully arrayed with sculptures perched on pedestals.

The strange lever projecting from the bottom of the pedestals was the first clue that something was awry. It beckoned to be stepped on. Those who acted on the provocation toppled the sculpture that was perched on the pedestal to the ground. For example, a tower of black buckets tumbled, spilling multi-colored plastic Easter eggs all over the gallery floor!


Arm Pit Incubator

Posted Monday October 22, 2012 At 01:51AM . Artists, Blog

Natalie Jeremijenko clumsily got out of my car. She awkwardly collected her belongings from the back seat and shuffled away - not at all like the blithe woman I had seen earlier in the day when she delivered an inspiring talk at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. This transformation occurred in the interum between the conclusion of her talk and her visit to my homestead. She had recounted numerous projects that combined humor, ingenuity, and pragmatism. They:

 

    - alleviated problems associated with obesity among WILD animals living among humans

 

ENCLOSURES: Andy Goldsworthy / Red Earth / Fernando Garcia-Dory

Posted Friday October 19, 2012 At 18:01PM . Artists, Blog

ENCLOSURES: Andy Goldsworthy / Red Earth / Fernando Garcia-Dory

An 'enclosure' is a sheepfold, typically made of rock scavenged on site, that 'enclose' sheep when they are rounded up from the meadows in order to milk, treat, or clip them. The term applies to three artists in "TO LIFE!".

 

- ANDY GOLDSWORTHY chose "Enclosure" as the title for a decade-long project that he began in 1995. It consisted of 35 stone sheepfolds. The ones that were built long ago and now existed as ruins he recreated. Others he created new. Sheepfolds are an essential part of the history of the land and the people in Northwest England where this work is situated.

 

- RED EARTH chose "Enlosure" as the title for their ceremonial work which occurred in Dorset, England. This work carries a legacy that can be traced back to the Neolithic times, the era when human agricultural practices commenced, including shepherding. Indeed, "Dorset sheep", which remain one of the prized breeds of sheep today, carry this remarkable history in their name.

 

- FERNANDO GARCIA-DORY urges shepherding out of history and treats it in the present and future tenses. Photographs of shepherds who are still tending sheep in the 21st century  display the stone walls of ancient enclosures. Dory is intent on infusing this tradition with new technologies in order to allow it to survive into the future.

Car Protests / Art Follies

Posted Wednesday October 17, 2012 At 15:16PM . Artists, Blog

When Ant Farm installed "Cadillac Ranch", its infamous/renowned artwork along side a Texas panhandle highway, the members of the group were not lonely art cowboys on the plains expressing concern regarding Americans' addiction to driving.

 

At the time, activist members of a California group that called itself "Urban Ecology" were roller skating around city streets depositing 'tickets' on cars that exhorted their owners to reflect upon their driving habits. Instead of fines, the 'tickets' listed oil costs and information on fuel production.

In the mid 1970s, Richard Register joined this crusade by growing a vegetable patch in his 1968 baby blue metal flake Pontiac GTO. For three years"The Veggie Car" produced carrots, celery, lettuc, cauliflower, tomatoes, peas, beans, artichokes, corn, melons, squash, sunflowers, irises, poppies, marigolds, and violets.  Image of Veggie Car

 

All three projects employed humor to comment on the serious environmental concern.

 

Smiling seems less commonly used as a strategy for environmental reform today. Perhaps this is because it has become more difficult to smile in the face of mounting evidence of impending planetary disasters.

 

Gardening as a Subversive Act

Posted Tuesday October 16, 2012 At 02:47AM . Blog, Eco Issues

Artists Armed with Spades

Gardens have long provided mourishment for the body and soul. They have inspired poetry and reverie. It is only in the contemporary world that gardens have become centers of radical resistance. For that reason, many contemporary artists have diverted their studio practices to the garden.

 

The cultural dissidence of the gardener far exceeds the production of food. Gardening is a subversive act because it counters multiple norms that define contemporary lifestyles:

 

- tending resources instead of utilzing and exploiting them;

 

- cooperating with multiple forms of life, including insects, fungus, and bacteria;

 

- defying digital abstractions by engaging multiple senses;

 

- escaping from global dependences through self-sustaining activities;

 

- receiving immediate rewards for effort instead of monetary payment

 

- replacing the personal and the local for the anonymous and the global

 

- utifying aspects of life typically connected only by money.

 

Gardens are autonomous zones, exempt from municipal ordinances, rules of law, authority of government, and control of corporations. They are also zones of significant contemporary art practices.


See Nicole Fournier



Fernando Garcia-Dory - Honored

Posted Monday October 15, 2012 At 01:08AM . Artists, Blog

Dory---Bionic-Sheep

Fernando Garcia Dory maintained his modesty even as he delivered an erudite talk and accepted the Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change at the 2012 Creative Time Summit in New York city on Saturday.

His inspiring comments dealt with freedom being the most perfect work of art, that freedom could only be achieved through beauty, and that the special role of the artist involves conceiving of the possibility of freedom.


Artists are endowed with this culture-shifting capacity because they need not be limited by existing conditions and they need not respect the status quo. That is why artists can envision alternative values. They fulfill the myth of creation.


Dory then provided a few examples, delivered with humility, of ways that he attempts to fulfill the ennobling mission of the artist. In some instances he is an activist, organizing shepherds from many countries to guide their flocks into Brussels where the European Union was meeting. In other instances he provides a serene emptiness which is required to contemplate beauty and revel in wonder.


In sum, Dory's distinction is earned by offering a gentle but compelling alternative to the two prevailing modes of behavior, neither of which are productive: we are either frozen in fear or are violent in protest. Fernando's website

FEAR POWER!

Posted Friday October 12, 2012 At 00:52AM . Blog, Eco Issues

This two-word order is brandished in bold letters that dominate a red field, commanding its space as it commands the viewer's attention. The phrase appears on a poster designed by Critical Art Ensemble, and this poster is one of a series that appears in a new publication  aptly titled "Disturbances". Within its pages the group 'self-assesses' its 25 year history, providing readers with an opportunity to join in assessing a history replete with transgressive actions, civil disobedience, digital resistance, and contestational biology. Posters encapsulate each audacious action. They announce:

Useless Technology: Super Savings!

Book/Web/Blog Launch

Posted Thursday October 11, 2012 At 02:12AM . Blog, Eco Issues

Please join me. Even without champagne and bugles, the launch of this website is a celebration of the creative ingenuity currently percolating at the intersection between ecology and art.

Today marks the culmination of the multi-year preparation to research, write, edit, design and produce TO LIFE! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet. The book is the first guide for students and professors wishing to explore the burgeoning eco art movement and the inspiring examples of creative ingenuity it offers.

This day also marks the inauguration of the book's blog that will provide continual infusions of information and commentary. It will ensure the book's content remains timely as planetary conditions evolve, environmental predicaments surface, and new solutions are tested.

Internationally, artists are designing a new world order - complete with behavioral, scientific, technological, economic, ethical, and religous alternatives to the unsustainable status quo. Their diverse efforts share a common mission - to establish a niche for humanity that allows all life forms to co-exist. Their urgent appeal testifies to art's crucial role in contemporary society.

This book/blog/website is devoted to facilitating their efforts in collaboration with instructors and their students on campuses everywhere. Please contribute to this exciting venture.

DOM(estic)(inion)(ominate)

Posted Monday September 17, 2012 At 21:52PM . Blog, Eco Issues

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, one of the artists featured in TO LIFE! Eco Art In Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet, identified four ways of envisioning the Earth:

EARTH as WIFE suggests a reliable and supportive partner

EARTH as VIRGIN implies a territory ripe for gratification and pleasure

EARTH as WHORE introduces the possibility of degradation and exploitation

EARTH as MOTHER conjures the assuance of bounty and steadfastness.

vaccine against violence

Posted Wednesday September 12, 2012 At 07:49AM . Artists, Blog

reyes---vaccine-against-vio.png

Pedro Reyes is featured in my new book, TO LIFE! Eco Art In Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet. The photo provides evidence of why I chose to include him, when so many artists had to be rejected.

Hugging the Vaccine Against Violence dummie after everything he has endured (photo Mathilde Fernande Fernandez)