Undisovered Amerindians

Undisovered Amerindians
In order to address the widespread practice of human displays, Fusco and Gomez-Peña enclosed their own bodies in a ten-by -twelve-foot cage and presented themselves as two previously unknown "specimens representative of the Guatinaui people" in the performance piece "Undiscovered Amerindians." Inside the cage Fusco and Peña outfitted themselves in outrageous costumes and preoccupied themselves with performing equally outlandish "native" tasks. Gomez-Peña was dressed in an Aztec style breastplate, complete with a leopard skin face wrestler's mask. Fusco, in some of her performances, donned a grass skirt, leopard skin bra, baseball cap, and sneakers. She also braided her hair, a readily identifiable sign of "native authenticity."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Mierle Laderman Ukeles
"Maintenance Art Performance Series", 1973-74
Photograph of performance at the Wadsworth Atheneum.
Courtesy of the Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York.

Cyrus Smith posted this on the Art Talk on the Radio when she came for a visit:

After child-birth in 1968, artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles became a mother/maintenance worker and fell out of the picture of the avant-garde. In a rage, she wrote the Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969, applied equally to the home, all kinds of service work, the urban environment, and the sustenance of the earth itself. Inspired, also, by NYC’s “Comprehensive Plan” that split its mission into two systems: development and maintenance, she has created works that collide the boundaries of these two systems together, understanding them as the embodiment of opposing human drives of freedom and necessity. Upcoming and recent exhibitions are Birthing Tikkun Olam, an inter-active installation where over 8,000 people participated in completing the work at the new Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco; Radical Nature at the Barbican in London; Agency: the Work of Artists at the Montalvo Art Center, San Jose; a one person show in the Feldman Gallery Booth at the International Armory Art Fair in NYC; WACK! Art & the Feminist Revolution beginning at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and traveling; and the Sharjah Biennial 8, United Arab Emirates. Often a visiting artist, she was Senior Critic at Yale in the sculpture department in 2007—2008. Forthcoming and recent publications include “Forgiveness for the Land: Public Offerings Made by All, Redeemed by All,” in On Forgiveness, the List Center for Art and Politics, NYC, 2009; and “The Power of the Artist & The Power of Art in the Public Domain,” in Creative Time: The Book, 2007.

AND HERE IS A LETTER SHE WROTE IN 'Letters to a Young Artist'

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, 'Transfer: The Maintenance of the Art Object', 1974

Dear Young Artist,

I, as you, have put off writing to you, because I am not seeing you in person to gauge your responses to what I say. Would you blink, blinking back some fear or embarrassment you might not want to expose, if I say this or that? If I were facing you, I could change my direction, make space more real or possible for you in what I say. In a letter, you are a "Young Artist" in the abstract. I am worrying about your uniqueness, about not honoring your uniqueness. Are your sensibilities rawly close to the surface or protected by a fresh urban armor? Will you have any clue what I am talking about? Can this be a good and helpful thing for you or a stumbling block? But we're stuck on paper; so here goes.

I believe that art is the articulation of human freedom. Remember, above all, you are the boss, The Boss, of your freedom. No one else. Your art, if it is original and worth something, expands all human freedom.

Art, after it comes through you, will be different. Art comes from you, you all by yourself, unique among anyone who has ever lived in the history of the world; AND, art comes from you in your world with the choices you make as a free being, and the glue, even. With the relationships that you create and stick to; AND art comes from you as a citizen in the world; AND you within history and in nature.

It is your job to re-invent art itself, through what you create.

This is not the job of critics, theorists, and curators. They follow. We lead, shape, and bend the path of history.
I'm not saying throw out history. But the main history we work from is from artist to artist: handed down. Actually, to save your neck, you can learn to talk to artists, even those from hundreds and thousands of years ago: Bring them your problems, your terrors, your dreams, practical things you have to solve.

You don't have to shape up to someone else's definition of "the artist." Make it up, make up the whole thing, while you're doing what you have to do to survive. You are even free to open yourself up to survival and maintenance of your choices as fountains of your art; you can let these tough customers flow through you.

You worry about showing too early. I disagree. Because you will change, become a new person, many many times over through the years. You will re-invent yourself out of your circumstances and your will. If you show later, you're someone else. Showing can keep a kind of integrity to who you are at the moment.

I used to worry about that when I was young. I actually thought I would keep silent for ten years before I opened my mouth about anything. Now I think that's ridiculous. I was a certain kind of spirit then, and a different one ten years later. Shmushing your young spirit into a more "mature" spirit is being violent to oneself as one is through time.
You ask about the art world and worry about it corrupting you. First of all, you only mention galleries in relation to the art world. You don't mention the streets, the water, the air, the land, below the land. You don't mention cities, urbanism. You don't mention outer space, inner space, multiple scales, microscopic scales. WHAT? You don't mention the public domain, democracy, the meaning of public.

You don't mention the people who receive or who could enter into direct relationship, even interactive relationship, with your art.

You don't mention changing the world itself, bursting all categories, starting over, re-inventing everything. WHAT?
You can see here that I come from the 1960s and 70s. It's so obvious.

So I think the "Art World" is a much more huge entity than you mention. It's way bigger than galleries.

BUT, I cherish the art world. The whole art world. It can be cruel, cold, indifferent; but it is also a world that you can shape. That's where there are people who can listen to you at the deepest level, more than anyone. People who can come across you -- even people that you may never meet -- and who will make it possible for you to keep believing in your own struggle, even if you become desperate. They are at the essence of the enterprise of making and continuing to make until you have no more breath to breathe! It is the art world that has kept art going from eons ago, responsible to art as if it were one's own child.

So I wish you a long life and great courage. Believe in yourself and work your ass off.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles
New York

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

my email from coco fusco about museums

Guillaume Bijl - Another Introduction

‘Where as Marcel Duchamp proclaimed single objects to be readymades, you have promoted entire environments to this status – environments reconstructed by you and recognizable as such: a driving school, a fallout shelter an auction house, and many more.’  - From Letter to Guillame Bijl,  in Guillaume Bijl:  Installations and Compostitions, S.M.A.K. Gent, 2008. P 7.

'If you haven’t been to Europe, you’re saying, “What’s the danged deal with this thing that looks like a toilet, but isn’t?”Well, it’s called a bidet – pronounced “bee-day,” sort of like birthday only different. And what we’re seeing is a work of art entitled “Bidet Museum,” which of course isn’t a real museum, because face it, if it were, who would go to it?

It’s actually this dude’s own work of art, and in fairness he didn’t just drag in a bunch of old bidets. There are the red walls as well, and if you look closely there are pictures of women taped over them. So there’s lots to think about'. - From Babe, can we skip this museum?at http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2008/

Michael Goldberg

I really like this guys website. Check it out for more info

Guillame Bijl

Sophie Calle

This is the book of the French artist
Sophie Calle

she was one of six artists who were a part of 'ART MUSEUM' at the Center for Creative Photography at The University of Arizona.

"In fact, 'Art' no longer resides in the object but in its exhibition, along with other objects, in a social context--a context which does not even have to be 'intellectualized' to be art, only entered." -Donald Kuspit

**Calle's project for 'Art Museum' was entitles Last Seen..., and took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston

Maria Eichhorn

Pierre Huyghe

"Internationally acclaimed artist Pierre Huyghe works at the intersection of fiction and reality, creating projects that point up multiple, complex narratives, often within pre-existing cultural events. In a rich body of work that includes installations, films, and sculptures, the Parisian-born Huyghe suggests the ways in which identity and subjective experience are deeply informed by particular historical moments. Huyghe's investigations into cultural production explore how media representations and social rituals shape contemporary reality."

The Third Memory, 2000, Installation View, The Renaissance Society

The Third Memory, 2000, Installation View, The Renaissance Society

The Third Memory, 2000, Installation View, The Renaissance Society

Gates, 2006, Installation View, Tate Modern

I do not own Snow White, 2005, Installation View, Tate Modern

No Ghost Just a Shell, Installation View, Tate Modern

No Ghost Just a Shell, Installation View, Tate Modern

Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska

Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska are London based artists who collaborated extensively from 1995 to 2008. Their work has relied on institutions, museums and galleries of course, but also banks, schools, stores, and archives. Some of the well-known locations have included the Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery in London, Tapies Foundation in Barcelona, and Kunstwerke in Berlin. An impressive aspect of their work is the variety of ways it has been executed and the threads of continuity that exist within it.

Themes of exchange mechanisms and value are often explored, especially in their intervention and activation styled, institutional work. These themes are explicitly seen in work titles such as Capital, Equal Exchange, and Gift. In the work Give and Take the value of museum collections are somewhat antagonistically approached through the medium of sound installation. The work features a ten-minute looping soundtrack featuring rattling dishes, which slowly rises in volume and culminates in a crash of clearly breaking objects. Installed amidst a massive ceramics collection this piece responds to the greatest fear of curatorial work: destruction of artifacts. Equal Exchange features, among other things, price tags on collection objects. This tactic is reversed in Gift in which museumgoers are randomly selected to receive prints created for the project.

Their video work runs a wide gamut of approaches as well. Screen Tests is constructed of carefully edited archives of old films with modern sound effects and music. Often the sounds and music blur together one evolving out of the other. Archives are also mined from Polish amateur film clubs to create the body of work, Enthusiasm. Very different from these is the work Museum Futures, which is a fictional work set in the future in which curators discuss an intense commoditization and centralization of art in the early Twenty First Century. This piece reminds me of the current atmosphere of wealth intensification and power centralization we experience with corporate personhood.

Vanessa Beecroft

Jonathan Monk

“Appropriation is something I have used or worked with in my art since starting art school in 1987. At this time (and still now) I realised that being original was almost impossible, so I tried using what was already available as source material for my own work. By doing this I think I also created something original and certainly something very different to what I was representing. I always think that art is about ideas, and surely the idea of an original and a copy of an original are two very different things.” – Jonathan Monk, 2009

Jonathan Monk's work includes a wide range of media including installations, photography, film, sculpture and performance. His tongue-in-cheek methods often recall procedural approaches typical of 1960's Conceptualism, but without sharing their utopian ideals and notions of artistic genius. Instead, Monk grounds his conceptual approach in more commonplace concerns, that of personal history, his family, even pets, whilst still alluding to the types of systems and processes that artists such as Sol LeWitt employed so rigorously. While much of his work is gently playful and tinged with nostalgia for the late 1960's, it also challenges the idea of purity in modern art, demystifying the creative process and suggesting alternative models for how art and the role of the artist can be interpreted. from Lisson Gallery statement

Time Between Spaces
, Palais de Tokyo & Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2008

For ‘Time Between Spaces’, Jonathan Monk has distributed a group of nearly 40 objects throughout two rooms in the Palais de Tokyo and the mirroring Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Across his broader oeuvre, Monk consistently recasts or extends conceptual art’s most emblematic strategies, and ‘Time Between Spaces’ is no exception. The exhibition’s altered bicycles, grandfather clocks, canvases, furniture, and walkie-talkies draw much of their meaning from external and ideas-based sources. Yet when it comes to the artist’s choice to work between the two exhibition spaces, his typical array of conceptual references don’t rally round. The significance of the paired venues is far from self-evident.
Though Monk understandably resists the language of site-specificity or institutional critique, he is unable to prevent the two museums’ environmental and institutional differences from becoming a preoccupying theme. His works just aren’t up to it. Do the spare displays really represent the sort of ‘ubiquity’ that would ‘allow us to thwart the linear progression of time’, as suggested by the exhibition text? The equation of duplication with ubiquity is less than convincing. Monk should either augment his conceptual grounding, or recourse to more formal visual persuasion. When he does, in Nothing Turning Around by Itself at the Palais and We Feel Lost Without You (both 2008) in the Musée, we finally understand his evocation of an exhibition ‘somewhere between the two exhibition areas’; the flashing reflections on this group of spinning mirrored disks are just unrecognizable enough to seem like portals to elsewhere. Here is a ‘third’ place that fulfills Monk’s goal to evoke ‘time between spaces’.

As it stands, rather than ‘undermining the museum authority vested in a work of art by taking away its sacred aura and inscribing it closer to the public’, as the accompanying text claims, ‘Time Between Spaces’ seems designed to inspire a certain anomie: that of the uninitiated museum-goer faced with objects that demand to be met half-way, in a space whose immediacy is at once preoccupying and insistently ignored by the powers that be – twice over. Sarah-Neel Smith

On these cups, produced by Mercer Union Artist Centre in Toronto, Monk has etched the time and place of Niagara Falls/August 1, 2015, but he doesn't make any kind of guarantee that he'll be there. This project is #56 in the "Meeting" series, but I can't find any information if any of the previous 55 meetings (for example, the October 18, 2008 meeting at the Eifel tower) have occurred.

Continuous Project Altered Daily marks the first comprehensive survey of British artist Jonathan Monk and offers an extensive overview of his exceptionally prolific artistic practice. Over 60 artworks made between 1993 and 2005 will be on display including painting, sculpture, installation, photography, film and video work.

Monks diverse practice brings together two seemingly disparate histories: that of his own, and that of conceptual art of the 1960s and 70s. Autobiographical details, personal anecdotes drawn from his UK upbringing, tender and idiosyncratic portraits of his family, his mother Rita, his father Owen, and older sister Vanessa, the pet dog even the Leicester City Football Club are referenced apparently incongruously alongside the strategies and language of conceptualism and the work of artists such as Sol LeWitt, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha and Robert Barry. The key principles of conceptualism (the favouring of ideas over object-making, the dematerialisation of the art object, the production of work in series, in collaboration and often without a studio) are leveled and humanised by the quirky humour and down-to-earth sensibility of Monks working class family life. Beneath this playful, ironic take on art making, however, is a serious scrutiny of the very idea of art, its status, appearance and market value, as well as the myth of the artistic genius

The title of this exhibition is taken from an exhibition by US artist Robert Morris made in 1969 and describes the concept behind the display of works and to the way the presentation is constantly recycled and refreshed. Over a period of two months, the vast body of Monks work will be presented in sequence rather than in an edited selection within a single space and as a static display. A different show will, effectively, be curated every day and thus each visit will reveal a changed exhibition. The Lower Gallery of the ICA will act as an art warehouse and contain all of the works involved in the exhibition, whilst the Upper Gallery will display individual pieces drawn from the storage, and will change on a daily basis within a classic white cube space. Consequently Continuous Project Altered Daily will not only trace the development of Monks practice through carefully constructed sequences of his work, but also, because of its perpetually transforming nature, function as a challenge to the usually static dynamic of traditional art presentation.
from e-flux, 10/09/2005, http://www.e-flux.com/shows/view/2291

In my search I found the twitter page of "Monk and Kelly", a husband and wife Christian radio host duo currently based out of Atlanta. Jonathan Monk & Dianna Kelly have been married for 20 years and have been a fun, entertaining and family friendly morning radio team for 19 of them. Monk & Kelly blend their real life stories with listeners’ interactive calls, useful information, and tremendous celebrity and artist interviews. It’s the entire package for your morning show, topical, engaging conversation and top celebrities. They have two children, Austin, age 13, and Janina, age 12, and two adorable terriers. (from http://monkandkelly.com)


Wieslaw Borowski is an art critic and the author of a book on Tadeusz Kantor. He was the director of the Foksal Gallery from 1966 - 2006. The Foksal Gallery PSP is a noncommercial art gallery established in Warsaw in 1966 by a group of critics and artists, including one of the founding members of the Polish constructivist group of the the 1920s, with strong ties to constructivism. Except for the period of martial law, during which it was "closed for renovation," the gallery has continued its activities until the present day. Click on images to enlarge.

The following texts were published and distributed by the Foksal Gallery both in Poland and abroad. "Documentation" was published in conjunction with the "Sea Borne Happening" in which documents of the Foksal Gallery were placed in a trunk and dropped into the sea. The text of "The Living Archives" appeared as part of a gallery installation of the same title in which art documents - artists' statments, interviews, manifestos, and reports - were presented as film and slide projections, as tape recordings, and as over-enlarged images mounted on the gallery's walls.
October, Vol 38, published by The MIT Press.