Eleven Heavy Things, 2009
Eleven Heavy Things, created for the 53rd International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, is comprised of eleven sculptural works installed in an enclosed garden within Giardino delle Vergini. The cast fiber-glass, steel-lined pieces are designed for interaction: pedestals to stand on, tablets with holes for body parts, and free-standing abstract headdresses. A series of three pedestals in ascending height, The Guilty One, The Guiltier One, The Guiltiest One, ask the viewer to ascribe their guilt relative to the people around them. A large flat shape, hand-painted with Burberry plaid, hovers on a pole, waiting to become someone’s aura. A series of tablets invite heads, arms, legs and one finger: This is not the first hole my finger has been in, nor will it be the last. A wider pedestal for two people to hug on reads, We don!t know each other, we’re just hugging for the picture….
July assumes and invites the picture — these are eleven photo opportunities, in a city where one is always clutching a camera. Though the work begins as sculpture, it becomes a performance that is only complete when these tourist photos are uploaded onto personal blogs and sent in emails — at which point the audience changes, and the subject clearly becomes the participants, revealing themselves through the work.
Eleven Heavy Things has been installed in the Center Lawn of Union Square Park in New York from May 29 to October 03, 2010.
Eleven Heavy Things has been installed at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles from July 23 to October 23, 2011.
Production of this work was supported by Deitch Projects.
3D Homework: Read this article over the fall break. Be prepared for a class discussion when we return next week.
An interview with Chris Staley by Louise Maurice:
“For two years, French photographer Charles Fréger has been traveling throughout 19 European countries and trying to capture the spirit of what he calls “tribal Europe” in his “Wilder Mann” series. What he found was a huge array of pagan rituals, mainly related to the winter solstice and spring renewal, focusing on the common myth of the “wild man.”
It appears that the tradition of men dressing up as wild animals and monsters, which dates back to neolithic times and shamanism, is still very alive nowadays. The mythological figure of a “wild man” represents the complicated relationship humans have with nature and life and death cycles. His series explores the different interpretations of such figures – while some cultures depict him as covered in flowers or straws, others possess the features of bears, goats, or horned and hairy beasts.” – writer, Justina Bakutye
Today we introduce your next project: Body Extension. With this assignment, we will look at artists working sculpturally with the body. We will discuss strategies for building lightweight structures to be worn. Your homework is to arrive to our class meeting with a project and /or several ideas already underway, as well as, enough materials to continue working in class. I will conduct individual meetings throughout.
This project is a mixed media assignment lasting approximately 3 weeks with a critique scheduled for the last week of October. You are invited to work with any material(s) you deem appropriate to execute your idea. Your final piece must be worn and/or interactive for the critique.
We will begin with a short preparatory group workshop/project called “One Minute Sculptures” inspired by the work of Erwin Wurm. In addition to other supplies, please arrive prepared with a camera and several object “props” to work with for our next class meeting.
Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s (b. 1954) One Minute Sculptures are equal parts sculpture, performance, and image. Here is an interview with Wurm about the series.
“If you approach things with a sense of humor,” the artist says, “people immediately assume you’re not to be taken seriously. But I think truths about society and human existence can be approached in different ways. You don’t always have to be deadly serious. Sarcasm and humor can help you see things in a lighter vein.”
Sculpture I students: for our next class meeting, bring as many props as possible for an in-class “One-Minute Sculpture” workshop, as well as, a camera (preferred) or camera phone for documentation.
Spontaneity will be rewarded: “First thought, best thought”
Packing Plant Address: 507 HAGAN ST, NASHVILLE, TN / WEDGEWOOD/HOUSTON ARTS DISTRICT
In the book “Why Art Cannot be Taught” James Elkins describes different types of critique orientations based on an account by M.H. Abrams:
Mimetic: how closely does the work imitate nature/represents something in the world? This type of crit focuses on skill.
Pragmatic: designed to help the student please, delight, move, or instruct. how well are you communicating? entertaining? (is that even the goal?)
Expressive: does the work express the artist’s impulse or feeling (internal)? (this type of critique no longer relies on the audience or external world).
Objective: an attempt to focus the critique on the object itself, independent from the outside world (note: this is impossible).
Usually, most art critiques focus on all four of these orientations simultaneously.
3 stages to a critique:
1. Recognition Stage: 5-10 minutes at the beginning. time to see and “take-in” the work, to find the right angle for viewing, to feel and hear it.
2. First-Impression Stage: where the obvious is stated and initial impressions are voiced by the group.
3. Analysis Stage: where more difficult questions/criticisms are brought to light. Sometimes answered by the artist, sometimes not.
A format for the constructive participation in a critique of someone else’s work:
Judgement: A statement made by you about your opinion of a classmate’s artwork
Reason: A justification for your judgement.
Assumption: The (usually) unexamined or unrecognized principle behind the judgement
Axiom: The general truth that supports the assumption.
Dialogue Example: Unexamined Assumptions
A. “I think this film has too much playfulness about it, it’s goofy”
B. “Why is that bad?”
A. “Well, because it starts out seriously, then ends up careless.”
B. “Why is it bad for a work to start out serious and end up silly?”
A. “I think the work promises to take itself seriously in the beginning and then ends up flippant”
Teacher: “So does that make you distrust the artist’s intentions?”
A. Yes, I suppose so.
The unexamined assumption in this exchange “A film like this should not be devious.” It could also be any combination of:
– Any film should not be devious
– Any work of art should not be devious
– This one film should not be devious (in this way)
– Any work of art should not be devious (in this way)
Or other underlying assumption could be, “A work of art should not hide it’s intentions.” or (a more personal version) “A work of art like this is bad if it succeeds in tricking me”
Statement Example: Axiom (a difficult to argue “truth” that can be used to justify assumptions)
“Sculpture should deal with space.”
A Statement about ghosts by Laura Praseutkoun:
Hair on a shower ledge. A wet towel hanging. Folds formed in fabric. A body covered in felt. An empty bed. Clothes on the floor. These are the remnants of us that linger.
This series is a study of my relationship with my girlfriend Calloway. In our shared space I explore domesticity, intimacy, and the lines between independence and codependence.
The photographs and videos in this exhibition frequently use a first-person perspective in an effort to place the viewer within my environment. In many ways the work functions as a self-portrait. Initially, I created this work as a personal reflection. I wanted to record every aspect of our daily interaction with the intent to analyze and deconstruct it. Eventually ghosts became a body of work that is centered on the security provided by a long-term relationship. This sense of comfort is displayed through obscure moments taken from our life together; captured and re-framed.
With the notion that every relationship is different, there is the common thread of being selfless when loving someone else. In my relationship with Calloway, personal sacrifices turn into moments of solidarity between the two of us. Our relationship is both romantic and platonic. This project is about being in love and it captures the mood of our home. When constructing ghosts I wanted to create a narrative for the viewer that felt as if they were present in these moments. Like many relationships, ours is a journey of self-discovery and togetherness contrasted by instances of emotional solitude and isolation.
I staged this work in a domestic environment because my home is where I feel free from a politicized view of myself, my relationship, and my queerness. I chose to not contextualize this work in terms of queer politics because it is more about escape. Being in a personal space and having full control over my environment is empowering. At home Calloway and I have an understanding.
The title ghosts alludes to fragments of life and moments that have faded. It also relates to the complexity of emotions felt within a solitary space. Ultimately this work is about feeling safe at home. Calloway and I experience separate realities outside of the walls of our apartment. We face the world alone each day.
2014 / 18,180 stacked individual pieces of tissue confetti / 1.5cm x 190cm / photo: Tom Little