Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sorry about the changing fonts in the post below - I'm just not as handy dandy with this blog and couldn't get it uniform...

Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT

Edward Tufte – Larkin’s Twig 2- February, 2009

This sculpture exhibit at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT was an Edward Tufte steel sculpture that was installed at the museum in February, 2009. Below is the YouTube version of the installation process at the museum:


Upon entering the museum and paying the admission fee, I was then told that no photos could be taken within the museum, but photos could be taken of the sculptures on the grounds outside the building. So I took my camera outside and took a number of pictures of the exhibits on the wet, slushy grounds. Even though the weather was cloudy and threatening rain, I managed to get in quite a few pictures.

Before entering the museum I was able to capture the dog sculptures below:

After research of the above sculptures, I found that they represented Porto the Dog, Series of 5, 2009. Porta is a Portuguese Water Dog and the dog’s ball is a circular disc all made of thick steel plate. As this served as a precursor of the sculpture work of Edward Tufte, I was intrigued by the Twig sculpture as I entered the grounds in the back of the museum.

The Twig sculpture is the second one built and erected by Edward Tufte. The first one, called Larkin’s Twig, was built in 2004 made of steel and measured 10 meters or 32 feet in height and replicated here at the Aldrich Art Museum. Through my research of this sculpture I saw several video clips on the building of this structure as well as the installation of both pieces, one of which is listed above for the Aldrich Art Museum.

Further research took me to another avenue of sculpture which is not only the three-dimensional reality of each piece, but that sculpture pieces also cast shadows. Even though the weather was cloudy and I could not capture this actually occurring, I was able to view a video through time lapsed photography. I found that through this photography that it captured the shadows moving throughout the day into different shapes and movements. Because of its substantial size of the twigs made of steel, I was able to follow the shadowy structure laying down abstract visual geometric pictures on the ground.

Larkin's Twig: shadow studies (time-lapse video): http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00017D&topic_id=1 Edward Tufte, November 26, 2008

Also as I continued my research, I found that not only were there visual pictures on the ground, but as you observed the structure as you looked upward and as you walked around, you could see several different geometrical effects as shown below:

What also drew me to the fascination with this piece of sculpture was all the detail that went into designing the piece. For example, Edward Tufte in October, 2006 posted the following informational blog to his building of the first Larkin’s Twig:

Below, a sketch left over from the making of Larkin's Twig at Tallix. Shown is the original 14-inch twig, with estimates of footprint size when built.

-- Edward Tufte, October 26, 2006

As you can see, a lot of mathematical configuration came into play such as the placement of the geometrical figure leading to the dimensions of the final triangular layout of the completed structure (66’ 44” x 69’ 6” x 58’ 9”). I could have brought a tape measure to test out the final layout for myself, but that is only an afterthought and maybe upon another visit, I might just do that.

Edward Tufte’s biography includes that he was born on March 14, 1942 in Kansas City, Missouri. He was raised and went to school in Beverly Hills, CA in the 1960’s. He attended Stanford University where is obtained a BS and MS in statistics and received a PhD in political science from Yale where he taught. He has written several books which include the following titles:

• The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
• Political Control of the Economy
• Data Analysis for Politics and Policy
• Size and Democracy (with Robert A. Dahl)

He has also written countless number of articles and research papers as well as videos and network threads regarding his artwork. He also holds several fellowships among which are from the American Statistical Association, Guggenheim Foundation and the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences. He also founded the Graphics Press of Cheshire, CT in 1983. He currently resides in Cheshire, CT and currently presents one-day workshops throughout the United States.

In conclusion, what drew me to this piece of art was the initially simple structure of the sculpture of the Twig 2, but upon further research found that it started out as a simple idea of a twig in itself which turned into a very complex making it a sculptural piece of art. With all the geometrical and mathematical concepts that were involved with producing this metal fabrication of sculpture it made a very complex piece of art with several visual observations which took you different levels of amazement. That is what made this a truly remarkable piece of art by Edward Tufte.

Work Citied:
Author Stream: www.edwardtufte.com
Art Inventories
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum: www.aldrichart.org

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yale Art Museum - additional photos

Hi Jerry - Here are some more photos as you requested:

When I see these statues, I'm always amazing by how long it must have taken to carve each and every detail. It must be so hard to make something like stone look like soft fabric.

This reminds me of an elephant for some reason :)

This headdress is cool (looks like a broom), but it's interesting to see what other cultures wear as status symbols.

Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944)
The Waterfall, 1909
I read that Kandinsky made this piece with the idea of creating an artpiece free from direct representation, to provide the viewers with a totally new visual experience. Personally, I really enjoy to bright and vivid colors he used in this painting, but was surprised on how small the dimensions of the piece really were.

Everett Shinn (American, 1876-1953)
The Orchestra Pit
Shinn was commissioned by David Belasco to create murals for his broadway theatre. I like how this piece gives you the impression that you looking from the audience on this painting.

Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968)
Tu m', 1918
This is a modern piece I found made from oil on canvas with 3 safety pins and one bolt. This is an unusual shape with the length, but I learned that it was commissioned to be hung over a bookcase, hence the long dimensions. The title of the piece is also a sarcastic French expression meaning to cast something aside, as if painting was a bore to him.


Yale Art Museum

Duane Hanson-Drug Addict, 1974

This exhibit in the Yale Art Museum in New Haven, CT was a Duane Hanson sculpture of a drug addict with all his drug paraphernalia between his legs. This exhibit was completed by Duane Hanson in 1974. It portrays a male person sitting down and leaning against a wall. His right hand is holding a syringe and just above the left elbow his left arm is tied with a belt. His eyes are shut as he leans against the wall suggesting that he just injected himself with drugs.

In Duane Hanson’s work to form his sculptures, he would often photograph with his Polaroid his subject and work from that photo. His sculptures are cast from human models and then he uses polyvinyl and bondo (auto body filler) to make several body parts before assembling the body itself. After the body assembly, Hanson dresses the body and implants hair, and uses other accessories to complete is exhibit. Hanson wants to express that he does not want to duplicate his sculptures as imitating life, but he wants to make a declaration about human values, principles, morals or ethics. He also doesn’t like to put his sculpture subjects on a pedestal or view through rose-tinted glasses. He works on them vigilantly to present them as they might be in real life. He wants us to feel a link with his sculpture subjects so that our compassion will want to help those desperate individuals.

When I first saw this exhibit, I passed by it thinking initially that it was a real person sitting on the floor waiting for someone he was with that was just looking at another exhibit. As I continued through the museum looking at other exhibits, I eventually returned to this area again and still saw this person sitting. I still didn’t think anything about it, but didn’t want to stare or gaze longer than a glimpse. So I continued on to other exhibits in the area and then went to another floor. I eventually ended back up on the same floor to find another exhibit that I wanted to check out and I saw this person again. This time I took a longer glance and realized that it was a sculpture. So I walked closer and read the description and decided that it was worth mentioning as what I did often exhibits what we do in real life. We glimpse and glance, but don’t often take a closer look at people. How often do we miss opportunities to assist or help out because we don’t want to look closer?

Duane Hanson’s biography includes that he was born in Minnesota in 1925. He was a gifted sculptor and carver at a early age using various materials often from wood, broom sticks, etc. After receiving his degrees at the university he attended, he started to revolutionize his sculptures to a more abstract diversion which never really took off. He realized that he always tended to make his pieces of work into a figurative creation. In the 1950’s Hanson moved to Germany to teach art and he began to experiment with synthetic, artificial materials. When he returned to the United States in the 1960’s, his sculptures started to imitate political and social protests of that time, specifically racial discrimination and the drug society.

In conclusion, what drew me to this piece of art was the simple, but very complex piece of art. As mentioned before, it took me several times of passing this sculpture to realize that it was actually a piece of art. As I stood reflecting on this exhibit, it really drew me into a humanistic reflection of what might be done to help this person. The work conveys the loneliness and helpless of this person and the wonderment of whom this person actually was or could have been. Was this someone that impacted Hanson wanting to make a statement on the drug culture in all its complexity, but keeping really simple in its context of expressing his individual viewpoint? Many questions and thoughts were raised in observance of the piece of work by Hanson but the main thought still exists with me. How many times do we pass someone before we actually take notice of what is actually happening? It makes me want to observe more of what’s around me and see if I can make a difference to someone or in someone’s life if I can.

Work Citied:
Author Stream: www.authorstream.com/presentation/mjarry-102365-duane-hanson
Art Inventories: www.siris-artinventories.si.edu
Yale Art Gallery: www.ecatalogue.art.yale.edu

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Question on Posting Papers

Hi Jerry,

Is there any way of posting papers from Microsoft Word as an attachment? For this paper, I was searching the web for info on how to do it, but all I found was places that would convert it to a pdf. I ended up transferring the paper to notepad first, but then I had to reformat in the blog window, which wasn't the easiest task :)


First Paper - Stephen Hannock-Kasterskill Falls

Stephen Hannock-Kasterskill Falls, 2005

This exhibit in the American Modern Art section of the Metropolitan Art Museum in NYC was a Stephen Hannock’s painting of Kasterskill Falls and was completed in 2005. Stephen Hannock’s work expresses his interest in people that influenced his life. Hannock’s work on this exhibit reflects the time through the 1990’s that besides writing on the canvas, he added elements that had personal significance as well. He takes journal entries from this period in his life and uses the text portion to create a story behind the picture that includes people, the setting, objects and/or feelings to add visual texture and creativity to his art. Hannock specifically wanted to pay tribute to two specific people in this painting. These two people were deceased and both loved and painted waterfalls. One passed away from Aids therefore Hannock incorporated a red Aids ribbon and the other person was his first art teacher after prep school for which he included photographs of tiny figures and an Art in America magazine cover. Hannock also used acrylic, alkyd and oil glazes with collage elements on canvas to create this piece of work.

When I first saw this exhibit, I just thought it was a picture of a waterfall with people in a natural setting. But as I got closer and examined it, I noticed words in sections as a dialog to certain parts of the painting. I then I noticed more and more sections depicting a collage of sorts with images and newspaper articles and magazine covers along with other objects representing the time and era that his journal entries were written. In my research, I discovered that Hannock used several places in the United States to record his diary entries for several exhibits such as the Hoosic River Valley in western Massachusetts, Madison Square Park in lower Manhattan and in the painting the Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskill Mountains. I saw two of his paintings and both were of large scale. The Kaaterskill Falls exhibit was 9 feet by 8 feet. In order for him to express his text in his journal along with the collaged images, I found it necessary to have the exhibit this large in order for him to express not only in words but in images his life experiences at this point in time in his life.
Stephen Hannock’s biography includes that he was born on March 31st, 1951 in Albany, New York. He is an American painter known for his atmospheric landscapes which many times incorporated incorporate text inscriptions that related to family, friends or events of daily life. The artist creates his sandpaper-polished, oils on canvas using a signature technique that includes ripping into his paintings with power sanders and polishing each layer of paint. Many critics describe Hancock’s works as not only depicting traditional landscape paintings, but distinctively modern containing radical techniques as an American luminist painter. His paintings were multi-layered in both surface and meaning and portrays a manner that connects the past with the present.
To date, Hannock has painted over twenty Oxbow paintings and as part of the permanent collection, and currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the artist's painting Kaaterskill Falls for Frank Moore and Dan Hodermarsky, mentioned above as for whom the painting was made tribute to. Additionally, Hannock's work is in the collections at the following exhibition centers:

• National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
• Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
• Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, N.Y.
• Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
• Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA
• Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA
• Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA
• Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
• Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; and
• Readers Digest Collection, Pleasantville, NY.

Hannock was quoted in the Deerfield Alumni Magazine saying, "For all practical purposes, my life began when I moved to western Massachusetts." This may have been one of the reasons why he only stayed for two years Maine's Bowdoin College. He then moved to western Massachusetts where he attended classes at Smith College and, in 1976, finalized his education by earning degree from Hampshire College.

While at Smith College, Hannock apprenticed several years with Leonard Baskin, a sculptor and printmaker, creating anatomical drawings, woodcuts, sculptures and paintings. He often mentioned his apprenticeship with Baskin as "the ultimate art school" and he then began working as a struggling artist from an abandoned factory in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 1984, Hannock moved from Northampton, Massachusetts to New York City.
Hannock met his wife, Bridget Watkins and were married in 2000. Their daughter, Georgia, was born in June, 2000. While pregnant, Bridget was troubled by double vision which doctors attributed to her pregnancy. However the visual problems continued after she gave birth and, on September 11, 2001 (as planes flew into the World Trade Center, just down the street from their apartment) Bridget was informed by her neurologist that she had a brain tumor from which she died in October, 2004. Hannock memorialized his wife in a painting entitled Heroic Woman that now hangs at Deerfield Academy which depicted the life she lived during those last three years “as a mother, wife and professional...as well as a daughter, sister and friend...was truly heroic."[1] Today, Hannock and his daughter spend their time between Williamstown, Massachusetts and New York City. He is being closely monitored for a degenerative eye condition.

In conclusion, what drew me to this piece of art was the simple, but very complex piece of art. At first glance, the waterfall was just another landscape piece of art until I stepped closer to read what was written on it. That is what captured me – the writing and the intricate details to that text. All seemed to have particular meaning to the painting and to the artist. Hannock drew me into one part of this painting and then drew me into another part by another piece of text and more pictures related to that text. I stood reflecting on one item and then was drawn into another section of the painting and then another. It was amazing how my eyes were taken from one side of the painting to another to another. This painting interested me and after my research on this artist it became apparent that reasoning behind his type of artistry and how he portrayed it all on canvas.

[1]Hannock, Stephen. Luminosity: The Paintings of Stephen Hannock. Introduction by Duncan Christy. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2000, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hannock.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The MET!

Hi Jerry and class! Last Thursday, 5/28, I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. It was my first time and I was in complete awe of how expansive the museum was. There was actually a tour that started every 15 minutes... no waiting for me! I hopped off the tour to explore things for myself and definitely found the map one of the most useful things EVER! So much so, that I'm posting them...

I spent a good amount of time in the Hellenistic wing of the museum, which had many religous pieces. From what I read, this time period involved much religious art, specifically around the Olympic gods. Nude sculptures of goddesses were popular as well as other religious figure, such as the angel below:

The next picture below was of an artpiece by Salvatore that I thought was really cool. It wasn't exactly a picture, but it had so many elements of circles and strings and pictures that created a multi-dimensional piece. All these things combined made the piece almost holographic. And as I'm looking at my picture, it even looks like an ear at a certain angle, but it's really the Madonna!

I'll be talking about a Stephen Hannock piece in the paper that I'll attach soon. Looking forward to everyone else's postings!