Arden Jordan SP

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Class Wiki: Social_Practices_in_Art_Fall_13

Class Website: Here


Responses to Readings


Week 1


Though I thought this assignment was interesting and took great enjoyment in telling my friends “I'm going into to town to get lost,” I didn’t fully realize how great an exercise it was until I experienced it. The whole experience was surprisingly wonderful and fascinating and accomplished what I think the activity was supposed to do, bring us closer to the community that we live in.

I started my walk outside the bus terminal on Pleasant Street. I spent the ride to downtown Bennington talking to my former house chair, so when we got out of the bus I continued to walk and talk with her until we were at her destination, the bank. From then I was distracted by the colored catamount across the street which are all over Bennington. These catamounts were an integral part of my walk as they determined my direction several times. While looking at the catamount on Main Street.

On the bus ride to town I had seen a wonderful fat cat in a front yard (I am an unashamed cat person). I decided to walk towards that part of town in the hopes I could pet the cat. I chose a street I thought would get me to the general direction. As I walked down the street I saw the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House. I grew up attending a Unitarian Universalist church and it is the religious organization that I most relate to. I love attending sunday services when I am home, however I have never thought of attending a service here in Bennington. I walked into the building and looked around until I could find someone. I met a member of the congregation named Chuck. He informed me of the time of their Sunday service and we talked about my congregation in Maine.

It was really lovely finding the congregation, I have thought about attending a service before but never managed to get up the energy to go. Now that I know where it is and what time the service is I am really excited to attend some services. After I exited the meeting house I saw another catamount across the street. I went to look at the catamount and on my way back down the street I met a man with a two month old puppy. The puppy was adorable! I played with it for several minutes while talking to the owner. I then continued down the street. I then saw a sign that read “Private Property, No Trespassing.” I then proceeded to trespass. The property was a private apartment complex. There was a path between the buildings that I followed until it ended on a grassy hill. I went down the hill to the street and found another catamount. This catamount was my favorite of the day, it was mosaic that represented the Vermont seasons very beautifully with colored tiles. By this time I had lost all sense of where I was. I continued to follow the street until I found myself near Rite Aid. Knowing that the river was near Rite Aid I headed in that direction. I found the river path that I’ve always wanted to walk on. I walked on the path for a long time reading the various plaques that were placed on the path.

The path led me to a street with a slightly scary looking general store called “Beshama Super Market.” I went inside the market. Inside, there very few products and only one of each product on the shelves. There were three people at the cash register. I didn't interact with them. I left the market and continued down the street. I was now in a more residential area and walked for several minutes looking at the various houses and apartment buildings. I found myself once again on the Main Street. I saw another catamount and walked in that direction. I then saw a sign for the public library. I have never been to the Bennington library and I definitely didn’t know it was right in the middle of downtown. I followed the signs to library which small and very cute. They have a fairly nice reading room and a wonderful children’s area.

It was getting time to catch the bus back to Bennington so I started to walk back to the bus station but on the way I looked another catamount and found a really nice quiet back alley. The word the I can think of that best describes my walk is lovely. It was so great seeing new sides of the town, as well as discovering new places like the UU Church and the public library. It was beautiful weather and I would love to repeat it another day.

  • Since writing this I've attended the Sunday service. It was wonderful meeting the congregation and I hope to attend a lot of services this year.

Week 2

Sitting with Strangers

I chose a table of freshman out on the porch. I chose the table because there were only three of them which seemed a manageable number. As soon as a I sat down with them I realized that they were not complete “strangers” as one of them lived in my house and knew my name. I, however, had no idea who she was. Despite this, I continued to sit with them. They were really sweet, and I think they pitied me a little because I was sophomore who was sitting with strangers instead of friends. However, this might have been a manifestation of my social discomfort.

We talked about classes and interests. One of them was a pre-med major. I told her about my roommate (Tess) who is studying medical anthropology and is the science SEPC. Hopefully Tess can be a resource for her. Eventually another friend joined them and at the end of the dinner I ended up sitting with her (Emily) alone.

This exercise was really scary. However, once I started it was a lot easier. Thankfully I chose really nice people who were very welcoming. Since that dinner I have talked to two of the people at the table (ironically not the one in my house). I also think this exercise really helped me prepare for talking to non student strangers in Bennington.

Talking with Strangers

This exercise did not go the way I wanted it too. This might have stemmed from me being tired and in a bad mood. It was also bad weather when I did it, cloudy and rather cold, so not many people were outside on the streets. Though I had several conversation, none of them were as long or as deep as I wanted them to be.

The first conversation was on the bus ride to Bennington. There was a middle aged women sitting across from me. I complained about the weather. She asked me if I was from far away. I told her I was a New Englander, but that I had hoped that September would be a little bit warmer. She and I then talked about how nice the bus system was in Bennington. She told me the story of why she had to ride the bus. Her car was stolen by renters who lost in court against her. The police were investigating but hadn’t found it yet. I didn’t completely understand the subject and she was very defensive about it. Prompted by a radio commercial, we then talked about how horrible distracted driving is. She complained about people who drove drunk and I talked how angry I get when people text while driving. She then got off at her stop and we exchanged pleasantries, “Have a nice day” etc.

My second conversation was with a woman in Crazy Russian Girls. We were looking at the cases and neither of us could decide. There was a live musician and both of us commented on him. I told her the bakery reminded me of a place in Portland, Maine (where I’m from). She told me she went to nursing school in Westbrook. I told her that my father is a counselor at a hospital in Westbrook. We talked about how much we loved Portland. We then bought our pastries and left.

The last conversation was the shortest. It was with a group of older men asking directions to a place where they could get sandwiches. They asked if I lived here. I told them I was a student here and knew a few place. I suggested a few place and asked them why they were in Bennington. They were here for the car show. They then continued down the street.

All the conversation were not as in depth as I had hoped, and to be perfectly honest, if I was in better mood I would have tried some more people. Instead I went back to campus. On the ride back home I tried to start several conversations but the other riders were not receptive. This assignment was a lot harder than I thought it would be. New Englanders are usually pretty reticent to talk to strangers. I was born in the South and I spent my first Field Work Term in Tallahassee. I was thinking that this exercise would probably be easier in the South as people there are more likely to have meaningful conversations with strangers.

Week 4

Making 20 Dollars

At Crazy Russian Girls, they have two tip jars, both are labeled with different fictional characters/places/themes. Every time I go I become more motivated to tip because I motivated by the contest between the two (of course Batman beats Superman!). For the assignment, I was interested in seeing if fictional characters could entice people to put money in the jars when there was no socially/economically expected tip.

For five meal times I sat in Down Commons with two inconspicuous mason jars labeled: Batman and Dumbledore. And a sign that read:

WHO WILL WIN? Whoever has the most money will have his picture spammed across campus.

Doors, Walls, Bathrooms, Computers, Academic Buildings, Non-Academic Buildings, Passed out to random passerbys

All proceeds will go to Robert Ransick’s Social Practices in Art class

People got surprisingly heated about it and one woman put a five dollar bill in for Batman. The longer it went on the closer the two were and by the time it had finished, Dumbledore had won by only $1.20. In total I made $30.33.

Out of all the people who contributed (probably around 30 people), there were only 2 that I couldn’t name, the rest were either friends or acquaintances of mine. What the project did the most was take up time. I spent around 10 hours collecting the money and spent another 3 hours posting pictures of Dumbledore around campus.


Chen Shaoxiong

Chen is a Chinese artist who does some really cool stuff with ink, video and collage. In his art, the themes he works with are urbanization, activism and memory.

What drew my attention to him was his piece [{ Prepared Strategies for Activists]}. I loved the Lucy Lippard reading the difference between what she called "activist" art and "affirmative" art. This piece is activist, but has some affirmative and relational undertones which makes it really interesting.

Thomas Hirschhorn

During our artist presentations Hisrchhorn stood out to me. I think because my project was about Beuys. Dominic's presentation had a quote that said “Think of him as Joseph Beuys with a sense of humor and without the egomania.” This really resonated for me because though I studied Beuys extensively and saw how influential his works were and are, I never "liked" his works.

I loved Hirshhorn's work. I continued to look into the Gramsci monument and even blogged about it.

What, How and for Whom

"'What?,' 'How?,' and 'For whom?'"are the three basic questions of every economic organization, and are fundamental to the planning, conception, and realization of exhibitions and the production and distribution of artworks and the artist’s position in the labor market." [1]

I find their analysis of economics and art fascinating. I especially liked part of their exhibit: Dear Art. [2] [3]

Randall Szott

"Randall Szott is not “based” anywhere. When not working on his bio or vitae, he alternates between life in Oak Park, Illinois and various locations along the coastline of the southeastern United States on the largest US owned hopper dredge. His life is a series of three-week cycles on land and three at sea. He believes himself to be the only cook in the merchant marine with an MA in Interdisciplinary Art and an MFA in Art Critical Practices. He has presented his work at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the California College of the Arts, and The Skydive (Houston), The Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh) and The Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus). Szott frequently creates his own venues – Concept Trucking, placekraft, LeisureArts, and perhaps the only legitimate one – He Said, She Said. He has collaborated with InCUBATE, Public Collectors, Nancy Zastudil (Studiolo54), and The Public School. He is co-founding editor of 127 Prince, a journal of social practice."

One of the many bios from his website. I really like Randall Szott because he is definitely a character. His almost belligerent view of art is fascinating and his art work vs. art leisure is very interesting.

Weeksville Heritage Center

I found this organization fascinating as it is a historical institution that works to create non-historical events. Weeksville Heritage Center that had radical history - trying to recreate the vibrance of the community. They do events like garden parties with music, vendors and artists. They also spend a lot of time doing what they call "slowgramming"; they try to gage community interests and produce events based on those desires. Here is their website and this is their presentation at Creative Time.

Repo History

Their goal is “to retrieve and relocate absent historical narratives at specific locations in the New York City area through counter-monuments, actions, and events”. Their work really questions the way that history is constructed and they focus on the personal narrative. In addition, they question how history can affect the present. All these ideas are a large part of my plan and reading about their work was really inspiring. I read this really interesting interview and this website which has descriptions of some of their projects.

Student Presentation

Joseph Beuys

Short Summary

from here

Joseph Beuys was a German-born artist active in Europe and the United States from the 1950s through the early 1980s, who came to be loosely associated with that era's international, proto-Conceptual art movement, Fluxus. Beuys's diverse body of work ranges from traditional media of drawing, painting, and sculpture, to process-oriented, or time-based "action" art, the performance of which suggested how art may exercise a healing effect (on both the artist and the audience) when it takes up psychological, social, and/or political subjects. Beuys is especially famous for works incorporating animal fat and felt, two common materials - one organic, the other fabricated, or industrial - that had profound personal meaning to the artist. They were also recurring motifs in works suggesting that art, common materials, and one's "everyday life" were ultimately inseparable.

Joseph Beuy's Autobiography

Entitled " Life Course/Work Course" from here

1921 Kleve exhibition of a wound drawn together with an adhesive bandage

1922 Exhibition at Rindern dairy near Kleve

1923 Exhibition of a moustache cup (contents: coffee with egg)

1924 Kleve public exhibition of heathen children

1925 Kleve documentation: "Beuys as exhibitor"

1926 Kleve exhibition of a stag leader

1927 Kleve exhibition of radiation

1928 Kleve first exhibition of the excavation of a trench

Kleve exhibition to explain the difference between loamy sand and sandy loam

1929 Exhibition at the grave of Genghis Khan

1930 Donsbrüggen exhibition of heather together with medicinal herbs

1931 Kleve connecting exhibition

Kleve exhibition of connections

1933 Kleve exhibition underground (digging parallel to the ground)

1940 Posen exhibition of an arsenal (together with Heinz Sielmann, Hermann Ulrich Asemissen, and Eduard Spranger)

Exhibition at Erfurt-Bindersleben Airport

Exhibition at Erfurt-Nord Airport

1942 Sevastopol exhibition of my friend

Sevastopol exhibition during the capture of a JU 87

1943 Oranienburg interim exhibition (together with Fritz Rolf Rothenburg and Heinz Sielmann)

1945Kleve exhibition of cold

1946 Kleve warm exhibition

Kleve Artists' League "Successor of Profile"

Heilbronn Central Train Station Happening

1947 Kleve Artists' League "Successor of Profile"

Kleve exhibition for the hard of hearing

1948 Kleve Artists' League "Successor of Profile"

Düsseldorf exhibition in the Pillen Bettenhaus

Krefeld "Kullhaus" exhibition (together with A.R. Lynen)

1949 Heerdt total exhibition three times in succession

Kleve Artists' League "Profile of the Successor"

1950 Beuys reads Finnegan's Wake in "Haus Wylermeer"

Kranenburg, Haus van der Grinten "Giocondology"

Kleve Artists' League "Successor of Profile"

1951 Kranenburg, van der Grintens' collection of Beuys: Sculpture and Drawings

1952 Düsseldorf 19th prize in "Steel and Pig's Trotters" (following a light ballet by Piene)

Wuppertal Kunstmuseum Beuys: crucifixes

Amsterdam exhibition in honor of the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal

Nijmegen Kunstmuseum, Beuys: Sculpture

1953 Kranenburg, van der Grintens' collection of Beuys: Paintings

1955 End of the Artists' League "Successor of Profile"

1956-1957 Beuys' works in the fields

1957-1960 Recuperation from work in the fields

1961 Beuys is appointed Professor of Sculpture at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art

Beuys extends Ulysses by 2 chapters at the request of James Joyce

1962 Beuys: The Earth Piano

1963 FLUXUS Düsseldorf Academy of Art

On a warm July evening on the occasion of a lecture by Allan Kaprow in the Zwirner Gallery in Cologne, Kolumba churchyard, Beuys exhibits his warm fat Joseph Beuys' Fluxus stable exhibition in the Haus van Grinten, Kranenburg, Lower Rhine

1964 Documenta III sculpture, drawings

Beuys recommends that the Berlin Wall be elevated by 5 cm (better proportions!); Beuys' "VEHICLE ART"; Beuys' The Art Pill; Aachen; Copenhagen Festival; Beuys' Felt Pictures and Corners of Fat. WHY?; Friendship with Bob Morris and Yvonne Rainer; Beuys' Mouse Tooth Happening Düsseldorf-New York; Beuys' Berlin "The Chief"; Beuys' The Silence of Marcel Duchamp is Overestimated. 1964, Beuys' Brownrooms; Beuys' Deer Hunt (behind); 1965 and in us . . . under us . . . land beneath. Parnass Gallery, Wuppertal; Western Man Project; Schmela Gallery. Düsseldorf: . . . any rope . . . ; Gallerie Schmela, Düsseldorf "How to explain paintings to a dead hare"; 1966 and here already is the end of Beuys: Per Kirkeby "2.15"; Beuys Eurasia 32nd Movement 1963-René Block, Berlin-"with brown cross"; Copenhagen; Traekvogn Eurasia: Affirmation: the greatest contemporary composer is the thalidomide child; Division of the Cross; Homogen for Grand Piano (felt); Homogen for Cello (felt); Manresa with Björn Nörgard, Schmela Gallery, Düsseldorf; Beuys The Moving Insulator; Beuys The Difference between Image Head and Mover Head; Drawings, St. Stephan Gallery, Vienna; 1967 Darmstadt Joseph Beuys and Henning Christiansen "Mainstream"; Darmstadt Fat Room, Franz Dahlem Gallery, Aha-Strasse; Vienna Beuys and Christiansen: Eurasianstaff 82 minute fluxorum organum; Düsseldorf June 21 Beuys founds the DSP German Student Party; 1967 Mönchengladbach (Johannes Cladders) Parallel Process 1; Karl Ströher; THE EARTH TELEPHONE; Antwerp Wide White Space Gallery; Image Head-Mover Head (Eurasianstaff); Parallel Process 2; THE GREAT GENERATOR 1968 Eindhoven Stedelijk van Abbe Museum Jean Leering. Parallel Process 3; Kassel Documenta IV Parallel Process 4; Munich Neue Pinakothek; Hamburg ALMENDE (Art Union); Nörnberg ROOM 563 X 491 X 563 (fat); Earjom Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Braunschweig, Wörm-Glacial (Parallel Process 5); Frankfurt/M.: Felt TV II The Leg of Rochus Kowallek is not carried out in fat (JOM)! Düsseldorf Felt TV III Parallel Process; Cologne Intermedia Gallery: VACUUM---MASS (fat) Parallel Process . . . Gulo borealis . . . for Bazon Brock; Johannes Stöttgen FLUXUS ZONE WEST Parallel Process-Düsseldorf Academy of Art, Eiskellerstrasse 1: LIVER FORBIDDEN, Cologne Intermedia Gallery: Drawings 1947-1956; Christmas 1968: Intersection of the track from IMAGE HEAD with the track from MOVER HEAD in ALL (Space) Parallel Process-1969 Düsseldorf, Schmela Gallery FOND III; 2/12/69 Appearance of Mover Head over the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. Beuys takes the blame for the snowfall from February 15-20; Berlin-René Block's Gallery: Joseph Beuys and Henning Christiansen Concert: I attempt to set (make) you free-grand pianojom (fieldjom). Berlin: Nationalgalerie; Berlin: Academy of the Arts: Sauerkraut Score-Eat the Score! Mönchengladbach: Transformation Concert with Henning Christiansen; Düsseldorf Kunsthalle exhibition (Karl Ströher); Lucerne Fat Room (clock); Basel Kunstmuseum Drawings; Düsseldorf PROSPECT: ELASTIC FOOT PLASTIC FOOT. Basel Kunstmuseum Works from the Karl Ströher Collection; 1970 Copenhagen Works from the Karl Ströher Collection; Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt Karl Ströher Collection.



Additional Information and Images

Wonderful resource for more information on Beuys

Public Dialogue - Start of Playlist

I Like America and American Likes Me Images

I Like America and American Likes Me Video


Beuys, Joseph, and Ute Klophaus. Make the Secrets Productive: Joseph Beuys; Sculpture and Objects; March 5 - April 10, 2010, New York, PaceWildenstein. New York: PaceWildenstein, 2010. Print.

Beuys, Joseph. Joseph Beuys in America: Energy Plan for the Western Man : Writings by and Interviews with the Artist. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1990. Print.

"The Information Office." WAC. Web. here

"Joseph Beuys." Art Encylopedia. Web. here

"Joseph Beuys Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works." Art Story. Org. Web. here

Lacayo, Richard. "Beuys Will Be Beuys." Time. Web. here

"Notes on Joseph Beuys." Zakros Interarts. Web. here

Staeck, Klaus, and Gerhard Steidl. Beuys in America. Heidelberg: Edition Staeck, 1997. Print.

Stachelhaus, Heiner. Joseph Beuys. New York: Abbeville, 1991. Print.