Brianna McGraw

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Past Work



I love your New Orleans photos. I want to see more! Maggie Duffy 19:42, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

list of influences

IDEAS & ART, 2010

Week One

In the Making text:

  • birth of inspiration -> expiration
    • idea of immortality existing within work
  • Reservoirs used for inspiration: cultural frequencies and tradition, drawn from within oneself, passion, "a-ha!" experience -> trans-formative moment
    • new inspiration for each new work
    • happenstance: product of a random encounter with phenomenon that infuses that artist with zeal (enthusiasm/energy) and purpose
      • nothing vs. something
      • fill-in-the-blank
    • art which changes ones state of being

Julian LaVerdiere:

  • channels continuous flow of creativity vs. eruption of an idea
  • strive to establish the inspired state of mind as a mental norm
  • creates work that cultivates mystery, curiosity and stimulates creative action
    • creating art that inspires others
  • SOMNAMBULISM - way of conquering unknown territory of the unconscious
    • constant energizing stimulus (i.e. untitled project name = unsolved mystery)
    • does not food regarding reality but illustrates hope and inspiration

William Kentridge:

    • works to expose viewer through the allowance of mental manipulations that magnify details, blue lines, condense time, connect disparities and reorder chronologies
      • Facts are not simple. Facts are not fixed.
    • work remains between the space of doubt and hope offering no answers but readdressing history patterns that have yet to be resolved
      • What ends in clarity does not begin that way.

Eureka Hunk text:

  • notion/concept of troubleshooting to a solution - insight arrives and problem solved

1. Mental block. 2. Breakthrough!

  • key feature of insight: feeling of certainty that accompanies idea
    • when it happen, you KNOW - not think.
  • le BRAIN
    • Right Hemisphere: connotation, everything left out in dictionary, i.e. emotional charge
    • Left Hemisphere: storing primary meaning
      • Right (trees) help to see left (forest)
  • Analysis vs. Insight: revolution - instantaneous
    • relaxation phase -> CRUCIAL to insight, best thinking half asleep
    • forced insight prevents insight (similar to how the more you think about falling asleep, the less you're able to)
    • cognitive control to let go/step back
    • consciousness limited in capacity - YOUR BRAIN KNOWS MORE THAN YOU DO.
  • insight -> reconstruction of information - seeing the same old thing in an entirely new way

Week Two


Edward D. Bono –

  • Lateral thinking: liberation from old ideas and stimulation of new – generative, ‘a habit of mind and an attitude of mind’
  • Challenge assumptions, generating alternatives, suspended judgment, brainstorming, analogies, random stimulation
  • Fresh perspective OVER expertise (basic ingredients of idea -> trying various recipes)
  • Not getting tied down in one way of thinking
  • Ability to think laterally determines a creative vs. non-creative mind
  • Lateral thinking works complementary to vertical thinking: selective – moves forward sequentially by justification

J.P. Guilford –

  • Producing multiple ideas via divergent and lateral thinking -> cornerstone for creativity -> central idea that overcoming old habits opens creativity

Robert Weisberg –

  • Divergent thinking not show in all creativity
  • ‘The creative myth’ - Creative process: logical thinking, trial and error, feedback, reflection – these are ordinary thought processes, not lateral thinking: people vary via skills and knowledge, not lateral thinking
  • Expertise and knowledge based on past experience = foundation of creators

Creative people think differently. Drawing from all these articles, yes, I guess. I only know how I think and am made more aware on a daily basis the drastic ways in which others think especially regarding means of ‘creativity.’ The current debate I’m in with my father is his non-stop nagging to take marketing classes. “I’m in marketing, I’m creative.” I try to explain how I approach the process differently and have yet to be able to communicate myself properly verbally.

My creative process involves using all the reservoirs in my mind and exploring each idea from every possible angle to create a work that provokes questions of a person, so I guess it is a bit of both.


  • Thinking productively – how many ways can I look at this problem? RETHINK. SOLVE. – generates as many alternative approaches as possible and explores all these approaches
  • I mean, shouldn’t this be how everyone thinks? As many ways as I look at things, I can’t think of one way to not think productively.


  • Thomas Mann – art of quotation – ‘higher cribbing’ – I just like how this is referred to as higher cribbing because I just made a Cribbage board yesterday prior to reading this article.
  • We are enabled by ‘open source’ culture – mash-ups, collage, re-mix.
  • Is this plagiarism? We are sponges and absorb all that is around us so how can we ignore these and not draw them in somehow?
  • The use of found footage “collected from real-world examples become ‘paint on a palette.’ And it is this ‘cultural reference’ that has emotional meaning to people." Lessig
  • The idea of copyright as ‘usemonopoly’ by government – art property/economy – art as gift vs. destroyed by community
  • Grooving off Thomas Jefferson – “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.”
  • The perception of information as malleable is common for those native to digital culture; we can control and reshape it in new and interesting ways. Keeping the ‘public sphere’ in mind, the circulation information and ideas through large societies has the power to create a projected illusion of reality. Slowly saturating into this reality, all qualities of the body are transferred to the machine while the body remains torn and disintegrated.

Projects in Visual Art 2009


Interests & Ideas

  • My current interests revolve around exploring aesthetics, light, space and time. I'd first like to tackle light through photography playing with different shutter speeds with longer exposure time. I'd also like to start shooting with a medium format, 120mm, camera. I was looking at work of Gjon Mili and wish to experiment with a similar focus of light waves through space. This corresponds with my Physics class on light science and also a sculptural piece I wish to make. Using mirrors, glass and other objects that transfer light, I would like to create a sculpture that will be projected on. With the use of materials in the sculpture, I really want to have light bounce off of objects and completely distort and transform the original image being projected. Creating 3D projects within a space is very appealing to me. After helping install a public art sculpture over FWT, I realized more roles art can play.
    On another note, I have recently gotten into writing letters delivered via snail mail. I want to make stationary from scratch, down to the paper, based on Mother Goose nursery rhymes and include a series of animation shorts based upon the same rhymes. I feel that children's book have such a strong use of imagery and would like to capture such imagery in my work this term. "The Black Book of Colors" focuses on a sensory experience to convey color and texture while producing an experience of what it's like to live blind. By cutting off senses, others become more dominant. How can I use this in my work?
    Part of what I'm still struggling with is creating context within my work as opposed to it being a main visual component. I feel that through the course of this term, I will learn more about what context means to me through my readings of philosophy in Aesthetics. Coming from a background in dance, music and rhythm also play large roles in my influences and base as an artist. If I could channel my perception of movement into photography stills and sculpture, I feel that the conceptual elements of my work will advance. I just need to find a way this works.
  • Due to my immobility, I have been contemplating what I can do. My ideas always involve such physicality yet I have to embrace my limitation. When I was home for my surgery, my mom was making a pillow using a needlepoint pattern. This craft has an plan and intention. What would happen if I used the same tools yet have no plan? Does that make whatever I end up with art?
    I started pondering back to Collingwood and Tolstoy and their theories of pure art verses an artifact verses an object that has a function. Knitting is a craft which has hierarchy in its process, i.e. making the knitting needles, shearing sheep, spinning wool, buying wool and making a sweater. Every aspect has a useful purpose. Whereas in art, a plan is not necessary. There is no distinction between planning, execution and result.
    This brings me to form and matter of my mother's needlepoint. How can I use the same raw material and yet have a completely different final product? By making my intention different from hers, I am creating a piece of needlepoint artwork. The lingering question, “Is it art?” may still remain and that is what I am going to try to figure out through this process.
  • I also just recently took one of my friend's drawings and transformed it into a simple collage.


Week One

  • Sources of inspiration - where does it come from? how can it be used?
  • Art as a statement in public space - how does it address situation in an understandable way? should it be understandable?
  • Relationship between viewer and work
  • Everything goes back to what is art? what is the use of art? investments, pleasure, no use, etc.

Week Two

The Vanishing Point

  • "When the far becomes the near, the future the present, when the iron rails meet and the trains stop running because everything desired has been delivered, everything separate has come together."

In the Making

  • Base of opinion, personal POV
  • "One of the remarkable attributes of artistic representation is that the subject of the work of art may be different from the subject of representation."
  • Image distortion within Mutual Interest, expressionist work of art
  • Use of symbolism - what does main subject symbolize in the greater gist of things?
  • Once again, where does inspiration stem from?
  • Use of camera work - can show emotion, pain, goals, rage, etc.
  • "Artists are not obliged to express attitudes."

Week Three

Relational Aesthetics, Nicolas Bourriaud

  • York Art Tours: Gordon Matta-Clark & Rirkrit Tiravanija
  • Art:21 | Pierre Huyghe | "Anlee"
  • Art:21 | Richard Tuttle
  • The idea that contemporary art "is often marked by non-availability, by being viewable only at a specific time (29)." - the rise of interactive art / art that disrupts common expectations of public and private space - creating a space - INVITING VIEWER IN - in result of the desire to have more emphasis on social interactions instead of selling art more than making it - Hybert's definition of art: "a social function among others, a permanent 'digestion of data', the purpose of which is to rediscover the 'initial desires that presided over the manufacture of objects(37)." - the role of artwork has changed, what was once to create alternate and imaginative realities has moved into the idea to be living and model action within the reality created, regardless of the scale of the space - do-it-yourself art, art based or gathered from elements in reality - Regarding Rirkrit Tiravanija and Gordon Matta-Carl, the idea that there is a possibility of immediate discussion at the exhibit through the creation of free areas and time frames.
  • "Contemporary art models more than it represents and fits into the social fabric more than it draws inspiration thereform(18)." What is the form? Is there a beginning and and end? What is the glue since visual imagery has expanded within today's society. "Forms are developed, one from another(21)." - The idea that one idea inspires another to another to another, etc. That everything around us is a factor - "the glue." More like formations than form! (CON)FUSION BETWEEN STYLE AND CONTENT. What is beauty? - "It's art that makes art, not artists(27)."
  • Noritoshi Hirakawa
  • Liam Gillick: really interesting use of test in the pieces
  • Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster - once again, getting the public to interact with the piece - use of realistic influences to inspire

Week Four

Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewing Rirkrit Tiravanija

  • Focusing on the idea of use (does this make it art or design?) - ties back to elements discussed in Relational Aesthetics about creating an event in an environment - projects are one time occurrences, documentation is the only form in which it lives on - "conception of art as an investigation and implementation" - Rudolf Schindler - relationship between private and public space, what is the role the viewer plays in these situations? variations which can take place between that situation as a daily routine or the concept of it as an event - creating "both possibilities of presentation, so that it is static at the same time as being active" - "I like the idea of always moving and thinking, not always just moving."
    • Idea of platform / station(i.e. markets, dance floors, bathroom, kitchen): "sophistication of difference" - "globalism doesn't really work because it's just a skin, a skin which gives you the excuse of not understanding the idea of understanding difference" - portraying this notion through work; idea of publishing as an activity: "I think publishing is a future activity, which can connect this kind of thinking to a bigger field and other structures" - move this idea as a collective, not just an individual - way of connecting people from outside worlds - "The Land," is a massive-scale artist-run space making it possible for artists to branch out of expectations and personal boundaries to create works they would not have initially imagined, artists involved: Robis Rehberger, Alicia Framis and Karl Holmqvist - creation of a self-sustainable station - no openings for projects! "There has never really been an opening for me. And I never feel the need to fix a moment where everything is complete." - pieces of work are flexible and rely on those participating in experience, elements of unpredictability and opportunities for progression - SOCIALIZATION - creates platform to talk about work while being in it and new ways to look at the relationships between art, people and various subject matters
      • Stations regard "passage space" whereas a semi-station is about the "outside space" - semi-station allows for material to be gathered to bring to the station: semi-stations related to a park or a garden - "its interiority and exteriority, and ideas of nature and living, inside and outside" - semi-stations allow for rest - can be considered a platform of interaction - Marcel Broodthaers: all things together in life - Philippe Parreno - "I think it's not so much a matter of nothing being new anymore, but that there are important ideas that have already been made. And rather than trying to represent it, to present the things that already exist." - interest in collectivity: using pre-existing ideas: part of our consciousness of reality."
        • "Always creating relations, people meeting people."

Gabriel Orozco

  • Work: a continuous exploration, element of surprise, "finds hidden revelations in the everyday," focus of what is real and how to make it realer - idea of confronting and using reality as a base of inspiration - idea of aiming art at an individual and not the masses - intention in idea of public art: "Public doesn't just refer to a spatial level anymore; it's not just what happens on the street, it's also when private spaces become part of public experience." - dialectical relationship between private and public, personal and general, individual identity and collective identity - used as theme
    • Referencing back to In the Making, how does get inspired? - Orozco looks at everyday objects and connections he has with them, where he is at the moment and how to display idea - meditations and television combined to make piece of papier mache socks hanging above 12th Street -
  • Does not want "work to enter the abstract bubble of formal circulation" - does not want a label or identity for work - artists always are inspired why what surrounds them and work is associated with those surroundings - "In art, the original intention of the artists isn't want counts, what counts is when, in the end, a society, or group of people at a historic moment, choose to identify with a piece or an individual artist."
    • Presentation of artists as an individual allows for public to connect with work and the artist - "they are in contact with a personal and direct experience when they view my art" - belief that the role of an artists changes based on political system they reside under
      • Disagreement in "the notion of art in seclusion, free from the world" - how does one resolve the confrontation between the performance and the public? - how does scale tie into this? just because something is large does not mean it demonstrates something big or meaningful - one memory in time can leave more of an impression then a routine followed daily for a period of time - "the littlest things in life can be charged with meaning" - artist needs to find power within work and not conform or portray market demands, lack of strength; how much time will piece take to complete? Orozco's believes artist must explore to find their own scale for this
  • Mentions:

Whitney Museum, (March 28)

  • Site specific based art - within form, a tension exists between flatness/space and representation/abstraction - creation of own space/reality - pushes boundaries of sculpture and time allowing media to forge new connections between the viewer, object and space - all ties back to personal relations with surroundings - idea of drawing upon everyday materials allows for familiar perception yet out of original context
  • Artists:
    • Doug Aitken - "Electric Earth" - "A lot of times, I dance so fast, that I become what's around me. It's like food for me, I absorb the energy, absorb the information. It' like I eat it. That's the only now I get." - use of organic, natural structures contrasting with man-made, architectural elements ex.) dance of man vs. dance of surveillance camera
    • Elad Lassary - works through portraiture to manipulate pre-existing material and investigate how images are constructed and how our relationship with them changes over time - Used Doris Humphrey's "Art of Making Dances" text to determine camera angles in Untitled (Agon) based on Balanchine's ballet
    • David Smith, Robert Morris, Barry Le Va, Michael Keizer, Agnes Denes, Alice Aycock, Gary Simmons, Anthony McCall, Robert Irwin, Fred Sandback, Ronald Balden, Claes Oldenborg, Robert Smithson, Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Richard Serca, Sharon Cockmart, Alex Bag

Metropolitan Museum, (March 28)

  • Hellenistic Period, Greek grave markers - sculptures of deceased's head
    • Art vs. craft, art vs. design - serving a purpose vs. art for art's sake
      • The ancient Greek's approached functionality with an eye to the aesthetic - beauty and function do not need to be seperate
  • Modigliana, Joan Miro, Leonora Carrington, Dali, Yves Tanguy, Rene Magritte, Mondrian, Brancosi, Rovault, Chagall, Pierre Bonnard, Fernand Leger, Braque, Victor Braunet, Balthus, Grant Wood, Max Ernst, Normal Rockwell, Kehinde Wiley, Stuart David, Charles Sheeler, Florine Stettheimer, Josept Stella, Stanton MacDonald, Manierre Dawson's influence on Picasso and Matisse, Antoine-Louis Barye, Alfred Stevens, Pierre-Auguste Cot

Week Five


  • “All artists are alike. They dream of doing something that's more social, more collaborative, and more real than art.” - Dan Graham - “public art as its point of departure to address the site as social rather than formal or phenomenological framework” - worlds of relational aesthetics, collaboration, community: each of these plays a strong role in shaping the framework of a piece and its intention – what is the work trying to engage the viewer in? Due to its social quality, is it social or political and how does one determine if it's successful? - exempt from art criticism: shift of perspective from specifics in work to generalities of ethics – REINFORCEMENT OF SOCIAL BOND
  • “Contemporary art has promoted an ethical turn in art criticism.” - Process over product – how does collaboration reach a point is more important than the point they reach – decisions need to be direct - Oda Projesi vs. Thomas Hirshhorn: Oda's work works as art because judgment on the artists' relationship with their collaborators – collaboration is key – Hirshhorn feels his problem as an artist is how to take a position, and to give it form which goes beyond social, economical, political conventions – using art as a tool to confront the world, the time and reach and fight in this complex world, “Energy, yes. Quality, no.” – living in time of opinion, effect and information
  • Grant Kester: absence of commitment to aesthetic, shift away from personal experience – views social engagement as radical - “Concerns about pleasure, visibility, engagement and the conventions of social interaction.” - self-sacrifice i.e. “idea that art should extract itself from the 'useless' domain of the aesthetic and be fused with social praxis.” - Yet doesn't a piece have to remain aesthetic to at least be considered good art? Where is the line between social art and social work? - Rancière: “the aesthetic does not need to be sacrificed at the alter of social change.” - belief that good art is able to fulfill the aesthetic experience while maintaining the promise of a better world to come through it – relying on the structure of work and how it's received.

1. What is called “relational aesthetics.” - harder to reference aesthetic terms outside a gallery setting – living in the world of the ready-made, endless access to mediums: promiscuity in collaboration – artists “aim to turn passive viewers into a temporary community of active interlocutors.” - idea of introducing audience to subject, evoking an appeal to subject continued by an engagement to subject – discussion plays a key role in this! (for both the creator and viewer) – stations to create an interaction, interactive art – Huyghe: “art is a way to explore other possibilities of exchange,” “The question, is less 'what?' than 'to whom?” - art brings together the aesthetic, the cognitive and the critical – risk in counting on audience involvement, what if it backfires? How can one be assured piece will execute itself properly? - COLLABORATION IS KEY (stated yet again!), it is the answer but what is the question? - thought that sociability in art is capable of shaping art due to the lack of it elsewhere – “relational aesthetics” as an after theory, post-criticism. However, there are elements that can be criticized, i.e. effectiveness of artists intention, audience engagement, etc.
2. Its “archival” dimension – (or lack thereof) Documentation of work is not made and lives on through the voice of the artist who has the ability to elaborate on the art, installations make this possible – archival footage is fragmented and depends on human interpretation allowing for even work in “post-production” to be considered as “pre-production”; a result of being less concerned with origin and using a root as a base to depart from (“endlessness of thinking” - Hirschhorn, using forms to make spaces for movement) – Internet vs. museum: orientation of art being archived, display, arrangement, access – What connections does archival art present? Our past, future, present, other dimensions, culture, reality, eras, etc.
3. Test through Joachim Koester: (I don't really get the piece linked in context with the reading) work borders on fiction and documentation; pieces story together but never to point of resolution, creates various points-of-view – combination of times within the space of the actual piece - “You can really grasp time as material through the simple act of comparison.” - claim that modernization is obliterating history – Koester works with exposing previously overlooked sites as “a scene for potential narratives to unfold” – interest in how history materializes - archival art as means to fill the gap between research and presentation. All of these points focus back on creating a space for a moment in time. If one doesn't document the experience, it vanishes. Art can be instant with no lifeline or live forever.

Week Six

Interview with David Wojnarowicz

  • “Every painting or photograph or film I make I make with the sense that it may be the last thing I do.” (AIDS victim) - used personal diversity as a tool demonstrating lack of communication with society, experience life in as real a state as possible – confrontation: when is the time to think about death? Should one wait until they are faced with a fatal diagnosis or address it before there is even an issue? Where does fear come in? - shifts in sense of the world: internal vs. external - “what is amazing about suddenly developing a heightened sense of mortality-really, nothing changes.” - claim of being faced with this enormous thing is simple, one not be preoccupied with it unless they lack important information - “Things tend to gain power by their denial.” - work evolves through elements building
  • Confrontation: Stirs pot up, changes range of reality and when faced with confrontation, one has no choice because they cannot block it out – Belief that society should confront mortality in a real way from the start and that sense of mortality comes with being sensitive with the idea of death and examining the structure of society - “I think to deal with mortality on an honest level would shake the foundations of society.” The existence we are born into is already planned and as humans, we learn to adapt yet would it be a joke, like Wojnarowicz says, if we looked at mortality honestly through basic human actions? We had no say in shaping the existence we are apart of. Would we all just be living the same routine everyday and night, similar to how we do now or would it differ? A question that continues to come up in conversation lately – why do we let authority, an outside force, dictate to us what we can and cannot do? Is it because we don't care, don't want to question them feeling it is a waste of time or feeling nothing can change? - Personal existence has to form into a pre-invented structure - “I think I mostly felt anger to realize that people don't think for themselves.”
  • Contradictions: “I hate the idea of being politically correct. I think it's inhuman,” by neglecting or hiding contradictions, we live lies. - “I think an ideal society would provide everyone with the use of methods of transmitting information.” Have we reached this point now or does propaganda and ignorance with what is going on in the whole world create a stronger hinderance than realized? - “The media is just another system of control.” The media lacks information, it can make you feel a certain way yet the repetition of what they want you to understand, they'll tell you into you're blue in the face without your personal knowledge ever growing
  • Documentation: play, organize, make gestures based on tidbits that Wojnarowicz wrote for years – always write down ideas, things to research, explorations, etc. - Being able to detach oneself from surroundings is also valuable in allowing dreams to flow and to get lost in something larger than social structures. - “I felt very alien in those communities because they communities were alien in themselves.” - Relates to personal experience growing up in Jersey in a similar mindset.
  • Human society's rejection of nature: trust for animal world vs. human, animalistic tendencies of survival and organic structures – as humans, the distance we have from nature even though we are in it – Wojnarowicz uses animals as metaphors, great technique since animals have very distinct traits and personalities that can be conveyed in contrast to a typical human being - “I look in the animal world and find the counterparts to the technological/human world.” (Doug Aitken, Thoreau) Animals are symbolic and their raw qualities allow us to view certain matters in new ways, without the human aspect constantly lingering – interest in natural events that we cannot control and the possibilities they present - “It's breaking the barriers of time, so that the thing that happened ten years ago is no less real than whatever just set off that particular memory.”
  • Pop-culture: Cartoons allow for the forgetting of time, distance, reality and surreality because they're open to interpretation especially in the mind of a child - “Any form for real spirituality is denied after a certain age.” - Finding the symbolism in everything, i.e. maps as metaphors for the government, pre-printed food posters are symbols of consumption – perception, thought and memory are continuous and life is just picking up these traces of memories – the quality of time can also change, it expands and contracts constantly depending on given circumstances, don't resist a reality that is pre-imposed
  • Desire: desire for altered states of consciousness – alter perception of reality - “It's just an inherent part of out curiosity to want to see things differently.” - One will go to great lengths to feel a weightlessness from their own body because what they contains within the mind and body is very intense and pressure builds up – pleasure in being in a state of nothingness, hitting a “blank spot” and trying to locate a presence that is really just contained within.

Week Seven

Art of Participation Pages 19-31

  • What dictates “good art?” Price is one quality that does, someone bases the value of an artwork based on their aesthetic taste and the prediction of what others will also enjoy – the viewer has been active in this sense for some time yet, the role of art has changed in its significance through the interaction of the artist with the viewer. The viewer must more from a passive position into a present one through an awareness of space and participation - argument that art based in this practice is repetitive
  • The Gesamtkunstwerk: total artwork: ideal of tragic fall and self-sacrifice of artist – unification and means to an end. “The community of the future will derive from the realization of the gesamtkunstwerk, a dramatic synthesis that will unite every person participating in it.” - participatory art viewed as a reduction but is more so an extension - “The artist's actual sacrifive resides in his self-subjugation to the repetition of the sacrificial ritual and in his renunciation of the uniqueness of his artistic individuality.”
    • Richard Wagner: recognized move from Egoism into Communism – calls for artists to abandon social isolation and that the only true artist is people as an entity - “to use up, to destroy means of art” - “The might of individuality will never assert itself more positively than in the free artistic fellowship.”
    • Futurists: politics and art > creating an event > having a strategy of conquering public space using provocation as a catalyst to activate and expose masses – aimed towards collective experience, not individual art objects: Hugo Ball – explored paradox (06.25.1917) by “transvaluation of nonsense in the highest degree of sense.”
    • Surrealist, André Breton: explored spontaneity of the subconscious – investigated the demise of the solo artist to include masses in artistic practice – transformed victory of Communism into total artwork in which all things individual are absorbed into the collective– varies from Rirkrit Tiravanija in the sense that Rirkrit is still a solo artist behind his work even although he may not be able to control every aspect of it when public becomes involved
    • Mikhail Bakhtin: context of carnival: model for participatory: artwork for the future: “stages and celebrates victory of collective body over individual spirit.”
    • Fluxus, Guy Debord's Situationist International and Andy Warhol's Factory > aim of collaboration between artists with a synthesis of all artistic media – essential quality was the “readiness of artists to forego their isolated, elevated, privileged position in relation to the audience.” - ultimate goal of uniting the artist and the audience at a particular location at a particular time - personal experiences vs. private ones and how they change in regards to context
  • INTERNET/DIGITAL: “The experience of bodily presence, for which modern art has continually striven, is absent in virtual communication.” - Claim of internet as participatory: provokes a reaction which revokes another reaction and the chain begins yet it is impersonal participation as there are no bodies – interpretation of the individual media as an extension of human body capabilities (McLuhan similar to Wagner) – humans are the original medium and internet does not view this new media as a return to its source “but as a complete anesthetization – a 'numbing' of man.” - Modern media is such a daily aspect of human life so how does one make the internet more community based in social collaborations? Is joining groups or signing petitions online for social change merely political or is there an element of community art in it? - books vs. the internet and the attention needed for either, does the internet demand less attention due to the society in which we reside? - Kevin Kelly: On the internet and its progress in the next 5,000 days
    • “We live in an era in which the word gradually seems to be being replaced by the image. The amount of time people spend reading a book or newspaper is dropping, while the time they spend on illustrated magazines and in front of the television or the computer screen is increasing. […] In addition through, images seem to have something which gives them a certain advantage in competing for our attention. They are more seductive, they seem more accessible, direct and universal than words and perhaps that is why the technical possibilities are seized upon so eagerly.” - The Image Society: Essays on Visual Culture, Introduction.
  • Hot verses cool mediums: television is cool, the internet is hot because it requires a degree of concentration and focus – how can one turn a cool medium into a hot one?

Pages 51-64

  • Post-World War II: social disengagement and formal “purity” in work, i.e. that of Pollock and Rothko: media circus created views of Pollock and the context of his work – intention of artist vs. perception by critics - “His catalytic influence helped shift the global emphasis in art from the object – a representation of experience – to the process of producing that object.”
  • Live art: lives on through documentation – documentation as a means of creating a “successful” event for gallery owners yet do not contribute to artists, i.e. addressing Klein's communication based on “the complex ideas about body and spirit underlying his art.” - symbolizes global experimentation with live art – private interactions in public space is addressed yet again - “transform the once-meditative process of producing an art object into an electrifying even suitable for photographic and media consumption.”
    • Television! Brings exposure to masses, seeing was believing, ability to tie people together through their programs – Is it art? Another question constantly addressed – Anything was fair game in regards to subject matter, content and approach – We, the public, really have no need to explore anything because it is all laid out in front of us; magazines, newspapers, television, the internet, yet what is propaganda and what is real? How do we differentiate between the two?
      • Work of Les Levine and Bonnie Ora Sherk stepped completely out of the bounds of art causing works to lead double lives: functioning in the real world and functioning documentation of such for galleries – use of platform/station
  • “Art offered a way of referring directly or indirectly to social conditions or ideologies.” - Hans Haacke took a poll, this was considered art. Is it now? A poll on the internet, is it art, a social experiment or just a poll? - “If politics is defined as the relationship between the individual and society, virtually no artwork is without political meaning. […] Art demands consideration of both the viewer's criteria and the creator's intentions.” - “Artists participated in politics only as ordinary citizens, rather than as artist-citizens incorporating political views within their art.” - Artists using medium as platform reference the seriousness in politics and try to inform viewers and show the benefit of participation – The AIDS Quilt is a “rare phenomenon in contemporary culture, a genuine community artwork with no initial connections to professional artists, galleries or art institutions.”
  • Collaboration vs. Participation: “Participation and collaboration are very different conditions, the latter implying shared recognition, the former merely assistance. Collaboration elevates the role of participant to creator.” Yet take Christo and Jeanne-Claude vs. Judy Chicago and the question of the role of the public and volunteers is posed. Where does the role of the artist still stand? Why are there varying views on the use of volunteers? Is it based upon that it is no longer the artists work? And isn't that what contemporary art is about, inviting the viewer in? This element is part of the process to which there may or may not be means to an end so where does this controversy stem from?
  • Social Networking Communities – have started censoring sites due to the fact that we were able to “blame the sites' corporate owners for their lassitude in confronting the ethical implications of their hands-off attitude toward posted content.” As sites grew, so did the need for censoring. For example, JuicyCampus was a blog made for students to create threads under their college and write about whatever and whomever they choose. This created havoc among students and by law was ultimately shut down.
  • Mass media addresses the value and place of art in our modern society and how one partakes in either of these. In addition, artists have begun to demand the critical engagement of viewers. “If art is to continue to matter, artists must not only provide alternative ways of participation, but also of cultivating critical perspectives that ensure the possibility of individual and collective engagement in an age when the meaning of both are tortuously twisted by the forces of global capital.”
  • Update: Needlepoint/cross-stitch/embroidery requires an incredible amount of precision, practice and time. I have been doing it for the past two days at every moment in time I can and have made such slim progress. My personality type is not one suited for this, I am not patient enough but, it is an interesting medium to explore. All I want to do is work large-scale yet I can't. I have never experimented with smaller-scale medium and this is a challenge, mentally and physically. Not knowing where it will end is different because I usually have at least the slightest vision in mind. However, my exploration of color has evolved in that my only intended thought while shaping this piece is in which color I use next. Why do I pick this color? At random, why do I place its location where I do? I cannot decide if I feel like I am choosing where I put the next square or just letting it happen without a thought. Even with having this initial decision, chaos still comes out through the mash-up of squares. Except now I wish I made different decisions, such as starting from the inside and working outward. In addition, considering the juxtaposition of a crafted pillow next to this piece, I feel would change the experience of each drastically. This would especially be the case in showing the 'back.' What would usually be concealed is in plain sight and what once appears so perfect no longer may. I feel like I enjoy the 'back' of the piece more than the 'front' at this point. It might be because I keep messing up and the 'back' has a quality of lawlessness so I almost want it to be the 'front.' Yet why when I mess up do I not fix it? Since I am following no specific order, does it just not matter? Maybe I even enjoy the disarray in the 'front' because it is not following the needlepoint norm. I do not have the answers to these questions yet and am not sure if I will even further along.
  • It looks very pixelated and I am thinking about how I can use this. The breaking down of pixels reminded me of Cory Arcangel's work with Super Mario Cart. It's brought me back to thinking about Atari games and how squares were placed strategically there by the creator or player and how I have no grand design for my piece. It also totally reminds me of Tetris and those who have viewed it have said the same. (Guillaume Reymond: Human Tetris video). I've just been watching videos, a medium I am more familiar with and trying to relate the two forms. The pixelated background here, The Go! Team: Milk Crisis music video made me wonder what layering stitches would do for the piece and how to go about doing that.
    • Needlepoint is entertaining in the way that paint-by-number kits are. Most needlepoint canvas' come with instructions. Mine was to make a vase. It takes away any personality and feeling. (Warhol's Paint-By-Numbers)
      • I need to create myself a table like this.
      • Virgina Garetson(?) – Just found out my friend Peter's grandmother went to Bennington back in the day and used needlepoint as her main medium. Is there a way to find her in the achieves?

Week Eight

Letters to a Young Artist
Xu Bing - "JUST WORK."

  • Courage necessary for success.
  • Have clarity in what art is and its principles
    • Relationship to self, society and culture
    • Communicative relationship to society
    • "You must clarify what can be exchanged with society before society will repay you."
  • Think, know how to adapt and "translate thoughts into the language of art."
  • Approaching being an artist in finding ways to have market success right away is wrong.
  • Realize strengths and limitations and transform them into what is useful to you
    • "If you have problems then you have art."
      • Source of artistic creation
  • Bring something new to the system, something beyond "standard contemporary art."


  • Have elaborate ideas about future success
  • Contrasts Xu Bing in saying "I say told, 'There's nothing you can do. Shut up and do your work...they'll let you know if you make the grade.' That arrangement is unreliable and totally unacceptable."
  • "Art schools are sort of like Crack dens."
    • Delusional that your artwork is remarkable based on comments of peers.
  • "Everything is not OK! Always choose subjects that matter to you. The opponent is subjectivity."
  • Embrace concept of studio as a "laboratory."
    • "Each day in the studio is another step towards being all you can be."
    • "Inspiration is generated by work."
  • SYNTHESIZE! Force new relationships, look for fusion.
    • What is the function of your work as opposed to its meaning?
    • What is your ambition?
      • What kind of artist do you want to be? What do you what to achieve in this domain?
    • Compare your work to what is critically acclaimed at the time. What are the differences / similarities?
    • Distinguish yourself from the crowd.
    • Understand the historical importance! What happened previous what is similar? - Include social, political and economic circumstances
  • "The artwork is not a level playing field."
    • "Only longevity allows a truly meaningful, and realistic, assessment of one's achievement."
  • TAKE YOUR TIME! Urgency should be the desire to things you have yet to discover.
    • "If this is where your heart is, integrity will not be an issue."


  • You must love art and respect and find haven and pleasure in own work
    • No guarantee of success, reward, recognition, etc. in becoming an artist - no practical use
    • Understand fear as a device of control: "tool of the oppressor"
      • What are you afraid of?
    • Art is not safe.
  • Art is communication.
    • Share, show, exchange and learn with others - collaborative process
    • Find time for yourself.
      • Don't be overwhelmed by unimportant details.


  • "The world is your oyster."
    • Provides unlimited material and resources for art, look at it from different points of view - creates mystery
    • "Unfold the infinite mystery of life and share it with the world."
  • Only be upset with work if you yourself are not happy with it. The number of people it communicates to and how it is reviewed does not matter if you are happy with it.
    • "Your work, no matter what, affects the world, and in return, it brings back 10 times what you've give out."
      • "Rely on your instinct and inspiration."