This guy is a true artist… His name is Vik Muniz, and he’s a multi-media genius. Thought you guys would enjoy this.
When I was in high school, I took an advanced lit course with a teacher that ended up being one of the most influential I ever had in high school. During the course, she recommended a book called A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O’nan. This novel was all I could think about while watching Melika Bass’ film at the MCA. The way she depicted the characters, the landscape and the story were an almost direct parallel to O’nan’s book, In that if A Prayer for the Dying were ever made into a film, it would have the exact same aesthetic appeal as Bass’ film.
In that respect, I can say that she was successful in expressing this ‘grotesque midwest’ vibe she was going for. However, I found the film to be rather drab and slow, not really holding my attention long enough to want to understand what’s really going on. After hearing what Melika had to say about it, I definitely respect what she did, and how she did it, but I still was not captivated by the story itself. I feel as though it’s almost more about the things you aren’t seeing than the things you do. We see a small glimpse of these people’s lives, not really sure what to make of it. But when one considers the true lifestyle these people might have, it sends a chill down the spine.
All in all, I was glad to have seen the film, and I was definitely impressed by the aura or feeling it gave the viewer upon reflection, but not so much by the actual depiction of the story.
This being my first time visiting the Ren, located in the UIC campus, I was very impressed by the space itself. It was very intimate, yet the high ceilings and all of the windows gave it an almost sanctuary-like feel. I’d be very interested to see a photography exhibit in this space.
The Gerard Byrne exhibit was set up extremely well, in my opinion. The idea to use the walls as one of the many ‘nods’ to minimalism seemed very creative, and only added to the experience of viewing the short films. Not having next to any prior knowledge about minimalism, the show really didn’t make sense to me at first. I understood what minimalism was, to a certain extent, and I knew this show would be referencing it, but it just didn’t seem to click for me until Hamza gave us a background view of minimalism.
The films themselves were quite beautiful. My personal favorite was the radio interview. The way it was shot was very interesting, using long panning shots, and a shallow depth of field going in and out of focus. I also enjoyed listening to the actual interview being played over the film. Even though I wasn’t quite sure what they were talking about, from a strictly visual and auditory sense, it was quite moving.
In regards to the question “…if minimalism is all about the object in and of itself (art for art’s sake) why do you think the work was so full of references to histories and stories around art?” You’ll notice I used the term ‘nod’ earlier on, after listening to what Hamza told us, and trying to digest most of what I got out of it, I felt as though this work was more about identifying key points in both minimalism’s history and school of thought, and referencing them either directly (the New Jersey Turnpike), or indirectly (using film as his chosen medium for minimalism).
I liked the idea that Hamza posed in the interview, using ‘tone-clusters’ on a piano as a way to describe the work, and what it’s doing in regards to minimalism. If one understands the anecdotes of minimalism, the history and the theory, there is still this element that remains regarding how it’s documented. Minimalism does not lend itself to being photographed, let alone filmed. To photograph is to capture a single instant in time, and if minimalism is resistant to a single instant in time, how on earth would it work for film? I think that’s exactly what Byrne was trying to challenge by doing this work. He said himself he wanted it to be ‘panoramic’, ‘encyclopedic’, and ‘paradoxical’. After listening to and understanding the meaning behind minimalism, I believe he accomplished it quite well.
I consider myself to be a technologically hip and savvy guy. I have a facebook, I do all my banking online, I get my latest news from huff post and digg. Judge me if you want to. But for some odd reason I never got around to the whole blogging thing. Yes, I understand it’s someone’s thoughts laid out for all eyes to see and all minds to digest. “But for what purpose!?” I asked myself, intently. Who really cares what one specific person is thinking at this particular moment, while I could be focusing on more important things, like, say.. my own life, for instance. That’s my cynical side talking, but you get the general idea. I never gave blogs a chance for, more or less, that reason alone. And oh, have I been missing out.
Looking through the list of blogs that the good Mr. Oresick supplied for us, I was immediately impressed by how these blogs, instead of using words, used primarily images to express what they were thinking or feeling at a certain moment. Sounds dumb, I know. Now, this attraction may just trail back to the fact that I always hated books with no pictures (and still do). But, like I said before, I’ve never even looked into the world of blogging until now. This is kind of a new thing for me.
Now, this is not to say that I would go back and follow some of these blogs in the future. I search the internet like I’m on the clock, if something doesn’t immediately catch my eye, I’m off to some other mindless online endeavor. I found http://butdoesitfloat.com/ to be one of the blogs that stuck out to me, purely because it never ends. It’s perfect for someone like me who just wants to zone out and look at art.
I found other blogs to have great content, like http://www.thisisaphotoblog.com/. I loved going through this blog and looking at all the new great photographers I’ve never heard of before. It really got me excited about what I’m doing with my major, and how I can advance my techniques.
Now, even though I found something I was generally interested in almost each one of these blogs, that is not to say that I’m going to keep up with some of them on a regular basis. Blogs are a tool. A way for us to discover things that we would not have found otherwise, digest it, and crap out something we call our artwork! In summary, if diagnosed with artistic ailment such as writer’s block, lack of interest in own work, inspiration anxiety, etc., read a daily helping of blog and drink your fluids, amen.
Now… Since I am an image-minded person, I figured i’d share a couple photographers i’ve really been into lately… and get into some true blogging spirit. Alexey Titarenko:
and Antonin Kratochvil:
After seeing the new MoCP exhibit featuring Guy Tillam’s new body of work “Avenue Patrice Lamumba”, and Kahn & Selesnick’s new work, “The Apollo Prophecies” and “Mars Adrift on the Hourglass Sea”, I was first drawn to how strange it was that these two shows were put together. One project, a fine art/documentary on Africa, the other, an incredibly conceptual project regarding space travel and exploration. I found it to be a refreshing comparison of styles and topics.
After looking at the main body of work by Guy Tillim, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the series. I recently got back from Sierra Leone in June, shooting my own body of work, and I couldn’t help but compare the things I saw there to what he shot. I saw the disorganization of the government, and how cities and towns are held together by their communities. I thought Tillim’s images were very honest and real, but I was not really attracted to the images themselves. Of course, they are quality photographs giving an in depth look into the infrastructure of these places, but I felt a sort of detachment from the subject matter when I viewed the series, even though I had just recently seen all of the same things.
As far as the presentation, I found the large print size to work quite well for the images. I did have an issue with some of the prints, as there seemed to be some sort of sharpening issues with two or three specific prints that was distracting at a close distance, but not nearly as noticable at viewing distance.
The Kahn and Selesnick exhibit I found to be much more inspiring and exciting to look at. The first thing I thought of was every young child’s dream of exploring the depths of outer space. I grew up on classic sci-fi television and movies, so I have a deep appreciation for what this body of work is showing us, and how it was conceptualized and created. I appreciated the fact that each piece contained some sort of authentic martian landscape, and the authenticity of each scene as a whole. The palette used for this series was gorgeous, a lot of pastel reds for both the sky and ground. I also viewed the book, and was surprised to see such a noticable difference between the prints in the book, and the ones on display. The book’s rendition of the images was clearer, less haze in the print and more vibrant, saturated coloring, yet I found all of those characteristics distracting in the face of the subject matter. The most impressive piece for me was the Apollo prophecies, a 40~’ long panorama depicting a progression of space travel from first lift off to first contact to first landing, and everything in between. It was definitely one of the most impressive pieces i’ve ever seen in person. This is an artist that I kept thinking of while going through the kahn and selesnick exhibit: