Saturday, March 28, 2015

Globes Part 6

X-ray of a Celestial Globe by Benjamin Martin after 1757

My mother bought me this book for Christmas and I was drawn to the ancient forms and the alteration of the globe into other functional objects (toys, umbrellas, etc.). In the x-ray above, one can see the nails and support pillar. There is also a bag of lead shot inside.

Dissected Globe Educational Game, c. 1866

Dissected Globe Educational Game, c. 1866

Drawing of a Terrestrial Globe

Pocket globes (!) with Interior Celestial Globe, c. 1715 [I will take one of these please]

From Globes: 400 Years of Exploration: "Martin Behaim’s globe, made in 1492, is thought to be the oldest surviving terrestrial globe. The sources are Ptolemaic and medieval maps, information from Marco Polo. The most remarkable features is that the Americas are not shown, for the globe was completed before Christopher Columbus returned from his westerly voyage."

Terrestrial Umbrella Globe, c. 1860

Francis Benjamin Johnston, A Lesson in Geography in Washington, DC, 1899

Back to the 20th and 21st century:

Mari Mahr, Unconsciously Perhaps, 1988

Olivia Locher, How to See North America

Sage Lewis, Cyanotype Globe [Check out Sage's recent works in her Doha, Qatar studio]

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Satellite Views of Land Art

I rediscovered this link recently when wondering what a satellite view of Lightning Field looks like (not much as it turns out). Wishing I had thought to incorporate this perspective in the 2009 earthworks project but happy I am able to use it as research this year.

Michael Heizer's Double Negative

Robert Smithson's Amarillo Ramp

Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sean Landers: "North American Animals"

Sean Landers, Fawn (Strange Progeny), 2014

I have always been a fan of Sean Lander's text paintings and was thrilled to see a link to his recent exhibition, North American Animals, at the Petzel Gallery. From the gallery's press release:

"The exhibition “North American Mammals” is divided into three groups of paintings, each of which spiderweb in reference to one another. The first group is comprised of nine paintings depicting steel gray library bookshelves holding neatly stacked books. Each of the tightly painted book spines directs their vertically embossed titles out to the viewer. The titles have the surreal ability to disassociate themselves from the painted image, as if to float beyond their representational bounds. As the titles are read from left to right, they complete each chapter of Landers’s prose. Rather than the artist’s well-known Joycean stream-of-consciousness writing, the new work ruminates with an existential voice. Themes run from the eternal existence of a painting [Mountain Goat (An Argument for Solipsism) and Boar (Brueghel the Archer)] to collecting and being collected [Howler Monkey (Casting it Back Out to Sea) and Hare (The Promiscuity of Art)] to the core attributes of being an artist [Jaguar (The Urgent Necessity of Narcissism for the Artistic Mind) and Pony (When Performance Becomes Reality)]."

Sean Landers, Hare (The Promiscuity of Art), 2014

 Sean Landers, We're All, 2014

Sean Landers, On the Nature of Daylight, 2014

Sean Landers, Strange Progeny (Fawn), 2013

Landers writes: “These tartan animals represent the first time that I ever thought of my paintings in such a deliberate parent-like fashion. I have cloaked them in tartan fur to help protect them from indifference on their journey through time.”

Sean Landers, Performance Becomes Reality (Pony), 2014

Sean Landers, Sincerity and Empathy, 2014

Sean Landers, Proximate Strangers (Coyote and Crow), 2014

Three installation views of North American Animals at Petzel Gallery [all images via the gallery's website].

Monday, March 23, 2015

Teju Cole's "Object Lesson"

Glenna Gordon, The Blouse of Hauwa Mutah, one of nearly 300 girls who were kidnapped from a school in Chibok, Nigeria last April by Boko Haram

Teju Cole, along with Rebecca Solnit, are two of the foremost writers on photography (and surprise, my favorite authors writing today). It was with great excitement that I saw a link to Cole's new essay "Object Lesson" in The New York Times Magazine late last week. Cole references images of conflict (recent depictions of demonstrations in Kiev or the Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram) yet it is not the political unrest, clashes with the riot police or the human victims that he deconstructs, but photographic projects devoid of people.

This passage resonates with me despite the original references to photojournalism and the subjects mentioned above. So much of why I photograph objects, rather than people, can be found in Cole's words below:

"Objects, sometimes more powerfully than faces, remind us of what was and no longer is; stillness, in photography, can be more affecting than action. This is in part because of the respectful distance that a photograph of objects can create between the one who looks, far from the place of trouble, and the one whose trouble those objects signify. But it is also because objects are reservoirs of specific personal experience, filled with the hours of some person’s life. They have been touched, or worn through use. They have frayed, or been placed just so."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cyanotypes with Brent

My collaboration with Brent Cole is back in full swing but first some "process images" made last month as he created a large grid of stars for his solo exhibition at Earlham College.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Earthwork Viewing Kits and A Month's Worth of News

In a March of medical leave and recovery (long story), I am *slowly* working on catching up and preparing for the Photolucida portfolio reviews in April. In addition, everything is progressing well with the planned Earthworks Road Trip Part 2: Lightning Field is reserved, airplane tickets are purchased, rental cars and hotels are lined up, etc. This version of the expedition is in conjunction with a course I am co-teaching with Lara Kuykendall called Space, Land and Concept in Art of the American West. I have been moonlighting on that blog but also contemplating what artwork I can make during the second visit.

In 2009, the collaborative project was a huge undertaking and this year, as co-leader of a field trip with eight students, I will not be able to devote as much time as I would like to each space and will have other responsibilities. However, this will not prevent me from making art and I have a few ideas that I would like to pursue in May.

• First of all, the Amarillo Ramp rock will be tossed (it's about time)!

• Secondly (in the spirit of goofiness), the car will make another appearance. Rather than seeing how close I can drive to an earthwork, I will continue my sweeping panoramic photographs from the back seat.

• Thirdly (for Instagram), the I-need-to-grow-a-third-arm-and-hand binocular photographs will make another appearance.

• The fourth concept revolves around a photograph of James Turrell's Roden Crater Field Kit that I discovered last month.

James Turrell, Roden Crater Field Kit, 2000

I immediately thought of Fluxus Travel Kits like the one below:

Fluxus Travel Kit, c. 1970

I am going to make Earthworks Viewing Kits for the following: Amarillo Ramp, Lightning Field, Double Negative, Sun Tunnels, and Spiral Jetty. I have half a mind to make one for Roden Crater but since once again, we were dismissed by the Skystone Foundation (nor do we have $6500 each at our disposal and will have to resort to seeing this instead) a viewing kit for an absent piece might offer needed variation. I am withholding the details of what this entails but I promise it will not be as mundane as what one sees in the Turrell image above. In the meantime, it will be my first sculpture project that will not rely on a photograph and I couldn't be happier to add this to my never ending list of all the series I am currently working on and cannot seem to finish in a timely manner.

Saving the best news for last: I received my sabbatical and will be spending the 2016 spring semester finishing Autobiography in Water at the final two destinations: New Zealand and Australia. At least there is hope for completing something in the not so near future!

Friday, March 13, 2015

In Hindsight...

Screen shot from A Brief History of John Baldessari

I should have rewatched A Brief History of John Baldessari before visiting California. I could have tested this WiFi password.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Columbus, Ohio Art Pilgrimage

About a month ago, Hannah and I trekked to Columbus, Ohio to see two exhibitions and hang out with our friends, Kevin and Mary at our favorite Indian restaurant.

Fiber: Sculpture 1960 - Present at the Wexner was the main destination and it did not disappoint. Highlights include:

Elsi Giauque's Spatial Element from 1979 (see link for a better installation photo)

Ernesto Neto's Soundway from 2012 (with metal bells and seed pods)

Faith Wilding's Crocheted Environment, 1995 (image via). The depictions of Wilding's installation online are varied - the one below is more accurate in terms of the lighting and scale we witnessed at the Wexner but it is far easier to see the shapes and the way it was installed in the documentation above.

 (image via)

Françoise Grossen's knotted Inchworm, 1970 (image via)

No trip to the Wexner is complete without spending time in the bookstore and two of these were acquired to bring back to our respective houses. It was a fitting purchase since many of the artworks we saw were based on grid structures and mathematics.


Alison Rossiter at the Columbus College of Art and Design was the biggest surprise and I have since shown her photographs and website to many people out of sheer love for the formal qualities and sequencing she creates from the ghostly remains of photographic paper long past expiration. The image above and the three below are snapshots from her exhibition Light.

For more information about Alison's work see this link (I have spent a great deal of time lamenting the fact that the CCAD website is as poor as the Ball State School of Art's in terms of finding information easily).

Sitter, an exhibition of portraiture at CCAD featured new and old work by Kelli Connell including The Field from the series Double Life:

I was also interested in how Nina Katchadourian presented her iPhone photographs of Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style.

I am looking forward to another road trip to Columbus this summer to see Catherine Opie's Portraits and Landscapes. Long live my Wexner membership.