Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Work of Art; Week 3; "A Shock to the System"

Let me start by saying that this posting will be a weekly venture. Every Wednesday after Work of Art, I will be posting a commentary on the show, and posting a work that I will make within the hour of watching the show as a direct response to the challenge. I became obsessed with the show since I auditioned for it way back when at White Columns. I actually saw Jackie that day during auditions and said hello. We knew of each other through going to MICA and it was an awkward moment because I’m not sure she really cares too much for me. Nevertheless she is the reason why I watch and am addicted to this show... Proud Pussy, caulk, self-aware whoreness, and all.

Let me explain to you a little something about Jackie. If you think Miles or Nao created personas for this show, I think you missed out on the biggest persona of all. Back at MICA I knew Jackie as the girl who always wore stilettos, and always dressed to impress. She carried herself as a woman who knew that men and women would look at her and acknowledge her aesthetically sexual and beautiful body, but there was always at least 25% of Jackie that will ignore the fact that she is responsible for this reaction, which is what I love about her. Her work is interesting in that it involves female empowerment through female oppression, but sometimes I think her imagery gets a little muddled with all the bras and thongs (and i think sometimes it gets confusing a little about whether it is empowerment or oppression that she is communicating)... any way, back to the show.

China Chow showed up at Phillips de Pury wearing an umbrella around her waist. Uhm. WTF.

I don’t agree with this challenge at all. Shocking work does not really exist- not to me at least. To be shocked, one would have to suggest that you have never even conceived of what you are being shown, and it is so grotesque that you can’t even handle the sensation. But with the rise of the Internet, I don’t think people are hiding themselves from visually explicit material anymore. I don’t really even find Piss Christ to be offensive or shocking in the whatsoever.

I remember giving a speech in high school, and an oral report at MICA about Andreas Serrano. Both times I had trouble with defending his ‘overly-shocking’ imagery as appropriate. Post graduating, I take a stand against his work. I don’t think that his work is all it’s cracked up to be. I don’t really want to get into it either. All I will say is that I remember when I first heard about the rapper Eminem, and I found his music provocative. Now when I hear of him I just wait and pray for the day when he actually kills his daughter Hailey, rips Kim up with knives, and commits suicide during an overdose like he raps about in his music. It’s like… all talk – no action, and I’ve been waiting for the punch line for way too long.

I dislike Miles Mendenhall. I think he is just like most of the white boy art school kids who play by the traditional rules of art in a very general way in order to make visually pleasing works that satisfy the mind and the eye. He is like one of those tightly wrapped conceptual packages that end up coming up empty to me. He makes art more like a math problem to be solved rather than a truly ephemeral creative intention. SO yeah. First erection – to last erection, and some genitalia/Mickey Mouse. We get it, you like layers of metaphor.

What was Peregrine wearing? It was obviously the same outfit her mom was wearing when she chose to name her Peregrine.

The fight between Jackie and Erik was absurd. Both of them should realize that artists working in within close quarters will be influenced by one another, and in no way does that bit of influence take away ownership over the piece. Simply acknowledge that the influence was there and move on. However, years later when the work is being viewed in a gallery or book, there would never be a tagline stating that “the interactivity of sharpie markers was suggested by Erik”.

Congratulations, Abdi. I do have to admit that I was sad that Jackie didn’t take this one home, though I wasn’t sold on her project until after she implemented what I will call “Erik’s Suggestion”. Abdi, on the other hand, had a very interesting concept from the get go, and I appreciate his honesty in regard to African American oppression and his bold statements.

Nao didn’t deserve to go home. Her performance was very ambiguous, and though we all know she had no idea what she was doing, it still wasn’t as bad as Erik's Sex Education.

John’s days were numbered from the beginning due to his uninteresting attempt at creating homosexually engaged artwork. I liked his general aesthetic, however.

I was actually interested in Jaime's piece a lot. The blanket statement of 'shocking' was looming over these artists far too much and did a disservice to the work. I thought her work was genuinely touching on some topics she seems to be interested in, and I liked to see her get more into herself as opposed to the past work this platform has brought out of her.

Erik really needs to stop making art in general. Some people are actually artists, and some people are just creative. I think Erik is just naturally creative. Maybe it would be best if Miles traded about 50% of his hyper-conceptualism with 50% of Erik’s tongue and cheek kitsch art making process.

And for my creation this week….

Palm Sundae

Now, Like I said, I don’t believe in shocking work. I don’t believe I failed myself in making shocking work either. I would say that the show failed at making a realistic challenge and harped over a long existing stereotype that art is supposed to ruffle up some feathers.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Unknown Artist; DJ Michael Anthony

I recently had a gig shooting with a friend of a friend for his DJ promotional material. He goes by Unknown Artist. I had this concept that we would try to conceal his face as much as possible to play off of his name. I also used his name in the headlines on the newspaper and included a picture of him there was well. I will repost when I finalize the card design. To be completely honest, I'm happy about these!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Leaving Oz

The title of this image is "There's No Place" from my series Heart of This Home which I produced in the summer of 2007. The series was shot with a 4x5 camera. I recently revisited this negative in the darkroom and wanted to expand it's definition.

I created Dorothy Leaving Oz, an 18 photograph series of images which started with a primarily with contact print from the original negative, secondarily with a contact print of the first print, and so on, (note the negative and positive flux), until the image became a harmonious grey tone.

(Each print was created with the print that came before it, in other words)

I wanted to visually express Dorothy's transition between worlds to parallel what is said in the text of the original novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The word "grey" is used ten times in the first chapter of Oz. Creating this work was much more effective for my than the overall impact; waiting for each image to go through chemicals and dry to be able to print the next slightly more grey image was silently haunting. (I made sure to create all 18 prints without leaving the room once for a personal effect!)


It took a bit.

Rectangular Reflection

Rectangular Reflections was conceived of when the tenants who lived below me moved to another residence and there was a period of time when I could enter the apartment and photograph. This was a new concept - not being able to enter the house for any period of time - being my cousin Michele used to live there my entire life until I was 21, and I'd frequently be found there. I chose to use mirrors because I liked the ambient light in the space and thought I would play around with it. Subconsciously, I found myself stealing back my childhood for these few seconds and had created evidence of it. It felt pretty good.

This mini-series is a part of my personal work that I produce with 35mm b/w film, which I develop and print traditionally in my home in Jersey City. The photographs are printed on 3.5 x 5 inch paper.

Ode to Morell

I've been trying to get back into the mood of making new work, but have been coming up empty in terms of what I want to do in the long run series-wise. Among the few works I've created during this artist block are photographs inspired by Abelardo Morell, Cuban photographer based out of Boston. His widely recognized for his work with creating camera obscuras in places around the world and taking long exposures of the rooms. The following images are my explorations with his process.

I took a mirror at one point during the shoot and reflected some of the light onto the ceiling.

I also took a large piece of paper and hung it in front of the hole in the window. The image projected itself much like the ground glass of a large format camera. So fun.