Alison Ruttan’s “Four Year War”

January 28, 2010 · Print This Article

Alison Ruttan, Honey Bee Watches Unseen, from "Four Year War" series

Alison Ruttan has posted images on her website from her new “Four Year War” series, part of her ongoing Primates project. (I was able to observe one of the shoots for this project last summer, which I blogged about here). She’s now edited the resulting photographs into a narrative of sorts, including storyboard-like sequences and dramatic close-ups. Of the series, Ruttan has said:

“From the beginning of my primate projects I have been collecting individual and group histories from scientist and zookeepers that I have met or read about in my research. These narratives often seem epic in scale and uncannily human in the way individuals interact with each other in their quest for power and position. The project, “The Four Year War at Gombe” is based on Jane Goodall’s discovery that Chimpanzees wage war and are capable of long-range planning and strategic thinking. Goodall’s group of chimpanzees lived peaceably together for many years before splitting into the two communities of Kesakela and Kahama. It seems that like us, the bloodiest feuds and civil wars are always waged against those whom we have the closest ties to. It is unknown what the specific causes were of the split and violence that followed. Perhaps it was an uneven distribution between males and females, a shortage of food or possibly a long-standing grudge. If this title, “The Never Ending Story” wasn’t already taken, it would have seemed apt for this story that so closely mirrors our own history.

This large photographic and video project consists of related groupings of photographs and video that tell the story of this broken community. The series is divided between happy pastorals and a series of 9 murders that occurred between 1973 and 1977 at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. While not literal in intent I have used much of Goodall’s research photographs and notes to reconstruct the history of this group. The participants in this project were all family, neighbors and friends who generously gave of their time and I think had some fun learning about primate societies and their behavior.”

The images look pretty incredible thus far. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this series in printed format, in a larger setting that allows for the full impact of the narrative to unfold. (More images can be found on the artist’s website).

Gigi Kissing Mustard in Moon Valley


De Is Badly Wounded


January 27, 2010 · Print This Article

PhotobucketDirected by Justine Nagan, Typeface takes a look at the obsolete techniques used to create and print  wooden type. The film centers itself on The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum located in Twin Rivers Wisconsin. Housed in Hamilton’s factory the understaffed museum gives tours, hosts workshops, and attempt to archive the boxes upon boxes of wooden type that are piled about. In the opening scenes we get an overview of the museum while on tour with former Bad at Sports guests the Post Family. Throughout the film we  weave in and out of mostly Chicago studios as, printmakers/graphic designers discuss their love for wooden type. The Walker Art Center recently caught up with Nagan and spoke with her about making the film:

W: Why make a film about an obsolete technology?

JN: I became fascinated with exploring the changing importance of analog technologies in our digital age. There is this theory that as we as a society sit at our computers all day, in the off hours, tactile and sensual experiences become all the more important. People are craving things with texture that they can hold in their hands—whether it’s knitting or playing guitar… Then there’s the whole nostalgia factor: LPs vs. ipod, film vs. video, letterpress vs. inkjet.

W: Some obsolete technologies manage to take on a second life by addressing a different need or being adopted by a new (sub)culture in a different context. Do you think a revival or re-interpretation is inherent to any successful preservation movement?

N: I think evolution is key to preservation. Re-imagining and adapting technology, while maintaining the elements that made it interesting in the first place, ensures longevity of the medium. I think the new interest in letterpress and craft is sustainable. The current styles of letterpress may fade, only to be re-invented again by some future generation. [Read more]

Economic Showdown & Man vs Machine All in One Day

January 27, 2010 · Print This Article

Well if you are in America today you are largely going to hear about one of two things, either President Obama’s first State of the Union and the new expected focus on the Economy in place of War or Healthcare or Apple announcing it’s new iTablet iPad and the statement that you can buy them in Apple stores right after the announcement.

Either way the current economy is going to be the catchword of the day and in the Art world that goes double since it is largely dominated both by the current economic trends and Apple products.

So here is hoping for the best in both areas but it is an interesting contrast happening. Which has more sway? Government run economic plans or Market run announcements?

To help visualize the current debate we present a rap video since it is ever fitting of a discussion about fools and their money. It’s John Maynard Keynes vs Friedrich von Hayek in a showdown over what works best (the fact that BaS is based in Chicago, home of Hayek & the Chicago School of Economics should not be considered an endorsement of either party lol ).


Tuesday’s Video Pick | Sharon Hayes

January 26, 2010 · Print This Article

This week’s pick is not for everyone. Clocking in at about 20 minutes we bring you Sharon Hayes’ keynote address for the Creative Time Summit: Revolutions in Public Practice.

via Creative Time

“Sharon Hayes discusses how moving to New York City in the early 1990s and witnessing the AIDS crises and artistic community has forever affected both her life and artistic practice during her keynote address at the 2009 Creative Time.”

Los Angeles County Museum of Art | Reading Room

January 26, 2010 · Print This Article

PhotobucketYesterday LACMA launched a new addition to their website that showcases out of print and hard to find publications. I haven’t had a chance to check out a lot of the books that are currently up for their first series “Southern California Art of the 1960s and 1970s” but; I am really excited to see what they will be offering in the following months.

via Culture Monster:

Dubbed the ‘Reading Room,’ the new site is intended to make books, catalogs and other literature available that would otherwise be difficult to access, according to LACMA. The museum said that the site currently features 10 rare art catalogs, including ‘Six More,’ the catalog for LACMA’s 1963 exhibition on L.A. pop; “Billy Al Bengston,” a rare 1968 monograph; and the surveys ‘Late Fifties at the Ferus’ (1968).

Among the features of the site are the ability to browse the publications page by page, perform text searches and  download the volumes in PDF format.

For more info check out LACMA’s Reading Room