This week: Brian and Patricia are joined by Tess Thackara in a rollicking conversation with artist Jonn Herschend. They discuss amusement parks, rugby, the art world’s need for humor, THE THING Quarterly, and of course Jonn’s diverse studio practice.
Raised in a midwestern amusement park, Jonn Herschend is an interdisciplinary artist, filmmaker and experimental publisher preoccupied with how emotional confusion, absurdity and veracity play out in the realm of the everyday. His performances, video work, and installations have included works such as a self portrait as a PowerPoint proposal for an amusement park ride, an infomercial about ambiguity, and a motorized trolley tour of places where personal crisis became public.
His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including the Stuttgarter Filmwinter Film festival, Germany; Koh-i-noor, Denmark; LKV Gallery, Norway; the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art; the Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; Southern Exposure and The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. He is the co-founder and co-editor, along with Will Rogan, of the experimental publication THE THING Quarterly, and is a recent recipient of a Danish Arts Council grant for his work as co-curator, along with Heidi Hove, of the Deadpan Exchange international exhibition series, He has been a visiting lecturer at the University of California Berkeley, San Francisco State University, California College of Art and Stanford University.
Nathaniel Stern (USA / South Africa, born 1977) is an experimental installation and video artist, net.artist, printmaker and writer. He has produced and collaborated on projects ranging from interactive and immersive environments, networked art and multimedia physical theater performances, to digital printing and collage, stone lithography and slam poetry.
He’s won many awards, fellowships, commissions and residencies between South Africa, America, and all over Europe. Nathaniel holds a design degree from Cornell University, studio-based Masters in art from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (NYU), and research PhD from Trinity College Dublin. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
Nathaniel has held solo exhibitions at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the Johnson Museum of Art, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the University of the Witwatersrand, and several commercial and experimental galleries throughout the US, South Africa and Ireland. His work has been shown at festivals, galleries and museums internationally, including the Venice Biennale, Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art, South African National Gallery, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, International Print Center New York, Milwaukee Art Museum, Modern and Contemporary Art Center (Hungary) and Grahamstown National Arts Festival (South Africa). Public collections include the Johannesburg Art Gallery, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media (Cornell University), turbulence.org, Contemporary Irish Art Society, and the Universities of South Africa (UNISA) and the Witwatersrand; he is in private collections all over the world. Recent features on Nathaniel’s work can be seen in the Leonardo Journal of Art, Science and Technology, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, NY Arts and Art South Africa magazines, Rhizome.org, PBS.org, the Wall Street Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
This week Duncan and Richard interview Monica Bonvicini about her work and her show Light Me Black which is the current Focus show at the Art Institute of Chicago. Well, it was largely Richard as he would not shut up and Duncan had to be wheeled into the interview on a gurney due to his case of swine/bird/monkey flu/pox, and therefore did not have the strength to lift the stun gun of containment which is typically used in these situations.
The following text was shamelessly lifted from the Art Institute’s web site.
November 20, 2009–January 24, 2010
Overview: Equal parts beautiful and menacing, Monica Bonvicini’s sculptures, installations, videos, and drawings provoke an acute awareness of the physical and psychological effects of institutional, particularly museum, architecture. Favoring industrial materials that reference the modernist canon, such as metal and glass, often combined with the trappings of sexual fetishism—leather, chains, and rubber—Bonvicini confronts the power structures and contradictions inherent in built environments.
Text quoted from a variety of sources, including literature, psychoanalytic theory, popular music, and architects’ own words, adds yet another layer to her wry commentary. More than any other artist working today, her projects aim to expose the disparity between the sexy, utopian, and avant-gardist claims of certain—largely male—“starchitects” and the realities of the spaces they create.
The first Focus exhibition in the museum’s new Modern Wing, Bonvicini’s project brings together three works that directly engage the Renzo Piano–designed building both formally and conceptually. Created specifically for the Art Institute, Light Me Black, an immense sculpture comprising 144 custom-made fluorescent lighting fixtures suspended from the ceiling, recalls the emphasis on light throughout the Modern Wing. In the now-iconic 1998 installation Plastered, re-created at the Art Institute, the entire gallery floor is constructed out of unfinished drywall panels that progressively crack and fragment as visitors move through the space.
The third part of the exhibition consists of three glass panels depicting altered renderings of earlier sculptural projects by Bonvicini and invoking the building’s glass-curtain façade—replicated in a smaller scale in Gallery 182. The three discrete elements work together to acknowledge the aesthetic achievements of the building while hinting at its potential vulnerabilities. Read more
September 25, 2009 · Print This Article
Mode Studios designed and installed four 35ft long Interactive Installation Art Screens throughout the International Headquarters of Microsoft. The screen is made up of a horizontal series of hanging vertical tubes with LEDs built into them to create a solid image. The visual display is completely procedural without any prerecorded interactions or video. Everything that is shown is a byproduct of multiple variables from room traffic, weather, noise and heat in the focus locations in the room to create the movements or subjects on the screen with the potential of never showing the same interaction twice. The video of the installation is below and apart from the promotion hard sell it is a good example of art installation tech that is growing now.
September 24, 2009 · Print This Article
Kelly Crow with the Wall Street Journal kicks off the new Weekly full color arts coverage in WSJ magazine with “Out Size Art” an article that explores the influence that the recession has on consumers desire to invest in large-scale art installation pieces. As buyers scale back, large pieces are the first to go asking are they more of a headache then a dramatic statement.