Exhibition Paper, BMOCA

Katerina Kapodistrias

ARTH 3539

Exhibition Paper

Due: April 30th, 2012

Museum Visited: BMoca

 

I recently visited the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in the exhibition entitled Edible? and I was pleased to see many great works. The whole museum displays the works of two great artists: Viviane Le Courtois with Edible? This is the largest portion of works of art in the museum on the first level, and Jason Rogenes with Spacecraft that also has some of his work shown in the upper level of the museum. These two artists have very different work and it was great to experience a little alteration in a sense. I am going to share some of the pieces I thought were profoundly interesting, but also I’m going to talk about some to a great extent in more detail.

Viviane Le Courtois is an artist that has worked with food as a medium and has been a cause of inspiration in her art pieces for about twenty-two years. Viviane Le Courtois was born in France in 1969 and has been living currently in the United States since 1994 in Denver Colorado. She received her MFA in Sculpture/Installation from the International School of Art and Research in Nice, France in 1992 and an MA in Art History from the University of Denver in 2000. She has done many exhibitions in the U.S and in Europe.

Her current exhibition Edible? At BMoca Is installed all over the first floor, from right when you enter the Museum where you get welcomed with her fascinating interactive installation piece titled: ‘The Garden of Earthy Delights’, on the very left wall space her series of etching prints are installed, and it continues to the very back where the rest of the works are installed such as the ‘Little Fat Kids’, ‘Shane the Obese Marshmallow Teenager’, the ‘Cheetovore’, ‘Venus of Consumption’, ‘Pickles’, ‘Candy Curtains’, ‘Apple cores’, but also some performance pieces in which one is shown on video and some photographs, while performing as documentation, but also more pieces of materials that were left from other performances that she did.

Starting with the installation of Viviane Le Courtois, right when you enter the Museum, titled: ‘The Garden of Earthy Delights’ 2012, is a large installation in which needs a certain process in order to be completed, since it is a living interactive installation for the viewer to participate in. The materials that are used in this installation were: ceramic cups, edible garden green plants, herbs, sprouts, felt bags, and rugs made by recycled t-shirts collected from friends. Since her installation is right when you enter the Museum, the employers of the Museum explain to you the process while telling you to take one of the ceramic cups that are located in these older styles of wooden stacked shelve-like holders that are stacked on top of each other and they provide hot water for you. The ceramic cups were inspired by the chai cups they use in India, where they are low-fired and supposed to be quite fragile that you drink from the cup once and when you’re done you throw it away, where it just dissolves.

While this installation is a living interactive piece, it is also a piece that changes over the time of the exhibit, since people are supposed to pick the herbs they prefer, drink it, while it is also designed for people to hang out, think and interact with each other,  amongst the plants that are surrounding them though sitting on the rug made from old collections of friends t-shirts, and when they’re done they’re supposed to throw the ceramic cup against the large white wall that is located on the right side wall of the Museum. When I visited the Museum the space where you were supposed to throw the ceramic cup against the wall was already an amazing installation of its own, where you see the brownish red marks of the ceramic cup that was thrown and on the floor a large pile of uniquely broken ceramics, pilling against the bottom wall and abstractedly spread on the floor. It truly looked wonderful as a whole, especially the white wall with all the marks, it looked as a painting itself, where I thought it could have been a very powerful piece even if it was separate from the earlier process of picking the herb’s and garden greens and consuming them. I got much more thrilled with the process of breaking the ceramic cup, and the way it looked with the marks on the wall and the remaining’s of the broken ceramic than the entire installation piece as a whole, but also about how these remaining’s and marking on the wall that looked as a painting were created by all the viewers and participants that have been in this exhibition. It creates a type of mystery in this specific part of the piece, as we will never know who were the other people that marked they’re sign on the wall of being there and participating in this masterpiece.

‘The Garden of Earthy Delights’ 2012, was an installation piece that was established from experimentation, investigation and encounters. It is grounded on ecological ways of producing art, food and handmade objects, while recycling, collecting, growing, transforming and accommodating the unexpected and surprising challenges of an evolving life that is created and is a huge part of this installation piece. One of Viviane Le Courtois statements in the Museum said: “The process of growing plants, collecting and eating them with others is ancient and sometimes forgotten”.

Most of the other pieces that are shown in BMoca after the ‘The Garden of Earthy Delights’ are more playful and contain much more color and are a little more bizarre but genius at the same time in terms of her use of materials. In her next few pieces, she uses a lot of colorful candy and it was a really fun and surprising experience to see what she had done with them. Her piece titled ‘Shane the Obese Marshmallow Teenager’ 2006, was a wire mesh covered with paper mashe figure that on the exterior were glued colored marshmallows all over. In this fun large scale figure sculpture as well as in ‘Cheetovore’ 2002, another sculpture of hers made out of paper mache that was a more abstract hanging sculpture that is all over glued with Cheetos, as well as in ‘Venus of Consumption’ a knitted sculpture of an obese woman, and her ‘Candy Curtains’ 2008 piece that is created of different kind of attached candy on fishing line, we see how she combines junk food and explores the processes of consumption, the social implications of eating and the repetitive aspects of food preparation.

Now moving on the second floor of the Museum, while going up the stairs you immediately get greeted overwhelmingly by Jason Rogenes’s amazing installation ‘Spacecraft’ 2012. This is a site specific installation made by the materials of EPS foam inserts, cardboard and electrical components. Jason Rogenes was born in 1971 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his MFA from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1996 and his BA from the University of California in San Diego in 1993. Jason Rogenes has been working with polystyrene known as Styrofoam for more than ten years.

Starting from the stair wall the whole space, walls and ceiling are covered with cardboard two dimensional geometric shapes in a combination with the same cardboard geometrical three dimensional sharp and pointy shapes coming out of the wall. In the middle of the space hanging is the spacecraft made of foam in which he carved piece by piece individually and assembled into this amazing structure. He states that “Polystyrene and cardboard are symbols of our consumer culture” and that he treats his material with such care as if the material he was using was marble. The reason he creates these large scale installations is to take the viewer in an otherworldly environment that is intended to transport them into an outer space using pedestrian resources and for the audience to look at everything in the environment beyond assigned occupations and restrictions but also to reimaging ourselves in other boundless opportunities.

On the other side of the wall there is this drawing of Jason Rogenes that is conceptually related to his sculpture work. The drawing represents a two dimensional interpretation of his sculptural work and is executed in ink and watercolor on a large scale paper that I would guess was three feet horizontally to about eight feet vertically.

Both of these artists in this exhibition, even though very different from each other in the sense of meaning in their work, but both very similar in using materials that are not necessarily expensive and sometimes are recyclable materials, are two great artists that know and have worked with the loving materials for an extensive amount of time. Both appreciate the beauty in the simple materials such as food and materials like cardboard that are usually mostly found in the trash that they get their inspiration from and let they’re inventiveness, creativity and imagination take over their minds. It was really great having the opportunity to even participate in one of the pieces and I would recommend it to everyone to go and experience and be part of Viviane Le Courtois’s art piece.

Visiting Artist Lecture (Janine Antoni)

Katerina Kapodistrias

ARTH 3539

Visiting Artist Lecture

Artist: Janine Antoni

 

Janine Antoni was born in 1964 in Freeport, Bahamas and currently lives and works in New York. Her work is pretty extreme, as I see it, but amazing contemporary performance art, sculptures and installations. She got her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989. She often transforms everyday happenings and objects in her own unique way and uses her whole body, and specific parts of her body, such as her mouth, hair, eyelashes, and brain as a device and uses it in ways such as eating, bathing, and sleeping in combination with those everyday materials with a result of that being the way she performs her artwork. Some of the key modules that her work focuses on are process, identity, balance, challenge, always interested in training and learning how to use or perform with a new materials, but also she is very interested in being involved in the viewer’s experience and embody desire for the viewer, but then again also often opposes issues such as cultural perceptions of femininity and sexuality.

One of the pieces that she talked about that I know and love was Gnaw, a piece that she did in 1992. This sculpture performance piece included 600 lbs. of chocolate and 600 lbs. of lard that she was gnawed by her, but also a display case with 45 heart-shaped packages for chocolate for chocolate made from the chewed chocolate that she removed from the huge chocolate cube and 400 lipsticks made with color or dye, beeswax and the chewed lard that she again removed from the large lard cube. I think that this piece is disgustingly brilliant. As she does with most of her pieces and performances, with this one she again uses her body as the tool and has an intimate contact with her body and the material and what is left behind is the trace of the material, for the viewer to experience the memory of where the chewed and where the recasts came from. She says that she chewed on that chocolate cube for about a month and a half, which sounds pretty painful considering how big that chunk of chocolate was. This piece can also be considered as a ‘minimal’ piece of art, since the material is the most important aspect, but also equally important is the process of it in which is the performance feature of it. I really very much admire her patience and dedication in this piece, whereas I believe that no one would have been able to do this same piece and succeed the way Janine Antoni did.

Another piece that she talked about was the performance Loving care that was done also in 1992. In this piece Janine Antoni uses her hair again as a tool and in this case as a paintbrush and hair dye as her paint. What she does in this performance is that she dips her hair in a bucket of hair dye and she begins to mop the gallery floor on her hands and knees, while in the process of this the viewers are pushed out of the space.  I consider this one of the very powerful pieces that Janine Antoni has done and this is another piece that is about the importance of process and the meaning of making in an everyday activity, but also holds issues of the power of femininity that are brought up in the piece. Eureka (1993) is another piece of Janine Antoni that she uses her body, where she places herself in a bathtub filled with lard, and when she’s lifted out, we can see the formation of her body. The 2038 photograph (2000), another of her work, is one of her nurturing theme and the role of women pieces. Janine Antoni is placed in a bathtub filled with water, where we see this cow that has reached towards her breast and it appears that Antoni is nursing the cow. This piece is titled 2038 because of the metal tag on the cow’s ear.

Janine Antoni is a very wonderful and admirable artist in my eyes, very extreme and disgusting in a genius way, very patient and hardworking with strong passion in what she does. The issues she is interested about are powerfully shown in her pieces and performances, however I hope she continues to take more challenges in her hands, and keep her interest in the involvement of the viewer’s experience, which was shown in her lightening presence.

Visiting Artist Lecture

Katerina Kapodistrias

Visiting Artist Lectures

Date: 4/17/2012

Artist: Wapke Feenstra

 

 

On April 2nd I got the chance to go to Wapke Feenstras’ lecture and also had the pleasure to meet her and have a quick talk to her, since she visited us in our Sculpture 4 class the next day. Wapke Feenstra is a Dutch artist that was born in 1959 and lives and works in Rotterdam since 1992. She grew up near the village of Wjelsryp in the Netherlands on a castle farm. She is an artist and a writer that develops her sources, by working into local and rural knowledge’s and environments and creates a direct interaction with the inhabitants. What she does is a form of conceptual art, where she focuses on nature and landscapes that in a way it reminds you of Land art while she combines at the same time ‘interactive performances’. Some of the questions that she asks are aspects about human life and perception in which is rooted in the memories of the residents that live in those lands. Another way for her to examine and observe the landscape in order to analyze the ground and the soil is the use of a drill that she uses in order for her to get charts of the soil with a result of her getting a personal feeling and taste of the specific land that she is examining. Wapke Feenstra forms “sites of memory by penetrating into the earth’.

It is quite fascinating how we can be so strongly attached to a specific place or landscape where we can feel that is our own and we feel comfort and secure in it, and even if many years go by and we revisit that personal place all those memories and good feelings come back. Listening to some of those stories is what Wapke Feenstra is also interested in.

One of Wapke Feenstras’ big projects was called ‘The Best Place’ in 2007 East of the Netherlands where she explored places as a type of performance, which locals had voted as The Best Place. In this project she visited fourteen places with a ‘text cart’ in which she took soil samples, pictures and had the chance to speak with the local and listen to their stories. “This vehicle inspired people to reflect on the best place. It creates an idea about the environment: about the past, the present, about the ground, about the heritage for everyone. It is this act to incite people to think about the best place – that is conceptually put into life.” (Pietsie Feenstra)

Another of her projects that I thought was interesting was the bathers in Munich in 2005 where Wapke painted fourteen Munich bathers on tiles of grey concrete in a grey color. The idea of this was when she would splash water on the dry concrete tile the grey paint would appear in a lighter tone, where the wet grey concrete tile was darker. When the concrete tile would dry it would all be the same grey color as if nothing was painted. These series of works allowed the history and the reality around us to interact with our surrounding activities, but it also was added as a new story to the Isar and the collections of images of the tale of the bathers.

She has also done many other projects where she stays in landscapes in which she examines on a daily base, reads poems and researches the place she is in, that inspire her and Wapke at the end writes texts about her stay.

I admire her motivation and willingness to travel to all these new landscapes and environments, her experiences in meeting with all these new inhabitants and listening to their stories, but most importantly the personal and exciting practices and explorations she gets to live and feel but also gather inspiration from. Wapke Feenstra lives in this continue journey, in which if she chose to it could be never ending, since there are so many unique and countless different places, people and landscapes in this world, in which she could discover and investigate and continue to expand and enrich the knowledge and the experiences she already has.

Clyfford Still Paper- Katerina Kapodistrias

Katerina Kapodistrias

ARTH 3539

1/28/12

Clyfford Still Paper

 

Before this class I knew very little information about Clyfford Still. Cconsidered him being one of the most significant American artists in the twentieth century, he also most certainly blew me away just like so many people, with his mysterious but extraordinary in size and content works of art. It is quite remarkable how 94% of Clyfford Still’s collection, has never been inspected or seen by the community or art critics, and we are fortunate to have these authentic and original masterpieces to view in our city.

There was this TV screen in one of the rooms in which, they were screening just phrases and quotes that Clyfford Still has said. One of them that really stuck in my mind and immediately wrote down was this: “People should look at the work themselves and determine its meaning.” Which followed with this saying: “I never wanted color to be color, texture to be texture, images to become shapes. I wanted them all to fuse into a living spirit.” I found these words very powerful, while when I was viewing the paintings i automatically started to brain-storm and imagine what could this line/brush-stroke mean? What does it remind me of? What does it look like? He was so successful in his work, that even without this first quote above, people just like me, automatically started to wonder and place a meaning in the painting without anyone having to ask to do it. The way the brush-strokes are constructed and painted in Clyfford Still’s work even though abstract, they contain an aliveness where the eye can never stay in one place and wonders around the canvas but also in most of the paintings the paint looked like it expanded out of the canvas as if it was never ending.

The three paintings I decided to pick are slightly different from each other in the sense of size but also the color palette. I noticed that Clyfford Still had a specific color palette and had a preference in colors, that as I observed he used in almost every painting in the museum, even if it was in a little space on the top right of the canvas, but also how he used the bare canvas just as significant as a color would be. He started leaving the bare parts in the canvas earlier as well but in the 1940’s he used it as an expressive devise. He loved to create complex structures which time by time they expanded as a greater impact by the way they were positioned alongside the unpainted parts.

The first painting I picked to talk about was one of the later paintings Ph-929, dated 1974. I decided to write about this one, because I noticed it was one of the biggest scale paintings in the whole museum. The painting is mostly black strokes where when staring at it there is an implied movement going on very vividly, like the forms in the painting are in motion. From far away I thought they sort of looked like a cluster of feathers the way those black paint-strokes were colored. The part that was the most interesting to me in this painting was the very thin red line slightly curving at the bottom, that goes through the painting from the top till the bottom and it seems that on purpose he has covered a small part close to the middle because you can still see the texture of the red line up close underneath the black paint, which made me wonder. But also how a blue line just like the red one is coming in from the end of the left closer to the bottom side of the canvas but only goes to about one fifth of the canvas and then it just stops. In addition on the bottom right side of the canvas there is a same line but yellow and curved going towards the inside.

The other interesting aspect of this painting is that at the sides where the canvas ends all around there are little brush-strokes of colors like, light brown, blue, and light purple. We also see the concept of expressive qualities of empty space that Clyfford Still explores, because he believed that emptiness and void could be as expressive as thickly painted areas were, in which I mentioned above, but also the use of the color white on top of the blank spaces of the canvas where you have to go up close in order to notice it. With this painting being so large in scale and the structure of where he decided to locate the paint is quite intensely overwhelming in a fantastic way, like it is coming out of the canvas. It was one of the paintings that struck me the most. This painting was done six years before his death in 1980 where he was living in Maryland and was isolated from the outside world. I can see much emotion and bareness in this piece especially because of the extreme use of black.

The second painting I picked to talk about is again about the same scale as the Ph-929, in 1974, titled Ph-247 and dated in 1951. In the beginning of the 1950’s it was when Clyfford Still increased dramatically the scale in his paintings. With this painting I had a slightly different experience. The color palette he uses in this piece is mostly a mixture of different color tones of blue also mixed with black, in most of the area of the painting, but also blacker and a little orange. It sort of reminded me of the colors of an ocean or a field of some kind. This painting in comparison to the first one I talked about had more texture and smaller dabs of brush-strokes as I saw up close. There are still many similarities of course in the style and structure of the painting, for example we again see a light colored orange line cutting through the first half of the canvas from the top to the bottom, just like the red line in the first 1974 painting I talked about, but instead of curving it’s was a completely straight thin orange line. In the middle of the painting parallel to the thin orange line, there is a thick black vertical line. After looking at a couple of paintings the vertical lines started to get to me. Was he is some way separating different parts of his life in a way, since he was a person that lived in different places constantly? Did it have to do with some kind of experience in New York? Since that’s where he was when this painting was made. It still has me wondering.

Just like the 1974 painting i first talked about above, this one as well had a space of bare canvas just as many of his work. In this painting though it was in a very awkward and peculiar spot. On the very left of the canvas right where it begins there is another vertical line, but of the bare canvas, not starting from the very top of the canvas, but from about the one eighth and down. Also horizontally on the very bottom of the canvas there is a tiny line of bare canvas where the mixed tones of blues with black drip on top of the thin line of bare canvas where the canvas ends.

The third painting I decided to focus on and write about was the Ph-335 dated in the 1949. This was quite a painting. The first thing that I was drawn into in this painting was the intense bloody red color that Clyfford Still has decided to use. This bloody red is one of the colors that I think was used in many of his paintings in the museum. The power of the bloody red in combination with the darker red, black parts and the tiny parts of white and yellow that stand out, seem like this painting is going to explode. In this painting the eye never stays still since the moment you look at it. The composition is set in a boundless way where nothing seems to look flat but very much alive seeming like there is a constant movement flowing around. This painting is one piece of Clyfford Still that when you look at it, it seems as if the image extends and grows beyond the canvas, but also the black abstract forms of different sizes all around seem to be rising at the surface while it is expanding. It almost reminds me of a particular part of a map, where the black parts could islands and the red parts the ocean. Another interesting part n this painting is a little grey part of a dab of paint on the far top left corner. It is the only place where he had used this light tone of grey. This painting was done in San Francisco, where many more of his other paintings during this time while he was there were done with the same vibrant colors and many more. I noticed he had used less black and more yellows, jagged and “locked-in” shapes and forms as well as these deeply layered surfaces in which I talked about also in the first painting.

Clyfford Still is considered such a successful, influential and respected artist, considering that he started painting in a young age in a completely different way when he lived in the farms till the day he died in the 1980’s. His art pieces have taken such different directions since he started to paint where he painted more about the daily life, places, and people in labor in agricultural districts but also landscapes. He then again continued with farm scenes but in a more expressionistic style. After that along came a more abstract style in Clyfford Still work including anatomy but also the play of line, shapes and arrangement, where human became more like creatures and it was in the 1940’s where Still took the complete turn into his first abstractions where after a long way he ended with abstract expressionism while exploring empty space and vivid colors where like Still said “the figure stands behind all of my work.” All these twists and turns made Clyfford Still the thriving artist that he was.

 

1st) Ph-929, 1974

2nd) Ph-247, 1951

3rd) Ph-335, 1949

 

 

Intellectual Profile -Katerina Kapodistrias

1.  I am a senior and a studio arts major. My main emphasis has been in sculpture but what i love to do are installations and that is a big reason of why i love sculpture, because you can go crazy with it where it is not sculpture any more. I’ve been in the United States four years now and since coming from Greece with such a rich culture, that was my inspiration and influence in my art. The past two years i have still kept that influence but it has been changing excitingly in many directions where i have found myself experimenting each time with new materials in multiples and in a big scale in a minimalistic way.

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Smith Paragraph

The reading ‘What is contemporary art?’ explains that the word  “Contemporary” comes to mean periodlessness being perpetually, not “to be with time”, but “to be out of time,” to be suspended in a state after or beyond history, a condition of being always and only in a present that is without either a past or future. The reading also starts by saying that Contemporary art “is the institutionalized network through which the art of today presents itself to itself and to its interested audiences all over the world. It is an intense, expansionist, proliferating global subculture, with its own values and discourse, communicative network, heroes, heroines, and renegades, professional organizations, defining events, meetings and monuments, markets and museums-in sum, distinctive structures of stasis and change.” It continues by saying that Contemporary art is a culture and has a globalizing character but it also mobilizes nationalities and localisms in specific and complex ways. Contemporary art is primarily visual, and is driven by image, spectacle, attraction, celebrity, symbolic exchanges between people, interest groups and cultures that takes mainly visual forms. The qualities that make it different from other art is the novelty, unfamiliarity, rarity and so on, that it contains.

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