Visiting Artist: Janine Antoni

Kevin O’Hara


Visiting Artist Lecture Review


Janine Antoni is a contemporary artist who’s work explores concepts of body, femininity, gender roles, and maternity.  Antoni’s work is usually performative and focuses on process more than final product; she displays her process through photo documentation, installations, and sculpture.  With a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design Antoni became a Guggenheim fellow in 2011 and lives and works in New York city.  Antoni has become one of the most important and influential female artists working today.

Beginning with her earliest work first Antoni’s presentation went over her works, the thinking behind them, and the responses to them.  Antoni established Gnaw (1992) as her entry point into the contemporary art scene.  In the piece Antoni chewed two 600lb blocks, one chocolate the other lard, and used the chewed parts to create lipstick and chocolate boxes.  It was interesting to hear how people originally interpreted the piece as being a comment on minimalism because of the use of cubes however Antoni said that it was not her intention.  I personally found the lipstick and chocolate boxes, along with the false storefront they were presented in to be the most interesting part of the piece.  The commentary created by the feminine target products created physically by a woman was much more interesting to me than the act of chewing on the blocks or the incidental relationship to minimalism.  Antoni also mentioned that she was branded a feminist for this piece of artwork all though she again denied that that was her goal.  After Gnaw Antoni discussed Loving Care another one of her most well-known works in which she used  hair dye as paint and her own hair as a brush.  All though it is one of her most lauded works I have never really found the piece to be enough to keep me interested.

From Gnaw Antoni moved on to more works that discuss the body as an art-making tool often using the same materials of lard and chocolate.  Inspired by the story of Archimedes revelation in a bathtub Antoni created the work Eureka (1993).  In the piece she created a body cast of herself by being submerged in a bathtub of lard.  It was interesting to see some of the logistics behind the work, Antoni being lifted by crane out of the lard, but I found the idea of the displaced lard of equal volume to be more interesting than the tub or the performance.  Antoni explained her own interest in the displaced lard, expressing a fascination with the equality of a large glob of fat with a living human body.  After Eureka Antoni moves on to Lick and Lather (1993), creating two busts of herself again out of chocolate and lard.  Antoni used the busts, licking the chocolate and bathing with the soap to wear them down.  The idea of washing yourself with yourself was something that Antoni said she found fascinating and I found myself agreeing.

Antoni went on to cover her works Butterfly Kisses (1996-1999) and Mortar and Pestel (1999).  I found Butterfly Kisses interesting as another critique of marketing aimed at women.  Antoni admitted that all though she had intended Mortar and Pestel to record a deeply intimate act (licking her husband’s eye) that it mostly came across as creepy and I have to agree.

The piece Slumber was the work that I found most interesting.  Antoni performed the piece in museums, sleeping in the gallery at night and recording her brain activity while she slept with an EKG machine.  Then during the day Antoni used a loom to weave a  blanket based on the recorded EKG readings.  I loved the idea of turning something as intangible as dreams into something measurable and concrete.  It was humorous to hear Antoni talk about different museums she had performed the work at and how different nationalities had reacted and interacted with her while she was weaving.  To me part of the success of the piece is its more universal accessibility.  All though she addresses gender roles in her use of the traditionally feminine act of weaving, fascination with our dreams and recording them is a larger universal human experience.

I enjoyed hearing Janine Antoni talk however I found her work to be a little inaccessible and in some cases a little too easy for my taste.  Her work centers so much on the body, the female body, femininity, and maternity that I found it pretty inaccessible as a male in my 20s.  I also began to feel like she became too reliant on the materials and processes that had brought her success.  Almost an entire decade of work is dedicated to lard and chocolate and interacting with the body.  Additionally some of her more recent work, such as the photo of a cow that appears to be suckling at her breast or a short film of her tight-rope walking a line that aligns with the horizon seemed to me to be on the line between intelligent and lazy.  I was also troubled by the reoccurring theme in her lecture of incidental meaning being found in her work.  As an artist myself I know exactly what I want my audience to feel and think and if that’s not where they arrive I consider it a cop-out to say “well sure it could be that too.”  I think that it is a problem that is created by making the work first and then rationalizing it instead of the other way around.

Lecture – Amelia Jones

Amelia Jones

                Amelia Jones, Art Historian, did her lecture at CU on Queer Feminist Durationality. Many of her examples displayed genitals or art interpreted as genitals. Valie Export Genital Panic 1969 is a performance piece in which the artist holds a gun while sitting naked. This becomes the genital gaze that exists in many more works shown by Jones. Some might find the imagery to be offensive, other may find it to be erotic, and I was merely indifferent. Although the idea was good and well executed, it did not evoke any sort of conversation in my mind and instead blended in with all of the other works of the era. Continue reading

Artist Lecture – Aki Sasamoto – Lane Mitchell

Lane Mitchell

ARTH 3539

Review of Artist Lecture

Aki Sasamoto makes me question exactly what the meaning of the word art is. Upon entering the lecture hall, I was prepared for yet another artist lecture; see some slides and hear the artist talk about their work, but as she walked up to the podium at the front of the lecture hall, Aki Sasamoto began to introduce herself. Instead of the normal, “Hi, my name is blah blah blah….”, she began to type on her computer, the screen largely projected in front of us. This was the beginning of the unconventional behavior. Continue reading

Amelia Jones- Queer Feminist Durationality


Lecture Review 1: Janine Antoni

Nathanial Goodman

Art History 3539

Professor Kira van Lil

Visiting Artist: Janine Antoni

Janine Antoni is an Bahamian American artist presently living and working in New York City, New York. Antoni was born in 1964, on Freeport Island in the Bahamas. It was there that she spent the first part of her life, until being sent off to boarding school.  In 1986 She received a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Three years later in 1989 Antoni graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a Masters of Fine Arts and Sculpture Honors. Continue reading

Aki Sasamoto- James Stahl


Janine Antoni–Lauren Anderson

Janine Antoni Lecture Review by Lauren Anderson

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Janine Antoni Review (Jasmine Lewis)

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Frederic Jameson-lopezkr

Kristie Lopez

April 26, 2012

Arth 3539

Lecture 1


Frederic Jameson

I went to the Jameson lecture because I learned quite a bit about him in my Post Modern class earlier this year and really enjoyed all that I learned and wanted to learn a little bit more. Being at the actual lecture I was kinda hoping that he would talk a little bit more about his work rather than what seemed like a critique of the world that we live in. He also was not what I had expected. At the lecture he had what looked like a well written speech but when it came to the actual speech he just read off of the paper. Even when it felt like he was jumping around he was still staring at his papers. The beginning of the speech was great and a little vague. I thought that because of the vague opening that the rest of it was going to go in deeper to the initial claims. That however did not happen like I thought it would.

The majority of the beginning was all about the post modern itself. He opened by saying that the Post Modern is a way of thinking or a philosophy. That it is a representation of the unconscious. He also talked about a lot of things that he did not explain or that he planned to just touch on. Topics such as singularity were just mentioned and I do not know much about it and what I did know I do not remember so it was difficult at times to know what I was supposed to be taking out of what he was saying. Not knowing also caused me to sort of tune out of what he was saying. Therefore what he may have been saying afterwards might have helped me to understand what he was trying to say. I was unable to give my full attention after that and it became difficult to go in and out of the speech and try and grasp what was going on. I would key into specific times that seemed like transitions for Jameson. This was a way for me to start over with a new thought and get something new and get a meaning from it and how it related to Post Modern.

After a while it was clear that a main focus that Jameson had was the role of curators and their relation to the artists. He also talked about what the world of art has come to with all the new technology that has risen these days. When you look at art through a new medium sometimes it changes the art. Jameson says that when a piece of artwork goes through so many mediums what we see is more the idea of the work. What he says is both singular and theory at the same time. Its singularity versus particularity which he did not really explain so I am not exactly sure on the way that I should apply this to the other things that he has said.

When he talks about the curators he says that the role that they are taking is the role that in some way takes the artist out of the situation. Saying that we might not even have great artists anymore we might just have great curators. That maybe what we are seeing is what the curators want us to see or better yet enlighten us to see.

The lecture was good and regardless of the things that I did not like about it. The point is whether or not I took anything away from the lecture and I did which makes the lecture worth it and what makes it a learning experience. It could have gone better but that does not matter and there was a take away so it was worth it.

Amelia Jones: Queer Feminist Durationality

Queer Feminist Durationality: Amelia Jones

On Tuesday, April 17, I attended Amelia Jones’ lecture on the subject of her new thesis about Queer Feminist Durationality.  It was a very provocative lecture, which gave me some insight on how to look at feminist art.  The lecture itself was a little difficult for me to follow, because she was just reading off of a paper she had already wrote, so in consequence she spoke pretty fast.  However, the work she was showing and some of the quotations displayed under the work helped me follow what she was trying to get across a little better.  I am not an art major so some of the concepts were completely over my head, but overall I enjoyed listening what she had to say.

Amelia started off her lecture with showing some of the work of Valie Export.  The work was called Genital Panic, and it was a series of photographs of the artist in a huge fake wig, sitting down, with her legs spread wide open.  The artist was also holding a gun, striking a pose that suggested the viewer to focus between her legs. This was a very strong image that to me suggested the attitude of the Feminist Movement that was about to take place.  Amelia stated that this image “Opens radical rationality through a hostile.”  What I take from this statement is that this photograph is making a rational statement via hostile imagery.  There is nothing discrete about this photo, and yet all vulnerability is present.  She has her legs spread which make her seem vulnerable, but the hostile nature of the picture can’t be denied wither with the gun, and one could even argue that the wig is hostile.  Over all I think it was one of my favorite feminist works shown, because it was probably the mildest of the lecture.

One section I will briefly talk about is this notion of “cunt art” in feminist pieces.  Amelia kept bringing up this idea of fetishism with the female body inside western culture.  Amelia then stated that one of the points of Feminist art is to play around with the idea of feminism.  It seems to me that these different ways of depicting the female sex is one aspect of imaging feminism, though should not be the only way.  In the later part of the lecture there were some artists that had a very unique way of looking at this subject.  One artist that fell under the category of “cunt art” that made an impact on me was Mira Schor.  This piece was made in 1994, and it is an extremely simple, less detailed image of the female sex.  It is pretty much a split on a beige backdrop.  Inside the spit, there is a semicolon which further suggests the female sex.  What separated this piece from the other artists under the “cunt art” movement was the simplicity of the piece.  Amelia states that feminist “cunt art” opens a hole in fetishism with its specializing structure of objectification.  In Mira Schor’s piece, the painting can be considered fetishism because it does portray the female sex.  The way the artist plays with the object was striking because she made a semicolon do the detail for her, which when left to the imagination of the viewer; it does all the work it needs to.

The final aspect of the lecture that I wanted to discuss was the photographer named Catherine Opie, because I can’t get her work out of my head.  Her portrait titled Pervert really stuck with me, because it offered a violent inside look into the feminist world.  Opie is topless with a leather mask covering her face, and needles are pierced throughout both of her arms.  On her chest is the word pervert scratched or branded into her skin, and the reader can read the word because her blood is what forms the image.  This was a more violent way to express feminism than the other artists had offered.  The object was either the word or the Opie herself, and the violence of the image is what strikes the viewer to not look away.  This image is a complex identification that opens out temporal relations with the viewer, something that Jones had elaborated on.  In this image, there is no simple context to put this portrait under.  The complexity of her identity is imbedded in her pain, her blindness, and her perverted nature of the image.  Overall it was a striking image, but striking in a good way.  It is good to feel uncomfortable sometimes when viewing new works of art.

Overall I enjoyed the lecture and learned a lot about a subject I had known next to nothing about before I attended the lecture.  Amelia Jones is a bright artist/professor and it was good stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing something new.  I look forward to researching more about feminist art and possibly looking deeper into Amelia’s new book that was just released this week.

Leslie Flanigan Artist Lecture Review – Jordan Dawson

Hybridization in art has always seemed very dirty to me. I often resist the combination of artistic mediums, even though I’d consider myself to be a reasonably open-minded individual. The breeding of visual art and music was no different, until I met Leslie Flanigan. For me, she changed what it means to be a musician. I approach my music like a total stranger now. Everything is new. The music I make now is completely different from the kind that I made before I met Leslie. Sure, it’s easy to claim that you’ve come back from a lecture a totally changed man. I know. That suddenly you’ve been blessed with all of these completely new ideals. It gives you something to talk about when you don’t really have anything to say. But she has given me more to do than to say. I cannot stress that enough. Continue reading

Lecture Review 1, Rachel Olguin

Rachel Olguin

ARTH 3539

Kira Van Lil

30 April 2012

Visiting Artist Lecture Review: Janine Antoni Continue reading

Arlene Schechet

Arlene Shechet

Arlene Shechet is an intriguing artist who works primarily in ceramics with emphasis on the concept of multiples. Her work is highly charged as it deals with the usage of space and the importance of form. She originally began as a purely ceramics however as her work has progressed she has began to work more with a variety of materials including both glass and metal. Her work is beautiful as Buddhism heavily influences her early work. Examples of her early work include “Mind Field Series: Turning wheel.” This is a highly charging work in which her heavy influence from Buddhism bleeds through as the wheel is highly similar to that of a Buddhist Mandela. The Mandela is a traditional symbol of meditation meant to replicate that of a stoopa. This work was constructed during the phase in which she made her own paper. The innocence and innate beauty of the simple circle and its importance is furthered as she slowly moved from traditional papermaking into the world of papier-mâché. With papier-mâché she generated a variety of forms, which mimic the position of a meditating Buddha. The simplicity and innate beauty of the forms generated generates a highly effective piece in which the onlooker looks upon a forest of forms constructed to mimic the prophet, covered with the Mandelas and images of stoopas. The work is beautiful as it generates a sensation of tranquility and calm within the work meant to elicit a sensation of clarity and calm in the onlooker.

From this solid basis and understanding of form Shechet’s work slowly evolved past papier-mâché and into glasswork. She worked to generate several strong forms, which captured the freedom and essence of the common man’s spirit. Her glasswork was criticized by herself as being too innately beautiful to deal with the concepts that she hoped to achieve through her work. This was remedied with a transition of material back into ceramics. She now currently generates highly obscure and abstract forms, which are highly charged and beautiful in their conception and execution. The unique touch that she adds to her work is that the pedestals are made from the bricks that kilns are made from. Each painted a unique and festive color the pedestals add to the overall feel of the work and help to convey a sensation of life within her work.

Overall Shechet’s work is innately interesting as it deals with the simplicity of the form and the interaction between the onlooker and the concept of space. Her lecture was truly insightful as it allowed for a better understanding of her as an artist as well as the importance of her work in terms of technique and execution. Truly she is an excellent artist and her work is both simplistic and creative in nature.

Visiting Artist Paper, Arlene Shechet

Laura Marshall.

Arlene Shechet, 7 February

Arlene Shechet is a ceramic, mixed media and sculptor, specializing in exploring her identity and her place in the world. Her artistic journey begins with a dive into East Asian motifs, Continue reading

Claire Zitzow

Jeffrey Lubbers

Artist Lecture

Due 4/30/12

Kiri Van Lil

Claire Zitzow is an incredible artist that works in a field that typically combines sculpture and video art, using the history of the land around her to guide the work in many contextual levels; sometimes very subtly other times it is the driving influence behind her work. For Claire land is a place that has been embedded with history, that projects and reflects things back to people. Continue reading

Amelia Jones – Visiting Scholar

Shayna Weingast

Visiting Scholar Review

Amelia Jones: Queer Feminist Durationality

The Trace of the Subject in Contemporary Art

The subject of Amelia Jones’ lecture was, in a nutshell, about identity, and the ways in which identity is constructed and received in art. Her most recent work, “Queen Feminist Durationality,” according to Jones, deals directly with the new emerging theories on how we might think of identity in relation to the visual arts. Jones presented new research on how to think about art after 1960, proposing a shift from object to process and how this shift relates to globalization, digital networking, and a sense of placelessness. She also favored a spatial approach, not a chronological one, and urged that the viewer consider art’s political and social aspects.

Jones gave the audience a quick background on feminist art, showing works from feminist artists like Valie Export and Judy Chicago. These work deal with the objectification of women, and the ways in which women form identity based on their relationship to men. In this section of the lecture, there were copious vaginal images (what she called “cunt art”), to which Jones discussed issues of male castration paranoia, fetishizing projections, and the gaze theory. Jones spoke about the binary relationship of the male gaze and female fetishism, and the ways in which women construct an identity based on their relationship to the male gaze, rather than independent of gender influence. Despite the often grotesque genitalia art she presented in her PowerPoint, this was the part of the lecture I enjoyed the most, and which I found I had the most background in, having read works by Laura Mulvey and Gloria Steinam for my thesis.

While elucidating her approach, she dipped into nearly incomprehensible jargon: phrases such as “logic of latency” and “activating a conceptual body via material traces expressing the work’s having been made” left me in a state of bewilderment. Once Jones went beyond the realm of feminist theory, I found myself lost amongst her esoteric vocabulary and obscure references. On more than one occasion, I had to stop listening to her lecture all together to re-group my thoughts and get back on track with what she was saying.

Jones then went through the three main words of her thesis, defining each as they related to her argument. Beginning with feminism, as I discussed above, she then shifted her lecture towards understanding “queer,” perhaps the most loaded word of her thesis. Jones defined queer as “the impossibility of the subject staying still…riding the line of indentified and identifiable.” That is to say, Jones seems to be arguing that what makes “queer” queer is its lack of a specific subject or identifier; queer always remains in the limbo between a fixed and fluctuating identity.

Jones ended the lecture by defining “durationality,” which was the part of the lecture I struggled the most with. Jones left the definition of “durationality” completely opaque—it’s not even a real word. I came away with no concrete definition for “durationality,” only that it implies a certain framework for which scholars can/should look at art, especially in light of technology, globalization and homosexuality.  Instead, she linked the world “intersectionality” to “durationality” (another made up word), which allows her to address the sexual aspect of all imagery.

Overall, I found Aemlia Jones’ lecture to be fascinating but extremely challenging. Her vocabulary alone had me lost and confounded, while the content of the lecture reinforced my feelings of confusion but addressed some very important and interesting topics. However, her lecture was extremely appropriate to attend and I truly feel I gained a great deal of knowledge from the hour I spent in her world of scholastic investigation.

Kathryn Anderson- Janine Antoni

Kathryn Anderson

Janine Antoni

March 6, 2012

When I first walked into the auditorium Antoni had images of her own nipple impression and baby bottle nipple impression projected onto the screen.  At first it wasn’t clear what I was looking at and this questioning created a build up and anticipation for the lecture to begin so I could discover what was being blown up so large on the projector.  There was a buzz with the people around me all wondering what the images were and what they could possibly mean.  Continue reading

Lecture Review 1 // Janine Antoni // Ricci

Attached is my review of Janine Antoni’s lecture.

Ricci – Antoni Lecture Review



Lawrence Agent Artist Lecture Madeline Dungan

Lawrence Argent Paper

Bryce Johnson-Janine Antoni lecture review

Artist Lecture Review: Janine Antoni

Bryce Johnson

ARTH 3539-001

Janine Antoni is a Bahaman’s born artist, who currently lives and works in New York. She received her education from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, with a BA, and from Rhode Island School of Design, with an MFA. She deals with process in her work with relation to her body in a certain environment, or doing a certain action. Janine uses her mouth and hair as a process of communicating her narrative in her works.  Performance is an important aspect of Janine’s work. Her process a lot of the time includes some sort of performance, as seen her piece “Gnaw.” Her work has a surface value that is interesting but her pieces also have a deeper meaning that normally communicate her views of the everyday world and how we interact with it.

Continue reading

Jackson Ellis Visiting Artist Paper 1 – Janine Antoni

Jackson Ellis


Janine Antoni Visiting Artist Lecture


Getting to see and hear Janine Antoni talk about her work was definitely one of the highlights of this semester, and for me, nothing could be more inspiring than getting a glimpse behind the method of a MacArthur fellowship recipient. What initially surprised me the most was Antoni’s serene demeanor, just listening to her talk felt having an intimate conversation with the artist. This same quality was reflected in her poetic work that dances between the personal and the spiritual.

Beginning with the work that put her on the map, Janine Antoni revealed a behind-the-scene look at a piece that I have known about since I first became a student of the visual arts. This is of course the sculpture Gnaw (1992), in which the artist cast two 600-pound cubes, one of chocolate and one of lard. One of the most successful aspects of the work is its relationship to the modernist “cube,” as it takes a post-modern approach to the subject matter. One cannot gaze upon the monumental work without contemplating Tony Smith’s Die (1962), but where Smith used industrially manufactured metal, Antoni has opted for a quieter, more feminine approach. As a critique on the modernist art institution, Gnaw serves to undermine the white male hegemony that was so prevalent throughout the life of the movement, using her own body as the instrument through which to do this. For Antoni, the body is a temple and a tool through which symbols and materials are translated into meaningful objects and situations.

The body has a very direct relationship to Janine Antoni’s work and she incorporates it in the most humorous and unique ways. “The body is a temple” is something that we’ve all heard before, but Antoni takes this concept to a comical extreme in the work Conduit (2009) in which the artist literally transforms her body into architecture. The result of a chance encounter with an invention to allow women to urinate like men, she took this concept and created a similar-functioning object out of copper that resembled a gargoyle. Taking this object to the Empire State building, the artist then preceded to urinate off the building, completing the transformation of body into architecture. Similar in concept to this body/architecture was her work One Another (2008), in which she allowed a doll house to be put around her that contained small spiders that wove webs inside the miniature rooms. As a mother, her perspective on the idea of a home and how it relates to the body are very important details, and Antoni uses this aspect of her life in many of her pieces. One Another emphasized the relationship the artist’s body has with the physical manifestation of the concept of the “home.” That is that she (her body) is both a physical dwelling for an unborn child and her role as a mother is providing a zone of safety for the child through love, caring and physical security.

Hearing Janine Antoni speak and present demonstrated to me how a true artist acts. It was inspiring to feel the passion Antoni had for art and the way she spoke about it was incredibly poetic. Someday I too hope to be able to speak about my art in a way that inspires my audience that way she inspired me.

Janine Antoni (Tony McKendry)

Tony McKendry

Janine Antoni

Despite the awesome opportunity that the University of Colorado’s visiting artist program affords us, most of the time the Artists that visit are lesser known and appreciated than some of the more “famous artists”; when I saw that Janine Antoni was on the roster this semester I got excited both because I am a fan of Antoni’s work, but also because I have been taught about her in almost every art class I’ve taken since my education at CU began. It was a pretty inspiring experience to personally hear her stories and motives behind her groundbreaking work, and see the artist in person that I’d seen so many times in textbooks and class films.

Continue reading

Nao Bustamante-Katie Hitch

Nao Bustamante’s ideas are many times driven by the idea of “anti-art and anti-entertainment,” as she called it. She told the audience that she didn’t believe she was a real artist and that she was amazed so many people showed up to see her. She uses her body a lot in her works and considers her work to be a “crazy quilt”. She opened her lecture with a “hypnosis” of the audience. She asked us to become her and to understand her fully without judgment. I thought this was an intriguing way to start a lecture and it made me interested in what she had to say.

A lot of her work deals with her body. She works in many different mediums and believes “there’s no hierarchy of self expression” and that it’s important to express yourself confidently by any means.  An example of her using her body is in the performance piece where she hid under a rug. While under the rug she spoke out of a microphone and interacted with the audience. Bustamante stated that some people didn’t even think there was an actual person under the rug, so they proceeded to sit on her and kick her while she was under the rug.  Continue reading

Visiting Artist Lecture Review 1- Nao Bustamante by Nell Pollak

An Evening with Nao Bustamante

“Melted, Plotting out a Cross-Genre Narrative”

Nao Bustamante, a performance, video installation, visual, film, and writing artist, visited the University of Colorado at Boulder on the third of April as part of CU’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Her presentation was far from the norm of Visiting Artist Lectures I have seen in the past. In fact, her presentation was definitely the most unique from the ones I have been to. As a performance artist, she chose to present herself and her artwork in a performance-like manner. Continue reading

Bari Zipperstein Continue reading

Janine Antoni: Lecture Review One

Danielle Austin

Visiting artist lecture: Janine Antoni



Janine Antoni was born in Freeport, Bahamas in 1964. She is a contemporary artist who works in different mediums such as performance art, photography, and sculpture. Antoni received her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1989 and her husband is a fellow RISD graduate. Often times in her work, Janine Antoni uses her body or parts of her body as a medium or a cast for projects. Continue reading

Wesley Grover, Lecture Review 1: Arlene Shechet

I attended the lecture by visiting artist Arlene Shechet and was immediately impressed by the variety of mediums that she works with. As an artist Arlene has exhibited great diversity throughout her career and has produced work from materials such as glass, clay, plaster, wax, and paper, among others. Being able to hear her talk first hand about her artistic process was both intriguing and enlightening. As Arlene gave a very intimate account of her career and how she has developed her own style over time, it was amazing to see how her work has progressed. One particular aspect of her artistic process that struck me was Arlene’s openness to new things. She does not let her past work confine her future progress, as the diversity of her work demonstrates, and Arlene frequently begins a project without knowing where it will go. Her acceptance and willingness to take on new challenges has greatly contributed to Arlene’s success. As she described a number of pieces throughout her career it became apparent that Arlene’s artwork is a very personal reflection of her life and an outlet for her emotions.

Arlene began her presentation by taking a look at her Buddha series, which she began around 1992. At this time she had been profoundly affected by the loss of a close friend, as well as the birth of her child. Through these life-changing events she began to adopt an eastern philosophy, which can be observed in her work. While messing around with plaster Arlene noticed that one of her pieces bore an uncanny resemblance to a Buddha. She then became inspired and produced an entire series of Buddhas made from plaster. As this idea evolved Arlene began to look at each Buddha as a miniature “Stupa” and her work conveyed a spiritual meaning. The process is perhaps equally important as the final product for Arlene; while working with plaster it transforms from a liquid to a solid state, which illustrated Arlene’s belief that all things are changing all the time.

Her work continued to evolve and Arlene began to incorporate paper into her project. Originally hesitant to apply plaster on to paper, Arlene embraced the medium as a new layer to work with in her multifaceted repertoire. She began to create Mandalas on canvas using only blue and white paint to create the impression of a blue print. These Mandalas conveyed a sense of spiritual guidance that expressed Arlene’s personal desire for harmony in her life. She would then apply these Mandalas on to the plaster Stupas and use the mold as the stand for each piece. The final product was a beautifully crafted piece that was aesthetically and intellectually stimulating. I found it incredibly informative to learn how Arlene created such a cohesive concept without knowing where the project would go. By keeping an open mind and constantly exploring new mediums, Arlene successfully constructed art that carried individual expression and challenged her audience to consider their own spirituality. It was enlightening to see the process from the artist’s perspective and learn how she gained inspiration.

Arlene went on to describe some of her more recent projects, which continue to demonstrate her open state of mind. I particularly enjoyed her “Out of the Blue” Series using glass. This is another medium that transforms throughout the artistic process and carries a salient meaning to the work overall. The installation series was comprised of a number a glass pieces that are meant to look like rope. The blue color of the glass continues the theme of guidance (i.e. bluerint) as well as connoting a nautical motif. The glass rope bares a similarity to clay coils and reiterates Arlene’s belief that all things are interrelated. When installed, the glass is attached to walls and the rope appears to be woven in and out of the wall. It creates a beautiful contrast between the rope and the absence of it, inspiring the viewer to contemplate the visible and invisible. Some of the glass bares the image of a knotted rope, while other pieces are loose ends. In appearance, this series is simple and pleasing to look at, yet it is endlessly thought provoking and challenges its audience.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to hear Arlene speak because it was informative on many levels. Her approach to her work was inspiring and being able to see how she has evolved through each project was a great experience. Arlene’s attitude toward her work and her life are synonymous and I believe a lot can be learned from her. She has overcome adversity in her life and her work is a direct reflection of that. Arlene’s success is by no means accidental and it can be attributed to her willingness to evolve and explore the unknown.

Visiting Artist Reflection: Janine Antoni

Andrew Davis

Visiting Artist Reflection

ARTH 3539

Janine Antoni primarily uses her body as a sculpting tool. Janine Antoni opened her lecture by showing and discussing a work titled Ween. This installation was an early work in her career and explored objects that seemingly defined humanness through culture. It was a series of horizontally adjacent relief molds into the wall. From left to right the dialogue began with a mold of her breast, then her nipple, three separated baby-bottle packaged nipple reliefs (maintaining a horizontal presentation) and a last relief of the bottle nipple consumer packaging. This sculpture questions the transition concerning consumer products replacing natural processes. I was particularly interested in the conceptual presentation of this idea. The artist as a mother, experiences first hand, the convenience of the industrial world and products that both mimic and relieve humans from maintaining traditional evolutionary necessity (such as breast feeding). The point at which these inanimate objects serve animate purpose is interesting. The composition as a whole maintains a balanced presentation.  Janine Antoni’s breast is the largest relief. The packaging relief is a little smaller, but visually challenges and relates to the size of the artist’s actual breast. The three bottle nipples reflect a very similar size and shape to the artist’s nipple. However, more attention is drawn to the deeper values of shadow within the multiple industrialized nipples. The simplicity adds to the complexity and I was particularly drawn to the meaning behind this work.

Lick and Lather, produced in 1993 was another playful piece done by Janine Antoni. This project involved a series of self-portrait busts, cast out of chocolate and soap. Janine Antoni proceeded to bathe with the soap busts, and lick away the chocolate busts, physically altering the appearance of the casts. This installation and process speaks to how everyday activities such as bathing and eating shape our lives. Simple concept and technical execution attribute to the beauty of Janine Antoni’s art. Her work explores the transformative nature of the art process, physically and mentally involving her body in the development. Her choice of media was specific for this project, providing opportunity for change and conceptual depth.

My favorite piece of hers was Tear. Tear is presented as a battered wrecking ball accompanied by live video and sound. The video consists of a blown up, close up recording of the artist’s eye. The process involved a soft lead wrecking ball destroying a building. The sounds of impact were recorded and synched to match the video of the artist’s blinking eye. It is a conceptually layered installation. The wrecking ball speaks to an oxymoronic quality of being destructive yet vulnerable to the damage. The word tear is a play on meaning and pronunciation. On one side tears from eyes serve as a defense mechanism and reaction to emotional stimulation (Tears are used to protect the eye as well as express emotion). The wrecking ball symbolizes a destructive object but yet bears the scars of its destruction. The viewer serves as a subject in the piece too. By understanding the influences of destruction in relation to a human response, viewers can relate to and understand the meaning of tearing (as an act of deconstruction) and tearing (crying) and the many correlations between the two acts. I found her lecture very inspiring. Her use of paralleled ideas and media to support concept, represented a full cycle of thought that was both intriguing and relatable.




Sarah Tye Diego Romero


Sarah Tye


Visiting Artist Paper

ARTH 3539


            I work on Tuesdays so I was unable to attend any of the visiting artist lectures this semester, so I went to the VRC and checked one out. Unfortunately, there were no videos of lectures from this semester, so I just asked the women behind the counter to give me something interesting. Coincidentally she handed me the video of Diego Romero, a Native American artist, a topic I have recently taken up an interest in. The lecture is from September 26, 2000.

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Visiting Artist Janine Antoni by Alysia Davis

As part of the Visiting Artist Lecture series at CU Boulder, we welcomed Janine Antoni Continue reading

Paige Hirschey Lecture Review: Janine Antoni

Paige Hirschey

Janine Antoni

Janine Antoni

Hearing Janine Antoni speak about her work was an amazing experience. Being familiar with her before the talk, it was interesting to hear the full explanation of her pieces. Continue reading

Amelia Jones Lecture Review-Heather Nelson

Heather Nelson

Professor Van Lil

Art History 3539

19 April 2012

Amelia Jones Artist Lecture

            The artist lecture that I attended was by scholar Amelia Jones on “Queer Feminist Durationality: The Trace of the Subject in Contemporary Art,” on April 18, 2012. Amelia Jones is an art historian, art critic and curator, whose focus is in feminist art, body/performance art, video art and Dadaism. She studied art history at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. Just as well, she received her PhD from UCLA in 1991. Jones is known, through her work, to break down common assumptions and opinions of the art world and art history tradition and explain them through art. During her lecture, Amelia Jones read to us the final chapter of her new book, which has the title “Seeing Differently.” Continue reading

Visiting Scholar Series Lecture Review

LectureReview1ContemporaryArt Madison Goodman

Lecture Review #1: Nao Bustamaste

The artist lecture, “Melted: Plotting Out a Cross-Genre Narrative,” by Nao Bustamante was quite an interesting one, to say the least. Nao is a performance artist who also incorporates other aspects of art like film and fashion. At first, I was very confused as to what was even going on during the lecture. Nao started off in darkness, with just the light from the screen up. Her initial focus was to hypnotize the audience to become her, to see through her eyes, which was difficult for me to do, partly because it was the first time I had ever been “hypnotized” Continue reading

Artistic Lecture #1- Paige Lowe

Artist lecture

The lecture was held in the Denver Art Museum. The lecture room was black with bright red seats. On the walls were sharp angled lines criss-crossing randomly, mimicking the steep angles of the building seen when walking into the building. The main wall was colored in the same bright red color as the seats. The room has off an intense feeling that I assume is suppose to go along with the design of the building. However, the overall effect of the room gave me a headache. I did not like the bright red contrasting if the stark black walls.

The lecture lasted over an hour with a few questions from the audience.  – Richard Tuttle did not follow a pre planned lecture. He seemed to talk freely from his thoughts, which was confusing to understand his artwork. He had difficultly answering audience questions. He had trouble communicating the meaning behind his works to the audience. He constantly was saying that he placed objects to question reality. Then he would go on a small tangents about his life, such as about his daughter, his trip to Denver, and his mental process. he used numerous materials to complete his works. From home made rice paper to saran wrap.

He mentioned that he should not of included one of his works of art, System 3, Measurement. Although he was encouraged to remove the piece by the curators he refused to because he was very attached to the work. System 3, Measurement does stand out from the others pieces of work and it is missing the differencing levels the other works contain. However, I really enjoyed this piece of work, the feathers are beautiful and t he bird feels to new flying. This piece shows a different subconscious of the mind. I think the bird may reflect dreaming. The show would have been missing a different aspect of his work without it.

Overall, the meaning of his work is to show the different levels of perceived reality. His work has a psychological component. He does not set the base of the works on the ground because he wants to show the foundation of the mind and reality. In his work, he shows the levels of reality the best. The dripping mass into the floor and the stairs going above the base level all show that reality is subjective onto the person, that reality can go above and below what we perceive as reality in our minds.

The show was set apart from the other works by an open walk through making the price the main focus of the show. The work contains paper mâché balls that are wrapped in plastic saran wrap. Overall, I really enjoyed experiencing an artist lecture and seeing how his work is created.

Amelia Jones: Lecture Review #1

Janeesa Jeffery


Lecture Review #1

Amelia Jones

Queer Feminist Durationality: The Trace of the Subject in Contemporary Art

I went to one of the visiting scholar series in Hale and went to listen to Amelia Jones talk about Queer feminist durability. Amelia is professor and Grierson Chair in Visual Culture at McGill University, Montreal. She has written on contemporary art and on feminist, queer and anti-racist approaches to visual culture. Jones believes that the performance power of art to play out gender is a very useful tool as a framework to offer new ways to consider images as enactments with embodied subjects rather than inanimate objects with the use just for men’s viewing pleasure.

When Amelia came to visit and giver her lecture I found a lot of things interesting about this subject considering that I am a female. She stated, “Queer Feminist Durationality focuses on the recent art practices that imply a new theory of identification in relation to visuality. It draws on feminist strategies significant of gender/sexual formations, maintaining a politics relating to specific coalitional concerns, but keeps in play a range of potential meanings.”

Amelia talked a lot about how in art the female body is objectified in relation to the body being naked. There was a photo of a woman holding a gun with her legs opened, in which it showed a sense of exposure and vulnerability. The obsession with artists showing women in this way is used with the term fetishism. Feminist cunt art can play around with this fetishism in which it likes to objectify the entire female body the most. “We have seen the empirical extreme of time in the world is human desire” (Alexondre Kojeve). Some key terms that she listed for this subject were durational, intersectionality, and latency. Queer feminist have potential for doing something through interpretation where art means the expression of the individual. She also talked about post World War I and how art switched to the identities of the individual and intersectionality.  Sex and gender is articulated in relative to numerous identifications and of all identifications of self, other, bodies and images.

Overall, I enjoyed the lecture by Amelia especially because It was female based. Females are overlooked most of the time in differentaspects today in society. So, I found it interesting that she talked about the subjectivity of women as well. Most of the images involved women in a position where they were objectified and made pleasurable to the man’s eye. There were also images that were linked towards more queerness and anamorphosis. An example of queer feminist durationality is Opie’s self-portrait nursing in 2004. She looks like a male but is nursing a baby like a woman would as a mother. In the early 1990’s she took photographs for lesbian magazines. Some other artists Jones highlighted were, Tee Corinne, Holdein, Barbara Smith, Valie Export, Judith Barry, Sandy Fitterman, Mira Schor, Donald, and Paul Donald. Most of this art just shows a different way of self-expression, I think performance art, photographs, paintings, drawings all of it are just different forms of displaying ones artistic notions.

Janine Antoni: Guest Artist Lecture Review

Andrew Burns.  Document is attached.Lecure Review #1

Visiting Artist -Lawerence Argent (Hsuan Wang)

Hsuan Wang

ARTH 3539

Visiting artist


Visiting Artist – Lawrence Argent

On Wednesday, April 18, Lawrence Argent has a speech at the lower level of Denver art museum. He is a very funny person, and if you do not know him, you should know about his work. If you ever drive in downtown Denver passing the Denver Convention Center, there is a huge sculpture looking in the window of the building, a blue bear. This sculpture was making by him, and this public artwork named “I see what you mean.” It is representing the Colorado, what we think when we hear the state of Colorado. From his opinion, the bear can represent Colorado well, and both can show the audience the feeling of nature.  When the audiences see the blue bear form the outside of the building, people will have question about what this bear doing here, or something like what the bear is looking at. Yet, when the audience walk into the building see the bear from inside, the bear is facing the audience that makes the audience feels that the bear is watching or hunting them. This can makes the audience feels they are standing in the nature. Continue reading

Response to Frederic Jameson’s Lecture (Franklin Perry Martin)

Response to Frederic Jameson’s Lecture:

Frederic Jameson is a contemporary literary critic and a theorist who follows the Marxist political ideology.  He is a professor at Duke University teaching in The Program of Literature and Romance.  He is most famous for his study and analysis of new world cultural trends, and is credited with the theory that Postmodernism is “the spatialization of culture under the pressure of organized Capitalism (Wikipedia).”

Upon entering this lecture, I was unsure of what to expect, as I had no prior knowledge of Mr. Jameson’s profession or mode of thought.  With him being a scholar and intellectual dedicated to the exploration of contemporary political ideologies, I had not had much exposure to the information he planned on discussing with us.  I was surprised both by the amount of information that I understood and also by the considerable portion that went over my head.  He tended to use a lot of terminology associated with his profession and not designed for novice interpretation.  Aside from the fact that I was forced to wade through a large volume of information in a short amount of time, I enjoyed listening to him speak and I appreciate the intricacy of his thought processes.

He began his lecture by speaking about the idea of Postmodernism vs. Postmodernity.  He explained that Postmodernity is the historical and empirical side of the equation, while Postmodernism represents the aesthetics of this idea without the philosophical attributes.  He continued this definition by extrapolating that Postmodernism then becomes a symptom of Postmodernity as a whole, and that art serves as a symptom and/or mode of expression within this sphere.  This interests me because it establishes art as a result of cultural pressure and societal evolution.  This makes sense, given that the manifestation of culture in society is inextricably tied to the current or influential political systems, and that this communication between the individual and the social machine the produces artistic invention, in some cases.

Jameson then moved onto the aesthetics of Singularity and the idea that intrinsic to this is the problem of temporality.  The interplay of the present with the past and future creates a tripartite reality that in turn destroys the permanence of a single notion.  Insofar as he makes this claim, he also adds that the necessary ‘author’ of an original piece is now less realistic, and the creator becomes more of a conduit for the expression of culture at that moment in time.  The expand this, in terms of the visual arts, and within that the existence of installation art, the viewer can witness a ‘disintegration of the older classical artistic system,” which is replaced by an impermanent and dynamic ‘event’ that exists for the ‘now.’

In terms of consumption, according to Jameson, we now consume the medium of presentation itself as well as the content.  The “collection’s logic lies in the interactivity of its pieces,” and uniqueness of creation is no longer as paramount to the process, as the material is already present and through art becomes visible through another frame of mind.  I am a little confused by this point, however at the same time it makes sense in terms of Marshall McLuhan and his paper The Medium is the Message.  Provided with the idea that the medium has advanced to become not only a noticeable facet of creation but one that influences the information presented, these notions of Jameson seem valid.

As far as the presentation of installation art, Jameson adds that the role of the Curator is now changing.  Given that installations can exist in the absence of human upkeep after creation, the omnipresence of the institution (or museum) now provides groundwork for an autonomous system that “transcends the dimensions of the individual.”  Due to this, Jameson hypothesizes that the older styles of artistic and cultural consumption have changed.    He accentuates that the consumption of an idea can have the same result as consuming a book written about that idea, and in that mindset the style of consuming an idea has changed.  Because of this, relative to artwork, if the audience consumes the idea of the work over the work as a whole, the piece itself becomes a mixture of cultural aesthetic and universality.

Jameson the presented his theories on the new styles of cultural mixing, something he termed ‘Postmodern cuisine.’  He explained that mixing occurs now in the form of ‘molecular cooking,’ meaning we witness many more ‘courses’ with strange relations to one another, and therefore a diminished sense of realism.  He claims that we now consume the idea of the ‘taste of asparagus,’ for instance, over consuming the asparagus itself.  He says that because of this we ‘consume a conjuncture of elements in a unique event,’ and ‘even though they still remain under the universal names for food’ the experience has evolved.

I do agree with this, yet at the same time I appreciate the process of cultural mixing more than Jameson appears to.  It seems as though the idea of mixing and changing the original essences of singular items pulls Jameson further away from notions of realism, given that mixing convolutes in some cases.  I on the other hand, think that mixing represents a more realistic presentation of any given item or phenomenon, as the progression of culture is a natural and unavoidable process.  Since this mixing is inevitable, and past events can be defined as aggregates that culminate in a new end at any given moment, I feel that cultural mixing is in fact the most realistic presentation of material humans have to offer.

Regardless of my disagreement with Jameson’s perspective, I appreciated the opportunity to view his lecture, as I would not have been presented with his ideas or the eventual conclusions I drew because of this experience otherwise.  The ideas behind cultural mixing and the evolution of human existence excite me precisely because they are so intricate and potentially inexplicable.  By viewing the end result as a whole, rather than attempting to pick apart and define every moving piece, I believe we can appreciate how intricacy can result in a presentation simple enough to invite human dissection.   Now I just have to manage to get Jameson to sit down with me and discuss my ideas.




“Fredric Jameson.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Apr. 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <;.

Janine Antoni

Kara Gordon


Review of Janine Antoni’s Lecture

The art building lecture hall was filled with students and community members to hear Janine Antoni speak in early March. Having studied Antoni in many of my art history and studio art courses during my college career, I was very intrigued to hear her speak in person. I have to say that she did not disappoint; her willingness to engage with students and explain her art work added to my appreciation of contemporary art.  Continue reading

Janine Antoni

Morgan Kairey

4/ 29/ 12

Visiting Artist

Visiting Artist: Janine Antoni

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Brittany Hill Lecture Review #1

Brittany Hill

Contemporary Art

Lecture Review- Heidi Gearhart


During the lecture “Is There Virtue in Virtuosity? Art and Skill in the Medieval Monastery” Heidi Gearhart analyzes the purpose of monastery books from the 1000-1100’s. Focusing predominately on the Wolfenbuttel book, written by Theophilus, she discusses the two main themes of the book: craftsmanship and the theory behind it.  Continue reading

Visiting Artist Review 1 – Bruce Kenyon

Bruce Kenyon

Visiting Artist Lecture April 24, 2012 Lesley Flanigan

Leslie Flanigan is a performance artist, sound artist, and a sculptor who uses speaker feedback and layers of vocals to create abstract music. She started off her presentation with an example of her work. Her piece titled “Sleepy” started with multiple drone noises. Then she tried to match noise with her elongated voice. The result was pulsating vibrations in somewhat of a harmony.

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Visiting Artist Janine Antoni – Anna Cook

Janine Antoni visited us at CU Boulder on March 6th, 2012. Having previously studied Antoni, I already had an admiration for her work, but meeting the artist in person was far more fascinating than her ART21 video.

Antoni began the lecture by discussing some of her earlier works, the ones, which led to her fame. Pieces such as Gnaw (1992) and Lick and Lather (1994) put Antoni in a celebrity status in the art world. Why we see this sudden popularity is partly attributed to Antoni’s “hands on” approach to creating her work. I use the term “hands on” loosely because, on the contrary, Antoni seems to use everything else. For Gnaw, Antoni formed 600 pounds of chocolate and lard and slowly “gnawed” away at the blocks. With each bite she took, Antoni saved the chocolate and lard for the creation of “heart-shaped packages” and ruby red lipstick. These items are all about seduction, about beauty and being enticed. We are seduced by our comforts, and by our comfort foods, but we wish to seduce others with our beauty. Using her own teeth, she showed how these things “gnaw” at us. Similarly, Lick and Lather is composed by a series of busts, self-portraits that Antoni shad slowly withered away by licking at or bathing with.

Her pieces are so personal and conceptual. They seem to be a blend of modernism and post-modernism. She creates pieces that are both conceptually sound and aesthetically pleasing, and with her hands on approach, she is actively involved with her art. She is no Jeff Koons.

In 2001, Antoni created the piece titled Cradle, which involved various scooping items placed within one another, similarly to a Russian doll. Despite the industrial aesthetic to this piece, there is a maternal softness to it. Upon reaching the smallest object we see a baby spoon, quant and petite. It brings the viewer back to the memories of being held, “cradled,” even. Antoni seemed to best identify with maternal imagery, often mixed with industrial aesthetic, juxtaposing her themes. It is similar to many other postmodernist artists who actively intertwine math and sciences with their art.

Antoni has also worked particularly closely to cattle. In her piece 2038 (2000), Janine submerged herself into a trowel of water meant for cattle. The piece is centered in a barn, and according to Antoni, it was difficult to achieve a picture that captured what she was going for. Despite the industrial agrarian setting for this piece, there is also a defined tenderness in it. Antoni’s expression is not only subdued, but unusually seductive. In this piece she acts as a mother, providing the milk to the cow that was once given to her by the cow. It is an abstract statement about what is provided to us and returning that to nature.

In another piece, titled Saddle (2000), Antoni use a wet cowhide to create a mold of herself crawling on the ground. The pose itself is quite submissive, indicating something animalistic. The dried mold appears like a phantom, unsettling and horrific: something as soft as skin used to create something so unnerving to the viewer and once again we see the juxtaposed forces of Antoni’s meanings.

One of Antoni’s more individual works, titled Touch (2002), is a DVD installation, which shows the artist crossing a tight rope over the horizon of the ocean. As Antoni went on with her presentation, I noticed that there was something distinctly different about her earlier works and her later works. As time has gone on, the pieces have become far more personalized, not just about society but about Antoni’s life.

The final piece Antoni presented was If I Die Before I Wake (mother’s hand meets daughter’s hand in prayer). The piece was made in 2004, one of Antoni’s latest works. The piece is an impression of her hands as well as her mother’s hands, pressed together as if in a prayer. Her hands are still young, with few wrinkles or veins, but her mother’s have become aged. The hands are so similar, but still so very different. They are separated by time, but held together by motherhood and their religious beliefs. In some ways, we could see the piece as overdone and even cheesy. In another sense though, its simplicity strikes us at the core and reminds us of our mothers or perhaps that we inherit our religious views, often via our mothers.

After the presentation, I met Antoni and gave her a handshake. She was a soft spoken woman, but she seemed rather edgy as well, similarly to her art. Though I am biased, Antoni is one of the most hands on artists of this generation, using motherhood, society, and seduction to make a statement. She is perhaps the most inspiring artist I have seen thus far and I am excited to see what she creates in the future.





“THE COLLECTION.” The Museum of Modern Art, 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <|A:AR:E:1>.

“Janine Antoni Catalogue.” Fine Art, Decorative Art, and Design. Artnet Worldwide Corporation, 2010. Web. 27 Apr. 2012. <;.

Visiting Scholar Review Hedi Gearhart: Nicole Avant

For the Visiting Scholar lecture I chose to attend Heidi Gearhart’s lecture.  She is a post-doctoral fellow at the Getty Research Institute.  The title of her lecture was, “Is there Virtue in Virtuosity? Art and Skill in the Medieval Monastery”.  Continue reading

Georgescu-Lecture Review1

Dora Georgescu


Lecture Review 1

Art History Lecture Series: Amelia Jones


 In her lecture on “Queer Feminist Durationality,” researcher and author Amelia Jones examines how identity affects both the meaning artists imbue their work with as well as the reactions it engenders in their audience.  Although not the most dynamic lecturer (preferring to simply read her paper word for word in monotone), Professor Jones has clearly dedicated a great deal of attention to her topic.

Sexual identity and gender orientation obviously play defining, if not dominant, roles in shaping the identities of feminist and queer artists. As such the themes, values and preoccupations associated with such identities feature strongly in their works. However, Jones points out that too often the identities of the queer and feminist artists are already so strongly defined both by the artists and the public, that the artists and their work are viewed as a subject or statement in themselves, distorting our ability to relate to the art in a more meaningful way. The art itself becomes lost in the supposed identity of the artist, but rather than examining what that identity is composed of, and how it plays out in the artists’ work, a preconceived notion of what the message or goal of feminist or queer art is superimposed onto the work. The viewer sees culture warriors plastering their art with vaginas for shock value or socio-political impact, and as such fails to relate to and understand the artists through their pieces. Jones doesn’t deny the politics that color so much of the art she studies, but her theories on how we can relate to the art and its creators expose the depth of this genre of contemporary art in a manner that allows us to gain a greater understanding of the interesting people behind it.

In her paper and presentation Jones takes the time to describe her own experiences in putting her theory of relation into practice. Describing the Mira Schor piece Slit of Paint, Jones first launches into an unabashedly sexual description of the artist’s painterly technique. Through Jones’ theory the feminist identity of the piece does not stop at the subject (a vagina), but extends to experiencing the sexually-charged femininity of the painter as she created it. Jones imagines the strokes of the paintbrush that create Scho’s “Slit,” caressing her own, and true to the genre she is studying, Jones doesn’t shy away from using the blunt sexual terminology of the subject matter. Perhaps more evidently sexual than Schor’s piece is Valie Export’s grouping of six posters of the crotchless trouser-clad artist titled Action Pants: Genital Panic. According to Jones, with this piece Export opens up new circuits of meaning through a hostile offering of her genitals, which “stare” at us, opening up a feminist durational space. She often uses the word durational to refer to the opening of a work to interpretation.

Jones also emphasizes the layered and complicated nature of identity in general, specifically that of the artists she studies. Examining Cathie Opie’s Self-portrait/nursing, Jones touches on the blatant gender-role-reversal, and Madonna and Child motifs, but then quickly moves on to examine the more nuanced elements of Opie’s identity. She traces a brief history of Opie’s other self-portraits as they evolve towards the “nursing” piece, exposing how identity is built upon an individual’s past history even as their sense of self remains fluid and open to reinterpretation. She relates to Opie through her own experience of motherhood and nursing (once again quite graphically) and teases out the themes and feelings present in the portrait, moving past the image itself which on its own reveals little more than a large “dyke” suckling her only slightly less mammoth child. “Intersectionality” is the term Jones chooses to describe the complicated nature of identity and her presentation reaffirms the message that understanding those different from us necessitates that we examine the multitude of factors that make up their identities as well as our own.

Having studied theories of “othering” those that are different from us, I found Jones’ lecture insightful. While her manner of speaking and use of jargon and abstract notions made her lecture rather difficult to follow, she presented a thorough analysis of a subject that is often difficult to broach.  Much like the artists she studies, Jones troubles the idea that we can know what we see in order to open a door to a more comprehensive understanding of that which is unknown.

Aki Sasamoto, Megan Keith

Megan Keith

Aki Sasamoto

Although it’s been almost a month since I was introduced to Aki Sasamoto, I remember her presentation very well. In fact, her presentation is altogether unforgettable for a number of reasons. First, the presentation itself was very strange, yet captivating. Second, the artist herself is one of the most eccentric people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. She was so energetic. She was a tiny, tiny woman, but was absolutely wild in her expressions. She channeled that energy into her performance art, in which she appeared to be doing everything! Banging pots and pans, running through clothes, peeling potatoes, and more. Her energy level was just fascinating.

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Nao Bustamante-Lecture Review

Known for her outrageous, hilarious, and often sexual performances, Nao Bustamante has been hiking her way through Body Art and Performance art for more than a decade.  Continue reading

Erica Doss Lecture Review – Erin Lorentzen

Erica Doss’ Lecture on Memorial Mania was an interesting and intriguing view on society’s growing obsession with memory and loss. Doss is a Professor at the University of Notre Dame whom has also written several books over her career. From her first book Breton, Pollock, and Politics of Modernism: From Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism (1991) to Twentieth-Century American Art (2002), Doss has done a vast amount of research and gained the knowledge of expertise in Modern Art and Contemporary Art.  In her most recent book, Memorial Mania (2011), Doss “argues that these memorials underscore our obsession with issues of memory and history, and the urgent desire to express—and claim—those issues in visibly public contexts.” Continue reading