Archives for the month of: November, 2011

I recently recalled the precise moment when it first occurred to me that I would like to become an artist. I grew up in Moscow, and my father was a self-taught musician working at the circus. Circus artists work extremely hard physically: the amount of daily practice and physical exercise necessary to perform acrobatic acts or walk a tightrope is really enormous. They practice and exercise all day and perform by night—it’s nearly a twenty-four-hour-a-day job.

There was a birthday party for one of the kids in the building we lived in, which belonged to the union of circus artists. The children at the party, all about five or six years old, were children of clowns, animal trainers, and so forth. We were watching a cartoon on TV and at some point a conversation started about what we wanted to become when we grew up. Following the usual suggestions like a cosmonaut or a fireman, one of the kids said that he wanted to be a fine artist, because they do not work. I was very shy as a kid, so I did not say much, but thought to myself that this boy was really clever and that I too did not want to work and should therefore try to become an artist.

Read the rest of Anton Vidokle’s article “Art Without Work?” here.


Since the poll has been open a month now, thought I would give you an update of who is in the lead. Last time I posted about the People’s Choice Award, Guy Loraine was the most popular artist in the show. Now Steven Riddle is at the top with 44.79% of the vote. Ted Walsh follows with 27.61%, and in third place is Emily Erb with 6.75%. Keep those votes coming!

Biennials are platforms from which independent curators are able to launch their ideas on a grand scale. It is commonplace for museums or art centres to bring in guest curator(s) in order to ignite new curatorial insights, as seen in the Shanghai Biennale, Taipei Biennial, Asia-Pacific Triennial, Lyon Biennale, SITE Santa Fe International Biennial, Whitney Biennial, Biennale De Montreal, Quadrennial of Contemporary Art, etc.

The selection as curator of a major Biennial carries with it a great deal of prestige and visibility and thus a way in which an individual work and reputation can become internationally reclaimed (or not).

-Asia Art Archive

 “Utopian Consciousness wants to look far into the distance, but ultimately only in order to penetrate the darkness so near it, of the just lived moment, in which everything that is both drives and is hidden from itself. In other words, we need the most powerful telescope, that of polished utopian consciousness, in order to penetrate precisely the nearest nearness.”

– Ernst Bloch, The Principle of Hope, 1954-59


My works explore fantastical architecture, landscapes, monuments, inventions, and extraterrestrial bodies. Such objects function as traces of a life unlived. Through viewing these objects, we can piece together something beyond the here and now, something speculative, or perhaps unfulfilled. Art is the only way to exist in a utopia. Architectural utopias are a way to represent culture at large, and reinventing and re-imagining them is a way to explore our existence. Creating new worlds is an exercise in potential. It is the belief in progress, and the ultimate act of hopefulness.

Erica Prince, "Future Structures 6", 2911, Mixed media on paper

You’ve read the wall labels from the show and what Maiza has said about each artist. Now check out what Jill Fannon has to say about her work in her artist statement below.

BubbleTongueRemix is a series of performance-photographs. My goal in building this series was to deconstruct the photograph, allowing it to become both an enveloping structure and a surface-oriented representation of the event. The work borrows from the language of the photograph as it is an agent of suspension, surface, witness, and cargo.Simultaneously, the work borrows from performance, in its use of the body in relation to physical objects and physical space; and as an autonomous site from which to prescribe meaning.

Within the series, each singular piece denotes a performance act that was constructed solely for the camera. The acts took place inside and outside of the studio. They made use of material objects, hard and soft, six different models varying in age and multiple environments, including, hand-built sets an the private residencies of the participating women. Each piece employs a color palette dominated by matte-pale pinks, blues, creams and grays. The pieces range in size from twelve inches by eighteen inches to twenty inches by thirty inches, and at largest, thirty-one inches by forty-six inches. This network of photographs shares one name, BubbleTongueRemix, 2010-2011.

Yong Jea Cho is a MFA student at Towson. He contributed to the interactive video piece, “MFA?” in the Masters of the Visual Universe.

Check out what Yong Jea Cho had to say about his contribution to the MFA Biennial as well as his experiences as an MFA student at Towson here.

If you’ve read Towson MFA student, Ursula Minervini’s response to the Masters of the Visual Universe, you may remember she compared the work of the Towson MFA students to the the variety show, Whoop Dee Doo. Whoop Dee Doo is a “kid-friendly faux public access television show featuring pre-planned performances accompanied by live audience participation” The show is based in Kansas City, Missouri, but travels around the country giving performances. To see some of their performances, check out their website.

Just another fun fact about biennials from the Asia Art Archive 

What is ‘biennialisation’?
It describes the worldwide proliferation of biennials since the 1990s. For a hundred years from 1890s to 1980s, only 17 biennials were in existence. Today, there are over 60. What drives this phenomenon? One biennial organiser summarises the trend as: “biennials and large-scale periodic exhibitions constitute a sizeable part of the production and distribution system of artistic products, an instrument of the economic strategy of the world-wide cultural industry, and a vehicle for the development of cities.” The 1990s saw the first wave of mushroom of biennials not just in the traditional centre of art – Europe – but also in Asia, which Prof. John Clark rendered as “the attempt to make Euramerica come to Asia”. The growth of biennials has accelerated since the millennium, with Europe launching 18 new biennials over the past few years.

In my last post, you got a snippet of what Jordan Bernier had to say about his work in the MFA Biennial. Now check out the youtube video that Bernier used as inspiration.