Friday, December 14, 2012



Colour Bind at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is an exhibition that looks at how the colours black and white are used in contemporary art both formally and politically. Openly an exhibition that does not discuss black and white photography explicitly, despite the title prompting it, the exhibition looks specifically at formal considerations are often rooted in social issues which giver perhaps a fresh approach to looking at photography.

Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (We construct the chorus of missing persons), 1983, particularly stood out to me in this exhibition revolving around colour. Admittedly, the exhibition is riddled with colour, nonetheless, there is no denying the fact that the bold red frame of Kruger’s piece was unique in the punch that it’s alterior colour produced. The piece consists of a black and white photograph with text that is split into three sections that are placed back together having been framed in bright red frames. These colour choices are evidence of Kruger’s ongoing dialogue on advertizing. Red being an infamously attention grabbing colour. Kruger’s art frequently calls attention to the imbalance of power relations, especially between men and women. This can be seen in this example since the individual’s identity is hidden from view and the person is chopped into fragmentary parts. The choice of plack and white for the portrait of the woman also reduced the likelikhood of being able to identify due to the fact it makes features e.g. haircolour unreadable. The person could stand for almost anyone.

Another work I found particularly interesting in regards to colour was owardena Pindell’s collage Rambo Real Estate: Homelessness that poignantly comments on social and economic challenges. This work that consits of a collage that was originally made of text-black font on white paper- however, the paper has aged to become a rich yellow colour. This exposes the vulnerability of the artwork and adds to the notion of nostalgia brought up by the childlike ‘home’ shape of the collage itself. It also questions the notion of things being ‘set in black and white”. Whilst so often tarnished paper with black text could still be read as the traditional “written in black and white” in relation to the stark white walls of the gallery space the paper’s true colour is exposed and placed in a position for critique.

Silmilarly the piece Untitled, 2001, by Gary Simmons addressses through formal means the social implications of the white cube space. The piece is a sculpture made up of various objects piled together, all painted white cube white. All that is, apart from the yellowish wooden table that supports all that is towered ontop of it. Whilst all the objects merge and fit into the aesthetic of the gallery. The table stands out as foreign. To me the colour relativity warms the object, making it sing of the home and everything the gallery is not in that sense.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

meetings for Thursday

during crit week we will have one on one meetings to discuss progress toward the final project...

meetings will be held in the lunchroom right by our classroom:
1pm       Margareta
130pm   Hyun
2pm       Shir
230pm   Emilie
3pm       Kalee

please be on time,
I'm at 312.953.2885 if there are emergencies...
good luck with your projects,
can't wait to see them!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Color Bind
Due Nov/30/2012

1. Ad Reinhardt: Untitled, circa 1965, Silk print on Plexiglas
2. Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Untitled (The End), 1990, offset prints on paper
3. Eva Schlegel: Untitled (detail), 1989/99, Silk screen on lead and graphite on plaster, mounted on wood

As soon as I entered the exhibition space, Ad Reinhardt’s minimal work caught my attention.
The appearance of the work is simple. Black Plexiglas with mat around it and off-white, cream-colored frame. The size of the black Plexiglas is about a letter sized paper which is 9x11” and it is surrounded with an off-white mat. The Plexiglas is centered but slightly close to the top part. Top part of the mat is a little bit shorter than the bottom part, and left and right side of the mat is a same size. At a glance, it looks like a black painting or black paper from afar. However, when you come close to the piece, you get to see the detail of the surface of the subject matter and find out it’s not either painting or paper. The material is something reflective and shiny. It is a silkscreen printed on a Plexiglas. So it has a surface that reflects a light source (in this case, the lights in the exhibition space), which shows lines on the surface of a Plexiglas. That’s the detail one can pass by if you don’t pay attention close enough. However, it is something that changes many things you might be thinking of about the piece before you notice this. A lot of times, meaning means a lot more than its appearance. What you see is not everything and you shouldn’t get confused just by looking at its appearance. You never know what you see truly unless you don’t know the meaning and the inside of the thing you see. Inside is what matters more than outside. Just by looking at an empty black piece (especially when the title is untitled like this piece) without any statement of intention, the interpretation is up to each individual. When I come across any solid black surface of something as an art piece, it is easy to relate them with universe or everything/nothing just because it is only black but this piece makes me think a lot about distance, relationship, changes and time. They are all compressed in a simple form expressing deeper meaning through its ability to attract viewers to come close to the piece itself and surprise them. In this piece, color except the colors in this piece don’t really matter and that’s why the artist used only limited color.

The next piece I chose is the stack of papers in the second room by Felix Gonzalez-Torres. One of my all time favorite artists! I was so excited about his piece because I love the fact that I can take a sheet of his piece (again!) and also that I can collect his piece whenever I see his piece around the world. I like the fact that I can own his piece and participate. Anyways, so I entered the second room and saw the stacks of papers that had white with black frame around the edge. It was white and blank except the frame. It is blank paper with black frame on a paper. So the stack was sitting right on the floor as always and you can take a sheet of it. The gray smooth floor goes along with the piece in terms of color and as a background of the sculpture/prints. Since it is blank and because of its size (which is not too small or too big), I immediately thought I can pin this piece on the wall in my place. The sheet is about 22x28”. I thought maybe I could write something in the white area. But I changed my mind because I don’t want to ruin the piece itself, how it looked like at first. But this is what I am trying to say. Because of its format, composition, limited use of color and the fact that you can take a sheet of it, you can create your own world in the piece. You can put something in the white space and that means you are putting your idea on his piece which means his piece actually inspired you to think of whatever you thought of/planned to put in the white space. Since there’s a frame, you immediately think of something. You might be thinking of some images or ideas. The frame and the blank make you want to fill the space with something. The appearance is same at first to everyone before they see it and take it in their hands. But in the end after all, every sheet of blank paper has different meaning to each individual. It makes me think of people, thoughts, understanding, interaction, and the fact how many people there are in the world and how different each individual is but at the same time, how same all the people are. OH! And the title of this piece is Untitled (The End) which makes sense somehow with the appearance of the stack because people take it and there must be an end in everything and what the sheets contain visually: the blank.

The last piece I chose is a little different visually in terms of subject matter than the two pieces I chose above. This piece actually has an image that you can say- “Oh! It’s a negative picture of a girl!” It is hung on the white wall and it is pretty big. Not too big but somewhere around forty something inches by sixty something inches vertically. It is a silkscreen print (black) on lead and graphite on plaster that’s mounted on wood. From a side view, you can see the different layers. On the lead surface, you see a girl sitting on some structure made of wood bars(?). It has two long woods horizontally and one vertical wood on the left end of the horizontal woods. It seems like a swing at a glance but it actually looks like a swing structure made of woods without chains and seats. A girl is sitting on a wood and holding another wood with her arms stretched to top. The space looks like a garden or backyard of a house. There’s a tree next to the structure. It seems like she is smiling. Beside the photography, the surface of the screen print was interesting because you can actually see black little dots that make the image. It feels like you are looking at a photo on a newspaper even though I’m not sure if images on newspaper are consisting of dots. (Newspapers must be using offset printing…) It has nothing so much showing about the photography but I assume the materials that are used (plaster, lead and wood) are the materials that are in the photograph itself. Wood bar structure, plaster and lead somewhere in that space in the photography. I guess the use and choice of material tell a lot of its negative photo that we actually try to interact with at first on the surface.

I didn’t intend this but after choosing those works, I realized they all are titled Untitled. It was funny and they also all are printed images. Silkscreen, Offset, and then Silkscreen again. The show was interesting to see because it had many different kinds of art works that were all under the same theme of black and white the color itself, they connected to each other somehow at least in a color wise, they were under the same category, and the idea of using only black or white, or just black and white feels the intention of artists’ very particular and specific. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Writing assignment for Color Bind

Please pick three pieces tomorrow at the Color Bind exhibition and post on the class blog 1000 words on the following questions for our next class on Nov 30th after the holiday (you can use microsoft word to check your word count):

As we've discussed, limiting color use (creating conceptual and aesthetic restraints) is one of the major strategies artists use color to propel meaning forward.

1.   Fully describe each piece trying to describe the color and material use for someone who hasn't seen the artwork.  Fully describing an artwork is an essential component of analyzing it.  Please avoid generic adjectives like interesting, powerful, etc.  Be inventive, make your reader feel the aesthetic qualities of the piece.  If an artist is only using white, what kind of white are they using?  What other colors seem to be present in the white?

2.   Color is relative--color changes depending on the colors present adjacent and/or near.  Discuss how the piece is influenced by color relativity not only within the piece, but due to the colors of the instutional walls, floor, and lighting as well.

3.  Color is symbolic.  What associations are brought up by the artist's use of color?  From Naomi's text:
...artists intentionally use specific techniques combined with a black-and-white palette as a method of introducing social and ethical dimensions into art practice. For instance, Raymond Pettibon, Marlene Dumas, and Howardena Pindell appropriate the inky form of newspapers and comic books as a way to comment on conflict and violence. Kara Walker adopts nineteenth-century silhouette forms to present racially exaggerated bodies, and Glenn Ligon, who does the same in his print series, also uses the monochrome canvas in his paintings as both a metaphor and a foil for depictions of race.
Use your own ideas to further unpack the symbolic and associative ramifications of each artists formal strategies...

4.  Assess each piece on a continuum to problematic to successful.  You may decide to pick a piece that for a number of reasons is not compelling.  Use your own ideas to discuss why an artist may have missed an opportunity to create more meaning.  We learn just as much from discussing a piece we don't like as one we love, sometimes we learn the most from the works we despise!

Looking forward to reading these on Nov 30th!

tomorrow at 3pm we tour Color Bind at the MCA!

Producing artworks using a single color has been a major strategy for artists throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from Kazimir Malevich’s early suprematism to Anish Kapoor’s contemporary forms that attempt to imagine infinitude. Color Bind: The MCA Collection in Black and White investigates the museum’s rich permanent collection through one of art history’s basic formal lenses: the use of the colors black and white.
Color Bind looks broadly at the MCA Collection to survey how color can be used literally, formally, and metaphorically in art and to reveal how apparently formal considerations are often rooted in social issues. Many artists represented in the exhibition, such as Robert Ryman and Ad Reinhardt, significantly limit their palette or produce works of one color in order to explore and emphasize the most basic formal aspects of art making, such as line, color, and technique. Moving beyond such formalist meditations, artists such as Richard Serra and Félix Gonzáles-Torres employ minimal color tones as a critical take on art’s representational role. Other artists intentionally use specific techniques combined with a black-and-white palette as a method of introducing social and ethical dimensions into art practice. For instance, Raymond Pettibon, Marlene Dumas, and Howardena Pindell appropriate the inky form of newspapers and comic books as a way to comment on conflict and violence. Kara Walker adopts nineteenth-century silhouette forms to present racially exaggerated bodies, and Glenn Ligon, who does the same in his print series, also uses the monochrome canvas in his paintings as both a metaphor and a foil for depictions of race. Artists such as Richard Artschwager and Adam Brooks use text to demonstrate how basic language can be co-opted into polemics, or “black-and-white” forms of discourse.
With dozens of works in all media, Color Bind muses on the ways the English words “black” and “white” evoke both simple formal notions and metaphors for race, politics, and historical movements. Set to coincide with the recent US presidential election, this exhibition calls attention to the ways seemingly neutral formal terms assume moral dimensions that, in turn, complicate and politicize the very works assumed to be neutral.
This exhibition is organized by Naomi Beckwith, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

i found this moving image to be interesting because it was a video of a crowd facing towards the stage and getting to their seat. i thought it was it was interesting because we usually don't get to focus on the crowd, especially if we're a part of it, so it was a weird and different perspective for me. obviously the video was quite dark but the colors of people's clothes stood out. even though we couldn't identify them from the far perspective the video was shot from, the colors of their clothes was the only thing that differentiated them from one another. 


this is an image of two ladies wearing what seem to be expensive clothes and jewelry yet at the same time they look kind of trashy. the photo looks like an event photo, yet i don't think the photograph is very flattering of the two figures. i think the photo is a of documentation of a kind of society, which i find interesting.