Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hank Willis Thomas - Friday at SFAI

Hank Willis Thomas

Friday, October 3, 2008
San Francisco Art Institute Lecture Hall 800 Chestnut Street (Chestnut at Jones)
7:30 pm

PhotoAlliance and Aperture West Collaborative Lecture Series


Hank Willis Thomas is a visual artist and writer interested in notions of identity perception, commodity culture, and the impact of violence in African American communities.

He received a BFA in photography and Africana studies from New York University and graduated from CCA with an MFA in photography and an MA in visual criticism. Thomas has exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; PS1, New York; and National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. He is the first recipient of the Aperture West Book Prize, a new annual prize for artists living west of the Mississippi.

His work can be seen currently in the exhibition- Double Exposure: African Americans Before and Behind the Camera which is showing until September 28th at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD) in San Francisco.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Asian women Artists Berkeley symposium

I’m writing about the Asian Women Artists and Gender Dynamics symposium from a few weeks ago...

This is a photograph (courtesy of wikipedia) of a bojagi, or a Korean patchwork wrapping cloth usually made by women in the Choson Dynasty.

I learned that most art-historians categorize the Choson Dynasty of Korea (1392-1910) to be a period of art “dominated by men,” because there were only 7 artists in the span of 400 hundred years that were women. Another panelist, Charlotte Horlyck, argued that this “lack” of female artists is due to the fact that art historians' categorizations of art are sexist and do not count the only kinds of cultural production that women had access to, like weaving and embroidery. Since painting and calligraphy are the only forms considered by historians as “art,” and painting and calligraphy were only available to men, it makes sense that all “artists” at this time were men. Women were, however, taking part in other forms of cultural production, specifically sewing, needlework, and weaving. All of which are categorically excluded from definitions of “art” and even “crafts.”

Another misogynistic art-historian construction of this time period, according to Horlyck, is the “silent sufferer,” the oppressed weaving woman. Such women were said to have made their quilts out of discarded clothing, their handicrafts expressing their “sorrow and frustration” with their lives. Horlyck argues that this too furthers the “paradigm of proper female behavior.” In actuality, women chose the fabrics they used deliberately, not just from scraps, and their fabrics were made up of bold patterns (like the bojagi wrapping cloth pictured). In addition, many women worked in groups and used the time to bond and socialize. Thus the women of the Choson dynasty were not just passive agents, but subjects who created art in deliberate, thoughtful ways.

Anyway. I just thought all of that was really cool. It made me think about what is considered/valued as Art and what isn’t and then whose work these definitions excludes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Update for Thursday's class

Quick Update on the Fabricated to be Photographed assignment.

These will be due at the end of class on Thursday. If needed, you may use part of the open studio to make your print - do so at the beginning of the open lab so that we can look at them at the end of class.

Artist Links - Tableau/Single Image Narrative

Here is the list of the artists we looked at today in class. A few have websites - their links are included:

Philip Lorca diCorcia
Gregory Crewdson
David Hilliard - http://www.davidhilliard.com/
Anthony Goicolea - http://www.anthonygoicolea.com/
Jeff Wall
Amy Stein - http://www.amysteinphoto.com/
Laura Letinsky
Marian Drew - http://www.mariandrew.com/

Ou Ning

Ou Ning is a poet, writer, filmmaker, artist and curator whom uses art as a form of social activism. His openness of what art is, where it is "displayed" and who the audience is leads him to develop art show in unprecedented public spaces. One of his collaborative projects was to bring a traveling exhibition in shopping malls around China. These alternative venues allow new audiences, mainly youth to view art and to be able to experience it in open, free, fun settings that promote a reoccurring discussion about art interpretation.

Another of his upcoming projects, Agricultural Asia, seems formidable in both size and socio-economic ramifications. I find that this concept, which he plans to executes once he figures out how to finance it, is both inspiring and astounding. By buying land in rural China and collaborating with architects and other artists, he intends to start a movement to bring the youth back to their native villages. Currently,these villages are literally dying with the major economic boom in Beijing drawing the young people out, leaving the elderly. By documenting and planning for this kind of reverse exodus, it has the potential to change the economic conditions in these rural areas and revitalizing the lost communities.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jillian Granger

Friday, September 26th, Noon in the Photo Room

Don't miss out.

Working in Narrative Sequences

From Carrie Mae Weems' Kitchen Table Series

Paradise Regained, Duane Michals, 1968

Duane Michals essay by James Cotter in PhotoInsider

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sheila Pree Bright - The Young Americans

Please check out this site. I'd like to have a discussion about this project. I will also hand out an interview Bridget Cooks did with Sheila Pree Bright for the new exposure magazine.

Days with my Father

This project is a lovely combination of text and image.
As you move your cursor over each picture, there's a
area at the bottom center of each that is "clickable." Click
on it and the next image in the slide show will come up.

Days With My Father

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stuff I learned about on Saturday

This Saturday I went to the symposium at UC Berkeley. It was so wonderful and I learned so much. There were several photographers mentioned that we had talked about in class, like Nikki S. Lee and Moriko Mori, who fabricate costumes and identities  and situations to be photographed. Their work was even more fascinating when put into context with other work coming from Asian women artists.
One of the final panelists at the last lecture was O Zhang. I love how she plays with humor and beauty in the context of gender dynamics. She talked about how her work in photography happened out of boredom while she was studying at the very traditional Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. Photography wasn't considered fine art at that time (the early 90s) so she worked "underground" and finished school abroad in London.   

I couldn't pick just one photo to share 
so check out her website: http://web.mac.com/zhang_0/

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Janaina Tschape

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Antony Gormley

This is the work of an interesting sculptor/installation artist that I found. His work seems to be very political and diverse in the materials that he uses. He utilizes white bread, recycled objects, and vapours in his more experimental pieces...

Tracy Snelling-Fabricated to be Photographed

Tracy at the Oakland Art Gallery - Artist Statement

Tracy creates these buildings and then brings them into the world to photograph on site. For example, the houses were constructed and then brought up to Bernal Hill in San Francisco and photographed against the skyline. Though we are going to photograph these in the studio, consider all the possibilities for your background.

Saturday symposium at UC Berkeley Art Museum

Please find information about this symposium by clicking on the linked title below.
Asian Women Artists and Gender Dynamics

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Joys of Collecting

Collect something...anything...for the next 13 weeks.
It can be as seemingly ordinary as rubber bands.
It doesn't have to be an object.
We'll see where this takes us.

Have fun with it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Artist Links

Hope everyone enjoyed looking at work on Thursday. If you are interested in learning a little more about any of the artists, their websites are listed below:

Ernie Button: http://www.erniebutton.com

David Levinthal: http://www.davidlevinthal.com/

James Casebere: http://jamescasebere.net/

Lori Nix: http://www.lorinix.net/

Laurie Simmons: http://www.lauriesimmons.net/

Thomas Demand: http://www.thomasdemand.de/

Vik Muniz: http://www.vikmuniz.net/

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Myoung Ho Lee

Abelardo Morell site


Paul Berger and Brian Taylor at Photo Alliance

Below is an announcement for Photo Alliance's first fall lecture on Friday, September 12. Alliance lectures are held at the lecture hall at the San Francisco Art Institute campus out on Chestnut Street. Click on the image itself for an enlarged version of the announcement.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lauren Woods' Artist Statement for the Installation at YBCA

As I was looking around on the web for the site linked to the VW bug outside the Yerba Buena Center, I found Lauren Woods' artist statement. She gets rather poetically at that relationship between the myths and realities of living in this place that is our home. Here is the link, below is the text of her statement.


San Francisco the exquisite and its doppelganger are indistinguishable for me at times. More often than not, the ghosts are just as real as the living here and my obsession with them doesn’t allow me much rest in this fascinating city. Somewhere between the beauty of the natural landscape of the Bay Area and the power of invention, desire not fully realized produces a purgatory that is masked by fantasy and illusions of early retirement. I live and work from this place of in between, navigating the real-life matrix that is San Francisco. It is a schizophrenic state of being that induces bouts of masochism as I attempt to self-actualize in an environment that is constantly shifting and glitching before my eyes.

I calm myself by responding—shouting back, laughing out loud, resisting and submitting. Part historian, part archivist, part sociologist, part anthropologist, I research and observe, experiment and formulate in anticipation that fully understanding the unique relationships that people have with San Francisco will shed light on the conundrum that I feel is my existence here.

Mary Ellen Pleasant, the famous Abolitionist, understood the mirage, the power of performance, and the double that is this city. She harnessed its full strength and channelled it to the causes she felt just. I walk with her often—a guide to the infinite invisible cities of San Francisco to discover…

—l. w.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I Am My Family

Rafael Goldchain's I Am My Family is a family album of traditional portrait photographs with an unconventional twist: the only subject is Goldchain himself. In an elaborate process involving genealogical research, the use of makeup, hair styling, costume, and props, Goldchain transforms himself into his ancestors and captures their personifications with the camera. Taking some liberties with historical accuracy, Goldchain has assembled a fascinating cast of characters: from his short-story-writing grandfather, to his great-aunts Pola and Fela, to the Rabbi Gur's nephew in wedding dress, Goldchain reinvents himself over and over again. These beautifully reproduced self-portraits trace the evolution of Jewish culture from tradition to modernity and invite us to engage the history of a family decimated and scattered by the traumatic events of the 20th century. Featuring an insightful essay by curator Martha Langford, the portraits are complemented by a selection of the archival images on which they are based as well as selections from the artist's handwritten sketchbooks.

Rafael Goldchain's website is:

There's not much to it at the moment, but I'll bring in the book to share.