Artful Green Dot

A Museum Without Walls

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on March 30, 2009

For over a year, artist Katie Holten has been heading the creation of a museum free of drywall, floors, and ceilings.

Her collaborative 4.5  mile public art piece will take place this summer  along the Grand Concourse in honor of the street’s centennial anniversary .

Holten’s Tree Museum will include environmentally conscious art and writing created by New York artists, writers, and activists (E.J. McAdams, who I interviewed in January, will also be apart of the exhibit). Students from P.S. 386, Dreamyard Preparatory, and the Bronx Writing Academy will also create work for this project.

Works will be housed in sidewalk display cases along the entire stretch of the Grand Concourse, while visitors may access audio tours through their cell phones.

Holten came up with the collaborative project after spending hours on the Concourse and observing its natural environment.  The purpose of the Museum is to  direct viewers to the ecosystem of the street.

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While the media typically gives us a negative portrayal of the Bronx, the Tree Museum will help counter that impression.

The museum, which is set to keep “the same visiting hours as trees,” will open on June 21st and goes till October 11th.

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More Images of David Kennedy-Cutler’s Antarctica

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on March 26, 2009

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Additional Directions for this Blogger

Posted in META by Audrey Tran on March 24, 2009

What I am about to post has already been coming out in little ways on this blog, but it’s important enough to note formally in a post of its own.

While researching the visual nature of Environmentalism, I will also need to examine the role of political art in society.

I didn’t express this in my “About this Blog,” but blogs do evolve; they move; they grow.

This became apparent to me earlier tonight during a class with Prof. Ross Bleckner.

He directed me to a NY Times article by Ken Johnson, who took a pretty critical stance on the “devolution” of Shepard Fairey, who opened a new show this month in Boston.

The main idea of Johnson’s article, “Can a Rebel Stay a Rebel Without the Claws?” left me wondering  what political art can do in the long run. He does paint it as an art that shrivels and dies once the cause is up; once the art moves into the windows of Saks Fifth Ave.

Fairey’s work was “radical half a century ago,” according to Johnson, but  “now [it] [is] the stuff of college art history courses.”

I wonder now, in light of the efforts between  environmental concerns and the art world, if the “Eco Art”  today will be the kind of lasting art that is more profound than the text book fodder Johnson derides.

This’ll be one of my questions for both artists, Saya Wollfalk and Rico Gatson, who I plan to interview and write on during these next two weeks.

Like David Kennedy-Cutler, they are not what you would call Eco Artists, but unlike David, both Rico and Saya do view their work in the realm of political art.

Open Call for Actions

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on March 21, 2009

poundstoneLast night, I went to the opening of On the Ideal of Permeable Barriers,which features four shows at Art in General. Here’s a piece by artist Virginia Poundstone (I picked up lucky NO. 139 . out of an edition of 300).  According to the press release provided by the gallery, viewers take away these flickers, which are modeled after party favorites for confetti.  Following the directions on the packaging, viewers are asked to choose any site with exposed dirt and sprinkle seeds .  This piece leaves the final product of the artwork in the hands of the viewer, not the artist. In a sense, it makes the owner of the flicker a bit of an activist too.  Poundstone’s ideas straddle the line between art and activism, and right now, that seems like a positive thing.  

I’m definitely planning to make use of my flicker and document the site before the flower sprinkles and then after.  Any suggestions for a place in NY that needs a flower bed?

Melting Art Objects: David Kennedy-Cutler’s Antarctica

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on March 20, 2009

Although I met David Kennedy-Cutler for a talk several weeks ago, this might be the perfect time to blog about his Antarctic Soap Multiples in light of the new study from the journal, Nature.

I heard about the study first from DotEarth and then later on NPR . The study concludes that the West Antarctic ice sheet will collapse within a process spanning several thousand years.

While other bloggers nitpick over what the results of the study mean, I want to turn towards an art piece from 2006 that brings us this discussion through a totally different medium: soap.

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For this piece, David created 500 palm sized Antarcticas out of “Arctic Breeze” scented soap.

These multiples were made for North Drive Press, an annual publication that routinely includes 3-d multiples amongst interviews and prints.

While David doesn’t consider himself a political artist, others have told him his work is indeed political.

“The thought of Antarctica was just something that permeated my work,” he said. “It was in our mass consciousness at the time.”

In February, David  gave a lecture at NYU regarding the use of multiples throughout different moments of art history.

I saw the piece for the first time during his lecture, and throughout the talk, I knew I wanted to interview David about Antarctica because he didn’t seem like he was explicitly trying to create Eco Art.

In our talk, David said, “I don’t identify with the term, because I don’t consider myself an eco artist.”

It seems that while creating  Antarctica David’s thoughts worked around a fascination with the sublime:

“I’m interested in this intangible, changing phenomenon that can’t be trapped or owned….I was taking this thing that is remote and far out from us, and soap [has] this idea of purity or hygiene, and I felt that there was an equivalence to our notion of icebergs and we have this uncomplicated view of what Antarctica is or what unspoiled nature is.”

I have a soft spot for sculptures in which the medium carries the message.  Here, soap expresses the washing away of Antarctica, which David  said he felt equated with “a feeling of destiny.”

More images of Kennedy-Cutler’s Antarctica, here.

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Eco Concerns Moving into the Design World….via New Typeface

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on March 18, 2009

As I keep researching the Eco movement, I’m continually amazed at the number of different fields it spreads to. Even Graphic designers are not immune to environmental awareness.   Here’s what I found one day while standing in front of a heavy duty NYU copier waiting for about 100 sheets of assigned reading to print out: 

 

SANQ Eco Sans

SPRANQ Eco Sans

 

 

 

This typeface uses 20% less ink, while still maintaining a comprehensive level of readability, according to the Dutch Company’s website. In my opinion, it’s exactly that.  It’s got this Broadway-sign-esque quality that works if used to present a big title, but I would imagine that in smaller blocks of text, Sanq Eco Sans will become an eye-sore (once I figure out how to install the font on my computer, this will be tested.  It’s free for anyone to use here).   

The font will probably not be used for major print in books or magazines, according to a post from the Times Online, but it can certainly be helpful for the office world where countless, unpublished drafts are printed daily. 

Outside of these factors, I’m most intrigued by the afterthoughts of the font.  Regardless of how much actually gets saved, or what it means to preserve such a thing as ink, the creation of this typeface is also a message about consumption, getting people to think of ‘less as more,’ and how to fix our Earth woes, creatively. Who knew a bunch of holes could do so much?

Words & Greeness

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on March 5, 2009

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This piece from every/day clues us into the ecologically conscious poetry of E.J. McAdams. Specifically, he has been revisiting the subject of urban ecology in his work ever since the New York poet came to the city in the early 90’s.

Essayist, Catherine Owen makes a distinction between nature and environmental poetry now surfacing in a very informative article published in February. In the piece, Owen explains that writings on nature have existed for centuries. Think of the Japanese haikus dating from the 17th Century, or the wave of nature poetry from the Romantics.

Today, however, poets such as McAdams have a slightly different perception of the Earth. Owen describes environmental poetry as expressions that “comprehend the ecological cycles […] and admit to complicity in the destruction of [nature’s] fragile systems.”

I just had an interview with McAdams last month (which will be posted later…much later after some fine tunnings) and I was really taken by the way he became so involved with nature in the first place:

“I would take walks in the park because that’s what I could afford….it was like finding a bag of money, finding this thing that no one told me was here. So many people think of nature as being out there in wilderness, and that became a point of pride that all I knew was nature in the city.”

While there were money factors that made McAdams a frequent park-goer, it was also the Beat poet, Gary Snyder, whose work influenced McAdams to take an interest in learning about the natural world.

Currently, McAdams is writing poetry on the subway as he travels back and forth to the Bronx. By this summer, the Bronx’s Grand Concourse will be turned into The Tree Museum, which will include McAdams’ poetry in the exhibition.

 

 

EJ McAdams and the Brown Cup

EJ McAdams at the Brown Cup