Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Call for artists projects


AVAM (Associated Visual Artists of Madrid) invites proposals for a
competition to select eight artistic projects for inclusion in MADRID
PROCESOS 07. This competition is part of the activities of CRAC
(Coordination of Resources for Contemporary Art), an initiative
sponsored by AVAM in order to improve the working conditions for the
production and creation of works in the plastic and visual arts.

The maximum amount designated for support is 9.000 €.

Artists of any nationality may participate, regardless of age.
Participants must present an original and unpublished project (It may
currently be in some phase of production) to be partially, or totally
completed during the duration of the grant.

The deadline for applications is May 7, 2007.
For more information please visit http://www.avam.net

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Vito Acconci in New Orleans


Monday, April 23rd
6:30 p.m.
Miller Hall, Room 114
Loyola University
6363 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70118

This lecture has been made possible by the generosity of Barriere
Construction Company, Linda and Richard Friedman, and Lin Emery.

For more information
visart@loyno.edu/(504) 861-5456

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Jerry Saltz lecture at Tulane

If you missed Jerry Saltz speak at Tulane this past Wed. April 4th
well... sorry. The lecture was loaded with insight and optimism. His
take on art and criticism were seemingly off the cuff and not bogged
down with heavy art speak. At times this distracted from the lecture
as I felt as though I was in a Junior High science lecture by the
'cool' teacher who wanted to make science fun. "Right dummies and
prophets, does anyone know who made this piece...", this makes sense
if you were there. The patronizing became annoying at times, but only
in good Saltz fashion do I point out the bad with the good.

Over all the lecture was informative and highly entertaining. I
gathered from talking to several people that were in attendance, they
left the auditorium a better person and perhaps a little more
enlightened about viewing and creating art. I especially enjoyed his
bit about the third thing that exists between the artist and the
viewer being not only the artwork itself but the experience as another
element of communication. This element being linked to notions of the
sublime was quite interesting, and I could not agree more with Mr.
Saltz in that the sublime exists in dialogue and human interaction
rather than silence and solitude in our contemporary setting.

Please check out the art reviews by Jerry Saltz weekly at
villagevoice.com, you may even become a fan.

Dan Tague

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Karen Louise Crain at the Big Top

Karen Louise Crain’s color photographs at the Big Top revolve around a central female character’s amusing and disjunctive interactions with her immediate environment. This character’s relationship to the audience and to her environment seems to change between “episodes,” or costume-changes.

First we see a woman with hair pulled back, reading glasses on, lounging in a retro-geometric mumu in a yard that at first glance seems off-kilter but not necessarily devastated. A big rocket is askew behind her, the plant next to her looks threateningly like a big dead furry spider in a pot, and the place seems to be in some sort of upheaval. But the character doesn’t care – she sits reading a magazine, deep in an escapist reverie induced by glossy pages. She appears unposed, and her mumu provides a certain kind of exuberant structure and contrast within the odd setting. She appears strangely comfortable.

Another photo in the same “episode” shows the same woman in the same yard. This time she is dwarfed by vegetation in upheaval. She wields a pair of clippers, which seem to pick at the upturned roots of a big tree ineffectually. Her cool in the previous photo is made comical by her attempts to control her environment in this image. I can imagine that this character is determined to do what she can to control the world – which is very little - and she’s not going to worry over it. Maintaining the bubble of one’s personal world and interests in the face of disaster and the suffering of others is the subject of these identity explorations. Karen Louise writes about this in her statement, posted in a comment below.

The second set’s character is much more posed, and appears less comfortable in, or less a part of, her environment. She steadfastly ignores the giant piles of tree trunks looming behind her, while she, clothed in a pretty dressing gown and little else, talks on the phone or pours her tea. The contradictions involved in maintaining one’s femininity in the midst of a giant clean-up are under inspection here. These photos seem to be played for contradiction much more than the garden photos.

The third costume change involves a character who comes off as a ploy for a one-line joke – it’s a good joke too. Dressed smartly as the chair of the garden club or some sort of community matron, she stands at the door of a flooded house, complete with giant orange spray-painted X on the door, knocking, with a “welcome-back” gift in her arms. She is aware of her environment and knows just what it needs, a houseplant. This character is full of omni-directional cheer, determined to make the best of the situation no matter how dire. As a viewer, I enjoy this humor but when the joke is over, I am drawn back to the more intense visual pleasure of the mumu lady in the garden, and her ambiguous relationship between what’s in her head and what’s in her surroundings.

The last character appears in only one photo. For her cameo, the woman in a leopard coat leans on a boarded up building, on which is spray painted in bright red “Looters will be shot.” Again she talks on the red phone. Her eyes are obscured by dark glasses, and a piece of matching leopard luggage makes her departure imminent. She’s getting out of Dodge. But Karen Louise, having just bought a house here 6 months before the storm, is here for a while. With some artists, the storm and it’s aftermath brought artwork to a standstill. Karen Louise Crain found the ability to start her art career at this moment.

Courtney Egan