Sunday, May 31, 2009

Week 10

On Tuesday we will have an opportunity for you to get feedback from your classmates and me on your final project plans. You should have all your raw material for your exhibit together and be considering presentation alternatives. Bring in materials, drawings, drafts of explanatory "wall text" and whatever else you are considering to tell your story.

I'll have a sign-up sheet for final presentations on Thursday. Pre-select a space to set up and, if possible, come to class early so we can begin promptly. Have a copy of your catalog zine on display with your exhibit. (I will bring treats to fortify us.)

Turn in a copy of your Exhibition-in-a-Box catalog zine and update your blog with all reflections, exercises and projects by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Postcard Call for Participation: “Zero Nuclear Weapons, Zero Weapons of Mass Destruction: Create a Culture of Peace Now!”

KIK (Kulturel Information - Koordination), The Ribbon International, and Women’s Caucus for Art invite artists, mail artists, students, children, activists and concerned individuals, classrooms and organizations to create postcards for this year’s United Nations NGO Conference, “For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!”

Our postcard theme focuses on one of the major issues debated at this conference: “Zero Nuclear Weapons, Zero Weapons of Mass Destruction – Why? How? When?” Lend your voice to this debate. What does a culture of peace look like? How would you resolve conflict in peaceful ways? What does it mean to feel safe and secure? Why must we oppose the creation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction? How can we remove these weapons? What can happen if we remain silent? What can change look like? Express yourself through words and/or artwork! Make postcards! Send us your postcards!

All postcards received by September 1, 2009 will be documented online and displayed together with The Ribbon International at the United Nations Conference in Mexico City in September, 2009. Afterwards, this exhibition will travel to venues in the United States for further display and dialog.

Deadline: September 1, 2009

Artwork: 4”x6” or Size 6 postcards on the theme “Zero Nuclear Weapons, Zero WMD: Create a Culture of Peace Now!” On the back of the postcard, provide your name and State/Country so we can acknowledge your submission on the blogsite.

Teachers and Educators: We welcome classroom participation!

All Postcards will be documented on

No jury, no fee, no return. Postal delivery only.

Mail postcards to P. Otani, Curator, “Zero NW Zero WMD: Create a Culture of Peace Now!” 263 Laidley Street, San Francisco, CA 94131 USA

Exhibition Collaborators:

Kulturel Information – Koordination (KIK) is a Danish NGO which works to link people through a network of Art and Culture for a Global Culture of Peace. Website:

The Ribbon International is a peace art project. The Ribbon is an ever growing number of meter-by half-meter (or one yard by half-yard) pictures, sewn or painted on fabric, showing what each individual maker loves most and wants to protect by abolishing nuclear weapons, ending wars and preserving the environment. Website:

The Women's Caucus for Art (WCA) is the leading national nonprofit organization for women in the visual arts professions in the United States. Founded in 1972, WCA has 27 chapters across the country and is an affiliate society of the College Art Association. Website: also an NGO of UN

Monday, May 25, 2009

Week 9 and 10

Tuesday we will discuss Kabakov's "Man Who Threw Nothing Away," share your proposals and your favorite collections.

We will also discuss the role of the curator in preparation for a field trip to the Cooley Gallery at Reed College on Thursday 5/28. Gallery director Stephanie Snyder will talk to us about the current exhibition, China Urban, and her role as a curator.

View the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Gallery website prior to Thursday and read the information about the exhibition in preparation for our visit. What do you think the job of a curator is? Think about this and formulate a question for Stephanie.

We will meet at the Cooley Gallery on the first floor of the Reed Library at 2:30. We will organize car pooling in class on Tuesday. Driving and bus directions are available here.

Over the weekend work on the final project and bring in materials and presentation ideas for a work session during class on Tuesday 6/2.

Make sure your blog posts are up to date with assignments and reading summaries.

Final presentations on Thursday 6/4.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Final Project: Exhibition in a Box

Investigate the ways contemporary artists engage relics of “the everyday” by curating a portable exhibition that will function as a portrait of a either someone you know or a fictional person you create. In either case, your subject, and the focus of your exhibition, should somehow represent an aspect of the spirit of our time (the “episteme” thing). You may choose to work singly or in twos or threes (greater expectations for grandeur go along with larger groups). Declare your intentions with a brief proposal on 5/21. See the project sheet handed out in class for more information.

Artists to investigate: Mark Dion, Sophie Calle, Pepon Osorio, Ilya Kabakov, Christian Marclay, Annette Messager, Christian Boltanski, Aleksandra Mir, Andrea Zittel

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For Week 8

These last few weeks of the terms we will be considering how things are categorized, collected, curated, and what all that has to do with making meaning.

For Tuesday 5/19, we will read and discuss "Collecting -- so normal, so paradoxical," by Matthiaas Winzen, taken from the book Deep Storage. Find it in the course reader after POL chapter 5.

Along with the reading, find a collection that you like, either your own, that of someone you know, or by going to a museum or historical center. If you are stumped, check out the Museum of Online Museums. Think about what appeals to you about the collection you have chosen and write a post with an image or two on your blog.

We will share these in class on Tuesday 5/19.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jeff Koons' String of Puppies

Jeff Koons' sculpture (top left) from the photograph by photographer Art Rogers (bottom left) engendered a copyright suit, Rogers v. Koons. The court held against Koons, finding that "an artist who reproduced a photograph as a three-dimensional sculpture for sale as high-priced art could not claim parody as a defense for copyright infringement, when the photograph itself was not the target of his parody." According to the holding, Koons was not commenting on Rogers' work specifically, and so his copying of that work did not fall under the fair use exception.

See resource list at right for a link to the Creative Commons website.

Sherrie Levine

Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A.P.)
Sherrie Levine
1991 bronze

I try to make art which celebrates doubt and uncertainty. Which provokes answers but doesn't give them. Which withholds absolute meaning by incorporating parasite meanings. Which suspends meaning while perpetually dispatching you toward interpretation, urging you beyond dogmatism, beyond doctrine, beyond ideology, beyond authority.
--Sherrie Levine

Since the early 1980s, Sherrie Levine has made a career out of re-using--or appropriating--famous works of art, often by making new versions of them and placing them in different contexts. Throughout her career, Levine has created art based on works by prominent male artists from the early 20th century in order to underscore the relative absence of women in the art world at that time. Her sources have included Walker Evans' photographs and Constantin Brancusi's sculptures. Levine's piece, entitled Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A. P.), is inspired by Marcel Duchamp's Fountain (1917).

When Levine's Fountain is compared with Duchamp's sculpture, it is apparent that it is not an exact copy. Most notably, Duchamp's piece was an actual urinal, turned upside-down and unaltered except for his signature. He believed he could transform such mass-produced, everyday objects into artworks merely by proclaiming them so, and called them "readymades." In contrast, Levine's sculpture is a contemporary urinal cast in the sculptor's traditional precious metal, bronze. Polished to a brilliant shine, this piece is no longer a common, store-bought item; it has been transformed by the artist into a unique object. (Text from Walker Art Center)

See the resource list at right for a link to

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Week 7: Stenciling T-shirts & Image Assignment

Here's one site with instructions for spray paint stenciling on T-shirts and another and one more. Maybe this one is the clearest. Read all the tips about washing the shirt, ventilation, etc.

Here is a general site about iron-on transfers.

See Culture of the Copy post below for project instructions. For extra credit, make 2 t-shirts: one to keep and one to trade with a classmate!

Bring your source image and ideas for it's alteration to class on Tuesday. Also read the last half of POL Chapter 5 for discussion.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Week Six Reconfigured

Due to low attendance and the fact that few people did the assigned reading for Tuesday's class, on Thursday 5/7, we will tackle pp. 183-203, "Visual Technologies, Image Reproduction and the Copy" (the first half of POL Chapter 5 in the course reader). Again, as you read, you should be summarizing the main points, noting unfamiliar concepts and vocab, noting what surprised or confused you, and formulating a question for class discussion. The last takes some thought but is worth the practice: figuring out how to ask good questions is a valuable art in itself.

The additional assignment for Thursday is to bring in images for the "Copy Cat" project: a well-known art work or cultural icon (pop or not) that you will copy and modify as a two-sided stenciled T-shirt.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Culture of the Copy

Research and choose a well-known art work (any era) or cultural icon (pop or not) to copy (reproduce) and modify as a two-sided T-shirt: on the front of the shirt, make your copy as faithful to the original as possible, given the limitations of the printing method you choose. For the back, design some kind of visual “intervention” or alteration that also changes the meaning.

No words, no text to this one. Image only!

There are several ways of getting your design onto a shirt. Easiest is to cut a stencil and use spray paint or fabric paint and a stiff brush or foam roller. (Follow safety instructions for all materials and use spray paint in a well ventilated area.)

You can do it high-, low- or medium-tech. There are several websites (see blog post) that include instructions for turning photos into high contrast designs that can be printed or drawing onto freezer paper (waxy side can be ironed to the t-shirt for stenciling) or stiff cardboard or mylar. Many ways to do it.

You can also use one of the iron-on transfer print papers made for T-shirts. This method will allow you to get more elaborate with your design but you will need computer/printer access and some basic digital skills.

Most important is to consider the graphic impact of your image and it’s alteration.

Work from photo/print sources you collect. Brainstorm to come up with more than one idea and choose the best.

Due: 5/14

Sunday, May 3, 2009

For Week 6

For Tuesday, May 5th, bring in your finished movie posters and read pp. 183-203, "Visual Technologies, Image Reproduction and the Copy" (the first half of POL Chapter 5) for class discussion.

Thursday, May 7th, finish reading Chapter 5, pp. 204 - 220. Bring in images for "Copy Cat," the next project: a well-known art work or cultural icon (pop or not) that you will copy and modify as a two-sided T-shirt.