Category: Miscellaneous

Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors at the Frist

posted by – 01/27/17 @ 5:00pm

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Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors is a nine channel video installation arranged in a black room on the second floor of the Frist.  Each camera is positioned in one of forty-three rooms in a historic mansion in New York, where Ragnar Kjartansson and seven friends begin a musical performance sitting alone in eight individual rooms.  The ninth camera is focused on the back porch of the house where a large group of people are sitting.

The musicians listen to the group via a pair of headphones, accompnaying Kjartansson on a cello, piano, drum set, banjo, accordion, and guitar. Without visual cues from their fellow performers, the begin to play a very complex and long musical composition. The song itself ebbs and flows in emotional crescendos and diminuendos.  Kjartansson pulls inspiration from Icelandic poet, Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, borrowing lines from her work, including the performance’s haunting mantra: “Once again, I fall into my feminine ways.”

The music evolves from meditative and melancholic to a thunderous intensity. Lasting for about an hour and a half, the song is full of quiet, mysterious, contemplative moments, alongside loud, emotional outbursts.  With each artist playing in isolation, the piece explores ideas of relationships and collaboration. The length of the performance alone lends itself to contemplating endurance in production and spectating.

Eventually, characters on each screen interact with each other and move between films.   While the characters walk from screen to screen, the audience moves to follow, blurring the line between audience and performance.  As the video ends, each performer gathers in a single room, where they migrate out of the home, continuing their melody into the distance of the Hudson River Valley.

Frist Center Chief Curator, Mark Scala, says that Kjartansson “…pushes the limits of endurance for himself and his collaborators, he congenially accepts that audiences will come and go as they please, experiencing the work in its entirety or in brief episodes. But…the reward of extended viewing is a heightened perception of differences in the repetition of a scene, musical phrase, or physical action. The whole world is contained in these variations.

The Visitors is certainly worth staying to view the entire performance.  The music is captivating, and the composition in its entirety is a romantic, mournful rhapsody.  It manages to become a portrait of the audience as well as the performers, showcasing their unique personalities and relationships, perhaps mirroring our own.  The immersive installation will certainly leave you feeling enchanted.

The Frist is currently offering free admission to view The Visitors until February 9th, 2017 while they are transitioning exhibitions.

Art Basel Miami Highlights

posted by – 12/08/16 @ 12:56pm

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The 15th annual Art Basel at Miami Beach came to a close on Sunday. It featured nearly 300 galleries from 29 countries in just five days.  Commonly the art market’s largest week of activity, Art Basel faced uncertainty in sales due to slowed growth in art markets, the U.S. presidential election, Brexit, and the presence of Zika in Miami.  Although the halls of the Miami Beach Convention Center were reportedly less crowded, dealers reported steady business. In times of political uncertainty, writer Alexander Forbes for artsy.net explains that it will take some time for any Trump or Brexit inspired policies to be enacted, and even more time after that to take effect on the art market. Even then, their interaction with the art market will be unpredictable. Galleries with diverse programs and international involvement will fare well.  Of course, Art Basel witnessed a small shift toward directly political artworks, due to the current political and economic conditions weighing heavily on artists and dealers alike.

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The sculpture park featured Glenn Kaino’s “Invisible Man” (2016) as a centerpiece.  The aluminum figure stands on a large concrete plinth. From behind, the figure is rendered in full textural detail portraying a man surrendering with his arms up.  The front half of the sculpture is sheared off into a flat, mirrored plane.  Since the the killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture has become an iconic protest.

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Paintings, films, sculptures, photographs, installations, and performances from around the globe filled Miami.  Hyperallergic’s Rob Colvin details a plethora of paintings from international contemporary artists in the article, “Painting According to Art Basel Miami Beach.” Art Basel featured surrealist, Leonor Fini’s “Chthonian Deity Watching over the Sleep of a Young Man” (1946), which was created at a time when female artists weren’t really supposed to depict men in relaxed or vulnerable poses.

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On the other end of the painting spectrum, Katherine Bernhardt’s explosive “Untitled” (2016) is very street art inspired, rendered in spray paint and acrylic.  “Light Landscape 2” (2016), by seasoned Art Basel Painter Alex Katz is one of, if not, the largest paintings exhibited.

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Over the course of 15 years, Art Basel in Miami has doubled its size and witnessed the formation of hundreds of satellite fairs.  The number of galleries in Miami has increased from 6 in 2002 to over 130 today.

 

Sumida Hokusai Museum Opening

posted by – 11/29/16 @ 3:02pm

An article on Artnet details the opening of the Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo on November 22nd. The museum features the work of Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese artist best recognized for his The Great Wave off Kanazawa. This iconic 19th Century woodblock print, from his “36 Views of Mount Fuji” series will be on display in the museum alongside changing exhibitions featuring a collection of 1,800 paintings by the artist.  The museum also features a recreation of Hokusai’s Susanoo-no-Mikoto Yakujin Taiji no Zu, which had been lost in the Great Kanot Earthquake in 1923, as well as Sumidagawa Ryogan Keshiki Zukan, a 23 foot long scroll recovered from going missing for over a century when it was taken abroad.

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko/Japan Times)

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko/Japan Times)

Hokusai was a famous artist, best known for his illustrations, paintings, and prints done in the ukiyo-e genre, featuring a seemingly hedonistic urban Japanese lifestyle. It wasn’t until his 70’s when Hokusai created one of the art world’s most iconic images, nicknamed The Great Wave. The print can be seen in across the globe in museums from New York, Boston, Chicago and LA.  The print’s original conception was rooted in commercialism. The  “36 Views of Mount Fuji” series was intended to showcase Mount Fuji as a sacred icon of Japanese identity that had its own cult following.  The prints enjoyed attention on the souvenir market, as they were easily reproducible.  Japanese art historians are hesitant to call The Great Wave a definitive representation of their artistic culture because woodblock prints in that style were regarded as a form of expression and commercial printing, not fine art.

Today, The Great Wave enjoys status as a one of the most reproduced artworks in the world.  It has been referenced in films, modern graphic design, video games, album artwork, and even reproduced as a sculpture.  A smaller version of the work is even featured as an emoji!

Regina Jose Galindo at the Vanderbilt Football Stadium

posted by – 11/10/16 @ 1:31pm

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This Saturday, November 12th, at 10:00 AM, Regina Jose Galindo, an internationally recognized performance artist will be premiering a public performance piece in the Vanderbilt Football Stadium. Entitled Comunidad, this piece calls upon the Latinx community to exhibit its resilience in troubling times.  Galindo is setting out to “generate a real experience of the strength of the community,” rather than just a pictorial representation.

 

Regina was born in Guatemala and lives in Guatemala City.  As a poet and an artist, her work explores the ethical implications of social injustice. She uses her own body in performance art pieces to illustrate how institutional violence can impact the bodies of women and minorities around the world.  Her often graphic, courageous pieces serve as reenactments of violent history.  Regina calls on her audience to remember this history and use that memory as a tool against social injustice.

 

Galindo calls on the Latinx community of Nashville to create Communidad in the following video: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/clas/regina-jose-galindo

Other members of the Nashville community are invited to observe the performance piece as well.

For more information, or to RSVP, click here.

Michele Pred on The Patriot Act

posted by – 11/01/16 @ 1:17pm

michele-predLast Wednesday was the 15-year anniversary of the passage of the Patriot Act – an Act of Congress whose abbreviation (USA PATRIOT), expanded, describes, “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.”  The Patriot Act was passed into law immediately following the terrorist attacks in the fall of 2001, without receiving much scrutiny.  In hindsight of its passing, legislators began to realize the significance of the laws they put into place and how they could potentially subvert federal privacy laws.  Since the tragedies of September 11, 2001, Congress has adopted quite a few new laws that many citizens feel interfere with the delicate balance between combating domestic terrorism and maintaining our own civil rights.  To date, hundreds of American factions have attempted to pass resolutions against the Patriot Act, stating they will not comply with much or all of its restrictions.

One such restriction of the Patriot Act was the federalization and strengthening of airport screening.  At the baggage claim of the San Francisco International Airport, travelers were greeted by conceptual artist, Michele Pred. Clothed in 1960’s-era flight attendant dress, Pred gifted tiny pocket knives reading, “Official Air Travel Replacement Knife” to departing commuters.  The 2.25 inch knives Pred presented are the most common type of pocket knife confiscated by TSA officers.  In regards to the chosen text, Pred stated in an interview with Hyperallergic: “The text that I had printed on them was intended as a somewhat humorous way of driving home the notion that our focus on security has not only taken things away from us, but has not clearly explained what it has given back.”  Pred did receive a Free Speech and Expressive Activities Permit and permission from the airport after an extensive application process.

encirclementHer performance was an extension of a group exhibition through the FOR-SITE foundation in San Francisco, called Home Land Security Her “Encirclement” installation features hundreds of confiscated items from airports arranged in a ring, intended to call attention to the small personal cost that comes with growing airport security.  The exhibition is housed in the Presidio, a former military base overlooking the Bay area.  Home Land Security brings together contemporary artists making work to reflect on the complexity of national security.  The show will be on display through December 18, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

ArtFields 2017

posted by – 10/11/16 @ 3:03pm

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ArtFields is a public charity created by the Lake City, SC Creative Alliance, whose mission is to contribute to the area’s education and community through creative and cultural development, connecting people through the arts.

Art fields is a weeklong celebration and competition honoring artists of the Southeast. Over 400 submissions by emerging and established artists will be displayed in locally owned venues, such as renovated warehouses, upscale restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries.  The program is offering life-changing amounts of money to artists of all media who live in Southeastern states.  A panel of judges made up of acclaimed artists and educators will be evaluating the work and awarding over $100,000 of prize money up for grabs.  $50,000 for the Top Prize, $25,000 for Juried Panel prize, and two $12,500 People’s Choice.  Various smaller prizes will be awarded, including $1,000 for a portrait painting contest!

The submission deadline is November 16, 2016, and the event will take place April 21-29, 2017.

Visit http://www.artfieldssc.org/ for more information.

Inka Essenhigh at the Frist

posted by – 10/04/16 @ 2:40pm

In Bed

In Bed, 2005

Inka Essenhigh is a New York based painter whose surrealist paintings feature dramatic figure distortions, moody palettes, impossibly vibrant hues, and mythical landscapes.  She manages to transform simple every-day situations into extraordinarily fantastic scenes from a fictitious world. Drawing on imagination, Essenhigh creates intricately detailed topographies, pulling viewers into a whole new realm of existence.

Her influence by modern Surrealism is especially apparent in In Bed, depicting a malformed humanoid blob writhing in a sea of undulant, animated blankets, battling an army of its own inner demons.  She often includes influential, dark, psychological intimations, inviting a contemplation of the unknown. Viewers are then lent to the mercy of their own imaginations.

Green Goddess II, 2009

Green Goddess II, 2009

Essenhigh also revives myth and antiquity, often including characters of lore, gods, goddesses, nymphs, sprits, and elves in her paintings.  Green Goddess II and similar are redolent of animism. The woodlands are depicted as a sentient creature, leaving the relationship between nature and humanity equivocal.

Spring Bar Scene displays a hallucinogenic theme, casting slimy, green characters in a boozy, uncouth atmosphere. The bargoers seem raucous; they sway and carouse while the bartenders maintain a seemingly affectionate demeanor.  Essenhigh recontextualizes the bar atmosphere into a grand, whimsical new territory where her ghoulish characters are fused together and their energy animates the composition.

Spring Bar Scene, 2008

Spring Bar Scene, 2008

A selection of the artist’s paintings and drawings in Inka Essenhigh: Between Worlds are on display at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in the Gordon Contemporary Artist Project Gallery until October 9th, 2016.

Native American Artists Redefining What It Means to be “American”

posted by – 09/13/16 @ 3:43pm

Since the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline project in July (and well before this), Native Americans have been peacefully protesting their mistreatment.  In particular, they’re working to preserve sacred and cultural sites.

At the same time, as discussed in Hyperallergic’s article, “Native American Students Fight to Remove Colonial Imagery from University of New Mexico,”  Indigenous people are rejecting labels and stereotypes perpetuated by the current Colonial American Narrative.

Cleopocahantra by Meritt Johnson

Cleopocahantra by Meritt Johnson

As art parallels history, Contemporary Indigenous Artists are growing in popularity alongside these events, such as those featured at the Cross Currents exhibition at Metropolitan State University of Denver in late 2013-2014.  More and more frequently, they are being given a voice to fill in historical gaps, preserve their own culture, and contribute to the current cultural conversation. Each artist in the exhibit explored topics of marginalization, stereotypes, and the deeper meaning of identifying as an Indigenous person in the United States.  Exhibits like this one give them a unique opportunity to draw attention to both historical and current progressions in the treatment of Native Americans.

(No)otalgia by Cannupahanksa Luger

(No)otalgia by Cannupahanksa Luger

Tinney Contemporary celebrates 10 years

posted by – 08/04/16 @ 2:47pm

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This Saturday, August 6th, Tinney Contemporary will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary by officially opening up our next exhibition titled, “A Decade in the Making: A 10th Anniversary Exhibition”. Established in 2006 by Susan Tinney, Tinney Contemporary was the second gallery to open on 5th Avenue and was a founding partner of First Saturday Art Crawl, one of the most visible and well-attended art events in the city. The First Saturday Art Crawl, a now well-known and widely celebrated citywide event, will also be celebrating its roots at its 10th Anniversary in August. In August of 2006, the first art crawl featured only a few Nashville-based galleries: The Arts Company, the Twist and Dangenart in the Arcade, and TAG. Though Twist and Dangenart no longer exists and TAG has become Tinney Contemporary, the art crawl continues to thrive and draw hundreds of visitors to 5th avenue on the first saturday of every month.

StyleBlueprintGuide_Tinney_Contemporary_PRODUCT_08-2014-1Since its founding, Tinney Contemporary has striven to present work that is collectible yet also thought-provoking. This challenge has led the gallery to exhibit work by some of the top artists in the region and around the world. Most recently, Tinney featured a three month long guest-curated exhibition featuring the work of several internationally known street artists with the goal of bringing a significant contemporary art movement to Nashville.

“A Decade in the Making” will feature works by Tinney Contemporary artists who have been with the gallery since its founding, as well as recent additions. The featured artists include: Andy Harding, Anna Jaap, Béatrice Coron, Carla Ciuffo, Carlos Gamez de Francisco, Claire B. Cotts, Dorothy O’Connor, Eduardo Terranova, James Perrin, Jane Braddock, Jason Craighead, John Folsom, Kay Ruane, Kuzana Ogg, Martica Griffin, Mary Long, Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Peri Schwartz, Sky Kim, Stefany Hemming, and Tom Brydelsky.

We hope to see you there!

Cambodian War Widows Use Art to Share Their Stories

posted by – 07/19/16 @ 12:47pm

Seven years ago, Khmer artist and poet Chath Piersath and artist Mary Oestereicher Hamill began The Cambodia War Widows Project, a project that explored photography as a form of art therapy and focused on widowed women in rural Cambodia. Today, the series of photographs, as well as paintings by Piersath, are currently installed at Sangker Gallery in Battambang.

DSC04612-e1465531333149The project stems largely from Piersath’s strong personal ties to the Cambodian war widows – he is a refugee, while his mother and two sisters are all widows of war. In 1971, Piersath was born in what is now the Banteay Meanchey Province, where he fled the Khmer Rouge by crossing the border into Thailand. At the age of 10, he reached the USA and didn’t return to his homeland for 13 years. Piersath always dreamed of returning to Cambodia and helping to rebuild his country, and in 1994 he moved back and volunteered for the Cambodian-American National Development Organization, which helps alleviate poverty. The Cambodia War Widows Project began with Piersath simply having conversations with and collecting stories from war widows in a village near where he grew up and where his sister now lives. While conversing with widows and developing ideas for the project, Piersath met Hamill, a New York-based Princeton-graduate, who first visited Cambodia in 2006. The two decided to collaborate and combine

Piersath’s plans for an oral history project with Hamill’s multi-media based practice.

In Khmer, “widow” (written “មេម៉ាយ,” and pronounced “may my”) is the same word as “divorcée,” and both are treated with equal disrespect. In the words of Piersath, “women who lose their husbands are often looked down upon. They face social isolation and discrimination.” Though it is hard to be a widow anywhere, it is particularly hard in Cambodia – society is superstitious of widows and blames divorcees for their misfortune. Widows are also discouraged from remarrying and often are forced out of economic necessity to return home and live with their families, a further disgrace. The Cambodia War Widows Project creates a community amid previously socially isolating circumstances, where widows can discuss their losses, with Piersath and among each other.

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The final artworks are prints on pillows that hang from the ceiling and feature objects that remind the women of their husbands. The faint blue prints on the dangling pillows appear dreamlike and faded, resembling the memories that the objects hold for these women of both their previous lives and their deceased husbands. Piersath chose to use pillows because of their significance in marriage – during a wedding, it is Khmer tradition for the bride and groom to place their hands together on pillows and have strings tied around their wrists to bless the newlyweds. Later, when the couple shares a bed, each has his or her own pillow that, when the individual dies, is left behind empty and reminiscent of the union’s missing half.

Piersath says, “My interest is to look at how they [the widows] adjusted their lives to these losses and how they manage to survive, and what lessons other people in the world can learn from them.” The project’s installation does portray small and beautiful hints of the intimate and moving stories of this group of women. More importantly, however, the project aids in creating positive dialogue in this rural village. Although perhaps a very small act, bringing these women together, to share, connect, and build out of their loss is an empowering act that the installation only begins to capture.