Saturday, December 29, 2012

“After Sandy” a photographic essay by René Clement is on display at Dordt College

Nov 1, 2012, New York—After hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of the United States. High winds and spring tide devastated the coastal community Breezy Point on Jamaica Bay, Queens. In addition to the flooding a huge fire broke out and destroyed 110 houses. Image and text © 2012 René Clement — all rights reserved

Currently on display at Dordt College in Sioux Center Iowa is a photo essay by New York based photographer and Dutch photo journalist René Clement. The show, which comprises 26 images of the terribly destructive effects of hurricane Sandy is on view in the Ribbens Academic Complex (Classroom Building).

Nov 12, 2012, Staten Island, New York—After hurricane Sandy. The top of a house drifted onto a neighbor's property. Images and text © 2012 René Clement — all rights reserved

A photo essay by René Clement titled “After Sandy” is on view in the main lobby of the Ribbens Academic Complex at Dordt College.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

John Cage used press type to compose his mesostics

M: Writings ’67–‘72, 1973
Author: John Cage
Art director/designer: Raymond M. Grimaila, Middletown, Connecticut
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Interestingly, for the cover design Grimaila chose a type style for the “M”  that seems to be a precursor to Dala Floda.

This is an inside spread (p.122-23) from a chapter known as the Mushroom Book. Cage used press type to compose and produce his mesostics designs.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is hosting a marvelous ongoing exhibition series that features iconic works from the MCA Collection. Currently there’s a “Mixed Media” show titled, MCA DNA: John Cage, which started September 1 and runs to March 3, 2013. MCA online information explains the artifacts on display this way:

Materials demonstrating how to interpret the score of this important work [A Dip in the Lake: Ten Quicksteps, Sixty-two Waltzes, and Fifty-six Marches for Chicago and Vicinity (1978)], which later entered the MCA Collection, are on view along with scores and books drawn from the more than eighty items associated with Cage in the MCA Artists’ Books Collection. 
The exhibition at MCA honors the John Cage Centennial as well as Cage’s long-time relationship with the MCA. One of Cage’s pieces on display is one of his diary series, M: Writings ’67–‘72 that was published in 1973. The book features a collection of Cage’s mesostics that are, as someone described them, “inspired by music, mushrooms, Marcel Duchamp, Merce Cunningham, Marshall McCluhan, etc. and includes ‘Mureau’ composed from the writings of Henry David Thoreau.”

This publication was recognized in AIGA’s Fifty Books of the Year (1974) and is in the AIGA design archives. The Design Archives description states: “This is a miscellany written and printed pretty much according to the I Ching. It seems abstruse, but attuned readers can enjoy Cage’s high humor while soaking in the penetrating insights and anecdotes intended to ‘unstructured bourgeois’.”
Cage, John. M: Writings, ’67-’72. n.p.: Wesleyan University Press, 1973. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 21 Dec. 2012.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Juror Yuji Hiratsuka | The Printed Image 4 competition at the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery in Topeka

Printed Image 4 / Nelson-Atkins Museum Print Society Tour with Yuji Hiratsuka
The Printed Image 4 exhibition juror Yuji Hiratsuka conducts a gallery talk for the Nelson-Atkins Museum Print Society. The biennial show runs from November 16 through December 30, 2012. Photograph credit: Betsy Roe for the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library.

David Versluis
Spirit Lake Iowa Fish I
Wood engraving, 3" x 5"
Image © David Versluis

It seems Kansans are known as dedicated advocates for the democratic value of public libraries. Additionally, Kansas was the birthplace of the remarkable Prairie Print Makers Society, which was a consortium of very fine printmakers founded in 1930 and lasting into the 60s. Also, Topeka, Kansas is the hometown of Bradbury Thompson (1911–1995) who was one of the great graphic designers of the twentieth century.

So I was pleased to have a piece selected for The Printed Image 4 competition at the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery of the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library 
in Topeka. While I have not been to Topeka, the photos on flickr indicate a beautiful art gallery venue within an impressive public library. The Printed Image 4 is a national, juried printmaking exhibition.

In the photograph above, juror Yuji Hiratsuka of Oregon State University is standing near my wood engraving called Spirit Lake Iowa Fish I, which is also illustrated above. Actually, in the photograph, Yuji is discussing with the Nelson-Atkins Museum Print Society the technique of color woodcut in “Blue Kaw” a print by Lisa Grossman, of Lawrence, Kansas. Apparently the Kansas River is more commonly known as the “Kaw”. The gallery director chose to install my fish print next to “Blue Kaw” and as a result my print made it into this photograph. I appreciated seeing the photos since I was not able to attend.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Minimalism, Measurement, and Primary Structures: Sol LeWitt, Stanley Tigerman, and Elaine Lustig Cohen

Sol LeWitt (American, 1928–2007)
Modular Cube/Base, 1967 (two views), photographs by versluis
Painted wood
Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, restricted gift of MCA Collectors Group, Men’s Council, and Women’s Board; Young/Hoffman Gallery; and National Endowment for the Arts Purchase Grant, 1978.60.1-2

Sol LeWitt was one of the important artists who participated in the 1966 Primary Structures exhibition that featured artwork associated with Minimalism. LeWitt’s piece, illustrated above, is representative of his work from 1967. This particular sculpture was displayed earlier this year in a post World War II anthology exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The exhibition featured artifacts from the MCA collection; the curatorial documentation mentions that:

In LeWitt’s sculptures such as this, cubes of fixed dimension (made even more clear by the gridded base) combine to create a much larger form. The relation between part and whole can be seen as a metaphor for all systems, whether natural or man-made, visible or subatomic, lending such exercises a truly humanistic overtone.

Elaine Lustig Cohen (b. 1927), catalog for The Jewish Museum (front and back covers)
Primary Structures: Younger American & British Sculptors, 1966
image is from Display.

Regarding the Primary Structures exhibition the MCA Chicago documentation states:
Building Blocks 
One of the earliest exhibitions surveying the art movement that came to be known as Minimalism was titled Primary Structures. Presented at the Jewish Museum in New York in 1966, the exhibition and its theme still offer a useful way to think about some of the central concerns of artists working at that time. As the title suggests, the artists stripped their sculpture of unnecessary embellishment, focusing on the core components that shape two- and three-dimensional form. This approach directs us to focus on how an object is assembled, how its parts relate to one another, and the powerful effect color can have on perception and meaning, foregrounding the importance of the subtleties of surface, hue, texture, proportion, and relationships among these components.

Stanley Tigerman (b. 1930), Formica Showroom, Grid Axonometric, 1986.

A wonderful correlation and contrast exists between LeWitt’s Modular Cube/Base and Tigerman’s drawing for the Formica Showroom project shown above. In the Cesi n‘est pas une rêverie: The Architecture of Stanley Tigerman exhibition catalog Emmanuel Petit writes:
Tigerman considers measurement to be an essential principle of legibility in architecture, and he sees the grid as the most potent architectural tool to structure space and time in a project. Unlike Mies, with his unequivocal grids, Tigerman avails himself of multiple grid systems that dislocate the sense of stability, orientation, and hierarchy, to suggest the existence of another non-linear order in architecture. (1)
  1. Petit, Emmanuel. "Nine Clouds of Architecture." Cesi n‘est pas une rêverie: The Architecture of Stanley Tigerman. Ed. Nina Rappaport. New Haven: Yale School of Architecture, 2011. n. pag. Print.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Stanley Tigerman: “Paintings & Multiples”

Stanley Tigerman
Paintings & Multiples, “A Meed of Fealty for Moire’s Tensile Strength,”
Liqitex on mounted canvas
22" x 22"
Image ©Stanley Tigerman

Emmanuel Petit, in his essay “Nine Clouds of Architecture” writes that this painting is from “a series of oil and acrylic paintings from the mid-1960s [which] drew inspiration from Josef Albers, with whom Tigerman studied when he was at Yale; these are Tigerman's 'op art' experiments created through the medium of geometry.” (1)

Tigerman is a very fine draughtsman and his striking Op art image of the 60s, when rotated 90° and reduced, foreshadow the way he effectively represents water in architectural drawings like the one shown below.

Kingdom of Atlantis, axonometric, ink on vellum, 36 x 24.25", 1976-82
Image ©Stanley Tigerman

In addition, Tigerman‘s Op art paintings highlight his interest in visual ambiguity/uncertainty, which comprise figure and ground relationships. Perhaps these experiments in Op art portend his shift, by the 70s, from Modernism’s rational doctrines to postmodern unpredictability. Again, as Petit insightfully writes:

Tigerman first came to prominence at a time when late-Modernism tended to regurgitate the abstract forms of Modern architecture without much ideological persuasion. By the 1970s, Tigerman had set adrift the positivist certainties of architectural modernism, to which he had been exposed in his formative years. In particular, he confronted the rigidity of the Miesian grid with a more loosely defined curvilinear geometry. (2)
  1. Petit, Emmanuel. "Nine Clouds of Architecture." Cesi n‘est pas une rêverie: The Architecture of Stanley Tigerman. Ed. Nina Rappaport. New Haven: Yale School of Architecture, 2011. n. pag. Print.
  2. Ibid.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

The 2012 Dordt/Northwestern Student Art Show Poster

Jordan Edens, designer (Dordt class of 2013)
2012 Dordt College and Northwestern College Student Art Show Poster
Poster design: ©Jordan Edens

The following information is from the Dordt College news release:

The annual Dordt/Northwestern Student Art Exhibit is an occasion for students from both schools to share their best artwork of the year in a combined exhibit. This exhibition, which is juried by three students from each college, will run in the Dordt College Campus Center Art Gallery December 6 to January 10.

At the opening reception last Thursday evening student jurors discussed their selections and the gathering was an opportunity to compare works from both institutions in a dialogue and exchange about what constitutes “good art.”

This joint exhibit by Dordt College and Northwestern College art students has been an annual tradition since 1999. The colleges alternate hosting the exhibit, with Dordt students selecting the Northwestern art that will be shown and Northwestern students selecting the Dordt art that will be shown.
“Artwork in the show seems to have a relational attitude with interests in formalistic explorations,” stated David Versluis, a Dordt College art professor.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

“to dazzle and confuse the eye”

Stanley Tigerman
Paintings & Multiples
Red Concavities, 1966
Oil on wood, 31" x 31"
Image ©Stanley Tigerman

This is one of Stanley Tigerman’s compelling Op Art experiments from the mid-60s.

There’s a great relationship between Op Art of the 1960s and the dazzle-ships and camouflage of World War I. Tigerman’s delightful tessellation illustrates nicely a description by Robert G. Skerret who spoke about ship dazzle camouflage in 1919. In a very useful anthology titled Ship Shape, edited by Roy R. Behrens, Skerret writes:

Various patterns, arranged according to their effectiveness, suitable for outline blurring after they have blended visibility into a uniform gray. When the patterns are discernible, however, they serve to dazzle and confuse the eye. (1)
  1. Skerret, Robert G. “hoodwinking the periscope.” Ship Shape: A Dazzle Camouflage Sourcebook. Ed. Roy R. Behrens. First ed. Dysart, Iowa: Bobolink Books, 2012. 123-26. Print.

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