Beverly Pepper: Monumenta


Beverly Pepper’s catalogue Monumenta opens with an introduction by art historian and curator Robert Hobbs, “Beverly Pepper: Time as Space,” in which he situates Pepper’s work within the critical context provided by Henri Bergson, André Malraux, and Walter Benjamin. The continuum of time and space and their indivisibility are apparent in Pepper’s works, which are often monumental—if not in size, in presence—and integrated with their surroundings, the materials of the sculptures interacting and changing with their environment over time. Continue reading

Art and fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking


This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart.” – From the introduction of Art and fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking.

What makes being an artist so different from any other profession? Artists have a skill (or maybe even talent) and they strive to make a living using it – isn’t that what everybody does? But somehow, it is very different. Perhaps it’s the personal nature of artistic vision or the culture of celebrity. It turns out, according to David Bayles and Ted Orland in Art and fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, learning to survive as an artist has less to do with skill or talent than it does with our willingness to face our fears over and over again. Continue reading

International Collection of Essays About Kinetic Art | Volume 1

kinetic-featureThe idea of kinetic art is getting a bit of a workout at the moment. MIT Museum recently hosted  “year of kinetic art, including “5000 Moving Parts,” a kinetic art exhibiton featuring large-scale works by Arthur Ganson, Anne Lilly, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and John Douglas Powers. Plus the Kinetic Art Organization has published a digital “International Collection of Essays About Kinetic Art—2013—volume 1.” The two don’t overlap: The MIT show highlights a somewhat different segment of artists working with motion in sculpture, 4 names, some of whom owe more to Yves Tinguely and Calder’s Circus than Calder’s mobiles and George Rickey (the primary influences for many if not most of the artists in the KAO book. Continue reading

Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance, 1965–1975

In Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance, 1965–1975, David J. Getsy, professor of art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has anthologized Burton’s eclectic criticism of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Before Burton received recognition for his sculpture and public works, he was a prolific critic of art and performance, as well as a curator and editor for ARTnews and Art in America. Continue reading

Artists Reclaim the Commons: New Works / New Territories / New Publics

headernbFollowing The New Earthwork: Art, Action, Agency, published last year by ISC Press, Artists Reclaim the Commons makes the case for art as a driving force behind efforts to reimagine human relationships and the built environment. Far from advocating any one genre of public art, this book features a range of project types, from innovative campus programs and biennials to participatory performances and political protests. Art can take to the streets in any number of ways—regardless of approach, the selected projects all share a willingness to work outside of and/or across discrete public art typologies, using institutional frameworks at will, for instance, or blending high-profile status with small-scale, local activism. Continue reading



Silence, edited by Toby Kamps, curator of modern and contemporary art at The Menil Collection, accompanied an exhibition of the same name that explored the paradoxical nature of silence, a phenomenon which exists only in the vacuum of deep space. This means that, for us, true silence exists only in the imagination, since even in deafness we are plagued the incessant clamor of our own consciousness. The catalogue includes a forward by Josef Helfenstein, director of The Menil, and Lawrence Rider, director of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, as well as essays by Kamps, Jenny Sorkin (assistant professor of contemporary art and critical studies at the University of Houston), and Steve Seid (video curator at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive). Continue reading

The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context

Historically, art-making has been associated with individual expression and artists have been seen as creative geniuses isolated from mainstream society, attempting to communicate creatively through visual means. In the aftermath of World War II, after having experienced the dire consequences of staunch individualism (i.e., nationalism), keeping the peace through cooperation arose in all spheres of human experience, including the arts. Rather than Dadaist (or other) approaches to the horrors of war, postwar art brought about a more forward-looking optimism. Artists became drawn to collaboration, and the collective was born.

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