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

Tools, Techniques, and Ideas to Help Any Artist Teach

handbook-featureThe Teaching Artist Handbook tackles a difficult question for which there is no single answer: How does one teach art? Written by teaching artists for teaching artists, the book addresses the problem of how to teach in a field in which methods of instruction are ambiguous and challenging to establish and in which effectiveness is often challenging to evaluate.  Continue reading

The Paradoxical Object: Video Film Sculpture

br-object-featureIn The Paradoxical Object, published by London’s Black Dog Publishing, Joan Truckenbrod explores the paradoxes presented by her own artistic medium, the new and quickly expanding digital realm that fuses both video and sculpture, engaging the viewer in a multisensory, and often extrasensory, experience. Video and sculpture are inherently opposing forces—the former ephemeral and transitory, the latter fixed and tangible. Continue reading

Silence

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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 Art of Not Making

Michael Petry’s The Art of Not Making: The New Artist/Artisan Relationship explores the issue of authorship through works in various media not technically “made” by their nominal creators.Petry, director of MOCA London, suggests that there is a “new” artist/artisan relationship, precipitated by a growing taste for highly crafted, spectacular works and an increased emphasis on technical ambition. This relationship most notably characterizes the atelier systems of Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and Takashi Murakami, who are notorious for employing hundreds of assistants. In their model of artistic production, the artist has the vision and the artisan brings it to life, placing the divide between artist and artisan in the space between conception and production, between artistic genius and technical know-how. Continue reading

Presence: The Art of Portraiture

Presence: The Art of Portrait Sculpture, published to accompany an exhibition on view at the Holburne Museum through September 2, addresses an eerie quality shared by portraiture from antiquity to the present. What ties these three-dimensional works together is an undeniable presence—a strange, life-like quality beneath their stony (or waxy, or wooden, or bronze) surfaces. In this book, Sturgis manages to capture and articulate the uncanniness behind portrait sculpture. Whatever a portrait sculpture’s style (hyper-realistic or subtractive and archetypal), when we come face-to-face with one, we succumb to an almost uncomfortable sensation as we try to reconcile the sentient presence we feel with our knowledge that the work is, in fact, inanimate. This sense of presence, and fear of it, in inanimate objects has been a subject of great fascination throughout time. From Hoffman’s Olimpia in “The Sandman” to Blade Runner’s replicants, to the wax figures of Madame Tussauds, there are many examples of our obsession with the thin dividing line between animate and inanimate, real and unreal. This quality, this presence, this ambiguity, lies behind the powerful and endlessly captivating power of portrait sculpture, which Sturgis demonstrates in his comprehensive survey of three-dimensional portraits. Continue reading