Conversation with Norwood Viviano

Global Cities sculpture

Global Cities (2015-2016) Hand-blown glass and vinyl cut drawings Photo Credit: Tim Thayer/Robert Hensleigh

I had the chance to work with Norwood Viviano for two weeks during his workshop Digital Foundry at Anderson Ranch Arts Center which focused on digital design and 3D printing with a finished object in cast aluminum or bronze. Technology has begun to revolutionize the already complex sculpture processes in the past 20 years and Viviano has explored the possibilities during this time as a student and now as educator and professional artist who is busy with projects in large museums and institutions. The more we talked, the more it became apparent that the approach to his art making was a value of craft traditions and aesthetics that tempered the highly conceptual, data based information that drives the work. This approach adds a greater complexity to the reading of visual information and facts met with a humanistic understanding to how art, industry, technology, environment and community interact. Continue reading

Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts


Courtesy of the Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco. Photography by Henrik Kam.

Guest curator Mariah Nielson is no stranger to the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design in the Dogpatch District. Her knowledge of the intimate, two room space has enabled the exhibit to offer a substantial source of insight towards the creative practice of architecture and design studios. Nielson selected studios that offer a cohesive pragmatism and exciting diversity by individualized processes for a global impact. Continue reading

Border Cantos: Richard Misrach & Guillermo Galindo

Richard Misrach Sculpture

Richard Misrach (b. 1949) Wall, Jacumba, California, 2009 . Inkjet print. © Richard Misrach, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, LA

The border between Mexico and the United States runs nearly 2,000 miles over terrain of mountains, rivers, desert, farm fields, backyards and urban concrete. No other international boundary sees as many legal crossings as the 350 million per year between the forty-eight secured crossings. The official border region extends thirty-seven miles from either side of the legal boundary to include several states in Mexico and California, Arizona. New Mexico and Texas in the United States. Conflicts have increased scrutiny of a porous border since the 1850’s including the Mexican Revolution of the 1910’s, attempts by federal agencies to keep Mexican livestock and disease under control, drugs in the 1960’s, the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990’s and terrorist attacks on September 11. Since 2005, the United has spent over $23 billion attempting to secure the border with renewed calls during the recent presidential election for more security. Continue reading

Harley Tallchief’s Beaded Sculptures


Harley Tallchief was born in 1968 on the Cattaraugus Reservation approximately 30 minutes outside of Buffalo, New York. His father was from the region as a member of the Seneca Nation and his mother from the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. From infancy until the age of sixteen, Harley Tallchief’s family moved from one migrant farm field to the next outside the San Francisco area including Stockton, Manteca and Tracy. This line of work was familiar to the family, especially to his maternal grandmother, Florence Owens Thompson, the subject of Dorthea Lange’s famous Depression-era photograph, Migrant Mother. Continue reading

Charles Umlauf’s Studio in the Museum

 Exhibition view. Photo taken by the author.

Exhibition view. Photo taken by the author.

In 1985 the city of Austin received the gift of sculptor Charles Umlauf’s residence, studio and 168 sculptures from the artist after his retirement from the faculty at the University of Texas in Austin in 1981. A land-swap agreement with the state provided six acres adjacent to the original property that became home to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum in 1991, a project which Umlauf helped design and install. Although the museum is presently located in an important area of Austin, the quiet isolation of the wooded area, purchased in the 1940’s remains an integral element to the grounds located next to Ziker Park and Barton Springs. Continue reading

Pokemon Go Finds Public Art

Pokemon Go Sculpture

Left: the infographics of the central panel of “Desert Feud” mural by D. Ross “Scribe” located at Foxx Equipment in Kansas City, Missouri. In many cases, the information given to viewers about a Pokestop is missing, incorrect or incomplete. After some simple research more information about the artist was located. Center: View of the area in the Pokemon Go app including “Desert Feud” as a Pokestop. Right: Image of “Desert Feud” by D. Ross “Scribe” in Kansas City.

It’s estimated that Pokemon Go has already peaked in users but some estimates put daily users still around 20 million in the United States alone. At the time of writing this, less than a month has passed since Niantic Labs, Pokemon and Nintendo dropped a bomb on the world in the form of the smartphone app and game. Nintendo’s stock prices have skyrocketed along with news stories involving the app and its users with buzzwords like “augmented reality” – the combination of a virtual world with the physical. Pokemon trainers, the term for people searching for Pokemon to capture and evolve, are easily spotted walking with faces in their cell phones or gathered around physical locations important to the game. The app has already displayed its great potential in exposing millions of new users to public art throughout the country and a possibility for significant cultural mapping systems used by artists, museum and municipalities. Continue reading

In the Studio with Joe Bochynski

Joe Bochynski Sculpture

Permission Figures, 2014. Ceramic tile on panel, each 96” x 12”

Joe Bochynski is a contemporary artist working in a variety of mediums including sculpture, mosaic, video, installation, and web-based projects.  He received a BA in Mathematics and Studio Art from Hobart College in 2008 and an MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013.  He has lived throughout the northeast and currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

You divide your work into three distinct, but overlapping, groups; relationships, labor and community. Why is it important for this distinction if they all interrelate?

Well, I’ve got a math background, and it was always so appealing to me when writing a proof to just make-up some structure out of thin air for your own ends.  It’s like saying “suppose we have a set of things, now place all the odd numbered things in this subset because I said so.”  Dividing up my own work into these categories made sense at a structural level, and it’s a way to enter the work as a whole.  Plus, I like Venn Diagrams. Continue reading