Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween !

With loads of work, it is hard to celebrate Halloween. Tomorrow I will go to Sugar Loaf. This village is hard to find on the map so it is easy to think that it has been part of Hansel & Gretel’s tale, very Halloweenian ! This Sugar Loaf is in upstate New York where I am going to visit Kurt Seligmann’s House.

Photo by Marianne Brandt

Adolf the Superman: Swallows Gold & Spouts Junk, Heartfeild, 1932

Jealousy, Moholy-Nagy, 1927

The reminder for these images was a symposium in Zimmerli Art Museum in Rutgers University, where I attended last Saturday; Detours of Technology: Insights into the Hungarian and Weimar German Oeuvres of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. The same exhibition was up in the Graduate Center Art Gallery last spring. I have seen these Photmontages in a course I took last year. I don't get tired of looking at them. They have this personal story behind them and at the same time they are not biography of their creators but biography of the period in which they have been created.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Sensuous In Art

Yesterday was the beginning of a series of talks called The Sensuous in Art at IAS in Princeton. Professor Ann Wagner presented her talk on Behaving Globally. It was a very interesting talk and the audience raised many questions, which is a sign of a good talk. While Wagner was talking on Candice Breitz’s Video Art, Queen (A Portrait of Madonna) 2005 and the role, which Pop art plays on global behavior and the influences of this globalization on Fan-Idol relation, I kept thinking about the differences and similarities between Breitz’s piece and the American Idol.

I thought both of these works have some global characteristics: while Breitz put together 30 people from all around the world to sing a famous song of a worldly known pop artist, for example Madonna or Michael Jackson, American Idol, is searching for a new star and people all around the glob (not only in US) are watching the show on TV and even in some countries they have created their own versions of the show. But a bigger difference is that one of these two samples is a Video Art and the other is a Television Series. One should choose to go to the museum and see the Breitz’s piece by accepting that this is a work of ART and at the same time one is always exposed to the mass media productions like the American Idol. Then we should keep in mind that a Global subject/object is different from a Mass Produced subject/object.

The Sensuous in Art series are open to public and I think it is worth going to, even if you are not doing Art History.

Queen (A Portrait of Madonna), Candice Breitz, 2005

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rain !

It has been raining like hell today. I had to spend around one hour to find my boots, which I don’t know why I kept in the last box in our storage. Afterwards I studied until 9 PM in the art library. I didn’t work the whole time on my paper since I found more interesting stuff other than what I was looking for in the Rare Books Section. Like this phrase that I have found in an article by Harold Rosenberg in the View magazine vol. 2 from 1942. He quotes Coleridge: “You do not believe; you only believe that you believe.” It made me read the whole volume.

I hope for a sunny tomorrow!

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Inspiring Weekend

Today is an inspiring day due to the weather. I had three emails confirming the good weather from three different locations: My advisor from New York started her email by “Hello on this beautiful Monday morning…”, a friend from Baltimore wrote: “ It’s a beautiful day today…” and my cousin from Vancouver reported: “ God! Isn’t this weather beautiful…” So I thought I ought to add Princeton.

Last week on Friday I went to NYU for the Border Zones symposium. It was on Art History in an Age of Visual Culture, a very exciting subject especially when speakers covered problematic issues in Art History from the Fourteenth century to the Postcolonial era. What I liked the most was the Nicholas Mirzoeff approach toward the visual culture. His book “Watching Babylon: the War in Iraq and Global Visual Culture” points out a bunch of problematic issues such as the fears of experiencing war against Iraq by watching television and How much we do trust the Media!

On Saturday I had a chance to take a quick look at an exhibition in Whitney museum: Picasso and American Art. I was overwhelmed to see how Picasso’s works, in particular, has influenced the American art and how under this influence American art went to a new direction.

And on Sunday we went to the MacCarter Theater Center in Princeton to see a play written by Brian Friel in 1979 called Translations which was directed by Garry Hynes. The story happens at a Hedge school in Ireland around 1833 when people were still speaking Irish. It was a fine play and we ended up having a great weekend.

Organization, Arshile Gorky, 1933-36

The Studio, Picasso, 1927-28

* By the way: Happy Columbus Day !

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gish Prize

Shirin Neshat an Iranian-born artist has won the 2006 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. Gish Prize is one of the most important awards in arts (Visual or Dramatic arts). Neshat first become famous for her series of photographs called “Women of Allah” which were exhibited around the world over and over. Most of her works present the impact of fait and its effect on women in Muslim World. Ingmar Bergman and Peter Sellars are among other artists who won Gish Prize.

I think Her attitude towards women is more of a reflection of a presentation. That’s why I think her images are beautiful but not engaging enough and the women in her photos are the idea of a Muslim woman and nothing more. On that base I like Mona Hatoum’s approach toward gender/women issues (in Islamic societies) more than Neshat’s presentation of them.

Logic of the Brids, Shirin Neshat, 2001, Performance Art