Prior to cinemagraphs, comment threads, 140 character limitations, and photography, there were Broadsides. Serving as the primary mode of communication for artists and writers around the turn of the 18th century, it was a way for the artist and writer to relay messages to the public. Although one-sided, broadsides gave the viewer an experience of art regardless of their socio-economic status in that broadsides were posted in public spheres where anyone with the ability to read had access to text and image. With no digital divide or privileged information, the broadside may even be considered an early form of urban art, one based heavily on its environment and region. One example that comes to mind is the consideration of the location and posting of broadsides being dependent on the most highly trafficked areas of a city. However, physical location doesn’t mean too much in regard to the information we send and receive–the constant and instantaneous feedback and engagement of the audience seems to be a facet of social interactions, which spill over into contemporary art. Thus, the importance of showcasing traditional and new forms of interaction in the scope of art and literature is valuable and reflective of how communication has progressed and evolved.

The exhibition, “Broadside Attractions and Vanquished Terrains” curated by Maw Shein Win, Megan Wilson, and Intersection for the Arts director, Kevin Chen, included twelve pairings between artists and writers. The task incorporated a process of interpreting the craft of the broadside based on a film, a piece of music, and a place (real or imagined). Printmaking, drawing, sculpture, painting, and various tools of technologies (i.e., sound, digital photography, etc.) cover the spectrum of mediums used by the collaborating teams. The exhibition does not only explore the concept of the broadside but opens the viewer up to the remnants and byproducts of the creative process of artists and writers, and the relationships between the two. As the viewer reflects on this particular mode of communication, the images, text, space, and performances commingle to revitalize the broadside as the attraction by asking the artist to create an accompanying work show alongside the broadside. With a nod to the “new” technology, it was possible to use your smartphone to access the information the artists and writers used as grist for their mill.

Eliza Barrios | Myron Michael

Artist Eliza Barrios projected white, sans serif, block text words in the center of a corner seam of the gallery. Angled rectangles line both sides of the vertical text. These angled boxes contain moving images that led the viewer’s eyes to the words ‘SAINT’, ‘LEAVE’, ‘ANTICIPATION’, and ‘DOMINATRIX’ amongst others.  Barrios’s piece served as the signal to the Broadside, it provided the reader with text and images to take on Myron Michael’s words and somehow contextualize them in their imagination. As a minimalist collaborative work, the strong text and non-conventional projection onto flat surfaces created something astute and concise.

Misaka Inaoka | Jaime Cortez

With the pervasive use of social media and re-creation of traditional film cameras for the digital age, the stop-motion photography created from the application, Hipstamatic, brilliantly works alongside Cortez’s written work based on time, loss, and memory. Misa Inaoka and Jaime Cortez works were rich in mystery and poignant. Each line of Cortez’s piece, Untitled, tells a story that builds and evolves. In the opening lines of Untitled, for instance, the story of this enigmatic man sets the tone,

It was the 30th of May.
He weighed 300 pounds.
He was 6 foot 3 inches tall.
The water temperature was estimated to be 60 degrees.
The police made the rescue call at to the fire department at 12:30 pm.
Seems like an awful lot of numbers divisible by three for one little suicide.

Similar to Cortez’s text, Inaoka’s stop-motion video tells a story that warrants an almost infinite loop of observation. In the content of each frame, Inaoka seamlessly tells an equally mysterious yet engaging story of miracles and memory through simple transitory compositions. Viewers may find themselves reading the text or watching the stills over and over again to capture something that may have been missed as they gain a different meaning each time.

Karrie Hovey | Elise Ficarra

Karrie Hovey and Elise Ficarra (along with Evelyn Ficarra) created a large-scale sculptural piece tmade up of incredibly organic shapes and forms that wrapped around the spiral staircase near the Intersection for the Arts gallery entrance. Walking on the spiraling stairs, forms of deer, antlers, and branches made from felt come into view. Translucent words were sprinkled throughout, and sounds from nature emanated from embedded speakers. The sense of hearing something natural against concrete and metal was reminiscent of the urban landscape where humans try desperately to preserve a sense of the natureal with our rooftop gardens atop corporate buildings and parks surrounded by cars. Hovey and Ficarra’s piece harked back to days when people found themselves outside of the home learning more about life through the written word and their physical environment rather than through a virtual world.

Liz Worthy | Jenny Bitner

Lastly, audience participation played an integral role in the collaborative work of Liz Worthy and Jenny Bitner. As an exercise in relational aesthetics, Worthy and Bitner take on the idea of Sunday tea complete with friendly interaction. Yet, within the physical space and the objects, such as the tea cups, the table, the dishes, and the cookies, the piece calls upon something deeper from the participant – an intimate moment. Whether the intimate moment was with a friend or one of the artists, an exchange rooted in a reading of Bitner’s piece,Confession expands the idea of intimacy in that it asks the reader to question their own relationships both “real” and “online”. The work uses a sense of whimsy and playfulness as it asks participants to ponder their own idea of interaction and engagement with others;  in this space, the viewer is asked to engage with objects and people in real time in actual physical space.

The commonality of each collaborative work in the Broadside Attractions and Vanquished Terrains reminds us that even with the endless ability to scroll, “Like”, and reblog the tiny windows we have into each other’s lives, there is something wonderful about returning to a place where our physical senses as well as the mind can engage in concert to create not just a retinal experience but a sensorial one. This exhibition examines and dissects the important relationships between visual artists and writers. The symbiotic nature of these relationships and method of communication prove to be far from blips in the virtual universe. These works reclaim the vanquished terrains taken over by parklets and sky scrapers and asks the viewer to re-imagine a time when you could touch and even feel the written word on paper.

Exhibiting artists also include:

Paul Bridenbaugh | Steve Gilmartin

Keiko Ishihara | Chaim Bertman

Patricia Kelly | Vince Montague

Dwayne Marsh | Nana Twumasi

Nathaniel Parsons | Ly Nguyen

Christine Ponelle | Annice Jacoby

Matthew Rogers | Maw Shein Win

Megan Wilson | Hugh Behm Steinberg

Please visit exhibition web site here. Originally posted to Stretcher.Org

Artists, Jenifer Wofford and Mike Lai answering audience questions with prizes for the best questions (i.e., Shrimp paste, Kung Fu noodles, etc.)

I can’t believe it’s been a week since my last post! Usually, I’m pretty spot on with posting but there has been a flurry of activity. Last week, it was art week in San Francisco AND the inaugural ‘Asian Contemporary Art Week’ brought to the city by Asian Contemporary Arts Consortium. It’s difficult to really encapsulate a week’s worth of art activity ON TOP of my work week. I’m taking a break now to write this little blurb.

Last weeks highlights, you ask?

NOW, pictures to follow, which I will get to in the next day or two among other things… 😉 If you want immediate retinal gratification, check out my stream of Instagram photos here. Past art fair photos and write-ups can be found here, here, and here. The fancy pants camera photos coming soon!!

ZERO1 artist alum, Scott Kildall, is working on yet another amazing arts and technology project, Tweets in Space. The project has been covered by BBC, Forbes, Scientific American, CNET, Tech Trendy, Tech Mash and many other media organizations! Below, you will find a full description of ‘Tweets in Space’ and links to the Rocket Hub fundraising page and the project site.

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Official Press Release and Text Source: Artists ‘Tweets in Space’ Project Site

Artists, Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern will beam Twitter discussions from participants worldwide towards GJ667Cc – an exoplanet 22 light years away that might support earth-like biological life. Anyone with an Internet connection can participate during two performance events, which will simultaneously take place online, at the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA2012, New Mexico), and in the stars. By engaging the millions of voices in the Twitterverse and dispatching them into the larger Universe, Tweets in Space activates a potent discussion about communication and life that traverses beyond our borders or understanding. It is not just a public performance; it performs a public.

The artists will collect all Twitter messages tagged #tweetsinspace and transmit them into the cosmos via either a home-built or borrowed communication system. Our soon-to-be alien friends will receive scores of unmediated thoughts and feedback about politics, philosophy, pop culture, dinner, dancing cats and everything in between. All tweets will also be streamed to a live public website, where they’ll be permanently archived, as well as projected – as animated twitter spaceships towing messages – at the Balloon Museum and planetarium-like digital dome (IAIA), in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Your donation will help buy equipment that will enable the artists to build their own open-source transmission system, upgrade an existing one through partnership with another institution, and/or time with one of the world’s extant high-powered communicators. Any funds above our goal will pay for a better system, or go towards online coding, design, and promotion. RocketHub is not an investment or charity. It is an exchange: funds from fans for rewards from us: both the ability to send Tweets into Space, and then some. It’s an All & More funding mechanism for us: if we don’t reach our financial goal we get to keep what we raise. But if we do reach our goal, we get access to exciting opportunities.

Tweets in Space asks us to take a closer look at our spectacular need to connect, perform and network with others. It creates a tension between the depth and shallowness of sharing 140 characters at a time with the entire Internet world, in all its complexity, richness and absurdity, by transmitting our passing thoughts and responses to everywhere and nowhere. These “twitters” will be stretched across all time and space as a reflection on the contemporary phenomenon of the “status” updates we broadcast, both literal and metaphoric.

Please click here to help fund Tweets in Space via RocketHub* and to learn more info on the project, click here.

Kildall and Stern are slated to launch the project at ISEA — the International Symposium on Electronic Art — this September in New Mexico, and are excited and are now trying to raising $8500 since it turns out it’s pretty difficult to send messages into the cosmos.

* What is RocketHub? RocketHub is very much like Kickstarter, only a better fit for our project. They do direct credit card payments, instead of going through Amazon Payments, they can handle international orders and have more of a science focus.

Originally posted to ZERO1, please click here to view

This is Your Brain Shopping (left), This is Your Brain on Art (right) Credit: Wikimedia Commons

I learned a phrase a several months ago – FOMO. It stands for ‘Fear of Missing Out’. However, suffering from FOMO is inevitable for creative types. We constantly need stimulation to get everything going. In my last post, I wrote about taking a break (because they are important). Well, you know what happens when you take a break, right (besides being well rested)? A deluge of ideas and inspiration (and events) present themselves! I took a break at the most opportune time. Perfect timing, actually. Last weekend, I went to The Phoenix Hotel to check out the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) 2012 Vernissage show. The MFA exhibition had a handful of exceptional and VERY promising artists in the showcase. Overall, the collective energy was impressive and, as one current graduate student put it, the ‘punk rock’ nature of the school makes the art work and the art practices quite unique from other art schools. Although I’m accustomed to SFAI Vernissage at Fort Mason, this particular venue offered a different view and interaction with the art. I took tons of photos and will be doing a major upload to the blog.

Hoping I can get all of those pics uploaded tonight!! ::crosses fingers::

As for the weekend ahead, it is one of my favorite times of the year – the trifecta of art fairs in San Francisco! The San Francisco Art Fair (Fort Mason), artMRKT (The Concourse), and ArtPad (The Phoenix Hotel)! This is such an exciting time for art critics, writers, and bloggers in the city!! I actually searched on Google for “Brain on Art” and found the image above! I don’t have to say this but there will be a lot of right side going on and maybe, for those with deep and generous pockets at these art fairs…the picture to the left may apply. Overall, I will be reporting on the arts fairs through ZERO1 so be on the look out for my recaps on the weekend events early next week. I’ll definitely post slide shows to my blog!!

From left to right: Holland Cotter, A (very) excited and smiley Dorothy, and Bill Berkson

Founder and director of Art Practical, Patricia Maloney invited me to attend a reception at the Asian Art Museum to meet Holland Cotter! HOLLAND COTTER! Okay, if you don’t know who Holland Cotter is, please don’t feel bad. I told my Mom, she smiled, saw my elation, and politely asked, “Who is Holland Cotter?” Mr. Cotter is a New York Times art critic awarded with the 2009 Pulitizer Prize for Criticism. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Art Critics. You can learn more about him here. Oh, AND, he is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. Humble and incredibly kind. I was at a loss for words. I really was BUT I got up the nerve to ask for a picture. I couldn’t stop smiling. He repeated my name and said, “I will look for you”. WHAT?!?! Wow. I know he’s swamped with work and other aspiring art writers and critics contact him all the time but to meet him and have him get a sense of my excitement, enthusiasm, and passion for art criticism and listening to him share similar sentiments about the art writing process was simply amazing. I spoke with and met formally, Bill Berkson, an American poet, writer, art critic, and teacher. A few years ago, I took a writing workshop for emerging art writers (facilitated by Art Practical and The Lab) and he sat in on a panel with Whitney Chadwick (art history scholar and very nice – LOVE her!) and remember him sharing the advice, “Write as if you are writing to an intelligent friend that doesn’t take BS!” I have tried to stay true to that adage. Again, it was an incredible feeling to meet and chat with these writers! Most importantly, being invited to this event and meeting the Art Practical editorial staff was phenomenal. What a talented, mega intelligent, and fun group!! As I’ve mentioned to friends, I’m indebted to one of my art heroes, Patricia Maloney, and her team for allowing me to hone my writing skills over the past two years and include me in on such an unforgettable evening. 🙂

OKAY, OFF to go see some performance art by another art hero and mentor, Jenifer Wofford at the SOEX!

Balancing Act…this elephant has crazy core stability!

The past few weeks have served as a bit of a break from active writing (I define ‘active writing’ as writing every day for a couple of hours about art.). Wanting to take a step back and re-focus is the primary goal at the moment. There’s always something that brings me back to art though. It’s in everything I do. The practice of posting to my blog everyday in 2011 (at the very least, gathering material to post for every day of the year) taught me a lot about producing well written and researched content. However, after a year of that practice, I found myself wanting to write ALL the time and feeling guilty when I find myself unable to produce. THIS was a sure sign that I needed to step back. Aside from wanting to constantly write about the things I want to write about, I have to balance deadlines and exhibition reviews for different editors too.

After some introspective time, I wanted to share a few revelations and strategies. These are not new but I’ve found them to be very helpful. No matter what, there’s always something there to remind me that art and writing are not going anywhere. Reading the last line of Steinbeck’s letter to his son Thom about falling in love is so true (in any case, it can certainly apply to your passion),

“…And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens – The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away”.

~ John Steinbeck, November 10, 1958 ~ Letter to his son, Thom

Despite the itching angst ridden feeling that washes over me when I attend art events or read something really amazing and phenomenal online, and end up not writing about these discoveries, I’ve definitely cut myself some slack. There’s just no way to capture everything and do it all justice. Lately, I’ve suffered from information overload as well and grappling with having this thing called ‘me’ time that incorporates relaxing and resting the mind and body. Here’s what I’ve had to tell myself over the past couple of weeks,

  • It’s OK to not write about EVERYTHING I see!
  • Documentation of art happenings are, sometimes, best left to memory…
  • Being in the moment of an art experience which will never happen again is OK ~ Let go…sometimes, the memory paints a much more interesting picture
  • Save all that pent-up writing energy for grad school and read non-art text (i.e., Tobias Wolff, Haruki Murakami, dive into some art magazines, flip through all my art coffee table books, etc.)
  • Watch the films I’ve BEEN wanting to watch and SAY I will watch but don’t because I’m hunched over my laptop
  • See art but take off the critical lenses!! It’s perfectly fine to spit out a gut reaction and not analyze the work
  • Enjoy a nice cup of tea (a good cup of tea…we’re talking loose leaf)
  • Connect with loved ones (yes, if you can believe it, I actually have a reminder on my calendar to do this…I know, I know…crazy, eh)

Overall, the break has been a nice refresher! I’m definitely back and will be posting some photos and posts in the next few days! Also, if you have other ways that you step back from your work, I’d love to hear them. 🙂

Needing some of this stuff ASAP!

There is SO MUCH happening! Aaaaaah!! I love it but I’m realizing I need to step away from time to time. Lately, I’ve been allowing “break times”, which excludes writing and writing about art. So far, so good. I’m starting to feel refreshed again when I get back to the keyboard. I’ve been able to balance out work, writing, and art stuff a bit better. BUT I can’t help but share that I’ve had some very cool studio visits with some amazing folks that include…

Currently working on some new pieces for the next Asterisk SF issue as well as other work, which will remain a mystery until they’re published. The studio visits with these great artists has certainly reminded me that I need to step back from time to time, which is probably why I posted the Secret Breakfast photo above (EVEN though I’m lactose intolerant – Yes, this ice cream is worth the stomach cramps!). I’m also in need of checking out some movies, concerts, and anything fun that doesn’t require heavy use of my brain cells. 🙂 Suggestions totally welcome!