Notes on Metamodernism ~ Source Image: Screenshot of online zine

Notes on metamodernism is a webzine documenting trends and tendencies across aesthetics and culture that can no longer be understood by a postmodern vernacular but require another idiom – one that we have come to call metamodernism. Written by academics and critics from around the globe, Notes on metamodernism features observations on anything from the Berlin art scene to US cinema, from London fashion shows to network cultures.

~ Excerpt from Notes on Metamodernism online zine

I do a lot of exploring in the virtual landscape. My evenings are spent reading, writing, and discovering new artists, writers, and theorists. Sometimes, I run into virtual spaces I’m convinced were created just for me (okay, okay, that’s a bit selfish to say but you know what I mean). Notes on Metamodernism is an online zine for artists, writers, and bloggers who thrive on critical theory and thinking. Definitely worth your time if you’re interested in this type of writing (and reading)!

Source: Screenshot of Art Review Power 100 Site

The Art Review’s Power 100 reflects the most influential art folks (in the world). The much deserved #1 spot for 2011 went to Chinese contemporary artist Ai WeiWei. HOWEVER, this list STILL looks like a cup of vanilla ice cream washed down with a cup of milk. According to Art Review, the list is,

First and foremost, a guide to the general trends, networks and forces that shape the artworld.

~ Art Review on the Power 100

I’m not so sure about the list being a true sign of who truly affects and shapes the art world. The list (still) includes many people behind the business of art versus actual artists. With the power of the internet, interactive media, and new media arts, there’s a huge void in the list. In addition, calling these individuals powerful is largely based on accessibility to them. I’m sure Larry Gagosian (last year’s #1) wouldn’t even look at me if I walked into his space. Coincidently, his New York gallery is not too far from Eyebeam (highly influential arts and technology organization that is fertile ground for some ridiculously talented artists).

Bottom line: Although the list may infuriate, excite, or perturb, it’s a gateway into learning one side of the multi-faceted/dimensional nature of the art world.

Click here to read my write-up for the Power 100 list of 2010.

Being a Rhizome member certainly has its benefits. For some time, I only had a username and password, which didn’t do much. I couldn’t add art events, I was unable to add new artists as favorites to my profile, and couldn’t really engage with other Rhizome members. Last month, I finally decided to give Rhizome my $25 to get my virtual hands on some artwork and the ability to leave comments on some well written critical pieces on art and technology. In any case, The Download (available to members only) launched this morning. The first downloadable artwork is Ryder Ripps: Ryder Ripp’s Facebook (2011). Ripps’s digital piece is reminiscent of Kenneth Lo’s conceptual work, Every Stone Thethered to Sleep (2010), that showed early this year at Southern Exposure gallery in San Francisco. They both look at the nature of memory and how one connects with the rest of the world.

Looking through Ripp’s Facebook photos and videos, one may wonder how a bunch of file folders containing Facebook photos and videos can be considered art. Then again, that’s the point, to discuss. I have friends post fancy edited photography of their kids and landscapes. Is that art? Well, personally, I don’t think so and here’s why. People want to show you something (i.e., My kid is cute., The sun setting over the Pacific Ocean is gorgeous., etc.). There’s an assertion and assumption that what is shown to you is a thing of beauty. Right? I mean, that’s why people post photos of themselves in the best light. For goodness sake, I do that with my profile pictures!

My point: Art such as Ryder Ripps provoke us to perceive in different ways. When photographs and sculptures based on social networking are brought to a viewer’s attention, whether it be a download or an exhibition in a gallery, these artworks aren’t blatant or spoon-fed cuteness or pretty retinal delights. Works such as Ripp’s want us to think about what’s in the background, why something is important, what might be missing that we’re not seeing, or just plain humorous and absurd. Remember, artists are like film directors, they’re only going to show you parts of a whole so you can gestalt the rest.

In any case, looking forward to looking through more of Ripp’s photos and videos. Now, you maybe asking yourself, “She paid $25 to look at artists photos and videos?” The answer is yes but I’ll have a lot more to discuss at a dinner party than you…I’m certain. 😉

Image Source: WHOA Magazine

Being an art writer and blogger is tough. There’s so much to keep up with in the world since the popularization of social networking sites such as Friendster, MySpace, Tribe, and Facebook. THEN, you have online news sources like Digg and Reddit on top of reading through RSS feeds. OH, and did you know about online curation sites like Pearltrees and Pinterest (suggested by talented new media artist, Matt Ganucheau)?!?!

Yeah, I know. That’s a lot of online stuff going on, eh?

It can all be a bit daunting but this is all indicative of the time we live in.

It’s difficult to keep up with all the rapid changes in technology but I’m convinced it’s all about working with what you’re able to handle. One of my resources for what’s going on in the world is print and online publication WHOA, which is where I learned about new social media platform, Unthink. The hope is to give Unthink users an online space where they completely own their content and usage is free from advertising (hmmmm, quite ambitious) BUT this does give way towards yet another venue for discussions, forums, and endless possilibities for folks who want something different from current platforms. Whether it will incite an online social revolution, we have yet to see. In any case, if you’re interested in learning more, click on the screenshot of Unthink below.

PS: Just in case you’re wondering, I signed up with Unthink to be a Beta Tester but didn’t receive my invite pin. Sigh. I’ll keep you posted.

Image Source: Unthink About Page

In times of crisis only creativity is more important than knowledge.

Albert Einstein, Scientist

Or, as Espacio Enter Canarias site states in Spanish, “En los momentos de crisis sólo la creatividad es más importante que el conocimiento.” (Still Albert Einstein, of course). According to the site, the meeting is an International Meeting of Creativity Innovation & Digital Culture, which may interest some of you dear readers. Apparently, the Espacio organization has put out a call for participants (speakers, etc.) that include the following topics:

Click on the image to visit the Espacio Enter Canarias site

Under the ART – SCIENCE – INNOVATION – TECHNOLOGY – SOCIETY category:

  • Digital Communities
  • Geospatial storytelling
  • Artificial Life
  • Software art
  • Transgenic art
  • Generative art
  • Videogames
  • Robotic
  • Open Source
  • 2D & 3D Computer Animation
  • Net-art
  • Experimental video art
  • Blog, videoblog
  • Creation for mobile platforms
  • Videodance
  • App development

Under the DIGITAL IMAGE category:

  • Film
  • Short film
  • Webfilm
  • Mobile film
  • Cinema 3D
  • Animation movie
  • Videoart movie

I believe if you’re on Google Chrome or Firefox, you’re able to translate the Espacio Enter Canarias site. Or, if you’re fluent in Spanish, you’re golden. Either way, I wanted to pass on this info to new media artist and/or educators interested in traveling to Tenerife, Canary Islands in Spain! From what I’ve heard, it’s a pretty nice place to visit.

Side note: EEC collaborates with Artechmedia, which was an arts and technology organization. Absolutely worth checking out and networking with these folks, if you have the opportunity!

Click on the image above to view the article on Asterisk SF

Painting requires the artist to solve problems both physical and mental. It requires patience, a keen awareness of traditional elements, a deft understanding of color, and a mastery of composition so that the viewer’s eyes move fluidly and effortlessly through the subject and its environment. From abstraction to photo-realism, a well-executed painting offers visual stimulation that persists and warrants multiple investigations. Within the discipline, the female nude remains a perennial subject matter. Its ubiquity is unlikely to diminish, even in this digitally laden age. The painter Aaron Nagel pushes and commands the oils on his canvas in such a way that flesh appears supple and soft to the touch. Although female subjects dominate his work, all seem vigilant and aware of the viewer’s gaze. Deriving much of his learning and inspiration from old Masters such as Caravaggio with a deep admiration for contemporaries such as Jenny Saville and Kent Williams, Nagel uses the innovations of these artists as inspiration in pushing his technical skills.

Nagel’s technique methodically converges colors to create the perfect highlight or shadow on his figures. His bravado with the paintbrush is an admirable quality along with his commitment to painting what he believes is aesthetically pleasing and the work welcomes a multitude of complex interpretations. In “Blue Blood II,” the viewer’s attention is drawn to composition as the subject is placed in an unorthodox position. The blue blood that flows from the stigmata wound seems to drip off the canvas. That drop of blood hangs precariously from the tip of the left shoulder, flowing extraordinarily against the skin and guiding the eyes to the arch of the neck and lean of the body.  Another noteworthy painting is “Senza Pieta,” Nagel’s rendition of French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s 1876 work, “Pieta.” This painting suggests the Artist’s desire to summons an overt challenge to his practice, which usually involves a sole female subject. A consistent visual theme of women set against black backgrounds allows for sheer focus and a regal stillness. Black paint is another constant throughout his work: delicately painted against the body and hands as shown in “The Calming”  which proves to be an exercise in capturing the brilliance of light reflected onto a subject. Such high contrast elements display Nagel’s painstaking attention to detail. Similar to “Senza,” the absence of an environment in “Shrapnel” mimics a body under siege. The pushing of the right foot slightly above the left calf — working in tandem with the hunched, crouched position of the figure — provides the perfect balance of depth and perspective.

The rich tones and stoic posturing, along with the re-contextualization of catholic imagery in his latest series, show his depth and desire to evolve. Future works offer promising and deeper explorations into coloration and light that I’m certain will leave a mark of precision on the canvas. Brimming with talent, an unrelenting art practice, and constant study, Nagel’s burgeoning career as a figurative painter is on the cusp of even more challenging and thought provoking work.

Published to Asterisk SF Magazine – Volume 2 Issue 2