Posted on 28 June 2012 | Comments Off
“Writing a poem is discovering.” ~ Robert Frost
Some Sculpture Park Scoop: Welcome new artists!, Mary Kate installed her lofty and poetic rocks!, Sophie has installed her fresh sculpture, Jesse installed his figurative sculpture!, Alex is getting close to putting his sculpture out in the park, Josh is in painting phase, Taylor is planning to make her model massive, Jessica finished her tsunami ball sculpture (orange upholstery and all)- congrats!, Lu’s found a shack to track light, Carissa is going to hold down the fort- yesyes that’s good news for Franconia!, Bobby been helping with all the sculpture installs! Glad you’re here for a bit!, Danielle is all ‘geared’ up, Justin is busy working on his ‘dance floor’ sculpture, my Poetry Studio Sculpture is DONE- it got DONE despite the weather whew! (my parents and aunt and cousins came to see its debut and my mom found 6 four leaf clovers- how does that happen mom?), Heid Erdrich & Dobby Gibson & Wang Ping & Ashley David read poetry at the park, Kids Make Sculpture and the painting machine mixed it up last Sunday, Concert at the Park with Thea Ennen and Cromulent Shakespeare Company (oh for the love of the Merry Wives of Windsor!), Jonas has been busy with all the many recent events- gofightwin, Franconia is kicking for a Michael Richards sculpture on Kickstarter- help us get there at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1405850678/are-you-down-tribute-to-artist-michael-richards-fr, Jia Jen has been busy with wood in preparation for her dance collaboration, the garden is getting there (raspberries and snap peas are aplenty), 3D symposium with Bobby, Lu and Jessica last Thursday, cheers to all of the artists that continue to support Franconia Sculpture Park, wild flowers everywhere (thistlethistle?), and so so SO SO much more!
Moving from Gallery in a Garden to a Garden in a Gallery. The Barnes Foundation has just moved a large part of its collection to Philadelphia from Merion and into a building designed by the architect team of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien (see them interviewed here). Dr. Albert C. Barnes created the foundation for the purpose of “”promot[ing] the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts” (from http://www.barnesfoundation.org/about/history/albert). Barnes believed that art was a powerful tool to educate ‘ordinary’ people and advance democracy in America. He grew up poor and then made a fortune as an adult with the invention of an antiseptic that prevented infant blindness. His collection of Modern Art is one of the finest in the nation and has recently been re-housed in this new building. Williams and Tsien wanted to take the gardens that the old gallery were surrounded by and bring them into the new gallery in a more bustling metropolitan setting. With modern technology they were able to let the paintings be shown to the public with natural filtered lighting. They expressed this as bringing the garden into the gallery. I like the notion of bringing the outside inside or the other way around. Check out the interview and see if you think they accomplished this.
- aRe Verse. The first poem is mine. The second is written by Jesse Bercowetz. The final four were written at the poetry workshops this past weekend. I’ll put more of those sculpture workshop poems out in blogs to come! All were so fabulous.
10,000 Hours In- I recently read that it takes at least 10,000 hours of putting in the time to be really good at any one thing. Do you think that is true? I think this is probably true. Often I hear music or see artwork and wonder how long it took for those artists to develop their skills. Have you ever spent 10,000 hours on something? That is 416 days of something at 24hrs a day. For a regular 40 hour work week that means- 250 weeks. That means about 5 years. That puts some perspective on beginning to master something and actually arriving at mastery. 10,000 hours in? Are you in?
Defensive Art Making- I’ve been there and make visits back once and awhile. Have you? Listening is pretty hard when you’re in that state of mind. How do you shake that off? I’ve been realizing that people won’t always like me or my sculpture or find legitimacy in what I’m working towards- and there is nothing to be done about it. And that’s fine. Basic as that…
Poets Reading Atop Sculpture and Poetry Making. Ashley David helped me lead poetry workshops this past weekend at Franconia Sculpture Park. She facilitated the use of my sculpture as a studio, a voice in the poems created and as an object of description. There was one point where I overheard some of the first poems being collaboratively written by participants and I was genuinely moved. Heaps and heaps of scrap metal and sculpture bits thrown out by others was put back together and made into this amazing poetry. More and more I’m realizing that the care and time you take to put something out into the world matters. I wanted it to transport from ordinary to magical. In a small way this sculpture brings people into the space of my imagination. When the poets read from the top of this sculpture… to me… it was like a crowning… or a maybe a knighting of the sculpture that had fought a hard battle to exist. Thanks to everybody who touched this sculpture’s creation in some way. Without the support and community and the rain tarps- … who knows….
Read. Read to your kids. And, keep your ear to the radio next Thursday for the MPR radio segment- Art Hounds. I heard some whispering about that….
Franconia Sculpture Park- where sculpture meets sky, deuces are wild and we send sights.
Start Seeing Sculpture- over and out
Posted on 19 June 2012 | Comments Off
I took three days to drive to Franconia Sculpture Park from upstate NY, which was great because I had a lot of time to brainstorm ideas. Of course, everything changed once I got here…I was originally contemplating building a tricked out slip n’ slide. I’ve never had the chance to think on such a large scale with my work, and its definitely a challenge, but one that I am up for. The landscape is a big change for me- I’m used to being hemmed in by mountains. At school I always work inside a studio, and for some reason working outside makes so many things seem possible that weren’t before. I’m also really enjoying getting to know the talented, driven people who live and work at the park. Everyone seems to be taking risks and experimenting, and I find myself inspired to do the same. So maybe I’ll take the plunge and trade some work for an arc welding lesson or two. I’ve even had a few ideas for some performance pieces too, but we’ll see how that pans out. I expect 8 weeks will fly by.
First Impressions: Ideas and mosquitos everywhere, sculptures both looming and elusive all around, flashing in the multiple lighting storms. These were my first impressions of Franconia. The people, a weird eclectic mixture of everything, just like the sculpture surrounding them. My first impressions are still changing but I know that this experience will be completely unique and make me realize that very thing, the first thing you think of is almost never correct.
The beginning of my internship at Franconia Sculpture Park was preceded by roughly 55 hours of travel by rail across the United States. A train from Greenville, SC to Washington DC followed by a train to Chicago, Il duly followed by a train to Minneapolis. The relief I felt when I saw a sign that read “Start Seeing Sculpture” was palpable. I walked onto the grounds of the sculpture park sometime well after midnight and was promptly told to be ready by 8:30 that same morning. Had I been in the state of mind to stay awake I would have pondered on what exactly I had gotten myself into. However, despite the excitement about what lay ahead I slept. Trying to recall what has transpired since the time I woke up that first morning and the time at which I am writing this brings to mind only a blur of hard work, delicious food, creative thought, and beautiful scenery that will never leave me.
When I first spotted Franconia on the side of the road I thought it looked so bizarre settled amongst the trees and approaches spattered with funny little mailboxes. But nonetheless I knew I had arrived. After I had parked it took me a couple minutes to move out of my vehicle. I sat there needing to convince myself to move because I was so nervous. None of it was quite what I expected. Even after getting a tour from a warm smiling Liz I was still a little too nervous to talk all that much, so I escaped for a bit to the nearby Wal-Mart. Finally after a bit to eat and repeating “no fear” (Ni regret du passé ni peur de l’avenir, or, never regret the past nor fear the future) inside my head I was ready to head back to the place that wasn’t so scary after all. Now this bizarre place on the side of the road is cozy, and seems to be exactly what it needs to be.
When I first saw the park, I was still in the car. After an hour of ordinary scenery one can see almost anywhere that has trees and houses in the U.S., some sharp pertruting matals, moving balls in the sky, bright orange floating bags etc. jumped into my eyes and grabbed my attention immediately — I knew I arrived. Taking a glance at the house that is hosting eighteen artists (including staff), functioning as living space, office, and meeting room, I am always amazed how these two-leg creatures can make all these happen. This is one of the most homey workaholics fests — I grab a beer, and jump into it.
Posted on 12 June 2012 | Comments Off
Some sculpture park scoop: Mary Kate’s rocks are getting close to getting a lift with some metal, Josh is working on attaching legs to his sculpture, Jesse’s painting his sculpture, Jia-Jen is building structures out of wood for a dance performance piece, the first 3D concert at the park in 2012 was a big success (featuring the bands Hastings 3000 and Phantom Tails), Jessica is busy out in the Market studio and has a geodesic dome of sorts started, Carissa and I were busy busy with our art/game event at MCAD (GLOWaBOUT) the night of the 9th-10th, Sophie is working on her fruit salad neck and base, Alex is caging up foam and continuing to work with springs and stumps, my Local Artist Interview came out this week, Bobby is back for a bit, Liz is back after installing an ice cream sculpture, the garden is planted, Jonas has been catching tasty fish for dinner, Drew and Ali left, John helped us get our wood to the city for fortress building- thank you, John and I were interviewed by KFAI radio and in a week or so they’ll have a segment on Franconia I’ll give you the details as soon as I know them and SO so so SO much more!
-aRe Verse. The first is poem from the artist Jesse Bercowetz and the second is mine.
Hard work equals something more than wishing for things. Even though hard work and long hours can leave a person out of sorts and crabby, it makes something happen. Do you make art only when you feel like it? Do you find yourself making too many things happen? Does spending time hanging out talking to other artists about the how and what and why of your art divided by the art product produced equal more or less than then what you get if you just build what you are thinking about without all that talking about it to other people. As an art teacher- how do you install the value of hard work to your students?
At the intersection of art- This New York Times article about Jessica Stockholder’s newest art work in Chicago allows passing cars a unique view of sculpture. Stockholder’s sculpture is unique in that it is interactive three dimensional sculpture on a scale allowing traffic to participate. I like this idea. I help design roads for my day job- and it does get a bit monotonous. Between the black of bituminous (black top) and the dull washed out gray of concrete, I can imagine this sort of street/building painting throughout the city. Locally there have been a few neighborhoods involved in an art project called “Paint the Pavement” (http://paintthepavement.org/) centered around the Hamiline area. The painted pavement in these projects use oil based paint whereas the Chicago project uses road striping material which comes as an epoxy application, oil based paint or in poly preform and can be reflexive. I’d love all the cross walks in Ramsey County to be different bright colors. Wouldn’t that be sweet?
Who’s in charge here and what’s the hitch? GLOWaBOUT has been a lot to manage. I would not have under taken this project with anybody but Carissa Samaniego. We had a conversation a few nights before where I was stressing out because the help I was getting with my truck seemed to be a bit disparaging. Nevertheless, I decided to try and let it all go because regardless of how I wanted to be talked to while getting help… I needed help and it was thankfully being offered to me while I was grumpy. I more than anything wanted to be treated like I was capable.
GLOWaBOUT was a hit! Thousands came out to MCAD’s art events during Northern Spark on Saturday night. Many of those opted to transform themselves into ‘glow bandits’ with our ‘glow bandit face painting station. Lots of colored pigments got thrown in the air on participants and we played several fun rounds of capture the glowing orb. You should have seen the fortresses. They were stunning. That was my favorite part. Carissa was knighting people during the construction of the glo-blue fortress. Peter, Brady and Mike built a huge fortress on the glo- yellow side. They had three flags, benches and even had a maze element. Carissa and I couldn’t have done it without Bobby, Brady, Chlesea, Darien, Em, Julia, Mike, Peter, Rachael and our video/photographer Mandy!!! Thank you guys. Best glow bandit staff members ever. The event lasted from 9pm until 5am and we were all dead tired after disassembling the fortress and cleaning up. Wewh. Woah. Ahh. When we sort out our photos and video I’ll share some of that with you on the next Franconia Blog post.
Next up- Poetry Sculpture Event on the 22nd and 23rd. Find out more here… I can’t wait to see you. I have a lot of painting to finish and I think if you haven’t seen what I have been up to you’ll be surprised. I am looking for a permanent home for this large sculpture (preferably somewhere where there are writers and poets in large numbers) do you know of a place?
Take care and thanks so much for reading. Stop up and see us. The month of June is jam packed with fellowship artists. There is so much sculpture being made up at Franconia right now. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the building of the new work as well as the finished sculptures. Our first group of interns is almost finished with their stay and the second group is coming soon. The next 3D Syposium is this Thursday with Jessica Segall, NYC and Clive Murphy, MN/Ireland. We have a Kid’s Make Sculpture Workshop on June 16th. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Franconia Sculpture Park- where sculpture meets sky, deuces are wild and June is in like a lion and not like a lamb.
Start Seeing Sculpture- over and out
Posted on 4 June 2012 | Comments Off
Some Sculpture Park Scoop: Kid’s Make Sculpture last Sunday was fantastic!, Tamara installed her sculpture in the park- Congrats, Mary Kate is building a bold boulder sculpture, two new fellowship artists have just arrived, I have finished building my poetry studio sculpture and will be painting for the next two weeks- if you want to help me I won’t be able to refuse, Josh has three elements built to attach to the stainless, Jesse is onto the wire brushing phase, Sophie’s pondering a neck for her ‘get fresh’ head, we battled it out in bubble wrap Saturday night in Rock-um Sock-um style (thanks all that was super fun), Drew and Ali are visiting from Plattsburgh (whoop whoop), Carissa is glowing all out for GLOWaBOUT (6 days til go!!), 3D symposium this past Thursday, there was a wedding up at the park, it was nothing but wonderful weather, Zane’s class visited on Friday and So SO so so much more!!!!!!!
Built but needs more paint- I finished my to-do list for finishing the sculpture I am working on that read something like this: birdhouses for upper cantilever, birdhouse front upper recessed chair, extend middle step, add triangle for top green back entrance cantilever, add to fireman’s pole and gate in, close in all top level, attach side bench on left side, close back of steps to top, close in stairway, finish railing at top, weld underneath top platform and add ‘flower box’. All of that got done. So, I have to be done too. I have lots of wire brushing, priming and painting which will take forever to apply and dry. I am really happy with what I have built. This sculpture is much more than my past sculptures. I tried to do something different than my sculpture ‘Playstation’. I started with a sketch and hoped my sculpture would have more of the energy that my drawings do. I tried to move the viewer’s eyes and then move their body around the entire sculpture. I played with the idea of building poetically. I tried to build a studio in terms of what might be created there. I am using more color and in a whole new way. I tried to move past playgrounds and also keep them with me at the same time. I hope this sculpture can have an important conversation with people without using all the standard small talk and their immediate language. I hope this sculpture is more frankly me and less ‘here I am’.
Making Art from Still-life – I came across this Huffingtonpost article by Tad Spurgeon and started wondering if I should do more drawing or sculptures from still-life. The word itself, still-life, fights for some kind of further expression. In the article Spurgeon writes about sitting before something relatively simple (an apple) and letting its presence become more after time passes. I like the process he describes– “Let’s imagine the simple process of drawing the outline of the apple from life with a pencil. It is sketched in lightly, then the process of correction begins. Why? Because it is not quite right! At first this is frustrating, but this frustration also creates the energy to correct the situation. The errors provide clues to their solution. Bit by bit, the outline gets better. Bit by bit, more is seen of the subtleties and intricacies of the form. It is essentially round, yes, but not like a circle is round, there’s more. But is any place actually flat? No. Are there any concave places? Oh, yes. How can a single contour be so intensely articulated?” Can you do this with sculpture? Do you? Do you paint or draw from still-life? Is this your experience?
-aRe Verse. The first poem is by Jesse Bercowetz (check out photos of one of his most recent sculptures on his blog- http://lickingjunglecatclaws.blogspot.com/) and the second is mine.
Oh Delmore- The musician Lou Reed writes about his teacher for Poetry Magazine- http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/article/244148. It is written beautifully and made me think about those teacher/mentors that inspire me to strive forwards. I had an inspiring professor who taught Shakespeare. I walked out of class emboldened because of the way she proclaimed to the entire class in her low voice while reciting Macbeth- Macbeth saying “If we should fail?” and Lady Macbeth saying “We fail?/ But screw your courage to the sticking place./ And we’ll not fail.” Who are your Delmores? Who is that person for you like Lou Reed writes – “begged us- Please don’t let them bury me next to my mother. Have a party to celebrate moving from this world hopefully to a better one. And you Lou– I swear– and you know if anyone could I could– you Lou must never write for money or I will haunt you.”?
Thanks for reading. Franconia has a new reflextive sign out by the road. Check it out. Ben and his son brought it up to the park this weekend. I meet some visitors with the best questions (photo of them at the top). GLOWaBOUT is in six days. Join Carissa and I at MCAD the night of the 9th you will not be disappointed. I’d also love to see you on the 23rd for my Poetry Sculpture debut – http://franconia.org/poetryevent.html. This sculpture means a lot to me. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with everything. But I asked for it- so … sigh. And sigh! and sigh… And now I have a truck!
Franconia Sculpture Park- where sculpture meets sky, deuces are wild and we build like they sing.
Start Seeing Sculpture- over and out
Posted on 16 May 2012 | Comments Off
Some Sculpture Park Scoop: Franconia Artists poured iron at St. Kate’s during their Mother’s Day iron pour, Carissa made her mom a sculpture, Sophie made some small fruits/veg for her family, Jesse made a mould for some hands for his larger sculpture, Liz was in iron mode, Josh is working towards a spire, dance party after the last 3D symposium, my poetry studio has more walls up upstairs, Alex is combining stumps and springs, Ryan has his prisms out and they are reflecting the MN sky!, we hung out on my sculptures upper platform and sang songs, there was a barrel bonfire pizza party, what a beautiful weekend (I got three full days in finally no rain), CCLC picked up their student built sculpture (complete with tiled benches and lots of circles), some of Franconia’s board members made the rounds and so SO sO much more.
Art-a-Whirl: Franconia @ Casket- Exhibition & reception @ our new city site Friday May 18th from 5:00pm to 10:00pm. Please come celebrate the new Franconia City Sculpture Park and the exhibiting artists: Amy Toscani, Aaron Dysart, Andrew MacGuffie, Bridget Beck, and Peyton. Saturday May 19th from 12 noon to 4pm, we will have a Spin-Art Workshop, Face Painting, a BBQ, and music at the Casket Building. On Sunday, May 20th there will be Steamroller Printmaking for kids and adults. Create your own original steamroller print with the team from ArtOrg! This event is always a lot of fun. Come visit Franconia in the city and make sure you say hello and give a high five to all our staff members- Jonas Lindberg, Carissa Samaniego, Liz Helfer, Mindy Breva, Robin Wilburn, Loretta Draths and John Hock. Art-a-Whirl dates are: May 18th: 5pm-10pm, May 19th: 12 noon -8pm, May 20th: 12 noon -5pm. Art-a-Whirl is organized by NEMAA
A Conversation about Sentimentality- The actor Tom Wilkinson said during and interview that “Sentimentality is the enemy of art…. art is judged on its own terms and not on its packaging.” This started me thinking about sentimentality and art. My first thoughts were- Does decoration package art? How to you add lots of detail without it being decorative or sentimental? Is it a conscious decision to be sentimental or is it a reflex of wanting something to be more than it is? A few of my friends (via facebook) got in on the discussion. Matt Bauman, a writer and professor at Black Hills State University, wrote- “I think decoration intentionally draws attention to itself out of hubris, whereas detail adds complexity, which decoration doesn’t. And sentimentality, I think, draws on common and predictable *feelings* rather than provoking complex *emotions.*” Then, I admitted, “I just think that I sometimes lean toward sentimentality in my sculpture because I go overboard and say too much with my materials… I get to fancy when I don’t need to I get caught up in feelings and have a hard time saying less to say more.” Melanie VanHouten, director and co-founder of Josephine Sculpture Park in KY, recommended that I “… trust your instincts, they know what is right and others will often ‘hear’ one thing, when we ‘meant’ something else… but that is ok by me, if they get what they need out of it, whatever it has said to them…then I am satisfied.” And Robert Gardner, artist and owner of Chinese Shao-Lin Kung Fu of Phoenix, urged me to remember “that your audience is made up of the same kind of emotion-riddled humans as the one making the work. Don’t disavow all sentiment and emotion because it somehow seems less important than cold observation. Speak with your emotions; make from them. Just do it unabashedly, and then edit like any good writer. I think the power will come from your work saying one thing at a time rather than all at once.” Thanks for your input Matt, Melanie and Robert!! I thought about this conversation while I was working on my sculpture all weekend. What do you think about sentimentality in art?
-aRe Verse. The first poem is written by Jesse Bercowetz. The second is mine. The third poem is from Jesse Blumenthal.
Scheduling for a Locomotive: I have almost finished scheduling 16 art workshops at the nursing/care centers in the month of July. That was trickier than I thought. And woah… that’s a lot of workshops to prepare for. But, I’ll get it done. The 8 events are also almost scheduled for the end of August. These will be open to the public so when I get the final confirmation I’ll share them with you so you can join us if you want!!
Thanks for reading. Check out this cool interactive new media piece out of Manchester- http://www.idhideyou.com/. One of the project masterminds, Tyler Stefanich from Minneapolis, is headed to UCLA as well this Fall. And, look at this fun idea for ‘Shareable Playborhoods’- http://www.shareable.net/blog/playborhoods-placemaking-for-kids. I’m headed to the desert for a bit so next week’s blog post will be from Liz and Carissa that answers the question– What can kids build? Check it out next week.
Franconia Sculpture Park- where sculpture meets sky, deuces are wild and we are preparing to Whirl.
Start Seeing Sculpture- over and out
Posted on 15 May 2012 | No responses
Estelle Shumann, a Seattle native and writer for Online Schools, wrote this article for Franconia’s Blog. Thanks Estelle! She writes:
It is true that there have been deep cuts to arts education in recent years, and arts education has suffered and while a increasingly available online college courses <http://www.onlineschools.org/>are picking up some of the slack, artistic technique is hard to learn remotely. In March, 2011, the Department of Education’s $40 million Arts Education Program was on chopping block, as part of a Band-Aid to avoid a government shutdown <http://artsactionfund.org/news/entry/arts-education-funding-cut-in-two-week-budget-fix>. School districts around the country have cut their Arts programs, as well; in Los Angeles, the Arts budget has been cut by 85% in the past three years. In part, the Arts have been getting the short end of the stick because No Child Left Behind encourages achievement in math, reading, and other subjects that can be easily tested.
It is clear that we are devaluing art despite its cultural and historical importance. Sculpture has helped civilizations tell their most important stories. It is an ancient art form, dating to pre-Christian civilizations. Early sculpture, typically materializing deities were made 24,000 years ago, well before mathematics. Mesopotamia, the Far East, Egypt, and ancient India all produced sculpture. In the Dynastic Period, from 2900 to 2350 B.C., Mesopotamians made sculptures of themselves as worshippers of the gods, which supposedly were presented to the gods after their souls began the journey from this world to the next. Similarly, much of Egyptian sculpture was made for the tomb, or beyond. “Colossal” statues were built for display, to glorify kings and deities.
The Greeks and Romans made sculpture to suit similar purposes. Their craftsmen carved portraits of emperors and mythological sculptures. These could either represent the gods, such as the famous and now limbless Venus di Milo. They also used stone to tell stories of the gods, which they accomplished on “reliefs” that were inscribed onto the facade of buildings. A number of frames depicted crucial moments in famous stories, a tactic that comic books and graphic novels still employ.
In the twentieth century, sculpture and expanded to include historical figures and even abstract concepts. Examples of the first category can be found at Mt. Rushmore and Washington D.C., where figures of great individuals will stand for centuries. Many of these sculptures commemorate American heritage and history; you need only think of the new Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington, DC, or the impressionistic rendition of Albert Einstein. Other examples of contemporary sculpture can be even more imaginative.
With this significant heritage and the fact that art is a creative outlet, it is no wonder that the Arts keep kids interested in school, and help them with their overall development. When Arts programs thrive, more kids go to college. There is good news, though. The National Endowment for the Arts <http://www.nea.gov/grants/apply/artsed.html> still gives grants to teachers for Arts education. Free programs like Inner-City Arts <http://www.good.is/post/thanks-to-one-los-angeles-nonprofit-budget-cuts-haven-t-killed-off-art-class/> in Los Angeles teach art to kids who can’t get it in school. And the Obama administration announced Turnaround Arts in April, a program geared toward low-achieving kids in eight public schools. Further, the growth of online communities and mobile applications is allowing students to get involved with art outside of class and virtually connect with other aspiring artists around the world.
However, some schools are standing their ground. There is a program in Belleville, Illinois called “High School Sculpture in the City <http://artonthesquare.com/high-school-sculpture-in-the-city>.” Students from the arts and welding departments of the local high school have accepted the challenge of designing a piece of public art, which will be displayed at Art on the Square on May 18th. So, while some areas of the country have almost lost their Arts programs, in some places, the Arts thrive, and there are lots of people who want to keep it that way.
Posted on 9 May 2012 | Comments Off
“One must from time to time attempt things that are beyonds one’s capacity.”~ Auguste Renoir
Some Sculpture Park Scoop: Nam finished his sculpture and installed it near the front entrance- congrats!, Carissa and I ordered mega supplies for GLOWaBOUT, a couple people have been caught by a sick bug, an entire school visited on Friday, Jesse’s sculpture is off the gantry and in the process of being split, Alex has been slowly working on the inside of his boat, Sophie got some metal sheet and is talking about concrete pillars, Josh has a triangular base piece made, we talked sculpture @ Casket on Thursday- Dougie did a fair share of that- it was great, Ryan had Jonas out on the tractor and his triangular installation is going to be gigantic, I pulled my stairway roof sections to the stairway frame and added the upper cable roof system (thanks for the help MH), some artists went to St. Kate’s to break iron for the Mother’s Day iron pour, rain rain go away, a couple young gentlemen in hats (one with a bit of resemblance to John Hock) tried to pull a sneak attack on Saturday and SO so SO so much more.
Calendar Check- Do you have all these events on your calendar? Tomorrow night Ryan Turley and Sophie Fishel will be presenting their work during one of our lively evenings of free dialogue and interchange of ideas between artists and everyone interested in art of three dimensions. Franconia Sculpture Park artists and alumni converge at the park twice a month, from June through October, for Three Dimensional Thursday Symposiums. The evenings’ events will include dinner with Franconia resident artists ($10 donation for dinner), examples of alumni and/or resident artists’ current artwork and a freewheeling discussion between artists, critics, philosophers, poets, and you!.
Please RSVP or for more information, please call 651-257-6668 or e-mail email@example.com.
aRe Verse- The first poem is by Raina Wirta. The second poem is written by Jesse Bercowetz. The third is mine.
Locomotive Sculpture- I can’t wait to start working on my Locomotive Sculpture Project dedicated in part to my grandparents the Becks and the Sathers. As community members grow older and find themselves in nursing facilities they deal with aging and loss on a daily basis and sometimes find that their mobility is limited. This sculpture brings a bit of adventure to the usual routine (May- early Sept), weekly Locomotive Sculpture updates during the sculpture construction and the opportunity for hundreds of individuals to contribute to a large scale traveling sculpture that will visit and connect to the larger community. I have established a creative partnership with 8 nursing/care center facilities in Minnesota. Each facility will have two workshops with residents and their caregivers where they will be able to contribute significantly to the Locomotive Sculpture. They will be able to access my locomotive sculpture blog and facebook page with weekly Locomotive Sculpture updates and caregivers and staff will have a bulletin board at the nursing facility that will also track the Locomotive Sculpture weekly as its construction progresses. After the workshops and final construction of the locomotive structure is finished, there will be 8 community events where the locomotive sculpture will be driven to the nursing facilities and invite residents and their caregivers to interact with and gather on the sculpture they helped create.
The facilities have been selected and the Minnesota facilities are: Ecumen Parmly LifePointes- Chisago City, Golden Living Center- St. Louis Park, Good Samaritan Center Heritage Place-Roseville, Good Samaritan Center- Invergrove Heights, Good Samaritan Center University Specialties- Minneapolis, Ramsey County Care Center- St. Paul and Texas Terrace- St. Louis Park. I will begin in the next couple of weeks. I’m waiting for the official go-ahead and funding from The Minnesota State Arts Board. My first step will be finding a suitable and heavy duty vehicle. One that can hold up a sculptural locomotive. ……………… This activity is made possible in part by an Artist Initiative grant to me in 2012 from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
GLOWaBOUT is at MCAD this year next to the Minnesota Institute of Arts (MIA). Carissa and I meet at MCAD this week to sort out all of the details. This is going to be an energizing experience to say the least. We also ordered supplies which include LED glowing orbs, lots of garbage can lids, 1000s of glow accessories, cords, blenders and some pretty snazzy shirts for our 8 ½ staff members. For more details on all the free Northern Spark activities on the night of June 9th and more on GLOWaBOUT check out this link – http://2012.northernspark.org/project/beck-samaniego!
Risky- What does it mean for an artist to make art that risks something? At Casket last Thursday this came up in the conversation… it isn’t that great art has to be dangerous in the sense that it is full of knives and fear…. but don’t you think it is important to push and pull at edges. Can you tell the difference between a work of art that tips norms and pushes its creator from a work that is made knowing it will be sucessful because previous like minded peices were?
I am going to be painting my sculpture all day Friday if it doesn’t rain. Come say hello. Thanks for reading. How do you determine if you are a successful artist? What questions do you have about Franconia Sculpture Park? Let me know and I’ll post an answer next week. It is getting busy at the park. Oh yeah!
Franconia Sculpture Park- where sculpture meets sky, deuces are wild and artists make friendships that are formed for life.
Start Seeing Sculpture- over and out
Posted on 2 May 2012 | Comments Off
Some Sculpture Park Scoop: Nam is finishing up his sculpture before he heads to another residency on Sunday, Carissa and Liz are building a sculpture with some students (more on this in the next blog post), Jesse is adding to his frame, Josh has been drilling and assembling, Sophie is busy wrapping and bending steel, I gave a presentation to the National Association of Museum Exhibition on Tuesday about Franconia Sculpture Park and we built the strongest poetry sculpture ever, Alex has a ship!!! to shape up, Ryan is almost ready to put the prisms outdoors, my poetry studio sculpture has a front bench, GLOWaBOUT is going to be at MCAD near the MIA this year and SO so SO so much more!!!!
Janet Echelman’s Nets- When you look at Janet Echelman’s sculpture installations lit up at night they seem to float and some look similar to photographs of astronomical wonders or geometric renditions of the northern lights. They’re made of nets. I think this is very humorous because the catch the light and look incredible light and floaty. They remind me nothing of fish or the sea. What do you think of Echelman’s work?
Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Deadlines- Click this link to find all the MRAC deadlines for all sorts of programs from Arts Activities to Management Training http://www.mrac.org/grants/pdf/FY13GrantDeadlines.pdf
Museum Exhibits- is Franconia a Museum and does it have Exhibits? I gave a presentation about Franconia to the National Association of Museum Exhibitions (NAME) this week where I talked about the way in which our sculptures are exhibited. A museum is defined as a building or institution where objects of artistic, historical, or scientific importance and value are kept, studied, and put on display. Franconia differs from typical museum in several ways but also shares some similarities. The sculpture park is not a building housing objects of artistic significant. It doesn’t amass a gigantic collection of all the sculpture ever shown there… imagine the size of the collection area if that were the case! If the 615 emerging and established; regional, national and international artists that the park has hosted in the last 15 years kept their sculptures at the park permanently, we’d need MANY more acres of land. Instead the sculptures rotate yearly and the sculptures that come out of the park are returned to the sculptor’s care or placed in a different location. This also gives new sculptors the chance to build on a large scale every single year. Like a museum, we encourage the community to come and study or see our display of artwork. The sculptures at the park are of varying styles and promote the public education of three-dimensional art much like a museum. An exhibit is something, especially a work of art, in a public place such as a museum or gallery. Franconia’s art exhibits are unique because they include not just the physical sculpture but the sculpture’s creation. The artists build their sculptures on site before they are installed into the park. On any given day a visitor will see sculptures in all stages of development.
Afghan Poets Risking Death- This New York Times article describes at length the drive and perils associated with women writing personal poetry in Afghanistan. After reading it… I’d love to be able to bring my Poetry Studio Sculpture and leave it cloaked in invisibility for Mirman Baheer, Afghanistan’s largest women’s literary society. I’ve imagined all sort of poets writing from atop my new sculpture not even considering that to do so they might be killed?! The author Eliza Griswold writes after meeting up secretly with a young female poet, “I wanted to give her something, but I feared that a book of my own poems might endanger her. If her brothers found it, how would she explain where this American’s poems had come from? Having nothing else, I tugged a scarf from my neck. She reached into her purse and handed me a rhinestone butterfly comb. Then she tugged the burqa’s soft grille back over her face, took her chaperon by the hand and disappeared into the crowd.” How can you give a gift (like a poetry studio sculpture) to an individual forbidden from expressing herself? And how do you accept a gift from someone like this brave young poet who has risked her life to share her poetry-?
-aRe Verse. The first poem is Raina Wirta’s, the second is a poem is mine. Then, the following poems are some of the many wonderful poems created at the NAME conference during my poetry sculpture activity! And, I hear whispers that Jesse Blumenthal might have some free verse to share with you soon.
Personal Branding- I attended a session about personal branding before giving the presentation I noted above. I thought that it might give me some insight in how I present myself and my sculpture. The presenter had us go through and figure out what our top three “unique selling points” were and then come up with a sort of pseudo slogan for ourselves. It was strange to see the enthusiasm people were putting in as they shared their “unique selling points” with the rest of the room. It was almost as if everyone couldn’t wait to let their neighbor know how they had just sloganized themselves. Most of the people in the room were museum professionals looking for ways to move up the ladder… in which case personal branding might help out I admit. Our instructor told us that we had to be consistent with this message and that every last detail of our lives should match this personal brand- our car, our clothes, our demeanor, etc. He told us his own personal brand several times along with “make sure you give me a great review when you fill out the survey for this session.” After the hour concluded, I folded the blank survey into a square without filling it out, put it in my bag and left very content in knowing that I would not be branding myself into a slogan anytime soon. I am very happy as myself and I’ll stick with my own name.
Thanks for reading. I really enjoy writing this blog. Come to the 3D symposium @ Casket this Thursday night from 7-10pm. This weekend I hope to get some cable up for my roof, fill in the other side of my stairway and work on the upper levels floor. Stop by and say hello if you make it up for a visit. Do you think I might get three days of sun? Oh this rainy spring weather….
Franconia Sculpture Park- where sculpture meets sky, deuces are wild and we don’t let the size of a building determine the way we build.
Start Seeing Sculpture- over and out
Posted on 30 April 2012 | Comments Off
“My body of work often features some variety of humour and is essentially an exploration into the human condition. Humour lacks the confinements of social expectations and in my opinion laughing is one of the most liberal, infectious and impulsive actions a human being can take. My work explores an eclectic range of media and encompasses broad preoccupations ranging from characterisation, consumerism, death, to subtle and sinister observations of everyday life. According to artist John Isaac the way we live is ‘modern, fast-track, hi-flying, giga-byted, money-making, stock-inflating, a broadway-boogie-woogie world that is also a fast-food guzzling, consumer- driven, resource-eating, air-polluting, earth-poisoning, a prozac-popping monster that has run out of control.’ My aim of coming to Franconia Sculpture Park was to decide where my work fits in with this statement, to learn new skills and be able to wholly devote my time to making new sculpture.
This Sunday will mark my first full month spent at Franconia and in America itself; which has been an absolute pleasure, a fantastic learning curb and has also consisted of many trips to Menards and Walmart! In these first few weeks of my Internship I have been focusing on improving my Arc Welding skills so I created two steel pieces of fruit, a pineapple and a slice of watermelon, currently titled ‘Getting Fresh’. It was something special to see children enjoying it as a climbing frame, as a giant snack; perhaps the fruit may even sway some future dietary choices…. The fruit is a working progress as the two may not stay as a pair, and instead become incorporated into my next piece that I have initially started working on this week, loosely based on a giant magical, tropical goddess. This piece will be the largest and the first outdoor sculpture I have ever made. This presents new challenges and considerations which I have not been exposed to in the past such as the changeable weather, the safety aspect if members of the public choose to climb on it, the natural light and back-drop. The sculptures currently at Franconia Sculpture Park are all extremely impressive, and of a grand scale that I have never had the luxury to aspire to work with before, and therefore my biggest concern has been how to incorporate my own practice into the context of this new unlimited world of grandeur and imagination. However, being able to work in such a supportive environment and with such a diverse range of artist’s here I am extremely excited to complete the second half of my stay here and to go back to London with a new body of work, new friends and a larger range of practical skills.’”
Posted on 25 April 2012 | Comments Off
“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” ~ Winston Churchill
Some Sculpture Park Scoop: Nam’s sculpture is moving in different directions, Jesse is beating out volumes, Josh’s sculpture has made its first un-supported vertical stand, Sophie is placing color and making ‘head’ way, Carissa is headed to Albany in the fall!, trees are being moved, I have some beautiful red cable (thanks Tory!!!), the poetry studio has another cantilever- it’s periwinkle…. and the stairway got some slats, John and Nam moved stones with the crane, Alex has a ship headed to the park (seriously), the fire pit has been burning brightly, Ryan is working inside on prisms (more info below), there was an alligator sighting in a taxidermy shop while Alex was checking in about ground squirrels, rainy adventures took some of the artists on a very fishy trip down by the river and SO so SO so much more!!!
Ryan Turley is Bending Light- Jerome Fellowship artist Ryan Turley is hard at work in the inside studio up at the sculpture park. His sculpture is unlike anything that we have had up at the park before. He describes his future sculpture: “As you approach the field you will notice in the distance atop one of the many lush green lawns an explosion of coloured light. Make your way closer to this spectral mirage and you will notice that you are entering a large field of triangular prisms the size of grave markers. There are hundreds of these glowing prisms lined up like soldiers in marching formation.” He continues, “The hard-edged prisms projecting these intertwining rainbows are expressing sombreness, as they appear to be acting as memorial markers yet they are celebratory with brilliant light.” I can only imagine contrasting images when it is installed. Ryan’s prisms are made of clear resin and are lined with holographic diffraction film which will be lit with natural sunlight by day. Ryan says that “It is important for viewers to encounter this installation in the outdoors as one would a cemetery or as you would experience a rainbow in nature. My goal is to inspire wonder and excitement while emoting a serious tone of memorial and mourning. I aim to provide access to difficult subject matter through elements of beauty and familiarity. This piece for me furthers my need to explore ideas that relate to sexuality, death, and dualities like good versus evil and happy and sad.” This is going to be exciting to see. He plans on finishing up around mid May. After he finishes installing his piece in the park, you’ll have to come and experience it for yourself.
A National Secretary of the Arts? Should the United States have a national Secretary of the Arts like several other countries? I read Jennifer Rivera’s blog post about Arts in America and her answer to this question is- “YES!! Of course we need a Secretary of Culture or a Secretary of Arts or even an Undersecretary of Anti Reality TV! We need somebody to run naked, wearing nothing but a hat made out of ketchup bottles, up and down the aisles of the televised Grammy awards screaming, ‘WE NEED MORE CULTURE IN THIS COUNTRY -AND I DON’T MEAN NICKI MINAJ DRESSING IN RELIGIOUS ROBES AND PRETENDING TO LEVITIATE!!!’ (If you don’t know what I’m talking about check YouTube — it totally freaked me out, and made me feel about 150 years old when I saw it on TV). But realistically, are we ever going to get one? And the answer to that, I fear, is, probably not.” What do you think? Do you think that art and artists should become better ambassadors of their own work? Thomas Vannatter recently shared this article about how taxpayers are willing to bail out Wall Street but ‘creatives’ continue to struggle to make ends meet. Scott Timberg writes, “More typical than a celebrity artist feasting on enormous grants, he says, is someone like Morton Lauridsen, who is now one of the most performed living composers – after decades of scraping by, teaching and writing choral works. Or a writer like Kay Ryan, who, until becoming U.S. poet laureate in 2008 was known to only a small few. ‘She never applied for a grant, never taught writing,’ Gioia says. ‘She taught remedial reading at a community college.’ I often create art without the hope of being able to be fairly compensated for my time. Should I? If my artwork is of a nature that it isn’t easily marketable should I? I often find myself creating art out of other people’s generosity which supplements my work income. I encourage feedback from you about this topic… I’d like to know what your take is.
-aRe Verse: The first poem is mine. The second is written by Raina Wirta. The third poem is by Jesse Bercowetz. Thanks Jesse! and Raina!
The Creative Class- A few years ago I worked for a store that ‘catered to the creative class.’ What does that mean? Apparently the creative class can be subdivided into two groups and these are… From Wikipedia: the Super- Creative Core and the Creative Professionals. The social scientist Richard Florida finds that the Super-Creative Core are creative innovative problem finders and solvers. He describes Creative Professionals as people who draw on academics to solve more specific problems. Do you fit into either of these groups?
The poetry studio is getting more and more colorful. I think it is humorous when someone says “did you just add that” after I have painted something that has been there forever. Color changes the way you see things. I hope to put some cable up for my roof this coming weekend. I need to stop and get a load of cable clamps. This has been a busy week for me. Argh. Friday is so soon. When I consider a life lacking all art- I see a world without me in it.
What was your favorite storybook when you were growing up? I loved it when my parents read to me. I think that is one of the reasons my imagination is so … shall we say… developed?! I encourage you to read to your kids. I remember very fondly of when my dad read me The Hobbit. I can hear him saying in his very best Gollum voice, “my… precious s s.”