AP Undergrad Ramon De Santiago is now a Haas Scholar!

Art Practice undergraduate student Ramon De Santiago has been selected as a Haas Scholar for the 2016-2017 academic year. They had the largest number of applicants ever in the history of the program this year, so the department if very proud of  Ramon’s accomplishment.

What makes a Haas Scholar? Well, they are:

*Academically Talented: value learning both for its own sake and to make a difference in the world
*Community-Oriented:  desire to be part of an interdisciplinary academic community by learning from one’s peers 
*Future Leaders:  ready to take on the challenge of conducting an independent research or creative project that will culminate in a senior/honors thesis

What does a Haas Scholar receive? Well:

*One-on-one mentoring from members of the UC-Berkeley faculty
*A seminar in the Fall (1 units, P/NP) and a writing workshop in the Spring to assist with the research and writing process
*An opportunity to present the results of your work at a professional academic conference in January
*Assistance with graduate school and fellowship applications, career counseling, connections with almost 400 Haas Scholars alumni, and other support to help you realize your individual post-graduation plans
*Membership in an alumni community (nearly 400 strong and growing each year!) that provides ongoing professional development and support
*Financial support during their fellowship year which includes a summer living stipend, a semester/academic year living stipend, research expenses, and a completion stipend

This is a huge accomplishment, and so a big shout-out to Ramon!

 

AP Faculty Stephanie Syjuco’s newest exhibition: Ornament + Crime (Redux)

Ornament + Crime (Redux)
April 14 – May 14, 2016
Opening: Thursday, April 14th, 6-8PM

RYAN LEE is pleased to announce Stephanie Syjuco: Ornament + Crime (Redux), featuring a video from the artist’s “Dazzle Camouflage” series in RLWindow and an accompanying sculptural object in RLProject. This project positions the WWI military tactic of wrapping battleships in a graphic black-and-white pattern in a contemporary framework to consider globalization, migration, historical trauma and colonialism.

On view in RLWindow is a 22-minute HD video from 2013, which takes as its starting point architect Le Corbusier’s 1931 iconic building, Villa Savoye, located outside of Paris. Borrowing the digital model from SketchUp’s open-source network, Syjuco creates a haunting, animated walk-through of the Modernist structure overtaken with disruptive black-and-white graphics of folk patterns culled from France’s prior colonial era: Moroccan, Algerian and Vietnamese textiles. As a historical mash-up of publicly sourced files, this new version of Villa Savoye attempts to transcribe the colonial and cultural history of a Western icon back upon itself as if it were a body to be read and re-read. By infecting the visual cues of its colonies onto itself, a closer view of the society that birthed the building can be made.

To read the complete press release, click here.

To preview the exhibition, click here.

For inquiries, contact Courtney Willis Blair at 212-397-0742 or courtney@ryanleegallery.com.

Artist Interned: A Berkeley Legend Found Beauty in “Enormous Bleakness” of War Camp. Artist Chiura Obata.

During World War II, some of the most important work connected with UC Berkeley was done not in a library, lecture hall, or lab—but from within the barbed-wire confines of internment camps.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in 1942 mandating the removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the western United States, one of the lives he upended was that of Cal art professor Chiura Obata. An artist trained in traditional Japanese techniques but enamored of the American landscape, Obata’s paintings, woodblocks, and sketches serve as a powerful visual diary not only of how the experiences looked, but more importantly, how they felt.

(click to read more…)

New Reviews and Interviews with Art Practice Undergrads

The Worth Ryder Art Gallery Publicity Interns regularly review exhibitions, interview undergrads, and write about artwork for our News page.

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Gordon Hall – “Speculative Lecture”

Reviewed by Katie Revilla

Gordon Hall, a performance artist, writer, and founder of the Center for Experimental Lectures recently came to give a propositional and improvisational lecture at UC Berkeley. For me the lecture redefined and expanded what can be considered an artist’s talk. Two figures were positioned within the space, completely still and motionless. Hall, who was in the corner of the room perched upon a pedestal, began gestures and movement, slowly moving themselves in different variations. As they announced act 1, scene 1, phase 1, they got up from the pedestal and began to move and interact with two large wooden parentheses. As both Gordon and the other performer moved throughout the space with the large wooden parentheses, the conversation began.

Hall read aloud twice in the performance, as well as from their phone, with imagery that to me felt like recalling a memory. The words were colors, objects, items, and feelings all of which in sighted something in me that created certain feelings of nostalgia. Although I don’t completely understand the relationship between the performance and the recalling of these writings, after Hall repeated it, I tried to imagine and feel what they were describing for the rest of the piece. Parts of the performance were also with the lights off, which I found to be a really sensory experience. One could see shadows occasionally, you could hear them moving, and as a performer moved close to where you were sitting, you felt their bodily presence.

Overall, this piece has so many different layers and complexities within itself. I loved how this piece confronted language and challenged how we perceive it. It made me think a lot more about the body and how we can transmit such an array of information. Also, coming from a background and understanding that artist’s lectures are where the artist talks at the audience and then might do a question and answer period at the end of the talk, this piece was able to challenge and shift the ways that artists can provide information through creating a new conversation. Artists don’t necessarily have to do a report on their work but instead convey the meaning of their work through a performance such as this. I found Gordon inspiring, and I’m excited to follow their work as it progresses in the future.

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Video Interview with Shari Paladino from MFA First Year Exhibition

by Shannon Kim

 

 

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Artist Erin Kim

Interviewed by Sae Bom Choi

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Tell me about yourself.

My name is Erin Kim and I am a junior majoring in Landscape Architecture. I have been interested in art and design since I was in elementary school. Ever since I became passionate about art, I enjoyed going to art galleries and museums to get inspirations, and explore new ideas to motivate myself.

What work do you most enjoying doing?

I enjoy working with a variety of medium including acrylic, oil paint, ink, colored pencils, graphite, and more. I like to combine different types of medium to create more interesting effects.

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What themes do you pursue?

I don’t really have a theme that I want to pursue through my works but I try to create works that are meaningful to me. The process that I go through before starting an art piece is that I go over all the photo albums and try to choose a moment or subject that I want to make special by adding aesthetic view to the specific subject.

What inspired you to major in landscape and minor in art?

I was undeclared in College of Letters and Science until the second semester of my sophomore year. The major factor that motivated me to transfer to College of Environmental Design was taking an Environmental Design (ED) class second semester of freshman year. Although I knew that I was interested in art and design, I was uncertain about what I wanted to major in. I had a lot of fun in ED class; the class was about problem solving projects using art and design knowledge. Then I looked more into the Landscape Architecture department and took some Landscape classes then declared as Landscape architecture major. I also wanted to pursue my artistic view by minoring in art.

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How much drawing do you have to go through to prepare for a piece?

I spend a lot of time coming up with an idea for an art piece. I do some quick sketches of all the ideas I have and narrow down to what I want specifically.

What is your dream project? What’s your goal?

My goal is to continue creating art works that are meaningful to me. I always feel that photography is a temporary snapshot of memories. But creating an artwork of the special moment can last longer and remain more valuable to me. My dream project is to create a series of special moments of four years in college.

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Critic’s Perspective: Rediscovering Yoko Ono

by Michele Meltzer

Professor Scott Saul from our neighboring English Department at UC Berkeley has a new podcast show, Chapter & Verse, which features discursive conversations between himself and other academics/critics of media culture. In this episode, Professor Saul brings on Professor Julia Bryan-Wilson of the UC Berkeley History of Art Department to discuss the art of Yoko Ono.

Critical attention to Ono’s work and its centrality within a number of artistic movements, especially her creative output through the 1960s, was for many years lost to an amnesiac cultural narrative which has long held Ono merely as the collaborator, muse, and widow of pop legend John Lennon. Her work—ranging widely from performance art, to instructional pieces, to video and beyond—and its importance to the history of contemporary art have recently regained recognition through exhibitions such as MoMa’s “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971”. Here, Professor Saul along with Professor Bryan-Wilson honor this story which regards Ono as an artist first and foremost, helping audiences recall why Ono’s work stands on its own. The talk involves a rich examination of Ono’s personal story, its influence on her ever-evolving creative process, and the formal risks present in Ono’s art which warrant its acclaim.

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First Friday and Community

by Hannah Laher

We all choose to be an art major, and an art major specifically in Berkeley.  As a soon to be graduate of this program, and a local of the Bay Area since I was a child- the thoughts of what can this community do for me has come to mind more often than once.  With the tech-industry boom, San Francisco and Oakland have been in the spotlight a lot these days, but do people on a creative career have a place within this spotlight?

Through my research I have found that artist are this community here in the Bay Area, which is why I want to remind everyone about Oaklands First Fridays, starting up again on March 4th.  With their vision statement of “striv[ing] to be the premier Oakland First Fridays Event as the epicenter for the community to come together to celebrate, sustain & support the arts,”  this event has brought everyone together within the Oakland and the arts community.  This tradition started in 2006, with the Art Murmur events, which has now transformed in the this esteemed event for all to enjoy.

According to a report written by Victoria Swift, “Economics Impact of the Oakland First Fridays”, this event is supporting more than just the arts communities.  The influx of people coming in has had an amazing impact on the local businesses, some owners stating a 100 to 250 percent increase in profits on event nights.

We are in a great place for our art.  We just need to help support the community we are going to a part of because the horizon of graduation comes quicker than you expect.

With your free AC bus transit card, take the 1 route and walk a few blocks for the First Friday event starting this month.

Art Practice Lecturer Erik Scollon’s Latest Ceramic Show: and/both. 2/26/16 through 4/2/16

Romer Young Gallery is pleased to present its third solo exhibition with artist ERIK SCOLLON. and/both presents a new series of larger ceramic objects that suggest attitudes of engagement and embodied aesthetics. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Friday, February 26th, 6-9pm.

Conceptually the works are a continuation of his ideas about queerness and functional ceramics; materially they expand his indulgent love of glaze and color; but formally they mark a departure from his earlier representational forms. In A Moment Lasts Forever Until It’s Gone, Scollon presented a series of objects that were a physical manifestation of himself and his mid-life look at the body, hope, love, beauty, heartbreak and their insistent impermanence. (click for more)

Show runs February 26th through April 2nd.

Art Practice instructor Stacy Jo Scott latest exhibition: Rise Out of the Scattered Deep Show Dates: February 3 – 29

Stacy Jo Scott: Rise Out of the Scattered Deep

Show Dates: February 3 – 29

Having thus poured forth my prayer and given an account of my bitter sufferings, I drowsed and fell asleep on the same sand-couch as before. But scarcely had I closed my eyes before a god-like face emerged from the midst of the sea with lineaments that gods themselves would revere. Then gradually I saw the whole body, resplendent image that it was, rise out of the scattered deep and stand beside me.

-Apuleius of Madaurus, The Golden Ass (Metamorphoses), Book 11, Late 2nd Century AD

Rise Out of the Scattered Deep, borrows its’ title from The Golden Ass (Metamorphoses) by Apuleius of Madauras. It is the story of Lucius, who longs to know the secrets of the universe, especially magic. One night he witnesses a witch turning herself into a bird. He tries to imitate her but his attempt falters and turns him into a golden ass. Near the end of the tale he surrenders, wracked with sorrow at his hubris. This is the moment the god-like face appears to him.

The objects in this exhibition emerged from a similar longing, the wish to understand my own experiences, both tangible and intangible. In times of transition I have felt my life unfolding along multiple paths at once. Making objects is one way I can tap into both the seen and unseen aspects of this journey, something akin to the insight accessible through the dream world, trance, or myths. Like Lucius, I have learned something about surrender, and these objects are records of what I’ve seen in the process. (more)

Ehren Tool: Meditation on the Impacts of War, an exhibition curated by Teresa Goodman and Ralph Vázquez-Concepción, on view at 2291 3rd St. from January 16 – February 13, 2016

The exhibition addresses the origins of Tool’s investigation of war iconography through the exhibition of the artist’s ceramics, video work, graphic prints, ephemera, as well as works done in collaboration with photographer Ian Martin. Aiming to foster public conversation about the relationship between mainstream culture and military culture in the United States, Meditation on the Impacts of War invites public exchange on a subject which affects contemporary global society and which pervades modern culture. From toys and video games to multimillion dollar movie productions and advertising, the grim reality of war has been adopted for entertainment. For more information, please go to Cranium Corporation.

Emeritus Robert L. Hartman, Dec. 1926 – Dec. 2015

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Robert Hartman, “The Ordered World”, 2011. Colored Infrared Aerial Photography. Courtesy Gallery Anglim Gilbert.

Artist, teacher, pilot. Husband, father, grandfather, friend.

Always “incurably nuts about airplanes,” he first soloed after only 3 1/4 hours of instruction, and earned his license at the age of 21. A consummate pilot, and aerial photographer, his passengers were always in capable hands even as the horizon tilted towards vertical and Bob, controlling the plane with his feet and knees, pointed his camera straight down, through the open side window, capturing exquisite and perplexing images of the ground below.

For thirty years, Bob was a perceptive and inspiring professor of art at UC Berkeley. He retired in 1991, but remained close friends with many students and colleagues, and delighted in viewing latest works, discussing art or simply sharing one of his carefully crafted martinis.
Although he was trained in academic realist painting, Bob became excited by the dynamic energy of abstract expressionism, and the realization that a painting could be an ongoing event instead of a static tableau of things. However, his continuing desire to get back to flying soon led him to painting “skyscapes.” In 1970 he bought a plane and his painting shifted from looking up with longing, to looking down with wonder. Bob found that photography was the best medium for him to share that sense of wonder and discovery.
He had a painter’s eyes, a musician’s ears and a poet’s heart. All were active until the uncelebrated lungs finally failed. Left behind are beautiful images exploring the enigmatic and mysterious, and expressing the ineffable.

Bob felt he had lived an inordinately lucky life: lucky in surviving early and continuing lung problems, lucky in his escape from living and teaching in the racially segregated Texas of the 1950s, lucky in his career at UC Berkeley, and particularly lucky in wife, family, and friends.
Bob gives his friends and family a full life to celebrate, and a generous spirit to miss.

Bob’s “one and only love” and wife for 61 years, Charlotte, died in 2012. He is survived by his brother, Jim, two sons, Mark and Jim, their wives, four grandchildren, and many friends. We happy few count ourselves lucky to have known Bob.

A memorial celebration will coincide with a retrospective of his work planned for late February or early March.

In lieu of flowers, go to a symphony concert, or donate to Creative Growth.

On final flight into the wild blue yonder, flight plan not filed.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13, 2015

News from the PR interns at Worth Ryder

Concept video by Jillian Meyers and Damian (by Julia Borrebaeck)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh-JJaJcgS0

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Interview with Rumi Bae (by Sosun Park) Interview_with_Rumi

Please introduce yourself and tell me what you enjoy most about your art?
I am a California based sculptor and installation artist. I enjoy exploring new, recycled, and industrial materials for my textile sculptures and installations. I search for formable materials that I experiment with to determine their characteristics. These materials in part give me inspiration for my concepts. I discovery whole new concepts, when I collaborate with my materials.  

What were the strongest inspirations for the ideas and materials of your most recent work on your senior thesis exhibition?
The theme for my project is a memorial monumental sculpture, to honor the victims of ‘The May 18, 1980 Gwangju Democratic Movement’ in South Korea. Most victims of the massacre were young students and workers. A memorial idea came to me when I heard the news about the global action for the massacre in Ayotzinapa, Mexico.  

On September 26, 2014, 43 male students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College held a protest about the discriminatory hiring and funding practices of the Mexican government. The student-teachers also had plans to solicit transportation costs, for their trip to Mexico City for the anniversary march of the 1968 student massacre in Tlatelolco. However, on their way there, the students were intercepted by the municipal police force and all protesters went missing and all were presumed dead.  The massacre sparked protests worldwide. When I heard the news, it broke my heart. The students were around 20 years’ old. They were young visionary activists who could have helped change Mexico’s future. By memorializing this sadly similar Korean incident, I wanted young people to remember, yet still believe that they have the power to change their countries future. I also want to tell them, do not be afraid of telling the truth because if we do not fight the false, it becomes true.

The material for this project is commercial PVC black mesh. The unified upward forms and black obscured mesh represents the courageous spirits of the victims that follows their inner faith.

What were some of the best learning experiences during the Senior Thesis Project class?Some of the best moments of the Senior Project Class were during the critique of my senior project, by my classmates and our teacher. This great feedback persuaded me to challenge myself to see my work from their varying perspectives. These challenges improved my work, making my structure stronger which allowed me to deliver my ideas more effectively. And additionally when I participated in my peers’ presentations which helped me develop a more critical view towards my own work.

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 Interview with Sosun Park (by Hyesun Kim)

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Re-Collection, Sosun Park
Mixed Media (Asian papers, twigs) with acrylic on wood panel. 4’x4’, 2015.


What initiated the thought process and overall idea behind this particular work? What does the concept of ‘identity’ mean to you?
I’ve reached my identity since studying abroad in the U.S. One day, I met friends who were members of EGO( UC Berkeley Korean Traditional Percussion Group) and I went to their performance. When I saw their performance, I had really weird complex emotions that I felt happiness, sadness, anger at the same time because many young Korean people don’t appreciate their own culture of art. And I was the one who didn’t appreciate Korean traditional culture before. Since then, I started the series of Korean traditional colors wanted to represent Korean cultural spirit as I felt from Korean traditional music. For the last semester, I wanted to challenge myself and develop my ideas of Korean traditional colors. So, I decided to find new media that I have never used such as Asian rice paper and twigs. I am still figuring out my identity… but I would say that the concept of identity means awareness of appreciating the beauty of my traditional culture.

I know that you performed with traditional Korean instruments during the opening reception of “Prototype”. What is the significance of the performance with your work?
As I said above, my work, Re-collection, is inspired by Korean traditional colors. But the first inspiration of my Korean traditional colors series is Korean traditional music, Pungmul. I believe that performing Korean drumming in front of my work could depict my theme perfectly. I hope audiences felt the the strong Korean cultural spirit that I have felt while playing Korean traditional music.

Does the choice of medium have any significance? What about the colors used?
The works in my recent series combine Korean traditional colors and modern media to represent the beauty of the Korean cultural spirit. The traditional Korean colors are Blue, Red, Yellow, White, Black. Each of these five colors represent the different seasons of the year and also the different cardinal directions on the compass. My style uses complex patterns with abstract lines on the canvas. I tried to create abstract works with painted materials. The combination of traditional Korean acrylic colors and new media such as Asian papers and twigs depict Korean pride and the traditional Korean cultural spirit against the struggle of globalization. This contrast of the traditional with the new represents the important and at times impossible struggle to preserve traditional culture.

Epic Fail at the Worth Ryder Art Gallery

 

love.watts (by Julia Borrebaeck)

Jordan “Watts” Watson has commercialized art by posting it on his snapchat and instagram. In a way, he has participated in the movement of making museums obsolete in reaching art. Although not as nice an experience as going to an art museum, he has made art easy to access for a bigger part of the population and furthermore, it is free. On his snapchat account he posts videos of pieces from many different modern art exhibitions with up-and-coming artists. He zooms in so you can truly see a close up of the work and the lines of their brushstrokes. He is currently at 340k followers and ever since he built this large base, hundreds of artist send him photos of their work where he can choose from what he would like to promote. After promoting a certain artist on one of his mediums, they can instantly see how their sales go up.

love watts by JuliaUnknownlove.watts by julia

I would encourage you all to follow him @love.watts on instagram, snapchat, tumblr, pinterest and probably any other social media site. Here are some photos from his accounts.

Interview with Professor Indira M. Morre (by Sosun Park)

What work do you most enjoying doing?

I love “behind the scene” work; it’s the research, reading, strategizing, testing, prototyping, and failure that excites me equally as working on an intended artwork.

How do you define success and failure?

In art there is no one answer to this question. Every artist has their own measure of success and failure. For me, being able to make art is a success in itself. I truly believe that art shapes us into better versions of ourselves.  And teaching art is a big part of it. Making, thinking, looking, writing, promoting art is a profoundly generous cultural activity and I feel deeply satisfied to be a citizen of the art world. Failure would be abandoning this part of my being.

What’s the best comment you’ve been given from your recent work at Worth Ryder?

I was most pleased to hear from number of people that they never realized how insistent, pervasive, and predatory banks are. The survival of financial institutions depends on our inability to pay off our debts. Calling attention to their insincere lure is a way of gaining more power in our financial decision making.

Interview with Farley Gwazda regarding the Senior Exhibition (by Hyesun Kim)

  1. I understand that this will be the first annual Senior Thesis exhibit. Can you provide a brief explanation/description of what the Senior Thesis Exhibition is?

    2. How is this show unique amidst the other shows?

    3. What are the main reasons for the department curriculum change?

    4. In what ways will the students, faculty, and spectators benefit from such changes in program/exhibit?

I answered your questions out of order in one go:

The Senior Thesis Show has its origins in a show the department had been doing for a long time called the Senior Show, which always occurred right before graduation. It was a huge show – as many as 50 students (!), and was only up for three days! It was a fun event, but didn’t feel like a fully realized exhibition, and for some students this was their only opportunity to show in the gallery.

I’ve always felt that the experience of showing your work in the gallery context is an important part of a well rounded art education, and an essential element in the life cycle of art. There is a set of concerns you have to address when preparing your work for public display that are quite different from those of the studio or classroom experience. And, of course, artists benefit enormously from the feedback they receive from the public and other artists.

Therefore, last spring the faculty decided that each senior will participate in a Senior Thesis Show, and that this will be structured so that each student will show during whichever semester that they take Senior Projects, which is required for all majors.

The artists are expected to create a fully realized project in any medium, using any process, any concept that they find interesting or important. While assignments are a useful part of art courses, perhaps the most interesting part of any artwork is the fact that the artist is declaring to their audience that what they are doing is worth considering. At first glance, this open-ended task seems a deceptively easy – basically you can do anything you want! But the old adage “with great freedom comes great responsibility” definitely applies here. Artists need to answer questions like “What is important to me?” “Who am I?” “What is my voice?”. Plus it’s a ton of work! I have the deepest respect for our student artists for taking these on, and am really excited about the work that I’ve seen so far!

Additionally, the department hopes that this show will not only benefit the participants, but will impact the culture of the department (and beyond). This forum gives student artists an opportunity to speak to one another, to form a set of community concerns, and to have a critical conversation. To my mind, this is what art is really all about. You don’t make art to get an “A” – you make art to transmogrify the universe. And that’s no cakewalk!

I hope that all of our majors will show up to the exhibition, take a deep look at the work, and think about what they will do when it’s their turn!

EPIC FAIL: Excerpts from the Art Talk (by Taylor R. McAllister) 

From EPIC FAIL Faculty Show Art Talk on Wednesday November 4, 2015, 12:00pm to 1:00pm
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Farley Gwazda: Welcome to exhibition artist’s talks. My names is Farley Gwazda; I’m the director of the [Worth Ryder] Gallery and it’s great to see such a big crowd in here. This is an annual event and I think it is a great opportunity for students to hear the faculty speak about their work. All of our faculty are practicing artists and have really interesting practices. A lot of the time in class you don’t really get to know what your teacher does as an artists. So this is why the faculty exhibition is always so exciting for me, and I think the faculty members as well….So as you know the theme of the show this year is EPIC FAIL. Every year I’m asked to choose a theme for the faculty show and of course, there are so many different artists doing different things. So it’s difficult for me to choose a theme that engages everyone’s practice. So my thoughts about EPIC FAIL are that essentially, failure is an interesting part of all artists practice. Now we don’t often frame it as failure, but what I’m saying is that when you’re creating work, often it’s the things that you try to do that don’t quite succeed the way that you are trying to do them, that instead work out some other way, that make being an artist so interesting. If you could just envision your project and then realize it, it wouldn’t have the kind of nuances that makes art practice exciting. So all of the artists here have something to say about this topic and the way that we are going to structure today is that we are going to walk around from piece to piece…and the artist will say a few words about their piece, and then take some quick questions from you. We only have about five minutes apiece….so I thought that since we’re standing here looking at your piece Craig. (Crowd laughs)

Craig Nagasawa: Twenty one years of going first. (Chatter and laughter)

FG: So, I’d like to introduce Craig Nagasawa. (Applause)

CN: Any questions? (Laughter and applause) Okay. First off, I’m going to go really fast. I’ll go really fast. Here, I need my props though. (Puts on Japanese sun hat) I’ll wear this.

Look, here’s the questions you always get when you make something. “What is your piece about?” Is it about failure? I don’t know. Okay. So, you could say it’s about—I can’t talk with this on. (Takes off hat) you could say it’s about how I grew up. You could say it’s about Asian American ethnicity. You could rhetorically go through the whole line of stuff that art’s supposed to be about: entrepreneurship of small businesses, dislocation of minorities, you know on and on and on. But, is that really what it’s about. I don’t think so. Alright. So, there’s all of this stuff in there that has ques that I work on all the time. But it’s not literally about that stuff, right? I think the piece is about a kind of experience and I can only do it through a kind of analogy. So, if you’re—nobody in California know about this, probably—if you’ve ever driven in the dark in a really bad snow storm, your headlights hit the snow and there’s this really weird hypnotic thing where you’re driving down the road and you can’t really see what you’re doing. But it’s beautiful because all this stuff’s coming at you on your windshield but at the same time you have to sort of stubbornly stay on the road. Right. So you’re doing two things at once and if you’ve ever noticed when you’re in the mountains there’s these things on the side of the road that have reflectors on them. They’re about six feet high. The reason for those is so that you know if you’re going off the road or not. Right? …You can see those things, so if you start clipping those things, you’re about to go off the road and you should turn back in. So, I think that if a situation like this is that I give you all of the little reflectors. Those are the little reflectors that keep you from going off the road and it’s up to you to decide whether you’re going to stay on the road or slide off the road and crash. It’s not really my story anymore. It’s your story and you’re experiencing—so I can only just provide those little reflectors and then it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to interface the piece. Stay on the road or slide off. Pretty simple. That’s all. Questions? (Laughter)

FG: Let’s see if we can stump Craig. Who’s got a question for Craig?

Guest 1: When you started the installation, what piece or object did you start with first?

CN: A grain of rice. (Laughter)

I make these things all the time. Constantly making little things that never really get shown, so they’re just part of the practice of finding out about things. And that’s how it started. I just had all of these—I thought I’d just put a grid of paintings but you know, one things leads to the next and then it’s too late.

Guest 2: How do you make all your own pigments? How long does it take you to make the pigments that are your colors?

CN: Well, I have a sort of secondary prison structured yard where I employ all these people to break rocks. (Laughter) And they get community service for it. So. Nah. It, it takes what it takes. I mean it doesn’t take that long. I just use a hammer and break a whole bunch of rocks and then turn it into pigment. Once I have a storehouse of pigment you know, it lasts for quite a while. So it’s not like every day I have to break rocks. (Laughter) I get a rest every once and awhile. Does that answer your question?

Guest 2: More or less.

CN: Doesn’t take very long. Not as long as you’d think.

Anyone else? That’s a big crowd. Kevin.

Guest 3: I was wondering, did you touch on the autobiographical and how it surfaces as your history and as a public gesture?

CN: Well. Everything is kind of biographical, right? In a certain sense. You could divorce your experience from your work but it’s fairly inundated—for me it’s fairly inundated. In other words, my experience is really the only thing I have that seem kind of solid. But, experience is also subjective and made up of a whole bunch of different kind of chronological snapshots of things…I’m interested in the seams of how those things kind of jar against each other. Right. You can’t read it seamlessly. You read it in pieces and all those pieces add up to the reflectors I was talking about—about not sliding off the road. So. That’s just my methodology of putting them together. And yes, I mean I have a whole—everybody has their story and it’s all embedded in there. But, really I’m not trying to like make you believe my story. I’m just trying to let you come up here and have your own experience in relationship to the parameters of what’s been set up.

And obviously I can go on and on about my story but you know.

Guest 3: Well there is the gesture of the political and the cultural. So is there dynamics in there (trails off)

CN: Well, it’s just all—I mean that’s how I grew up. So no matter which way I turn I have to look at the politics of ethnicity, the you know who I, it’s my experience. I’m split in half. Sort of Japanese and half American so I can never really settle into one place. But, I don’t really consciously set out to go, “I’m going to make a Japanese-American piece.” It’s just the stuff that I’m interested in that I pursue. And it kind of falls into place, hopefully, along the way.

Guest 4: Where does the line fall between you, as in you as a human being and you as in defined as a Japanese-American? Is there a line? And is it sometimes the same, sometimes different? Is it overlapping?

CN: uh, well. When I eat pizza I eat it with rice. (Laughter) So, so I guess that’s where the line is. (Laughter)

Guest 3: That’s the best answer ever.

FG: Let’s wrap it up on that high note. Thank you so much Craig Nagasawa. (Applause) Since we’re right here, Kwame could we have you speak about this piece here.

Kwame Braun: Okay. This is a complete departure for me. I usually make video. But I literally, I read Farley’s invitation to submit something and I immediately came up with this thing. Quite spontaneously. I don’t entirely know why. The original inspiration, well I have a Roomba…uh YouTube is full of cats riding them. (Laughter) But I guess the most immediate inspiration was the mess after the most recent Gay Pride parade, which was a lot of fluff and glitter on the sidewalk and I thought that it was really lovely. So I thought I’d do a face off Roomba’s and stuff raining down…Now, Farley’s invitation was perfect for me because as a departure from my normal practice, I felt it was an invitation to fail. So I built this thing without really knowing it would work. And, in fact, some of the things haven’t worked out as I conceived of them. For example, the Roombas…normally take a good deal of time to find their way around a room. And they have some sort of algorithm that eventually creates some sort of map so that they don’t keep on bumping into things. But what I didn’t realize is that, put them into a small area like this, they only run for seven minutes…and then shut down. So I took the opportunity to say, “Well what can I do with this.” And I came up with this. A little sign here that say, “If the robots are dormant, please provoke them [by pushing their buttons]”. (Laughter)

(excerpts from the beginning 16 minutes of the Art Talk)

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