Archive for the ‘favorite artists/collectives’ Category

Just coming off a lovely weekend trip in New York, where I spent quite a few hours at the Museum of Modern Art jealously eyeing the entrance to the much hyped Tim Burton exhibition that opens this week, I am still sad that I missed the opening by mere days!!! While lamenting my loss of not being able to see the fabulous exhibit, I came across this MOMA interview with Tim Burton and I found the part about how he felt about drawing as a child to be quite interesting and I thought I would share….

And if you’ll be in NY between November 22nd and April 26th, you might wanna go check it out!


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Post Secret Blog Spot   http://postsecret.blogspot.com/

Frank Warren is a small business owner who started PostSecret.com as a community art project. Calls himself the “accidental artist” and is known to be “the most trusted stranger in America”.  Post secret is where you write down a secret on a postcard and decorate it anyway you want.  You mail it in to Frank and he selects ones to go into his books, there are 5 now.  He has also used the postcards for exhibits, and lectures.  Post secret is growing internationally with the trend now being available in multiple languages.  Each site is runned by someone within that country.

French Post secret site   http://postsecretfrance.blogspot.com/

German Post secret site  http://postsecretdeutsch.blogspot.com/

Russian Post secret site http://postsecret.ru/

Spanish Post secret site http://elmundopostsecret.blogspot.com/

Chinese Post secret site http://blog.hani.co.kr/postsecret/

In April of 2008 Warren teamed up with 1-800-suicide to answer some of these anonymous cries for help through peer run crisis hotlines on college campuses

American Rejects also used the Post secret agenda for their music video “Dirty Little Secret”.  They used actual post cards that people have sent in.  The price for the dirty little secrets splashed all over  was to donate to the suicide hot line

Watch the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ikv7TI87io

If you want to send your own secret this is how you do it

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NOTE: Explicit imagery

Nan Goldin (1953) is a documentary photographer who captures her life and the people she loves in a series of colorful breathtaking snapshots.  Her style is definitely described as snap shot esque.  She is best known for her work depicting the underground world of her drag queen friends, her violent relationship with her ex boyfriend, and the slow and heartwrenching demise of aids inflicted friends, including her best friend Cookie.

Photo by Nan Goldin. Nan one month after being battered, 1984

Gotscho kissing Gilles (deceased), 1993

I particularly love Goldin’s use of available lighting and timing.  Notice the way the light streams in through the car window and the way the cigarette smoke curls…it’s as if you’re in the car with them at that very moment.

Nan Goldin ran away from home when she was 14 years old (right after her older sister committed suicide) and lived in numerous foster homes.  In 1968 her teacher at Satya Community School introduced her to the camera, and that is when she first began documenting Boston’s gay and transexual community, introduced to her by yet another famous photographer and close friend, David Armstrong.

Goldin documented her friends during the post-punk-new wave scene and would display her work in slideshow form at local bars and clubs, accompanied by music.  One of her most famous slide shows is titled The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.

Nan Goldin is represented exclusively by the Matthew Marks Gallery and Yvon Lambert Gallery.


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I recently became aware of this fibers artist, Peter Callesen and his work is astounding. He uses computer paper –the most commonly used paper in the world. He takes a simple surface (available in EVERY classroom), and creates the most beautiful works… Check out some images, take not of the clever titles as well, these are simply amazing.

Peter Callesen
Transparent God, 2009
Acid-free 140 gsm paper and glue, 350 x 450 x 170 cm

And a close-up detail: TransparentGodDetail600

A second image, which I find almost hard to believe that this is just paper.
Fall, 2008
210 x 240 x 70 cm
140 gsm acid free paper, and glue

I think there are a lot of ideas that could stem from this work. I think his work is so interesting it would keep kids’ attention –although it’s definitely intimidating– I would have to really consider what projects students would be able to successfully complete.

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Maria Gaspar, originally from Chicago, moved to New York to pursue her dreams of attending art school. Gaspar attended Pratt Institute, graduating with a BFA in Painting and Certificate in Art Education for K-12th grade. Of her experience in traveling to New York she writes,

“It was the perfect time and place to explore. I worked with my professor and mentor, Ernesto Pujol who encouraged me to find my artistic language. I learned the meaning of meaning, concept and material. These experiences and more helped lay my artistic and professional foundation. In NYC, I learned what and how. I learned what I was communicating and how to express those ideas.”

When Gaspar graduated, she moved back to Chicago. Her current work is a discussion of culture and the way her Mexican heritage is represented and glorified. She focuses on the leftovers from parades. Using whatever she finds to create the scene, implying that the Mexican culture has become commodified:
Maria Gaspar-3
Hovering cloud, 2008
Oblation for another parade, 2009

She is an important artist to consider teaching about –her work is based in Chicago, and she is constantly working with students and in schools. I find her work to be extremely curious and thought-provoking. I can definitely see lessons surrounding culture and representations of heritage in the public.

Check out her website for the full details of her work.

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Artist Layla Curtis, calls herself a “topographical designer” that makes subtly 3-d collages and drawings as a “gentle mockery of cartography” changing the names and locations of places like in this collage “Hard Cash” (2004):

A detail shot of “Hard Cash” (2004):

Curtis not only does drawings and collages tied to place, she has done many performative and video series, such as one involving collections of Souvenirs from Manchester and her Message in a Bottle project.

Message in a Bottle: From Ramsgate to the Chatham Islands


On 25th May 2004, fifty bottles containing messages were released into the sea off the south-east coast of England near Ramsgate Maritime Museum, Kent. The intended destination of the bottles is The Chatham Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The islands, which are 800km east of mainland New Zealand, are the nearest inhabited land to the precise location on the opposite side of the world to Ramsgate Maritime Museum. It is anticipated that the bottles may be found several times before reaching the Chatham Islands. Several of the bottles are being tracked using GPS technology and are programmed to send their longitude and latitude coordinates back to Ramsgate every hour. The information they transmit is used to create a real time drawing of their progress, that looks something like this:

Each non-GPS bottle contains a message from residents of Ramsgate to the residents of The Chatham Islands, a pencil and an instruction leaflet which requests anyone finding a bottle to report to her website and record where and when the bottle was found. In addition they are requested to document their find on a form inside the bottle before returning the bottle to the sea to continue its journey. A page is maintained archiving the found bottles reports here.

Curtis shows an interest in connecting places through her artwork, by releasing these bottles to be found by those far away, in a location-specific place, however she is also interested in the journey of her work, by having people report when and where they are found. I think this project conveys a great concept of what you can do with your artwork to connect where you are currently with places afar, physically or metaphorically, that would be great to show students. I would love to explore a lesson plan, having the students create multiples of objects that mean something to them or where they are from personally, to leave in places or send out to various places, so they are able to experience where they end up or how they are reacted to.

Extra Fun:

Although my main intent in this blog posting was to share with you this particular place-based project of Layla Curtis’s, I can’t help being inspired by this hilarious scene from The Office, a couple weeks ago….

to now show you some more recent work of Curtis’s, from 2008, wherein she participated in a Parkour Thermal Images Documentary project. Curtis’s motivation was her interest in “capturing marks on surfaces as sort of evidence of somebody moving through a space”. Place-based too, huh? Yup, so using a thermal imaging camera and the help of Westminster residents, Curtis followed parkour artists to capture the thermal traces of their movements or through spaces. Called “a temporary piece of public art that references the place of Mayfair,” by Charlotte Ferguson (Arts Liason of Westminster), it is another absolutely fantastic concept that would be very interesting to show students and open a discussion on the imprints we make on the spaces we inhabit in our daily lives.

The full documentary is also available to watch here!

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