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Hello! I believe I am the last of your Visual Arts Curators to properly introduce myself to the a+c visual arts community. I am an aspiring contemporary art curator and current graduate student in the Art History and Arts Administration dual MA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently my research interests include analyzing the effects of neoliberal economic policies on third world art markets and how artists working in new media can subvert hegemonic economic structures, and looking at the ways in which text and image interface in contemporary art practices. I am also a co-founder of processPROJECTS (launching Sept. 8 2009) and for this project, I'm most interested in the different networks that are engaged throughout artistic and cultural production. When not debating contemporary art theory over red wine, I like to tear it up in the kitchen. I make a mean pizza. 

“Thanks for the intro, Danica. I have enjoyed your past contributions and I look forward to your future posts!”
Posted over 4 years ago
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I finally made it down to the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago, and I must admit I'm ashamed I didn't get my lazy self down there sooner. What an incredible space! Next time you find yourself with a few hours to spend in downtown Chicago, it is definitely worth a visit at the very least to marvel at Renzo Piano's beautiful architectural design.


The new wing of the museum launched with a special exhibit of Cy Twombly's most recent work, entitled Cy Twombly: The Natural World, Selected Works 2000-2007. The exhibit is broken up into thematic sections that reflect motifs in Twombly's work that have appeared since 2000; motifs that are an elegant and harmonious departure from the violent scribbles of the 50s and 60s that the 82-year-old artist is best known for. 


Flora, the first thematic section of the exhibit explores floral motifs in Twombly's work through painting and sculpture. Rich, vibrant canvases in magenta and violet are tastefully echoed by the few sculptural pieces in the gallery. Twombly invites us here to examine flora as texture and color with thick acrylic paint blobs that ooze out of the two-dimensional surface of the canvas. From Flora, we move to the next set of galleries which contain ephemeral sea foam green paintings juxtaposed with darker, more mysterious earthy brown squiggle paintings that represent Twombly's attempt to capture the moody sea. Like in Flora, this next thematic exploration is evocative more than descriptive in the way it invites the viewer to imagine nature not as something to be catalogued and described, but as something that is inherent and felt.


Perhaps the most stunning part of the exhibit is one of the final thematic rooms containing Twombly's monumental Peony Blossom Paintings. Extending nearly from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, these paintings envelope the viewer in lush saffron and crimson peony blooms. Haiku inscribed in the artists' hand on some of the paintings link the breathtaking flowers to the Japanese idea of the peony as capable of invoking aesthetic contemplation in the viewer. Twombly's haiku also invites the viewer to pacifism and pleasure in the eye of war and combat.


Curator James Rondeau does well in providing very few placards and sparse wall text, allowing the viewer to come away from this exhibit with their own impression of Twombly's most recent works. Indeed, Rondeau truly allows these exquisite works to speak volumes for themselves.


 

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posted on 06.25.09

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Venice Biennale

I just finished reading Jerry Saltz's New York Magazine piece on the Venice Biennale and I'm contemplating his idea of entropy in the art world right now. It's something that I've been thinking about in my writing for other projects, but I would be interested in hearing if anyone has any thoughts about their current practice or observations on where innovation is happening in art right now.

Tom Villa says:
“Maybe what's happening in the art world is the exhaustion of the distribution system. We've had 60-70 (?) years of the white box as an art container. How far can you go with things to insert into, sell and diplay in a white box? Often the work I've seen that's interesting doesn't fit comfortably in this environment. (video work is a good example). Maybe it's discipline provincialism on my part but I feel the exciting ideas are coming out of design and architecture, people working cross discipline. I do know a few artists who are working collaboratively with people in other fields. And what about a Sasha Baron Cohen who has chosen a different form to distribute his work. I think the next exciting thing in the art world will come out of someone working with interactive/web/distributed devices and they may have no need for the existing commodity model of white boxes.”
Posted over 5 years ago
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Biennales

I've been checking out the reviews of the 53rd Venice Biennale over the past few days that for the most part purport that Daniel Birnbaum's theme of "Making Worlds," resulted in a biennale that is cautious, disciplined, and fairly unremarkable. Michael Kimmelman's review for the New York Times, which you can read here, goes so far as to say that, "If any show can be said to reflect a larger state of affairs in art now, this one suggests a somewhat dull, deflated contemporary art world, professionalized to a fault, in search of a fresh consensus." I've been trapped in this miserable Chicago summer (rain? cold?), and did not have the fortune to check it out in person. I'm interested in what people who did have the opportunity to travel to Venice this year thought about the show? Please send your thoughts my way.

“My parents had the chance to attend and said it was nothing compared to years past. Very toned down and not as extravagant. It was interesting to hear about the "controversy" Liam Gillick caused by deciding to set up at the Germany pavilion rather than the British or US pavilion. On a side note, Art Basel was supposedly fantastic and some amazing art was on display.”
Posted over 5 years ago
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This last semester I took an amazing class on minimalist and postminimalist art and theory that exposed me to the really great critical writing that a lot of artists were doing in addition to their practice in the 1960s and 1970s. I ended up doing some writing on the written work of Robert Smithson and Mel Bochner, which you can see an excerpt of in an earlier post, but really felt that I barely cracked the surface of the body of artist's critical writings from the period. Here are a few that I consider essential to beginning to understand the depth and multiplicity of topics that artists were covering during the 60s/70s, along with a few on my personal "must read" list:


Robert Morris, Continuous Project Altered Daily, 1969


Robert Smithson, "A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey, 1967


Donald Judd, "Specific Objects," 1965


Mel Bochner, “Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to Be Viewed as Art," 1966


Dan Graham, “Homes for America," 1966-7


Joseph Kosuth, "Art After Philosophy," 1969

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