In my last post we visited Street Level Youth Media and talked to Steven Evans about how his nonprofit empowers and supports Chicago’s young artists by introducing them to new digital media. Today’s post is all about adults and the arts. How do arts organizations engage artists and communities? One place I think has good answers is Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC), one of Chicago’s oldest and best-known arts organizations. Read more
I’m interested in the big picture. How do arts organizations function and build support, survive and thrive? During a recent visit to Chicago I had the opportunity to sit down with four nonprofit leaders working at different levels of the city’s art scene. At a time of financial rollercoasters, shifting demographics, and a globalizing world, I was interested to see how these art organizations continued to reach out to changing communities and tap in to the creative energy they have to offer. Read more
During my first solo trip to the West Coast, which I wrote about in my first blog post, I continued to cover ground across Los Angeles and visited several of the many city museums. In addition to a walk through the LACMA collection and the Hammer Museum, I also managed to visit MOCA where I met up with Ed Giardina, one of five people in the Los Angeles–based collective Finishing School. Read more
Equipped with insider tips and a thorough guidebook, and having arranged several meetings ahead of time, I recently embarked on my first solo trip to the West Coast. As the Kress Fellow in the Education Department at MoMA, I received a travel grant to broaden my knowledge of a specific area of contemporary art. I chose to go to Los Angeles to meet with various artists, collectives, activists, and educators whose practices are guided by socially constructive aims and whose creative projects seek to engage communities in environmental issues. Read more
As Dedalus Fellow in the Museum Archives, I received a travel grant to broaden my understanding of modern art. Last summer, I chose to journey to the American Southwest to view Earth art, Minimalism, and other forms of post-war abstraction in Texas and New Mexico. My goal was to examine the “art pilgrimage” from a critical perspective, while trying to achieve that spiritual experience associated with it: to turn myself into a pilgrim, while remaining grounded in art history.
My first destination was Lightning Field, Walter de Maria’s 1977 work near Quemado, New Mexico. The artwork, which comprises a grid of four hundred stainless steel poles, is located miles from civilization in a flat basin surrounded by mountains. Off to one edge is a cabin where visitors stay overnight. No photographs are allowed; de Maria insists on the primacy of one’s own, subjective experience of the work. Walking among the poles, my feet sank into soft clay. I watched the gleaming metal poles grow brilliant in the sunset, then fade. I listened to birds’ wings. I was rained upon. At night, I walked outside to deafening quiet and a Milky Way sky of exquisite clarity. It became clear why de Maria forbids photography: photographs would document only the New Mexico landscape, not the actual sensation of being here. Read more
Berlin has been calling to me for quite a while—for years I’ve been hearing breathless accounts of the thriving arts scene there—and I’ve been searching for an opportunity to go. So when a friend of mine from San Francisco told me about Transmediale, a festival and conference dedicated to new media, digital art, and futurity, taking place in Berlin the first week of February, my mind was made up. I had to go. Even if it did mean Berlin in February. Read more