Thursday, December 15, 2005


I’m in the middle of moving --while reading your papers. To top it off, my email at dada was cancelled (they promised to bring it back tonight). If you sent something, it got returned. When I have some time, I’ll go over a critique. It will address pros and cons of each piece at the exhibit. Au revoir.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Lisa Schwal's "The Last Supper"

Ana G. Gonzalez's "It's Robbing Me of My Reading Time"

Amanda Rousse's "Mis Pies Hacen el Trabajo"

Josh Borgschulte's "The Depreciation of Life"

Heidi Abella's "What Ochun Likes"

Naomi Witt's "Water Fall Lilly"

Natalia Villegas' "From Here to Where?"

Sarah Schermerhorn's "Help Wanted"

Nydia Perez's "Boris"

Art 106 Class

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Update: Tonight's Show

We’re almost done! At 7pm we’ll fix Heidi and Ana’s installations (Sierra is doing a performance). There’s a nice blurb in thenextfewhours about the show. Thanks, Kathleen! Tomorrow we’ll post some pics from the event.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Update: Final Show

Securing a space hasn’t been easy. Today, finally I got an email from Tiffany over at Dacra. Craig Robins (the entrepreneur) was kind enough to find a space over at the Buena Vista Building (the building where Carlos de Villasante had his last show). Room #216 is a small but nice space on the second floor. There’s a problem: Because we’re so close to Art Basel, the artists are still dismantling their work. I’ve been told that we may work in the space on --the latest-- Saturday. If that’s the case, we’ll go there Sunday noon and mount our show for that evening. If not, it would have to be on Monday. Not optimal, but it’s the best I can do now. Getting a room at UM has been impossible, even though I’ve sent emails to numerous people, including the Department Chair. They know (for the past six years) that this one-night event is a crucial component in my ART 106 class. Yes, I’m pissed off.

Saturday, December 3, 2005


I’m negotiating a new date for the exhibition. By the way, Liz Cerejido, curator at FIU and a well-known Miami artist will come to our class next Thursday. Hope you’re enjoying Art Basel.

Friday, December 2, 2005


Kids: There's so much to see! My picks for the rest of the weekend are (aside from the AB Convention Center): OMNIART (with a bunch of artists from all over FIU, New World, UM, etc), NADA, which is always a nice alternative, SCOPE (which has been consistently good in precious years). Don't miss Maritza Molina's opening at Tachmes Gallery. There's also CIFO.
See ya!

Thursday, December 1, 2005


This Thursday and through the weekend is ART BASEL. Go out there, find whatever excites you (there's a lot to see). Write me a page of your experiences. We will discuss your findings and opinions next Thursday. Tonight I’m negotiating a space for the show even outside UM (wish me luck). A new lecture post is forthcoming. I'll keep the comments open in case you want to share some interesting discoveries. Ciao!

Sunday, November 20, 2005


The FINAL paper is divided into three sections: Where do I come from? Where am I? Where am I going? Three sections linked by an interrupted narrative; give about one third to each section. The idea comes from Gaugin’s masterpiece (D'où venons nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?).

1- Where do I come from? Go back in time and collect those distinctive experiences that have contributed to, and taken you to this point of your life as an artist. Be honest.

2- Where am I? Explore the present. Where are you right now? How do you see your style, what interests you? Are you going in a good direction? Find problems or shortcomings. What do you think you need to change? Be thorough.

3- Where am I going? Look at the future. Based on your personal history what can you expect of yourself? What are your dreams? Try to put yourself in an imagined world of achievements part fulfilled and still part to be realized. Be prudent.

Criterion: The paper should be word processed, handed with no binding. Use Arial font #11, double space. 15 pages for writing credit, 10 pages for regular credit. Deadline: I will collect the paper the last day of classes. No exceptions.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mirna Massengale

So, what do you think of Mina's presentation? (My paper post and lecture coming up)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Artist Mirna Massengale is coming to class tomorrow. She makes these interesting photos where she stages young people in odd places exhuding a sexy attitude that mixes ghetto, high fashion, and makeup as art.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The power of images

For centuries, there have been tensions between art and morals and politics. It all boils down to how visual we are, how much importance we give to images (think how Semitic religions absolutely forbid idolatry, which is why Islam has no iconography). Artworks belong in the aesthetic realm, that is to say, they deal with matters of taste, rather than matters of fundamental importance in human interactions, like morality. People know that a movie is a movie, but the depiction of certain narratives can stir profound emotions to the point of violent reaction and censorship. Is it Ok to censor (or condemn) images just because they touch "difficult" subjects? Can one conflate artworks with the real thing? On the other hand, is there a limit that an artist should not trespass for fear of hurting individuals or a group? In what follows, I’ll show some images that have stirred a great deal of controversy. I commented most of these artworks in class, except Oldenburg’s "Free Stamp" and Ofili's "Virgin Mary," which was made with elephant dung. Ofili's painting was part of the 1999 Sensation exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and was publicly attacked by Mayor Giuliani, who threatened to withhold $7 million per year from the Brooklyn Museum of Art if it didn't cancel the exhibition. Oldenburg's sculpture is one of the most controversial works of art displayed in the City of Cleveland. Free Stamp is a massive aluminum and steel sculpture with its large red handle sprawling across the lawn and metal base sinking into the ground displaying the word "FREE" in backwards letters to passersby on Lakeside Avenue. Many see it as an eyesore that is inappropriate for a location at the heart of the City’s Civic Center.

"Virgin Mary" -- Chris Ofili

"Free Stamp" -- Oldenburg

"Madame X" -- John Singer Sargent

"The Absinthe Drinker" -- Degas

"Olympia" -- Manet

"Raft of the Medusa" -- Gericault

Friday, November 11, 2005

Gavin Perry

Gavin got lost, but I'm glad he made it in time for his presentation. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 9, 2005


Tomorrow, Gavin Perry, a well-known Miami artist will talk to our class. I’m still missing some homework handouts and comments on these posts.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Cooper's presentation (2)

It's time to discuss Cooper's presentation. Any comments?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Cooper's presentation

I just got the Ok from Cooper. He will talk to our class this Thursday. A founder of Locust Projects and a well-known Miami artist, Cooper’s works are somewhat cryptic but strong. He’s also a character. I’m sure his presentation will be special. Let’s establish that your projects should be already sketched and since most of it is installation of some sort, let’s discuss presentation issues. My last two posts remain pretty empty. As everything comes back to normal, please, let's exchange some opinions.

Friday, October 28, 2005


Writing this update from a cyber cafe. I hope you're all safe after Wilma's sudden and tempestuous visit. On a different note, Liz Cerejido, a well-known Miami artist and FIU Museum curator was supposed to come this Thursday. It was the third cancellation of a female artist --to have a presentation in our class.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

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Oldenburg's "Broche"

George Segal

Picasso's "Guernica"

Hugo Ball in Dada costume

Schwitters' "Merzbau"

Oldenburg "The Store" (1961)

Dieste's Church (Uruguay)

Pantheon (occulus)

Roman Catacombs

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Installation art

As per installation art there’s always a relationship between void and mass. Art brings illusion, whether as a flat rectangle -as in painting- or as sculpture. Ancient pyramids are huge geometric solids (there’s no division between Amun and the Pharaoh). Athens’ Parthenon brings forth the idea of order, symmetry and scale in function of the citizen. Fast-forward 500 years to Rome’s Pantheon and we find a redefinition of the private/public in the stability and permanence of the empire. In Romanesque architecture the inside means worship and domesticity, while the outside remains dangerous (thus the fortress). Modern science redefines our relationship with space. With the invention of the elevator, buildings can go up dozens of stories; the car (a little room on wheels) takes our intimate living outside. With quantum mechanics, space becomes non-Euclidean. 20th-century art erases the boundaries between object/subject, inside/outside, private/public with Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, Duchamp’s ready-mades, the vast canvases of Pollock, Newman and Still, Frank Stella’s shaped canvases (which broke the hegemony of the rectangle), Sol Lewitt’s wall drawings, Carl Andre’s flat sculptures, Smithson’s earth works, Kaprow’s happenings, Claes Oldenburg’s The Store, and the tableaux of Segal, Kienholz and Tom Wasselmann. Today, buildings look sculptural (Gehry's Guggenheim Museum), while interiors are designed as exteriors (Zaha Hadid).

Friday, October 21, 2005


Any comments on Brook’s presentation last night?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Brook Dorsch this Thursday

I just confirmed Brook Dorsch, director of the Dorsch Gallery (one of Miami's most important venues) will come to talk to the class this Thursday. It should be interesting to have his view point. Bring your questions.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Zhu Ming "Add One Meter To a Mountain"

Zhang Huan "My New York"

William Pope. L. "Wittgenstein and my brother Frank"

Shintaro Miyake "Innocy's House"

Michael Heiman "Test No. 2"

Performance art

For our show in December, I’d like you to consider the possibility of performance. Since the early 1900’s Futurismo and then Dada brought forth new ways of doing art. Back then, performance art was seen as futuristic theater or dada events. In the late 1950’s they called them “happenings.” It was about the action and the body; a moving painting, live-sculpture, less-than and more than theater. Performance is like art in the living flesh: sensual, weird, ephemeral and always cathartic. If done well, it touches you, and makes you think.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Carlos de Villasante

Let’s use this post to discuss Carlos’ presentation. I took with me his constant exploration of figure/ground, his iconoclastic syncretism of lowbrow lucha libre masks mixed with Mexican prehistory, pop, hieroglyphics and collage of alternative materials. I want to have your opinions in this post.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Carlos de Villasante is coming to speak to the class this Thursday. As per Amanda's legitimate point (of bringing a female artist for a class presentation), it turns that for some bizarre reason two well-known female artists who had already confirmed their visits couldn't make it: Maritza Molina and Frances Trombly. I expect Naomi Fisher in late October, early November. Let's see. I'll send you an email tonight.

Monday, October 10, 2005

21st Century Female Art

Ana Mendieta envisioned the female body as a primal source of life and sexuality, as a symbol of the ancient paleolithic goddesses. In her siluetas, Mendieta used her body or images of her body in combination with natural materials. Austrian artist Valie Export has worked in film, video, photography, text and performance. Initially expanding the Actionist project to confront a complex feminist critique of the social and political body, her works achieve a compelling fusion of the visceral and the conceptual. Catherine Opie gained national attention for her large format portraits of dyke daddies, gay male performance transvestites, FTM transexuals, tattooed and scarified gay men and lesbians and other members of a social milieu where sexual identity is most dramatically thrown into question. Opie places her subjects clearly and calmly in the center of focus. Elke Krystufek’s art is about herself, her ego and her life. For ten years, her impertinent performances have exhibited a voyeuristic/exhibitionistic dynamic that dissolves the boundaries between public and private. British Hepworth’s adherence to abstraction was lifelong and drew on geometric as well as organic shapes. She introduced into England the idea of piercing the solid mass of sculpture with a "hole," making the object more transparent. This concept influenced the future work of Henry Moore, among others. Hepworth’s hollow interiors become more important than the enveloping material. As the viewer's eye is drawn inside the sculpture, the openings invite the surrounding landscape to become part of the artwork. Adrian Piper is a conceptual artist (and philosophy professor) whose work, in a variety of media, has focused on racism, racial stereotyping and xenophobia. Nan Goldin is an example of an artist who works at the most intimate level: her life is her work and her work, her life. Her "snapshot"-esque images of her friends -- drag queens, drug addicts, lovers and family -- are intense, searing portraits that, together, make a document of Goldin's life. Marlene Dumas makes paintings with no concept of the taboo. Racism, sexuality, religion, motherhood and childhood are all presented with chilling honesty. Undermining universally held belief systems, Dumas corrupts the very way images are negotiated. Stripped of the niceties of moral consolation, Marlene Dumas’s work provokes unmitigated horror. Sarah Lucas often employs metaphors that represent or symbolise sexual body parts. These metaphors are frequently food or furniture which she utilises as ready-mades, attributing new meanings to them. Silvie Fleury displays stylish items of fashion and design in order to compare and clash them with the everyday world. In a way, fashion is dissected from its aura and made banal. Vanessa Beecroft has become famous for her human installations featuring armies of vaguely similar women (and lately men) wearing identical underwear, high heels, wigs, and not much else. Their nudity becomes almost like a uniform. She explores the intrusion of the public, Pop, fashion, conceptual art, and the body as object. Rosemarie Trockel is one of the most important figures in the contemporary art movement in Germany. Trockel challenges established theories about sexuality, culture, and artistic production. In her "knitted paintings" Trockel designs patterns on a computer that are then produced by a knitting machine. Louise Nevelson’s wood assemblages typically painted in either jet black or – later- in white and gold, ranged in size from the small to the large and monumental, inviting viewers to observe a world into which they could not go but in which they often feared they had already been placed. Eva Hesse was sent with her sister to Holland to flee the Nazis in 1938. Their parents joined them and they moved to New York in 1939. When Eva was nine, her parents separated and her father remarried. A few months later her mother, who had a history of depression, committed suicide by throwing herself from a window. Hesse used to say that she aimed to create ‘nothings’. One can create a ‘nothing’ by making things that aren’t things (in the sense fixed representative objects). And Hesse’s objects always do more than merely represent. If art is always made to mean things and to represent, the only way out is to make what Hesse called "non-art." Louise Nevelson was one of the most important American sculptors of the twentieth century. Her wood assemblages typically painted in either jet black, white and gold, ranged in size from the small and personal to the large and monumental, inviting viewers to observe a world into which they could not go but in which they often feared they had already been placed. Barbara Kruger is internationally renowned for her signature black, white and red poster-style works of art that convey in-your-face messages on women's rights and issues of power. Barbara Kruger knows how to capture our attention with her bold socio-political photomurals, displayed on billboards, bus stops and public transportation as well as in major museums and galleries wordwide. With Louise Bourgeois' work, we are faced with the presence of subjects of desire. They may not be immediate figures of desire, but they position themselves clearly as “operations” of desire. Bourgeois' sculptures exhale the sweat of erotic work.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Valie Export "Made in Austria"

Ana Mendieta "Silueta"

Catherine Opie "Portrait"

Barbara Hepworth "Oval"

Elke Krystufek "Silent Scream"

Adrian Piper "You"

Marlene Dumas "Euro"

Nan Goldin "Untitled"

Sarah Lucas "Aunty Jam"

Sylvie Fleury "YES TO ALL"

Vanessa Beecroft "Untitled"

Rosemarie Trockel "Untitled"

Louise Nevelson "Royal Tide"

Eva Hesse "Three Nets"