Friday, September 29, 2006


For next class I'd like a one-page "report" of MAC's current exhibition. Briefly describe what the show is about and express your opinion about it. Please, word-processed, no binder.

Snitzer last night

Snitzer's presentation was pretty intense. He's been to my classes before, but last night was special (you may have to do with that). What are your thoughts?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The artist as Shaman

Shamanism is not a 'religion' but rather a world-view system or a 'grammar of the mind' having many intercorrelations with art, culture, ecology and economy.-- Juhna Pentikäinen (Professor of Comparative Religion, Helsinki University Museum)

The central idea behind shamanism is the contact with the supernatural world by the ecstatic experience of an inspired intermediary, the shaman. There are four important constituents of shamanism: (1) the ideological premise of the supernatural world and the contacts with it; (2) the shaman as an actor (an intermediary) on behalf of a human group, (3) the inspiration granted him by his helping spirits; and (4) the extraordinary, ecstatic experiences of the shaman. In shamanistic rituals, the shaman uses different objects; some are natural, such as precious stones, bits of metal, teeth and claws of animals, bones, plants, and so on (“ready-mades?”). Then, there are man-made amulets (sort of sculptures), which include medallions, small figurines, carved knives, drums of all sizes, wheels and masks. These serve as objects for invocation, divination and healing. Since shamanism uses diagrams to establish cosmological renditions of the universe, one could think of these diagrams as aesthetic materials. My point is that in our secular societies of the West, art can be seen as a symbolic condensation of our environment, a way to depict and evaluate our milieu. Artists produce objects that have an aesthetic function for a receiving audience. Think of the parallel between the altar and the artist's studio (or the white cube for that matter) as places of art-convocation. It may be that (as sociologist Jurgen Habermas has suggested), artists have the role of "translating chaotic everydayness into ordered aesthetic symbols for public understanding."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The one and only Fred Snitzer is coming tomorrow. It should be a lot of fun.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Gean Moreno

So, what did you think about Gean’s presentation last night?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Conceptual art

1- According to conceptual art, the "concept" is more important than the work itself. This is not new (idealists have maintained that conception is more important than execution in that ideas are unpolluted by accidents): Art as a mental form; perceived, evaluated and savored as ideological and communicative instead of object-like and/or "expressive." Anything that is made up of "information" (including a written proposal, photographs, documents, maps and whatnot) counts as conceptual (the term has come to encompass all art forms outside traditional painting or sculpture). 2- Conceptual art can be traced back to Marcel Duchamp, who from the second decade of the 20th century produced various iconoclastic pieces in which he questioned the traditional values of the art world. However, conceptual art did not acquire a name or become a recognized movement until the late 1960s. Since then, the conceptual trend became widespread, flourishing at the same time as other movements, such as Arte Povera, Land art, Performance art and video art. 3- Conceptual art was initially anti-commercial. Artists thought that by eliminating objecthood, they would rid themselves of the problem of commodification behind “collectable art” (it didn't happen, after the movement was legitimized, conceptual art was very much collected). 4- By conveying a "conceptual message" artists rejected the Humanist stereotype of "creator" or "talent" so prevalent in the genius culture that developed since the mid-19th Century. 5- Conceptual art takes a great variety of forms, such as diagrams, photographs, video tapes, sets of instructions, and so on. 6- The movement was the forerunner for installation, digital, and other art forms in the 1990's.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I need all your posts by 5pm today. After that time, I'll close the comments. Tomorrow Gean Moreno is coming to class. Until next month, you can see Moreno's show at Snitzer Gallery.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Go Banksy!

Again, Banksy, enfant terrible. Viva design!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

These third-generation ipods ads have been pretty successful. In this one, young human silhouettes (in black) dance inside an undifferentiated green space, along with traffic-sign arrows, capriciously bisecting or unraveling to the beat of rock music. Then, a female silhouette fills the foreground. For a couple of seconds, the shimmering ipod on her chest comes out the foreground and we read: “Life is random.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Update #2

Look at my syllabus. All your comments must be inputted by Wednesday, to give me time to read and grade them by Thursday. A couple of students (you know who you are) still owe me comments from last week's assignment. I think there's enough time from Friday to Wednesday to concoct 120 words. I cannot be more clear about this.

Saturday, September 9, 2006


The graffiti artist we talked about in class is Banksy. And this is the news of his latest guerilla performance in London. Tonight, openings at Charo's Edge Zones, Dorsch, Snitzer, The Moore Space (7-10pm, a cool performance by Tracy + the Plastics), Ingalls, Bernice Steinbaum, Locust Projects and Hardcore (among others). Just ask people for other places. Hope to see you.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

A Chinese poster of Karl Marx. (Without the lettering, it could work as a KFC logo).

The caption: "One eats the other and the Jew devours them all..." The cartoon promotes the Nazi claim that the Jews were behind World War II, having orchestrated it to destroy Nazi Germany.

Monday, September 4, 2006


1- I need more comments to my Thursday post. To make it easier, think of "symbols" that you are using right now in your projects. Do you feel akin to any in particular? Why? 2- Thursday we'll talk about this weekend's openings in Wynwood. 3- Check out Kelly Flynn’s Website; she's in our 106 class. I find her work well-executed and pretty interesting. 4- This Thursday, Brook Dorsch is coming to class. A true lover of the arts and pioneer of the Wynwood art scene, Brook owns of one of Miami's best arthouses, The Dorsch Gallery. Don't miss Dorsch's opening this Saturday (now with a newly-installed AC!)

Friday, September 1, 2006

How about Charo?

I was absorbed by Charo's presentation. Particularly because we had talked about ready-mades, which she defined as "an opportunity to share," "an experience" (which reminded me of Arte Povera). As if the more difficult the task, the bigger the empowerment. And how about seducing the gods with antennas? Charo is definitely a character. Tell me your thoughts and be frank. This is not a place for edulcoration.