Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An LC Alum Reflects on the Senior Art Images Project

Untitled (Thoughts), Hannah Berry, 2012, oil on canvas, 40”x 60”
The Senior Art Project is a capstone for Lewis & Clark College Art majors and a point of pride and celebration for all members of the graduating class. These bodies of work are saved for posterity and are now easily accessible in Lewis & Clark’s very own, homegrown Senior Studio Art Archive!  In the beginning of every studio art major’s senior year, they are set to the task of composing a body of work that culminates on display at the end-of-year Senior Art Exhibition in the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art on campus. Every Senior Art Exhibition has a different flavor because it is the sum total of each artist’s thoughts and ideas and physical work, poured into one project over two semesters. Just as everyone senses and reacts to the world in a different way, so every Senior Art Project is a beautifully unique visual (and sometimes video and audio and tactile) culmination of the art major’s entire Lewis & Clark career.

As a member of the 2012 graduating class, it is a privilege to witness how my peers’ projects have transformed from sketches to experiments to masterfully created final projects. In most ways it is entirely similar to capstone and thesis projects in other departments, differing only in spatial accessibility. The studio artist is an architect and her final work is a physical object that exists apart from her. It may be seen and viewed and felt by any viewer, without the artist as mediator (except in the case of performance art, where this concept is entirely reversed). Ideas take shape in paint and paper and ink and plaster and wood and plastic and linen and thread and metal and so on. It is therefore crucial that senior studio art projects be preserved in a medium that has the capacity for high image quality, large image format and easy accessibility.

In the years from 1993 - 2005, senior art projects were documented and archived in the form of 35mm slides, and from 2005-2008 on CD. The slides document exhibits in the old Peebles Art Building, which was torn down in 1995. Images were virtually inaccessible to those who were not able to physically visit the archive. From 2008 until recently, all senior art images were transferred to and stored on an online image database called MDID. It was an improvement in accessibility and damage control, as it is much easier to safely store a digital file than to do so for a delicate slide, yet the convoluted process of uploading images remained an unfortunate hindrance to the archival system. Now the html laden "middle man" has been eliminated and the legacy of the Art Department can grow with ease through Lewis & Clark’s archive, created by the Visual Resources Collection team at Aubrey R. Watzek Library!

Untitled from “Age Old” series, Will Steinhardt, 2012, ink on paper. 9” x 12”

Available through Lewis & Clark's Visual Resources Center, anyone with an LC username and password can navigate the multitude of senior projects by class year (1993-2012 and ongoing), creator, or medium (ceramics, sculpture, painting, drawing, multimedia, performance). Projects from the most recent graduating classes are accessible to the general public as the archive’s Featured Collections. All images are viewable in a large format that showcases an impressive level of detail, approaching the quality of preeminent art databases such as ArtStor. The Lewis & Clark Senior Art Archive presents a unique space where every studio art major’s culminating body of work is displayed in honest detail, stored for posterity and is easily accessible to anyone within the Lewis & Clark community.

With the graduation of the class of 2012 just recently behind us, it is fantastic timing for the beginning of this excellent archive. It was inspirational to witness the long awaited, hard-earned completion of my friends’ and peers’ projects, and it made me proud to see their finished work on the white and tall walls of the Hoffman Gallery. Now we are fortunate to be able to return to previous years and witness anew the beautiful and varied senior projects, each one a self-portrait in its own way, a fragment of that person at the time they were creating that work. The
Archive is an invaluable asset to the portfolios of graduating artists and it presents a new, enduring, and incredibly significant resource for the community at Lewis & Clark College.

[The Visual Resources team that created this archive was composed of these smart and wonderful people: Stephanie Beene, Natalie Saing and Hanna White, Visual Resources Center Student Assistants, Anneliese Dehner and Jeremy McWilliams of the Digital Initiatives Dept. @ Watzek Library and the folks at the Lewis & Clark Art Department!]

---Penelope Cottrell-Crawford, Visual Resources Intern and Assistant, 2011-2012 (Lewis & Clark College, 2011, walked with the 2012 graduating class)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Controversial St. Louis Museum of Art decision: Groundbreaking or unethical?

Should American institutions hold onto dubiously acquired artifacts, even when their countries of origin ask for them back? 
Ka Nefer-Nefer mask, St. Louis Art Museum, courtesy of The Atlantic

According to an article written in yesterday's Atlantic, the Ka Nefer-Nefer at the St. Louis Art Museum has now become a controversial centerpiece in the long-standing debate about rightful ownership and provenance of antiquities. As Malcolm Gay, Atlantic correspondent writes: 

"In certain respects, the tale of the Ka-Nefer-Nefer follows a familiar script: like many disputed antiquities, the Egyptian funerary mask was unearthed last century and quickly vanished, spending nearly 50 years in obscurity before resurfacing on the European art market in the late 1990s. The St. Louis Art Museum soon bought the mask -- an elaborately tooled cartonnage of blended gold, glass and linen. It has since become the centerpiece in a bitter ownership dispute between the museum, which claims clear title, and Egypt, which charges the mask was plundered from a government storeroom.

But this story went decidedly off-script last year after U.S. officials, acting on Egypt's behalf, entered the fray. The feds informed museum leaders that they believed the mask was stolen, and they intended to use the courts to seize the artifact and return it to Egypt. But where some museums might have simply handed over the goods, St. Louis went on the attack, filing its own a pre-emptive lawsuit that claimed the statute of limitations had expired -- an aggressive challenge from an institution that has repeatedly defied calls to release its grip on this pricey piece of loot."

The story becomes more complicated when we reach its conclusion: "Now comes U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey, who on March 31 handed museum leaders a legal victory, and a moral challenge, when he dismissed the government's forfeiture claim, finding it "devoid of any facts showing that the Mask was 'missing' because it was stolen and then smuggled out of the country." (Underline and bold in the original)."

And thus the ethical controversy. Because, as Gay points out, like so many of antiquities, "Viewed in another light, this is a market whose emphasis on the hard-to-find means that plunder is often whitewashed, making it all but indistinguishable from the legitimate market.... Of course, with their legal victory in hand, museum leaders have little incentive to wrestle with this more delicate question. And that's a shame, because to persevere in this litigious and outmoded view of antiquities collecting throws the St. Louis museum out of step not only with its fellow institutions, many of which have negotiated beneficial settlements for similar claims, but also with the American Association of Museums -- which counts the St. Louis institution as a member, and whose updated acquisition guidelines direct members to scrutinize their ancient art collections when "provenance is incomplete or uncertain."
Given the dueling narratives now in the public realm, the Ka-Nefer-Nefer's provenance has never been more uncertain."

Find the full article here. Read the American Association of Museum's stance on antiquities here and catch what the FBI says about stolen art and antiquities here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

PNCA 2012 Gala: "Transformation"

Stephanie White: Sit Down!, 2010. Image courtesy of PNCA.

The Pacific Northwest College of Art is hosting its 2012 gala on Saturday, June 2nd. The gala will celebrate student thesis work and the "remarkable transformation that PNCA will undertake in the coming years," while raising "essential funds that directly impact students and community." This year the gala will take place on the PNCA campus at 1241 NW Johnson Street. For more information, click here. To purchase tickets, click here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An interview with Harriet Bridgeman, founder of Bridgeman Art Library

Image courtesy of Guardian News.

An interview with Harriet Bridgeman, founder of the Bridgeman Art Library, has been featured in Guardian Professional. The Bridgeman Art Library is just one of the great image resources we offer through Watzek Library, here at LC. In the interview, Bridgeman - whose vocation is not dissimilar from what we do here at the VRC - discusses her inspiration behind founding the Art Library, balancing copyright and ownership with the increasing availability of art, and being a "successful business woman in the arts," among other topics. Check out the full interview here. Below are some interview highlights:

"I dreamt up the Bridgeman Art Library while editing an art publication and becoming increasingly aware of the problems of sourcing good quality images at short notice, or indeed at even a modicum of notice. Museums and art collections did not have the rights and reproduction departments which are now regarded as the norm, nor were they conscious of the income they could potentially generate by not having efficient operations in this area. As I knew from personal experience, it was very hard for publishers to source images quickly and before the days of the internet, to even know what to source and from where!"

"I  think my passion for art and my entrepreneurial spirit are equally balanced; I am fortunate in that I saw a gap and a challenge in an area for which I had a passion and the two continue to feed into each other."

You can access the Bridgeman Art Library among the Visual Resources offered here at Lewis & Clark College. Check it out @ Watzek Library Subject Guide for Art & Art History

Maurice Sendak, Author of ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ Dies at 83

Image courtesy of the NY Times.
"Maurice Sendak, widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83 and lived in Ridgefield, Conn.

The cause was complications from a recent stroke, said Michael di Capua, his longtime editor.

Roundly praised, intermittently censored and occasionally eaten, Mr. Sendak’s books were essential ingredients of childhood for the generation born after 1960 or thereabouts, and in turn for their children. He was known in particular for more than a dozen picture books he wrote and illustrated himself, most famously 'Where the Wild Things Are,' which was simultaneously genre-breaking and career-making when it was published by Harper & Row in 1963."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

LC Senior Art recognized in the Wall Street Journal

Finishing its 19th straight year (15 of which have been held at the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery), the Lewis & Clark Senior Art Majors have just wrapped up another stellar exhibition. 

The promotional postcard for this year's Senior Art Show

This year was especially significant, in the Senior Art Show's recognition among the Portland Art Scene in this article in the Wall Street Journal, published today.

Note the image of 2009 Lewis & Clark Studio Art seniors (Zoe Clark, Caitlin Ducey, and Kyle Thompson), pictured below, along with this excerpt:
"...Lewis & Clark College (where 12128's owner, Kyle Thompson, teaches chemistry, and where the strongest undergraduate exhibition I've seen in a long time was being held)..." (see image below). Placing the Senior Artists among the rising Art Scene in Portland leaves all of us toiling hard at this tiny liberal arts college feeling, well, *recognized*! 

Care to see what the students pictured here have produced this year and in years' past? Check out their work in the BRAND NEW Senior Art Collection & Archive Online! The Collection allows you to contact seniors directly, if they have provided their email addresses, and if not, get in touch with me and we can get in touch with them. Browse by tagcloud, year and name of artist, recent images, or do a search.

The Dept. of Art, the Hoffman Gallery, and the Senior Art Majors at Lewis & Clark are truly world class, and I, for one, am proud to work with all three. Huzzah! Visit the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery's page to view some of the highlights of this year's show.

--Stephanie Beene, Lewis & Clark, Visual Resources Coordinator, Watzek Library

From left, LC 2009 Alums, Zoƫ Clark, Caitlin Ducey and Kyle Thompson outside 12128, a decommissioned crabber, profiled in today's Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Low Lives 4 @ PICA!

Clockwise from top left: Linda Hutchins, Future Death Toll, Robert Tyree, and Austin Adkins. Image courtesy of PICA.

The international performance-based festival, Low Lives, is in its fourth iteration this year and PICA will be hosting the event this Friday and Saturday. Featuring artists Linda Hutchins, Robert Tyree, and Austin Adkins, along with artist collaborative Future Death Toll, this year's Low Lives combines an interdisciplinary roster of artists with performances in real time. On Friday, Hutchins and Future Death Toll will take the stage - with Hutchins combining rhythmic percussion and drawing, while FDT will demonstrate a "form of mitosis," that is, the group will unify "their heads in a single form of alginate, plaster bandages, and breathing tubes." On Saturday, Adkins - whose interest lies in the pursuit of perfection via repetition - will record a video loop of himself rollerblading. Afterwards, Tyree will perform a 5-minute dance piece choreographed to align with the reading of a piece written by his collaborator, Romanian writer Andra Rotaru.

"Now entering its fourth year, Low Lives is an international festival of live performance-based works transmitted via the internet and projected in real time at multiple venues throughout the U.S. and around the world. Low Lives examines works that critically investigate, challenge, and extend the potential of performance practice presented live through online broadcasting networks. These networks provide a new alternative and efficient medium for presenting, viewing, and archiving performances."

PICA will be hosting the event on Friday, April 27th (from 5:30 to 8:30 PM) and Saturday, April 28th (from 12 to 3 PM). The event is free and is located at PICA's new headquarters downtown at 415 SW 10th Avenue, Suite 300. For more details, visit PICA's website. For more on Low Lives, go here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Borderland Collective Lecture @ PSU!

Image courtesy of Borderland Collective.

Via live streaming video, Borderland Collective will be guest lecturing tonight for PSU's weekly Art & Social Practice MFA Lecture Series. The Collective, housed at Texas State University, was founded in 2007 by Ryan Sprott and Jason Reed of West Texas and Ulrich Eigner of Austria. Seeking to bridge the gap between educators, students, artists, and families, the Collective challenges prevailing notions of the contemporary American experience by engaging within communities to provide a realistic portrait of geographic and sociocultural borders in America.

"Borderland Collective is a social art project that facilitates the participatory exploration and documentation of geographic and sociocultural borders. Fueled by collaborations between artists, teachers, youth, and families, the group uses art as a means to trouble notions of who holds knowledge and what stories are told, providing an inclusive representation of the contemporary American experience. The collective was conceived of (with great inspiration from the work of Wendy Ewald) on a road trip along the Texas/Mexico border in 2007 by Ryan Sprott and Jason Reed of West Texas, and Ulrich Eigner of Austria. It is currently housed at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX and directed by Jason Reed, Assistant Professor of Photography."

The lecture series is organized by PSU associate professor Harrell Fletcher alongside MFA students of the Art & Social Practice program. The event occurs every Monday night at 7:30 PM at the Shattuck Hall Annex at no cost! For more information on the PSU Art & Social Practice MFA Lecture Series, click here. For more information on Borderland Collective, click here. To see videos of past lectures, go here:

Civic Ware Community Celebration @ LC!

Image courtesy of Civic Ware.

Come celebrate the semester-long collaboration between Lewis & Clark students and the community members of Village Gardens in North Portland. On Tuesday, April 24th at 4:00 PM, come enjoy a homegrown meal and handcrafted art with the Civic Ware class and Village Gardens in the Albany Quadrangle on the Lewis & Clark campus.

You get a home cooked meal plus a handcrafted bowl and cup for just $15.00. All proceeds go to Village Gardens so please remember to bring cash or checks! For directions to campus, click here.

CraftPerspectives Lecture: Maria Elena Buszek

Marianne Jorgensen and the Cast-Off Knitters: Pink M.24 Chaffee, 2006. Photo by Barbara Katzin. Image courtesy of PNCA.
Maria Elena Buszek gives a lecture for Museum of Contemporary Craft and the MFA in Applied Craft and Design as part of the CraftPerspectives Lecture Series and the 2011-2012 Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Buszek is a scholar, critic, curator and associate professor of art history at the University of Colorado in Denver. Her recent publications include the books, Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture and Extra/ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art. She has also contributed to the anthologies It’s Time for Action (There’s No Option): About Feminism and Blaze: Discourse on Art, Women, and Feminism and Contemporary Artists. She has written for the popular feminist magazine BUST since 1999.

For more information on this lecture and others, click here.