translating image to language to image again

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

While pouring through information on the People’s Biennial’s current stop in Rapid City, South Dakota, I happened upon a South Dakota Public Radio broadcast discussing the show. The broadcast opens with Vicky Wicks interviewing Victoria Ledford, an artist who is participating in the Double Rainbow show, a show at the Dahl Arts Center featuring artists from Rapid City, Kyle, and Pine Ridge  South Dakota who submitted work to the Biennial but were not selected.

Listening to Victoria Ledford talk about her piece, which is entitled Lucinda Is So Happy About Her New People in a Purse that She Poops a Lollipop, I found myself mentally plagued with images of various breeds of dogs defecating various candies on a stick. Even with the help of the magical tool that is google, I was unable to find an image of the piece so that I could put my imagination to rest by seeing what the work actually looked like.

I was then struck by the idea of listening to visual art. Radio forces us to translate language into images, but what happens when we translate images to language to image again?

It reminded me of Maiza Hixson’s Men Are Much Harder, a piece chosen for the People’s Biennial in which people were asked to discuss images of the naked human body, though we, as audience, cannot see the image but must interpret what they see based on their descriptions. Rachel recently posted about this piece, so be sure to check it out if you haven’t already!

Both the radio broadcast and Maiza Hixson’s film work on two levels, forcing us to concoct in our own minds an image evoked by the language, be it a dog defecating a lollipop or the image shown by Maiza Hixson to the women she films, while the pieces themselves constitutes their own distinctive body of work. Maiza engages us in our imaginations, forcing us to rely on our memories of relevant images which we select based on what we find most applicable (i.e. What do I envision as the ideal male body? What is sexy to me? Is it different from what these women consider sexy?) I cannot wait for her film to arrive next spring for the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery’s stint with the People’s Biennial, to have the opportunity to appreciate the thoughts of those in the video about the body and to have a new mechanism with which to evaluate my own opinions and ideas about the human form.

You may notice that I’m not using images in this post, which is really rare for our blog, because let’s be honest, we all love images. After all, an image is worth 1000 words. But sometimes the creation of your own image is as much a part of the piece as viewing the piece itself. On that note, I invite you to listen to the interview from South Dakota Public Radio. Listen to Jens Hoffman discuss the “artness” of Bruce Price’s work. Listen to Bruce Price talk. Who do you picture? What does an artist look like to you? But here’s the catch-don’t look at the images on the website yet. See what images are evoked for you. Then, scroll down the radio station’s page and click his picture. Will you be surprised? Will it match your mental image of what sort of work would “stand out” for Jens Hoffman?

There’s only one way to find out!


Decisions are in!! Looking forward to the PEOPLE’S BIENNIAL!

Posted: August 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

So it’s been a few weeks since Harrell left. He has been working tirelessly with co-curator Jens Hoffman and the members of Independent Curators International to process the immense amount of work they viewed in the Haverford area. The selections were difficult – certainly a lot of work we loved will not be in this show – the curators had to consider how the work from Philadelphia would hang with the art selected from the four other cities. But the votes are in. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the People’s Biennial!

Photo credit: Steve Magnotta, Intrigue Photography


open call report

Posted: August 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

on Thursday we held two open call events, one at Haverford College in the morning and another at the Friends Center in Philadelphia later in the afternoon. I was nervous again about the potential for a poor turnout, but my worries were soon assuaged as the drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc. came pouring in. we set up tables around each space, instructed artists to display their work and talk about it for 5-10 minutes. we moved as a unit about the tables with Harrell, Renaud, and Matthew in the lead (in the picture they are the three guys closest to the table). here we are enjoying a video made by local artist Maiza Hixon at the Friends Center. Read the rest of this entry »


Harrell Fletcher on the ground

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

so the guy in the middle, that’s Harrell Fletcher. Matthew, my boss at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, and I picked him up at the airport. he had only a backpack. I like a man who travels light Read the rest of this entry »


come to the OPEN CALL!!

Posted: June 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Harrell is going to be looking at submissions in exactly ONE WEEK FROM TODAY! Hard to believe! Make sure you come out to one of the open call events on Thursday, July 1. There is one at Haverford College and one at the Friends Center in Philadelphia on 15th and Cherry.

BRING YOUR WORK!! WE WANT TO SEE IT!!

Invite your friends! Here, use these… Read the rest of this entry »


people’s computer

Posted: May 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

so it’s alumni weekend at Haverford College. I’m sitting behind the desk at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery where there is a small reception. portobello puffs, grapes, crackers, etc. and beer too, but it doesn’t look like anyone is drinking. reunion years go in 5s at Haverford. that means there are alums from 2005, 2000, 1995… climbing back into the first half of last century. a man (class of 1980-85, judging by looks) enters the gallery. he is in a rush, visibly stressed. he turns to me, pointing to the far end of the space, and asks, “is there a computer in here I can use?” I politely reply, “no, sorry sir.” It’s only after he turns and scuttles out the door that I realize how bizarre his question had seemed. a public computer? in the gallery? why did he expect to find a computer in the gallery?

the interaction made me think: what do we expect to find in a gallery? what belongs in an “art space”? why was the query about the computer so out of place? over the course of the coming months, the Cantor Fitzgerald, in conjunction with Independent Curators International, will explore precisely these questions through a new experiment in exhibit-making, People’s Biennial. guest curators Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffman will travel to five art venues across the country to select work from under-represented artists of the surrounding community. insofar as Harrell and Jens choose artists who might consider themselves outside of the “art world,” they delineate what one might find inside that world, all the while questioning the legitimacy and efficacy of its traditions and practices. what does the art world gain by being exclusive? what does the gallery gain by housing art and not computers? are they mutually exclusive?


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