Regarded as arguably the best at designing and building treehouses, Pete Nelson is known to many as the “Treehouse Master”. In fact he now has a show on Animal Planet that goes by a similar name. Stemming from a desire to reconnect people with nature, he constructs elaborate treehouse homes for clients all across the country. As I watched his show and took a look at a few of his creations and the process in which he takes to engage with the trees prior to building the houses, I found myself wondering if this could be considered art. He’s a carpenter and this is more architecture than art I suppose, but he has a purpose for his creations and he works with tools and materials much like those found in our classroom used to make sculptures and pieces of art. Maybe it’s the fact that he makes treehouses that makes his craft seem less like construction and architecture and more art-like. I’m not sure, but I enjoy what he does. Check out some of his interviews and builds on the animal planet website if you’re interested.
Post by Keola Tan
Speaking on the global financial crisis, Chinese artist Chen Wenling sculpted this installation naming it “What You see Might Not Be Real”. The bull represented Wall Street and the reason he farts is because in Chinese slang farting means to bluff or lie. Which then leads to the reason why the bull is pinning Bernard Madoff, the Ponzi schemer equipped with devilish horns, to the wall. Visually the piece is hilariously funny and marvelously captivating in its dynamic activation of the environment in which it exists. I think the issue is illustrated very successfully in this piece.
Posted by Keola Tan
Titlted Arc is a site specific installation done by Richard Serra in 1981. It is a 12 feet tall by 120 long curved wall made of raw steel.
Serra installed it in the center of the Foley Federal Plaza in New York City, essentially dividing the plaza in half. By placing it there, Serra's artwork bisected the space, blocking views and paths of those who frequented the plaza.
Richard Serra describes the piece as, "The viewer becomes aware of himself and of his movement through the plaza. As he moves, the sculpture changes. Contraction and expansion of the sculpture result from the viewer's movement. Step by step the perception not only of the sculpture but of the entire environment changes."
However, as soon as the sculpture was erected, it generated controversy.
Workers who used the Federal Plaza became fed up with it, claiming it interfered with the plaza use, as it essentially blocked a popular pathway of workers. However, the workers argued for its removal by claiming it "attracting graffiti, rats, and terrorists who might use it as a blasting wall for bombs."
Eventually the removal or relocation of the wall was put to a vote, in which Serra claimed if the sculpture is relocated, he will remove his name from it.
The wall was a site-specific installation, meaning that the piece cannot be removed from its location without losing the meaning. In the case for Tilted Arc, Serra said the sculpture was meant to interact with the commuter passing through the plaza, which is a location usually passed through quickly on the way to somewhere else. I believe Richard Serra wanted to give pause to the daily routine of a worker walking through the plaza on their day-to-day work. While the piece was standing, this idea did find fruition, as one worker complained:
"Every time I pass this so-called sculpture I just can’t believe it ... The General Services Administration, or whoever approved this, this goes beyond the realm of stupidity. This goes into even worse than insanity. I think an insane person would say, ‘How crazy can you be to pay $175,000 for that rusted metal wall?' You would have to be insane-more than insane."
Eventually, though, the piece was voted 4-1 to be removed, and during the night workers came and cut it down and placed it in storage.
Richard Serra's Titled Arc exemplifies the legal system of the United States's preference towards property rights over freedom of expression. And the following year, the Visual Artists Rights Act was put in place.
-Post by Ricky
Martin Parr plays off the power of a title. By calling his series "Bored Couples" the viewer instantly sees the people in his images as wanting to be anywhere except where they are when the photo was taken. The artist discussion on the website states:
"We do not know if these random couples are bored or not. Who is to say what is authentic when captioned as thus?"
It brings into light the power behind caption labels and the trans-formative abilities artists have on their audience. Captions, artist statements, etc, These all hold a significant weight upon an artist's work, which begs the question: Which influences which? Does the work ask the questions? Or is it the artist statement (or title) which is actually asking them?
Full series: http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&ALID=29YL53AJ9WN
-Post by Ricky
An art form that we haven't really discussed yet is spoken word or slam poetry, as it is often referred to as. In a way I guess this could be considered performance art, but I think this form of art is more about the creator than about te audience. Many of the people that perform these pieces of art do so to alleviate inner conflict. The poems talk about internal and external struggles, about life and death, love and heartbreak, and anything I between. One of my favorite artists is G Yamazawa, because he uses humor as a means to discuss deeper, more serious matters.
Starting with a desire to turn an art gallery into a zoo, Damien Hirst began his “Natural History” series. He explains: “I always thought it would be great if art galleries were more like the Natural History Museum in London, where you go in and there’s this big wow factor, rather than having to ask yourself, 'What am I supposed to be thinking?’” This particular piece involving a real thirteen-foot tiger shark was entitled ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ and was meant to represent fear to those who viewed it.
Post By Keola Tan
Hikaru Cho plays with humor, disguise, and perceptions_things are not what they seem. He takes common foods and paints them to look like other foods. Eg this banana is turned into a near photo-realistic cucumber [a tomato becomes a tangerine, an egg is made into a eggplant.] She has also used the same skills with a paintbrush to alter human faces and body parts.
Post by Lauren Trangmar
Li Hongbo creates stretchable, paper sculptures. They are inspired by traditional folk art and Chinese decoration. With these sculptures Li's aim is to challenge perception, he invites viewers to experience paper and sculpture in a new way. He has expert knowledge of paper’s natural strengths and weaknesses which enable him to transform it to stretch, twist, elongate and retract as if it were a giant slinky but come together to look like traditional figurative sculptures
Post by Lauren Trangmar.
UK-based artist Beccy Ridsdel creates ceramics that have been surgically altered to reveal additional layers of detail. Where the metaphor of surgery might normally evoke blood and guts, Ridsdel instead reveals further floral patterns inside bone china plates and cups. The pieces are part of an ongoing examination regarding the perception of ceramics as craft or art.
Post by Lauren Trangmar