Sunday, February 14, 2016

LOVE, ART, and SCIENCE: Pushing the Boundaries of Space, Sound, and Time

For you on this Valentine's Day. (See Robleto @ ~7:00 min)

Streamed live on Mar 3, 2015
Insights into the Interplay of Science & Art
Dario Robleto & Frank Summers

 Houston Chronicle Photo: Dave Rossman, Freelance (2014)

Houston artist Dario Robleto placed Max Ernst's sculpture "Man With a Fluttering Heart" with objects of his own making, including sculptures that appear to be antique books, in "The Boundary of Life Is Quietly Crossed" at the Menil Collection. 

SEE ALSO: NPR Radiolab's "Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan's Ultimate Mixed Tape," air date August 1, 2012

Sunday, February 7, 2016


 Igor Melnikov: The face of a child is metaphysics. (See "Hidden in Plain Sight")

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pia Lindman: Artist Talk (2005)

A little dated, but valuable nevertheless.


"Recent performance-based work by 2005-6 Center Fellow Pia Lindman looks at the difference between mimesis and embodiment. In efforts to distinguish biological and biomechanical realities of emotion from affect (the social manifestation of emotion), Lindman performs reenactments of both machines and humans. During Summer and Fall 2005, Lindman "learned" the habits of the robots and their makers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Media Lab. Her work was on view at MIT Museum's Compton Gallery in Spring 2006. + Born in Espoo, Finland, Pia Lindman received her MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Finland, and then as a Fulbright scholar received a Master of Science in Visual Studies from MIT’s Visual Art Program where, in 2004-5, she was also a lecturer. In New York, Lindman has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center; Luxe Gallery; the lab gallery, and was in residency with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She has also shown in Mexico, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania, the UK, Norway, France, and Japan. In New York she has performed with the LMCC, The Sculpture Center, and the lab gallery; upcoming venues include Artists Space (PERFORMA 05), Andrew Kreps Gallery, and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics; international performance venues include Galeria de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City; Kunsthalle and Kiasma, Helsinki; AnnArt, Romania; Galleri QQ, Krakow; and Jutempus, Vilnius, among others. Her video series Thisplace is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Lindman has lectured at Columbia University, Yale, NYU, RISD, and Institut Française d'Architecture in Paris and has received numerous awards, including those from Arts Council of Finland, FRAME (Finnish Fund for Art Exchange), and the Council for the Arts at MIT. Her essay on her artwork New York Times 09/02-09/03 was published 2005 in the book Art in the Age of Terrorism: Gestures in the Space of the Unspeakable edited by Graham Coulter-Smith and Maurice Owen."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Good Long While

Update: What I’m working on these days.

I’m in the thick of conducting research for a thesis titled “Toward an Art of Social Conscience: Practices in Memory, Resistance and Re-Enchantment.” My rudimentary argument is posted below. It will undoubtedly undergo a series of changes as I ply through the literature and refine my thesis in the upcoming months.


Based on the following framework, I assert that the incorporation of sociohistorical narratives and other memory practices in contemporary artwork transforms art objects into sites of ‘social conscience,’ which I operationally define as ‘with knowledge of the other’ and believe to be an important motivational precursor to social action.

1. Objects have cultural biographies. Therefore it can be said that objects have lives, not just histories. In the least objects have a semiotic life which the beholder codes/decodes. With this in mind, I posit that objects store/preserve (a quality I refer to as memory in situ), invoke/evoke, transfer (e.g., via positive and negative contagion) and reconstruct sociohistorical and other collective memory narratives.

2. Art is a form of resistance, sui generis, in that, as Georg Simmel asserts, it is suspended above life, distanced from it, while simultaneously connected to its deepest reality. Theodor Adorno more forcefully expresses this relationship when he states that art, as a product of social work, communicates with the very empirical reality it rejects. Thus artwork by default is put in tension with reality. Moreover, it maintains this dialectic of resistance by taking life as its subject, even if only remotely or abstractly, and making of that life an object. (I believe there is an important distinction between taking life as subject vs. the grammatical object.) This process of taking and making the subject into an object then continues in the reverse, by way of the viewer taking the object and (re)personalizing it as subject. I detect in this dialectical relationship between the object and its beholder the idea, eloquently stated by Hans-Georg Gadamer, that texts, and therefore their histories, interpret us as much as we interpret them. In this manner, the artwork’s sui generis resistance produces a social nexus wherein the universal is made personal and the personal is made universal.

3. Art re-enchants everyday life. Because of its de facto state of resistance, and thus its unique social nexus, art is especially equipped to make alternative cultural and sociohistorical narratives visible. These narratives, however, are not proscriptive; they do not impose a restrictive reading or interpretation. Rather, they present an opportunity for the autonomous remaking of knowledge, understanding, and meaning. Their inclusion constitutes a social emancipatory force, which I identify as the power of re-enchantment.*

4. The dynamic constellation of memory, resistance and re-enchantment within the art object (re)produces and strengthens social conscience. With this in mind, I believe art operates as both a locus and agent of social conscience in the following manner:

a) Art, by its very own suspension from and tension with reality, suspends the self, i.e., the identified self of the viewer.

b) Standing before and confronting the art object, the self is placed in tension with the artwork’s subject, the narrative content of the work.

c) The art object thus produces a dialectical tension that orients the self toward its subject, a position which potentiates experience and knowledge of the other (i.e., social conscience), creating a veritable nexus between the personal and universal, and correspondingly, the individual and social self.

d) Within the liminal space of this nexus—that is to say, the juncture of the unresolved dialectic between self and other—personal restoration of meaning (re-enchantment) occurs through individual and collective memory practices involving semiotic coding and decoding, a process which in turn shapes and directs social conscience.

*Re-enchantment, as I conceive it, is the autonomous restoration of meaning, an act which by its very nature resists the hyper-rationalization of the proverbial Iron Cage while at the same time stimulating and strengthening social conscience.


The final paper will include analyses of, and examples from, works by Dario Robleto, Norm Magnusson and Kara Walker. I’m steeped in literature at the moment and slowly getting artist interviews transcribed. Apart from research, I’m busy parenting, working, and getting the house ready to put on the market in spring. Khalan begins college in the fall of 2012 and in 2013 I shall begin a Ph.D. program, not sure where yet.

Note: Text copyright 2011 Anne Marie Champagne.

Friday, July 29, 2011

FRONTLINE | The Atomic Artists | PBS

An excellent feature, which ties into a thesis I'm writing on movements toward an art of social conscience. Reminds me of something Rothko wrote: "Choice implies responsibility to one's conscience, and, in the conscience of the artist, the Truth of Art is foremost."

Visit: FRONTLINE | The Atomic Artists | PBS

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Film: Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench

'Guy And Madeline': A New Wave Spin On The Musical
by Pat Dowell
November 9, 2010

Shot on the streets of Boston in black and white by a 25-year-old director, Guy and Madeline Sitting on a Park Bench has easily made it onto several 10-best lists — that is, lists of the 10 best films that did not get into theaters in 2009. But after two years in production and more than a year on the festival circuit, the film that critics have hailed as a fresh blend of the 1930s Hollywood musical and the French New Wave cinema of the 1960s has finally opened to audiences in New York.

[...] The unforced, matter-of-fact style of the movie is just one of the things that inspired critic Amy Taubin to write about it in Film Comment and designate it the best undistributed film of 2009 on Indiewire; in Artforum she called it one of the year's best, period. Taubin says the film gives us a glimpse of life around Boston's music schools, just as the films of Jean-Luc Godard and other New Wave directors in the 1960s gave us a glimpse of Paris neighborhoods while breaking all of the rules of conventional moviemaking. [READ FULL ARTICLE]

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kathyrn Hunter & Blackbird Letterpress

I quite enjoy Hunter's bold simplicity. Her cutouts, collages and block prints are strong, sometimes quaint and wistful, but always, to my mind, invigorating and life affirming.

The first work of hers I stumbled upon was "She Smiles" (pictured here). Viewing it, I can't help but feel overcome with a sense of resiliency, the strength of this woman's heart fueled by, not what I've come to read as a smile of joy but, rather, confidence. Of course, that is an entirely personal interpretation; I know virtually nothing of the artist or her work. I only know what I like.

To see more more work by Kathryn Hunter, visit Blackbird Letterpress.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lullaby on Broadway

I watched Gold Diggers of 1935 with my daughter a few weeks ago. As some of you know, she's a fan of musicals and of any classic black and white film that includes dance numbers. She started ballet and tap classes this year. Now whenever we watch musicals I catch her watching the dancers' feet, and see her making that connection between the rhythm, the steps and the movement of her own body. And usually she'll get up and dance before the song is over, trying it out for herself.

There were two numbers from the film I particularly loved. The first, "Lullaby on Broadway," is classic '30s art deco--very surreal and the set reminds me of a Maxfield Parish painting. Youtube didn't have a clip of the number in its entirety, but I did find it in two parts, which I've posted here. I don't recall what the tune was for the other number I really liked, but it involves this beautifully intricate piano choreography that just, well, blew my mind. I may see if I can find it later today, after I've completed some work.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nicolas Delfosse - "California Stars"

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take... but by the number of moments that take our breath away... "
I'm pleased to present "California Stars," an Art on Wry special request, created by Belgian media artist and musician Nicolas Delfosse.