Humans have bred plants and animals with an eye to aesthetics for centuries: flowers are selected for colorful blossoms or luxuriant foliage; racehorses are bred for the elegance of their frames. Hybridized plants were first exhibited as fine art in 1936, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York showed Edward Steichen's hybrid delphiniums. Since then, bio art has become a genre; artists work with a variety of living things, including plants, animals, bacteria, slime molds, and fungi. Many commentators have addressed the social and political concerns raised by making art out of living material. In Green Light, however, George Gessert examines the role that aesthetic perception has played in bio art and other interventions in evolution.
Gessert looks at a variety of life forms that humans have helped shape, focusing on plants—the most widely domesticated form of life and the one that has been crucial to his own work as an artist. We learn about Onagadori chickens, bred to have tail feathers twenty or more feet long; pleasure gardens of the Aztecs, cultivated for intoxicating fragrance; Darwin's relationship to the arts; the rise and fall of eugenics; the aesthetic standards promoted by national plant societies; a daffodil that looks like a rose; and praise for weeds and wildflowers. Gessert surveys recent bio art and its accompanying philosophical problems, the “slow art” of plant breeding, and how to create new life that takes into account what we know about ecology, aesthetics, and ourselves.
About the Author
George Gessert is an artist whose work focuses on the overlap between art and genetics. His exhibits often involve plants he has hybridized or documentation of breeding projects. His writings have appeared in Leonardo, Art Papers, Design Issues, Massachusetts Review, Hortus, Best American Essays 2007, Pushcart Prize XXX, and other publications.
This spring, Auburn University continues its annual interdisciplinary series, Art in Agriculture, which brings together artists, designers and scientists to examine a topic related to agriculture, food, the environment or natural resources. This semester’s series is titled, “Reclaiming Ground,” and includes two exhibitions, several workshops for kids and seven lectures. One exhibition combines agriculture and architecture, called “Agritecture,” and another features sustainable designs by students in the Landscape Architecture Program, Design Program and Art Department. The lectures investigate questions such as: What is the role of the artist and designer in society at large? Can ordinary citizens make a difference in their local ecologies? How can a university encourage its students to become involved in their community? Art in Agriculture is jointly hosted by AU’s College of Agriculture, College of Liberal Arts and Department of Art.
via APInews: Art in Agriculture at Auburn University, Ala..
Teams of visual artists and writers who are U.S. citizens working on art + environment projects anywhere in the world from July 2010 through August 2011 will be eligible to apply for the first A | W | E Grant. Letters of interest must be received via e-mail on or before Friday, April 16, 2010 with invited applications due on or before June 22, 2010. The grant recipients will be announced on or before July 6, 2010.
A | W | E Grants
In 2010 the CA+E is piloting a grant program for visual artists and writers working together in the field. The purpose of the program is to encourage the creation of new art + environment projects that seek to address environmental challenges rather than simply comment on them, to foster deeper and more immediate public awareness of art + environment projects, and to encourage unique field reports of lasting value to scholars and other artists. The intent is for the writer(s) to document, report upon, and/or analyze the work of the artist(s) and its environmental context, not to provide creative responses such as fiction or poetry.
During this first year, one grant of $10,000 will be awarded to a team of artist(s) and writer(s) engaged in art + environment projects. Of particular interest will be those proposals addressing communities stressed by global change. Publication venues by writers can include articles in magazines, journals, or online, and chapters or essays in books, but significant public outreach will be favored.
Eligible teams will include at least one visual artist working in the field and one writer to accompany the artist into the field during the project. Artists can work in any medium, and the writers range from journalists to art historians. The total amount of the award may be divided between the artists and writers in any way they see fit. Funds may be used for travel, per diem, materials, equipment, and other costs, including time to work.
Applications during this first year are open only to artists and writers who are U.S. citizens, although they may work anywhere in the world. In future years we hope to broaden eligibility to artists and writers from other countries.
Application Process, Deadlines, Timeline
Interested artists and/or writers should submit a two-page letter of interest by e-mail on or before Friday, April 16, 2010. Letters should include a brief project description, budget and biographies of the artist(s) and writer(s). Please identify your letter of the artist(s) and writer(s). Please identify your letter of interest in the subject line of the e-mail when submitting as “AWE letter.”
Finalists will be selected by July 6, 2010 and invited to mail in a physical application that will include a longer narrative, budget, documentation of citizenship and previous works, and resumes.
Applications will be due on or before June 22, 2010 with the award announced on or before April 16, 2010. Finalist proposals will be posted on the Museum’s website, as well as that of the award recipient, upon awarding of the grant.
Archives, Exhibitions, Presentations
Finalists’ application materials will not be returned, but become part of the CA+E Archives. Although the artworks and writings of the grant recipients will remain property of their creators, the CA+E will collect related project materials of the funded project for its archives.
Results of the funded project will be exhibited at the Museum, and the recipients of the grant be invited to present their work.
We strongly suggest that applicants visit the Nevada Museum of Art website and navigate to the Center for Art + Environment pages, and in particular the A | W | E FAQ page for more information. The FAQs may be updated periodically as we receive questions.
Letters of interest sent via e-mail with the subject line “AWE letter,” as well as any questions, should be directed to Rosalind Bedell, CA+E Manager at Rosalind Bedell or 775.329.3333 ex. 252
The A | W | E Grant is supported by the The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
TenduTV announces the launch of the digital Dance on Camera Festival on Hulu, at www.hulu.com/network/tendutv. The digital Dance on Camera Festival is an extension of the Dance Films Association’s Dance on Camera Festival (DOCF), which it has produced annually for the last 38 years, the last 14 of which have been co-presented with the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
“This new venture presents an exciting opportunity for dance film artists to expand their audience. The bulk of today’s viewers consume their media digitally. Our partnership with TenduTV widens our distribution while offering an excellent, new venue for our participating artists,” said Deirdre Towers, artistic director of Dance Films Association.
“We’re excited to take this first step forward towards meeting the needs of the dance field. Finally, dance audiences can begin to get the access they eagerly desire. The Dance Films Association is a great partner and we’re looking forward to doing all we can to help them fulfill their mission,” said Marc Kirschner, General Manager of TenduTV.
TenduTV will be adding new films on a regular basis, providing viewers with a diverse range of dance on screen. While the initial films primarily represent contemporary works from prior editions of the festival, the Dance Films Association and TenduTV will also curate focused collections of dance films. Planned themes include “Past Masters,” “Africa” and “Animation.”
The first six films are available now, and feature dancers from some of the dance world’s most renowned companies, including Tanztheater Wuppertal, Frankfurt Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and Armitage Gone! Dance.
These films are:
Arcus, a jury prize nominee, DOCF 2004 directed by Alla Kovgan and Jeff Silva
Arising, from DOCF 2009 directed and choreographed by Ben Dolphin
Folies D’Espagne, a jury prize nominee, DOCF 2008 directed by Philip Busier
choreographed by Austin McCormick
Madrugada, from DOCF 2005 directed by William Morrison
choreographed by Deborah Greenfield
Vanishing Point, DOCF 2009 directed by Patrick Lovejoy
Wiped, Jury Winner, DOCF 2002 directed and choreographed by Hans Beenhakker
TenduTV also announced the addition of Cory Greenberg to its advisory board. Ms. Greenberg is Director of Operations & Special Projects for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as Ailey’s in-house counsel. She received her undergraduate degree cum laude in Art History from Duke University and her law degree from New York University School of Law, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow and a recipient of the Vanderbilt Medal for Public Service.
Founded in 2008, TenduTV seeks to deliver dance to audiences through the highest quality digital distribution network available to the art form today. Through TenduTV’s platform partners, dance artists and organizations will be able to transport their vision beyond the physical theater and engage audiences through computers and 200 million digital devices including internet-enabled televisions, portable video players and mobile devices. By empowering artists to connect with audiences on a global scale, TenduTV believes that the dance field can be as strong financially as it is creatively.
About Dance Films Association, Inc.
Dance Films Association, Inc. (DFA) is dedicated to furthering the art of dance film. Connecting artists and organizations, fostering new works for new audiences, and sharing essential resources, DFA seeks to be a catalyst for innovation in and preservation of dance on camera. DFA was founded by Susan Braun in 1956, and included Ted Shawn, the founder of Jacob’s Pillow, as its charter member, as well as modern dance pioneer Jose Limon and ballerina Alicia Markova as members of its first Board of Directors. A tireless advocate, Ms. Braun devoted her life to finding, showcasing, preserving dance films and videos until her death in 1995. Today, DFA seeks to carry on her spirit of creativity and collaboration in a time of extraordinary transformation.
“That’s the beauty of the whole project” says Pace chuckling maniacally at the thought. “We have had council guys in police cars stop us in the middle of the day while we are working and asking us if we have been commissioned to do this and when we answered no, they gave us thumbs up and said keep doing what you are doing.”
“Our work” he adds, “merely highlights how siff (a derivative of the word syphilis and popular Durban colloquialism for ‘disgusting’) these city walls are.”
While law enforcers and municipalities have no legal grounds to stop reverse graffiti they are, it seems, overly eager to eliminate evidence of their neglect by swiftly painting over the murals.
Ironically, such actions makes these walls ideal targets for taggers to leave more permanent stains.
“The art on the walls draws attention to their states of neglect” confirms Pace. “Municipalities don’t recognise the worth of our art and simply end up painting over them. Of course a concrete wall is porous, so the enamel of spray paint doesn’t take so well but white-paint on the other hand just seals it. So really they just shoot themselves in the foot every time they decide to remove of our pain-staking scrubbings.”
Landscape artist Mary Miss is keynote speaker at the second annual symposium by iLand (interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance) in New York City. The March 26-27, 2010, symposium is titled “Connecting to the Urban Environment: Creating embodied and relational approaches to environmental awareness.” Mary Miss developed “City as Living Lab,” a framework for making issues of sustainability tangible through collaboration and the arts. Miss has collaborated with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists and public administrators on projects like creating a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero, revealing the history of New York's Union Square Subway station and turning a sewage treatment plant into a public space. The event also features iLand Founder Jennifer Monson, choreographer, who will present her recent work on aquifers and waterways in relation to urban development.
via APInews: Mary Miss to Keynote 2nd iLand Symposium, N.Y..
The third edition of the CSPA Quarterly is now open for submissions. This time around, we’re hoping to cover art made from found objects and existing materials. Spring cleaning for the spring issue, if you will! Many of you are working with existing materials to create work- let us know what you’ve been up to!
Questions to consider: What dictates the “sustainability” of the work? If the found objects are made of plastic, is the work green? If the materials are raw, but held together with chemical adhesives, is the work green? Musicians or media artists: how does using existing material affect the sustainability of culture, and fight against limitations of copyright? Performance and theater artists: are you making work with found objects, set pieces, or written material?
The CSPA Quarterly explores sustainable arts practices in all genres, and views sustainability in the arts through environmentalism, economic stability, and cultural infrastructure. The periodical provides a formal terrain for discussion, and seeks to elevate diverse points of view.
In this guest post on the Ashden Directory’s Blog, Wallace Heim, co-editor of the Ashden Directory, spends a day in Liverpool – first with philosophers, then with artists.
Two weeks ago, in sight of the Mersey, and within a 100 yards of one another, you could find two very different ways of looking at human relations with nature. At Liverpool University's Philosophy Department, a dozen professors and lecturers exchanged ideas on alienation and the environment. Across the street, High Tide’s latest exhibition of work by 11 artists opened at the Art & Design Academy.
The philosophers talked in a plain room around a table. We dived into meticulous explorations of how the human relates to the natural, and whether our perceived loss of touch from the natural world is justifiably the grounds for our current situation, or whether there is something in that estrangement which is vital, productive, even necessary.
A grappling with how to describe the experience and feeling of alienation moved alongside the historical and analytical exploration of it, through the Romantics, Marx, environmental ethics and new views on the built environment as ‘natural’.
Seeing the gallery with those ideas still swimming in my mind made me look for a similar prodding of that sore zone between human and nature, wanting to see more than a rush to represent the effects of the estrangement, or to show a better or more ecological connection, as valuable as those are. I wanted to be taken, through art, into that suspension where not everything is known and already given, a place of sideways, even dangerous, questions.
This wasn’t the theme of Mersey Basin, which was an exploration of rising sea levels, flooding and the ebb and flow of that shoreline. Works were composed of driftwood, mud, string, plastic detritus and woven wool. Some were juxtapositions of waste and beauty (Robyn Woolston, Gordon MacLellan), some had provocational intent (Àgata Alcañiz). Many artworks represented past conversations or performances, or long periods of attending to an environment, or of collaborations with scientists (Scott Thurston & Elizabeth Willow, James Brady & Stuart Carter).
Maps represented not only the present, but the ancient fluctuations of changing shorelines melding into projections of an uncertain future (Tim Pugh), and the visual pleasure of proposals forward for the Mersey Basin as a forested refuge for migrating species (David Haley).
The walking, marking and storytelling of the exhibition brought the materiality of the changing edge between sea and land into view. But the littoral could also describe the continually changing gap between the ‘human’ and ‘nature’, and it was the philosophers who excited this most sharply, almost painfully, and pushed against the shortcomings of current knowledge as our environments change.
Pic: 'Trees of Grace: Draughting Change': David Haley shows our blogger a map of the Mersey Basin and Pennines that illustrates how it would look with a changed shoreline and re-forestation. (Yvonne Haley)
Artist/writers Nicolas Lampert & Dan S. Wang, collaborators on the indie publications AREA #9: Peripheral Vision and Art Work, invite you to a presentation and discussion on the state of activist art practice in this era of economic crisis and how to enlarge the collaboration between activists and artists.
Art Work is a free, nationally distributed paper produced by the art group Temporary Services. The group had hoped to spark a national conversation about the state of labor, creative exchange, and strategies for survival, from the perspective of artists and cultural workers struggling in the precarious economy. It has taken off, with events in Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids, Iowa City, Chicago, Houston, Bloomington-Normal, New York, and now Madison.
AREA is a semi-annual publication by and for activist artists, researchers, and educators produced in Chicago. In AREA #9: Peripheral Vision focuses on those spaces and regions, populations and ideas frequently considered marginal in relation to the major urban centers, but which those centers depend upon for sustenance, self-definition and “sense of place” whether it be Madison, Milwaukee, or Chicago.
Nioclas Lampert is an artist, writer, activist, and a member of the Just Seeds graphic arts collective. The collective was awarded the Grand Prize at the 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana in 2009. His individual work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), MassMoCA (North Adams, Mass.), and the Priebe Gallery of UW-Oshkosh. He teaches printmaking and socially-engaged art strategies at UW-Milwaukee. Nicolas interviewed the Wisconsin artist Susan Simensky Bietila for AREA #9. He contributed an article titled “Organize! What the Artists’ Union of the 1930s Can Teach Us Today” for Art Work.
Agitprop by Nicolas Lampert
Dan S. Wang is a printer, writer, and activist. He was a co-founder of the experimental cultural space Mess Hall. His cultural criticism and writings on political art have been widely published and he’s lectured at the Contemporary Museum (Baltimore), the Kansas City Art Institute, and the Depot (Vienna). He lives in Madison and teaches printmaking at Columbia College Chicago. He was the co-editor of AREA #9 and wrote an analytical article about Just Seeds for Art Work.
So stop in for some creative talk, collaborative schemes, and a free paper!
Reposted from Art Work : Archive : Event: Rainbow Cooperative, Madison, WI, March 30.
The National Center for Creative Aging is expanding its frontier to the garden with “Creativity Matters: Civic Engagement and Gardening Symposium,” April 12-14, 2010, in Washington, D.C. Events begin with “Generating Community: How Does Our Garden Grow? Intergenerational Program Development,” a training by Susan Perlstein, founder of NCCA and Elders Share the Arts, at IONA Senior Services, recently named a “Center for Excellence in Dementia Care” by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Day 2 is a full-day workshop at the United States Botanic Gardens, located at the foot of the U.S. Capitol, with keynotes and breakout sessions with garden experts. Day 3 focuses on civic engagement and community involvement as participants visit and work at the Common Good City Farm and other D.C. gardens. It's all sponsored by the MetLife Foundation.
via APInews: NCCA’s Civic Engagement & Gardening Symposium.