You are Sara
but unlike her they haven’t chopped you up in many pieces
like her many have broken up your spirit into a thousand leaflets
it’s scattered in every glare with freak in the reflection.
You were not born a freak
You ran earth and rolled water
limbs knowing what they would
heart open to ‘i could’
so whole in your development
now Woman, now Mother, You must re-learn and master
the complex puzzle
of fitting in the lifted pieces
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In February 2013 I had the pleasure of being part of Takt Kunstprojektraum artist-in-residence (AIR) program in Berlin. The winter residency group consisted of 10 international artists including myself. The AIR participants engaged in a wide range of media and research, which included sculpture, bricolage, photography, painting, video and anthropological studio visits. We lived and worked in studios in the Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg East side neighborhoods. Our group exhibition, Colligere, was held at Kunstraum Tapir and was curated by Paola Bonino. Bonino incorporated many of the diverse styles of the resident’s work into a collective exhibition that both united and also honored individual forms of expression. A few of the artists also held additional exhibitions and readings in other Berlin spaces during their residency. The residents also received weekly critiques from Isabel Manalo, who is represented by Addison/Ripley and is also the director and founder of The Studio Visit. The program directors, Antje Görner and Bernhard Haas, were very resourceful and kind. They provided opportunities for residents to meet with others in the Berlin contemporary art community and organized social and educational events for us to attend. Antje and Bernhard were also very helpful with mundane requests (like needing a hammer for my grommets or finding Oblaten for my 90 year neighbor back home).
Bewusstsein * White River Junction, Vermont, USA * 2013 * Vinyl, paper, ink, wood and metal * 147,32 cm x 59,69 cm
exhibition copy by Paola Bonino:
Bewusstsein consists of discarded handwritten notes collected by the artist for about three years. They are primarily to-do lists from places she has been to recently. As a calligrapher, Di Piazza is concerned about the practice of penmanship, which is fading in our modern digitized world. However, these thrown-out notes indicate that people are still writing, even for seemly unimportant things. After collecting them, Di Piazza bound these lost pieces together with thread. In the resulting work, the artist combines two different elements – the concept of Bewusstsein (awareness) and discarded to-do lists – in order to highlight their contrast in terms of our mental-state of time. It is hard, in fact, to be in a state of awareness during our daily lives, when we are preoccupied with thoughts of the before and worries of the thereafter. The to-do lists, often created for remembering the most mundane chores, are focused on accomplishing tasks in the near future. Perhaps they are chores we want to forget but become a nuisance when we do. Do we create these to-do lists because we hope we will later be in such a state of Bewusstsein (awareness in the present) that will we likely forget the things we must do? The piece was also created using a vinyl garment bag whose function is to be ‘suspended’, thereby serving its primary purpose of protecting a garment. The garment bag was chosen to emphasize that time is suspended too when we are in the present state of Bewusstsein.
This silver lining needs refining (in collaboration with Hugh Rennison) * Berlin * 2013 * Handwritten quotation, gouache, wire, card * 59,4 cm x 42 cm
quote: “The only joy in the world is to begin. It is beautiful to live because living is to begin again in every moment.” – Cesare Pavese
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The following work was created at The Gardarev Center‘s artist-in-residence program held at The Meeting Point in Boston, Massachusetts in December 2012. The three sculptures are in honor of victims of intimate partner violence. Many thanks to Toni Lester and Dr. AndreA Macsis for their guidance and support.
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Main Street Museum, White River Junction, Vermont | through November 18
Review by Laura Di Piazza
Adam Blue’s current exhibition AstroExplorer – A Guide to the Heavens, at the Main Street Museum, takes us through three distinct spheres. “Constellations for the New Millennium”, which consists of 84 drawings and text pieces, provides concise and sometimes blunt discourse on current environmental, political and social issues, as well as pop culture. Its range is wide; from the garbage dump epidemic in the Pacific Ocean to easily accessible online porn. Sprinkled within the commentary of our times is what I view as the ‘consolations’ of the constellations in the form of horoscopes. I was born under the sign of the Predator Drone. When things do not go well for the Predator Drone, AstroExplorer’s horoscope wisely advises: “never you mind, you can always take refuge in the Pringles and Mountain Dew that feed your soul”. (WoW, it’s like that was written just for me.)
In this series Blue also juxtaposes contrasting features. For example Goth Fairies is a drawing of a levitating fairy in Dominatrix style attire, with crop in hand, and angelic wings.
Not all is fun and games, there’s also serious commentary on social injustice. As seen in ‘There’s Margin$ in the Marginalized”.
In this series Blue accurately depicts, in an uncensored manner, the tone of our current and common form of modern-day information consumption: “sound-bites”.
The next series in this exhibition is called “How the White Cube Hangs Once the Gallery Has Closed”, which is a photographic collection of site-specific journeys of the White Cube. If the “Constellations for the New Millennium” is like the WiFi in the home then “How the White Cube Hangs Once the Gallery Has Closed” must surely be the balcony. Here, the moment calls for reflection and space. The traveling minimalist White Cube becomes part of the landscape by being a participant within a site, however still it may appear. The White Cube makes observations that we may ourselves ponder, like when in the produce section of the supermarket: “Eating organic whenever you can is important.”
Raking leaves can be totally zen.
The final series is a collection of 12 finely executed gouache drawings that unfold like riddles. This series reminds me of the coziness of bedtime stories and the vast inner-space those words can hurl me into. In this case Blue’s paintings sends my imagination running and questioning. Will Artificial Intelligence one-day wonder, “Who am I”? Does our internal forces no longer shield itself within powerful symbols but instead hides itself within sugary snacks? Why is that monkey swinging with a cell phone in his hand? Is he too distracted by the ever-shifting monkey-mind that plagues my sleep before important meetings/events the following day? I wonder.
Adam Blue is the Education Director at AVA Gallery and Art Center, a nonprofit community art center in Lebanon, NH and is an art editor of The Whitefish Review, a semi-annual, nonprofit, literary and arts journal.
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Tags: Adam Blue, Exhibition, Main Street Museum, Vermont, White River Junction
I spent most of August 2012 in Hallein, Austria in Manfred Pernice‘s O Tannenbaum course at the Internationale Sommerakademie (SOAK). O Tannenbaum and several other SOAK courses were held in the historic and impressive Alte Saline building, which once processed salt that was mined locally. It was an eventful 3 weeks attending exhibition openings, lectures and Mittagsgespräch (lunch talks), meeting people from all corners of the global at the Alte Saline and at the Festung Hohensalzburg (the other SOAK location in Salzburg) and also experimenting with found and re-purposed materials for the course. In some ways we had Christmas in August in Pernice’s O Tannenbaum course. Pernice invited us to consider the Christmas tree, and the adornment of it, and how it’s transformation might inform our own sculptural project.
To get into the holiday spirit teacher’s assistants Noële Ody and Cäcilia Brown asked us to create gifts. Above is a gift I created and it was randomly received in a round of musical chairs, where everyone had a seat when the music stopped.
Before going 3-dimensional, I contemplated certain feelings, sounds and images one might experience during the holiday season by playing with words and their placement or rearrangement.
“Ein guter Gesang wischt den Staub vom herzen” – Christoph Lehmann 1576-1638 ” A good song wipes the dust from the heart”
I was fortunate to locate found objects quickly (wheel and microphone stand) at Hallein’s recycling center, that later became Outside Woman. Below is an image of Outside Woman before it became a part of the collective works on the Intimate Violence project.
Many thanks to Vesko Gösel for creating the red chaotic spiral piece pictured below, which was included in the final installation.
Inside Woman – Floor Woman – Inside Woman
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Tags: Calligraphy, International Summer Academy, Internationale Sommerakademie für Bildende Kunst Salzburg, Intimate Violence, Manfred Pernice, O Tannenbaum, poetry, Sculpture
I incorporate everyday life within my art practice. My @ the carwash series includes a dozen photographs, selected from out of over 100, taken at a car wash in rural Vermont between December 2010 and March 2011. Before beginning this project I had a quiet moment in the automated carwash, where I noticed how captivating the constantly changing water patterns were upon my windshield. In the dead of winter, this was also a reminder of how fluid life is and how permanency is just an illusion.
Laura Di Piazza, He’s Different, 2011, digital photograph
At the conclusion of this photographic project, I read Allan Kaprow’s The Eighties, Essays on the Blurring of Art And Life, which I found to be fascinating. Right off the bat Kaprow asks “What if I were to think art was just paying attention?” (Kaprow 201). Kaprow defines and distinguishes between, art-like art and life-like art as follows: “art-like art” he describes as popular and even mainstream. There is a neat mental box (aka schema) into which people can comfortably put this art and there are proper “external” places in which to house them. These are cultural institutions (museums, galleries, concert halls, etc…), which subscribe to the art-like arts separateness. That is: “Mind is separate from body, individual is separate from people, civilization is separate from nature, each art is separate from the other” (Kaprow 202). It is exclusive and lives in a caged bubble. Kaprow goes further to say that these institutions also “share the same separating point of view about art and life; that art could vanquish life’s problems as long as it was far enough away from life so as not to be confused by it and sucked back to its mire” (Kaprow 202). In sharp contrast to art-like art’s exclusiveness and separateness, life-like art is about connecting art to life and acknowledging that the two can be very much a part of each other. Kaprow describes the traditional artist as a specialist and the lifelike artist a generalist who has an enormous selection of resources or types of canvases to do her/his artwork. Kaprow’s description of where we can find art and who can find it, reaches far past the limitations of the traditional and commercial art world. The resources of one’s art is inexhaustible in life-like art because it is not bound to the materials of a given art store/supplier and it’s relevance is not dependent on the approval of art critics.
I’ve had other unplanned photographic opportunities to capture art in my everyday life. Below are some additional examples.
Laura Di Piazza, Look Ma the Sky on Our Table, 2011, digital photograph
One cold winter morning I had the rare occasion of having lunch at a local Vermont café with just one of my children (usually we travel in packs), my then four-year old daughter Lucy. Lucy presented me with an opportunity to really look with my mind and eyes open. She said “mommy, look the sky on our table” and I replied ‘huh?’. Again she repeated herself. I paused, I recall being confused. How can one have the sky on a table? Then I looked at what her small little finger was pointing to and then I understood. This was a lovely moment, a Seussical moment (coincidentally just 2 doors down from where Theodor Seuss Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss, lived for several years), where art appears in a nonsensical and unexpected manner.
Laura Di Piazza, Shin, 2011, digital photograph
I took a walk on a bitter cold winter’s morning. The clear blue skies and bright sunshine gave this tree’s shadow crisp clear lines. I photographed it as I did several other trees that morning. Later after downloading the images on my computer, I noticed that this particular tree possessed the Hebrew letter shin, which is considered a holy letter in Judaism that stands for Shaddai, a name for God.
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Tags: Allan Kaprow, Contemporary Art, Everyday Art, Life Like Art, photography, Shin, Vermont