Saturday school exemplars 11.20

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<ul><li><p>Alan CohenLines of Authority (Gila River Indian Reservation/United States) 2004 </p><p>Lines of Authority (United States/Mexico at Nogales) 1998 </p></li><li><p>NOW (Berlin Wall) 2005</p><p>Alan CohenNOW (Concentration Camp - Sachsenhausen) 1994 </p></li><li><p>Alan CohenDuring the 1990s Chicago-based photographer Alan Cohen created three major series of black-and-white photographs that document historically charged places: WWI trenches, concentration camps, and the former site of the Berlin wall. He turned his camera to the ground to create understated but evocative images depleted of dramatic incident. Scholar Sander Gilman described these works in the monograph On European Ground (University of Chicago Press, 2001): "Cohen's project is to explore, at the end of a century of mass death, how to represent historical trauma in a manner true to our own momentHis gift to us is to show us how to comprehend traces of history that are more radical than any of the inherited images that populate our mental archivethat are no less radical for being ubiquitous and humble." </p><p>Following WWII, socialist East Germany erected the Berlin Wall to reinforce its declared separation from capitalist West Germany. Heavily guarded, the massive concrete Wall was a fact of everyday life and at the same time a potent symbol of political division and repression. In 1989, in tandem with a broader wave of revolution across the former East, German citizens began to chip the wall apart, and in 1990 a reunified German government bulldozed the rest. By 1994, when Cohen took the first of the two photographs on view, the Wall remained mainly in the form of subtle, scar-like traces.</p><p>Cohen also depicts concentration camps in which the German government incarcerated and killed Jews during World War II. These quietly beautiful imageswhich seem far removed from the horrific events that once occurred on the same terrainintentionally underscore the limits of photographys powers of representation. The image on the left, with its delicately flowering turf, also hints at possibilities of new life, and of healing without forgetting. </p></li><li><p>Land Mass / Opened Lands</p><p>Laurie Palmer &amp; Wendy Jacob</p></li><li><p>Land Mass / Opened Lands</p><p>Both Land Mass and Opened Lands (the row of photographs and maps) consider vacant city lots as sites of potential energy. These works were commissioned by the Smart Museum in 2002 for Critical Mass, an exhibition that sampled then-current activist and critically engaged art in Chicago. Land Mass consists of a group of benches, each of which replicates the shape of a specific empty lot in Chicago at 1:25 scale. By refiguring Chicagos empty lots as benches, Palmer and Jacob model a future where public space is made productive and responsive. Simultaneously practical and poetic, the benches form what the artists call a mass of collective potential.</p><p>Opened Lands documents a common strategy to transform neglected city spaces: it depicts urban gardens created by Chicagoans, in some cases through guerilla action. In most of the photographs, the gardens are shown in late winter, a latent period before the growth of spring. The maps below provide additional images and stories about these places and their uses. Palmers presentation builds on strategies pioneered by conceptual artists in the 1960s and 1970s, who often used photographs and text to activate connections between the contemplative space of the museum and the world beyond its walls. </p></li><li><p>Detroit Tree of Heaven Woodshop</p></li><li><p>Detroit Tree of Heaven WoodshopThe artists of the Detroit Tree of Heaven Woodshop (DToHW) take inspiration from a hardy tree that thrives in vacant lots and other sites where the soil is polluted, poor, or sparse. Because of its association with ecologically and socially impoverished places, this plant is sometimes referred to as the ghetto palm. But as the name tree of heaven suggests, it also has positive attributes such as its use within traditional Chinese medicine. Through their seriously playful projects, DToHW asks what it might mean to imagine this plant as a sustainable crop [resource?] rather than a weed.This work originated as a commission for the Smart Museums 2009 exhibition Heartlandsee the initial correspondence at your far left. DToHW started a small tree of heaven plantation in a vacant lot in Detroit; in 2049 they plan to harvest the wood and use it for furniture, and in artworks. Letters from Detroit brings the story of this urban intervention into the museum through a wall installation that will change over time. Each year, the artists send the Museum letters from Detroit to document their progress. A selection of these materials is shown here along with empty frames that signal the unfinished nature of the project (the forty frames mark the projects expected forty-year duration). Through this unusual ongoing collaboration, the project will unfold in two distinct but connected ways at the Smart Museum and at a distant urban site. </p></li><li><p>Learning Site</p></li><li><p>Learning Site</p></li><li><p>Using strategies drawn from design and art history, the artists group Learning Site intervenes in real-world situations. Sustainability is a special interest, and several of the groups early projects proposed concrete and playful systems to repurpose waste materials within daily life.Collected Material Dwelling, Model 1:1 is both a sculpture and a prototype of a dwelling made from inexpensive and recycled materials. The project grew out of a real-world need for low-cost housing in a squatting community in Monterrey, Mexico where Learning Site implemented this process, as documented in this blue poster. The Smart Museum commissioned Model 1:1 for its exhibition Beyond Green (2005); the buildings structure is composed primarily of discarded cardboard and plastic bottles collected from the University of Chicago campus. Learning Site adorned Model 1:1 with a few basic elements that could in theory be used to collect rainwater, which in turn would be used in a shower system.We pay close attention to multiple aspects of a local situation. We ask several questions. Are there material and human resources that are leftover or unused? Who has access and control of these materials? What conditions are people living in? What can our abilities and concerns do to make something useful occur in this situation? We then identify those aspects that concern us the most and try to implement a useful project that includes, among other things, learning about waste, energy use, employment, local social and economic ecologies, self-empowerment, and so on. We make posters, models, and other supporting material that helps us learn and also spreads the knowledge we accumulate. Brett Bloom, University of Chicago MFA 1996 Learning Site</p></li><li><p>Mark DionRoundup: An Entomological Endeavor for the Smart Museum of Art</p></li><li><p>Mark Dion</p></li><li><p>Karel LodrCollective Living</p></li><li><p>Czechoslovakia was one of Europes most dynamic, technologically oriented, and outward looking societies during the years between the two World Wars. It was a nation that officially and commercially adopted modernist art and design (which the Czechs termed Functionalism) as a symbol of its modernity and international orientation. The architect and designer Karel Lodr came of age during this period. These architectural collage were most likely conceived as a pair. Each is devoted to large architectural projects of high-rise dwellings. The collage-drawings show many aspects of the buildings depicted in a near textbook example of typologies of architectural rendering: axonometric views; detailed renderings of floor plans and interior elevations (featuring Bauhaus-inspired tubular steel furniture and modular storage units); aerial perspective of the towers drawn in situ; and other elements including photographic snippets of actual modernist apartment complexes. Stark legends in serif, isolated numbers, and planes of bold color in cut-paperall familiar formal devices of modernist architectural drawingscomplete both images.In one case, the whole is tied together by soaring, out-of-scale photomontage figures of a tennis player, a high diver, and other athletes from the contemporary sporting world, all of which are well-known subjects in Bauhaus and Russian Constructivist photography of the period. On one sheet, the familiar icon of modernism, a soaring airplane, passes over the design. On the other drawing, a large cut-out photomontage image of a handsome young woman, smiling happily in contemplation of this vision of modern life, reclines at the fulcrum of the composition. Collective Living</p></li><li><p>Leg SplintCharles and Ray Eames</p></li><li><p>The humble leg splint put in the hands of design genius to reconfigure led to a new way in which furniture was thought about and made.This design led in a large way to Mid-Century Modernism.At the beginning of World War II, the War Department almost immediately saw the need for a lightweight splint to be created. The existing leg splints were made out of metal, and they would vibrate when carried on a stretcher causing additional pain to the wounded. When the U.S. Navy commissioned Charles (1907-1978)and Ray Eames (1912-1988) to solve the splint problem, previous years' exercises of trial and error led to the creative answer.The design problem that needed to be overcome was how to create compound curves that would stay flexible and not splinter while being lightweight and strong.Having access to military technology and manufacturing facilities, the Eameses and their team of designers were able to perfect their technique for molding plywood. The final product had a three-dimensional, biomorphic form. Ultimately, the techniques used in developing the leg splint led directly to the Eames' subsequent, highly influential molded plywood furniture designs.Now 70 years old, the Eames Molded Plywood Leg Splint would have been a significant contribution to design history by itself. Its creation was a strategic technical design breakthrough that led to a generation of equally celebrated chairs and furniture. Humble in origin, it has been elevated to a design icon.</p><p>Leg Splint</p></li><li><p>Chairs</p></li><li><p>Frank Lloyd Wright Dining Table and Six Chairs</p></li><li><p>In 1908, Frank Lloyd Wright began designing a home for engineer Frederick C. Robie and his family at 58th and Woodlawn, just a few blocks from the Smart Museum. Typical of Wright's style, the Robie House's long horizontal forms are low to the ground and it is constructed of simple, natural materials. Conceiving his buildings as complete artworks, Wright also designed all of the home's furnishings, including this dining table and chairs, to complement the design of the building itself. Wright considered the living and dining spaces to be the center of family life and focused particularly on the furnishings for these rooms. The attached lamps characterize Wright's designs from the period, combining two pieces of furniture in one unit, and the pattern of the leaded-glass lamps repeats a stylized wheat motif found in the windows throughout the house. By combining two pieces of furniture into one, Wright was able to reduce the clutter he felt characterized homes at the run of the century. The exaggerated thickness of the tabletop and its extension well beyond its vertical supports perhaps echoes the Robie House's long cantilevered roof. Similarly, the four upright lamp posts may reflect the verticality of the home's chimney. The high backed chairs created a defined eating area, while still allowing for a view into other areas of the house. The lights further defined the eating area, providing warmth and light to one of the central rituals of family activity. Dining Table and Six Chairs</p></li><li><p>Translated VasesYeesookyung</p></li><li><p>Translated Vases Translated Vases is from a series of ceramic constructions that the conceptual artist Yeesookyoung fabricates using shards of modern porcelains made in the royal Korean style of the 18th and 19th centuries. She acquires her ceramic trash, as she calls her fragments, directly from a Korean master potter, who intentionally breaks and discards vessels that he feels are imperfect. </p><p>The artist works intuitively when she begins a new piece. Rather than imposing a predetermined form to her constructions, Yeesookyung lets the different shapes, sizes, and surface decorations of the ceramic fragments come together naturally as she glues them together. Her final pieces retain none of the symmetry, perfect curvature, or utilitarian potential of their broken sourcesthey have been transformed into fine-art sculptures that address ideas of rejection, redefinition, and renewal.</p><p>The artist underscores her creative process by adding gilding along each glued seam. According to the artist: what I am trying to do is literally translating thepieces of broken vases and mending their wounds.The crack, which symbolizes the wound, is emphasized with gold. In this, she was inspired by the traditional craft of using gold lacquer to restore wooden Korean Buddhist temple statues and by the reverence inherent in this restoration practice. She brings a similar combination of pragmatism and attentive care to her own sculptures.</p></li><li><p>Tony TassetPieta </p></li><li><p>Tony Tasset makes gallery and public art in a variety of populist artistic languages to slyly critique and memorialize the current American condition. Pieta depicts an older man who holds a youths limp form. It draws on Michelangelos standing Rondanini Piet in which the mournful Mary holds the dead body of Christ. Tasset carried the sense of grief into this work, but the figures clothes and hair place them securely in the present. Rondanini Piet (1555-1564) was the last sculpture completed by the great Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564) during the final days of the artists life. Michelangelos Rondanini Piet was carved from marble, which Tasset both refers to and contrasts with cast hydrocal in his work.If the figures are firmly in the present, who are they? The sculpture leaves room for speculation and universal meanings, although viewers who know the artist will immediately recognize the figures of the artist and his son Henry (who is alive and well). Like Pieta, much of Tassets work during the 2000s explored his conflicting roles as both urban artist and suburban husband and father. Tasset has said, we all live in our own little kingdoms of desire, fear, consumption and delusion. I thought maybe if I got intimate or honest enough in my work, I could find some shared humanity with my audience.</p><p>Pieta </p><p>Lines of Authority (Gila River Indian Reservation/United States) 2004 </p><p>Lines of Authority (United States / Mexico at Nogales) 1998 *NOW (Berlin Wall) 2005</p><p>NOW (Concentration Camp - Sachsenhausen) 1994 *Lines of Authority (Gila River Indian Reservation/United States) 2004 </p><p>Lines of Authority (United States / Mexico at Nogales) 1998 *Land Mass / Opened LandsLand Mass, in collaboration with Wendy Jacob, includes 16 mobile benches based on the shapes and dimensions of city-owned vacant land in Chicago at 1:25 scale. The number of benches co...</p></li></ul>