Amir H. Fallah, The Redwood Healer, 2012, acrylic, ink, pencil, oil, collage on paper,
30 x 22 inches.
Courtesy of Gallery Wendi Norris. © Amir H. Fallah
Jemima Wyman, Free Pussy Riot Crazy Quilt, 2012, digital photographs sewn onto secondhand tie-dyed t-shirts,
74 x 74 inches.
Courtesy of the Artist and Steve Turner Contemporary.
© Jemima Wyman
January 26 - April 14, 2013
In her latest Artforum essay, “The Digital Divide” (2012) Claire Bishop declares the digital to be the “shaping condition—even the structural paradox—that determines artistic decisions.” She likens the “subterranean presence” and prevailing influence of the digital to the rise of “television as the backdrop to art of the 1960s.” Artists as aggregators have become “de facto archivists,” adept at downloading, file sharing, sampling, and “curating.”
It is striking how artists coming into their own are quite unfazed by the condition of “everything, all at once,” even as cultural thinkers use terms of instability such “ungrounded” or “free floating” to characterize the present. Resonating as never before, the idea of the “network” is now part of the vocabulary of artmaking. It indicates the level to which smart technology is pervasive. Recently, David Joselit made comment about how artists sort, capture, and reformat existing content like “human search engines.” To him, the emphasis has shifted from “producing to formatting content.” Artworks (which Joselit terms “visual bytes”) have become “transitive,” in that they are shaped by “circulation from place to place and their subsequent translation into new contexts.”
Acts of aggregating, sampling, and formatting are different from older artistic strategies of appropriation. Appropriated images typically appear as if within quotation marks as critique, commentary, or satire. In contrast, the sample may function as tabula rasa, pure data wiped clean of customary contextualization. A young artist can reference the “look” of early 20th Century Modernism, without applying the prefix of post, anti, neo, or retro. Indeed, within the same piece, an artist can draw from many eras and precepts—all things being equal. It is in this sense that such works are chockablock: differing visual and conceptual elements adjoin one another, cheek-by-jowl, without being circumscribed or ranked in hierarchy.
Alongside their activities of sampling and aggregating, younger artists seem reluctant to present artworks that appear “finished” in the manner of the masterpiece. In “The Digital Divide,” Bishop discusses “repurposing,” an idea that can be extended to the provisional or makeshift mien of such works. In light of the digital activities of “reformatting and transcoding,” of building “new files” from “preexisting components,” the very temporariness of an artwork becomes a factor in its production. Dated notions of mastery certainly seem a lesser priority under such provisional circumstances.
In the works of the sixteen artists of Chockablock, the digital activities of surfing, sampling, and aggregating can be discerned. These artists have embraced the paradigm of provisionality that characterizes present-day contemporary art practices. Whether visual artwork, social practice, or performance, the reliance of these artists upon digital networking and the use of the Web for research, production, and dissemination is revealed.
Chockablock has been organized by Kristina Newhouse, UAM Curator of Exhibitions
Artists: Anthony Carfello, Alice Clements, Evan Higgins, Roya Falahi, Amir H. Fallah, Asad Faulwell, Janice Gomez, Julia Haft-Candell, Ashley Hagen, Jonathon Hornedo, Ichiro Irie and Lucas Kazansky, Anna Mayer, Prumsodun Ok, Lisa Tchakmakian, Devon Tsuno, Jemima Wyman.
William Leavitt, Cutaway View 2008, mixed media installation, dimensions variable.
Courtesy of Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles. Installation view at MOCA, Los Angeles. Photo credit: Brian Forrest.
© William Leavitt
Jeffrey Vallance, Juliet’s Balcony, Verona, 2006,
24 x 8.5 x 8.25 inches. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. © Jeffrey Vallance
January 26 - April 14, 2013
Curated by David De Boer, Eamonn Fox, and Mary Grace Sanchez and organized as a part of the Museum and Curatorial Studies CSULB Graduate Program, Significant Ordinaries explores the practices of artists that use curatorial techniques in their artwork. Significant Ordinaries brings together contemporary conceptual artists that seem to prioritize complex displays over technical mastery. David Horvitz, Louise Lawler, William Leavitt, Mark Wyse, and Jeffrey Vallance showcase their penchant for treating presentation as a means of narration in this exhibition. In their carefully considered constructions and installations, these artists invite viewers to investigate how the arrangement of an artwork can stretch interpretative boundaries.
The adventurous approaches to display upheld by artists in Significant Ordinaries appear more as artful interplays of personal artifacts and situational artifice than isolated works of art. Jeffrey Vallance frames everyday objects like religious icons in his work, and in doing so, draws attention to how we assign value to our possessions. Photographer Louise Lawler appropriates other artists’ work in purposely positioned shots that expose larger environmental compositions. William Leavitt places the viewer within spaces costumed as suburban rooms in the creation of his “theater of the ordinary.” Mark Wyse arranges printed painting details with his own photographs to evoke disjointed associations and open-ended interpretations. David Horvitz allows viewers to re-organize and re-display his folio containing small artworks from 27 different artists; in re-ordering the images, patrons reconstruct the narrative of the work. The unconventional execution of artwork from these artists allows visitors to meditate on how personal relics activate everyday spaces in their own life.
Significant Ordinaries beckons its audience to impart their own experiences into the artworks and encourages viewers to complete the exhibition as an artist-curator themselves.
Under the guidance of Interim Director Dr. Kendall Brown, former Director Nizan Shaked, and subsequent Directors of the CSULB Graduate Program in Museum and Curatorial Studies, Significant Ordinaries was curated and organized by David De Boer, Eamonn Fox, and Mary Grace Sanchez in partial requirement for the CSULB Graduate Program in Museum and Curatorial Studies. Significant Ordinaries is made possible by generous funding provided by Instructional Related Activities, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and Associated Students, Inc., CSULB. The staff of the University Art Museum deserves special thanks for their support and advice throughout the process.
Thank you, I AM UAM sponsors:
I AM UAM
January 26 - April 14, 2013
In October 2012, the University Art Museum gave a survey to more than 770 undergraduate students at California State University Long Beach, asking them to share what they think about art and their experiences at art museums. The goal of the survey, called I AM UAM, is to better understand how museumgoers—especially the Millennial-age adults who make up more than 50 percent of our visitors—engage in the arts.
Ultimately, the data from the I AM UAM survey will help the University Art Museum to think about the best ways to devise innovative exhibition, interpretive, and educational programming to enhance visitor experiences in the future.
I AM UAM—The Exhibition
From January 26 – April 14, 2013, the University Art Museum presents I AM UAM in an exhibition space designed as a casual “think tank” and reading room. For the duration of the I AM UAM exhibition, visitors will be invited to review, respond, and contribute new data to the project in “real time”—and in the process, become important participants in the research as well.
I AM UAM will include:
• Colorful graphs and charts that present the data and provide nuanced interpretations.
• 90 videos in which students discuss their responses to the survey question:
"If you could use one word to describe your generation, what would it be?"
• Playful interactive exhibit components include Instagram stations for visitors to make their own observations about art, museums, and other art-related topics; Ipad surveys; and other “feedback”-based creative activities.
Through the ongoing I AM UAM initiative and longitudinal research, the UAM intends for our institution to be a laboratory in which contributions by our visitors help us to test new strategies for engaging our audience both on-site and in the community.
The I AM UAM survey, research, and exhibition is designed and implemented by UAM Curator of Exhibitions Kristina Newhouse and Curator of Education Brian Trimble in partnership with CSULB Professor of Human Development Beth Manke, with assistance from Christina Alegria, Sol ah Lim, Alexis Pina, and Melissa Purves.
The I AM UAM logo was designed by Remo Bangayan.
I AM UAM has received generous support from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®.
Born and brewed in Southern California since 1963, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® is the oldest and largest privately-held specialty coffee and tea retailer in the United States. Embodying a passion for connecting loyal customers to one another with carefully handcrafted products, the company is known for sourcing and providing the finest ingredients and flavors from around the world. For nearly 50 years, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® has demonstrated a passion for product innovation epitomized by The Original Ice Blended® beverage. The company has grown to be an international icon and currently has more than 850 stores in 23 countries. For more information, please visit www.coffeebean.com or www.facebook.com/thecoffeebean.
I AM UAM has received generous support from Identity Home Staging.
Identity Home is not your typical Staging Company. They are a collection of creative Designers, Artists, Musicians, and Skilled Tradesmen with a passion for creating visually appealing and engaging spaces.