Archive for the ‘Conceptual Artist’ Category

If you really want to do it, you do it. There are no excuses.

July 6, 2009

Bruce Nauman

 

The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths 1967

Born in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Bruce Nauman has been recognized since the early 1970s as one of the most innovative and provocative of America’s contemporary artists. Nauman finds inspiration in the activities, speech, and materials of everyday life. Confronted with “What to do?” in his studio soon after graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1964 with a BFA, and then the University of California, Davis in 1966 with an MFA, Nauman had the simple but profound realization that “If I was an artist and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art. At this point art became more of an activity and less of a product.” Working in the diverse mediums of sculpture, video, film, printmaking, performance, and installation, Nauman concentrates less on the development of a characteristic style and more on the way in which a process or activity can transform or become a work of art. A survey of his diverse output demonstrates the alternately political, prosaic, spiritual, and crass methods by which Nauman examines life in all its gory details, mapping the human arc between life and death. The text from an early neon work proclaims: “The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.” Whether or not we—or even Nauman—agree with this statement, the underlying subtext of the piece emphasizes the way in which the audience, artist, and culture at large are involved in the resonance a work of art will ultimately have. Nauman lives in New Mexico.

http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/nauman/

A good artist has less time than ideas.

July 1, 2009

Martin Kippenberger

 

Fred the Frog Rings the Bell 1990

Martin Kippenberger (25 February 1953 in Dortmund – 7 March 1997 in Vienna) was a German artist known for his extremely prolific output in a dizzying range of styles and media as well as his provocative, jocular and hard-drinking public persona. He died at age 44 from liver cancer.

Kippenberger was “widely regarded as one of the most talented German artists of his generation,” according to Roberta Smith of the New York Times. He was at the center of a generation of German enfants terribles including Albert Oehlen, Werner Büttner, Georg Herold, Dieter Göls, and Günther Förg. He collected and commissioned work by many of his peers: some of his exhibition posters were designed by such prominent artists as Jeff Koons, Christopher Wool, Rosemarie Trockel and Mike Kelley.

Kippenberger’s artistic reputation and influence has grown since his death. He has been the subject of a several large retrospective exhibitions, including at the Tate Modern in 2006 and “the Problem Perspective” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in 2008; the exhibition traveled to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2009.

In 2008 his sculpture of a toad being crucified called Zuerst die Füsse (“First the Feet”) was allegedly condemned by Pope Benedict as blasphemous.

He was a member of the Lord Jim Lodge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Kippenberger

Every man is an artist.

June 20, 2009

Joseph Beuys

 

Fat Chair 1964

Joseph Beuys was born in 1921 in Krefeld, a city in northwestern Germany near the Dutch border. He grew up in the nearby towns of Kleve and Rindern, the only child in a middle class, strongly Catholic family. During his youth he pursued dual interests in the natural sciences and art, and he chose a career in medicine. In 1940 he joined the military, volunteering in order to avoid the draft. He was trained as an aircraft radio operator and combat pilot, and during his years of active duty he was seriously wounded numerous times. At the end of the war he was held in a British prisoner-of-war camp for several months, and returned to Kleve in 1945.

Coming to terms with his involvement in the war was a long process and figures, at least obliquely, in much of his artwork. Beuys often said that his interest in fat and felt as sculptural materials grew out of a wartime experience–a plane crash in the Crimea, after which he was rescued by nomadic Tartars who rubbed him with fat and wrapped him in felt to heal and warm his body. While the story appears to have little grounding in real events (Beuys himself downplayed its importance in a 1980 interview), its poetics are strong enough to have made the story one of the most enduring aspects of his mythic biography.

On his return from the war Beuys abandoned his plans for a career in medicine and enrolled in the Düsseldorf Academy of Art to study sculpture. He graduated in 1952, and during the next years focused on drawing–he produced thousands during the 1950s alone–and reading, ranging freely through philosophy, science, poetry, literature, and the occult. He married in 1959 and two years later, at the age of 40, was appointed to a professorship at his alma mater.

During the early 1960s, Düsseldorf developed into an important center for contemporary art and Beuys became acquainted with the experimental work of artists such as Nam June Paik and the Fluxus group, whose public “concerts” brought a new fluidity to the boundaries between literature, music, visual art, performance, and everyday life. Their ideas were a catalyst for Beuys’ own performances, which he called “actions,” and his evolving ideas about how art could play a wider role in society. He began to publicly exhibit his large-scale sculptures, small objects, drawings, and room installations. He also created numerous actions and began making editioned objects and prints called multiples.

As the decades advanced, his commitment to political reform increased and he was involved in the founding of several activist groups: in 1967, the German Student Party, whose platform included worldwide disarmament and educational reform; in 1970, the Organization for Direct Democracy by Referendum, which proposed increased political power for individuals; and in 1972, the Free International University, which emphasized the creative potential in all human beings and advocated cross-pollination of ideas across disciplines. In 1979 he was one of 500 founding members of the Green Party.

His charismatic presence, his urgent and public calls for reform of all kinds, and his unconventional artistic style (incorporating ritualized movement and sound, and materials such as fat, felt, earth, honey, blood, and even dead animals) gained him international notoriety during these decades, but it also cost him his job. Beuys was dismissed in 1972 from his teaching position over his insistence that admission to the art school be open to anyone who wished to study there.

While he counted debate, discussion, and teaching as part of his expanded definition of art, Beuys also continued to make objects, installations, multiples, and performances. His reputation in the international art world solidified after a 1979 retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, and he lived the last years of his life at a hectic pace, participating in dozens of exhibitions and traveling widely on behalf of his organizations. Beuys died in 1986 in Düsseldorf. In the subsequent decade his students have carried on his campaign for change, and his ideas and artwork have continued to spark lively debate.

http://www.walkerart.org/archive/4/9C43FDAD069C47F36167.htm

The freedom of every artist is essential.

April 9, 2009

Christo

The Gates Central Park NY 2005

Christo (born as Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, Bulgarian: Христо Явашев) and Jeanne-Claude (born as Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon) are a married couple who create environmental works of art. Their works include the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, the 24-mile-long artwork called Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin counties in California, and The Gates in New York City’s Central Park.

Coincidentally Christo and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same date — 13 June 1935.

Although their work is visually impressive and often controversial as a result of its scale, the artists have repeatedly denied that their projects contain any deeper meaning than their immediate aesthetic. The purpose of their art, they contend, is simply to create works of art or joy and beauty and to create new ways of seeing familiar landscapes. Art critic David Bourdon has described Christo’s wrappings as a “revelation through concealment.” To his critics Christo replies, “I am an artist, and I have to have courage … Do you know that I don’t have any artworks that exist? They all go away when they’re finished. Only the preparatory drawings, and collages are left, giving my works an almost legendary character. I think it takes much greater courage to create things to be gone than to create things that will remain.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christo

You shouldn’t be a prisoner of your own ideas.

January 22, 2009

Sol Le Witt

 

123454321+ (1993)

Sol LeWitt was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1928, and attended Syracuse University. After serving in the Korean War as a graphic artist, he moved, in 1953, to New York, where he worked as a draftsman for the architect I. M. Pei. LeWitt had his first solo exhibition at the Daniels Gallery, New York, in 1965, and the following year Dwan Gallery, New York, mounted the first in a series of solo exhibitions. He participated, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, in several significant group exhibitions of Minimalist and Conceptual art, including “Primary Structures,” at the Jewish Museum, New York, in 1966, and “When Attitude Becomes Form,” at the Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, in 1969. His renowned text “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” was published in 1967. LeWitt’s work was included in Documentas 6 (1977) and 7 (1982) in Kassel, as well as the 1987 Skulptur Projekte in Münster and the 1989 Istanbul Biennial. Major retrospectives of his works were organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1978, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, in 2000. “Drawing Series…” a presentation of LeWitt’s early wall drawings was installed at Dia:Beacon in 2006. Sol LeWitt died on April 8, 2007 in New York City.

http://www.diabeacon.org/exhibs_b/lewitt/