Cheryl Machat Dorskind
I am an author and educator passionate about photography and sharing this form of communication worldwide though my books, online classes, college classes, and mentoring.
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Category Archives: Art Exhibits
Friday Quote: “When was the last time you laughed?”
~ Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger’s new installation “Belief + Doubt” features massive-type aphorisms in Kruger’s signature colors of red, black, and white. The exhibit officially opens on August 20 and will remain on display through 2014.
According to the Washington City Paper (8/8/12), Barbara Kruger is one of the greatest feminist artists of the 20th century and an important contributor to the fields of text-based art, appropriation, mass communication and corporate critique.
I was fortunate to be at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum earlier this summer while the installation was in progress and I snapped a few photos.
All Images:”Belief + Doubt” – © Barbara Kruger, photos by Cheryl Machat Dorskind
Have a great weekend and a hearty laugh,
Yesterday I ate something that kept me in bed so I turned on the tv and watched the HBO documentary “Marina Abramovic′.” I was stunned by its intensity and sorry I missed her 2010 MOMA retrospective. If you were one of the 750,000 viewers I would like to hear your thoughts.
The documentary did not sit well with my queasy stomach, (I stopped it when the magician was eating his wine glass) but I wanted to share some of Marina’s wisdom. She is an artist (doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed as a “performance artist”) who embodies Zen philosophy. To her, intention and being in your authentic space is sacred. I was profoundly touched by her presence on screen.
“Artists have to be warrior, have to have this determination and the stamina to conquer, not to just cover new territory, but also to conquer himself and his weaknesses. So it doesn’t matter what type of work you are doing as an artist, the most important is which state of mind you are doing what you are doing. And performance is all about state of mind.”
“Artist is present”
From her manifest:
- An artist should not lie to himself or to others
- An artist should not steal from other artists
- An artist should not compromise for themselves or in regard to the art market
- An artist should not kill another human being
- An artist must not make themselves into an idol
- An artist should avoid falling in love with another artist
A recent NY Times interview with Marina concludes this blog, although I recommend watching the documentary first before you read the interview and judge Marina and her art. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/magazine/the-devil-in-marina-abramovic.html)
PS Feeling better, I finished watching the video last night.
New Ideas Fascinate Me
© 2012 Cheryl Machat Dorskind
Looking for a new motif for your photography? Well, Thomas Struth might have an answer. Struth bypassed photographer’s block finding his muse for over forty years in a broad range of subjects including urban environments, families, technology, and (today’s topic) museums. Struth doesn’t look at his breadth of subjects as personal reinvention, but rather fascination with new ideas,
“It has less to do with reinventing myself then with how I simply change as a person and how will new things come into my life, New things fascinate me and I’m interested in new problems.
Finding new new ideas requires an open heart and mind and curiosity. Struth wrote about the museum experience:
“The question is? What are people doing there. Why are they there? The answer is museums provide a protected space where people can reflect on history and on the perspective of history provided by other people before them.”
Museums create a protected space to unleash your imagination. In museums I loose myself and time. Willa Sibert Cather writes in “Song of the Lark” (free download on the Kindle),
“It was with a lightening of the heart, a feeling of throwing off the old miseries and old sorrows of the world, that she ran up the wide staircase to the pictures. There she liked best the ones that told stories… In that same room, there was a picture— Oh, that was the thing she ran upstairs so fast to see! That was her picture. She imagined that nobody cared for it but herself, and that it waited for her… She liked even the name of it, ‘The Song of the Lark’… She told herself that that picture was ‘right’… the almost boundless satisfaction she felt when she looked at the picture.”
Art will refuel a photographer and expand her repertoire. Use a camera for sketching. Capture history-making-images. Photograph (If the museum permits) a Mary Cassatt or Rembrandt for light, color, and composition.
So here’s to another happy Friday. I hope you find your muse,
Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Gordon Parks
By Cheryl Machat Dorskind
I was so happy to read the announcement about the upcoming photography exhibit at the International Center of Photography in midtown New York City celebrating Gordon Parks’ 100th year anniversary of his birth.
The ICP is taking the show to the streets, by including mural size photos as window displays and downloadable talks to mobile devices by Gordon Parks himself. The aim is to introduce Gordon Parks’ works to a new generation.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Gordon Parks’ genius as a filmmaker (including “Leaning Tree” and “Shaft”), writer, composer, and photographer. Largely self-taught, he lived to 93 years old. He was able to overcome many barriers as a child, including poverty and racism. During his tenure at Life magazine, Parks’ photographs focused on social inequality.
Perhaps his best known photograph is “American Gothic” which depicts a black cleaning woman named Ella Watson who stands stoically in front of an American flag, a mop in one hand, a broom in the other. Copyright laws restrict me from posting this photo, but I am able to post another that features Mrs. Ella Watson. This photo was obtained from the Library of Congress’s vast digital photo resource. If you haven’t visited this website, take a look this weekend. It is rich with American history. (www.loc.gov)
Below are a few quotes from Gordon Parks.
“Time smiled, touched my shoulder, and told me things I’d never heard before. Now and then certain wonders of the universe descend carefully from the Maker’s hands and, one by one, fall into a chosen space to blot out emptiness.”
Humor on aging:
“Recently my memory is slippery, like an eel. The spectacles that were missing this morning were kind enough to turn up on my head.” He says, “Funny, things I forget are often more significant than the things I remember.”
Eyes with Winged Thoughts
On love and hope:
“Despite the turmoil, anguish and despair disrupting the planet we inherited, there is something good I choose to sing about. That something lies within us, patiently waiting – beneath us, above us and around us.”
Eyes with Winged Thoughts
The exhibit opens Thursday, May 24th. Maybe I’ll see you then.
Have a great weekend and keep your camera in heart synch.
I was not surprised to see the cover of the New York Times Sunday Arts section (2/19/12) feature a rare non-costumed Cindy Sherman self-portrait for its lead article. And I thought, of course, “Why hire a photographer when she can photograph herself…best…as she wants to be seen?”
Once again Cindy Sherman makes front page art news in the New York Times Weekend Arts, today (2/24/12), but this time she is back in costume. Her exhibit at the MOMA is one not to be missed. Here are some Cindy Sherman Quotes:
“None of the characters are me. They’re everything but me. If it seems too close to me, it’s rejected.”
“My work is not about fantasizing about characters or situations……When I’m doing the characters I really don’t feel it is something I’m building out of my fantasies, my dreams…”
“Sometimes I would play in my room out of curiosity to see what makeup can do. Sometimes become a character…”
The Photographer’s Quote
“I was good at copying things, but I didn’t really have ideas of what I wanted to do with painting. That was when I thought, ‘Why am I wasting my time elaborately copying things when I could use a camera?’”
Carol Vogel, NY Times (2/19/12)
On Hiring Models
“Whenever I tried to hire people or use friends or family, even if I paid them, I felt like I had to entertain them. When I’m working alone, I can push myself. And I don’t complain.”
Carol Vogel, NY Times (2/19/12)
From the Critics
“The contradictory and complex readings of her work reinforce its ongoing relevance to multiple audiences. More than ever, identity is malleable and fluid and her photographs confirm this.”
Ms. Respini (NY Times 2/19/2012)
Her exhibition at MOMA will be on view through June11, 2012
“I begin by not photographing” ~Jeff Wall
“I developed that phrase because it just described something I really do. If I see something on the street, lets say, I don’t photograph it. So I could be looking and hunting for things…but I just don’t photograph them. It’s only a small difference, really. The actual event disappears as a photograph. It vanishes as a potential photograph. It doesn’t happen. But, it doesn’t disappear because I am the photographer…
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The Art Institute of Chicago on Jeff Wall: “Epic and luminous, the work of Jeff Wall has overturned nearly every convention of photography. Meticulously staged and theatrical in scale, Wall’s images have more in common with the grandest history painting of the 18th century and the flickering mesmerism of cinema than with the fleeting documentary style of much of modern photography.”
Have you noticed that art critiques (photography, films, and book reviews as well) can be awfully opinionated? Art criticism is supposed to be about detailing, explaining, and educating the public. But sometimes art critics get carried away with their editorial perspective.
“Abigail Solomon-Godeau views her chosen critical agendas as one of asking questions: Primarily, all critical practices—literary or artistic—should be about asking questions. That’s what I do in my teaching and it’s what I attempt to do in my writing.”
Critic Kay Larsen, states that she starts writing criticism “by confronting the work at the most direct level possible—suspending language and removing barriers…you can try to figure out how to explain it, and there are many ways to take off—through sociology, history, theory, standard criticism, or description.”
And lastly, Grace Glueck sees her role as a critic as “being one of informing members of the public about works of art: She aspires to inform, elucidate, explain, and enlighten.”
With the above critical philosophy (from the terrific book Criticizing Photographs, by Terry Barrett Criticizing Photographs
as a backdrop, I now turn to the exhibit of Maurizio Cattelan at the Guggenheim, “All.” Maurizio Cattelan is known for his prankster approach to art and critics have not been kind.
And yet…he is having a retrospective at the age of 51 at the Guggenheim Museum and he cleverly insisted on using the brilliance of Frank Lloyd’s Wright’s space to hang (never-to-be -done-before) his collection of 128 works in the center of the atrium.
Ingenious and fun, you see the art from different perspectives as you walk up and down the ramps: I recommend the exhibit to all. The Guggenheim even gives you free headsets so you can learn about Cattelan.
I have read several reviews—thankfully defacto (since I might have been put off going by the undeserved negativity): The New Yorker, NY Times, and Bloomberg condescend, NY Magazine and The Economist offer useful insights. Jerry Saltz of NY Magazine summarizes in his redemptive article, “All is Cattelan internally fissuring, convulsing into a spectacular grand seizure. It’s full disclosure, nondisclosure, self-martyrdom, panic attack, and jumping-the-shark rolled into one—and it’s also some kind of masterpiece.”
Visit the museum and let me know your thoughts. And notice, I say thoughts; this is when opinions are welcome.