All notes from Archives | Notes on Looking

Julie Tolentino / Raised by Wolves: An offering, a question to experience

Geoff Tuck: I’ve been thinking about your performance at CWC, and also thinking about the exhibition that exists around your performance. In fact – I’m trying to pin down where one begins and the other ends. My experience of Raised By Wolves began when I made the appointment to attend. A number of things happened when I sent that email: I became aware of making a commitment, of entering into a sort of social contract with you. My failure to attend would have a disruptive impact on the outcome, and I feel like in that moment “you” and “I” (and any other members of that audience to be) were joined in an endeavor: to experience – and to create while experiencing Raised By Wolves. I will tell you that I was nervous while climbing the stairs. Private performances are scary: there is a possibility that attention may be turned to me – the viewer – and any attention that is out of one’s control is… Well – you get the idea. What might happen? What if I were to respond inappropriately, or insufficiently? I noticed your golden ladder while I climbed the stairs – it seemed mysterious, to my eyes it was a glinting, gossamer manifestation of Young’s burned stairs. It looked like a reverse shadow of the stair on which I walked – it was above me, and seemed made with golden spider webs. Feeling my own weight on the wooden staircase, I fantasized myself weightless – and able to ascend yours. Julie Tolentino: I love hearing about your disorientation, your thready weighted wonder – and your worry even…worry...

Emily Mast – BirdBrain in NY & other things

Geoff Tuck: Your work’s sensibility seems to me very sweet, or maybe – since “sweet” has connotations that go elsewhere than I might intend – I’ll say very human. Emily Mast: I definitely do not like the term “sweet” but it would not be the first time I’ve heard that term applied to my work, along with “romantic” and “cute.” I much prefer “human.” I often speak in lectures about my interest in, and investigation of, what I like to call “humanness” or that which makes us human, beyond pure intellect. So by this I guess I mean vulnerability, imperfection, emotion and commotion (and by that I mean situations that invite the potential for failure) — all things that the art world tends to shy away from, I think. Geoff: I’m thinking for instance, of “Bread Subscription” for which you promised a collector (participant) a homemade loaf of bread for each month of the year… Emily: Funny — I see this as more of a (somewhat absurd) commentary on how value is established. I have yet to sell a single subscription. People are willing to pay $5 for a loaf of bread, but they are not willing to pay $100 for a loaf of bread just because it has been labeled “art” —  I’m not fooling anyone here! Geoff: …and your “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”  – for which an unannounced actor whistled the Shirrelle’s song while visiting a group exhibition, all connect to an audience through the heart, though each work could also be accepted (received) by the audience members on their own terms. Emily: Actually, I...

John Pearson at Weekend

  Dear John, Your show, Immediate Horizon, at Weekend is quite wonderful. The cyanotype photograms are like flags, and like paintings, and like curtains – curtains over doorways, perhaps. Remember the movement in 1970s painting that was called Support/Surfaces? Do you find in that work something that speaks of the earth, and maybe about landscape? Those artists’ impulse to let material find its own resting place, to allow a surface to be its own support seems so base to me, so not related to the glorification of a stretcher and frame; without pretense, I think, and thus grounded. (Maybe those 1970s paintings seem gritty to me because the catalogue that I have has only black and white pictures.) Some of your photos look like slices out of the sky – and if this were true, their bodies would be fluttering in the very material out of which you snatched them: air. Light is carried through/on air, isn’t it? And light is the essence of your photography, right? I mean this not in the way of “Well, duh, Geoff – everything related to visual art depends on light” rather I mean that your photographs document the effects of light – the movement of light over time, the way in which light outlines and splashes around objects. Many of the brilliant white areas have weight, even, and this is a new way for me to think of light that I really appreciate. Thinking again of landscape, and of light, there is a specificity to the time and place that light hits the earth, isn’t there? Each moment and each site is unique. You...

The Fiercest Intellectuals: A Digital Roundtable on Finding Common Ground Between Art, Authenticity and Religion

A conversation with Zach Kleyn, Corrie Siegel, Amanda Leigh Evans, Gregory Michael Hernandez, and Geoff Tuck. Geoff Tuck: I remember our conversation Zach, and I appreciated then that you sparked off a fascinating hour. On the subject of religion and intellectuals, I find, looking back through history, that very often the fiercest intellectuals were also most dedicated to religion, to God. The Puritans and all their crazy, disparate, arguing friends come to mind in 17th century America, the American Transcendental movement, even up to the last century with Teilhard  de Chardin and Corita Kent. Sometime after those two, the intellectual crowd grew to disdain religion. An important exception to this rule is on the right, where (for example) Richard (Father) John Neuhaus exemplifies a right wing intellectual movement, centered around the journal he founded, First Things. I do not know a similar example on the left. Indeed, I think the left has abandoned religious thought and conversation to either the homespun vacuity of Branson level thinking, or outright to Fundamentalist Christianity, with its disavowal of tolerance of difference. I will say that I find a certain intelligence in an acknowledgement of a higher power. I like the idea of God. I think you have a history within the Fundamentalist world, where I do not. Will you tell me about how that experience has influenced your current work? What did you hope for your film  A Very, Very Distant Fire? Maybe too, what did you feel watching the original with your family? Zach Kleyn: I too find the idea of God compelling. I think it can be a helpful ‘tool,’...

Mark Ruwedel’s Report on Lake Bonneville at Gallery Luisotti

From American Art, Spring 1996 (included among gallery bibliography for Mark Ruwedel): “In the process of decay, and in it alone, the events of history shrivel up and become absorbed in history.” Walter Benjamin1 And then further in the same exerpted text: “…I have come to think of the land as being an enormous historical archive. I am interested in revealing the narratives contained within the landscape, especially those places where the land reveals itself as being both an agent of change and the field of human endeavor.” Mark Ruwedel (ibid.) Looking at Mark Ruwedel’s untitled photograph, I recognize that the artist is not asking me to think about what the dirt and the wind and the cold might feel like to touch, he is not showing me what they look like; rather, by including as secondary titles the modern, specific name for this place – the Great Salt Lake – as well as the epochal, encompassing name – Lake Bonneville – he is asking me to consider the land itself, and to think about the distance between the two names we have given it. I know from reading an article by the artist (available in the gallery, and from which I have quoted above) that Lake Bonneville is the name geologists give to the pre-historic Great Basin depression that formed as a lake during the Ice Age (the most recent one, that is). Mountain ranges, climate-scale wind patterns and shifts in earth’s temperature all have played roles in the slow dynamics of geology at Bonneville, and so this photograph, and the series, offer evidence of what Ruwedel calls “land as an agent of...