interviews and articles

Approaching the Landscape in The Irish Times

Niall de Buitléar’s small paintings, built from intricate concentric patterns, are geometric but also suggestive of organic processes. They equate to the world outside: complex and orderly but also contingent and unpredictable. Their handmade precision makes them visually fascinating. You could quite happily live with any one of them and never tire of it.

From Aidan Dunne's review of Approaching the Landscape at Rua Red in the Irish Times


Woven Silver Cone from 10th Century Dublin

There are three separate strands of silver, each composed of between 15 and 18 wires. Yet, Halpin says, it is very hard to find where all these wires end. The visual effect is that of a single thread turning endlessly around itself. There are traces of some kind of organic material inside the cone, probably a wax shape around which the wires were woven. The visual imagination and the physical deftness required to do so are of the highest order.

This artefact is housed in the National Museum of Ireland and the text and image above come from the Irish Times' History of Ireland in 100 objects

Guillermo Kuitca

I've mentioned Guillermo Kuitca a number of times on this blog before and here are a couple of videos I've come across today. The first is Kuitca's piece Stage Fright which is described on Youtube as "animation for Kuitca's Show at Gallery Met at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. 2007". The piece relates to the artist's series of "drawings" involving inkjet prints of coloured theatre seating plans being dipped in water of varying temperatures.  The second is the first of a three part conversation between Kuitca and the curator Douglas Dreishpoon Albright at Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo NY. The other two parts can be found on this youtube profile.

The Dustbin of Art History

Here is an article by Ben Lewis from Prospect Magazine which draws a comparison between trends in contemporary art and mannerist art of the past which were celebrated in their time but which are no longer as highly valued. Below is an excerpt:

There is a pattern typical of these end-phase periods, when an artistic movement ossifies. At such times there is exaggeration and multiplication instead of development. A once new armoury of artistic concepts, processes, techniques and themes becomes an archive of formulae, quotations or paraphrasings, ultimately assuming the mode of self-parody.

Over the last decade, not only conceptualism—perhaps the dominant movement of the past three decades—but the entire modernist project has been going through a similar process.

I believe that this decline shares four aesthetic and ideological characteristics with the end-phases of previous grand styles: formulae for the creation of art; a narcissistic, self-reinforcing cult that elevates art and the artist over actual subjects and ideas; the return of sentiment; and the alibi of cynicism."

Image: Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog, Stainless steel with transparent color coating installed at The Palace of Versailles

Notes For A Guerrilla War

"In a context dominated by technological inventions and imitations, one finds oneself faced by one of two choices: either a kleptomaniac reliance on the system and the use of codified and artificial languages in comfortable dialogue with existing structures, both social and private, the acceptance of ideology and its pseudo-analyses, an osmosis into all the apparent revolutions that are immediately reabsorbed, the subordination of one’s work to the abstract (op) microcosm or to the socio-cultural (pop) and formal (primary structures) macrocosm; or, entirely at the other extreme, an option for free and individual self-development."

Germano Calant's 1967 essay on Arte Povera, Notes for a Guerrilla War

Willie White Article on Arts Council Cuts

There is an article in today's Irish Times by Willie White, the director of the Project Arts Centre. He writes about the current difficulties facing arts organisations since funding decisions were announced at the beginning of the month. He also expresses concern over funding cuts targeting younger artists and the general slowness of the Arts Council in making funding decisions. below are some excerpts:

"Even those with only a passing interest will have noticed this week some complaint and consternation around the Arts Council’s cuts to clients. The cuts were, in many cases, greater than its own cut in the December budget and some longstanding clients have had their funding halved or taken away completely.

The talk now is mostly of unjust treatment of existing clients who are experienced artists, but the understandable protests and letters to the editor threaten to obscure what is, in my opinion, another pressing issue. A generation of new artists has long felt overlooked for funding and the boldness of the Arts Council’s actions has so far not translated into a remedy for this. The council says it has earmarked 20 per cent of funding for one-off projects and awards. There is no chance this money will be available to artists until after project grants announced just this week have been processed, most likely in the summer. This is late in the day to plan activities for 2010. For most of the year the public will see less art and not much of it will be made by people under 35.

Artists who have had regular funding withdrawn have been encouraged to apply for other awards and face at least a nine-month hiatus since making initial applications in September 2009, before they know if they can move forward."

"Unfortunately the Arts Council’s current way of doing business seems unnecessarily slow and not very smart. The reason for the tardiness of the council’s process can’t simply be a consequence of December’s budget. It was two months after the budget, and five months after applications closed, that the recent decisions were communicated and at that the work is only half done. Apart from the nuisance for some lucky clients, having to start planning in earnest for 2010 in the second month of the year, independent artists, those who work outside a company structure, have once again to wait even longer for news of possible funding. It is hard to reconcile this with a commitment to supporting artists to make work and to enabling more people to experience the arts in 2010."

Katie Holten's Tree Museum

There's an article in today's Irish Times about Katie Holten's Tree Museum and her upcoming show at the Hugh Lane as a part of the Golden Bough series. The Tree Museum was a public artwork that examined people's relationships to trees in the Bronx area of New York through an audio guide featuring recordings of local people. Below is a short video about the Tree Museum and the audio recordings are available through her website.

Five Ways Culture Can Save Us

There is an article in todays Iirsh Times that claims "the arts cement our reputation abroad, are crucial to our smart economy, provide employment at home, fuel cultural tourism, and help form the nation’s psyche – they are vital to our national recovery". So hopefully the government will pay attention when they put together the next budget.

Full text here