FOS Week 7: Problem with Scale

This week, we read “Blow Up: The Problem of Scale in Sculpture” by Barbara Rose. It states:

Modern civilization [has] produced virtually no monumental sculpture to rank with the great sculptural creations of the other high civilization.

 

It then goes on to ask “Why?” Is it the lack of modern monuments due to the decline of systems of belief? Is it because the materials & techniques used are unsuited to monumentality?

Earlier sculpture was always primarily a public art, an art of celebration or commemoration. Usually these monuments were tied to religion, history, & architecture. 

Duchamp-Villon, one of the revolutionaries of modern sculpture also pondered on this

“We suffer, or rather sculpture suffers,from museum sickness…” He was prophetic in his recognition that sculp­ture had to come out of the museums and become part of the land­scape once again.

How is it that we adjust sculptures meant for the interior to the exterior while prevent them from being merely  avoid merely being an enlargement of table-top replica?

The next article “Scale at any Size” by Rachel Moore tries to address this. It states

Scale is always in relation to the human body. 

Size is literal, scale is metaphorical. For Morris, the perception of scale is fundamentally physical, and is arrived at through an understanding of three key elements: the viewer’s body, the object, and the ‘space’ or distance between the two.

It then posits that what we see today is the replacement of content with scale. Many, including schools corporations & cultural centers cannot make the distinction between scale from quality.

Ultimately, it seems that scale should not be used to impress. Viewer should not be dominated by large sculptures, but be allowed to move around & possibly even through them. 

FOS Week 6: Identity & Body

This week, we read “The Fable of the Slave & the Sphinx” by Malik Gaines. In this, he states: 

Power lies not in individual objects, but in the discourse that engulfs them.

This seems to be true of the case example E Pluribus Unum by Fred Wilson. In this work, Wilson proposed a sculpture to be placed in downtown Indianapolis. The sculpture was to be that of a freed slave from the city’s Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Memorial, made in 1902.

At the time, Indianapolis only had one public monument that represented an African American. Wilson’s piece was to be the second.  

Related image

His proposed piece spurred much debate about what embodiment means, as well as how to portray this culturally sensitive issue. While intended to correct stereotypes, some claimed that his piece perpetuated them.

Ultimately, this piece was rejected from being placed. 

Future of Sculpture Week 5: Sculpture

This week, we read Sculpture in the Expanding Field by Rosalind Krauss. This work had several ideas on what sculpture has been developing into. 

In the early sixties….sculpture had entered a categorical no-man’s-land: it was what was on or in front of the building that was not the building, or what was in the landscape that was not the landscape…. Sculpture, it could be said, had ceased being a positivity, and was now the category that resulted from the addition of the not-landscape to the not-architecture. 

 

Then Sculpture changed further with the works of Robert Smithson, Robert Morris,  Robert Irwin, Alice Aycock, John Mason, Michael Heizer, Mary Miss &  Charles Simonds. 

 In this sense sculpture had entered the full condition of its inverse logic and had become pure negativity: the combination of exclusions

In this re-evaluative context of “What Is Sculpture?,” how can we create pieces that occupy this complex axis?

Future of Sculpture Week 4: Disappearing & Fugitive Material

In this week’s reading, we covered the topic of disappearing & fugitive material. In the field of New Media Art, many of the materials that are used will quickly become obsolete. In this era of rapid change, it is vital that artists document their material & process for future revitalization & reconstruction. 

The MoMa & Whitney both have dedicated teams of conservationists to this. The need for this has also been recognized by academic institution such as New York University & its department of Moving Image Archiving & Preservation.  

However one of the key issues that comes up with preservation is the fine line between restoration & replacement. If more than 50% of the art has been restored, can it still be considered to be an original piece? 

 

Future of Sculpture Week 3: Process as Medium

For this week, we were prompted to delve further into how process can be a form of medium when it comes to sculpture. This idea is very interesting because we traditionally think of sculpture as being a static object. However, process is something that signifies an ongoing series of operations throughout time. 

The exhibition “Performances under Working Conditions” by Walead Beshty tries to capture some of the essence of time within static pieces. The patina on these copper items are there from the result of process.

Future of Sculpture Week 2: The Readymade

This week, we were prompted to create an object from found items. Based on the discussion we had in class, my partner Huiyi & I decided to play off the idea of  “What does it mean to be American? ” 

We started by searching for iconic symbols of “America” & settled on the Statue of Liberty. In our searches, we found that Google images chose to present different terms to us. 

 

Incognito Browser

An Immigrant’s Browser

An American’s Browser

 

Based on these results, we decided to mix & add some of these keywords together to form “Searcher of Liberty.”

Future Of Sculpture Week 1: Additivism, Junkspace, + The Creative Act

In this class, one of our goals is to redesign & redefine what sculpture can be using both traditional & modern toolsets. Our first reading assignment, “The 3D Additive Cookbook” attempts to define one way of doing this: 

Additivism is a portmanteau of additive and activism: a movement concerned with critiquing ‘radical’ new technologies in fablabs, workshops, and classrooms; at social, ecological, and global scales. 

The second reading assignment, Junkspace adds another definition for contemplation:

If space-junk is the human debris that litters the universe, Junk-Space is the residue mankind leaves on the planet.

In an era where we have more content, art, & experiences that can ever be consumed by an individual, junkspace is what happens to those that aren’t consumed. It is also that what happens to art that is consumed then forgotten. This article also brings up the idea that humanity has lost its ability to create large-scale transformational legacies of art.

We have built more than did all previous generations put together, but somehow we do not reg­ister on the same scales. We do not leave pyramids.

In “The Creative Act” by Marcel Duchamp, the idea of art as being two-sided is brought up. In his article, he describes art as not just a singular experience created by the artist, but the importance of the spectator in deciphering & interpreting it. 

Let us consider two important factors, the two poles of the creation of art: the artist on the one hand, and on the other the spectator who later becomes the posterity…..Millions of artists create; only a few thousands are discussed or accepted by the spectator and many less again are consecrated by posterity.

This idea of posterity is demonstrated by Bader in “Money for Sale, Heroin-Injected Lasagna: How One Artist Is Defining Our Era”:

“In these instances, what collectors are buying is the idea itself, in the form of a certificate”

In the Bader article, he prompts the NYTimes writers to create art. He gives them detailed instructions of his vision & then gives them a certificate that authenticates this piece of art as being a Bader idea. 

As Robert Irwin said in “Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees”:

What stays in the museum is only the art object, not valueless, but not the value of art. The art is what has happened to the viewer.”….“Perhaps this is all ‘art’ means – this frame of mind. The object of art may be to seek the elimination of the necessity of it.”

It seems to me that the value of art comes not just the physical, but the idea that it represents. It also seems to me that what is missing in art is this link between the artist & the spectator. By bridging this gap & turning both into participators, is it possible to create sculptural works of art akin to the pyramids?