The staples dumpster caught on fire as soon as I printed this out there. Not a coincidence:
Jenny Holzer is a conceptual artist who received her MFA from RISD. She is extremely famous for her contributions to commentary based art which focuses on themes of power, individual identity, and public space. Holzer is incredibly significant in the art world for presenting text based art, and narrative based art, which goes against the general form in which pieces are presented.
Her super famous Truisms have been presented in a number of ways, but I particularly enjoy her 1984 sign, which presents them in the form of a rolling LED sign, of the kind that they have in the windows of bodegas (except rather than advertising cheap cigarette prices, Holzer’s piece presents aphorisms about humanity).
Please Change Beliefs presents the truisms again, but this time on the web, and the reader has the ability to add their own “revisions” to a master list of the truisms. I really enjoy this piece, partially because I am all about participatory works, but also because I think it goes deeper than some other forms of Holzer’s words, since it begs to be questioned (and possibly changed) by the viewer.
Holzer is also super famous for her projections, and I particularly enjoy this one from Berlin:
Not only is the written word really fantastic, but the architecture that the projection is a part of is highlighted, which is really great as it reinterprets somebody’s design as a new canvas for expression.
I also think whoever does this twitter account is a genius: https://twitter.com/jennyholzermom
Roger Luke DuBois is an artist who works in the fields of performance and composition, as well as a variety of visual media. In music, he has collaborated with artists like Elliot Sharp and Bora Yoon. He is also a programmer focusing on the development of Cycling 74’s Max/MSP/Jitter visual synthesis interface.
One of his recent pieces is Circus Sarasota, which played back generative “video portraits” of performers from the Circus Arts Conservatory of Sarasota. The audio on this video is really nice too, and was composed by DuBois.
Vertical Music is a video piece involving 12 musicians in which they were individually recorded and then played back at low speed, creating an overwhelming drone that spans 45 minutes (1/10 of original speed). I find this piece super inspiring, since a lot of my personal projects are focused on altering sound, working with granular synthesis etc.
The Bioluminescence project is another sound design piece which reworks Lesley Flanigan’s vocals to create a new, resampled piece.
When I listen to this, I’m reminded of a less harsh version of Harry Pussy’s farewell double LP, which took a single scream and stretched it out across four sides of vinyl through a computer program. DuBois’ stuff feels significantly easier to listen to, but I definitely see a parallel in terms of approach.
Matt Siber is an artist whose work deals with capitalism, consumerism, and American product-driven ideologies. He is well known for his photography editing which displaces well known logos in the air (which normally float over gas stations or stores) as if they are signs from “the heavens”
This is from his BIllboard Vinyls series, which moves his billboard advertisements to a gallery space. In a way, this makes the viewer consider advertising as art, and the viewing process (in a gallery vs. in the “wild”).
This piece Burger King, is really interesting in its perspective, in the way that the logos almost glare down at the viewer in an oppressive way.
This piece Philgas is my favorite from the series, since it presents a bleak green space, almost as if advertising to nobody.
Evan Roth is a multidisciplinary artist/Bad Ass Mother Fucker currently living in Paris. His work is in a number of galleries such as MoMA and The Tate Gallery. Much of his work is also available online, fitting with his aesthetic as a digital artist/ public domain provocateur.
The first piece I saw by Roth that I really enjoyed was J. Dilla Memorial: The Legacy Lives On
This piece is a timer counting down how long it will be until J. Dilla’s music is in the public domain (70 Years after his death). SInce this work references another artist who utilized sampling and copyrighted work frequently in his music, I think that it can be interpreted as a commentary on the restrictiveness of copyright, as well as a celebration of one of the pioneers of sampling, whose art should be free to the public. This is part of Roth’s overall Public Domain Countdown concept.
Internet Cache Self Portrait Series
This piece is a print out of images collected from the web during day-to-day computer usage. I like that it aggregates everything, and forces the viewer to confront the images that are passively observed all the time while utilizing the internet.
Hypnotised By Puffy is hilarious, since it’s just Puff Daddy’s vocal contributions to Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize”. It’s really short, which makes it really funny, but I’m a big fan of incorporating popular culture and rap music into art, which Roth does frequently. I also thought that Diddy only produced the track, I didn’t realize his vocals were on this cut at all, so it’s a pretty educational piece in that regard.
Jason Salavon was born in 1970, and got his MFA at SAIC in Chicago. His work deals with the parallels between art and technology, information, and culture. He is unique because he writes and programs his own works often, making his art exist parallel to the world of IT or computer science.
I was immediately struck by the seriousness of the work that Salavon puts into his pieces, while still being able to critique the things around him, and perhaps pull the “arts” down a notch, closer to the hands of the status quo. An example of this is Golem (Printer), a software and printer which automatically creates abstract paintings. It’s hilarious, beautiful, and the software is written so well that the paintings appear to be created individually and painstakingly by human hands. The concept of Golem stretched across many mediums, with projections and browsers also doing the same thing.
The Song of The Century mixes together 27 covers of The Beatles’ Yesterday into one messy amalgamation. I’m a huge fan of manipulation of popular music to create something new, so this is definitely one of my favorite pieces of Salavon’s.
Everything, All at Once is definitely one of my new favorite pieces from anyone, ever. By building a device that finds the mean color of any video input, Salavon turns the television into a monochromatic experience. The interactivity of the piece, with some galleries allowing users to flip through the stations of Cable television is fantastic.
Christian Marclay was born in 1955 in California. His work is heavily influenced by the Fluxus artists, as well as noise, pop culture, and punk rock. He has collaborated with some of the most important experimental sound artists of the 20th century, such as John Zorn and Otomo Yoshihide (their collab record Moving Parts is incredible).
One of his super cool video pieces is Video Quartet from 2002, which links up Hollywood films that feature music, and synchronizes the idea of composition, culture, and sound. Like many of Marclay’s pieces, it is overwhelming, loud, brash, funny, but quite sophisticated when closely analyzed. It was created using Final Cut Pro.
Next is Telephones, which is a little less overwhelming at first, but still maintains the same use of cultural artifacts. It’s a really funny piece, in a similar way that Video Quartet is, matching up different films, genre cliches and actions in a way that synchronizes perfectly.
Guitar Drag is one of my all time favorite pieces of art from any artist. It’s crushing, completely overwhelming, loud and violent. It combines the rock and roll worship of instrument destruction, the passive observation experience, the ugliness of observed violence, and the inability to look away into one piece. When I saw it at the Hirshhorn I was really excited, and stood in the room while it looped at an appropriately loud volume. It’s painful and hypnotic in person.
While it isn’t digital, I’m also including Record Without a Cover, which Marclay released with the instructions that the LP should not be stored in a protective sleeve, meaning that time and wear would slowly destroy the album. I’ve been trying to find a copy of this for a couple of years and I keep getting outbid on it. However, it’s a super famous “anti-record” that was really influential, particularly in the noise music scene with artists like The Haters putting out an album called “Wind Licked Dirt” (clearly Marclay influenced) which was totally blank and had to be played by rubbing dirt on it, so that’s pretty neat.