December 1, 2013
Ruth Asawa is an American artist, who is nationally recognized for her wire sculpture, public commissions, and her activism in education and the arts. In San Francisco, she has been called the “fountain lady” because so many of her fountains are on public view. In this website, you can learn about her life, her work, and her development as an artist.
When Ruth was 16, she and her family were interned along with 120,000 other people of Japanese ancestry who lived along the West Coast of the United States. For many, the upheaval of losing everything, most importantly their right to freedom and a private, family life, caused irreparable harm. For Ruth, the internment was the first step on a journey to a world of art that profoundly changed who she was and what she thought was possible in life. In 1994, when she was 68 years old, she reflected on the experience: “I hold no hostilities for what happened; I blame no one. Sometimes good comes through adversity. I would not be who I am today had it not been for the Internment, and I like who I am.”
Ruth Asawa died peacefully on August 6, 2013.
July 2, 2013
Measuring the Universe is an installation art by Slovakian artist Roman Ondák first installed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 2007. It was a white room filled with thousands of what at first seemed to be thousands of sharp black lines. It almost resembled a swarm of bees zooming around the museum, going around and around one small room in the contemporary galleries. Upon closer inspection, one realizes that each seemingly random line marked various museum visitors’ heights. Accompanying the small black lines was text stating the name of the person and the date they were measured. The effect is incredible; most of the lines are near each other, so it seems like a giant black mass, with nearly purely white space on the bottom and top of the wall.
Ondák, like performance artists, attempts to transcend traditional divisions between piece and spectator, between viewing something and being a part of its creation. He makes art interactive, bringing together both the artistic cognescenti and plain, everyday steel workers. He allows everyone to have some sort of artistic record of themselves, from the highest of critics to tourists from Omaha who just wanted to visit a famous New York City museum, and ended up being a part of a fascinating work of art. Ondák brings together total strangers in his work. He gives what could be interpreted by many people as cold and impenetrable pieces of conceptual “art” a warm, friendly feeling. He allows everyone to have a little piece of high art. Conceptual art is often perceived as something pretentious and inaccessible, but Ondák gives anyone and everyone the chance to literally be recorded in a museum. ‘ ‘Measuring the Universe’ ‘ also possesses domestic qualities. In thousands of households, one can find a spot in the kitchen or living room or basement in which children’s heights are measured with a simple ruler and black marker, records of life and growing up. Ondák’s installation allows complete strangers to come together in an intimate way. By bringing an action normally confined to private corners of people’s homes to something as large and anonymous as a museum, he ties strangers together. They perform a somewhat intimate, comforting act together, bringing not only black lines to a white space, but a record of who they were and when they came together. He fills a plain space not with meaningless symbols or lines, but records of real, actual people who appreciated his work.
Since the early 1990s, in a complex oeuvre Ondák has been engaging with the heritage of Conceptualism and Minimalism, drawing on both global influences and references specific to the region of Central and Eastern Europe.
Roman Ondák was born in Žilina, Slovakia in 1966. He lives and works in Bratislava.
March 18, 2013
Stefano Arienti (born 1961) is an Italian artist whose art is inspired by the Arte Povera and Conceptual movements. He lives and works in Milan, Italy.
His work is made of found materials such as magazines, postcards, newspapers and books. Source materials are transformed through minimal actions such as folding or puncturing done repeatedly and systematically. He has exhibited extensively and in 2005, the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo per l’Arte held a retrospective of his work. In 2008, Francesco Bonami curated the monumental exhibition “Italics: Italian Art between Tradition and Revolution, 1968-2008″ at the Palazzo Grassi that included Arienti’s Cassetto con strisce, 1987-1989. In 2009, the exhibition travelled to MCA Chicago.In 2007, Arienti was commissioned by Art Pace for their International Artist-In-Residence program. There he exhibited Library, a landscape of 400 bushels of wheat and 99 books that were buried within. In the Fall of 2010, Arienti showed his third solo exhibition, natura, natura, natura at greengrassi in London, UK.
March 18, 2013
Berlin-based Norwegian artist Øystein Aassan uses a combination of materials including paper, plywood, ink, adhesive letters, photography, and pop cultural imagery to create sculptural installations and wall pieces that explore issues around memory and duplication. Influenced by the presentation of works in Peggy Guggenheim’s early-20th-century gallery, Art of This Century, Aasan arranges images and reproduced texts on architectural grids, or what the artist calls “display units”, drawing attention to the construction of the pieces.