Article By: E. Christina Spitz
Published: Mar 7, 2011
The SCAD exhibitions department presented "Pulse Spiral," an installation by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, at the Pei Ling Chan Gallery from Jan. 10-Feb. 25, 2011.
Savannah resident Kevin Brindle perused a photograph at the Gutstein Gallery. Taking in "Street Dirt - Afternoon, West 57th Between 11th and 12th Avenues, New York, March 11, 2010" by Andy Goldsworthy, Brindle said of himself and his friends, "SCAD keeps us on the cutting edge of new, even though we're older."
The work by Goldsworthy was showcased in "The Spirituality of Place
," a group exhibition featured as part of the second deFINE ART program
. deFINE ART comprised a lineup of special exhibitions, performances, lectures by prominent figures in the art world and other events, all of which were free and open to the public Feb. 22-26.
With attendance ranging up to 731 visitors per event, and coverage in Condé Nast Traveler and online at The Boston Globe, CBS Los Angeles, the New York Daily News, as well as nearly 30 other prominent publications and media outlets, the second presentation of deFINE ART was a tremendous success.
"Everybody enjoyed learning from the range of professionals who have made very successful careers for themselves in the arts," said Laurie Ann Farrell, executive director of exhibitions at SCAD. "It speaks directly to our mission of preparing students for professional careers. With exhibitions, lectures and performances examining art from a historic, pop culture, curatorial and directly artistic perspective, there was something for everyone."
Special guests included performance artists Marina Abramović and Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid; Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Chairman of Nineteenth‐Century, Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Alfredo Jaar, artist, architect and filmmaker; Sarah Thornton, contributing writer for The Economist and author of the book "Seven Days in the Art World"; artists Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Andreas Kocks; and Sarah Lewis, independent curator and critic.
Events featured Open Studios, in which SCAD students literally opened their studios to the public, drawing nearly 500 attendees; special outdoor screenings of Alfredo Jaar's "Muxima"; and a gallery hop, where art enthusiasts were able to view a series of exhibitions, traveling to each gallery via charter bus.
The deFINE ART exhibitions included "Marina Abramović
"; "Tilting the Lens: A SCAD Documentation of Sham Shui Po
" by SCAD students; "Six in One: SCAD in New American Paintings
" by SCAD students and alumni; "sisyphus happy
," a thesis exhibition by Michael Porten, SCAD alumnus (B.F.A., illustration, 2004) and M.F.A. painting student; "ENTER: The Artist's Mind
" by SCAD alumnus Michael Scoggins (M.F.A., painting, 2006); and "The In-Between
" by JuYeon Kim.
One project of note was "Pulse Spiral
" by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. In this interactive exhibition, the deFINE ART viewer was able to hold two handles, similar to those on a cardio machine at a gym, until the sensors registered the person's heartbeat. After the viewer released, a solitary bulb at the base of the spiral of lights pulsed with his or her heartbeat. It then moved up to the next bulb as the rest of the piece continued to spiral up and illuminate heartbeats of the previous 300 participants. Each time one person's heartbeat was recorded, another left the spiral. The sensors were so subtle they even picked up heart murmurs.
"People get worried. They think, 'Do I need to see a doctor?'" said Lozano-Hemmer, tongue-in-cheek. But they know it's an art form. "It's not like they come to get diagnosed."
Another somewhat interactive exhibit was "Helmets" by Yoko Ono, also part of "The Spirituality of Place" exhibition. Twenty World War II-era German combat helmets were randomly suspended upside down in varying lengths from the ceiling. Each contained a small pile of blue pieces from an interlocking puzzle, which the viewers were invited to take with them as a "piece of the sky."
With 731 people in the audience at Trustees Theater in Savannah and 650 at the Event Space, fourth floor, SCAD Atlanta, the most popular events were the lectures by renowned performance artist and deFINE ART honoree and keynote speaker Marina Abramović.
Abramović read her "manifesto," which included axioms such as "an artist should not make himself an idol"; "an artist should avoid falling in love with another artist"; "an artist should be erotic"; "an artist should not have self-control about his life"; "an artist should have total self-control about his work"; and "enemies are very important."
She presented a retrospective of her work that included many with former collaborative partner Ulay, such as one in which they slap each other in the face increasingly quickly and incessantly, with rhythm, as if they were playing a musical instrument; and one in which they stand naked in a narrow doorway at the entrance to a museum, facing one another, forcing the public who go through to choose whom to face and squeeze by their bodies. Abramović also discussed her own work, one in which she lost consciousness while lying down inside a five-point star construction made of wood shavings soaked in 100 liters of petrol; and another, where she carved a star on her stomach, using a razor as pencil and blood as color, reexamining the notion of pain. She also showcased the work of other artists.
Sitting on the curb by Pinnacle Gallery with her parents, waiting for the gallery hop shuttle to arrive, Gyun Hur, SCAD alumna (M.F.A., sculpture, 2009) and winner of the $50,000 Hudgens Prize
, commented on the lecture, which she saw at SCAD Atlanta. "It was a very historic overview; it was really beautiful. Everyone was talking about it on Facebook."
DJ Spooky's live performance, titled "Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica," also stole the show. With a total of 575 attendees at SCAD's Savannah and Atlanta locations, this multimedia performance incorporated wind chimes, dry ice, digital projections of flags and charts, stringed instruments, a grand piano, an iPad, footage of Antarctica and more.
Janice Rossman (M.A., art history, 2005), who came to deFINE ART from Charleston, South Carolina, said, "My hat is off to SCAD for bringing to us contemporary and international artists working today. I hope the students realize how lucky they are."