Conceptual Art Is Misunderstod.

Those that support conceptual art (performance art, video art, social sculpture, happenings etc.) art are mocked by those that do not understand it…and the myth of disbelief, shock, and awe is perpetuated by popular media.

Mimicry is common BECAUSE there is a long history of conceptual art, even when it’s lost.

Shovel by bsabarnowl http://www.flickr.com/photos/bsabarnowl/

Shovel by bsabarnowl http://www.flickr.com/photos/bsabarnowl/

The concepts surrounding this type of art are not new…specifically Praxis’ work MONA: Museum of Non-Visible Art is based on its predecessors. They generated support for their museum in a contemporary way through Kickstarter with the video below:


Even the name Praxis is a lifted reference.

The history of conceptual art that James Franco tries to explain (the fellow on the Jimmy Kimmel Show) has strong roots in the Bay Area, as does video art. That’s why I chose to study for my MFA in New Genres at the San Francisco Art Institute. The Bay Area boasts artists: Tony Labat, Linda Montano, Doug Hall (AntFarm), Sharon Grace, Paul Kos, David Ireland, Karen Finley, and many, many more.

The Museum of Conceptual Art was created by one of my mentors, Tom Marioni. Tom is a big fan of Marcel Duchamp and the Readymade. Hypermodern.net represents 12 years of conceptual art education and I’m constantly asked, what for?

Simply, as Cathy Malchiodi writes, the massively important restoring power of imagination.

The phrases “art heals” and “art saves” have become ubiquitous and will continue to circulate; like many catch-phrases, they are just too cool to go away. Like any popular slogans, they blur real meaning; in this case the actual purpose of art is often forgotten.

Cathy summarizes further synthesizes and interprets Ellen Dissanayake’s book What is Art For?

1) Makes life special.
2) Engages the senses.
3) Involves rituals.
4) Enhances community.

When was the last time you went to an art show and got an experience, a prize, a few bucks, and a great story and thought differently about the present moment you just experienced. Free Memory. Free Money. Free Ideas…and a 2 minute smile free from economic stress. Or was it referencing the financial collapse, throwing money in a hole, and making peons work for it doing crazy tasks that don’t mean anything by diverting their own lust for financial gain? Why did they follow the rules of the over arching system? The title of the piece of mine is “Free Money, Sticky Fingers” made at SomArts. Check out their open call for more art in the hole.

Sound like art?
Yes.

Sound like MTV’s Jackass?
Yes.

Sound like conceptual art?
Yes.

Is everything art?
No.

Is everyone an artist?
No.

That’s why I can auction a crispy 100 bill and get $115.00 for it and be present in hundreds of people’s minds.

Thank you R. Mutt

When critiquing or defending artwork remember three core concepts: intent (what did the artist want to express), context (where, when, and who are they showing it to), and liability (will it put the artist or anyone else in danger, will it cost money from the artist or public, does it exclude anyone, does the artist take responsibility for the piece).

It all matters. Or maybe the medium is the message, or maybe the medium is the massage.

Peace Comes With Acknowledgement Of One’s Own Mortality.

It’s about knowing that life is finite, as is energy in any given form or shape. Energy flows out and in, to and from any vessel, and energy cannot be destroyed.

ROMA O MORTE (Rome or Death): Rome, Italy 2003 by Pete Ippel

ROMA O MORTE (Rome or Death): Rome, Italy 2003 by Pete Ippel


It’s the longing and the emptiness that allows for the kinetic and dynamic to enter. Harmony is false, because it denies flow. Being full is false, because it denies longing.

Openness allows for boundaries to exist, just as boundaries allow for openness…Thereby creating a vessel for energy. If there are no boundaries, there can be no peace nor present.

ALLRISK
?

The Act Of Seeking Is Important: Artists, Whales, and a Sea Sponge

Look at the difference between a baleen whale vs. a sea sponge. Both can commonly be understood as “filter feeders”. However the difference between the two is active vs. passive filtering.

Repository: Fiske Icelandic Collection, Rare & Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

Búðir (Snæfellsnes- og Hnappadalssýsla, Iceland : Farmstead)

When I say artists make decisions, they are whales, actively seeking nourishing content following instincts, and making decisions through experience and technique.

Artists and whales sift and process…having the sense and experience to follow others, to collaborate when appropriate, to capture sustenance together. Other times they seek a solo journey of thousands of miles…alone.

The pod, the nurturing behavior, and the desire to migrate are not mutually exclusive.

Meanwhile the sea sponge just spends the day eating what passes by in a static community. It is rooted to a rock and passively consumes anything that floats through. It is forced to accept what it is provided.

Active vs. passive: interactive vs. transmissive : hypertext vs. broadcast: The act of seeking is important.

…and artists are still Apex-Apex Predators culling their own ideas.

Quirky and Fun Soft Sculpture: The Dia de los Muertos Calaca (Skeleton) Is Finished!

His name is Esmoquin (Spanish for tuxedo). He’s able to make noise with his hip-bell, googley eyes, and also has an extinct T-Rex shoulder. Go get your Open Fashion t-shirt from the Museum of Ventura County and start remixing / customizing!

Skeleton / Calaca Soft Sculpture by Pete Ippel

Skeleton / Calaca Soft Sculpture by Pete Ippel

Regarding the stitching, I used the free-motion foot and various stitches for the accent work around the ribcage. In addition, the button holes were created with a dense zig-zag stitch and a seam-ripper. Inside there is standard quilt batting. All limbs are interchangeable, sort of like a Mr. Potato Head for Halloween / Dia de los Muertos / Day of the Dead.

Inspiration from Nick Cave’s Soundsuits,
Nick Cave's Soundsuits @ YBCA

Claes Oldenburg’s Soft ScissorsI just saw at MOCA,
soft scissors

Inkscape, Free Culture Movement, and the aesthetic and community relationships between the open source graphics community and the fiber arts.

Read more information on how Pete Ippel created the design and concept of the remixable art-wear t-shirt.

Please help support artists~! To purchase this quirky and fun soft sculpture as well as other contemporary art, please check out Pete Ippel Contemporary Art on Etsy and Pete Ippel’s website.

Come see the exhibition of community altars at the Museum of Ventura County.

Dia de los Muertos T-shirts Designed by Pete Ippel Are Available At The Museum Of Ventura County

The new shirt is available now at the Museum of Ventura County, there are only 75 in the first printing, so be quick!

Artist Pete Ippel modeling the shirt he designed for the Dia de los Muertos event at the Museum of Ventura County

Artist Pete Ippel modeling the shirt he designed for the Dia de los Muertos event at the Museum of Ventura County - Photo by Diane Ippel

With this wearable art, I have taken the traditional imagery of the calaca (Mexican skeleton) and given it a contemporary flavor. The interactive garment allows the wearer to take their celebration of El Dia De Los Muertos in a new direction. Once the shirt has served its purpose as clothing, the wearer is encouraged to cut out the printed image and create a decoration for their own altar by simply attaching the arms and legs to the torso.

Cut t-shirt Calacas designed by Pete Ippel for the Dia de los Muertos event at the Museum of Ventura County

Cut t-shirt Calacas designed by Pete Ippel for the Dia de los Muertos event at the Museum of Ventura County

My design is intentionally open so that the new collaborator can add their own decorations, flowers, or write directly on the printed cloth. By working together, we both realize our creative vision, celebrating the spirit of our ancestors and loved ones. Truly a move toward Open Fashion.

Special shout out to the Free Libre Open Source Software community for the awesome vector editing tool Inkscape. Couldn’t have done it without you.

I will also be installing a large altar made of sewn and reused plastic. The show opens on October 26th, for more information, please visit The Museum of Ventura County Day of the Dead info page.

The Seven Things You Must Know Before Purchasing Contemporary Art

The Absence by Pete Ippel

The Absence by Pete Ippel

When you learn how to best answer these questions, you are ready to buy some art. Get educated, enjoy life, support artists.

  • What am I looking at?
  • What is my budget?
  • Can I make it myself?
  • Why do I like it?
  • Is it an investment?
  • Can I store it?
  • Will it degrade?

Contact Pete Ippel to get more information on purchasing contemporary art. Find out what else is going in in the Pete Ippel Studio, check out the event calendar.

Inspiration at Libre Graphics Meeting 2010, And What Led Me To Brussels

There are certain moments that drastically alter the trajectory of a life-path. Being open and aware to those instants is absolutely essential regardless of one’s career.

I returned from the Libre Graphics Meeting that was rife with inspiration. The event was hosted at the Pianofabriek in Brussels, Belgium May 27-30. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience, here’s what I learned:

Generosity is contagious
I had ordered a computer as soon as I found out that my talk The New Folk Tradition: Aesthetic and Community Resonance between Open Source Graphics and Fiber Arts was accepted at the beginning of May. It was to be my first new computer since 2004, and boy was I due! Unfortunately the delivery from Lenovo did not arrive by the 24th when I left. So in a bind I decided to stop by Fry’s on the way to LAX and pick up a little Acer Aspire One netbook.

I arrived in London, downloaded Jolicloud which is based on Ubuntu and started to play around on the train to Brussels. The issue was that I’d not used Unix/Linux since I worked in Motorola in 1999…my how things have changed, so easy to use (yes I like GUI)! So I thought that I was going to give my presentation using Open Office, well when I saw How to Run an Art School on Free and Open Source Software by Florian Cramer, Aymeric Mansoux, Michael Murtaugh I was blown out of the water by their image-centric presentation. I got to chat with them after the talk, and they told me about the FOSS program Impress!ve.

At this point, Christopher Adams showed me how to use a shortcut (alt + F2) to access the repository by calling on gksu synaptic.

So at that moment I scrapped my plans of the standard Power Point-esq (gasp) presentation. After just a few hours at the LGM I already knew how to utilize new tools, and put down some roots with other artist do-ers with similar interests. Rad.

After a vegan lunch we relaxed in the courtyard drinking Belgian beer (thank goodness for the Westmalle tripel) and getting to know our peers.
Libre Graphics Meeting, 2010
Another important aspect for me was the instant application of what I learned. WiFi was free and available all over the complex, so while you were watching a talk you could download and try out the software to apply the concepts that were being explained. In addition, birds of a feather (BOF) meetings were scheduled so that people with similar interests could gather to speak about a topic. In my case I was inspired by Susan Spencer’s talk and her project relating to OPEN FASHION. You can learn more at Sew Brilliant. In the BOF meeting, she pulled out one of the most amazing contraptions I’ve ever seen, it was a brass pattern adjuster, that would change scale by rotating a series of screws in a certain order. She even had the manual that dated from 1888.
Libre Graphics Meeting, 2010
Basically it was a slide rule for tailors and seamstresses. Susan’s and her partner Steve Conklin (who is a developer for Ubuntu) have a vision where a designer can upload a pattern, another person (who may not be the same size) can adjust it to fit using the program which is based on scalable vector graphics, print and tape up the pattern and sew the custom garment. What an excellent idea, so naturally I included it into my talk. Now check out the video of Pete Ippel relating Asian stitching, 80’s sweaters,Tron, quilts, and weaving to open source graphics.
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Great planning matters
Each day of the conference the organizers kept the program on schedule, and the diversity of the talks really demonstrated an expanded view of Libre Graphics. Thanks to River Valley TV for archiving all the LGM 2010 talks.
Libre Graphics Meeting, 2010
In addition to software development, there were presentations about metaphor, Tight Pants, Community, publishing, font design,multimedia sound performance, and some miraculous demos. I was particularly impressed with Laid Out and the new brushes for Krita.

Confused? Ask for help
It is incredible how generous people were at the conference, as a n00b it was invaluable to be able to ask a question and get a straight answer, and if the person asking didn’t know, they would refer you to someone who did…The organizers wore aprons and buttons and were always available for help.

Reclaim your tools
I began to understand this overarching theme after a few days into the conference. Formerly I’d been envisioning code as magic. After seeing the Nodebox 2 demo, I downloaded the beta and was able to modify an image or a line of code to make changes to an output. That was a huge breakthrough for me I saw directly that through transparency comes understanding. That’s what F/LOSS gives when code is viewable and modifiable the developer and user are on an even plane, and both can create new tools to suit their needs. There exists a sense of community that is absolutely impossible with closed code.

Work together
I’ve been licensing my art under Creative Commons for a few years, and I am confident that as the young people who have “grown up digital” and the first generations of free culture pioneers continue to push for more openness and transparency on many facets of life from government to software, clipart to color we are in for a very exciting ride.

Please visit the review page for other articles, photos, and a video archive of all the Libre Graphics Events.

If you find yourself in Brussels, use the map below to visit the Pianofabriek. It’s an amazing arts / culture venue with a lovely courtyard, gallery space and cafe.


View Libre Graphics Meeting, 2010 in a larger map

Resources for downloads mentioned in this post
Desktop publishing Scribus
Vector graphic editing Inkscape
Bitmap editing Gimp
Bitmap editing and painting (check out the new brushes) Krita
3d modeling and animation Blender
A new software application for creating generative art using procedural graphics and a new way to approach graphic design Nodebox 2
Ditch hierarchy Peer-To-Peer Design Strategies

How I got involved in Free Culture / F/LOSS / Creative Commons
Often growth is sparked by a change in community…prompted by a different geographic location.

In October 2002, I had just moved to San Francisco and was looking for community. Leaving the comfort of my undergraduate institution and support network in New York, I was seeking attachment to my new home.

I initiated a project called “Free Memory” where the intent was to give away an anonymous gift that brought attention to technology and our relationship with memory both on a disk and in our mind. Looking back at the task I stated that free meant free from price, obligation, need to pay, and also free content.

I desired to connect with the folks on the street, and get out from behind the computer screen…to enrich online life with offline life and vice-versa. Looking back, mobile computing was not an option for me, I had a desktop computer. That project grew and spread so that I even got a video response from across the country:

The Free Memory Project from Thorsten Claus on Vimeo.

Alan Toffler states in his book Future Shock from 1970, “…that enormous changes ahead…overthrow our values with respect to money and success.”

After creating the project OBAY.INFO I was contacted by council for Ebay.com and subsequently looked to Lessig’s Group at Stanford (which lead me to Creative Commons), was fingered in a Canadian Ad Campaign, and was invited to the To Share Festival in Turin Italy. Read all the posts about Obay.

Following Obay project I took a job working as a mentor for pre-professional dancers at the San Francisco Ballet. Over the six years I was there, I learned that a robust community was built with freedom. What I found was that kids would act more like adults when they were given the opportunity to do so. The same was true when I coached high school basketball for 4 years.

I left the Ballet at the end of 2009, and when I moved from San Francisco to Ventura, California, I began an intense production phase to kick-start my full-time art career. By comparing pixels to patchwork, vectors to stitches, bitmaps to patterns, and layers to quilts, I started to discover the aesthetic and community relationships between open source graphics and the fiber arts.

So why does all this happen? Enjoy the following video to gain some insight on the cognitive reasoning:

Thank you to Jon Phillips, Barry Threw, Christopher Adams, Femke Snelting and everyone else at LGM 2010 for helping me feel so welcome in this amazing community.