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.

Free And Open Culture Mind Map



My passion: to empower some free-culture advocating, network-neutrality loving, FLOSS using, empathy having, critical thinking art students. Today we did a bit of brainstorming about what influences/passions can guide us as a group toward a collaborative project.

Keeping in mind the concepts of free and open culture, between now and the next session each individual will be color coding inter-student connections, rather than focusing internally.

Keep an eye on the Mindmeister mind map below to watch our project develop. You’ll probably have the best user experience if you click on the little box at the bottom of the interface controls to open the mind map in a new window.

Making History: Free And Open Culture



Basic black & white cartoon computer. Image contains computer monitor and base/case.

You can create art and beauty on a computer.

FREE AND OPEN CULTURE

Making and Meaning – Making History Project
San Francisco Art Institute, Fall, 2010
Workshop Leader: Pete Ippel

Summary: Free and Open Culture refers to a wide variety of advocates who value free access, open information, and the sharing of knowledge. As a rapidly developing movement, Free and Open Culture has its roots in computer programming and hacker ethic from the 1950s-1960s.

Illustrates the path of software creation from source code to machine code.

Illustrates the path of software creation from source code to machine code.


Developments include Creative Commons licensing, FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software), Network Neutrality, Open Government, and Copyleft.

Free Culture proponents are marked by acceptance of some general principles: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_ethic#The_hacker_ethics)

  • Sharing
  • Openness
  • Decentralization
  • Free access to computers
  • World Improvement

Cultural Figures: Linus Torvalds (programmer, Linux), Richard Stallman (programmer, GNU), Lawrence Lessig (academic, Creative Commons), Jon Phillips (developer, Sharism, Fabricatorz), Femke Snelting (artist/designer, LGM), Simona Lodi (arts administrator, To Share Festival), Nina Paley (animator, Sita Sings The Blues), Negativeland (music), Ant Farm (art), Adbusters (magazine), The Yes Men (art)

Project:  Students will spend the first sessions studying the history and techniques of the Free and Open Culture advocates and artists. There will be tutorials on a variety of software, as well as an off campus outing to practice employing the Hands-On Imperative.

“…essential lessons can be learned about the systems—about the world—from taking things apart, seeing how they work, and using this knowledge to create new and more interesting things.”
- Steven Levy

Students will pursue the following questions:

In the remaining sessions, students will be challenged to create with only the materials they have on hand – please bring an open mind and your own PORTABLE creation tools of choice to each session (mobile phone, laptop, sketchbook, notebook, watercolor, pencils, video camera, still camera, etc.).

We will be developing a collaborative community-centric studio (less) art practice out in the environment. The group will create their own art pieces in any media with strong consideration of Free and Open Culture. The end result will be an on-line repository (Mediawiki) documenting the projects. It is expected that the participants in this class will license their work under Creative Commons, and investigate the following issues:

  • I create everywhere because I have the network in my pocket.
  • If it’s not on the Internet, it doesn’t exist.
  • Objects are not important, information is.
  • I don’t need to know it if I know how to find it.
  • Online, nothing disappears, and everything is gone.
  • I feed the network, it feeds me.

The Grit and The Grind: Exploring The Artistic Hustle, Commonalities, and Myth



This workshop will explore commonalities among The Bay Area’s innovative, musicians, poets, entrepreneurs, artists, and politicians. Starting with hip-hop as a visible, accessible entry point to the grand metaphor of a creative career path we will canvass our community for inspirational stories, myths, fictions, half-truths, lies, facts, and constructions.

Recycled Aluminum Foil Grill by Pete Ippel

Pete Ippel is Green and Hyphy


After discussion and research the workshop will focus on answering the following questions by creating projects based on:

  • What is my personal creation story?
  • What makes me better/different than the next artist? 
  • What challenges have I overcome to follow my dream?
  • How does my lifestyle affect my art, or are they unified? 
  • How do I get more attention to my art?

By creating persona and personal legends on-line and in the street, we will be exploring how social media (blogs, facebook, twitter, foursquare) can both become a distraction from your art and an attraction to your art. We will even approach social media AS your art.

Please bring an open mind and your own PORTABLE creation tools of choice to each session (mobile phone, laptop, sketchbook, notebook, watercolor, pencils, video camera, still camera, etc.). The take away is learning how you can use the power of presentation to influence viewers, community, and media outlets.

Disciplined Artists Never Say “I’m bored.”



In this workshop you will learn that artistic growth comes out of actions.

Wiring your mind for artistic success through iteration, intuition, and discipline will allow you to step away from a fear based artistic life. You will learn to turn off the internal sensor by attacking the boundaries you have placed on yourself and will never again say, “I should be making art right now”.

By sharing generative experiences we will be pushing through fear, creating art in the process.

In addition to the indoor studio component, we will be going on a “Think Walk” – making the world our studio – so wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes. Please bring an open mind and your own PORTABLE creation tools of choice to each session. (mobile phone, laptop, sketchbook, notebook, watercolor, pencils, video camera, still camera, etc.)

The take away is documentation of your work, and a new way of approaching creation.

On The Right Track: Teaching Philosophy and Artist Statement Convergence



Yesterday I was asked to deliver a 150 word teaching philosophy for my new position as visiting faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute, I took a day to think about it.

Today I had a wonderful realization, I’m spot on. According to Iowa State’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching a teaching philosophy has to answer four questions:

  1. To What End?
  2. By What Means?
  3. To What Degree?
  4. Why?

When I moved to Ventura to pursue art full time, I decided to combine my artist statement with positive affirmation and visualization (skills I’d honed while high jumping in college). For the dedication of my space, I essentially got a tattoo, not on my body but on my studio. By getting a cut vinyl sign I ramped up the professionalism and aligned myself visually with respected galleries. In addition I placed the sign strategically by door so everyone walking in or out has to look at it, including me.

Having grown up in the Midwest, I’m very aware of the implications pre-performance sign rituals have in preparing for competition. Taking a page from the great coach Lou Holtz, I made my own, artistic “Play like a champion today.”

Artist Statement

For over a decade I have explored and combined traditional art materials with digital techniques demonstrating creative fluency. By moving with ease and grace through a variety of media, I focus on communicating ideas and I gain knowledge in the process.

I work intuitively and iteratively when creating art and often apply scientific methodology to my art practice with the rigor of a seasoned athlete.

By observing human behavior, asking generative questions, and analyzing information, I experience daily how a disciplined process leads to comprehension of complex data and ideas. I use my artistic sensibility to present my findings in unique and compelling ways.

I appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of the artist’s life. I aspire to travel, to teach, and to create while extending my exhibition record. Being nourished creatively while partaking in a challenging path is a delight, and I particularly relish learning along the way.

Art is the most practical, essential, and exciting field of work in the world today, and I look forward to sharing it with you. I guarantee that you will have never seen anything like my art before.

So when I looked at my artist statement today in relation to the four questions that a teaching philosophy must answer I simply modified my statement.

Teaching Philosophy

(To What End?) I appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of the artist’s life and I want to demonstrate that being nourished creatively while partaking in a challenging path is a delight. (By What Means?) By teaching students to move with ease and grace through a variety of media, I show them how to focus on communicating ideas. (Why?) Art is the most practical, essential, and exciting field of study in the world today, and I look forward to sharing it with you as we move toward (To What Degree?) creative fluency.

Concise, to the point, and very clear, this convergence of teaching philosophy and artist statement demonstrates to me that I am prioritizing properly and that the visualizations are working. I am confident that over the next eight months I will achieve my goal of a sustainable art career by March 2011 (the 4th sixteen-week cycle which I will explain later).

Audentis Fortuna Iuvat!