Posts archive: July 2004

Artists and scientists have been regularly been collaborating on projects since at least the 1950s. But the FBI can so little imagine interdisciplinary cooperation (or possibly cooperation of any kind—say with the CIA—hmmmm?) that it has labeled scientist Robert Farrell’s aid to Critical Art Ensemble’s Steven Kurtz a PLOT!

- Meredith Tromble [Saturday, July 31st, 2004]

As Westerners grapple with the cultural aspects of the current conflict, contemporary Arabic art is receiving more attention from Western media. This report from the Christian Science Monitor covers Syria’s first international sculpture symposium.

- Jeannine McDonald [Saturday, July 31st, 2004]

Viola Frey died Monday, July 26, at the age of 71. Frey was an internationally respected artist and leading figure in contemporary ceramics. She was known for her monumental, intensely colored ceramic sculptures, which explored issues of gender, cultural iconography and art history. Along with Peter Voulkos and Robert Arneson, Frey shaped and defined contemporary ceramics to explore contemporary ideas and concepts. A memorial will be held September 19 on Oakland campus of California College of the Arts.

- Meredith Tromble [Thursday, July 29th, 2004]

In a kind of public exit interview, Philip Dodd discusses his reasons for leaving his post as director of London’s Institute of Contemporary Art. Dodd’s vision of the future has a heavy dose of soy sauce. As for British leadership in the arts? “The world has moved on and we are bewildered,” he says.

- Jeannine McDonald [Tuesday, July 27th, 2004]

“If you find yourself in downtown Manhattan prior to August 8 be sure to check out Christoph Buchel’s compelling and claustrophobic installation at the Swiss Institute,” writes Susan Magnus. “Buchel has transformed the institute into a maze of warren-like rooms creating a gritty and surreal apartment that requires viewers to get down on their knees and crawl for the full experience. Enter if you dare—and don’t miss squeezing yourself through the rabbit hole under the bathroom sink, which leads to the bedroom and beyond.”

- Meredith Tromble [Thursday, July 22nd, 2004]

I love it when I read two wildly differing reviews of the same artist’s work, especially when I’ve seen it and have a little background on it: Check out reviews by Glen Helfand and ">Kenneth Baker of the work of Felipe Dulzaides, showing at New Langton Arts.

I was present the evening a couple weeks ago when Dulzaides and Rhode screened work from the past at the gallery, including a video from Dulzaides that I found to be poignant, poetic, political, and personal. The piece involved the video taping of a melting block of ice surrounded by a birthday party for Dulzaides at his family home in Cuba from which he had been absent for years. Part of what gives this tape resonance from a local point of view is it’s reference to a piece from the ‘70s involving melting ice, made by Dulzaide’s teacher, Paul Kos.

Decide for yourself about the current show. “Busted: New Works by Felipe Dulzaides and Robin Rhode” is at New Langton Arts through this Saturday, 7/24/04.

- Cheryl Meeker [Monday, July 19th, 2004]

my mom used to say when she saw someone thinking. Richard Berger’s lovely kinetic sculptures at the San Francisco Art Institute embody that metaphor. Translucent disks etched with text are connected by rods in an assembly that looks a bit like the wheels of a train. The motor and wires that provide the turning power are exposed, heightening the viewer’s sense of watching an ongoing process as the delicate machinery turns light into shadow/thoughts on the wall. There are also several figurative works, with light projected through mannequins of tinted plastic to make colored “ghosts.” Exploring Berger’s Web site, at, I discovered that he has more than one way with words. Check out Henry and Don, his story about living in a studio in a decrepit tenement.

- Meredith Tromble [Tuesday, July 13th, 2004]

If the recent catastrophes and crises in the art world (the arrest of Steve Kurtz, the Momart fire) or in the world in general (where to start?) have you in a funk, take heart and thank God for little favors as The Mattel Corporation becomes an involuntary patron of the arts to the tune of 2 million bones.

- Dale Hoyt [Friday, July 9th, 2004]

This is what increased “security” is doing to writers, artists, and musicians attempting to visit the U.S.

- Jeannine McDonald [Wednesday, July 7th, 2004]

Check out these brief, amusing-with-bite online works by Ricardo Rivera at TubaExotica, a project of the the artist collective ansurbana.

- Meredith Tromble [Wednesday, July 7th, 2004]

The petty denouement of the FBI’s ignoramus treatment of Critical Art Ensemble’s Steve Kurtz: they’re trying to fine him for “illegal purchase of bacteria.”

- Meredith Tromble [Tuesday, July 6th, 2004]

Leonie Guyer offers a lovely online view, leading to a poem by Dean Smith.

- Meredith Tromble [Monday, July 5th, 2004]

You know you’ve met a native when their fond memories of fireworks are of fuzzy colored clouds. But there’s an extra-special reason to pray to the weather gods for clear skies tonight: Artist Ben Wood’s  digital projection of historic imagery onto the face of the Coit Tower, after the fireworks 9:30 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. The best place to stand will be near the intersection of Grant and Greenwich. If there is fog or rain, the event will be movied to July 17th at the same time and place.

- Meredith Tromble [Sunday, July 4th, 2004]

From the editors