Nov. 8, 2012
Poetry Reading by Jeffrey Angles (in Japanese)
“La voix des poètes” series (Organized by Tendō Taijin)
Sep. 10, 2011
Three Blacksmiths Square takes its name from the statue donated to the city by the Pro Helsingfors Foundation in 1932. According to Virtual Helsinki, It was paid for by Julius Tallberg, who had a shop on the Square until the 1980s.
Nude public sculptures, especially of men, are not so common in the United States, which is unhealthily prudish about such matters. Is it because I come from such a background that this statue looks homoerotic to me? What does it say about me and my background that I, as a gay man, immediately want to jump into the statue and relate myself to it? Would queer men from less homophobic countries feel the same urge? I would like to think that my silly, grinning presence at the base queers the statue, for at least for a moment.
Sep. 5, 2011
Our Lady of the Gates of Dawn (early 17th century)
This painting is one of the most revered paintings in Lithuania, allegedly known to work miracles. When I went to take my own picture before it, I found myself strangely intimidated by the many people inside. Judging from their language, most seemed to have come all the way from Poland and were engaged in a mass prayer together.
Although I am not Catholic, the fact this was an object of veneration changed my mode of interaction with it. My usual boldness melted away, and I did not take a photo of myself with the icon inside, although I, like many of the tourists, did take a photo of just the icon itself. The photo shows on top shows me standing outside of the Gates of Dawn. The icon is barely visible through the open windows of the gate.
Jul. 6, 2011
Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate (2004-06)
Millennium Park, Chicago
Two of us, in the warped distance.
Where ever you are, I still miss you.
Jul. 5, 2011
Cy Twombly, Bacchus, Psilax, Mainomenos (2005)
Tate Modern, London
Cy Twombly (1928-2011), one of America’s most interesting and beautiful painters has died. I am posting this picture of of an intervention in front of one of his images in honor of this idiocyncratic and always interesting artist.
The Tate Modern has said this about this painting. (The photo above only shows one part of a triptych.) “These three paintings take Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, as their subject. “To paint involves a certain crisis, or at least a crucial moment of sensation or release,” wrote Twombly earlier in his career, “it should by no means be limited to a morbid state, but could just as well be one ecstatic impulse.” This impulse has made regular appearances in his work, often personified by Bacchus, whose rites were celebrated with orgies and animals being torn to pieces and their raw flesh consumed, acts reflected in the colours used here.”
Jun. 29, 2011
Markus Sixay, I Am Prepared for You (2003)
Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt
The commentary by Dagmar Kürschner at the art museum says the following about this piece. “A room whose floor is covered with ankle-deep with rainbow-coloured confetti—the viewer’s initial response is one of bewilderment… After a moment of hesitation, a few people venture forward, watching to see how the guards will react. The interaction with the artwork begins—it lures us, inspires us to play with it; soon confetti is being thrown and little paper landscapes formed. Each of us carries out his/her own performative act in the artist’s installation, which according to its title is prepared for, even expects us.”
It was in this confetti-filled room, so inviting and begging for performance, that I decided that to post intervention photos of myself standing by / hovering beside / reacting to / occupying / colonizing works of art. (Pick your verb.)
This project started as a response to seeing a family in an art museum, all wanting to get their photo taken by a famous work of art. We all do this, don't we, wanting to be have ourselves appear next to the Mona Lisa or Andy Warhol's soup cans? And when we take our own photographs next to public sculptures, famous buildings, aren't we doing exactly the same thing?
Our personal involvement with art, in such cases, clearly is not just as a viewer. We enter into the space of a painting, drawing, photograph, sculpture, or piece of architecture and thus we change it slightly, though our own performance. (I say this, even though most of our performances are extremely routine--a smile after the word "cheese." Perhaps sometimes, we might raise our hands in a two-finger peace sign.) In some cases, when the viewer uses the self-timer or snaps the shutter himself, he even crosses the line to occupy the space of the "artist" by himself creating a new photograph himself.
This space shows a number of photos I have taken--simple, unadorned, spontaneous, and often cheesy--as a way to investigate the shifting and surprisingly complicated involvement between viewer and work of art, especially at the moment of blurring when the viewer inserts himself or herself into the space of the art.
In these photos, I am viewer as well as viewed, observer as well as observed. I am the recipient of some famous artist's work, yet by pressing the shutter of my camera, I also occupy and reinterpret that work in my own performative act of creation.