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Post Studio Artistic Practices and Other Recent Trends

Post Studio Artistic Practices and Other Recent Trends

Author: Erin Aldana
Description:

Identify recent trends in the arts.

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Tutorial

This lesson will provide an overview of some popular styles of art produced in the last decade.

Video Transcription

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Hi. This is Erin Aldana. In this lesson, we'll explore "Post Studio Artistic Practices and Other Recent Trends." So I'd like to begin by giving you your key terms.

The first is "intervention," a technique where existing artwork is used to elevate social awareness through subversive action. "Hacktivism--" a form of activism where computers are illegally broken into and manipulated. "Graffiti art--" a controversial art movement or style of creating artwork that may include illegally spray painting or drawing on sides of buildings, walls, trains, boats, or cars, and in locations outside traditional gallery spaces. And "post studio practice," the method of making artwork in the street.

So I wanted to find a way to talk about some of the artistic production from the past 10 to 15 years. And one of the aspects that tends to unite it is the fact that many artists nowadays are working outside of traditional museum and gallery spaces and doing what is now being referred to as "post studio practice." So this could take a variety of forms. One form is graffiti art. Another is interventionist art. And I think you could also link hacktivism and different types of computer art into that same category.

So I wanted to show you the work of Banksy, who is a really famous graffiti artist from England. And this is a work that he did in London-- One Nation Under Closed Circuit TV. And I think that this is a commentary on the fact that there are a number of surveillance cameras mounted throughout the city of London now that are just kind of recording people's everyday events on a constant basis. And even if you look at this image, you'll see that there are a series of cameras mounted on the wall right next to this mural.

So I think part of the humorous aspect of this image is the fact that Banksy and some people working with him were able to persuade the owners of this building that some work needed to be done on the wall. And so they actually got permission to put up this mural without the owners even knowing that this was actually a graffiti work installed without permission. So there's always this kind of humorous aspect to Banksy's work, and that's one of the reasons why it's become so popular.

So here's another graffiti mural. This is Naked Man. And you can see here the kind of humorous aspect is in the fact that the guy in the suit's wife or girlfriend was most likely having some kind of romantic liaison with a man, who then tried to escape when the guy in the suit showed up by dangling himself outside of a window. So also notice that Banksy works a lot using the stencil technique, and this is one that developed in the 1980s with a French artist named Blek le Rat who used stencils to make imagery. And before this time, you didn't really see a lot of that, and now it's a very common technique among graffiti artists.

So now I'd like to talk about the work of Critical Art Ensemble, which is a collective of tactical media practitioners that have worked together since 1987. And they specialize in different areas, including computer graphics, wetware, photography, video, text art, book art, and performance. And this is an Interventionist-type work that they did called Radiation Burn in which they simulated the explosion of a dirty bomb, which is a bomb that's covered with radioactive material, and it's supposed to be less destructive than an atom bomb. However, it has the potential to contaminate a wide area.

And so the members of Critical Art Ensemble argued that this threat of dirty bombs has been played up in a way in the media that it doesn't deserve and has been used to generate fear that then escalates government authority. So the idea with radiation burn is that it desensitizes the public to the threat of dirty bombs. So the members of Critical Art Ensemble also kind of evoke this idea of science in a playful way by wearing lab coats and working with high school lab equipment. And they say that this is a way of bringing science down to a level that the general public can understand.

However, in 2004 the member Steve Kurtz, who is a founder of the group, was detained by the FBI and he was accused of bioterrorism because he had some of this equipment in his house. So the case against Steve Kurtz went to court and was in the international news. And in 2008, Steve Kurtz won. So the story actually has a happy ending.

Now, I'd also like to talk about hacktivist art in conjunction with Critical Art Ensemble, because there is this similar theme of using art to undermine government authority. So one example is the work of Electronic Disturbance Theater. In 1998, they conducted a virtual sit-in on the websites of the Pentagon and the Mexican government. And this was a way to bring the world's attention to the plight of indigenous rights in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

Then, they designed what they called a Transborder Immigrant Tool. And this uses mobile phone technology to provide poetry to immigrants crossing the US-Mexican border, and it also leads them to water caches in the Southern California desert. So this actually created a great deal of controversy a few years ago, because it was said that this would actually give people a way to cross the border illegally.

And there was an investigation launched by three Republican congressmen, the FBI Office of Cyber Crimes, and the University of California San Diego, which had sponsored the project. And one of the members of the-- well, actually, several members of the Electronic Disturbance Theater were affiliated with UCSD in some way or another. So I think it fizzled out after a while, but this does kind of, I think, call attention to the idea of expanding definitions of works of art in ways that people can use the internet and use computers in the production of works of art, and also incorporate the aspect of activism.

So I'd also like to talk about the work of Os Gemeos for another example of graffiti art. They are identical twins from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and they've been working in the area of graffiti art since the 1980s. And their art kind of has this hip-hop inspired style to it, and often involves these yellow people that come from their dreams.

So this is a mural that they did on an abandoned building in Portugal, and it's really nice. And this is actually only one part of the mural. It extends onto several walls. So you should look this up if you want to see some of the other panels. There's a lot of commentary on the internet about how amazing this mural is.

It's really huge-- several stories tall. And I think it depicts a graffiti artist, because he's wearing a bandanna that, if you look closely at it, has a little label on it that says "I love vandalism." So I just wanted to show you this, because the Os Gemeos are kind of like the Brazilian equivalent of Banksy in terms of the international fame that they've been able to achieve through their work.

So last of all, I'd like to take a quick look at the work of Gabriel Orozco, who's a Mexican artist. And he has done work in different areas, like installation and photography. And it kind of intersects with interventions, and a lot of the images that he creates just involve the use of humble, mundane, everyday objects.

Now, this mobile matrix is different, obviously, because it's the skeleton of a whale. And this actually was installed later in a library in Mexico. So it's this enormous skeleton of a whale that was buried at the beach in Baja, and this was to allow all of the tissue and stuff to come off of the whale after time.

And then it was brought to Orozco's studio, and he and a group of assistants colored these lines on the skeleton of the whale and in pencil. So if you look closely, you can see that, especially on what looks to be the shoulder blade of the whale, you can see these kind of concentric circles. So he's taking an enormous found object and intervened with it and put some designs on it that make it more beautiful and kind of transform this object into a work of art.

So we looked at artistic practice over the past 10 to 15 years, during which a new form of art has emerged known as "post studio practice." And this refers primarily to art produced on city streets, but could refer to any type of non-traditional art, including new media and hacktivism. And graffiti art has also been enormously popular. Banksy and Os Gemeos are three of the most well-known graffiti artists.

Another form of art that has developed recently is that of the intervention, which uses art as a form of activism. And the work of the artist Gabriel Orozco intersects with these trends. However, he has tended to exhibit in museums. He does installation, photographs, and small interventions that find the beauty in everyday objects. So that concludes our lesson for today. Thank you very much.

Notes on "Post Studio Practices and Other Artistic Trends"


Key Terms

Intervention

A technique where existing artwork is used to elevate social awareness through subversive action.

Hacktivism

A form of activism where computers are illegally broken into and manipulated.

Graffiti art

A controversial art movement or style of creating artwork that may include illegally spray painting or drawing on sides of buildings, walls, trains, boats, or cars, and in locations outside traditional gallery spaces.

Post studio practice

The method of making artwork 'in the street'.

Image Credits

Banksy, One Nation Under CCTV, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bansky_one_nation_under_cctv.jpg, Banksy Naked Man, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Banksy-ps.jpg, Critical Art Ensemble, Radiation Burn, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cae_halle_germany_2010.jpg, Os Gemeos, Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Os_G%C3%AAmeos.jpg, Gabriel Orozco, Mobile Matrix, Photo by Andrew Russeth, Creative Commons, http://www.flickr.com/photos/sixteen-miles/4173404666/

 

Terms to Know
Graffiti Art

A controversial art movement or style of creating artwork that may include illegally spray painting or drawing on sides of buildings, walls, trains, boats, or cars, and in locations outside traditional gallery spaces.

Hacktivism

A form of activism where computers are illegally broken into and manipulated.

Intervention

A technique where existing artwork is used to elevate social awareness through subversive action.

Post Studio Practice

The method of making artwork 'in the street'.