future perfect

May 27, 2009


Sorry, I know it’s not my day, but I wanted to share this article from the WSJ.



March 22, 2009

highheel4 About the New Beauty Council
Written by Annika Enqvist
Monday, 15 December 2008

Coming from different backgrounds and having diverse opinions on what is good or bad, beautiful or ugly, tiring or exciting, the citizen’s of a city have one thing in common – the shared public space. At odds or finding a consensus, the public realm is a stage for constant negotiation. The New Beauty Council investigates what concepts like the public consists of and how beauty and ugliness can be (re-)defined, as well as how user’s experience of the city is influenced by different conditions.

The project studies institutions and authorities, which form and have the privilege to interpret cities’ appearance and functions. The New Beauty Council wants to bring into consideration new perspectives on how public space can be used and look, not through promoting one single point of view, but by opening up new ways of experiencing the public sphere and concepts of beauty.

The founding members are Annika Enqvist, Anna Kharkina, Thérèse Kristiansson and Kristoffer Svenberg.

Old Beauty is the New Beauty

March 19, 2009

In an effort to make this site more cohesive, we are going begin centering our posts around themes (or so the mass emails have indicated up to this moment).  So here I go tackling “New Beauty.”

James Franco.


…but seriously

Thinking about conceptualizing anything “new” implies that there is an old standard that is no longer appropriate.  The concept of beauty is one of those  that seems to have consistently avoided being rigidly defined.  However  in art, for hundreds of years was, beauty was defined by the standards of the ruling governments, religious entities, etc.  It’s only in the last hundred years or so, thanks to the “success” various avant garde movements ( I won’t name names, but you know who you are), that we have begun to redefine or undefine the idea of beauty in art.

In various efforts to break from the past,  the avant garde movements in the last century–in all of their deviant, seditious and sometimes offensive approaches–finally succeeded in annihilating tradition and art historical authority in the visual arts.  In short, the result is our post-genre, post-movement, post-art historical narrative  state of the arts.   In our increasingly pluralistic visual culture,  most contemporary art is not concerned with beauty.  Is beauty irrelevant? We could argue this point forever, I’m sure,  but I think we can all agree that “New Beauty” is something radically subjective.

When I think about how I experience beauty when I’m looking at art, I can generally put these experiences into one of two categories: luxurious, opulent, resplendent beauty or heartbreaking, fragile, nostalgic beauty.   The first category of  experience I relish because, as I’ve said in the past, the experience of art is for me probably the only opportunity I have to give myself over completely to aesthetic indulgence.   I want to dive in and wrap myself up in Petah Coyne’s decadent installations. Yves Klein monochromes make me melt.


Petah Coyne, “Untitled 1234 (Tom’s Twin,” 2007-8, Mixed Media.  Courtesy of Galerie Lelong.

The second category includes Rebecca Morales’s quiet, contemplative pastels, Jon Bobby Benjamin’s stunning miniature paper sculptures, and some works on paper by Kiki Smith.  These are the kind of experiences with beauty that almost make you cry–because they are executed with so much care and attention, because you could never do it yourself, or because they makes you miss something lost.  For me there is almost always a powerful sense of nostalgia associated with paper.


Rebecca Morales, “Tamara’s Cues,” 2004, Gouache and watercolor on vellum. Courtesy of Bravinlee Programs.


Jon Bobby Benjamin, “Turn on the Bright Lights, I wanna See My Soul,” 2009, Cardboard, ink, acrylic and mixed media.

Analyzing beauty is no easy task.  I leave it to my man Baudelaire to bring it home:

“Ah! Must we suffer eternally or else eternally flee the beautiful? Nature, sorceress without mercy, ever victorious rival, let me be! Stop tempting my desires and my pride! Studying the beautiful is a duel in which the artist shrieks with fright before being defeated.”  -Charles Baudelaire, the Artist’s Confiteor


March 19, 2009

Hello, all, this is my disembodied voice from March 12, 2009 at approximately 3 PM! I am writing this a week in advance, minus 6 hours, because there’s no way I would actually write anything cogent–much less be awake–at 9 AM, because I am a loser, but future Nicole is a changed woman.

Anyway, things to think about that I don’t feel like elaborating quite yet.

-The system of pattern/randomness being more relevant than absence/presence.

mind separated from matter

mind separated from matter- KRANG

“The very definition of ‘information,’ then encodes the distinction between materiality and information that was becoming important in molecular biology during this period.”

“Abstracting information from a material base meant that information could become free-floating, unaffected by changes in context.”

“As Carolyn Marvin notes, a decontextualized construction of information has important ideological implications, including an anglo-american ethnocentrism that regards digital information as more important than more context-bound analog information”

“My dream is a version of the posthuman that embraces the possibilities of information technologies without being seduced by fantasies of unlimited power and disembodied immortality, that recognizes and celebrates finitude as a condition of human being, and that understands human life is embedded in a material world of great complexity, one on which we depend on our continued survival.”

N. Katherine Hayles

Container Space project

February 10, 2009
1978 shipping container

1978 shipping container

I wanted to share an in-process project, [container(space)], I’ve been working on for a few months at my university, GMU, with a couple fellow artists. Click the link above to view the blog about the process and as a document of the project, also hoping that it will generate new threads in our thought processes/generate more new work.

We have undertaken a re‐construction and research project focused on a discarded shipping container. Challenged several months ago by Tom Ashcraft to investigate the properties of this object for a transition
from global shipping container into a versatile exhibition space for art. As a response, we have initiated an adaptive re-use of the container from global economic relic to student run experimental gallery space, keeping the project as sustainable as possible from an environmental perspective.

We envision this project as a long‐term sustainable work with tremendous educational/outreach benefits. Alongside the practical and technological issues that exist, we are approaching this endeavor as a conceptual artwork. Presenting the (re)design in an aesthetically interesting way that highlights the container’s architectural and historical assets is an essential aspect of our project. We are also researching the uniqueness/ubiquity of the container as an industrial product and using this as a departure point for the creation of related artwork. The container is an contemporary artifact of globalization that exists as an object and metaphor for the exchange of commodities between nations. We are curious about the geographic reach of this object from the time of its creation to its placement on GMU’s campus. This as emerged also as an investigation from the macro to the micro, or better, the global to the local.  As an object, this container can be defined in many ways, from materials to architecture to content. We plan to investigate these ideas, put them in motion, and allow for new perspectives to emerge regarding its role and implications in our culture and society. Follow the blog for developments like the solar power implementation, the final installation of our custom skylights, and our recycled “pallet parquet” floors…


(A downloadable proposal can be found here)

Ideas Worth Spreading

February 4, 2009


“Ideas Worth Spreading” is the catch phrase for the TED conference, which is taking place this week in Long Beach, CA. The annual conference is designed to allow those who are changing the fields of science, technology and/or art in a significant way an opportunity to present their work to an audience of brilliant, well connected and often wealthy folks. I became interested in TED after learning that Rosie O’Donnell ( a genius in my mind) was trying to figure out how to gain access to the TED Talks.  These “talks” are a series of lectures that are presented in rapid succession on varying topics such as turning your Wii controller into a digital whiteboard or how the E8 pattern might well destroy String theory, which much of our theoretical physics is based on.

I bring this up for a few reasons, first TED made the talks accessible via the Internet for free (Dues for TED are $6,000/yr),  so everyone should be checking them out. I would highly recommend:
Paola Antonelli
Vik Muniz
Malcolm Gladwell

I also bring this up because this week is the  conference! So, we will soon see a new batch of videos that I  am very excited sort through and find the jewels. Also this Thursday TED will be presenting the TED prize live.

Lastly, since I am so excited about information sharing I will add-on a link to Edward Winkleman’s blog on which he has generously broken down some serious tips for those  looking to work with a commercial art gallery at some point in their career.

peace out cub scouts

Selling Ideas as Artwork

January 30, 2009

I created an event called “Do Nothing or Do Not Do Anything.” (the rules are self-explanatory.) When it came time to document me doing this event, I became cautious of documentation due to the nature of the event. But if I didn’t document it there would be little record of it ever happening. This inspired my thinking about selling intangible ideas (for example if I was to sell the instructions of the do nothing event as a work of art) outlined below.

It is very hard to sell an idea. In particular I’m talking about a conceptual art idea. You are selling an abstraction that can only be realized with imagination but nevertheless will always remain in ephemeral form. Someone may decide to execute the idea and it’s execution may, (depending on the idea) or may not create a product. But if it does not create a product it becomes even harder to sell it. On top of these difficulties lies the challenge of finding a willing buyer—not necessarily in terms of money but more in terms of believing in the art, the artist and the art theories which create value for the idea that is being offered. In order to put this idea up for sale, it must not be known. This means the idea is kept secret until the buyer pays for it—only then it is revealed to the buyer much like Tino Sehgal’s work. The buyer must therefore be convinced that whatever he is buying is valuable. In the “real” world—outside of conceptual art we inspect products before we buy them to know what exactly we will be paying for and to compare it to other products. The packaging largely assists in this along with branding and the company’s marketing. However, ideas do not have the same kind of packaging or marketing. Their packaging and marketing are controlled by the artist, the person representing the artist or work and the venue representing the artist or work. If you have a name like Gagosion behind your work telling the buyer how significant and important this idea is, the idea will increase in monetary value. On the other hand if you are just entering the art scene and have not made a “name” for yourself—your name is not a brand—then the value of your idea is very low. It can be very difficult to start out as a conceptual artist who makes ephemeral art because you will have a hard time finding an audience, buyers, making money and finding a venue to display your work. A big factor in being an artist who sells ideas is gaining popularity and a celebrity status. In order to make decent money selling paintings you need to be a decent painter, but in order to make money selling ideas you need to be an excellent idea originator, entrepreneur and marketer.

IN SHORT, if you document the idea and present it to the buyer, then there is no reason for the buyer to buy it because you just gave him the product (the idea). But if you do not show him the product, or idea, then how do you get the buyer to believe in it? And by revealing it to more than one person you are making it less singular and less precious in a way which could drive the price down. Help me think out with this issue. What is your take?