Yearly Archives: 2010

Connecting culture and agriculture – The Artful Manager

Recently Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle celebrated the 2010 recipients of the Governors Awards in Support of the Arts. It was another great batch of recipients full disclosure, Im on the Advisory Committee for the sponsoring organization, the Wisconsin Foundation for the Arts. Links to videos about each recipient are included below.

A particular favorite, for a while now, is The Wormfarm Institute, a combination of organic farm, artist residency, and cultural connector in rural Reedsburg, Wisconsin, working to build a sustainable future for agriculture and the arts by fostering vital links between people and the land. Artists in residency work 15 hours a week tending to the farm, and helping things grow. Artists also enhance the life and work of local farmers through the very cool Roadside Culture Stands project. The Woolen Mill Gallery provides a public space to connect the dots, as well as in the current Smithsonian exhibit there.

via Connecting culture and agriculture – The Artful Manager.

Sam’s Post 4: Meltdown

by Sam Breen, October 31, 2010 (Halloween)

This trailer restoration started out as a Zen affair.  I had a strong sense of purpose. I was fulfilling my need to create something tangible, useful for someone else but myself.  After studying acting for two years, and spending a whole lot of time thinking about myself (how to carry myself, how to market myself) I began to feel as though I was missing something truly vital.

The project wasn’t only about giving back. It was also about adding a dose of humanity to a learning process that can easily become contrived. So I was convinced that the Spartan was my key to success.  Now a month and a half later, more often than not, I feel as though I might just be losing my mind.

There’s so much to keep track of that I’m making many lists.  But I have too many lists to keep track of.  There are too few hours in the day. I get out of class in the evenings and work on the trailer till late at night.

My mentor tells me I need a plan but it’s a whole lot easier to paint a chassis than to

Sam and his mentor, sculptor and CalArts faculty member Michael Darling who came on his day off to help Sam weld a replacement rib onto the chassis.

make a plan- so most of the time I put it off.  I’m not a planner, but I’ve been doing my best at it – even though I think I might actually have some allergic reaction to that activity. My plan, when I make one,  goes like this: week 1: prep chassis for new floor, order plywood floor for next week’s installation etc.. I can think about the next 2 weeks or so,  but I have a hard time getting my head around the big picture- it feels like a distraction. I know, that sounds absurd.  It’s just that there’s so much going on and so many windows and screws and paints and materials to think about that I fear I’ll get lost in all the planning and never actually get any work done.  So I start working… furiously.  And then, of course, I end up hitting brick walls. I’ll start thinking about the configuration of the sub-floor but I get stuck because the gray water holding tanks have to be welded on to the chassis and installed before the floor can get laid over.

So I’m finally starting to warm up to the (basic!) notion that the more I know what the trailer will look like as a final project the less overwhelming it will all be.

I view this week as a test. Next Saturday, I will be towing the Spartan about 6 miles away to Newhall.  Students in the Arts and Activism class at Calarts (who volunteered to be on the trailer committee) and I, will be giving a workshop to the kids and parents of Nomadlab. We are planning a series of games and exercises for them that will take place in and around the trailer, and center around the idea of “home”. I hope that the trailer will be an opportunity to talk about what home means for them and what their ideal home would look like.

I have 5 days to get a floor in!

Trailer Trash: 60-year-old fiberglass insulation headed for CalArts’ trash bin for building materials than can not be recycled.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

What’s up Autumn 2010?

Our 2010 Autumn Energy Newsletter is complete! Follow this link to read it…
http://www.arcolaenergy.com/contribute/going-green/arcola-newsletter/

We have also started a new project to track the progress made in our new home on Ashwin Street!
You can visit our new YouTube Channel, ArcolaEnergy1, which will have regular video updates.

Check out our video for Week 1!
Arcola Energy – Future Arcola \”The Transformation\” (Week 1)

Go to Arcola Energy

ashdenizen: is “junk” a celebration or a critique of waste?

‘Junkitecture’ is a clever term, combining design and ‘waste’. But what if the materials used for buildings, for sets, for props, for puppets, for the vehicles and floats of parades, were thought of simply as ‘materials’? Of course, they would have a special value or feel if they had been used for something else. But to call them ‘junk’ is to share the attitude that separates the ‘new’ from what we think of as ‘waste’. What is happening with the use of materials in the arts that have a history can often be more of  a valorisation of consumerism and excess, a celebration of trash as ‘trash’ or salvage, than a critique of waste or an affirmation of recycling.

What if no special claims could be made for using reclaimed or recycled materials because it was commonplace? Then, what would be remarked on would be the design, the space or object itself, and the qualities that the materials brought to it.

The Jellyfish Theatre building was enchanting for its design and for its transiency, a theatre space in a symbolic shape, assembled from what was to hand, played in, and then dispersed, the theatre becoming again the material that it was, maybe to be used again, having acquired another layer of history.

via ashdenizen: is “junk” a celebration or a critique of waste?.

Modern Art

Although many would consider art that has been composed within the last few years as modern, that is incorrect. Art that is being or has been created since 1960-1970 is considered Contemporary Art. Modern Art is art that was created from around the late 1860’s until the 1960’s or 1970’s.

Dubbed “Modern Art” due to the experimentation with paints and other mediums, Modern Art did away with the past reflections and considerations as to what constituted Art. One major characteristic of Modern Art was the use of abstraction. Although their works are not considered Modern Art, the Romantic and Impressionist artists of the earlier 1800’s are thought to be the pioneers of Modern Art. Although Modern Art is considered to have started in the late 1860’s, the term was not used until 1939, when American art critic Clement Greenburg coined the phrase while referring to a piece of art by Jackson Pollack.

Modern Art is also referred to as the art of the -isms. Examples include cubism made popular by Pablo Picasso, Fauvism, created by the young, hedonistic artists in Paris, such as Matisse, and Surrealism, the art that scared and surprised, by such artists as Munch.

Modern Art is not simply exemplified in paintings, but was also shown in free formed abstract sculptures, papier mache, and steel workings. Popular in Europe at the end of the 19th century, the United States did not become a center for Modern Art until after artists moved to America after World War l.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Nomads: The Art of Observation

A Nomad student draws scenes from his neighborhood. Photo Credit: spartanrestoration.com

The Nomads take a good look at their own back yard in a drawing lab taught by artist and Cal Arts instructor Evelyn Serrano.  (See Sam’s post #3 for more on the Nomads also this link. )  The kids are told to take their time, to observe closely before starting to draw.

Click to view slideshow.

“Don’t compare your work to anyone else,” Evelyn tells them. “You are all different so your art will be different, too.”  She points out the details in a tree and the colors and squiggly lines of a nearby play set.   At the end of the session, the children seem eager to show their work to the rest of the class.  Evelyn says she is proud of them for being fearless, unafraid to take risks with their art.  Then Evelyn and Sam look over the spot where the Spartan trailer will be on display for the Nomads on November 6th.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Situation: a review.

I read “Situtation” as I read most books these days: sitting on the Bay Area Rapid Transit, traveling between jobs. It’s the 6-10 jobs that keep my volunteer blogging to a minimum (no regular wifi on BART just yet). Still, I wanted to read– and write about– this book. Because how I read it is also how it’s structured: in small digestible chapters. Because Situation is a compilation of excerpts from primary sources, the words of artists and scholars, here and gone, about context and place in artmaking.

The cited authors range from Lucy Lippard to Hannah Arendt to Robert Smithson (yes, THAT Robert Smithson) to Krzysztof Wodiczko. The excerpts are organized into four parts: “The Limits of Site,” “Fieldwork,” “Action and Public Space,” “Place and Locality,” and “The Curatorial Imperative.” Editor Claire Doherty does an excellent job of chaining seemingly unrelated sources together. And though there’s a lot of complaint about how media and television are affecting literature, that it read like a documentary was pleasant.

On one page I’d be reviewing Smithson’s work with sites and non-sites: on the next I’d be reading Giorgio Agamben’s thoughts on witnessing. The experience was an ever-evolving collage of thought on place. Like a kaleidescope with some of the best thinkers of the last 75 years or so in it. Good for introducing yourself to new thoughts on space. Good for mental niblets between trains. Good for discovering new incredible people.

Go to the Green Museum

Nomad Alert (Sam’s Post 3)

As part of the Trailer Trash Project,  Sam will be working with the Nomad Lab – children and their parent from the Valle Del Oro Neighborhood Association in Newhall (Santa Clarita) CA.  The Lab offers all kinds of  art workshops in graphic design, print making, music, acting, etc.  It is run under the direction of Evelyn Serrano who also teaches a class on art and activism at CalArts. Sam recently met with the class. Here are his notes: [ed.]

-by Sam Breen, October 17, 2010

I met with Evelyn’s class, and we are starting to make a plan.  Our first date with theNomads and their parents is in Newhall on Nov 6 . There should be about 30-40 students there, ranging in age 6-14. Evelyn wants me to bring the trailer, so I will need to install a work-floor in the Spartan  by then! Nomad workshops in photography and creative writing are already under way. Teachers are exploring the idea of what home means to them. So they’ve begun thinking about this theme (which is great ’cause that’s my theme, too!) I’ll give the kids a small presentation of the project and take them

What makes a house a home?

on a tour of the Spartan. Then the photography kids will take pictures. Some will start writing, some of the Arts and Activism students from CalArts will lead theater games (with the idea of home in mind). Some of the Nomad kids will be commissioned to talk about what they’d want in the trailer if it was their home (they could draw, write etc.) We could have a projector in there, so I might put up some ideas for my wish list – things like solar panels, a grey water system, compost. I’ll also be asking them about ways to use the trailer as a performance space – even before it’s finished.

On Oct 20, well’ll have another meeting of the Arts and Activism Class.  Stay tuned.  [Sam will have got to install a temporary floor in the Spartan in the next three weeks. That also means floor insulation, a belly pan, and tanks for storing clean and water. -ed.]


This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

SPACE, LAND, AND TIME: UNDERGROUND ADVENTURES WITH ANT FARM

SPACE, LAND, AND TIME: UNDERGROUND ADVENTURES WITH ANT FARM

Space, Land, and Time is the first film to consider the work of the 1970s architecture collective Ant Farm, best known forCadillac Ranch. Radical architects, video pioneers, and mordantly funny cultural commentators, the Ant Farmers created a body of deeply subversive multidisciplinary work predicted much of the technology we take for granted today. Incorporating archival video, new footage, and animation based on zany period sketches, this film is about the joy of creation in a time when there were no limits. (2010, 78 min. Dirs: Laura Harrison and Beth Federici)

A discussion with Ant Farm’s Chip Lord will follow the screening.

ALL HAMMER PUBLIC PROGRAMS ARE FREE. Tickets are required, and are available at the Billy Wilder Theater Box Office one hour prior to start time. Limit one ticket per person on a first come, first served basis. Hammer members receive priority seating, subject to availability. Reservations not accepted, RSVPs not required.

Parking is available under the museum for $3 after 6:00pm.