Corita Kent

Today’s Google homepage honors Corita Kent, on what would have been her 96th birthday. Kent was a nun, artist, and educator who helped pave the way to make silkscreen a true art on its own. Many of her pieces revolve around the topic of love and peace; significant motifs of the 1970s and 1980s in which her most well-known works were created. Many of her works challenge the viewer to think about consumerism and how it relates to spirituality and religion. To produce such works, Kent’s main process was the appropriation and modification of already existing images and logos, transforming them in some manner to suit the particular message she wanted to convey. An example of her works are shown below.

Google Doodle for November 20, 2014

Google Doodle

mary does laugh (1964)

mary does laugh

enriched bread (1965)

Enriched Bread

questions and answers (1966)

Q&A

stop the bombing (1967)

Stop the bombing

While the exhibit is now over, Kent’s work was showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland in an exhibit titled Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent. Some of her work is still featured on their website under past exhibitions, and can be viewed here.

Advertisements

Washington Square Arch

photo-8

Being new to New York City, I wanted to do a photo collage on an iconic tourist attraction in the city, within relative proximity to school – hence, the arch at Washington Square Park. I stood in the same spot to maintain perspective while moving the camera slightly, eventually capturing the whole arch. I then shifted my position slightly and did this three more times, having four different sets of the arch, from which I mixed and matched photos to give the collage a cubist element.

I believe that capturing this monument at night is more captivating than during the day, since the lighting illuminates the structure and brings it into focus, while its unlit environs remain in relative darkness. This also provides the greatest contrast between the yellow shade of the arch with the dark blue and black of nighttime.

Art & Fashion – Marina Abramovic

Marina Abramovic is a Yugoslavian-born performance artist based out of NYC. Described as the “grandmother of performance art”, her performance works explore and question many elements of the human experience, such as patience, endurance, resistance, gesturing, and stillness.

Rest Energy With Ulay, 1980.

Abramovic Rest Energy

 

AAA AAA (1978)

Abramovic Aaaa

 

Another great video to watch is this one: 

, in which Abramovic describes her transformation from performance artist to fashionista.

In the 1970s and 80s, around the time of Abramovic’s emergence, it was contemporary thought to look down upon interplay between art and fashion. Abramovic says “In the 70s, when artists wore red lipstick, and nail polish, and any kind of relation to fashion, it was discussed like [you were being a] really bad artist, as if [fashion is] the way you have to prove yourself because you can’t do it with the work.” However, after her relationship with her artistic collaborator, Ulay Laysiepen was dissolved, Abramovic felt more artistic freedom to explore femininity, and in particular, fashion as it relates to art. After this time, Abramovic says she “didn’t need to prove to anybody anything anymore … [now] I can really embrace fashion”.

Since then, Abramovic has appeared on the covers of Elle Magazine, Vogue Ukraine, and V Magazine:

Abramovic Elle

Abramovic Vogue Ukraine

Abramovic V Magazine

 

An inspiring artist who used her talents and infused them into the world of fashion.

 

 

Traditional East Asian Bookbinding

I found this great text (completely free online) that mainly focuses on traditional Korean practices for bookbinding, but tied to its history is the bookbinding methods of many other East Asian cultures (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese). The book has rather extensive content and pictures on binding methods, paper used, as well as patterns for book covers. A great reference for anyone wanting to give their photo book an Eastern cultural flare to it.

Korean

Scroll

Cover-Styles

John Dominis, “The Valley of Poverty” (1964)

American documentary photographer John Dominis, who recently passed away, is perhaps best known for his work with LIFE magazine. In his 1964 work titled “The Valley of Poverty”, Dominis brings attention to the fact that in the 1960s – a time when most of America had long recovered from the Great Depression of the 1920s, the people of the Appalachian region were still living through a great deal of poverty. The photo series, mostly in black and white, truly captures the dire conditions of 1960s Appalachia – may it be through the harrowing expression on the subjects’ faces or through the rural expanses of snowy countryside. Select pictures from the series can be found on LIFE.com.

PS Dominis 4

PS Dominis 5

PS Dominis 6

PS Dominis 7

Bookbinding Inspirations – Society of Bookbinders

The Society of Bookbinders, based in the UK, is an organization dedicated to historical and contemporary bookbinding, as well as its conservation. The Society organizes a biennial International Bookbinding Competition attracting professional and amateur bookbinders from all over the world, the most recent of which was held in 2013. Prizes are awarded in various categories such as Fine Binding, Case Binding, as well as Historical Binding styles. Their website not only profiles the bound books of the contestants, but also describes their process, materials used, and main inspirations. Some examples are included below:

Jo Bird, First Prize in Fine Binding (Goatskin and split board, hand dyed):

Jo Bird

Barbara Schmeizer, First Prize in Case Binding (Danish millimetre binding, goat leather, decorative paper, hand-sewn silk endbands):

Barbara Schmeizer

This next one is my personal favorite due to its uniqueness. Paul Johnson, First Prize in the Complete Book (carousel pop-up book made out of water-colour paper textile dyes, pen work, gold inlays):

Paul Johnson

The Society’s website also profiles other UK-based bookbinders and showcases some of their work – many projects utilize unique materials and are highly personalized to specific causes or hobbies. Links to personal websites are also included.

Sarah Grosvenor – materials include astro turf as a project for a woman who loved to garden:

Sarah Grosvenor

Hannah Brown – a book to honor Broadway lyricist Cole Porter. Accordioned pages make for a fun and playful book design.

Hannah Brown

Definitely worth taking a look!

Photo Essay References

They say that practice makes perfect, and while I’d need to go to visit way more than four museums or galleries to develop a truly effective photo essay, this week’s reference assignments truly opened my eyes to the different ways photography can be used to communicate a message, the types of messages it can convey, and how those emotions (intended or otherwise) are evoked.

I started my journey at MoMA, where the Special Exhibition was particularly compelling. Having little previous experience with photography, this exhibit allowed me to see not only examples of effective topics (“stories”, so to speak) for a photo essay, but also another important component – layout and presentation. Everything from a chocolate bar to parts of a computer to various bouquets to a lady’s hairstyle could be used to convey a story through imagery.

IMG_6598IMG_6601IMG_6624IMG_6617

I next went to Whitney, where Edward Hopper’s photography gave me some inspirational ideas for working in color:

IMG_6656

Can’t leave Whitney without checking out the Jeff Koons exhibit as well!

IMG_6664

In comparison, the  photographs I was most drawn to at the Aperture gallery took on a more serious tone, such as Sebastiao Salgado’s photographs from the Persian Gulf War. The monochrome images work so well together to narrate a story, from beginning to end – once again boiling down to careful selection of photographs and their strategic placement and display:

IMG_6720

The display becomes crucial in Paolo Pellegrin’s coverage of the crisis in Darfur:

IMG_6729

And last but not least, the firsthand photographic capturing of 9/11 and its aftermath:IMG_6752 IMG_6755

At ICP, unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photographs so this is all I have:

IMG_3760

However, Sebastião Salgado’s Genesis exhibit showed Mother Nature in all its beauty – crisp, rugged, monochrome images shot in such a way that the similar aesthetic acts as a unifying element between the different photographs (from purely nature shots to pictures of indigenous peoples, to peoples interacting with their environment).

I also made my way over to the NY Art Book Fair, and, while not dealing specifically with photography, this was a great experience to see different mediums that art, or a person’s artwork, can be represented in (there were even grey areas as to what constitutes a book!). Artists from all over were gathered to showcase their work, and it was great to see how different styles and aesthetics from different cultures and languages are represented in book form.

IMG_3761IMG_3762

All in all, this was an amazing exercise to get us inspired for our own photo essays – I’d definitely love to go back to all of these venues in my spare time to seek even more inspiration and hope everyone was as inspired as I was!