Friday, June 30, 2006

Calder & Junebum Park

Few people know that Alexander Calder designed a sidewalk in front of 1014-1018 Madison Ave. between 78 and 79th streets. Calder's gallery was in the building and three galleries in the building split the installation cost of the sidewalk. The sidewalk is a few blocks up from the Whitney Museum where you can see Calder's Circus. The Whitney has a great display of the Circus and they run the Calder's Circus video. I used to teach a wire sculpture project and would show my students the video before they started their wire sculptures. The more I saw the video the more I realized that Calder was an early performance artist. Calder would perform the Circus in Paris and New York in the late 1920s and 1930s. The Circus is usually mentioned as Calder's link to kinetic art but the performance aspect is overlooked. If you get a chance to see the video do.

The reason I mention Calder is that I thought of him while watching Junebum Park's video entitled Parking at the Projected Realities, Video Art from East Asia exhibition at Asia Society. In the video a hand, the artist's I presume, appears to be moving cars in and out of a parking space. The video is a composite of the hand and actual cars going in and out of parking spaces. In a sense, Junebum Park, was manipulating the cars the way Calder manipulated the circus figures. I was very impressed with Park's work. Park's pieces are short and imaginative. Click here to read a review of his work and see stills from his video.

BTW the exhibition was dedicated to Nam June Paik and included the work of several other video artists. It would be nice if video artists and curators got together and offered a DVD of some of the work in video exhibitions.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Art Contests and Competitions

Participated in a dialog about contests and competitions on an art ed listserv. Contests are great when your students win but most students don't win. It is important to pick your contests wisely. Contests that ask for submissions of original work and do not return the work are especially irritating. I participate in a state-wide digital video contest because I know and respect the organization that runs the contest. Also, I can submit work that is driven by my curriculum and not by the contest rules and requirements. In 1995 I won a NJ State Best practice Award for my Public Art in Public School Project. For this project I created my own contest and students were the judges. There is an NAEA Advisory on contests that is well worth reading. Take a look at the NAEA Advisory on Contests. I don't teach K - 5 but think that they are too young for contests.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

NAEA Web Advisory Meeting

Had a virtual meeting this evening at TappedIn of the NAEA website advisory committee. TappenIn is a site for educators to hang out in. You can set up a virtual office, groups, post files and have online chats. The group I was meeting with includes art educators from around the country. We are working on advising the NAEA Board on policy for the website. Right now we are doing housekeeping chores like Copyright, Privacy, Disclaimer and links policy statements. During the course of the discussion I was surprised to learn that the Board of Directors page had links to NAEA listservs that members could join. Website Usability - a few months ago I read Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug. Steve goes over how websites need to make it easy for visitors to find what they want. He is a strong advocate of usability studies where web developers watch people using their site. The idea is to learn how to improve a site by seeing how people navigate a site.The book is clear, concise and practices what it preaches.

Photoshop CS2

Ordered Photoshop CS2 this morning. I decided to finally upgrade after seeing CS2 during the workshop I took yesterday. The other reason for the upgrade is that Version 7 does not support RAW image format. A third reason, just discovered, is that looks like Adobe may have upgraded the automatic web photo galleries. I say this because I was just looking at someone's web photo gallery and checked out the source to see that it was done in Photoshop CS2. It looked nicer than the ones available in version 7. Did some price research - $299 educators price was more than the regular $169 upgrade from version 7 price. Now I have Photoshop Elements version 4 and Photoshop CS2 is on the way. I need both because I teach Photoshop Elements and use it often but also like to use the full version of Photoshop.