Sunday, June 15, 2014

Magnan Metz Group Exhibition: Destination UnknownOpening Reception: Thursday, June 26th 6-8 pm June 27 - July 25, 2014

Magnan Metz Group Exhibition: Destination Unknown

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 26th 6-8 pm

June 27 - July 25, 2014


Magnan Metz Gallery is pleased to announce its summer exhibition Destination Unknown. On view June 27-July 25, 2014, with an opening reception on Thursday, June 26th from 6-8 pm.
In the spirit and tradition of summertime wanderlust Destination Unknown is a group exhibition that features work sculpted from each of the artist’s unique travels.  A compilation that comes together to form a temporal dialog via a selection of interdisciplinary media ascribing meaning through literal, imaginary and theoretical platforms. 

As the tour begins the aqueous concept of home is addressed. In his piece Home, Miler Lagos transforms a singular water tower into retreat that rests upon an azure bed of water and sky.  Continuing onto painterly waves of glossy pigment, viewers experience the choppy waters of Puerto Rican born Sofia Maldonado’s Youkali II.  Drawing from her roots, the traditional tropical landscape is transformed into moody pools of color. Japanese artist Maya Onoda captures a moment of reflection in the delicate forms of Lobster. Inspired by her everyday life Onoda uses string, watercolor, and coffee to create a multi-dimensional surface punctuated by sewn detail.

Leading the dialog into new territory is digital media artist Anne Spalter.  Her video Sky of Dubai takes visitors on a hallucinatory bird’s eye tour with a mesmerizing series of kaleidoscopic patterns. Furthering the sense of cerebral disorientation is Arrechea’s video Atardecer, or Sunset with distant helicopters buzzing around a palm tree against a setting sun is an invitation to contemplate the cause and effect of surveillance in an anonymous landscape of suspicion.

Destination Unknown is a trip through the places we recognize past and present, awakening a nostalgia that invites viewers on an imaginary journey devoid of long lines, security checks and endless miles of asphalt.

Artists Included
Alexandre Arrechea
Andrew Atkinson
Miler Lagos
James Case Leal
Glenda León
Larry Litt
Sofia Maldonado
Maya Onoda
David Opdyke
Duke Riley
Sean Slemon
Anne Spalter
Wenyon & Gamble

For more information or images, please contact the gallery at

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Roman Versotko- a giant in his deserved glory...

Minnesota's Roman Verostko, the grandfather of computer art

  • Article by: MARY ABBE , Star Tribune 
  • Updated: June 9, 2014 - 10:21 PM
Two events this week spotlight the pioneering work of former MCAD professor Roman Verostko, the man who turned code into colors.
Former MCAD prof Roman Verostko, 85, is an internationally known pioneer in creative coding, generative and algorist art (which most of us call "computer art"), a one time Benedictine monk/priest in his South Minneapolis studio.
Photo: Joel Koyama
Long before most people had even heard of algorithms, Roman Verostko was writing them to program drawing machines.
A former Benedictine priest and professor emeritus at the MinneapolisCollege of Art and Design (MCAD), Verostko, 84, is internationally known as a pioneer in code-generated imagery, or algorithmic art as he calls it. Pens and brushes attached to his machines draw diaphanous veils of floating color onto paper and sketch seemingly hollow tubes that undulate like exotic life forms. Or create tangles of multicolored lines that suggest bizarre insects. Or brush ink gracefully across the page like calligraphic writing in an unknown language.
A fusion of human intelligence and mechanical precision, the drawings also involve the “Magic Hand of Chance,” as Verostko calls a computer-generated light show he invented in 1982. That early endeavor will be revived and projected all night onto a wall at MCAD as part of Saturday night’s Northern Spark celebration.
He will also discuss his work Friday at the sold-out Eyeo festival, a creative-coding and data-design event that is attracting more than 700 young aficionados from 14 countries to the Twin Cities for a four-day meet-up at Walker Art Center.
Self-generating magic
Though primitive by comparison with today’s computer graphics, Verostko’s “Magic Hand” has the virtue of being able to run for days without repeating itself because he incorporated chance into the program.
An upgrade of the program generated fresh designs for a week across the 300-foot-long facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Croatia, in 2011. In the original version, nautilus shell designs spiral outward into colorful, ever-changing abstractions that give way to nonsense poetry and Zen-like observations, all thanks to a 32 kb program written in the computer language BASIC for a first-generation IBM PC.
“The code works within powerful rules,” Verostko said. “It goes through filters that are my preferences, but within those parameters it is always allowed to do as it wishes, or do whatever the dice rolls.”
He wrote his first code in punch cards at Control Data in the late 1960s and spent the summer of 1970 at MIT studying “the humanization of new technologies” with a grant from the Bush Foundation. “But my real coding work began with the first personal computers, the Apples we had in ’78 and the IBM that came out in August 1981,” he said recently.
He still writes in BASIC and uses his first program, much modified and expanded, to generate drawings that have been featured in more than 30 exhibitions in the past 15 years from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to shows in Rome, Berlin, Istanbul, Lima, Tokyo, New York and elsewhere. Computer-generated murals by him are permanent fixtures at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky., and the Frey Science and Engineering Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
The machines his code drives are “plotters” of the sort used by mathematicians, architects and medical personnel to create graphs and to record, for example, electrocardiograms.
“You can sort of see the machine influence in some of Roman’s drawings, but with those that are asymmetrical, you wonder how anyone could ever write a program to create something that is so non-machine-like,” said Jay Coogan, president of MCAD, where Verostko taught from 1968 to 1994. “He considers himself the grandfather of digital art, but his work is still really relevant, even if he feels it’s at the simpler end of what can be done with computers these days.”
Reunion of the pioneers
Relevance got Verostko onto this year’s Eyeo festival program along with two other digital pioneers: Frieder Nake, a professor at Germany’s University of Bremen known for his algorithmic and generative work in the 1960s and his current research in computer graphics, hypertext and digital media; and Lillian Schwartz, an early innovator in computer-generated art, graphics, film, video and special effects who was a longtime consultant to AT&T’s Bell Labs and IBM’s Thomas Watson Research Lab.
“We invite people because of the work they’ve done, so we have NASA people but … this year we also have three people who have been at it since the 1960s,” said Dave Schroeder, a Minneapolis-based sound designer who founded Eyeo in 2011 with three friends.
The ’60s were a turbulent time in Verostko’s life. A coal miner’s son, he grew up poor in Tarrs, Pa., where kids amused themselves by sliding down ash heaps on sheets of tin.
He earned a diploma in illustration from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1949 and the following year joined St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pa., intending to become a Benedictine monk. Haunted by the World War II death of an older brother, he wrestled with theological questions, continued to make art, and was ordained in 1959.
With the monastery’s endorsement he earned an MFA at Pratt Institute in 1961, followed by two years in Europe, where he studied at the Louvre and at Atelier 17, Stanley Hayter’s famous print studio in Paris. Back in the United States he continued making abstract expressionist paintings while editing the New Catholic Encyclopedia in Washington, D.C., and touring an avant-garde sound-and-light show he’d created based on the Psalms.
Though still living a monastic life, his worldly milieu prompted a Washington Post reviewer to describe him in 1965 as “a scholarly priest at home with the beats” (meaning beatniks).
By 1968 he was beset by spiritual tensions. After a long “dark night” of doubt, he decided that he could “no longer, in my deepest self, honestly embrace scripture as a divine revelation.” He left the monastery, and that August married Alice Wagstaff, a psychologist he’d met when she gave seminars at the monastery. They moved to Minneapolis and he began teaching at what is now MCAD. She died in 2009.
‘The new scripture’
“With this electronic revolution, I could see the landscape change and knew that it would change our lives,” he said, ruminating on his career. “I was immersed in the idea that new technologies were expanding our knowledge and how we did business, and would eventually be extensions of human intelligence.
“For me this was the new scripture, opening up areas of visual form and knowledge that weren’t accessible to us before we had these machines. I saw them as a form of revelation.”
Thanks in part to his advocacy, digital literacy is now so central to MCAD’s mission that this summer the school is building a $3.2 million media lab with facilities for analog and digital printing, film and animation production, sound recording and mixing, Web and multimedia work. And it recently added another coding instructor.
“If I were starting today, I would be on social media,” Verostko said recently. “But I’m not. I’m still a 20th-century person. I have a very hard time seeing myself as a 21st-century person.”

Mary Abbe • 612-673-4431


Sunday, June 1, 2014

On Screen and on the Block The market for computer-created artwork is growing--NYT, May 30, 2014

“NEXT, NEXT, NEXT,” by Evan Roth.CreditCourtesy of Phillips
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LONDON — Is digital art the next big thing in the contemporary art world?
At the moment, the market for art that’s created and displayed on a screen — as distinct from paintings, prints and photos that are generated digitally and then printed — is small. Phillips’s inaugural “Paddles ON!” sale of 20 digital and digitally-related works in New York last October, held in association with the image-posting site Tumblr, was the first such event to be held at an international auction house. It raised just $90,600 — enough to buy a few square inches of a Christopher Wool painting. The top price of $16,000 went for “Asymmetric Love Number 2,” a chandelier made out of CCTV cameras, by the American “anti-disciplinarian” artist Addie Wagenknecht.
Encouraged by high attendance and a selling rate of 80 percent per lot, Phillips and Tumblr will hold a second digital art sale, this time in London. The event, scheduled to run June 21 to July 3, will combine an online auction via the Paddle8 marketplace with a live sale at Phillips. It’s estimated to raise at least 53,600 pounds, or about $90,000, from 23 works, all by different artists working in a dizzying range of media, few of whom are known to mainstream contemporary art buyers.
A detail from a work by Hannah Perry of Britain.CreditCourtesy of Phillips
Those featured include the Amsterdam-based artist Jonas Lund, who creates, among other things, digital abstracts; the more widely exhibited American artist Sara Ludy, who makes quietly unsettling digital photomontages; and Hannah Perry of Britain, who has been shown at the Saatchi Gallery and makes sight and sound installations incorporating flat-screen video monitors. The examples of their work and that of the other artists included in the sale are generally estimated at less than £5,000.
“We feel there’s been a disconnect between the art world and the tech world,” said Megan Newcome, Phillips’s director of digital strategy. “Younger collectors don’t find these works intimidating. They relate to them on a generational level. The market is still nascent, but this is a direction contemporary art is going in.”
Digital art, in its purest forms, is a complex, fast-changing, fuzzily bordered world that traces its origins back to Andy Warhol’s recently rediscovered images made on his Commodore Amiga home computer in the mid-1980s and other, less-famous artists who preceded him. Unlike the computer-generated paintings of fashionable artists like Mr. Wool and Wade Guyton, which now fetch millions at auction, digital art has been difficult to sell when it hasn’t been transferred to a more traditional medium. Tellingly, many of the digital images in Phillips’s auction have been printed on paper or aluminum.
There are plenty of people who remain skeptical about the commercial potential of art shown on a screen in a world of free downloading. “To have a proper market, you need works that are securely limited, signed and numbered,” said the London-based dealer David Juda, who is currently showing “The Arrival of Spring,” a series of Yorkshire landscapes David Hockney drew on an iPad in 2011 that have been downloaded and transferred to paper and aluminum. Mr. Juda has sold 80 of the smaller-size prints on paper, limited to an edition of 25, priced at $28,000 each.
The price of most digital works might not yet have reached that level, but certificates of authenticity are making a new group of international collectors more confident about five-figure purchases. This week, the Brooklyn digital artist Tabor Robak will be showing “A*,” a computer game-inspired video installation running across 14 conjoined monitors, in a group show at the Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art in New York. Typical of the way digital pieces blur the boundaries between static and video art, the piece is being sold in an edition of three for $15,000 each for the data and the all-important certificate. Hardware isn’t included.
Mr. Robak is represented by Team Gallery in New York, who also represent Cory Arcangel, 36, the multimedia artist who was instrumental in retrieving Warhol’s computer drawings from oblivion. Mr. Arcangel, the subject of a one-man show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2011, is best known for manipulating video games and has become one of digital art’s stand-out names, though he doesn’t feature in Phillips’s sale in London.
In 2003, Team Gallery exhibited “Super Mario Clouds,” a wall projection made from an altered video game chip, which sold for $3,000. This same work recently sold privately for $200,000, according to José Freire, Team Gallery’s owner.
“Something has to take the concept of the avant-garde forward,” Mr. Freire said. “How can you address the contemporary without addressing the digital?”
One of the reasons contemporary artists are attracted to digital practice is because of its democratic ethos. But how can the Internet’s ideal of almost limitless access be reconciled with the art market’s craving for exclusivity, which underpins its increasingly bloated price structures?
“It’s a conversation a lot of artists are having at the moment,” said the Paris-based American digital artist Evan Roth, whose unique 2014 digital print, “NEXT, NEXT, NEXT,” recording the shadows of three finger-swipes on an iPhone, will be included in Phillips’s sale in London, estimated at £3,000 to £4,000.
“Digital media should be free and copied. That’s its natural state. It’s like water flowing,” Mr. Roth said. “We’re all part of the digital revolution. It’s happening so fast, and there is a new group of informed collectors who are beginning to understand the work in an intimate way.”
Mr. Roth said his work had been bought by the Paris-based musician and collector Hampus Lindwall. The artist identified Jonah Peretti, The Huffington Post co-founder and BuzzFeed founder; the Washington lawyer Alex C. Lakatos; as well as the media company Bonnier Group of Sweden, among other collectors of digital art, most of which can be snapped up for less than $10,000.
“Digital media appeals to younger artists as a more democratic space that isn’t tied up with a system of financial value,” said Fabienne Nicholas, curator of the collection of the international insurance company Aspen, which is using digital art to enliven its corporate image. Last month the company awarded its inaugural Online Art Award, held in association with the London-based Contemporary Art Society, to Yi-Chun Lin, a student at the London College of Communication.
“The market has become so pervasive and a lot of artists want to circumvent it,” Ms. Nicholas said.
As the market for “fine” contemporary art becomes more and more expensive, it will be interesting to see if the sheer affordability and accessibility of digital art begins to subvert it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Stiction project: questioning what art is!

Questioning what art is....

A self-initiated celebratory performance art piece to make fellow students question what art is and what the process of critical making/thinking is like. In painting  class her friends developed a habit of starting off each class by painting on this artistic student's "painting pants." This got her classmates all in high school loosened up and in a creative zone. 

Inspired by this effect, she developed the Striction project. One of the best things that happened during the performance was a fellow student who said she enjoyed the whole situation that this precocious student had created--and that it was the only time she had ever painted without "being afraid to make a mistake." 

Sir Ken Robinson I am sure would be smiling...

Joyous Art