November 2013, Issue #14
Big Red & Shiny

Big Red & Shiny, November 2013, Issue #14

There was a didactic friction created when art education moved away from the atelier or apprentice model(s). This friction multiplied when the GI bill increased the number of people educated by universities and built further during the counter-culture sixties. Mixed with the rise of artistic practices that distanced themselves from traditional mediations, there is no end to the interesting and constructive assignments that were given out in the late sixties and early seventies.
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design has the honor of being one of “those schools” that delighted in pushing the edges of what was possible in the classroom. In 1969, Robert Barry—an interesting artist in his own right—provided an assignment for one of David Askevold’s classes at NSCAD, and from 2004-2006 Mario Garcia Torres researched the assignment, turning it into a work of art in its own right. In this month’s journal, Hallie Scott explores this history, and what these unorthodox and immaterial artistic assignments could mean for today’s professionally minded art educators.
Matthew Ritchie, who created the newest mural in Dewey Square for the ICA, has long had a connection to Massachusetts. Trained at BU, he has returned to the Boston area for residencies, symposia, and to install permanent work during his career. As the Dewey Square mural was drying, Ben Sloat interviewed him about research, teaching methods, hypothetical engagements with a "moment of possibility," chance, complexity, and the Gesamtkunstwerk.
German born Florian Dombois traveled to Boston in October to install a newly commissioned work for the Transcultural Exchange Conference.  The work, which created a geophysical dialog between two buildings via a laser beam, was barely a material event and yet, this nearly invisible act converts the subtle motions of two buildings into a symbol of generational discord. Interviewed by editor Stephanie Cardon, their conversation involves the obligation to make objects, Artistic Research as a practice, and the relationship between sound and drawing.
From November 27, 1790 to May 30, 1800, a building that once had an address of 190 High St., Philadelphia was our nation’s third presidential mansion. This house—the final private residence that was used by the president before what we know as the White House was finished—has a fascinating and complicated history including quasi-legal slaves, what may be the oldest ice pit in the United States, and the inception of Benedict Arnold’s treason. The final surviving portion of the building was razed in 1951 and was buried beneath a section of the new Liberty Bell Center in 2003. In 2005, after wrestling with how to memorialize the building and its residents, an incomplete building was built to house a permanent exhibition. Closer to an installation, this exhibition-as-memorial-as-museum is a hybrid format that is closer to the war memorials explored by Michael Rose in the September Journal. In this month’s Journal, Lola Arellano-Weddleton explores the history and the implications of this composite tribute.

—John Pyper

What Happens in Halifax...

by Hallie Scott

For over two years Mario Garcia Torres obsessively researched the circumstances surrounding an obscure assignment given to a small group of students at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in 1969. In a process he has likened to detective work, the young Mexico-born artist fastidiously mined archives, tracked down participating students, conducted interviews, and even journeyed to Halifax to document a class reunion.

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An Interview with Matthew Ritchie

by Ben Sloat

Ben Sloat met with Matthew Ritchie shortly after his mural, Remanence: Salt and Light (Part II) was completed in Dewey Square Park.

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uboc No.1 & stuVi2: A Conversation with Florian Dombois

by Stephanie Cardon

On opening day of the 2013 TransCultural Exchange Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts, a green laser beam shot across the dark expanse between Boston University's School of Law and the newer Student Village skyscraper. Florian Dombois, the German artist behind uboc No. 1 & stuVi2, is also one of the founders of the Journal for Artistic Research (JAR). The laser remained lit for the four days of the Conference, drawing a simple and elegant line across one of Boston's busiest thoroughfares.

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A History of Slavery on Independence Mall: The President's House in Philadelphia

by Lola Arellano-Weddleton

At the corner of 6th and Market Streets, standing so close to the Liberty Bell Center that you can hardly pay a visit to Philadelphia’s famous metonym without bumping into it, is a newly revitalized city landmark. It now takes the form of a small open-air museum, marking the place where a house occupied by Presidents Washington and Adams once stood; its design hints at the outlines of the former mansion, though does not seek to fully replicate it.
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