Strange Fascination

Tomb II
Gregory Gillespie, 1936-2000

Gillespie was thinking about the conventions surrounding death when he made this sculpture. He told and interviewer in 1999, ”I want this big tomb at my wake. It will add some humour to the event. But it’s really a kind of joke because it’s so big and bright and funny that I don’t think people are really going to … have it here.” And yet, it was there.

Self-Portrait
Mixed media on wood panels, 1998-1999

At the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

March 22nd, 2019

Still Lives

Stephanie Syjuco || The Visible Invisible: Antebellum South (Simplicity)+Colonial Revolution (McCall’s), 2018+Ungovernable (Hoist), 2017
Stephanie Syjuco || Neutral Calibration Studies (Ornament+Crime), 2016

In this installation, Syjuco’s contemporary “still life” takes as inspiration the subjects of photographic color calibration charts that have been long used to check for “correct” or “neutral” color. The array of images and objects in the works creates a visual friction, challenging the idea of cultural and political neutrality by presenting a coded narrative of empire and colonialism as told through art history, Modernism, ethnography, stock photos, and Google Image searches. [source: Stephanie Syjuco]

Tanya Aguiñiga || Hand-Felted Folding Chairs, 2006-present

From ”Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018” presenting work from four artists: Tanya Aguiñiga, Sharif Bey, Dustin Farnsworth and Stepanie Syjuco.

March 22nd, 2019

On Top of their Heads

All artwork by Dustin Farnsworth

Succession, 2014
Basswood, poplar, steel, bendable plywood, human hair, and various polychrome
The King Is Dead, 2015 [detail]
Basswood, poplar, and various polychrome
A More Sophisticated Form of Chaos, 2014 [detail]
Basswood, poplar, steel, resin, human hair, and various polychrome
Succession, 2014 [detail]
Basswood, poplar, steel, bendable plywood, human hair, and various polychrome
Promontory, 2013 [detail]
Pine, basswood, poplar, plywood, veneer, bendable plywood, steel, luan, human hair, and various polychrome
Promontory, 2013 [detail]
Pine, basswood, poplar, plywood, veneer, bendable plywood, steel, luan, human hair, and various polychrome
I Am Man: Revenge, 2011
Basswood, poplar, pine, tree branches, mahogany, medium-density fiberboard, mild steel, aluminum, plywood, fabrics, stain, lacquer, kiln brick, rope, steel screen, high-density polyethylene, elastic, hardware, and various polycoating
A More Sophisticated Form of Chaos, 2014 [detail]
Basswood, poplar, steel, resin, human hair, and various polychrome
The King Is Dead, 2015
Basswood, poplar, and various polychrome
Promontory, 2013 [detail]
Pine, basswood, poplar, plywood, veneer, bendable plywood, steel, luan, human hair, and various polychrome

From ”Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018” presenting work from four artists: Tanya Aguiñiga, Sharif Bey, Dustin Farnsworth and Stepanie Syjuco.

March 22nd, 2019

BeHEADed

by Sharif Bey

Assimilation?
Destruction?
2000
terracotta

”A mass of disembodied ceramic human heads randomly piled onto the floor […]. The viewer is confronted by the bald figures, all with a slightly different physiognomy and in the different shades of human skin—brown and black, and occasionally, white. The assemblage by ceramicist Sharif Bey, titled Assimilation? Destruction? is primarily about globalization and cultural identity. It is also a reference to Bey’s identity as a potter and an artist of color.”

”The piece is never the same in any exhibition—the 1,000 or so pinch pot heads are brought to a gallery in garbage cans and “unceremoniously dumped out,” says Bey, showing a video of the process. The heads break, crack and get pounded into smaller shards. Over time, he says, the piece, which he created for his MFA thesis project in 2000, will become sand. Ultimately, Assimilation? Destruction? signifies that “you’re everything and you’re nothing at the same time.” With its shifting collective and individual shapes, the assemblage is also “a comment on what it means to be a transient person,” he says.” [source: Smithsonian Magazine]

From ”Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018” presenting work from four artists: Tanya Aguiñiga, Sharif Bey, Dustin Farnsworth and Stepanie Syjuco.

March 22nd, 2019

SKULLpture

Dustin Farnsworth – XLIII 2016 – poplar, reclaimed wood, chair, pencil, various polychrome
Dustin Farnsworth X Timothy Maddox : Wake II
2017, Aqua-Resin, Hydro-Stone, various polychrome, canvas, and vinyl acrylic paint

Created as a response to the tragic amount of school shootings in the United States and the Boko Haram abductions of Nigerian schoolgirls in 2014, these skull-like masks represent children’s faces.

Sharif Bey – Louie Bones-Omega, 2017, earthenware, vitreous china and mixed media
Choker with Nineteen Death Heads. Mexico, Mixtec, AD 1200-1500
Library of Congress

This choker’s beads consists of nineteen nearly identical skulls carved from conch shells. The deeply carved eye sockets may have originally held hematite inlays. Young nobles who were being schooled in religion and military arts wore such necklaces throughout the Central Mexican Highlands.

Images from ”Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018” presenting work from four artists: Tanya Aguiñiga, Sharif Bey, Dustin Farnsworth and Stepanie Syjuco, paired with a choker with Nineteen Death Heads, from Mexico from the Library of Congress.

March 22nd, 2019

Double Hat

Big enough for two

Palapa, 2017 by Tanya Aguiñiga
Powder-coated steel and synthetic hair

Named for the open-sided thatched huts that pepper the beaches of Mexico. These distinctive shelters are woven by Mexicans but used mostly by tourists. Aguiñiga’s mysterious, surreal interpretation of these everyday structures is symbolic of her own ambiguous identity, as someone who navigates the dual worlds of palapa maker and user, of and outside both cultures.

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Renwick Gallery

Washington, D.C.

March 22nd, 2019

Global

Artwork:

Schoener’s Celestial Globe:
Among Schoener’s globe gores included in the Sammelband is the first-known set of printed celestial gores that he designed in 1517. These gores annotated by Schoener represent the state of astronomical knowledge in his time and are in improvement over many of the star charts of the period.

Globe from Schoener Terrestrial Gore Fragments:
This globe is recreated from fragments of globe gores that were found in the binding of the Sammelband when it was taken apart in 1903. The fragments are printed on vellum and are the only surviving examples of terrestrial globe gores for the 1515 globe made by Johann Schoener. Schoener used Waldseemueller’s 1507 Universalis cosmographiae as one of his primary geographic sources for the information found on this globe.

The Reconstruction Of Saints, 2018 by Dustin Farnsworth
Aquaresin, fiberglass, foam, plywood, 24k gold

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Renwick Gallery

Washington, D.C.

March 22nd, 2019