SCAD || Opera In a Box

”There are twenty-four antique loudspeakers out of which come songs, sounds, arias, and occasional pop tunes. There are almost two thousand records stacked around the room and eight record players, which turn on and off robotically syncing with the soundtrack. The sound of someone moving and sorting albums is heard. The audience cannot enter the room. To see and hear his world, they have to look through windows, holes in the walls, and cracks in the doorways and watch his shadow move around the room.”

If you are intrigued, click on “Opera for a Small Room” for a video clip. This collaboration between Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, has to be one of the most powerful, multisensory installations I’ve ever experienced, totally immersive, even though one may not even enter the box.

SCAD Museum of Art – Savannah, GA

April 4th, 2018

SCAD || Moving Mountains

legend
poetry
spoken word
image
inspiration
moving

Stills from ”Moving Mountains”
a film by Yang Fudong


Yang Fudong is an important figure in the contemporary art scene and independent cinema movement in China. His films and photographic work, often derived from traditional Chinese painting, examine tensions between urban and rural, historic and present, worldliness and intellectualism.

The artist often presents works of epic scale and duration that invite the viewer into a richly crafted and layered experience. The exhibition features the U.S. premiere of his most recent film, “Moving Mountains,” a 46-minute, black-and-white film, as well as photographs from the film set, drawings and props.

The film is inspired by the ancient tale of a man, whom some called foolish, for seeking to move a mountain, and extolls the virtues of perseverance and collective action. The artist makes this story a poetic reflection upon human nature and the shifting values to which it can be subjected. Visually, the artist drew inspiration from a masterful ink painting, “The Foolish Old Man Removes the Mountains,” produced in the early 1940s by Xu Beihong. The film mirrors the spirit of endurance that Xu Beihong’s painting extolls. Yet, “Moving Mountains” also explores a new interpretation by taking the old story of the foolish man as an outlet for musings on contemporary realities. The spirit of motherhood is also central in the film and embodied in a character played by the famous Chinese actress Wan Qian.

SCAD Museum of Art – Savannah, GA

April 4th, 2018

SCAD || British Accent

Secret Society

First two images: Pia Camil ‘FADE INTO BLACK’

For the exhibition “Fade Into Black,” Camil presented the latest and largest iteration of her ongoing interest in T-shirts as repositories of cultural information. Specially commissioned by SCAD, one colossal fabric mass made of hundreds of repurposed T-shirts was hanging from the ceiling as a single soft sculptural work. As an object that might resemble a curtain or a theatrical backdrop, the piece featured a gradient leading the visitor from black to white or vice versa.

SCAD Museum of Art – Savannah, GA

April 4th, 2018

SCAD || To-day and To-morrow (and To-morrow…)

One of the pleasures of traveling is the discovery of museums like SCAD. Surprisingly stimulating, visually & intellectually, we found some of the most interesting, powerful and – why not, funny works, both within the brick walls of this magnificent 1853 structure that once housed a railway depot for the Central of Georgia Railway, as well as in the surrounding area outdoors. And to think that, before visiting Savannah, we had never even heard of SCAD!

Christopher Chiappa
LIVESTRONG Savannah, 2018


Melissa Spitz
”Do you need some Xanax? You’ll feel better”, 2013


Melissa Spitz
”I fell down and broke my jaw”, 2012


Toyin Ojih Odutola
Waiting for Supper, 2017
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper


Toyin Ojih Odutola
The Abstraction of a Continent, 2017-2018
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper


Mariana Castillo Deball, “To-Day, February 20th,”

For her exhibition at the SCAD Museum of Art, Castillo Deball presented the most recent iteration of the project “To-Day,” which combines historical research about a specific site and a physical form that contains this research, which the artist calls a “fictional character.”

This ongoing project is founded in a set of parameters that the artist herself has set:

“Each time the piece takes place, the character is shaped by this one-day history. It is important to mention that the date is decided by the situation and not by the artist. The date always coincides with the official opening of the exhibition, in this case the 20th of February. The documentation and visual material departs from newspapers, travel logs, birthdates, obituaries, holidays, observances and any other traces related to this particular date. ‘To-Day’ is an archive of events, with an arbitrary point in common. The piece will be completed after 365 editions.”


SCAD Museum of Art – Savannah, GA

April 4th, 2018

SCAD & the No-See-Ums

There are, I’m sure, many wonderful places that slipped under our radar, but two things are impossible to miss in Savannah: SCAD and the No-See-Ums.

SCAD, The Savannah College of Art and Design, with classrooms housed in some of the most beautiful buildings all over the city, its facilities including cafes, sports centres, health centres, an urban farm, a theatre, a fantastic bookstore with art supplies, galleries and a Museum of Art – you turn your head and a SCAD facility will most likely pop up!

Then, there are those blood thirsty, microscopic gnats called no-see-ums. They are everywhere. Legions of them. You won’t see them coming but, oh boy, will you feel their bite!

Looking for a no-see-ums safe area, we arrived at SCAD Museum of Art. Ushered in by Paola Pivi’s cute bears, relief was immense, if only temporary.

SCAD Museum of Art – Savannah, GA

April 4th, 2018

Savannah || The Jepson Center

Part two of our Telfair Museums round, just across the street from the Telfair Academy is the most recent addition to the group, the Jepson Center. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie (see also the National Gallery of Canada), this sleek art space was opened to the public in 2006. It is home to Savannah’s famous Bird Girl and, on the day of our visit, some pretty powerful works attempting to address the region’s atrocious past relationship with slavery through contemporary art.

Adolfo Alvarado (b. 1982)
Piece, 2018
Mixed media


Adolfo Alvarado (b. 1982)
Tweet Tweet, 2018
Mixed media


“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, the 1994 publication of John Berendt’s bestselling novel with Jack Leigh’s cover photograph featuring Silvia Shaw Judson’s Bird Girl sculpture from Bonaventure cemetery, brought a tidal wave of tourism to Savannah. Devotees of the book flocked to Bonaventure, some trampling the gravesite, which resulted to the removal of Judson’s sculpture to Telfair Museums.


Gene Kogan
Cubist Mirror, 2016
Interactive installation (people standing in front of it, can see themselves as a cubist painting)


Wangshu Sun
Dream of Wings, 2017
Interactive virtual reality installation (people sitting in the chair, open their arms and dream they can fly)


Paul Stephen Benjamin (b. 1966)
God Bless America, 2016
Three-channel video installation, 54 video monitors, DVDs, cables and cords


Paul Stephen Benjamin (b. 1966)
H.Res 194, 2017
Black Light, Black T8 Fixture 32W, Black Cords

”I’m curious about the relationship of the colour black and ”blackness”. What is its visual aspect?”

Benjamin’s new site-specific black light work H.Res 194 connects the medium of black lights with the subject of House Resolution 194, titled ”Apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans” and passed on July 29, 2008 by the 110th Congress. H.Res 194 suggests that shining a light, literally and conceptually, on a difficult past by acknowledging something through gesture, even if symbolic, is a positive step to change and grow as a nation.


Paul Stephen Benjamin (b. 1966)
Summer Breeze, 2016/17
Three-channel video installation, 40 video monitors, DVDs, cables and cords

Summer Breeze shows performances of the song ”Strange Fruit” by two leading African American vocalists: Billie Holiday and Jill Scott.

Strange Fruit is a poem written by Abel Meeropol, under the pseudonym Lewis Allan, a New York City poet, educator and social activist of Jewish descent, as a response to his viewing a photograph of the lynching of J. Thomas Shipp and Abraham S. Smith, taken by Lawrence Beitler on Augus 7, 1930, which became the most iconic photograph of lynching in America.


In 1850, Swiss-American biologist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) commissioned a series of photographs for his study of ”races”. Agassiz intended to use these portraits as visual evidence to support his racist theories of the inferiority of Africans and to prepare a taxonomy of the enslaved population. He commissioned photographer Joseph T. Zealy (1812-1893) of Columbia, South Carolina, to produce a series of daguerreotypes of slaves.

Weems discovered Agassiz’s images in museum and university archives and appropriated them for her own use in 1992. In this series, Weems exposes how photography has played a key role throughout history in shaping and supporting racism, stereotyping and social injustice.


Radiance, by Teri Yarbrow and Max Almy with  Josephine Leong
Immersive virtual reality mandalas


We thought it best to leave the third site, Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, for another day; three museums in a row seemed like an overkill and, besides, tickets not only give access to all three sites, but they also remain valid for a week.

Jepson Center, Savannah GA

April 3rd, 2018