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Luce Artist Talk: Molly Springfield and The Marginalia Archive
May 5, 2015


This month's Luce Artist Talk dives into the connection between the written word and visual art. D.C.-based artist Molly Springfield will talk about the work in her current show at Flashpoint Gallery, The Marginalia Archive, and how her pieces connect to works on view in the Luce Foundation Center. This month's Luce Artist Talk is on Saturday, May 9th at 1:30 p.m. Luce Artist Talks are presented in collaboration with CulturalDC.

Springfield

Molly Springfield, Manicule, 2012, graphite on paper, 44 x 114 inches, (each panel 44 x 34 inches)

Have you ever written notes in the margins of a book? Do you underline parts you find important? Have you found someone else's notes as you read and wondered about them? These notes and markings, called marginalia, are the basis of Molly Springfield's interactive installation in Flashpoint Gallery. This installation explores the relationship readers have with books, through notes and scribbles left behind. To create her large-scale drawings, Molly first photocopies the marginalia. She then enlarges them and traces over certain parts to create detailed graphite drawings. These large-scale drawings become a new level of commentary on the original text, as words are broken across panels, repeated, or omitted. This annotation of annotation, as it were, serves as a commentary on the use of language and our connection to paper books in the digital age.

Molly has been working with marginalia since 2007. Typically she asks people to submit their own marginalia with an explanation of what it means to them. Her current show, however, takes advantage of Flashpoint Gallery's position across the street from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. She asked library patrons to contribute examples of marginalia they found in books they borrowed from the library. These submissions were anonymous and removed the personal connections that were associated with her other marginalia work. Throughout the month of May, visitors can browse these marginalia and contribute their own. Additionally, Molly will hold "office hours" in the gallery every Saturday (including May 9th, after her talk), where anyone can go to contribute submissions or discuss the archive with her.

Molly Springfield received her MFA from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. She has had solo exhibitions in galleries around the world, including Galerie Thomas Zander in Cologne, Germany. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and other collections. She participated in Skowhegan in 2006 and received several DCCAH Artist Fellowships, one of which supports the current exhibition.

The Marginalia Archive opened at Flashpoint on May 1st and runs through the end of the month.

Posted by Gloria on May 5, 2015 in In This Case: Luce Foundation Center
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Throwback Thursday: American Art's Commitment to Video and Film
April 30, 2015


It's Throwback Thursday! And we at Eye Level have decided it's a great opportunity to bring back some of our interesting and relevant posts from the past. Last week our latest exhibition opened, Watch This! Revelations in Media Art. It highlights our media and film collection and will remain open until September 7, 2015. Our media and film initiative has been developing for quite some time. We started to collect media artist Nam June Paik's work, beginning in the 1970s. And in 2009 we acquired his archive. In 2010 we opened a new permanent gallery devoted to our media holdings and launched our inaugural exhibition Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image. Our present exhibition is an expansion of our commitment to these contemporary artforms.

In April 2014, Howard wrote a blog post about our third in a series of rotating shows in this space.

Bill Viola

American Art's Watch This! (from Bill Viola's Fall Into Paradise)

As part of the museum's new after work series of curator talks focusing on the permanent collection, "Tour the Floor—What to See on Three," Michael Mansfield, curator of film and media arts, spoke to an assembled group on the current iteration of Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image.

Ranging from the contemplative to the monumental, the works on view are time-based and are displayed in a gallery specially created for viewing. The installation changes over the course of time. As Mansfield states, "We've organized the series of exhibitions around themes that might help elaborate and expand ideas that artists are working with around technology and the moving image. We want to identify technology as an artist medium, a new mode of expression, that is not all that different from painting and sculpture."

The current installation, the third in the series, focuses on the artist's use of time and space. Bruce Nauman's Walk with Contrapposto from 1968 is the oldest work in Watch This!, and challenges the process of art making through the artist's use of counterpose. The hour performance of Nauman walking in a constricted space in his studio while striking a counterpose is, according to Mansfield, a "commentary on the history of art." John Baldessari's Six Colorful Inside Jobs, uses a changing palette in its depiction of a small room that is repainted a different color, depending on the day of the week. It is a tribute to paint and performance and plays with the idea of both audience and artist. Charlemagne Palestine's Running Outburst is just that: nearly six minutes of the artist running around his SoHo studio, defining his space and capturing the performance on video.

The last piece, housed in its own black box theater according to the artist's specifications, is Bill Viola's larger-than-life Fall Into Paradise. From 2005, it's the most recent work on view (nearly four decades separate it from the Nauman work), and exhibits the most sophisticated view of technology. For all it's cinematic, if not operatic spectacle, the piece is firmly rooted in timeless themes: love, the human spirit, and the ability to endure.

Posted by Jeff on April 30, 2015 in American Art Here, Throwback Thursday
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Watch This: Our New Exhibition, Watch This!
April 23, 2015


Our trailer for Watch This!

Watch This! Revelations in Media Art presents contemporary artworks that trace the evolution of a continuously emerging medium. The exhibition explores the pervasive interdependence between technology and contemporary culture. The exhibition, on view at American Art beginning tomorrow and running through September 7, 2015 includes 44 objects from 1941 to 2013, which were acquired by the museum as part of its commitment to collecting and exhibiting media art. The exhibition marks the first time that 30 of these works will be on display at the museum.

To kick off the show, we will be presenting an artist panel discussion tomorrow, April 24 at 6 p.m. in the museum's McEvoy Auditorium. This event is free.

Posted by Jeff on April 23, 2015 in American Art Here
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Picture This: Renwick Renovation Update
April 22, 2015


Renovating the Renwick

The Renwick Gallery, presently under renovation, is scheduled to reopen this coming November.

The Renwick Gallery, built in 1859, was the first structure in America created expressly for the purpose of showcasing great works of art to the public. Since 1972 it has been home to American Art's craft and decorative arts program. For the past two years it has been under renovation and will reopen to the public on Friday, November. 13, 2015. The museum, located across from the White House, will reopen with restored historic features and entirely new infrastructure, including LED lighting in all its galleries.

The Renwick's opening exhibition, Wonder, featuring nine major contemporary artists, reflects the commitment inscribed in stone over the front door, "Dedicated to Art." Stay tuned for additional information about the celebratory reopening weekend of public programs and three special publications.

Posted by Jeff on April 22, 2015 in Picture This
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Artist Talk: Mark Bradford, Artist and Maker
April 17, 2015


Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford, Amendment #8, 2014, Mixed media on canvas. © 2014 Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford's hand is visible in his celebrated multi-layered collage paintings. These often riff on themes and signs he finds in the urban environment. On Monday, April 20, at 6pm in American Art's McEvoy Auditorium, the artist will be discussing his Amendment series in the third annual James Dicke Contemporary Artist Lecture. The Amendment series looks at the Bill of Rights in a progression of collage works whose words become increasingly illegible. The words blend into the abstracted work, losing their intent and meaning, the way they sometimes do in real life.

"The line of my making or my art practice goes back to my childhood, but it's not an art background, it's a making background," artist Mark Bradford told PBS's Art 21. Born in Los Angeles in 1961, Bradford worked in his mother's hair salon, in charge of making the signs that he would embellish with his calligraphic hand. "The hand was very early in my work—signage, text—I've always been a maker."

If you can't make the talk, you can watch live or later via our webcast.

Posted by Howard on April 17, 2015 in American Art Here, Lectures on American Art
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