video games/ low art or high art?



Resident Evil



Takashi Murakami


articulo publicado en :

http://arstechnica.com



Roger Ebert says games will never be as worthy as movies
By Jeremy Reimer | Published: November 30, 2005 - 04:30PM CT

Roger Ebert, the movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and co-host of the syndicated TV show "Ebert and Roper at the Movies" has thrown down the gauntlet on his web site by stating that video games will never be as artistically worthy as movies and literature. Ebert does not believe that this quality gap can ever be crossed, as he feels it is a fundamental limitation of the medium itself:

There is a structural reason for that: Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control.

Whether or not interactive art can still be art is an interesting question. Modern artists such as Chin Chih Yang, (http://www.123soho.com/artists/featured/f_artist_index_artist.phtml?artnum=artidv00159&category=1.%20The%20Control%20of%20Fear), who design interactive multimedia projects as well as creating "traditional" art, would probably tell you that whether something is "art" depends on only the artist and the audience, and not the medium itself. However, there are undoubtedly more conservative artists who would dismiss "interactive multimedia projects" as not being worthy of the term art. Of course this debate is not a new one, nor has it been confined to video games. Movies and comic books both struggled (and still struggle) to receive the same level of respect as traditional media, such as literature and dramatic plays.

But is it really the "interactive" part of video games that Ebert is criticizing? To me, it seems like a convenient excuse to dismiss for all time a new form of entertainment that has not only influenced movies (with endless releases of video-game-themed movies such as Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, etc.) but at times even seems to be in competition with cinema itself. Every time movie sales go down, some pundits start looking to the video game industry as being the source of the problem.

I don't believe the "interactive" nature of video games is what Ebert is really railing against here. While he gave a poor review to the movie Clue, which featured multiple endings, he admitted in his review that it would have been more fun for viewers to see all three endings. He seemed to be indicating that if the movie itself was of higher quality, being given a choice of endings would have made it even more entertaining. Like Clue, video games can feature multiple endings or storylines, but all of them have been written by the writer ahead of time. The fact that the player can choose between them does not make any of the choices less of a creation by the game developers.

A closer examination of Ebert's comments seems to indicate that he is critical of the artistic value of the games themselves, not their structure:

I am prepared to believe that video games can be elegant, subtle, sophisticated, challenging and visually wonderful. But I believe the nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art. To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.

Some might be eager to tell Ebert about games that he may not have ever seen or played, such as Star Control II, or Planescape Torment, where the story is given higher focus than the graphics and is at least comparable to literary fiction. Or games such as ICO, where the atmosphere and feel of the environment and characters is on par with any "serious" art film. But perhaps Ebert hasn't heard of these titles because video games in general have been deluged with an endless parade of flashy sequels and movie tie-ins that favor graphics over gameplay. Perhaps if a viable analog to the independent movie industry emerged for video games, Ebert might change his tune. But is this likely to happen?

ARTE 102 /GEPE 3010 (imagenes referencia)



Nam Jun Paik



Myrna Báez



Edgar Degas



Julio Rosado Del Valle



Vermeer



Yves Klein



Louise Bourgeois



Donald Judd




Kiki Smith



Barbara Kruger



Peter Doig



Giorgio De Chirico



Man Ray



Ana Mendieta



Donatello



Eva Hesse




Kara Walker



Georges Braque



Caravaggio

Surrealismo y Futurismo

Surrealism ,

Literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism and dedicated to the expression of imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and free of convention. The movement was founded (1924) in Paris by André Breton , with his Manifeste du surréalisme, but its ancestry is traced to the French poets Baudelaire , Rimbaud , Apollinaire , and to the Italian painter, Giorgio de Chirico . Many of its adherents had belonged to the Dada movement. In literature, surrealism was confined almost exclusively to France. Surrealist writers were interested in the associations and implications of words rather than their literal meanings; their works are thus extraordinarily difficult to read. Among the leading surrealist writers were Louis Aragon , Paul Éluard , Robert Desnos , and Jean Cocteau , the last noted particularly for his surreal films. In art the movement became dominant in the 1920s and 30s and was internationally practiced with many and varied forms of expression. Salvador Dalí and Yves Tanguy used dreamlike perception of space and dream-inspired symbols such as melting watches and huge metronomes. Max Ernst and René Magritte constructed fantastic imagery from startling combinations of incongruous elements of reality painted with photographic attention to detail. These artists have been labeled as verists because their paintings involve transformations of the real world. "Absolute" surrealism depends upon images derived from psychic automatism, the subconscious, or spontaneous thought. The movement survived but was greatly diminished after World War II.

(Bibliography: A. Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism (tr. 1969); L. Lippard, ed., Surrealists on Art (1970)

Futurismo:

http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/




ORIFICIO/publicacion de la Profesora Teresa Lopez

Pueden bajar su propia copia en este link:

http://www.orificio2006.blogspot.com/


Foros en el MAC

estudiantes, finalmente el MAC, luego de 10 anos, realiza un proyecto interesante y de provecho para la comunidad...


SEMANA DE FOROS
En el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico


Con motivo de la presentación de la obra Homenaje al Cosmos de Heriberto
González, el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (MAC) estará llevando a
cabo dos foros/presentaciones sobre los temas del Hibridismo y el Arte Digital
en Puerto Rico. El primero se llevara a cabo mañana martes, 17 de abril en el
Patio Interior del MAC. Este cuenta con la participación de los artistas
Heriberto González, Jessica Almy-Pagán y de la Dra. Kate Weyland. El segundo
foro será este próximo jueves y contará con la participación de Heriberto
González, Teo Freytes, Rosa Irigoyen y Javier Olmeda. Luego del foro se
presentara dos performances de sonido experimental por Claudio Chea y Omar
Obdulio Peña. Ambos foros comienzan a las 7:00 p.m.

Foro: Hibridismo: Manifiesto
Martes 17 de abril/ 7:00 p.m. a 9:00 p.m.
Patio Interior
El hibridismo, no es un nuevo planteamiento para la ciencia, ni menos aún en su
adaptación en la compleja definición de la cultura hoy día. Este constituye el
procesamiento y producción de la mezcla cultural que articula dos o más
elementos disparejos para engendrar un ente nuevo y distinto. Este concepto
fue compartido por un sin numero de artistas y teóricos a partir de la década
de los ochenta, donde se reconocía su potencial y necesaria interrupción de lo
binario y su dicotomía, codificando por ende un nuevo orden en la
diferenciación cultural. Artistas en Puerto Rico y la Diáspora han explorado
diversos aspectos de lo que conocemos hoy como la identidad post colonial. Que
incluye un gran interés y reconocimiento de políticas de representación, que
inclusive aun, veinte años más tarde, surgen en espacios ennegrecidos de gran
complejidad y ambivalencia.

En el arte, esto se plantea de dos formas. La primera a través del hibridismo
de lo tangible que se figura esencialmente en la selección y manipulación de
materiales y el segundo por medio de un desvanecimiento de los límites de
representación que forjan nuevas definiciones de lo cultural y lo identitario.
Por otra parte, la inclusión de ideas que traspasan los bordes de localización,
culturalización, hegemonía y tiempo se multiplican, para así asimilar sin
cuestionamiento sus posibilidades interpretativas y por ende su valoración.

Foro: La otra intervención: el arte digital, los últimos 20 años
Jueves 19 de abril/ 7:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Patio Interior

La computadora ha sido mucho más que un instrumento de recolectar data. Su
adaptación al modelo de creación e información global ha redefinido nuestra
visión, no solo en su utilización, sino también en nuestra capacidad inventiva
de hacer arte, como crearlo y establecerlo.
Es importante discutir y reflexionar de como las nuevas herramientas, como los
programas de computadora y el Internet, han impactado y alterado nuestros
espacios privados y comunes, nuestras ideas sobre la ficción y lo real, y como
el artista mantiene su perspectiva critica cuando se sostiene sobre la
tecnología. También plantearnos como dentro de los nuevos modelos que sugieren
la descripción de lo que es “new media”; como la representación podría ser
reemplazada por la simulación y la identificación por la inmersión.
Tras el resurgimiento de nuevas practicas en el arte digital, se analizan las
múltiples vertientes que el artista contemporáneo ha utililizado como nuevos
referentes. Esto podemos decir, que ha sido determinado por elementos de la
vida cotidiana, las demandas y ofertas en el arte, la tecnología, la ciencia
del entretenimiento, y la comunicación global. Planteamiento que nos hace
reflexionar sobre: ¿Cual es el rol del museo, el del espectador, de la academia
y del mercado en esta transfusión de este lenguaje


8:00 p.m. a 9:30 p.m.
Performance sonido experimental


Brenda Torres-Figueroa
Curadora
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico
Edificio Histórico Rafael M. de Labra
Avenida Ponce de León Parada 18 en Santurce
787.977.4030 ext. 242
787.977.4036 Fax
www.museocontemporaneopr.org

Lo que El Nuevo Dia decidio "obviar" en relacion a la feria CIRCA





por Walter Robinson
ARTNET

http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/reviews/robinson/robinson4-10-07.asp

PUERTO RICAN SUN
by Walter Robinson

Scenic San Juan peninsula looks a little like Miami Beach, with new hotels and condos cutting a pretty figure against the deep blue ocean and sky. At the heart of the new waterfront development is the $188-million, 580,000-square-foot Puerto Rico Convention Center, the largest in the Caribbean, which opened 18 months ago. Here, one of the warehouse-like exhibition halls housed Circa Puerto Rico ’07, Mar. 30-Apr. 2, 2007, the second annual installment of Puerto Rico’s new international art fair.
Fair directors Celina Nogueras Cuevas and Paco Barragán take note of Circa Puerto Rico’s potential to give new visibility to the entire Caribbean art world. "Puerto Rico has the money, the important collectors, the big corporations," said Barragán, optimistically. "We want to make Circa into a funky and intelligent art fair, with a humane scale," he noted. "The business is just starting -- there’s good energy, good sales."

In fact, Circa ’07 logged total estimated sales of $4 million, a fairly modest number in these times, though the sum is double the $2 million posted by the first fair in 2006. A total of 12,000 visitors passed through the gate, an increase from 10,000 last year. About 270 foreign VIPs, including dealers, collectors, artists and others, also visited the fair. Booths ranged in price from around $3,000 to $12,000.

The most curious thing, then, was that so few New Yorkers took the opportunity to fly down and enjoy the lovely weekend weather. Circa ’07 was small and intimate, with only 62 exhibitors (34 of them commercial galleries), an on-site bar and restaurant, and a large communal area with a stage for musical and art performances.

Sponsor was Rums of Puerto Rico, which boosted the fair with the slogan, "Come for the art, stay for the rum." The Puerto Rico tourist board also kicked in $7,500.

Overall, the mood was quite pleasant. Everyone agreed that things went off much better this time around. The change of dates worked well in the crowded art-fair calendar; last year, the event took place under a hotter sun in late May.

Circa ’07 also managed to spark the interest of local collectors and art patrons, in part thanks to the concurrent exhibition at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico featuring a selection of buzzworthy artists drawn from local collections. Organized by Miami curator Silvia Karman Cubiña, the show was titled "Appropriation, Authority and Authenticity" and featured works by Wade Guyton, Seth Price, Josh Smith, Kelley Walker and Aaron Young.

Circa ’07 also featured a row of smaller booths housing individual projects by invited artists. One of the most popular was "Artistas de Hoy," a project stage-managed by Braulio Espinosa Castillo of Producto? Inc., for which he somehow convinced 40 artists to pose in a glass display case alongside a video of their artwork. The combination was a perfect gambit. Not only were the videos illuminating, but fair visitors clearly were enchanted by the opportunity to stare at real artists standing in a booth.

Another project was a suite of red punching bags, courtesy the Cuban artist who lives and works in Miami and goes by the single name of Antuan. Titled Left or Right, the bags were all printed with photo-transfers of the world’s most belligerent leaders, including Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Osama bin Laden and George Bush. Not too many people bothered to take a whack at an el supremo. Hmmm.

Also on hand was Amanda Coulson, the Frankfurt-based director of the Volta Show in Basel, who culled artworks from the exhibitors for a special exhibition about Puerto Rican identity dubbed "In the Spot." Barragán described this effort as part of his attempt to inject a curatorial component into the fair.

"Amanda had to come up with the idea in three hours," said Barragán. "It’s ‘instant curating’." The idea came from his frustration with art institutions, he said, which can take several years between approving a proposal and actually mounting the exhibition. "An art fair can provide a platform to explore a curatorial point of view," he insisted. "Art fairs can be made more intelligent by making them smaller and more focused."

Another curatorial booth was occupied by an installation overseen by Belgrade-born curator Lara Pan, who currently lives in Paris and plans to relocate her New Art Project to a space in Brussels. At Circa ’07 she had brought a new video by Braco Dimitrijevic -- the Sarajevo-born artist who is famous for his early Conceptual Art photos of "casual passersby" in 1971 -- and another video piece projected on a string construction by the Cuban artist Duvier Del Dago, currently having a show at the artist-run Galerie Ouizeman in Paris.

The heart of Circa ’07 was the mix of native Puerto Rican dealers and artists, of course. Sadly, two dealers who have made it to Art Basel Miami Beach and beyond, Galeria Comercial and Punto Gris, were absent, but otherwise the fair featured a great mix of Puerto Rican dealers and independent thinkers that aren’t found at other fairs.

Holding pride of place at the booth of San Juan’s Walter Otero Gallery, for instance, was an eight-foot-tall, four-tiered faux wedding cake, slowly spinning on a round table draped with satin and clear plastic beads. Loaded down with bright pastel-colored frosting and covered with glitter and plastic fruits, the cake -- a work by San Juan artist Melvin Martínez (b. 1977) smelled like cherries and softly played Eat Me Again, a popular salsa tune from the ‘80s. It appeared as if the Cookie Monster had already taken a few overscaled bites from the sweet confection -- an over-the-top allegory of Circa ’07, or for the art market at large?

Also notable at Otero were the fantastically tropical paintings of Arnaldo Roche, who was born in Puerto Rico in 1955 and who has been starring in Latin-American survey shows since the mid-1980s (at LACMA in 1984 and MoMA in 1992, among others). For his densely worked, large-scale paintings, Roche typically uses live models, wrapping the canvas around their bodies and using a kind of frottage to transfer their images into his pictures, which are about "the celebration of life, the denial of death."

Business was good, by the way. "I sold practically everything in the booth," said Otero. Roche’s paintings typically go for $45,000 each, and Martínez’s cake was sold for $20,000. Martínez has an exhibition opening at Yvon Lambert Gallery in New York on May 31, 2007.

Another strong impression at the fair was made by Zilia Sánchez, a card-carrying member of the shaped-canvas movement of the 1960s. Typically Minimalist and softly colored in pale white and blue, paintings from the 1990s by the 70-something Cuban-born artist (a longtime Puerto Rico resident) ranged in price from $12,000 to $75,000. They were presented at Circa ’07 by CMLC Corp. Galería Itinerante, headed by Carlos M. Lopez, who has been working as a private dealer for two years.

Another notable local is the multi-tasking Pablo Rodriguez, who operates -- under the umbrella name of Candela -- a sound studio, music label, hotel and bar on Calle San Sebastian in Old San Juan with, upstairs, the curiously named Carlos Irizarry En Candela! gallery (which also houses the studio of the famed 60-something Puerto Rican political Pop realist Carlos Irizarry).

The Candela booth at Circa ’07 included a working digital sound studio, with local musicians mixing music during the run of the fair, as well as a selection of artworks with what might be called a post-graffiti cast. These included works by Lee Quinones, Dzine, Rostarr and Swoon, whose large wall installation of two fearsome skeletons doing battle, painted on a mosaic of corrugated cardboard, was priced at $7,000.

Also on view at Candela were small works by New York artist Rafael Vargas-Suarez Universal, whose graphic, abstract wall drawings turn technical data into a visual music of the spheres. His work was on view at Candela’s San Juan gallery as well.

Another local exhibitor was Galería 356, a two-year-old San Juan space run by 25-year old Michelle Fiedler and featuring puppet-filled dioramas by Elsa Mariá Meléndez -- a smaller one was $1,500, a bargain [see Puerto Rican Sun, Feb. 21, 2007].

One of San Juan’s private galleries is Cr3ma, directed by Herbert Mattei and originally launched 18 months ago by three artists (thus the "3" in the name). "We do art fairs," said Mattei, who formerly worked in advertising, and at a gallery in Tel Aviv. "You get access to art that you would otherwise rarely see."

Among the works in the Cr3ma booth were one of New York artist Arnaldo Morales’ fearsome mechanical prostheses (a fairly small one, priced at $7,500), a rotating stainless-steel kinetic light work by Erik Guzmán-Shorrok titled Mine Eclipse, and a suite of three sound sculptures by Charles Juhasz-Alvarado (b. 1965), a Puerto Rico-based Yale grad who has shown his works widely, most recently at the Moscow and Singapore biennials.

Titled Polilla x 200 (2006), Juhasz-Alvarado’s sculpture consisted of large wooden cut-out models of termites perched upon conga drums that double as speakers. For the accompanying audio track, Juhasz-Alvarado overlaid the magnified sound of termites and a classic Caribbean rhythm section. The works are $8,200 each, or $40,000 for five.

For a selection of 19th- and 20th-century classics of Puerto Rican art, Circa ‘07 boasted Carmen Correa Contemporáneo. Among the choice works was The Red Bandana, a large painting from 1985 by the 74-year-old Puerto Rican artist Rafael Ferrer. The price was $32,000.

One visitor from the cold northeast was Space Other, which hails from Boston’s new South End gallery district. Dealer Gamaliel R. Herrera (a native Puerto Rican) had a hit on his hands with a kind of computerized tree by artist Peter Schmitt (b. 1977), who now lives in Boston (and is pursuing a master’s degree at MIT’s media lab).

For 004#3 (2006), as it is called, a "trunk" of gray computer cables snaked up in the middle of the space, spreading out into a penumbra of "branches," each of which had a little handmade, wooden "fruit" at its end -- a tiny machine, complete with motor, gears and a roll of paper that was mechanically extruded a few inches and then cut off, to flutter to the floor like an accountant’s leaf. Done in an edition of three, two were on reserve at $18,000 each.

Miami galleries were in relatively short supply, perhaps because of a kind of communal recoil from the perceived disasters of Circa ‘06, as suggested on Rotund World by Puerto Rican art critic and blogger Joel Weinstein. Miami dealers, he suggested with tongue in check, were "dicked around by Fate itself" during the 2006 fair, and may well have "decided never to return to la Isla del Encanto."

Undaunted, however, was Andreina Fuentes, an artist and dealer who runs Hardcore Art Contemporary Space on North Miami Avenue in Miami. In addition to manning her booth in the fair, she put on a special performance at Café Seda in Old San Juan on Saturday night. Rechristening the place the Blue Pill Bar, she circulated among the crowd in her stage identity of Nina Dotti, handing out packaged blue condoms as souvenirs and dispensing from a large tank on her back a mysterious blue elixir (blue curaçao and pineapple juice, someone said). Called Blue Pill, the bit was billed as a celebration of menopause and andropause as milestones that allow us to "set a new flow in our life."

From Europe came dealer Christa Schübbe, who has operated her Galerie Schübbe Project in Düsseldorf for some 30 years, keeping a daunting schedule that most recently includes art-fair visits to Miami, Palm Beach, Düsseldorf, Beijing and Seoul. One star exhibit in her booth is a "Great Criticism" painting by Wang Guangyi, a signature work mixing propaganda images of the Cultural Revolution with Capitalist logos and slogans. "It’s one of the originals, from 1994," Schübbe said. "Not one of the later ones when he started copying himself!" The price is $280,000.

"I have a lot of collectors here, and they wanted me to come" Schübbe said. "So it’s like being part of a family." Puerto Rico has "world-class collectors," Schübbe went on, predicting that Circa ’07 "has a big, big future." Among the other works in her crowded, lively booth were a heap of large fish -- made of aluminum -- by Carl Emmanuel Wolff, some large-scale wall constructions marked with gnomic graffiti and hung with an assortment of photos, including some from old pinup magazines -- works that doubled as booth dividers -- by Franz Burkhardt ($18,000), and an assortment of glossy, artfully painted images of high-class babes drinking champagne -- done in oil on aluminum -- by Matthias Köster ($9,000-$32,000).

From Milan came dealer Tomaso Renoldi Bracco, who established his Contemporary Art Vision gallery in 1996. In his booth at Circa ’07, he was featuring works by David LaChapelle, Erwin Olaf, Orlan and Andres Serrano. "Much can be done in Puerto Rico, especially in photo-based art," he said.

From Bogotá came dealer Catalina Casas, whose Casas Riegner Gallery specializes in young Colombian artists. Among the offerings were shaped paintings by Rodrigo Echeverri (b. 1975) that resembled piles of red bricks or a black brick wall in a curving arabesque, and a small crate filled with slight Duchampian drawings and modest odds and ends by Mateo López (b. 1978).

Among the items in López’s latter-day " Box in a Valise" is a less-than-spherical rock from a stream painted to resemble a baseball, and an eye-chart that reads "I don’t like America and America doesn’t like me," a play on the title of Joseph Beuys’ 1974 performance with a live coyote in New York. The prices are similarly modest, beginning at $100; a clear light bulb painted in black with a map of the earth was $700.

One of the most eye-catching artworks was at the booth of Galería Fernando Pradilla from Madrid, a partner space of Galería el Museo in Bogotá. Holding pride of place was a large, hand-painted color photograph by the 49-year-old Argentinian artist Marcos López titled Snacks at the Terrace of Fundación Proa (2005), the image (from Buenos Aires, as it happens) that the fair used on all its marketing materials.

Featuring bronzed bathers of both sexes relaxing on a checkerboard patio in front of the sea, complete with cocktails and fried snacks, the photo updates picnic images by artists as varied as Edouard Manet and Henri Matisse while gently poking fun at the clichés of luxe Latin life held dear by North Americans and, no doubt, a few Puerto Ricans as well. The 39 x 39 in. photo, done in an edition of six, was $8,500.


WALTER ROBINSON is editor of Artnet Magazine.

grafiteros y feria CIRCA en revista Rotund




Rotund World Magazine de Joel Weinstein
http://www.rworld.thenextfewhours.com/

Publica en Desto

Exhibición colectiva mostrando diversos proyectos interdisciplinarios que actualmente difunden información, abordando en el periodismo, arte visual y literatura en Puerto Rico. Dos partes componen la exhibición. La primera: “Impresos Independientes”, presenta una serie de revistas, libros y páginas d e web (impresas y/o cibernéticas), que actualmente están circulando, en proceso o hicieron un paréntesis reaccionario en años pasados.

La segunda parte de la exhibición muestra “Impresos Inusuales” (”Rare Book Collection”). Pensando en la definición de las palabras, impresión y publicación, esta sección convoca las personas a crear piezas experimentales que aludan o rompan con formatos y métodos establecidos dentro del diseño de materiales impresos (ej. folleto, “flyer”, “post-card”, “flip-book”, revista, ‘t-shirts”, entre otros).

=DESTO, por un instante transformándose en archivo - (lugar donde se guardan documentos // Conjunto de documentos // Fichero de informática; información que se almacena fuera del ordenador o computadora en discos o en casetes), agrupará en su espacio publicaciones que pretenden marcar un momento significativo, además de motivar al desarrollo de nuevas propuestas independientes.

<>

Sol LeWitt, Maestro del Arte Conceptual, ha muerto.

Michael Kimmelman
souce: New York Times, April 9

Sol LeWitt, whose deceptively simple geometric sculptures and drawings and ecstatically colored and jazzy wall paintings established him as a lodestar of modern American art, died yesterday in New York. He was 78 and lived mostly in Chester, Conn.

Mr. LeWitt helped establish Conceptualism and Minimalism as dominant movements of the postwar era. A patron and friend of colleagues young and old, he was the opposite of the artist as celebrity. He tried to suppress all interest in him as opposed to his work; he turned down awards and was camera-shy and reluctant to grant interviews. He particularly disliked the prospect of having his photograph in the newspaper.

Typically, a 1980 work called “Autobiography” consisted of more than 1,000 photographs he took of every nook and cranny of his Manhattan loft, down to the plumbing fixtures, wall sockets and empty marmalade jars, and documented everything that had happened to him in the course of taking the pictures. But he appeared in only one photograph, which was so small and out of focus that it is nearly impossible to make him out. His work — sculptures of white cubes, or drawings of geometric patterns, or splashes of paint like Rorschach patterns — tested a viewer’s psychological and visual flexibility. See a line. See that it can be straight, thin, broken, curved, soft, angled or thick. Enjoy the differences. The test was not hard to pass if your eyes and mind were open, which was the message of Mr. LeWitt’s art.

He reduced art to a few of the most basic shapes (quadrilaterals, spheres, triangles), colors (red, yellow, blue, black) and types of lines, and organized them by guidelines he felt in the end free to bend. Much of what he devised came down to specific ideas or instructions: a thought you were meant to contemplate, or plans for drawings or actions that could be carried out by you, or not.

Sometimes these plans derived from a logical system, like a game; sometimes they defied logic so that the results could not be foreseen, with instructions intentionally vague to allow for interpretation. Characteristically, he would then credit assistants or others with the results. With his wall drawing, mural-sized works that sometimes took teams of people weeks to execute, he might decide whether a line for which he had given the instruction “not straight” was sufficiently irregular without becoming wavy (and like many more traditional artists, he became more concerned in later years that his works look just the way he wished). But he always gave his team wiggle room, believing that the input of others — their joy, boredom, frustration or whatever — remained part of the art.

In so doing, Mr. LeWitt gently reminded everybody that architects are called artists — good architects, anyway — even though they don’t lay their own bricks, just as composers write music that other people play but are still musical artists. Mr. LeWitt, by his methods, permitted other people to participate in the creative process, to become artists themselves.

A Dry Humor

To grasp his work could require a little effort. His early sculptures were chaste white cubes and gray cement blocks. For years people associated him with them, and they seemed to encapsulate a remark he once made: that what art looks like “isn’t too important.” This was never exactly his point. But his early drawings on paper could resemble mathematical diagrams or chemical charts. What passed for humor in his art tended to be dry. “Buried Cube Containing an Object of Importance but Little Value” (1968), an object he buried in the garden of Dutch collectors, was his deadpan gag about waving goodbye to Minimalism. He documented it in photographs, in one of which he stands at attention beside the cube. A second picture shows the shovel; a third, him digging the hole.

Naturally, he was regularly savaged by conservative critics. By the 1980s, however, he moved from Manhattan to Spoleto, Italy, seeking to get away from the maelstrom of the New York art world. (He had had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1978.) His art underwent a transformation. Partly it grew out of what he saw in Italy. But it was all the more remarkable for also proceeding logically from the earlier work.

Eye-candy opulence emerged from the same seemingly prosaic instructions he had come up with years before. A retrospective in 2000, organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, concluded with some of these newly colorful wall drawings. (Mr. LeWitt always called them drawings, even when the medium became acrylic paint.)

His description for a wall drawing, No. 766 — “Twenty-one isometric cubes of varying sizes each with color ink washes superimposed” — sounded dry as could be: but then you saw it and there were playful geometries in dusky colors nodding toward Renaissance fresco painting. “Loopy Doopy (Red and Purple),” a vinyl abstraction 49 feet long, was like a psychedelic Matisse cutout, but on the scale of a drive-in movie. Other drawings consisted of gossamer lines, barely visible, as subtle as faintly etched glass.

Some people who had presumed that Mr. LeWitt’s Conceptualism was arcane and inert were taken aback. He began making colored flagstone patterns, spiky sculptural blobs and ribbons of color, like streamers on New Year’s Eve, often as enormous decorations for buildings around the world. It was as if he had devised a latter-day kind of Abstract Expressionism, to which, looking back, his early Conceptualism had in fact been his response.

Sol LeWitt was born in Hartford, on Sept. 9 1928, the son of immigrants from Russia. His father, a doctor, died when he was 6, after which he moved with his mother, a nurse, to live with an aunt in New Britain, Conn. His mother took him to art classes at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. He would draw on wrapping paper from his aunt’s supply store.

Finding His Way

At Syracuse University, he studied art before he was drafted for the Korean War in 1951, during which he made posters for the Special Services. After his service he moved to New York to study illustration and cartooning. For a while he did paste-ups, mechanicals and photostats for Seventeen magazine. He spent a year as a graphic designer in the office of a young architect named I. M. Pei.

Meanwhile, he painted, or tried to. For a while, he hired a model to draw from life and copied old masters. He felt lost. An aspiring artist in New York during the waning days of Abstract Expressionism, an art squarely about individual touch, he thought he had no particular touch of his own and therefore nothing to add.

But then he took a job at the book counter at the Museum of Modern Art, where he met other young artists with odd jobs there, including Dan Flavin, Robert Ryman and Robert Mangold. He noticed the nascent works of Flavin and also absorbed early art by Jasper Johns and Frank Stella. Minimalism, a yet-unnamed movement, seemed like a fresh start. Mr. LeWitt was meanwhile intrigued by Russian Constructivism, with its engineering aesthetic, and by Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs, sequential pictures of people and animals in motion, which he came across one day in a book that somebody had left in his apartment. From all this he saw a way forward. It was to go backward.

He decided to reduce art to its essentials, “to recreate art, to start from square one,” he said, beginning literally with squares and cubes. But unlike some strict Minimalists, Mr. LeWitt was not interested in industrial materials. He was focused on systems and concepts — volume, transparency, sequences, variations, stasis, irregularity and so on — which he expressed in words that might or might not be translated into actual sculptures or photographs or drawings. To him, ideas were what counted.

At the time, linguistic theorists were talking about words and mental concepts as signs and signifiers. Mr. LeWitt was devising what you might call his own grammar and syntax of cubes and spheres, a personal theory of visual signs. It was theoretical, but not strictly mathematical. Partly it was poetic. He began with propositions for images, which became something else if they were translated into physical form by him or other people.

He also liked the inherent impermanence of Conceptual art, maybe because it dovetailed with his lack of pretense: having started to make wall drawings for exhibitions in the 1960s, he embraced the fact that these could be painted over after the shows. (Walls, unlike canvases or pieces of paper, kept the drawings two-dimensional, he also thought.) He wasn’t making precious one-of-a-kind objects for posterity, he said. Objects are perishable. But ideas need not be.

“Conceptual art is not necessarily logical,” he wrote in an article in Artforum magazine in 1967. “The ideas need not be complex. Most ideas that are successful are ludicrously simple. Successful ideas generally have the appearance of simplicity because they seem inevitable.”

Relishing Collaboration

To the extent that Mr. LeWitt’s work existed in another person’s mind, he regarded it as collaborative. Along these lines he became especially well known in art circles for his generosity, often showing with young artists in small galleries to give them a boost; helping to found Printed Matter, the artists’ organization that produces artists’ books; and trading works with other, often needier artists, whose art he also bought. Some years back he placed part of what had become, willy-nilly through this process, one of the great private collections of contemporary art in the country on long-term loan to the Wadsworth Atheneum, his childhood museum and the one that again was in his neighborhood after he moved, in the mid-’80s, from Spoleto to Chester. He lived there with his wife, Carol, who survives him, along with their two daughters, Sofia, who lives in New York and works at the Paula Cooper Gallery, and Eva, a senior at Bard College.

It was said that Mr. LeWitt didn’t like vacations. His pleasure was being in his studio. He explained that he had worked out his life as he wanted it to be, so why take a vacation from it?

To the sculptor Eva Hesse, he once wrote a letter while she was living in Germany and at a point when her work was at an impasse. “Stop it and just DO,” he advised her. “Try and tickle something inside you, your ‘weird humor.’ You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool.” He added: “You are not responsible for the world — you are only responsible for your work, so do it. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be.”

Gary Garrels, a curator who organized Mr. LeWitt’s retrospective for San Francisco in 2000, said: “He didn’t dictate. He accepted contradiction and paradox, the inconclusiveness of logic.”

He took an idea as far as he thought it could go, then tried to find a way to proceed, so that he was never satisfied with a particular result but saw each work as a proposition opening onto a fresh question. Asked about the switch he made in the 1980’s — adding ink washes, which permitted him new colors, along with curves and free forms — Mr. LeWitt responded, “Why not?”

He added, “A life in art is an unimaginable and unpredictable experience.”






The Armory Show

Recientemente estuve en la feria de arte contemporaneo The Armory Show
en NY. Fue una buena experiencia ver las galerias y los museos. Lo
bueno de las ferias es que uno como estudiante no tiene los recursos
economicos para comprar arte, pero podemos visitarlas y ver que es lo
que se esta haciedo en el mundo.
Tienes una instalacion a tu izquierda de Berlin y un video a tu
derecha de Tokio.

Aqui estan algunas de las fotos de la feria
Noel