Turning thoughts into Actions: The Presence of the Brown Girls Museum Blog

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Photo Credit: Amanda Monroe Finn

Ravon Ruffin & Amanda Figueroa are consultants. Together, they’ve created the Brown Girls Museum Blog (or BGMB) which cultivates inclusionary practices for museums through social media, speaking engagements, collaborative partnerships, community advocacy, and content services. What started as a conversation, transformed into a platform that aims to solve the one of the most pressing challenges with the art world.

Hillary: Although you are both young, it seems as though it didn’t take long to transform a problem into an opportunity. Can you describe the development of BGMB and your current roles in its operations?

Ravon: The blog came about through individual interests, and then we discovered that we work well together. We both are determined and unrelenting in our desires for social equity in the humanities field, and bringing our individual skills together has been one of our biggest strengths. From the beginning, we’ve always had a clear vision of what we wanted the blog to look like, and we sort of fell into our roles from there. I’ve always been more of the content management and strategy type, whereas Amanda is apt in the technical and design aspect. Our academic endeavors are quite literally where we intersect.

Amanda: I think both of us have always been “problem solvers” — when we noticed what was going wrong with inclusion in museums, we immediately wanted to help fix it. At first, the best way to do that was just by speaking out, raising our voices and making ourselves be heard online, but as the blog continues, we’ve been given more and more opportunities to work on this issue in different ways. It has been exciting to be able to take our mission, and our work “offline” in live events like talks and workshops, but a digital presence will always be important to us. Right now, we tend to split our roles pretty evenly; Ravon handles a lot of our social media while I do a lot of the back-end design stuff, and we both collaborate on new projects as they come in.

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Janine Antoni Uses Movement to Look Back in “Ally”

anine Antoni in collaboration with Anna Halprin, Paper Dance, 2013. Photographed by: Pak Han at the Halprin Dance Deck. © Janine Antoni; Courtesy of the artist and The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia.

Janine Antoni in collaboration with Anna Halprin, Paper Dance, 2013. Photographed by: Pak Han at the Halprin Dance Deck. © Janine Antoni; Courtesy of the artist and The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia.

This month, Janine Antoni (2012 Visual Arts) premieres her Creative Capital-supported project, Ally, at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (opening April 21). Ally is an exhibition of art and dance conceived and performed by Antoni in collaboration with choreographer Stephen Petronio and movement artist Anna Halprin. Taking the form of performances, installation environments, videos and sculptures, Ally will occupy four floors of the museum for three months, with weekly live performances. A book will follow, edited by the British writer and performance scholar Adrian Heathfield.

Antoni writes, “I conceived of this project more than six years ago as a kind of retrospective of my art making, told through dance. It has evolved into a truly collaborative creation that allows us to find a way to continue making new work while looking back.”

Ally is comprised of four projects: Rope Dance, an improvised performance instigated by Halprin, who presented a rope to Antoni and Petronio to be used as a tool to connect their bodies and draw lines through space; Swallow, a complex installation based on a performance by Antoni and Petronio, who connected from the gut using a 10-foot strip of woven cloth; The Courtesan and the Crone, a dance of seduction originally created and performed by Halprin in 1999, reimagined here in a different gender and generational context as a solo performance by Petronio; and Paper Dance, an improvised performance by Antoni with rolls of brown paper in an environment that refers to both Antoni and Halprin’s artistic histories.

I connected with Janine to learn more about the development of Ally and her deeply collaborative process.

Jenny Gill: The works in Ally all sound incredibly complex and layered, but Paper Dance strikes me as particularly rich. Not only is it a weekly performance, but it is performed within a “set” of crated artworks from your artistic history. With each performance, you unpack and repack different artworks, so over the course of the 14 weeks of the show, a mini-retrospective of your past work emerges. Can you talk more about the role of these artworks in the performance and the exhibition?

Janine Antoni: When I first conceived of my project for Creative Capital, I wanted to make a retrospective of my work in dance. For me, it was a way to look back with the intention of moving forward. It was Anna Halprin’s idea to take a section of her work Parades and Changes (1965) as a score for me to do as a solo—she presented me with the rolls of paper she originally used to create that piece.

In the process of improvising movement with the paper, I started to notice how images from my past artworks were presenting themselves to me. It became clear that the lessons learned in the making and the conceptual concerns of my work have etched themselves into my psyche. In Paper Dance, there is a beautiful symmetry as both Anna and I are reconfiguring our pasts. Continue reading

How to Write a Compelling Letter of Interest

"Bower," Lynn Basa, 2012, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls

“Bower,” Lynn Basa, 2012, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls

Are you interested in winning public art commissions but find yourself overwhelmed by the application process? Many public art projects begin with an RFQ, or request for qualifications. Answering an RFQ with a compelling letter of interest is crucial to advancing past the initial stages of selection. Each letter you submit should be specific to each project. The following frame for writing an effective letter of interest is drawn from Lynn Basa’s Creative Capital webinar, Demystifying Public Art. Register for the next session, happening December 17, 7:00-8:30pm EST.

First Paragraph:
Specifically address your interest in the project. Refer to the RFQ, but be careful not to just reword what it says. Your letter of interest should show that you understand what the agency or selection committee is looking for, that you feel an affinity for it and that you took the time to do some research. Continue reading

Katrin Sigurdardottir On Drawing and Sculpting Space

Katrín Sigurðardóttir, "Supra Terram," 2015. Installation view at Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art. Photo: Jack Hems; Courtesy of Parasol unit.

Katrín Sigurðardóttir, “Supra Terram,” 2015. Installation view at Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art. Photo: Jack Hems; Courtesy of Parasol unit.

Katrín Sigurðardóttir (2015 Visual Arts) is premiering her Creative Capital-supported project with “Supra Terram,” a site-specific installation at Parasol unit in London. Supra Terram (from the Latin term for ‘going above ground’) is a large grotto-like sculpture that extends through the ceiling of Parasol unit’s ground-floor gallery into the gallery space above. I connected with Katrín to learn more about this project and her ongoing exploration of duality and shifting perspective in sculptural installations.

Jenny Gill: Much of your work is site-specific and architectural in nature. Can you talk about the interplay between sculpture and architecture in your work?

Katrín Sigurðardóttir: I am primarily interested in the notion of place, and place is manifested in natural or man-made topography. I use architectural techniques and technologies to describe places; I am less interested in architecture as a means to solve problems, spatial or functional. And even if I am of course concerned with how materials build up, I see this as a basic concern in sculpture. I don’t know if I approach materials or structure in the same way an architect would. Continue reading

What Is the Arts Writers Grant?

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Raoul Hausmann – ABCD or Portrait de l’artiste from Silvia Kolbowski’s art blog

If you’re a writer who focuses on contemporary art, you know that money for your craft is hard to come by. Sadly, even for some of the best arts writers out there, this can affect the time and effort one has to put into writing books, articles, essays and blog posts. With this in mind Creative Capital and the Warhol Foundation got together in 2006 to launch the Arts Writers Grant Program. The Arts Writers program really believes that quality writing deserves to have good funding behind it, and that this can change how writing about the arts is discussed, perceived and even made. The grants range from $15,000 to $50,000 to individual writers in five categories: Article, Blog, Book, New and Alternative Media, and Short-Form Writing. The program is currently accepting applications through May 21st!

What kind of arts writing does the Arts Writers Grant Program typically fund? After nine years, it’s pretty clear that there is nothing typical in this field! Continue reading

Video Profile: Eric Dyer, Modern Master of the Zoetrope

Remember those zoetropes you had as a kid showing the silhouette of a galloping race horse? Baltimore artist Eric Dyer has developed the concept of this pre-cinema device to stunning results. For his Creative Capital project, Short Ride, he is building a massive tunnel you can walk through with thousands of moving parts. We interviewed Eric during his recent exhibition at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts. To learn more about Eric Dyer and Short Ride, click here.

 

Ken Gonzales-Day Examines Racially-Motivated Killings, Past and Present

Ken Gonzales-Day, “Hands Up,” 2015. Chromogenic print.

Ken GonzalesDay (2012 Visual Arts) will premiere his Creative Capital-supported project with the solo exhibition, Ken GonzalesDay: Run Up, on view at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles from April 4 through May 9, 2015. Run Up is the latest chapter in GonzalesDay’s acclaimed Erased Lynching series, selections of which have been acquired by the Smithsonian Institution, the Norton Museum of Art and numerous private collections, and exhibited in museums and galleries in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Vienna, Mexico City and other major cities. I connected with him to learn more about this timely project.

Jenny Gill: Your past work has involved a lot of archival research, exploring histories of racial profiling and racially motivated crime. These issues have really come to the forefront in the past year with the shootings of Trayvon Martin in Florida, Michael Brown in Ferguson, and other police violence. Did this body of work shift in response to those current events?

Ken Gonzales-Day: The work is directly informed by recent events but my research on vigilantism and lynching began in 2000. The early research looked at the lynching of Mexicans and other people of color in California as a way of expanding our understanding of the history of lynching in the United States, and to more accurately reflect its impact in the American West. My book, Lynching in the West: 1850-1935 (Duke, 2006) included over 350 cases of lynching and vigilantism in California and was able to document the many communities of color that were touched by this history. This new series of works grew out of that research but it is also responding to both the similarities, and the differences, between lynching and the kinds of racialized violence that are occurring today. Continue reading

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Presents “Wave & Particle”

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Wave & Particle: A group exhibition celebrating Creative Capital’s 15th anniversary
February 14 – March 21, 2015
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts
31 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10013
Open Tuesday – Saturday 10am-6pm; Monday by appointment
Reception: Saturday, February 14, 6-8pm

 

Featuring Creative Capital Awardees: Janine Antoni, Edgar Arceneaux, Heather Cassils, Patty Chang, Julia Christensen, Chris Doyle, Eric Dyer, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ken Gonzales-Day, Brent Green, Kelly Heaton, Shih Chieh Huang, Jennie C. Jones, Brian Knep, Simone Leigh (featuring Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts), Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, Matthew Moore with Braden King, Carlos Motta, Jeanine Oleson and Laurie Jo Reynolds and Jean Casella, Karyn Olivier, Jason Salavon, Gregory Sale, Miriam Simun, Jesse Sugarmann, SuttonBeresCuller, Sam Van Aken, Quintan Ana Wikswo (list in formation)  

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Lessons in Sustainability: Five Questions for Sharon Louden

Sharon teaching at Chautauqua

Sharon Louden teaches at the Chautauqua Institution.

This winter, artist Sharon Louden hosts her first four-part webinar series: How to Approach, Engage & Communicate with Galleries, Museums & the People You Want to Know. This series is now sold out, but stay tuned for information about more webinars with Sharon in the spring and fall! Interested in hearing about upcoming dates or joining the waitlist for this series? Email us!

Sharon is also the editor of the 2013 compilation, Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists, which offers realistic insight into how artists juggle their creative lives with the everyday needs of making a living. 

We had the opportunity to ask Sharon five questions about how she manages to sustain her own practice, and what she’s learned along the way.  Continue reading

Announcing the 2015 Creative Capital Artists: $4,370,000 Awarded to 46 Moving Image and Visual Arts Projects

Creative Capital's 2015 awardees

Creative Capital is pleased to announce its 2015 awardees in the categories of Moving Image and Visual Arts, representing a total of 46 funded projects selected from a nationwide pool of more than 3,700 proposals. Drawing on venture-capital principles, Creative Capital seeks out artists’ projects that are bold, innovative and genre-stretching, then surrounds those artists with the tools they need to realize their visions and build sustainable careers.

The 2015 Creative Capital Artists are an incredible group of creative thinkers, representing 50 artists at all stages of their careers with an age range of 28 to 80 years old. They hail from 13 states plus Puerto Rico and Canada; more than half are women, and more than half identify as non­-European American. Each funded project receives up to $50,000 in direct funding, plus additional resources and advisory services valued at $45,000, making the organization’s total 2015 investment more than $4,370,000.  Continue reading