Sunday, February 17, 2013

New videos on the site: "Lynn Basa: Black and White"

This was fun. Her studio has floor-to-ceiling windows that make it very video-friendly.
When she paints, she uses a torch on beeswax and that melts and moves around like some kind of natural process, like orogeny or the evolution of organic tissue.
This is a very short film that's going to be used in conjunction with a body of work she's creating for Holly Hunt, Inc., the international design firm.
You can see the finished video on my much-reworked website: "Lynn Basa: Black and White."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Web Video is the Great Attractor

Sometimes I wish this weren't true, but it is: Video is hypnotic.
It's even more powerful than "I'll tell you a story..."
"Let me show you something..." and people will drive into oncoming traffic to have a look.

Video works like that on people and, as I read in every source about search engines, search engines are fascinated by video, too. So the promise of video helps get people to look at your art and keeps them looking once they start.

(I'd be making these videos for the pleasure of the backstage pass aspect and for the honor of being a society's aesthetic memory. But I'm glad it's good for artists, too.)

In the next series of posts, I'll be talking about The Art Effect, the different aspects of experiencing art, and how studio visits serve some of those ends.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Artforum video section, q.v.

ArtForum's video page.
They've got a little bit of everything and lately a lot of Robert Hughes, carving his old fashioned pronouncements in stone (almost always right, but the address is dated.)
I've been listening to a lot of artists talk about their own work and my favorites are always the simple stuff. When they say they like red and yellow together or their early work was mostly to tick off their teacher at SAIC or they could copy anything but didn't know what to do with it. (Marilyn Minter, this last, in a lecture at the Hammer.)

Maybe they'll throw in a little ArtSpeak or a Walter Pater allusion, but generally short words and sincere statements about likes and problems, that's what hooks me.
So when I'm directing a studio visit video, I try to steer them that way. If they insist you can't understand their work without taking a position on indexicality, oh all right.

And the artist interviews on Artforum's video page have those revelations.
Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The light touch

Documentarians debate observing versus directing.
It's a massively muti-variant equation that I have to solve while I'm one of the shifting values plugged into the calculation.
"Let's see, if I don't ask her to repeat that, I'm not sure I got good sound. But if I interrupt, she might lose this confessional mood. The L is going to come by in a moment and in fifteen minutes the sun will be off her studio window." Meanwhile, I want her to feel safe revealing these things about her childhood and her piquant relationship with her father.

We're collaborating and it's my job to make it easy for them to tell their story.
In fact, my weakness is that I like everybody to be happy and that doesn't always make the best, truest documentary art. So, I'm finally learning to let people take the risks they're willing to take in opening up. But that's hard. Maybe they need to have a safeword for the pain of exposure.

Maybe I should only work with sociopaths and not worry. I bet they have good budgets.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Susan Aurinko at work.

When a sophisticate with a camera comes back from Paris or Varanasi, you know it's going to be interesting. I think Susan sees beauty everywhere and knows how to share it. We've been collaborating on a short about her, though only a little of it is actually in her Chicago studio. The rest is from the streets and train tracks of Chicago, the shop windows of Paris, the ghats and streets of India, and bedrooms (her recently vacated hotels beds around the world.) After we finish this Studio (and everywhere else) Visit Video, we're doing stills and video for her Lens Flair scarves, printed with some of her most dramatic images. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lynn Basa's encaustics

Lynn Basa is adding to her body of encaustic work, but this time it's black and white. If you're seen any of her earlier abstracts,
(I love shooting her process. Anything with flame is catnip to filmmakers, plus the volcanic look of colored layers of wax boiling up!) you'll be surprised at the wintry simplicity of these new ones. I'll be filming her working tomorrow, for a Studio Visit Video.
They're all oil and beeswax on paper, 30"x22".

Barbara Koenen's "The War Rug Project" video

Finishing Barbara Koenen's clip about her War Rug Project. She's reproducing the rugs Afghan women weave, the ones about the wars there. Starting with the soviet invasion and continuing through the American one, they've made art with the emblems and stories of their never-ending war. Barbara, as a matter of art and politics, recreates those rugs with spices, an historic product of Afghanistan. Right now, she has one on the floor of Tom Burtonwood's What It Is Gallery, 23 E. Madison, in Chicago, closing around January 14, 2013. If you go, smell it.
Barbara is great to work with because she has deep conceptual takes on her work AND delightful creative surprises in the same breath. Look for her video on her own site: and on youtube, of course.