Visiting Artist

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Our globe-trotting sticker ninja, Spencer Homick ’06, sent a link to a hilarious video skit about Julian Assange played by David Rees called Terrible Houseguest.  We’ve had David come to SLU on two occasions, and both were some of the best presentations we’ve seen.  David’s work is difficult to classify, evidenced by two project titles, “My New Filing Technique is Unstoppable” and “Get Your War On.”  The GYWO series is/was a brilliant response to the events taking place after 9/11.  I say is/was b/c David has been doing some new cartoons in the GYWO series, from what I’ve heard.

The gallery got in a little trouble after producing an exhibition card for a GYWO mini-exhibition (presented alongside work by NY Times photographer Tyler Hicks, who was recently held captive on assignment in Libya but today released).  Trouble on one level (with donors), but the SLU president at the time was very supportive of free speech in academia.

If you haven’t seen the GYWO books, pick them up.  (Sorry for the crazy thumbnail….)

In conjunction with the Picto This! exhibition, artist Motomichi Nakamura came to campus last week for two days, during which he made a bunch of monoprints in the print studio with the help of Melissa Schulenberg, gave a lecture describing his artwork and creative processes, and conducted a workshop about character design.

He hadn’t made monoprints before, and I think he enjoyed working in a new medium.

Composer William Price spoke in the Gallery last night.  His talk, “Composition, Creativity, and the Concerns of the Professional Composer” addressed what it means to be a contemporary composer, but he spoke about working in other creative disciplines as well.

Composer William Price

Composer William Price

He  played some interesting excerpts of his compositions — including a piece for saxophone quartet (!) and another piece based on the fiction of Dashiell Hammett.

William Price and Chris Watts will present a selection of electronic music and animation tonight (March 16) in the Underground.  I heart electronica, so I’ll be there!

The talk was sponsored by the SLU Department of Music and the Birdsong Endowment for Music.

We’re pleased to have Lauri Lyons here today to speak in conjunction with the exhibition of her photographs on display at the Brush Art Gallery.  She will be speaking about two related projects, one called “Flag: An American Story” and the other “Flag International.”

From 1995-2000, Lauri traveled across the United States to interview people about what they thought was America.  Each person would reflect upon this and write their comments in one of her journals.  Afterwards, she would photograph them with an American flag.

Later, in 2007, she went to Europe to investigate how the international community views the United States in the 21st century.  Similarly, each subject was approached on the street and handed a sketchbook to write his or her views of America.  Each was given an American flag, and people posed however they felt comfortable.

Works from both projects are presented in the exhibition here at St. Lawrence.

Lauri has produced and photographed essays in Brazil, Mexico, West Africa, and the United States, which have appeared in such publications as Stern, Trace, Vibe, and The London Observer.  In 2003, Lauri Lyons became the first black woman to shoot the cover of Fortune magazine and in 2006, the first black female photographer signed to Getty Images.

Lauri has shown her work The International Center of Photography, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Civil Rights Museum. Her advertising clients include Pepsi and McDonald’s.

From 2000 to present, Lauri Lyons has served as a faculty member for the International Center of Photography, Rhode Island School of Design, and as the Director of Photography for the Leave Out Violence youth program.

Lauri has also contributed to The Huffington Post on a wide variety of topics including Afro-Brazilian history, beats, and culture; art and activism by homeless teens in Minneapolis; women in hip-hop: the B-Girl Be festival; and Harlem memorializing Michael Jackson at the Apollo Theater.

Flag International

Flag International - with Kevin Carvill at left.

photographs by Lauri Lyons

photographs by Lauri Lyons

Lauri Lyons will visit campus at the end of February — not so far away!

The Gallery will begin the spring 2010 semester with an exhibition entitled Flag International of photographs by Lauri Lyons.  Lauri interviewed and photographed people from around the world, asking each person to comment upon his/her feelings about the United States and the American flag.  After each person wrote in one of her journals, she would photograph them in any way they felt comfortable.  The photographs arrived yesterday, all the same size and all beautifully framed in similar black wooden frames.  Yet, when you look closer, you see that each photograph within tells a moving personal story.  Tomorrow, we’ll sequence the show, arranging the photographs in such a way as to let each one tell its own story, but also to let the photographs share stories with one another.  That’s the creative part from our end!

Lauri will be coming to campus in February to give a lecture and meet with students.  Keep an eye out for more info on the Gallery‘s Web site.

Picture 2

Our dear friend Tenzin Yignyen is on Facebook!  He came to St. Lawrence three times in the past decade to create intricate Tibetan Buddhist sand mandalas.  This reminds me of a time in Kathmandu when a few SLU faculty who were studying there were granted an audience with the Venerable Chokyi Nyima, and he stopped midway through his teaching to take a call on his cell phone.

Tenzin has been teaching at Hobart for several years, and every time I talk with Hobart students and faculty, they value his work very much there.  Tenzin teaches courses on the meaning and signifiance of sand mandalas and other sacred arts.


The Gallery will bring Rockpool Candy to SLU this fall.  Carole and I met her and her husband Mytarpit by chance at the Pictoplasma Conference in Berlin last March and have stayed in touch ever since.  The Gallery will be putting together a posse of fiber activists to work with her to create public installations around campus and in the community in late October.  Stay tuned!

Check out this series of her fiber reef sculptures made from recycled materials.


Pilot project #3: West African textile collection

This project has been the most complex of the three pilot projects we’ve initiated in the last 18 months.  Some of the steps included professional photography and on-site interviews, and the next step will be to incorporate this digital online collection into various courses at SLU, including fine arts and those in African Studies.

Step #1

For two days in June 2008, Matt Bogosian ’02 and his crew came to campus to photograph the West African textiles, assisted by Jose’ Domingo ’09, Tsewang Lama ’11, and Kevin Carvill ’11.  The gallery was turned into a photo studio, and we borrowed John Larrance’s genie lift to have the textiles photographed from above.

Step #2

In July 2008, Stanzi McGlynn ’10 met with Christopher Roy to discuss the history and meaning of the textiles.  The interview was recorded and later transcribed.  After Stanzi’s study abroad in Kenya in the spring of 2009, she will work this summer to add sections of the transcription to the CONTENTdm digital collection.  We plan to include portions of the interview to the online collection in the form of sound files.

Step #3

During the academic year 2008-09, Gallery ninjas Arline Wolfe and Carole Mathey have been cataloging and properly housing the textiles.

Step #4 and beyond

The textiles will be presented in an exhibition at the Gallery in the fall of 2009.  In the meantime, faculty and students can use the digital collection as a starting point to conduct their research.  Writing assignments will be designed to include short essays for exhibition text panels and as longer research papers.  From here on, Obiora Udechukwu in Fine Arts will be our primary source of expertise.

April 9 – 22, 2009

Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m.
Artist’s lecture by David Beck, juror
Opening reception to follow

For this year’s juried exhibition, students were asked to create up to four works that explored the concept of be(com)ing.

David Beck teaches digital art at Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, and has shown his work extensively throughout the United States.  His artwork is featured in the book GameScenes. Art in the Age of Videogames (John & Levi, 2006), the first volume entirely dedicated to game art.

The department of fine arts presents the student exhibitions with assistance from the Jeanne Scribner Cashin Endowment Fund and the gallery’s Barnes Endowment Fund.

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