Oscar Muñoz: Sedimentaciones Reviewed

Sedimentaciones, the Oscar Muñoz video installation currently on view at USFCAM has received some favorable reviews.

Danny Olda reviewed the installation for Daily Serving, an international online publication for contemporary art.

Locally, Tampa Style Magazine has also featured Sedimentaciones. Read that article below, or click here to view the issue online.

Emily Topper's review of Oscar Muñoz: Sedimentaciones.

Emily Topper’s review of Oscar Muñoz: Sedimentaciones.

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SYCOM and Selfies – Thursday, February 5 at 6 pm

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Enhanced! Symposium, January 16, 2015

A full house was in session at the School of Music’s Barness Hall to be educated, or rather, Enhanced by the photographic works of visiting artists and educators: James Casebere and Yamini Nayar, visiting artists, as well as collector Dr. Robert Drapkin. Noel Smith, the Institute for Research in Art’s Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Art, directed the discussion that ranged from the artists’ backgrounds in photographic arts to issues and thoughts concerning the digital revolution; how it has transformed how these media function in contemporary art. The panel discussion was highly involved in the Enhanced! theme that dealt with the modification of photographic works through the appropriation of digital and mixed media. Along with photographic works from the visiting artists and Dr. Robert Drapkin contributing vintage selections from his Drapkin Collections, Smith included a selection of contemporary works from a variety of sources.

The artists were asked about what it means to use Photoshop software to manipulate photographs compared to the costly labor behind the darkroom process. The artists agreed that it’s simply the way things are done today. Like all media as well as editing programs, “the medium of Photoshop is always evolving.” Nayar drove that point home by saying, “don’t allow technology to guide the idea, let the idea guide the technology.” Commenting on his piece Big Sur, Casebere spoke about the psychological and perceptual components on how the effect of the photography alters our experience in the artistic medium. Nayar spoke about her influences in literature, and how the arts of language and linguistics can be a sort of ‘magical realism’.  She expanded on how memory and space affects environments, inheritance, and social force; how they can be articulated in photography. “The sculpture having an awareness of the photograph, like staging the image.” These mad art-scientists bring their Frankenstein photographs to life all the time. But some wonder what happens to the ‘Frankensteins’ when their projects are complete.

James Casebere, Yamini Nayar, Dr. Robert Drapkin and Noel Smith (Left to right) at the Enhanced! Symposium.

James Casebere, Yamini Nayar, Dr. Robert Drapkin and Noel Smith (Left to right) at the Enhanced! Symposium.
Photo by Joseph SanFilippo.

This brought out a general curiosity if artists like Casebere and Nayar consider the sculpture-like subjects to be art or just a means to the final product that they photograph and display. Casebere said he is used to throwing away his model pieces once finished. Some people like Dr. Drapkin would find the sculptural subjects to be of equal artistic value to that of their final portrait. (So much so, he jokingly asked Casebere if he could have some of his would-be thrown out sculptures.) Dr. Drapkin added to the conversation with what it was like being around the environment of working artists, which he claimed was truly an accident by allowing an artist at the time to stay at his then studio apartment in New York City. He concluded the panel with a jarring comment, stating that he doesn’t care much for contemporary art because of the nature of artist statements and summaries. “I don’t want to read about the art for it to move me, I just want to be moved by it.” You could feel the tension in the audience, many of them being prospective contemporary artists. Dr. Drapkin wasn’t attempting to insult any artist or the modern art industry, but rather state a crucial matter on how art should be shown and felt rather than it being told and reiterated on the artist’s behalf, so to speak. Sounds like Dr. Drapkin wants the modern art experience to be Enhanced!

Joseph SanFilippo
English Undergraduate

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Chinese Summerhall by Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg’s 100-foot photograph Chinese Summerhall is on display at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery in Fort Myers through January 24, 2015. On loan from the USFCAM permanent collection, this is the first installation of Chinese Summerhall in thirteen years. Copublished in 1982 by USF’s Graphicstudio and Gemini G.E.L., the story of Chinese Summerhall is a fascinating look into Rauschenberg’s creative process. To commemorate and contextualize this installation, here is an investigation into how this monumental work was created, written by Ruth E. Fine, curator for the National Gallery of Art.

I mostly sleep on the beach side in my place in Captiva, and it’s just the roll, constantly the roll, of the waves. But my hide-away is on the Bay side, where each fish jumps separately, and each bird calls from a different place. China is more like the Bay side.
- Robert Rauschenberg, Graphicstudio videotape, 1983

Robert Rauschenberg, 198?

Robert Rauschenberg
Photo: Graphicstudio

Chinese Summerhall, the hundred-foot-long photograph produced from photographs taken by Rauschenberg during a trip to China in 1982, was the artist’s first use of color photography in an edition.1 Its compelling hundred-foot length demands that the viewer move along its full span to absorb its imagery–one cannot remain stationary in front of the composition.


The installation of Chinese Summerhall at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery in Ft. Myers, October 2014
Photo: Peter Foe/USFCAM

Rauschenberg’s work in photography dates back to his studies at Black Mountain College, and his first work acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York was, in fact, a photograph brought to the collection by Edward Steichen in 1952.2 At Black Mountain, Rauschenberg found himself torn between photography and painting, settling on painting when he recognized that the project he would most like to fulfill as a photographer–a colossal “survey” of the United States composed of photographs of every square inch of ground–was unrealizable.3 In 1979 he began to use his own photographs in his work, allowing them to suggest their own possibilities: “I think of the camera as my permission to walk into every shadow or watch while any light changes. Mine is the need to be where it will always never be the same again; a kind of archeology in time only, forcing one to see whatever the light or the darkness touches, and care. My concern is to move at a speed within which to act.”4

George Holzer preparing the negatives for Chinese Summerhall, 1982

George Holzer preparing the negatives for Chinese Summerhall, 1982
Photo: George Holzer, Graphicstudio

In June 1982 Rauschenberg traveled to China on a trip arranged by Stanley Grinstein of Gemini G.E.L. for the purpose of collaborating with Xuan papermakers at the Jingxian paper mill in Anhui Province.5 During this time he took over five hundred photographs, fifty-two of which were incorporated in the monumental Chinese Summerhall.6 After returning to the United States, Rauschenberg began the process of selecting images for possible inclusion in Chinese Summerhall. George Holzer recalls that there were approximately fifty rolls of film, twelve exposures each. Holzer printed 11-by-14-inch color photographs of each negative and sent them to Rauschenberg for review. Rauschenberg made his choices, marking each photograph with the size to which it was to be enlarged-ranging from about 20-by-24 to 30-by-40 inches. From these enlargements, images were then cut and pasted to make the full-scale, hundred-foot mock-up.

Production studio for Chinese Summerhall, 1982

Production studio for Chinese Summerhall, 1982
Photo: George Holzer, Graphicstudio

With the mock-up complete, actual production of the photograph still could not begin until individual prints were made of certain images that Rauschenberg had selected for editioning as studies. The finality of the imminent destruction of the negatives, which needed to be cut or trimmed in order to duplicate the images as Rauschenberg had collaged them in the mock-up, prompted the artist to rethink his original intention to edition only six studies as individual photographs. In the end, twenty-eight photographs were editioned individually. Five additional sections, approximately eight feet in length, were later taken, with slight variations, from the full image and were editioned as studies at Graphicstudio and copublished by Graphicstudio and Gemini G.E.L.

The first installation of Chinese Summerhall, at Castelli Gallery, December 31, 1982

The first installation of Chinese Summerhall, at Castelli Gallery, December 31, 1982

Once production of the hundred-foot photograph began, a small-scale mock-up was made from the contact prints of the negatives so that the cumbersome, and somewhat fragile, full-scale mock-up would not have to be repeatedly rolled out. The fifty-two individual negatives were trimmed, masked, and carefully sealed into glass carriers. Each of the carriers could then be proofed separately, and adjustments made for color balance and exposure. Proofing of the photograph itself was carried out one fifteen-foot section at a time in Saff’s studio, using up to five enlargers. Exposing the full one hundred feet took an average of eight to nine hours, and like the proofing, this was accomplished in sections. A dispenser was designed to hold the unexposed roll of photographic paper; after the exposure of a section, the paper would be rolled onto a core as the next section of paper moved into position. The first of the five prints in the edition was finished one day before it was needed at the Castelli Gallery for the Rauschenberg exhibition scheduled to open there on New Year’s Eve, 1982.7

Detail image of Chinese Summerhall

Detail image of Chinese Summerhall
Photo: Will Lytch/Graphicstudio

A composite of vignettes from daily life in China, Rauschenberg’s hundred-foot photograph reflects the vicissitudes of life–the protean, unsettled, kaleidoscopic mélange of thoughts, opinions, tasks, goals and events that characterize human experience in modern society. As Rauschenberg explained, the country “was very rich texturally. In China, images seemed to isolate themselves.”8 As a visual montage, Chinese Summerhall reflects in part the perception of the reality of modern life as seen through the lens of the mass media (in the age of thirty-second commercials and ten-second sound bites). Images–cropped, trimmed, soft-focused, sharp-focused, close-up, panoramic, sideways, dissolved into other images–fill one’s vision as one traverses the hundred-foot expanse. New connections resonate among the images as they interact in new ways with one another. There are incongruities: a blindfolded bull juxtaposed with a row of glass bottles;9 the Great Wall dwarfed by a set of wheels–an immovable barrier versus the freedom of movement. There are also analogies: chickens scratch for their dinner, while nearby passengers commute on mass transit.

Bottles from the Studies for Chinese Summerhall series. 40" x 30" Kodak Ektacolor paper.

Bottles from the Studies for Chinese Summerhall series. 40″ x 30″ Kodak Ektacolor paper.
Photo: Will Lytch/Graphicstudio

Rauschenberg views the scroll as a “compositional tale”: “Colors and materials are the characters, and the piece unfolds according to its own appetite–what is already there dictates what goes next. I had no particular program about executing my feelings about China. I let the camera be my witness, as opposed to editorializing.”10 Rauschenberg’s art has always charted unexplored territory, reached beyond the known limits. Monumental scale has frequently been integral to this process.11 About his Quarter Mile Piece,12 a work that was in progress at approximately the same time as Chinese Summerhall, Rauschenberg offers this insight: “You can never measure the effect scale has, but it does seem to be something permanent. If I had been born in Connecticut, I wouldn’t have had the idea of doing a painting that is a quarter of a mile long.”13

- Ruth E. Fine
Taken from Graphicstudio, Contemporary Art from the Collaborative Workshop at the University of South Florida, the catalogue from the exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, 15 September 1991–5 January 1992.


  1. Confirmed in a telephone conversation with David White, Rauschenberg’s curator, 29 January 1991.
  2. See Smith 1983, 183, for a review of Rauschenberg: Photographs, New York 1981; Photos In and Out City Limits: Boston (West Islip, NY, 1981); and Photos In and Out City Limits: New York C. (West Islip, NY, 1982)
  3. See Alain Sayag, “Interview with Robert Rauschenberg,” in New York 1981.
  4. Rauschenberg, in New York 1981. See Clifford Ackley, introduction to West Islip 1981, for discussion of Rauschenberg’s involvement with photography.
  5. For an account of the trip, see Donald Saff’s essay in Los Angeles 1983. See also Fine 1984, 123-125.
  6. George Holzer, conversation with Corlett, 23 August 1990.
  7. Information concerning the progression of this project is taken from conversations between Holzer and Corlett, 23 August 1990 and 1 November 1990.
  8. Rauschenberg, Graphicstudio videotape, January 1983.
  9. Saff explained, in a conversation with Fine, 21 March 1991, that the blindfolded bull may be seen as a metaphor for Rauschenberg in China.
  10. Herrera 1983, 57.
  11. Early in his career Rauschenberg produced such large-scale works as Autobiography (1968), seventeen feet long; Automobile Tire Print (1951), around twenty-two feet long; and Barge (1963), thirty-two feet long. See also Booster (1967), “largest lithograph ever made on a hand-operated press” (Young 1974, 26); Sky Garden (1969), “largest, hand-rolled print in existence–a color lithograph and silkscreen on paper” (Greun 1977, 45); and Currents (1970), a fifty-four-foot screenprint.
  12. A segment of Quarter Mile Piece was shown at Edison Community College in Fort Myers in 1982.
  13. Rauschenberg 1986, 60.
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It Comes To an End; New Beginnings

It’s Keesha again, my internship ended Friday, June 29, 2014 and I am a bit disappointed about it, but I leave you with this last blog post for A Different Frame of Mind. I had a wonderful experience throughout the whole process and learning from professional artists within a gallery space stationed at USFCAM.

Now that the show is completed in the West Gallery space, the exhibition mirrors the artists’ hard work and dedication for A Different Frame of Mind collectively. Reflecting from the beginning, I was unsure how the exhibition was going to turn out, but as the artists worked restlessly on their projects, I saw it come together beautifully.

When you enter the space, every piece is different by the use of materials, but reflect on the traditional aspect of a frame. The exhibition allowed Ariel Baron-Robbins, Mike Covello, Derek Curry and Jennifer Gradecki, David Gabbard, Janett Pulido, and Sam Robinson to break free from the traditional meaning of art by experimenting with the application of paint, color, and space. Their compositions are visually alluring within the space, making the viewers ask the same questions: “How did this happen? How did they do it?” Earlier in the weeks, many came to investigate the artists at work and responded well to the interaction. I urge you to take a second look at A Different Frame of Mind and question everything. Not everything is what is it seems.

I hope that this exhibition gives the exposure that these artist need for future commissions and has helped to expand their techniques for their future endeavors because this may be the end of their experience at A Different Frame of Mind, but it is a new beginning for all of us to think in a different the frame of mind.

Thank you your support to USFCAM with this unique experience for me and for all at the museum. I hope there are more like these exhibitions in the future.

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Artists at Work in “A Different Frame of Mind”

Janett Pulido at work in the USFCAM gallery studio

Janett Pulido at work in the USFCAM gallery studio

Hello this is Keesha Jimenez reporting back on the progress of A Different Frame of Mind. From June 16 to June 24, 2014, I have the privilege of working with Mike Covello, Ariel Baron-Robbins, Derek Curry and Jennifer Gradecki, David Gabbard, Janett Pulido, and Sam Robinson documenting their progress and asking questions about their process. It is not every day that one is able to enter an artist’s studio and interact with the artist as they create art. I enjoy capturing their progress through the camera lens because it mirrors the dedication that the artists contribute to their final products. Each day they work in USFCAM, I observe them as they contemplate the steps needed to complete the creative process. I ask questions when I feel it is appropriate and won’t unintentionally interrupt the creative flow. I am learning so much from them during this experience.

This exhibition is so unique that it almost surreal, the makeshift studio space is open to the public; anyone can come and watch with me as the artist’s create new works. As viewers enter the studio space, they stand in the middle of the gallery overwhelmed by the amount of work the artists are producing before their eyes. Some are almost afraid to enter until the artists welcome them into their space and talk them about their progress. Mike, Ariel, and Janett mentioned that they were normally used to the solitude of their own studios this show breaks that limitation for the public and the artists. A Different Frame of Mind does not only refer to the break of tradition from the frame, but includes the break between the viewer and an artist’s studio, thought, and process.

Mike Covello in the USFCAM gallery studio

Mike Covello in the USFCAM gallery studio

Weeks before the artists began working on their artwork, USFCAM set up a camera high onto the wall in the West Gallery to capture a time-lapse video of the entire process from the frame selection to the completion of their works. In addiction to the time lapse I captured stills of the artists at work. I followed them around as they began their day and ended shooting approximately five in the afternoon. The way the artists create their work is evidently different when you look at it, but they focus primarily on major decisions that would make or break their work.

Janett mixes colors to large proportions and spreads the color of choice gently to thin the paint carefully and mix the color further. Once the consistency begins to harden, she lets it sit for three to four days (depending on the size) to cure. After it cures, she pulls the paint from the edges, lifting it from the surface that it laid on. The paint looks and feels like rubber, so it is rather flexible to shape into any form Janett desired. She experiments with the placement of the paint onto the frames before making her final decision and gluing it into position with a liquid adhesive. On the wall sits a frame that comes forward with green and yellow enamel paint. The way I would perceive this piece is the window to our personal heavens. The frame sticks out at the top right edge, which suggests the position of the heavenly realm while the colors bring us to the earthly realm. It is the spontaneous impulse that helps Janett complete a work in which begins with the color process. All the artists have to come prepared with a “plan” for the given space as a starting point but there are always changes that can enhance their work.

A great example of this change is Mike’s installation. From the beginning of the process, I watched his artwork transform beautifully. I asked him in the beginning if he knew what he wanted to do for this project and he responded, “Let’s see how this comes out.” Honestly, his spontaneity is a strong aspect to his work, Mike lets his hands do the talking, which is similar to the way I like to work. Working through the creative process he steps back to contemplate if the space had met the requirements well enough to have some consistency based on his choice of composition and color. The application of painter’s tape gives clean-cut lines and a base of his composition with overlapping and placement of his paintings, which he composes on the walls, ground, and pedestal.

Ariel Baron-Robbins in the USFCAM gallery studio

Ariel Baron-Robbins in the USFCAM gallery studio

Ariel has a different connection to her artwork than the other artists I have touched on so far. Using the frames USFCAM supplied to her for the exhibition, she encased her body within the frames at three different locations in the Tampa Bay area. Although I was not able to be present at the locations, when Ariel returned I was able to view a few of the thousands of images she captured. In her studio space, she preferred solitude as she framed herself with her back towards us, but she was quite approachable when people entered her space as they questioned Ariel about her body of work. From the thousands that she shot, she narrowed her best shots to ten. She would print test prints and write little notes next to any issues with the image, and then make the necessary adjustments. From a distance I observed Ariel trying to further narrow her selection a seemingly difficult task at times. All the images she taped to the wall conveyed a different mood. From the four that she finally selected, she saw the change of emotion seeping from the print: excitement and happiness to exhausted and bruised. These emotions made the prints even stronger, which helped Ariel to select the two best prints for the exhibition. Ariel is excited about the show and the response that viewers will have when they see her forty-eight by sixty-four by inch prints. To compliment the two prints Ariel captured a video at the beach, which conveys the calmness of the waves and still reflection of the sun hitting the horizon.

Finally, the complexity of Derek and Jennifer’s work is beyond words. They built an app to record information of an artist’s financialization and the investments patrons have to the art’s value. They are stationed in Buffalo, New York; therefore, neither Vincent Kral nor I had the luxury to view their progress except through photos. However, the shots they provided us did not disappoint our expectations. The app includes a candlestick chart of the information they provided for their work. They also built a structure with the frames to house the tablet and the app.

This week was a productive week for the artists in their temporary studio spaces at USFCAM. It was a huge success in getting people into the studio space to relate with artists as they carried on with their work. I am proud to be part of this operation, documenting the whole process from June 16, 2014 to June 23, 2014 and giving the artists my perspective of their work. It was such a wonderful experience to be appreciated by artists who have been working so hard to make art a profession. I hope that USFCAM does another interactive exhibition so patrons of the arts can observe contemporary art on site, and then return the following week to view the completed works.

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Artists’ Interpretations of “A Different Frame of Mind”

My name is Keesha Jimenez. I am an undergraduate student seeking a B.A. in Studio Art at the University of South Florida. For my summer internship at the USF Contemporary Art Museum (USFCAM), I am working with Vincent Kral, the Curator of the June 2014 exhibition called A Different Frame of Mind. For this exhibition, seven artists were selected to use recycled frames to create new artworks that will explore ideas and issues of the frame in the context of contemporary art. I will document the process of this unique exhibition by interviewing the artists, taking pictures, and sharing my insights and observations.

A Different Frame of Mind

As an artist myself, I am interested in the concept behind the title for the exhibition because at USF the art studio professors challenge tradition and force their students to think beyond the box. I also appreciate working alongside Mike Covello, Derek Curry and Jennifer Gradecki, David Gabbard, Ariel Baron-Robbins, Janett Pulido, and Sam Robinson to learn from their perspectives and work methods. They are all interesting artists with individual styles challenging tradition through installations, digital print and other mediums. I interviewed these artists individually and I am proud of being part of this exhibition.

For each artist, the phrase: “A Different Frame of Mind” has a personal connection to how each works today. Mike Covello comments that the phrase is “referencing divergence and not fitting in.” But he says it also references “pluralism, which asserts that those aforementioned notions are not necessarily negatives.” Covello has been working on installations since he was an undergraduate at Cornell University. His interest with installations peaked in 2007 when he thought about how his context would surround the environment; however, he evolved in 2012 to work within the exhibition space. I cannot wait to see how he is going to continue this process within the West Gallery of USFCAM alongside the other artists. With limited space, the exhibition presents a challenge for all of them in terms of the size of their final work.

When I asked Derek Curry and Jennifer Gradecki about their perception of the phrase, they explained, “‘a different frame of mind’ evokes the idealist posit that your mind frames the world you see.” They believe, “if you can change the way a person frames the world in their mind, you can change the reality they experience.” Curry and Gradecki’s focus on the finances of the art world in their previous works began with the stock market crash in 2008. As they investigated further with their projects, artists and curators have heavily criticized them because they broke tradition by revealing the finances from the patrons to the artists. This brings an interesting point of view of art: ‘financialization.’ It may be a new term as described by Curry and Gradecki; however, it is the fundamental process of investment for commissions and furthering our practice as artists. We see financialization in art history through the eyes of Vincent van Gogh, who sold but one painting to his brother. After his death, his artwork becomes accessible and very valuable. Henri Matisse or Edgar Degas, for example, show the success as artists after the French Revolution of 1787-1789. While Matisse focused on the bourgeoisie painting genre scenes familiar to them, Degas found beauty in ballet dancers. Their patrons were prominently the rich; however, they gained income to continue. Therefore, the finances of artists are important to focus on, and I applaud Curry and Gradecki to shedding light to this concept although some may disagree.

As I asked the others, David Gabbard agreed with Curry and Gradecki. He believed with “a different frame of mind,” “you are stepping out of the norm and into something different.” Without being an individual, we cannot continue the path to greatness. When Gabbard attended USF as an undergraduate, he wanted to challenge the meaning of a frame. He pointed out as he questioned the frame, “Take a drawing that you made when you were a child. Your parents are so proud of that drawing that they choose to frame it. In the child’s point of view, they feel appreciated and praised for the drawing. The parent reinforces the praise by framing and hanging the drawing. If the child produces more drawings then it becomes a weird dynamic, where does the parent frame every drawing? How does one drawing become more important than the other? This is just one example of how the frame can symbolize importance.” This raises an important question about the frame itself. Why is the frame important in a sense that we have to enclose ourselves to one perception? With this exhibition, the artists are able to represent a greater sense of self and understanding outside of tradition. This opens the doors to interpretation, too. As many artists before him, Gabbard recollects childhood memories through his artwork and places them in front of the viewer. To the artist, it is a moment of relief to reveal something private and cause viewers to relate to situations with minimal words. It is almost therapeutic, releasing tension from the past and sticking that emotion elsewhere, so we can move forward. Without that release, as artists, we would be driven insane.

I asked Ariel Baron-Robbins the same question about “a different frame of mind,” and she responded that the phrase “brings me back to the body/mind problem, the difference between how you think and feel inside of your body and how you are perceived outside of your body by others.” She focused on this idea through performances as a USF graduate student in 2009. Robert Morris and Ana Mendieta heavily inspired Baron-Robbins because of their relationship of the figure and environment. She says, “Mendieta inspires me in the way that she free-form plays with her environments, creating temporary sculpture or pieces, very impromptu looking, especially in the Silueta series, and then documents these actions with her camera. Morris inspires me with his entire body of work and its differences. He also scales things to be human-sized, which is something I try to do as well.” Baron-Robbins interacts with nature as her source of inspiration, which in her previous work included architecture, whereas in her current work involves bodies of water.

When posed the same question, Sam Robinson thought to have “a different frame of mind,” we have to understand that the “frame plays a role in the construct of formal art-viewing that seems to have historically become less and less important. To frame something is to draw a hard line around what is to be looked at, but does little to cage contemporary artists’ tendencies toward materiality, dimension and sensory play.” I have made this point earlier, and I agree with her. In her artwork, Robinson controls the viewer’s response with scent. “The fascination started with a TEDTalk titled The Science of Scent,” she explained, “in which biophysicist Luca Turin presented his theory that humans detect extraordinarily minute differences in molecular vibration, rather than molecular structure, when differentiating scents. In the talk, Turin revealed some perfumist/chemist manuscripts and some hints as to his contracts in the commercial world. In the same way that color is used thoughtfully to encourage appetite in the grocery store or morale in a sea of cubicles, scent is used to incite memories in relation with a product, and to reward the sniffer at the time of purchase. The fragrance industry fits into the corporate model of consumer conditioning on a molecular level,” she says. The concept drove her to experiment with particular scents: for example, rotten flesh and sweet-scented perfumes. Therefore, these scents allow the audience to respond accordingly and that pleases her as a result. To her, these experiments within her artwork involve the audience to practice a mind-over-matter exercise in self-reflection. This concept is a step forward into contemporary art, removing the frame from its traditional meaning and pushing it to an interactive art form.

In Janett Pulido’s perspective, “a different frame of mind” meant, “having a different perspective of a particular idea or concept prior to one’s initial thought to that particular idea or concept.” Artists from history have focused their artwork on representing a window that extends their eye. Given the circumstances of historical events, for example, Francisco de Goya’s Third of May 1808, represents the window of war and surrender in the Streets of Spain. As he witnessed this scene of horror, he depicts emotion through that window frame so the viewers can interpret fear through their eyes. As we move forward as contemporary artists, we move further away from that window and control the response to our works. As artists, we have to surpass our masters and assess all the possibilities to approach beyond the limits of those boundaries many artists established before us. Pulido uses her personal experiences to distinguish herself as a Mexican American raised in a Roman Catholic household. She says, “My Mesoamerican culture brought about types of rituals that seemed to contradict the Roman Catholic dogmas I have been taught in the past. It is for this reason that I always feel I am in constant limbo.” Although it was difficult for her, she learned to accept these contradictions and incorporate them into her works. She also establishes the Schrodinger’s Cat theory because it correlates with the impact of possibilities that can happen in limbo. Pulido explained in the Schrodinger’s Cat theory, “the scientist does not know if the cat is alive or dead until the box is open. This puts the cat in between both realms hence, being in limbo.” Therefore, she responds to the Schrodinger’s Cat theory through her sculptural paintings and allows the viewers to be in the position of the scientist.

You have heard from all the artists on their interpretation of what “A Different Frame Of Mind” meant to them and how they bring forth that perception into their work. I look forward to sharing further insights into their creative processes and the development of their works. The final exhibition will be installed and open to the public on June 27, 2014.

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83Degrees Explores the USFCAM Art in Health Program

The USF Art in Health program, a collaborative project that unites the USFCAM museum USF Health, was featured in a recent article in 83Degrees. The program, modeled after similar initiatives at Harvard University and University of Miami, was founded in 2012 and since hosted 86 students from disciplines including medicine, public health, pharmacy, physical therapy, social work and speech-language pathology.

Collage, drawing and visual observation exercises

Art in Health seeks to encourage health students, ranging from doctors to nurses and therapists, to improve their observational skills. USF College of Public Health faculty member Aurora Sanchez Anguiano, Ph.D., says that “observation is the key in all of the health sciences” and that the program encourages students to stop and think before coming to conclusions, a vital skill for future health practitioners.

Megan Voeller, Associate Curator of Education at USF CAM and program director of Art in Health, uses the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) discussion method with the students to “improve critical thinking, listening, communication and visual observation.”

“It’s also about mindfulness and the ability to reflect and focus,” says Voeller. In addition to a museum-based workshop using VTS, the program includes workshops in studio art and movement.

Feedback suggests that the program strikes a chord with students. Julia Zhang, a current medical student and Art in Health workshop attendee, said that her participation in the program allowed her to “look at things from a different perspective.”

You can read the full story here: USF Leverages Arts, Sciences To Provide Better Healthcare

More About USF Art in Health

Body awareness, movement observation and practice

In partnership with USF Health, the USF Contemporary Art Museum offers a series of workshops designed to improve the observation skills of USF graduate and professional students in health disciplines. Join other USF students for intensive, inter-professional arts-based training in observation, critical thinking and communication. Research shows that training health practitioners in art skills improves visual awareness. Each workshop includes a series of arts activities and a concluding discussion led by a USF Health faculty member. Visiting faculty members for Spring 2014 include Dr. Frazier Stevenson, Morsani College of Medicine (Studio Art workshop) and Dr. Aurora Sanchez-Anguiano, College of Public Health (Museum workshop).

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Pedro Reyes Legislative Theatre Performance Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground Sought Common Ground

Attendees of the Pedro Reyes Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground made revisions to the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution

Attendees of the Pedro Reyes Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground made revisions to the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution

Thank You!!
Thanks to everyone who was involved in USFCAM’s project with Pedro Reyes on January 23, 2014!

The performance was truly a collaborative effort that included USF College of the Arts faculty and students. The USF percussion ensemble and jazz combos played Reyes’ unique instruments, crafted from firearms confiscated and disabled by the Mexican Army, which are on view at USFCAM in the exhibition CAM@25: Social Engagement through March 8. Everyone who attended the sold-out event was invited to participate in the performance, which was created by Reyes in partnership with USF Theatre professor Dora Arreola, and USF and Community Stepping Stones students, to encourage dialogue and address issues related to the Second Amendment.

As the audience entered the black box theatre, USF and Community Stepping Stones students directed the 100-plus audience members to sit in seats arranged in circles of eight on what is usually considered the stage, inverting the traditional audience/performer paradigm. Inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, this structure transformed the audience from spectators into “spect-actors” and collaborators in the performance. USF and Community Stepping Stones students performed a sketch, developed in a series of workshops with Reyes and Arreola, inviting the audience to engage in a democratic exercise to amend and update the Second Amendment in an effort to reduce gun violence.

For reference:

The Second Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

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The participants included a broad spectrum of community members, USF faculty and students. The discussions were lively and energetic, with participants sharing their beliefs and experiences with guns in respectful and productive ways, and while opinions were varied, there was still much common ground to work from in each of the participating groups.

After 30 minutes of discussion, the students facilitators invited one representative from each group to present their proposed revisions of the Second Amendment. Most groups felt the concept of the well-regulated militia was out-dated and needed to be revised or removed entirely. Many groups presented specific proposals including education, minimum age requirements and background checks, as well as raising issues about the power of the NRA and mental health issues in their revisions. One group decided the amendment should not be changed, but the majority included some form of regulation of firearms in their revised amendments.

Example Revised Amendment:

“A well regulated military being necessary for the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be prohibited but shall be regulated to protect the security of the people from the will of the individual.”

The event took place just one week after a fatal shooting in a Tampa Bay area movie theatre resulted from an argument between two patrons over texting (story, story) and within months of a failed effort to revise and repeal Stand Your Ground laws in the Florida Legislature (story). Providing a safe space to engage in challenging dialogue about critical social issues, Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground succeeded in starting a conversation we hope continues.

Video to Come
Stay tuned for video of the revised amendments which will be posted here and on our IRAUSF youtube channel in the future.

To learn more about Pedro’s work , check out the media coverage:
Media: Amendment to the Amendment: (Under)stand Your Ground
NPR Story: “Artist Transforms Guns To Make Music — Literally
WUSF Radio University Beat: Gun Music
FOX News pre-performance report
Tampa Bay Times: Artist Turns Guns Into Music with a Message

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CAM@25: Social Engagement in the News

Janaina Tschape, still from Blood, Sea, 2004, four-channel video installation. The work was shot at Weeki Wachee Springs.

Janaina Tschape, still from Blood, Sea, 2004, four-channel video installation. The work was shot at Weeki Wachee Springs.

CAM is getting a lot of ink for our current exhibition CAM@25: Social Engagement. This exhibition features some of our most talked about work from our past 25 years. Even the New York Times has mentioned the show in their “Gun Report” segment, which sadly includes the victims of gun violence each day. Here is a list of stories we’ve found covering the show with an outtake from each article:

CAM@25: A Social Function | Creative Loafing | January 15, 2014

“The University of South Florida’s Contemporary Art Museum is an arts institution in touch with the sights and sounds of today’s society, presenting works that turn perceived realities on their ear via meticulously appointed shows and prestigious showcases of international artists…Run by the USF Institute of Research in Art, the free (yes, free) museum is open six days a week, Monday-Saturday. It is (or should be) a point of regional pride, an antidote to all the facepalm-inducing crime stories, political snafus and trashy foibles more commonly associated with Tampa Bay.”

University Beat: Gun Music | WUSF Radio | January 22, 2014

“…You’ve heard the phrase “turning swords into plowshares.” Artist Pedro Reyes embraces that concept by taking firearms that had been confiscated and rendered useless by the Mexican army and turning them into musical instruments.”

Concert, Art Exhibition: Guns Turned Into Musical Instruments | WUSF online

“”…Same as a shovel plants a tree, a musical instrument is also something that is alive,” Reyes says. “Every time you use it, you generate a new sound, a new event and people can gather around the music and I believe that just instruments are kind of the diametrically opposite to what a gun is – like, the guns are the rule of fear and music is the rule of trust.””

Artist Transforms Guns To Make Music – Literally | NPR | January 25, 2014

“…Dominic Walker and Teague Bechtel, both guitarists in the university’s graduate jazz program, are playing what look like steel guitars fashioned from 9 mm semiautomatic handguns. “That was pretty surprising the first time that we went and saw them,” Bechtel says. Laughing, Walker adds, “We just make sure the safety’s on.”

USF Contemporary Art Museum celebrates with ‘Social Engagement’ | Tampa Bay Times | January 29, 2014

“…The subtitle of this show, “Social Engagement,” is a vast and inclusive term. The art chosen for the show gives us many entry points for such engagement, from the simple pleasure of watching something vibrant visually to deeper ruminations about the social problems of our time.”

The Gun Report | NYTimes.com | January 29, 2014

“…Reyes said he wants people to think about the availability of guns in the United States, and the impact they have in Mexico. The project began six years ago in Culiacán, which collected 1,527 guns that Reyes melted to create art.”

More about CAM@25: Social Engagement
The USF Contemporary Art Museum celebrates its 25th anniversary with CAM@25: Social Engagement to highlight its history of bringing artists, and the practice of making contemporary art, to the Tampa Bay community. This selection of installations serves to mark CAM’s extensive history of exhibitions, commissions and collaborations with artists whose practices and projects embrace an ethos of responsible social meaning, purpose and motivation in the public sphere. Artists include Los Carpinteros (Cuba/Spain), Pedro Reyes (Mexico), and Janaina Tschäpe (Brazil/Germany).

Press Release pdf | Exhibition brochure pdf

Pedro Reyes, Imagine [2012] installed at USFCAM. photo: Peter Foe

Pedro Reyes, Imagine [2012] installed at USFCAM. photo: Peter Foe

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