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From the IMA’s Amsterdam Bureau…

[My husband, son, and I are in Amsterdam for 2 months this spring. John is a writer-in-residence with the Dutch Foundation for Literature, I am working/visiting artists/seeing art, and Henry is doing an exhaustive analysis of each of the city’s sandboxes.]

The other day I made an afternoon tour of a few art spots in Amsterdam—my list made manageable by the fact that it was a Tuesday and many galleries were closed—and wanted to give a brief report.

My stops:

1) Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (the museum’s project space) to see Alfredo Jaar’s The Marx Lounge, a reading room in which to peruse books by, about, or relating to Karl Marx, Marxist theory, capitalism, and post-colonialism. Jaar’s curated selection is laid out in a neat grid on a vast table, surrounded by red walls and carpet, along with couches, lamps, and neon lettering quietly humming the project’s title. As I do whenever I encounter a work by Jaar, I braced myself to be overwhelmed and to feel the enormity of that which I do not know, but should. You would think this would be a negative experience, but somehow, with Jaar’s work, it is not. I spent a while here, picking up books I wish I’ve read, browsing a few, making notes of books I plan to read, and feeling relief when encountering books I have read. Handily, the website provides a reading list, in case you’re feeling ambitious.

Another iteration of the lounge was part of the 2010 Liverpool Biennial, bringing to mind how site-determined the work is, that the reading list alters in each location, and that the social and political histories of each site, city, and nation come to bear on the interpretation of the piece. While the installation could have had a little more teeth for me if installed in a commercial gallery space, The Marx Lounge felt concise, sobering, and relevant—a plea for literacy and academicism in a time in which folks aren’t acting so literate or academic. Like all Jaar pieces, I felt like he was telling me to think and to remember. And I always appreciate that reminder.

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Filed under: Art, Contemporary, Musings, Travel


First Impressions

First Impressions is a social tagging experiment that allows us to see what you see, or rather, where you see. Individuals were able to go through a selection of artwork and click on where their eye was drawn first. By doing this, we were able to document exactly what people looked at first.

Kyle Jaebker is the applications developer behind First Impressions. “Coming from a non-art background, it’s interesting to see if I’m looking at what everyone else is . . . and any art interaction is valuable.”

So what do people see? Well here is one of the presented images -

Lozowick, Louis (American, 1892-1973), "Winter Fun."

and here is where everyone clicked (the warmer the color, the more clicks received).

The viewer did bounce around a little but mostly kept to the figures in the foreground and the center of the painting. But are these people looking at the right things? Or are there even right things to look at?

Marty Krause, Curator of Print, Drawings and Photographs, weighs in on this idea, “There aren’t wrong answers. People’s eyes tend to go to the middle—that’s how eyes work.” The artist knows this and builds their composition around it. You’ll look at what the artist intended you to look at first; it’s part of their job as a visual expresser.”

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Filed under: Around the Web, Art, Musings


Guess the Name of the Film Game – FINAL ROUND

It’s the final round of the Guess the Name of the Film Game! A big thank you to everyone for playing! Before we go on to today’s clues, here is a run-down of all films on schedule for the 2011 Summer Nights Film Series:

Below are your clues for the last film. I think you all know the drill by now but the first person to correctly guess will win two tickets to any Summer Nights film. Leave a comment below and the answer will be given tomorrow morning.

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Filed under: Art, Film, Musings, The Collection


Guess the Name of the Film Game – Round Twelve

It’s round twelve of Guess the Name of the Film Game! We’re almost to the end and thank you to all of those who have participated in the game over the past two weeks. With two films to go, you still have a chance to win!

Congratulations to yesterday’s winner for correctly guessing To Catch a Thief. The 1955 Alfred Hitchcock film will play August 12 at the IMA as part of the annual Summer Nights Film Series.

Below are your clues for the next film. The answer will be given tomorrow and the first person to correctly guess (by commenting below) will win two Summer Nights tickets. With only one artwork given, this one is going to be tough! I say that hesitantly as you have surprised me in earlier rounds (smarty-pants).


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Filed under: Art, Film, Musings, The Collection


Guess the Name of the Film Game – Round Eleven

“A hickey from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card.”

Playing August 5 in the IMA’s outdoor amphitheater, the tenth film of the Summer Nights Film Series will be the 1978 sing-a-long Grease! Congratulations to Sarah who correctly guessed the film based off of yesterday’s clues. Three more films to go! 

For those new to the game, we’re asking you to name film titles based on clues from the IMA’s permanent collection. All films are on schedule for the 2011 Summer Nights Series beginning June 3. IMA members can purchase tickets to films this Friday and ticket sales for the general public begin May 2. On the schedule so far, we have Mommie Dearest (1981), Blue Hawaii (1961), The Sandlot (1993),  The Wiz (1978), Zoolander (2001), Poltergeist (1982), Clerks (1994), Top Gun (1986), and Grease (1978).

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Filed under: Art, Film, Musings, The Collection


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