I just wanted to do a little report on some outstanding podcasts I watched last night.  They were all from Art:21, which I highly recommend if you are at all interested in contemporary art.  Also, they were all very short, usually somewhere between two and five minutes.

The first on I watched was actually not my favorite.  It was about an artist who had spent several years sculpting a giant ball sack that he was going to put a chair on top of.  One side had something that were supposed to look like balls and the other had something that was supposed to look like a penis.  It just looked like a messy blob of a sculpture to me, and I found it quite ugly.  Not that art necessarily has to be beautiful, but I do like beautiful art.  I like art to have beauty and ideas.  This piece seemed to have neither so it didn't do it for me.

The next one was about an artist who made thousands of small unique shapes.  They were all about four or five inches high and about three inches wide.  The artist collected various objects over the years and cast those in plaster.  Then he stacked the various plaster shapes together, using endless variations so that each stack was unique.  He then cast the stack in plaster and painted the resulting sculpture.  In the gallery he displayed them in a huge, shallow box.  People would look at it and not believe that the shapes were all actually unique, but they were.

The one after that was a video artist who was taking a break from video.  She was interested in the idea of technology and looked for an early reference to technology.  The earliest one she could find was the tower of Babel story from the Bible.  So she created her own language using a series of lines, and on a giant piece of board, wrote out the whole Babel story in her language.  She even included a code at the bottom for anyone crazy enough to try to decipher it.  I was in awe because I'm always interested to see how Biblical themes can be used in art, especially for non-devotional purposes.

Then, I watched one that was about a photographer who did some fashion work, although she wasn't normally a fashion photographer.  She worked on the project for several weeks.  She found some very odd-looking models, and had them pose as if they were in parties.  Then she edited a picture of a party or a restaurant in the background.  She didn't like that, so she took those out and did weird light effects in the background so that it looked like everyone was standing in front of a strobe light or disco ball or something.  She also made it look like she had used flash in all her photos, which she hadn't.  Her work wasn't my favorite visually but I was quite interested in the process.

The final podcast was with the same artist as the ball sack.  I liked this series of work much better, however.  He was fascinated by the idea of combining art and amusement park rides.  In the gallery, he set up a series of spinning projectors, so that images on the walls would spin around, giving the effect that the viewer was in a spinning ride.  Another work was a square structure with doors that open and shut rhythmically.  The structure would slowly spin open, so that the walls were sticking out and the structure was no longer a box, but four walls sticking out.  The final one was a structure that spun actually quite fast.  The idea was that a viewer could go inside and be stationary within the structure, yet the world outside would be spinning around.  It spun so fast that I don't know how anyone would actually get inside it, though.

So those five podcasts were very educational and I am pleased that I managed to fit a little learning into my busy day!