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Label: retrospective

Wednesday 27th May 2015Artist Spotlight Retrospective: Christopher Burden

Most artists consider themselves deeply committed to their own work. It's one of the things that drives them forwards, gives them inspiration, and instills a complete authenticity to their pieces. While it's hard to measure commitment in a quantifiable way, it's hard to find many artists who are as committed to their performance work as the late Chris Burden. Burden, who passed away just this year on May 10th, was an artist who made a name for himself early in his career in the 1970s in the United States with a variety of performance pieces. While his later career moved away from performance towards installation pieces, he is still best known for his performance work.

There is a very important reason that he is best known for his earlier works, and why this article began by discussing artistic commitment to one's work – arguably his most famous piece is entitled 'Shoot', from 1971. As you might begin to guess by now, the piece actually involved him getting shot with a live bullet by his assistant. It was only in the arm, but there are few artists in the world who are that dedicated to shocking people.

Another of his more famous pieces was entitled Trans-Fixed, and involved Burden, a Volkswagen Beetle and two long nails. The nails were hammered through the palms of his hands, evoking images of crucifixion. That piece was enacted a mere 3 years after he had taken a bullet in Shoot, showcasing his willingness to literally suffer for his art.

Much speculation has been made about how he went down this path, with some critics suggesting that it is a result of a childhood accident at age 12 on the island of Elba, Italy, the same place where Napoleon was exiled. After a motor-scooter accident, he had to undergo emergency surgery on his left foot without the benefits of anesthesia. During his long recovery from this tragedy, he began to develop an interest in art and photography, which may be responsible for his association between art and physical pain.

By the end of the 1970s, however, he had begun to move away from his so-called 'danger pieces' towards large sculptural installations, many of which involved intricate machinery and engineering, and began almost to move towards design and industrial engineering. Regardless of how you feel about the trajectory of his career, he was a fascinating artist and complicated man, and the art world will miss his unique brand of work.  

Posted on May 27th 2015 on 06:08pm

Monday 27th October 2014Your Guide to Gallereo: A Retrospective

It's been just over a year since we started doing regularly postings here at the Gallereo blog, and after our recent post about looking back over your artistic career as the year draws to a close, we couldn't help but look back at our own postings. We've covered a number of tips for getting your Gallereo page up and running as quickly and effectively as possible, and many of you new readers (welcome!) may not have had a chance to read them, so we thought we'd put together a quick guide to some of the highlights that will help you get the most out of your Gallereo page.
First steps are the most important, so for those of who are brand new to Gallereo, get a quick rundown on what you need to know with our post on first steps for digital artists. It's just a quick overview, but if you're new, it's the best place to get a sense of where you need to direct your energies.

Once you've got the basics down, you'll want to dig in to learn more about digitising your work to get it up on your Gallereo page. Fortunately, we've got a quick guide for you on that score as well. Getting your work online isn't all there is to it of course, so next you'll need to generate some buzz.

There are a number of ways to do start developing your following, and using social media to drive sales can be a powerful tool if you handle it properly. You will also want to make sure that you take full use of the blogging feature on your Gallereo page, and we've got some blog post ideas and inspiration for those of you who aren't natural writers.

Don't get so caught up in developing fans that you forget to tell them about yourself, though. The story behind your artwork and your artistic career is one of the things that helps sell pieces - buyers love to hear the root beginnings of the artwork they purchase.

This is just the very tip of the iceberg, of course, and there's a ton of great content going back through the the last year, but this quick guide should put you on the right track with a minimum of fuss. Dig in, do some reading, and then start putting the ideas into action, and you'll start making sales in no time at all.

Posted on October 27th 2014 on 04:17am

Friday 10th October 2014What Started You As An Artist?

The end of the year is fast approaching, and times like this often inspire us to take a look back at the previous year, at everything we've accomplished and everything that we still have yet to do. Sometimes, it makes us look even farther back at how we arrived at the places we are now in our lives, and artists feel this perhaps even more keenly than others. The creative process is inherently reflective, and is effective largely because of our past experiences and how they shape us. Just as an exercise, as this year comes to a close, take some time to look back at your artistic career, no matter how long it's been, and take stock of where you are now compared to where you started.
To get yourself into the reflective mood, start by looking back over what you've done this year so far. How has your technique changed? What have you begun to learn or experiment with? What do you wish you'd done that you didn't have time or inspiration for? This is one of the times when it really pays to maintain a kind of archive, not just of your work (because of course you do that anyways) but also of all the various bits and pieces of inspiration you've found and experiments and process work you've doubtless created. They provide a chronology of your development, a kind of textual mirror of your artistic sensibilities.

Then start looking farther back, so that you really get a sense of where your artistic career came from. What made you decide to become an artist in the first place? For almost all of us, it was a conscious choice at some point in our lives, even if we don't remember the exact moment - but even better if you do remember. What potential forks in your artistic path did you pass by along the way? Are any of them worth going back and re-examining?

There is a great, wondrous and often inspiring sense of place that can be found in coming back full circle to where you began. Even if you're not happy with the place you're in now, seeing how far you've come (or haven't) can provide the drive you need to continue to grow and evolve as an artist. So take some time to look back this year at the past, and let it propel you forwards into the future - and if you haven't been saving your inspirations, experiments, and process pieces, start to do it now!

Posted on October 10th 2014 on 08:12pm

Tuesday 15th July 2014Artist Spotlight: On Kawara, Retrospective

Typically, when we write these artist spotlight pieces, we're pointing out a new and exciting artist that it's well worth keeping an eye on, or someone whose career might not have caught your eye before now. In today's post, however, we're going to break from that tradition a little bit and take a look back at the life and times and work of On Kawara, who passed away recently, on July 10, 2014. It seems fitting, given that much of Kawara's work centered around themes of life, time, and mortality. Even the tweet shown above is a sample of that work, a Twitter bot which regularly posted the same message every day. Sadly, it now serves as an epitaph for the late artist, albeit a fitting one - after all, art is a creation that lives on past our own time of existence, and takes on a greater shape than we can hope to control.

Born in Kariya, Japan, in 1933, Kawara was a teenager when the atomic bombs were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, ending World War II and scarring Japan and its citizens. This seemed to provide much of the impetus for his early work, which focused (as much of the Japanese art at the time did) on the impacts of those devastating events, incorporating horrendous imagery of disfiguration and dismemberment. Eventually, however, this would grow to change over time, another fitting development for an artist who grew to be fascinated by the march of time and how we interact with it.

Perhaps the series for which Kawara is most famous is the Today series, which is arguably a sample of conceptualist rigor that continued throughout his entire career. It simply consists of a painting created every day with the date, rendered in exquisitely hand-drawn letters and numbers in sans serif font, done in whatever format is appropriate for the location of the artist at the time of creation. However, Kawara had a great many shows, in both solo and group formats, at galleries around the world.

Eventually, Kawara took up residence in New York City, where he died on the 10th of July. It would have been interesting to see a version of the Today series painted while on a long-haul flight between New York City and Tokyo, as crossing the international dateline and the different date formats between the two nations would have uniquely highlighted the dichotomies inherent in this beguilingly simple series. Regardless, Kawara will be missed.

Posted on July 15th 2014 on 05:07pm
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