Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Graphic Tour of My Desk


Welcome to a short tour of my desk, with some of my creative & personal inspirations. (L to R)

ELISA MCKNIGHT: a "Cancer Sucks" button that my mother gave me during her Chemo/Herceptin therapy. As she said, "Here, have this. Why the hell would I want it." She has been in remission for about 2.5 years. Yay!
HANK WILLIS THOMAS: an "I Like Dick" image pulled from a gallery ad for What Goes Without Saying. Thomas is a contemporary African American artist whose photographs were shown in the MCA Denver exhibition More American Photographs.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Fabric of Jen Bervin’s Work

MCA Denver invited artist Derek Beaulieu to guest blog during the duration of the exhibition Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art, in which excerpts from Beaulieu's 124-painting sequence the Newspaper are featured. Beaulieu is the author of 9 books of poetry and conceptual fiction. He teaches at the Alberta College of Art + Design and can be found online at:  www.derekbeaulieu.wordpress.comThis is the second of four blogs for MCA Denver.
In this blog, Derek Beaulieu focuses on the work of Jen Bervin, one of 102 artists whose work appears in the current MCA Denver exhibition Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art. Her works, The Composite Marks of  Fascicle 28 and The Composite Marks of Fascicle 40, remove the words from Emily Dickinson's published poetry and retain only the editorial marks, insertions, and amendments found in her original handwritten manuscripts.

My first exposure to Jen Bervin’s work was though her Nets (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2004) in which she erases sections of Shakespeare’s sonnets in order to create fragile poems of beautiful telegraph-like brevity. Shakespeare’s sonnet 2 (“When forty winters shall besiege thy brow”) is, for example, condensed and transformed into “a weed of small worth / asked / to be new made.” The “weed of small worth / asked / to be new made” is an ongoing concern in Bervin’s work, as she harvests poetic gestures emerging from the poetic ground of other poets’ work. Her work has a melancholic tone as she focuses on creation through absence: a writing of the holes in literature.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Why I Love This Art – Christian Bök's Xenotext

Why I Love This Art features museum employees, volunteers, and interns talking about art they love from the exhibitions at MCA Denver. Here Program Producer Jesse Leaneagh writes about Christian Bök’s Protein 13, on view as part of the exhibition Postscript from October 12, 2012 – February 3, 2013.

Christian Bök’s The Xenotext is a feat of molecular biology as much as art history. The Xenotext experiment began as a lyrical poem, which Bök first translated into a DNA sequence and then implanted into an extremophile microbe, which is an organism that can live at the bottom of the ocean and in extreme temperature conditions (places where survival is impossible for most life forms). Upon receiving this DNA sequence, the microbe generated a protein in response, a model of which is currently on view in our galleries as the sculpture Protein 13 [above]. This final protein can be translated back into a poem itself, and this final poem is on view behind Bök’s sculpture in the galleries.  In Bök’s words, “The Xenotext Experiment strives to ‘infect’ the language of genetics with the ‘poetic vectors’ of its own discourse, doing so in order to extend poetry itself beyond the formal limits of the book.”  In a final pyrotechnic flourish, the initial poem and the response poem both include the word "glow," and the microbe in fact glows during the process of generating the response protein. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Inspirational Tale I Never Wanted to Tell

I had a conversation recently with Nina Simon, probably the leading spokesperson for museum reform in the United States, about museums and audiences. Speaking to her gave me the occasion to share with her a story that, for reasons that may be obvious below, I rarely recount publicly, though I think about often. When Nina asked me if she could use the story in her popular blog, Museum 2.0, I realized that it was about time for me to share it myself