Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Real Body Art

Just received this article this morning from a former professor of mine. I happen to have my own 'body art' project in progress. Luckily mine does not involve waiting for people to die like this Russian artist. And you thought I was weird......


Andrei Molodkin has made moulds of praying hands and a brain which eventually will be filled with the boiled down crude oil from the body of the BBC reporter Sasha Gankin. It gives a grim new meaning to the term body art. A leading contemporary Russian artist says he has perfected a technique to boil human corpses into crude oil from which he will create permanent
sculptures, and he has already signed up willing volunteers. Andrei Molodkin, who will represent Russia at this year's Venice Biennale, claims that after spending three to six months in a high-pressure machine, a corpse becomes oil that can be used to
power cars or be moulded into a permanent memorial statue to sit on the mantelpiece. His work is the ultimate extension of a growing trend for artists to use human bodies as art materials. The sculptor Marc Quinn made a study of his head from his frozen blood; Gilbert and George regularly use bodily fluids in their art, and G√ľnther von Hagens's Body Worlds exhibition
of preserved corpses is on at London's O2. Paris-based Molodkin, 43, has already signed up the BBC reporter Sasha Gankin, who wants to be rendered into a sculpture of a brain, as well as a French porn star, Chloé des Lysses, who wants to be turned into a model of praying hands. Conscious he may have to wait several decades before putting these plans into action, Molodkin
has also signed up some HIV sufferers in New York, whom he expects to die "in one or two years"._IndependentUK

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I live in the wrong country

A BIZARRE hospital-themed restaurant in Latvia is serving food resembling body parts with surgical utensils.

Decked out in a sterile, modern medical environment and boasting scantily clad nurses, the Hospitalis in Riga serves hearty Latvian dishes and a macabre cake topped with realistic-looking body parts such as fingers, noses and tongues.

Owned by a group of local doctors, Hospitalis also has a trendy cocktail bar where bartenders in white lab coats mix drinks into beakers and test tubes.

Guests are treated to disturbing dinner entertainment including morbid tunes on violins, while deranged patients are escorted through the restaurant in straightjackets and wheelchairs.

My they would like to purchase some of my photographs???

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mary Ellen Mark and the Austin Center for Photography

This Thursday marks the first official Austin Center for Photography event with a lecture by Mary Ellen Mark. Although we have co-sponsored events such as slideluck and a panel discussions at the Austin Museum of Art the 'Icons of Photography' lecture series was conceived by ACP in one of our first board meeting over a year ago. I first met with a group of photo enthusiasts in January of 2008 and since then we have meet every month sometimes two and three times during a month for the last year.

Thursday will be the culmination of all our efforts to date to create an intelligent dialogue about photography and create a cohesive photography community in Austin, Texas. I am speechless that its all happening and that we are so lucky to kick off the lecture series with Mary Ellen Mark.

It was in Austin over a decade ago when I was a photojournalism student at the University of Texas that I first studied Mark. My favorite image to date is of a young woman in a mental institution who is almost fully submerged in a soapy bath. The water frames her face, and her dark hair is a nice contrast to the sterile white claw foot tub she is in. The gaze of the woman is distant. The image is haunting and beautiful. I always wondered if Mark simply stood over her or if she needed a ladder to create the image. Is there a frame in which the woman meets Mark's gaze? The image is part of a longer series titled Ward 81.

In 1975, photographer Mary Ellen Mark was assigned by a magazine to do a story on the making of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, shot on location at the Oregon State Hospital, a mental institution. While there, she met, briefly, the women of Ward 81.

Ward 81 is the women's security ward of the hospital, the only locked ward for women in the state. The women on this ward are considered dangerous to themselves or to others.

In February of 1976, Mary Ellen and Karen Folger Jacobs, a writer and social scientist, were given permission to live on the ward in order to photograph and interview the women. They spent thirty-six days on Ward 81.

I will have to pinch myself several times this week. I am fortunate to be able to attend the lecture at the Blanton Auditorium Thursday evening, a Texas Monthly Talks taping on Thursday morning and a private ACP dinner with Mark.

If you haven't yet become an ACP member its not too and don't forget to RSVP for the event. The lecture starts at 7 with a book signing to follow.

Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon, USA, 1976 Copyright Mary Ellen Mark

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Little R&R

The show successfully opened Friday. Despite three other large openings in Houston we had a steady crowd all night. I can't say a piece sold of the wall just yet but most people picked up a catalogue and were sweet enough to ask me to sign it.

On Friday, a few hours before the opening I was interviewed on KPFT as part of the segment called Living Art. Our segment starts 25 minutes in. It was the first time I got to meet Michael Galbreth and Sandra York–two cancer survivors and local Houston artists. Both will be participating in the panel discussion March 21 at Art League.

The biggest shock of the night came when my grandparents from Florida walked in to surprise me. Thank you to my family for making it happen and to the friends and family who made it out that night. Your presence meant the world to me. A special note goes to Gary Schott–my partner and biggest fan for supporting me in so many ways during the last few months.

Its somewhat surreal to be on the other side of the opening. I worked so hard for so many months to produce the show and the catalogue I can't quite get over the fact the big night is behind me. However I am gearing up for the panel discussion.

If you didn't make it out that night the show runs through April 17. I'll be posting installation shots and more photos soon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Repository: Photographs and Video by Sarah Sudhoff Opens Friday

My long anticipated first solo show opens Friday March 6, 2009 at Art League Houston in Houston, Texas. The reception begins at 6 and runs till 8 or later. I will be giving a brief artist talk at 6:15 so arrive early.

Monday I traveled to Houston and along with Sarah Schellenberg, exhibitions coordinator at AL and Tommy Gregory a friend and preparator at Blue Star Contemporary Art Space in San Antonio, hung 14 photographs and one flat screen. Two large pieces had to be re-framed at the last minute and one of the two flat screens we ordered arrived late. So I'm driving back to Houston Thursday evening to start bright and early at the gallery on Friday to hang one 40x50 and one 30x40 along with the second flat screen all before my interview with a local radio station for a segment called Living Art.

I wish I could say this has been an easy process but not having a team to work with and coordinating the printer, framer, designer and offset printer and working with several deadlines was overwhelming. And of course there are last minute snags and the issue of funds. Since the show is at a non-profit most of the expense for producing the show as well as curating and installing lies with the artist. Luckily Art League offers a stipend and some assistance. I look forward to the day I have a team which can handle printing and framing. Another team which focuses on promotion and grant writing and another team which takes care of installing and selling of the work.

I don't feel the show looks or is perfect. Given an unlimited budget there would be more small pieces or a few more large scale photographs. Like I've been told over and over by friends who have recently had their first solo shows its not going to be perfect. You learn and you move on.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Catalog is Here!!!

I have never before produced my own catalog to accompany an exhibition. It was quite the learning process from what offset printing really costs to paper selection, turn around times and the series of color and press proofs. My designers at Wyattbrand: Rachel, Pam and Teddy and my contact Betty at Capital Printing all made the process so easy. I had enough stress with printing 14 new pieces and framing them as well as securing two flat screens and one large projector all for the exhibition opening this Friday.

The catalog is 24 pages including 10 images, two new images created for the solo exhibition. Anonda Bell, director and curator at Rutgers University wrote a two page essay titled 'Unapologetic Aesthetics'. The catalog also includes a short cv and acknowledgements.

The limited edition catalog will be available for purchase at Art League Houston for $15 during the run of the exhibition as well as here on the blog for $20 which includes shipping. Payments are accepted through Paypal. Please contact me if you prefer to mail a personal check.