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Contents for December 24, 2012

1. Clifford Owens, FF Alumn, receives 2012 William H. Johnson Prize, and more

2012 Johnson Prize Winner
Clifford Owens

Born in Baltimore in 1971, Clifford Owens studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Mason Gross School of Visual Arts, Rutgers University, and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. He was an artist in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem (2006) and he attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2004). He has had solo exhibitions at PS1, New York (2011-2012) and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2011). His work has been included in important museum group exhibitions including, Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2012); Deliverance, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (2012); Greater New York 2005, Museum of Modern Art PS1, New York (2005), and Freestyle, The Studio Museum in Harlem (2001).

Owens has also received grants including: Art Matters; Louis Tiffany Comfort Award; New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship; New York Community Trust; Lambent Foundation and the Rutgers University Ralph Bunche Distinguished Graduate Fellowship. He has lectured widely about his work and he has held visiting artist faculty positions at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art; Yale University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

"Clifford Owens works in multiple media: performance, photography, text and video. In his work, no one media is subordinate to the other. Instead each mode drives the other, and has an integrity of its own as the live experience is crystallized or fragmented. The resulting work, whatever its manifestation, serves to challenge expectations of race and gender, time and space, power and permission, performer and spectator." (Deborah Goffe)

The 2012 jury consisted of Franklin Sirmans, Chief Curator of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston; Amy Adler, artist & instructor; and Dave McKenzie, artist and Clifford Owens Artist Talk & Book Signing.

Date: Thursday, January 24th, 7 p.m.
Location: Barnes and Noble, 150 East 86th Street (at Lexington Avenue), New York, NY
Performance artist Clifford Owens (NYFA Fellow in Performance Art/Multidisciplinary Work, 2005) discusses his first publication, Anthology, which includes written performance scores that Owens solicited from fellow African-American artists, as part of his recent exhibition at MoMA PS1. This event is free and open to the public.



2. Chris Sullivan, FF Alumn, in The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 20

Wall Street Journal
Updated December 20, 2012, 8:19 p.m. ET

Sloooooow-Motion Animation
Director Chris Sullivan pours 15 years of work into 'Consuming Spirits'; still seeking a distributor


Filmmaking is a notoriously time-consuming process. Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," for example, was in the works for considerably longer than its subject occupied the White House. But even by that standard, "Consuming Spirits," a critically acclaimed animated feature by the Chicago writer-director Chris Sullivan, is something of an outlier, having taken an astounding 15 years to complete.

Chris Sullivan animated most of 'Consuming Spirits' with his own hands and produced the project for $80,000.

Not that Mr. Sullivan is a lazy fellow. Unlike the well-staffed, heavily bankrolled projects of Disney DIS -2.22% and Pixar, "Consuming Spirits"-a melancholy, wildly inventive work that has been screened at major film festivals around the country and is being shown at New York's Film Forum through Monday-is the product of an obsessive artist who animated three-fifths of its 129 minutes with his own hands, using puppets, tracing paper and miniature models shot on 16mm film.

Mr. Sullivan wrote the script and self-produced the project for about $80,000, relying on the help of family members, friends (including the Chicago photographer Robert Levy, who gives a startling lead vocal performance as an aging radio host named Earl Gray) and two hired assistant animators. He also edited the film and its soundtrack, on which he played most of the instruments (guitar, piano, harp and accordion), and voiced one of the main characters, all while raising a family and working full-time as a professor of film at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

"If I didn't have a job or kids to raise, it would have taken six or seven years, but I didn't Madame Curie myself away," says Mr. Sullivan, 52. "I worked very hard, but I probably worked on this film less than most Americans watch TV."

"Consuming Spirits" currently lacks a distributor, although a rave review last week by the New York Times's A.O. Scott (who called it an "inquiry into the darkest zones of the human heart") has stirred new interest from potential backers. The fact that Mr. Sullivan pursued his vision so doggedly over so many years with little concern for its commercial prospects can be explained in part by its being so personal. The film's complicated plot, which turns on the secretly intertwined histories of Earl and a pair of workers at a small-town newspaper in northern Appalachia, explores themes of family dysfunction, misguided love and the pull of the tragic past on the present, all relevant in Mr. Sullivan's own life.

Growing up in a semirural neighborhood in Pittsburgh as one of 11 children in a poor family, he was removed from his home by social services and placed temporarily into foster care; earlier, one of his sisters was hit and killed by a car. Both incidents happened before his earliest memories, "but they're part of my Freudian build," he says. They're therefore echoed in "Consuming Spirits," in which he provides the voice of Victor Blue, an often-disoriented man who "experienced something that he was too young to remember," Mr. Sullivan says, "but it affected his life."

With these personal demons exorcised, the filmmaker has already begun his next project, a new feature called "The Orbit of Minor Satellites." This time around, it's his hope to finish the film in three years. Emphasis on hope.

A version of this article appeared December 21, 2012, on page D10 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Sloooooow-Motion Animation.



3. Ann Hamilton, FF Alumn, in The Wall Street Journal, December 22

The Wall Street Journal
Immersed In the Hubbub

'The Event of a Thread' by Ann Hamilton, an installation at the Park Avenue Armory
Ann Hamilton: The Event of a Thread

Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Ave., (212) 616-3930
Through Jan. 6

Ann Hamilton is probably the most liked performance-installation artist around. Or the least disliked. That's because the 1993 MacArthur Fellowship winner doesn't use shock, vulgar excess or political preachiness in her usually vast, ritualistic, good-looking and yet somehow contemplative work. Ms. Hamilton (b. 1956) started out as a weaver; thus the title-a quote from Anni Albers-of her first new piece in New York in more than 10 years.

The ingredients in Ms. Hamilton's latest offering: the Armory's cavernous drill hall; a huge billowing white curtain whose top echoes the arc of the building's span; 42 wide, wooden-plank swings suspended by chains from the high ceiling; a like number of radios wrapped in brown-paper bags; two gray-cloaked readers at one end of the enormous room who recite texts from authors ranging from Aristotle to the poet Ann Lauterbach (the texts are broadcast through the radios); a similarly garbed person at the other end of the hall who sits and writes whatever comes to mind; a singer who sings from the Armory's "Juliet balcony" at closing time each day, and a flock of homing pigeons released at about the same time.

Meanwhile, the audience swings on the swings (causing the curtain to move); walks around with the radios pressed to their ears; lies beneath the curtain and looks up; and supplies ambient sounds.

What with the texts and a free newspaper/catalog containing an artist's statement, a musical score and a couple of voice and gesture diagrams from "Fenno's Science of Speech" (1912), it all seems to mean something. But "Event" is too complicated for anybody not writing a dissertation on Ms. Hamilton to decipher. Instead, the best approach is to treat it like a calming, immersive experience-something like entering a big, cool cathedral with liturgical music emanating from a distant corner-before returning to the hubbub of the city streets, refreshed. You'll be delighted that a work in a very contemporary mode absolutely defeats any need to be hip.



4. Jim Johnson, FF Alumn, now online

I've recently posted a new animation on my website. It's called MS Trio and is based on the Magic Square design that I've been working with over the years. I think it looks pretty good on an iPhone (haven't seen it on iPad yet). I hope you enjoy it.


Happy Holidays and Peace.




5. Rob Andrews, FF Alumn, now online

I'm often asked: Why the Minotaur? I developed this audio essay to cut away at that. Please post and listen.


Be Void,



6. Frank Moore, FF Alumn, at Temescal Arts Center, Oakland, CA, January 5, 2013

a ritual audience participation experience experiment

The Long-Running Underground Hit!

Frank Moore, world-known shaman performance artist, will conduct improvised passions of musicians, actors, dancers, and audience members in a laboratory setting to create altered realities of fusion beyond taboos. Bring your passions and musical instruments and your senses of adventure and humor. Other than that, ADMISSION IS FREE! (But donations are encouraged.)


Saturday, January 5, 2013

511 48th Street
Oakland, CA 94609-2058

For more information
Call: 510-526-7858

2013 Dates!

Saturday, February 2, 2013
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Saturday, October 5 , 2013
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Saturday, December 7, 2013

"Lauded and controversial shaman performance artist Frank Moore ... will be sure to baffle your mind. Moore will attempt to reimagine human emotion through the use of musicians, actors, dancers, and members of the audience. It's experimental performance art at its most experimental."
George McIntire, San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Frank Moore, a genius explorer of the frontiers of human affection."

"One of the country's most controversial and profound artists." Kotori Magazine

"...He's wonderful and hilarious and knows exactly what it's all about and has earned my undying respect. What he's doing is impossible, and he knows it. That's good art...." L.A. Weekly

Resisting "the easy and superficial descriptions..., Moore's work challenges the consensus view more strongly in ways less acceptable than...angry tirades and bitter attacks on consumer culture." Chicago New City

"Transformative..." Moore "is thwarting nature in an astonishing manner, and is fusing art, ritual and religion in ways the Eurocentric world has only dim memories of. Espousing a kind of paganism without bite and aggression, Frank Moore is indeed worth watching." High Performance Magazine

"...one of the U.S.'s most controversial performance artists,...." P-Form Magazine

"If performance art has a radical edge, it has to be Frank Moore." Cleveland Edition

"Surely wonderful and mind-goosing experience." L.A. Reader

"(Frank Moore is) the king of eroticism." Mike Trachel

"We came, we saw, we read local performance artist-provocateur Frank Moore's poem...experience the joys of unsettled discomfort..." - Kimberly Chun, SF Chronicle

Downloadable poster here:




Goings On is compiled weekly by Harley Spiller