SuMFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: Hoon Lee

Hoon Lee is the coordinator of Michigan’s Grand Valley State University’s ceramics program. He holds a master of fine arts degree from Alfred University as well as a master of arts in ceramic art and industrial design from Seoul National University of Technology in Korea.

On his website, he states that his performative installation work is in “clay as idea, material, process and concept.” Here is a detail of one of his pieces, Murmur, Murder & Mother: Washed, at the 5th Annual World Ceramic Biennale in Korea in 2009:

Murmur, Murder & Mother: Washed

Find out more information on the Summer MFA Food for Thought lecture series. Lectures are about an hour long, free, and open to the public.

Digital Library of the Week: Pop-Up and Movable Books

a tunnel book by Martin Englebrecht
a tunnel book by Martin Englebrecht

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. just opened a new exhibition, Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop & Turn.

To accompany the exhibition, the museum created a wonderful blog with excellent photos, videos, and plenty of information on the history of movable books. “Movable” book includes not just pop-ups, but any book form with movable parts, such as tunnel books, mechanical books, and carousels.

If you can’t make it down to the exhibition (it will be up through September 2011), see more great book arts at Pop-up and Movable Books: A Tour through Their History.

This interactive website includes movable books from the University of North Texas’ special collections. It gives a terrific history, with references and lots of images.

From "Puss in Boots" in a 1934 publication
From "Puss in Boots" in a 1934 publication

As always, find more great material in the UArts Libraries. You’ll find lots of information under subjects such as toy and movable books and pop-ups. Also, don’t forget our own artist’s books collection!

Digital Library of the Week: “Penny Plains” and “Two-pence Coloured:” English Theatrical Portraits from NYPL

“Penny Plains” and “Two-pence Coloured:” English Theatrical Portraits 1799-1847 in the William Appleton Collection from the New York Public Library Digital Image Gallery includes over 300 English toy theatre portrait prints depicting characters for many different plays, including many of Shakespeare’s.  Each portrait is based on a real actor who portrayed the character on stage. For example, here is Edmund Kean in character as Richard the Third:

Mr. Kean as Richard the Third
Mr. Kean as Richard the Third

This is a “two-pence coloured” print, named for its cost of two English pennies. “Penny plains” have no coloring and cost just one penny. Prints were often purchased by children, glued to firm cardboard, and the character cut out. It could then be used in toy theatre, with the stage and set design often created by the child (though soon these also became available for sale) and favorite plays were acted out, in miniature, at home.

To learn more about toy theatre, check out Toy Theatres of the World by Peter Baldwin. It’s in the Greenfield Library’s open stacks with call number 745.5928 B193t.

SuMFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: SIMPARCH

June 23 kicks off the first UArts Summer MFA program lecture series, Food for Thought. The first speaker is the artist collective, SIMPARCH.

SIMPARCH work in large-scale installations that cross boundaries between sculpture and architecture. Often interactive and employing sound, SIMPARCH embodies the current trend of D.I.Y. and reusing materials to create social environments.

SIMPARCH's Free Basin (2000)
SIMPARCH's Free Basin (2000)

Here is some additional reading material, offered through the University Libraries’ website, to help you learn more about this popular artist collective. All found through the article database Wilson Web, the links will take you right to the articles (if you are off campus, you will need to enter your name and library barcode first).

Noah Chasin’s “Off the Wall“(Art Review, July 2006: 46-9) is a brief overview of this “anarchitect” group and their latest installations. Referring to their “punk rock” style of architecture, Chasin notes that this group is best when “they draw attention to the forgotten spaces, gaps and margins of the urban environment.”

In “Skate Logic” (Interior Design, May 2003: 234-235). Cindy Coleman reviews perhaps SIMPARCH’s most famous work, Free Basin. Coleman describes how the artists transformed an abandoned swimming pool into an indoor skateboarding park.

Kathryn Hixson’s interview with Steve Badgett and Matt Lynch (“Simparch,” New Art Examiner, November 2000: 44-6)  highlights the creation of SIMPARCH, its earlier works, as well as the conceptual and material foundations of much of their work. Free Basin is examined in detail.

James Pallister’s “Telling Stories” (Architects’ Journal, August 27 2009: 22-9) discusses a giant human head from timber blocks that SIMPARCH created. The visitor enters through the mouth and can climb stairs to look out the eyes into the great wilderness of Kielder Water and Forest Park Art and Architecture Programme (Northumberland, England). Inspired by Celtic spirits who watch over the land, the articles describes the monumental structure as “a mystery that makes you want to get closer.”

Simparch’s Social Sculpture at the Wendover Air Force Base” (Polly Ullrich, Sculpture, May 2004: 24-5) reviews Clean Livin’, an off-the-grid Quonset hut. It was commissioned by the Center for Land Use Interpretation ‘so that visitors could experience and study the stark landscape and controversial military past of Wendover.” She discusses the construction of the project and its self-sustainability.

Find out more information on the Summer MFA Food for Thought lecture series. Lectures are about an hour long, free and open to the public.