Archive for November, 2007


Posted by erin on November 24th, 2007

The Landscape of War – San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art – Panel Discussion

By Julia Bradshaw

November 11th, 2007. Remembrance Day. And artists do not allow us to forget. At the San Jose Institute for Contemporary Art on the 11th November, writer Rebecca Solnit gathered a panel of artists, journalists and scholars to discuss their work around the government-termed ‘war on terror’ and its current excursions into military dominated foreign policy. As a listener, it was stimulating to hear from people who are actively trying to make a difference in our consciousness whether it is by wielding a pen, a camera or working with the very old art of woodcut.

Artists participating in the show at SJICA are actively commenting on current conflicts overseas and also the position of the United States as a dominant and economic power. In this show, guest curated by Anne Veh, it was enlightening to see how visual artists masterfully create political commentary in a visually engaging manner. Indeed, what is the place of art with regards to war activism? Does it have any impact? Panelist and artist Trevor Paglen said that “art doesn’t do anything [but] it creates a culture of visual dissent.” Paglen takes photographs of remote military and CIA locations using photographic means usually reserved for Astro-Photographers. His photographs of clandestine military installations are blurry and indistinct as his camera equipment attempts to capture light and break through the atmospheric haze from distances of 22 miles or more. Through photography, Paglen is uncovering the layers of secrecy surrounding government operations. His projects are an insistence on truth and the images at SJICA are a meager indication of the depth of research and investigative geography with which he documents hidden military landscapes.


Trevor Paglen’s Unmarked 737



Posted by erin on November 23rd, 2007

KEN MATSUMOTO – “A Reason for Being”
By Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

What is a reason for being? Perhaps, it is simply to appreciate the nature or history of a material through realization of form. Ken Matsumoto explores this question and others he may only begin to articulate in his current exhibition at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara.

In explaining his vessels made of bricks and mortar Ken Matsumoto tells the story of Dr Ishikawa’s house to illustrate this point. “Dr. Ishikawa had bequeathed his home (located 50 yards down the street from my studio/gallery) to the Japanese American Museum of San Jose‚Ķ the home was used as the museum for several years until recently when it was razed to make way for the construction of a structure more suited to the mission of the JAM. ‚Ķmy friend Jimi Yamaichi, harvested from the destruction, stacks of red clay bricks, thinking that they would be of use. ‚ĶJimi agreed to let me use some of them.” Honoring the memory of Dr. Ishikawa through the metaphor of a vessel constructed from bricks and mortar from his own house is the vessel’s reason for being, however it is only the beginning of Matsumoto’s exploration.


Ken Matsumoto’s Bricks and Mortar