Lisa Tan: Dodge and Burn 2017 - 2020 July 4

JANUARY 14 – APRIL 2, 2022

It begins with a blunder. “I pressed stop instead of record,” writes Lisa Tan, in the script for her new work, Dodge and Burn 2017-2020 July 4. The mishap occurs during the first of three, consecutive attempts to film fireworks on the 4th of July, from the vantage point of a passenger on a commercial airliner destined for Los Angeles International Airport. Through this evasion, she discovers how an image refusing capture reveals far more in its absence.

Witnessed from inside the muffled interior of an airplane, fireworks seen from this position look a lot like an image of war. If this is her initial, facile observation, it is troubled by the fact that moments before landing, every plane destined for Los Angeles, descends directly over neighborhoods where the militarization of the police in America was actively developed in the 1960s and where the first SWAT team was deployed. Making a connection between this history and its immanent affects, she attempts to capture the scene inside of the destructive years of the Trump presidency.

By the time the shot evades her for the third time (a third-year) a different kind of violence comes to the fore. The visible shuffles place with the invisible. And we are taken on a journey that reaches for the role of images in a time of visual and information overload, sensing how forms of violence are ever more frequently self-inflicted under prevailing structures, including the condition of burnout, troubling the established limits of representation.

The exhibition holds these connections up for consideration inside of a spoken narrative. The telling of which grounds the installation, as it weighs if and when an image, a word, or a piece of information, is given or deprived—sought out or passively encountered.

The exhibition is supported by grants by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and the Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts.


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FlucT

November 12, 7:00 pm

FlucT is the collaborative work of Sigrid Lauren and Monica Mirabile. Creating original soundscapes linking a manipulated pop music psychosis with violently intimate dance, their compositions become projections aimed at exposing authorities of control in the United States capital culture.

Established in 2010, Lauren and Mirabile create duets, video installation, original scores, sculpture, and choreography. They have performed and exhibited at the Guggenheim, The Broad Museum, Miami Art Basel, SIGNAL, Queens Museum and Andrea Rosen Gallery. Their large-scale choreographed productions have included a multiplicity of performing artists, dancers, non-dancers and technicians (‘is it god or am i dog’, UpwardFacingControlTableTop’ and ‘Bigger Than You’) and they frequently collaborate with musicians including SOPHIE and PicturePlane, as well as founded Otion Front Studio, a performance and dance space in Brooklyn, New York. Their work has been reviewed by Art in America, The New York Times, The Fader, and Cura Magazine, among others.

This event is in-person at the Athenaeum (287 West Broad Street)

Unseen Skies
Directed by Yaara Bou Melhme, 2021,
98 minutes

October 23, 12:00 pm

At Ciné / 234 West Hancock

Contemporary artist Trevor Paglen is known for his political and mind-blowing art pieces on global mass surveillance, data collection, and artificial intelligence. This visually stunning and immersive film follows Paglen as he travels through the desolate Nevada desert while discussing the motivation for his latest and most audacious project: launching a satellite into orbit. Stunning cinematography, trippy computer graphics, and a percussive score imbue this compelling documentary with an ethereal tone that perfectly captures the provocative and breathtaking beauty of Paglen’s work.

AI, Ethics, and Aesthetics

October 20, 5:30 pm

A consortium of faculty from the University of Georgia will interrogate the relationship between artificial intelligence, aesthetics, and ethics. The discussion will focus largely on the possibility that AI, most notably in the form of machine-learning recommender systems, causes unintended aesthetic harm by degrading our aesthetic capacities and biasing our aesthetic choices. Panelists include Anna Abraham, Educational Psychology; David Saltz, Theater and Film Studies;  Aaron Meskin, Philosophy and AI; Rosanna Smith, Marketing; and Isabelle Wallace, School of Art. 

This event is in-person and at the Athenaeum (287 West Broad Street)

Anna Abraham, Ph.D. is the E. Paul Torrance Professor at the Department of Educational Psychology and Director of the Torrance Center for Creativity & Talent Development at UGA's Mary Frances Early College of Education. She is a psychologist and neuroscientist who investigates the cognitive and brain mechanisms underlying creativity and other aspects of the human imagination, including the reality-fiction distinction, mental time travel, social and self-referential cognition, and mental state reasoning. She is the author of numerous publications including the book, The Neuroscience of Creativity (2018, Cambridge University Press), and the edited multidisciplinary volume, The Cambridge Handbook of the Imagination (2020).

Aaron Meskin is the head of the Philosophy Department at UGA. Prior to this role, he was a Professor of Philosophical Aesthetics at the University of Leeds in Leeds, England. And from 1999-2005 I taught at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The primary focus of his research is in the fields of aesthetics and the philosophy of art. He has published extensively on aesthetic testimony, authorship, the definition of art, emotional responses to fiction, the epistemology of photography, style, and the philosophical questions raised by the arts of comics, dance, short stories, theatre, and videogames. 

David Saltz is Head of the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, and Executive Director of Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE). His primary research focuses have been performance philosophy and the interaction between live performance and digital media. He was Principal Investigator of Virtual Vaudeville, a large-scale research project funded by the National Science Foundation to simulate a nineteenth-century vaudeville performance on the computer. He established the Interactive Performance Laboratory at UGA, has directed a series of productions incorporating real-time interactive digital media, and has created interactive sculptural installations that have been exhibited nationally. He is co-author (with Sarah Bay-Cheng and Jennifer Parker-Starbuck) of Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field (University of Michigan Press, 2015), co-editor (with David Krasner) of the book Staging Philosophy: Intersections between Theatre, Performance, and Philosophy (University of Michigan Press, 2006), and has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and books.

Rosanna K. Smith is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on understanding how the concept of authenticity is used in marketing and consumer contexts. Currently, her research primarily focuses on the intersection between authenticity and aesthetics. Her work has been featured in both top marketing and psychology journals such as the Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Isabelle Loring Wallace is Interim Co-Director of the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens, as well as Associate Professor of Contemporary Art. She is the author of numerous articles and exhibition catalogue essays on artists such as Manet, Duchamp, Jenny Saville, Wim Delvoye, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle and Paul Pfeiffer, and the co-editor of two anthologies that reflect her commitment to thinking about contemporary art within broad cultural and historical contexts: Contemporary Art and Classical Myth, co-edited with Jennifer Hirsh (Routledge, 2016) and Contemporary Art About Architecture: A Strange Utility co-edited with Nora Wendl (Routledge, 2016). Professor Wallace is also author of Jasper Johns (Phaidon, 2014) and is currently completing a second book on Johns that considers his work in conjunction with contemporaneous developments in the fields of genetics and psychoanalysis. Simultaneously, she is working on a new project that considers recurring intersections between new media art and assorted Judeo-Christian themes.

Anthony Cross: The Ethics of Meme Culture

October 13, 7:00 pm

The omnipresence of the internet in the twenty-first century has brought with it an explosion of new forms of vernacular culture, the most significant of which is the internet meme. Meme culture is participatory, ephemeral, and anonymous, yet it offers important new opportunities for aesthetic expression. This talk focuses on the ethical significance of meme culture. In particular, I'll argue that a chief value of internet memes lies in their ability to facilitate the formation and expression of communities with shared values; memes are the cultural glue that binds our internet communities together. At the same time, memes' ability to go viral—and to quickly spread beyond the communities in which they originated—raises some difficult ethical questions: Who owns a meme? What should we do about memes that turn racist or memes which encourage hate? Can meme culture be the subject of problematic cultural appropriation? Along the way, I'll also discuss the nature and ontology of memes, the recent development of NFT sales of memes, and the relationships between meme culture and more traditional forms of vernacular culture.

Anthony Cross is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Texas State University. His primary research interests are in aesthetics and ethics; his published research focuses on the normative significance of relationships with artworks and other cultural objects. He has written about the aesthetics of internet culture for Aesthetics for Birds and has recently authored a chapter on the ethics of internet culture and new media for the Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Art.

This lecture is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the Aesthetics in the Expanded Field Research Group at the University of Georgia.

Lisa Saltzman

October 7, 5:30 pm

There is a piece by Paul Klee, the Angelus Novus, of 1920. That it is known and known not as the “new angel” but as “the angel of history,” is largely thanks to the work of the German-Jewish philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin, who, having conjured the image in prose in the posthumously published, influential essay, “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” anchored it in our collective imaginations.   For no one saw more of the picture than Benjamin. Soon after acquiring the Angelus from Klee’s Munich dealer in 1921, the little work on paper became one of Benjamin’s most precious of possessions.  So cherished was Klee’s Angelus that Benjamin mounted it above his writing desk in Berlin. Later, it was among the few belongings, beyond his own unfinished manuscripts, that he took with him in his battered briefcase when fleeing Nazi Germany. And in 1940, it was among the few items that he entrusted to a friend for safekeeping as he prepared to flee Paris, fearing that he might not survive the exilic existence into which the Third Reich had propelled him.

Klee’s Angelus is now safely housed in the collection of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, after a long journey that began in Paris, where Benjamin entrusted the picture to Georges Bataille, who bequeathed it to Theodor Adorno, who sent it to Gershom Scholem, in what was then still Palestine, whose widow donated it to the museum in 1987.  Few have since seen the actual picture, as it is too delicate to be on view. That said, by total chance, Lisa Saltzman, Professor, and Chair of History of Art at Bryn Mawr College, got to see Klee’s Angelus several years ago.  And all that emerged from that encounter inspired her to embark on a new project, one which begins with mining the stories we have inherited, and the stories we continue to tell, about Klee’s fragile little picture. Saltzman’s talk at The Athenaeum will take us into those stories.  And, in so doing, it will also provide a glimpse of the larger project inspired by that serendipitous encounter with Klee’s little picture, also featured in a photograph by Trevor Paglen, currently on view in his exhibition "Vision After Seeing" at the Athenaeum. 

Lisa Saltzman is a Professor of History of Art at Bryn Mawr College. She received her BA from Princeton in 1988 and her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1994.  She has received fellowships from the DAAD, the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, the Clark Art Institute, and the Guggenheim Foundation.   

At Bryn Mawr, she teaches courses in modern and contemporary art and, from 2003-2009, served as the Director of the Center for Visual Culture.  Saltzman is the author of Anselm Kiefer and Art after Auschwitz (Cambridge University Press, 1999), Making Memory Matter: Strategies of Remembrance in Contemporary Art (University of Chicago Press, 2006), and Daguerreotypes: Fugitive Subjects, Contemporary Objects (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and is the co-editor, with Eric Rosenberg, of Trauma and Visuality in Modernity (University Press of New England, 2006).

A Subjective Response to Emerging Technologies: a Conversation with Siebren Versteeg

September 27th, 5:30pm

New York-based digital artist, Siebren Versteeg, will discuss his work in relation to new technologies and contemporary art. From the origins of the web, to Web 2.0, to NFTs and blockchain, Versteeg's practice continues to respond and meddle with the burgeoning media forms that reshape our connections to art, value, and truth. He will address this work as it relates to ongoing interests in algorithmic computation, painterly abstraction, and doom scrolling.

Siebren Versteeg was born in 1971 in New Haven, CT. He received his MFA from The University of Illinois at Chicago. He has exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include Bitforms, New York, NY; Minnesota Street Projects, San Francisco, CA; Art Vault, Santa Fe, NM; Sharjah Art Foundation, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Andrew Racfacz, Chicago, IL. His work is included in several collections such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Marguilies Collection at the WAREhOUSE, Miami; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC.; Yale Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; and the Guggenheim, New York, NY. 

Youth Space

Youth Space at Athenaeum (YSA) offers internships for youth aged 14 to 19 from the Athens, GA, area to develop the gallery’s inaugural youth-led public programming. Exploring various material and conceptual approaches to art, design, and social practice, research, artistic production, curation, writing, and printed matter, participants lead and plan sessions, host field trips and spatial interventions, facilitate public engagement and intergenerational dialogue, curate and host events, and develop frameworks for future programming at Athenaeum. 

YSA is facilitated weekly by Lisa Novak (Doctoral Candidate in Art Education + Founder, School of Collaboration and Invention) at the gallery, and all youth are compensated for their participation at the conclusion of each project.
 
Current Youth Space Participants:

Samirah Burrell
Katia Bliss Dowd
Sam Goldberg
Ana Mowrer
Amberly Hutchens
Addy Root
Ella Ruder
Sophia Ward
 

Current Project: YSA Community Art Garden

Currently titled the Youth Space Community Art Garden, this community-oriented gardening project and living laboratory for youth-led arts programming, explores the intersections of art, sustainability, ecology, and urban gardening. The project is being developed by the current Youth Space cohort, who are in the process of transforming a section behind the Athenaeum into a small community garden and outdoor event and exhibition space. Facilitated by Lisa Novak, and with support of the gallery director Dr. Katie Geha, the Youth Space team will host a series of public engagements, including artist picnics, performances, and garden-related workshops to our surrounding community, showcasing the transdisciplinary possibilities found across social practice and the arts.

The primary goal of the Youth Space Community Art Garden is to create an emergent public space where people can linger, and where local youth come to collaborate on socially engaged projects, as well as provide free herbs, leafy greens, a small assortment of vegetables, and wildflowers to the surrounding community. Importantly, the space will challenge youth to manage and host workshops, take good care of a larger-scale public art project, and to build long-term relationships with our immediate neighbors and an intersectional community beyond the boundaries of the university.


Youth Space at Athenaeum is funded by the Willson Center Public Impact Grant (2021/2022).

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Trevor Paglen in Conversation with Marni Shindelman & Dr. Isabelle Wallace

September 20th, 5:30pm

Trevor Paglen acted as the 2019-2020 Dodd Professorial Chair at UGA, a short-term appointment of high distinction intended to honor artists of international standing who have achieved an extraordinary record of the exhibition. Artists selected for this position teach and work at the Dodd and hold the rank of full professor. While in residence at the Dodd, Paglen co-taught Human Geography with Associate Professor in Photography, Marni Shindelman, and Vision: a Prismatic Approach with Interim Co-Director of the Lamar Dodd School of Art and Associate Professor of Contemporary Art, Dr. Isabelle Wallace. In this conversation, Paglen, Shindelman, and Wallace will discuss the themes integral to these courses--migration crisis, environmental pollution, classical myths, surveillance, and machine vision--and the ways in which they inform their individual research. 

Marni Shindelman’s practice investigates the data tracks we amass through networked communication. Her work ties the invisible to actual sites, anchoring the ephemeral in photographs. Her latest work Restore the Night Sky looks at the influence privatized immigration detention centers have on the rural landscapes they inhabit. As part of the collaborative team Larson & Shindelman, since 2007, their work has been shown at the Denver Art Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Portland Art Museum.  Solo exhibitions include the George Eastman Museum, the Orlando Museum of Art, Blue Sky Gallery, and the Contemporary Arts Center Las Vegas.  Numerous publications have featured their work including Wired, The Picture Show from NPR, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the British Journal of Photography. They have been artist-in-residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Light Work, and CEC ArtsLink in St. Petersburg, Russia. Shindelman received her MFA from the University of Florida and her Bachelor of Philosophy from Miami University.  She is an Associate Professor at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia.

Isabelle Loring Wallace is Interim Co-Director of the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens, as well as Associate Professor of Contemporary Art. She is the author of numerous articles and exhibition catalogue essays on artists such as Manet, Duchamp, Jenny Saville, Wim Delvoye, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle and Paul Pfeiffer, and the co-editor of two anthologies that reflect her commitment to thinking about contemporary art within broad cultural and historical contexts: Contemporary Art and Classical Myth, co-edited with Jennifer Hirsh (Routledge, 2016) and Contemporary Art About Architecture: A Strange Utility co-edited with Nora Wendl (Routledge, 2016). Professor Wallace is also author of Jasper Johns (Phaidon, 2014) and is currently completing a second book on Johns that considers his work in conjunction with contemporaneous developments in the fields of genetics and psychoanalysis. Simultaneously, she is working on a new project that considers recurring intersections between new media art and assorted Judeo-Christian themes.

Trevor Paglen: Vision After Seeing

SEPTEMBER 9 – DECEMBER 1, 2021

Are vision and seeing the same thing? Across a wide range of photographs, videos, and ambitious interstellar projects, Trevor Paglen has explored this essential question as it relates to the long history of technologies that have aided, and perhaps even eclipsed the human eye. These technologies range from the traditional, for example, the fifteenth-century technique of one-point perspective, to the contemporary, as in unmanned drones that record the world from a point-of-view the human eye cannot physically inhabit. Indeed, the limits of human vision are another essential theme for Paglen, who has consistently trained his camera on things that evade detection by the human eye, sometimes deliberately, as in the case of remote military sites and caches of NSA-tapped fiber optic cables, and sometimes by virtue of the eye’s physiological limits, as with the artist’s photographs of satellites whose traces are visible only with the aid of enhanced photographic technologies.

Although thoroughly contemporary in technique and subject matter, Paglen’s art is very much in dialogue with the history of art, particularly the genres of landscape and still life. The latter, which has been long associated with ideas of mortality and vanity, assumes an additional valence in the exhibition’s most recent work: Bloom (2020). Here, lush images of flowering trees have been colored by an artificially intelligent algorithm that assigned various, off-key hues to aspects of the blossoms to which the human eye would not, on its own, attend. At once familiar and strange, this is an image of the natural world, but as seen by an inhuman eye. 

Paglen’s mural-sized print of flowers sounds like an elegiac note at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and, as such, it resonates with the exhibition’s most modest object: a photograph of the packaged backside of Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus (1920). Once owned by the German Jewish philosopher, Walter Benjamin, it features a simplified rendering of a winged, wide-eyed figure, whom Benjamin memorably described, in 1940, as an angel of history. He is, on the philosopher’s account, blown by the storm of progress into a future to which his back is nevertheless turned. Paglen’s unforthcoming photograph of the back of Klee’s print again underscores the limits of vision, but in the process, it aligns our posture with that of the unseen angel – perhaps prompting us to look with equal urgency at the past, even as we are propelled into an unseeable future.