It has been quite a ride since we began Conversations on Creativity over 20 months ago! We have loved connecting with you - wherever you are, watching films together and sharing ideas. In order to ensure we are developing programs that truly inspire you (and us!), we felt it was time to take a step back and re-evaluate the format, frequency, and topics of these get-togethers.
While we will miss seeing all of you over Zoom, we have put together a Fall and Winter Read Watch List with staff recommendations for books and films about artists and art-related topics. We hope these suggestions will continue to feed your creative fires over the coming months. Also, all of our previous Conversations on Creativity topics with links to the videos and reading material are below.
In 2019 the New York Times called Nick Cave the most joyful, and critical, artist in America. This month we'll discuss his work and the meaning behind it—introducing his work with a clip from Art 21, diving deeper with a conversation between Cave and Gilbert Vicario at the Des Moines Art Center, before going on a tour of his exhibition Until.
For for further learning, see a clip of a performance at the beginning of Cave's talk at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art or read through a selection of articles and interviews complied by Jack Shainman Gallery.
What are the benefits and pitfalls of romantic relationships between artists? To find out, we'll start with a quick overview of artist couples from The Art Assignment before taking a closer look at the work and relationships of Julie Mehretu and Jessica Rankin; Noriko and Ushio Shinohara; Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg; Margaret Kilgallen and Barry McGee; Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza; and Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith.
For further reading, read Christopher Bagley's article What Happens When Two Artists Fall in Love or Veronica Kavass's book Artists in Love: From Picasso & Gilot to Christo & Jeanne-Claude, A Century of Creative and Romantic Partnerships
Delve into how different artists have tried to define their role in society by viewing and discussing Manifesto, a film that originated as an art installation. Written and directed by Julian Rosefeldt, the film stars Cate Blanchett as 13 different people reciting artist manifestos from the 20th and 21st centuries.
For further reading, find a list of the artistic movements and related manifestos cited on the film's Wikipedia page.
Failure isn't a lack of success. Failure is just a process that leads to success.
No one likes to fail, but artists, makers, and innovators of all kinds, recognize that failure is an integral part of the creative process. We'll hear from Aurturo Herrera, Milton Glaser, and Elizabeth Gilbert, on how they approach failure. Then when we'll look at how creatives overcome their fears and develop strategies and mindsets to keep moving forward with Don Dodge of Google, and author Sarah Lewis.
For for further reading, check out Sarah Lewis' book The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, and this compilation of stories from artists in all genres by the National Endowment for the Arts, titled The Art of Failure: The Importance of Risk and Experimentation
The history of art is inseparable from the history of color. This month, we’ll hear from art conservationist Dr. Gregory Smith as he charts the relationship between chemistry and art over a period of more than 4,500 years. Then, we’ll dive deep into the color blue and explore how one singular color can have such an enormous impact on the history of art.
With rare works of art selling for millions at auction, it is no surprise that forgers seek to tap into this market. This month, we’ll hear from former forger Ken Perenyi who now sells “authentic reproductions.” Then, we’ll get tips on how to spot a fake from forensic scientist Thiago Piwowarczyk and art historian Jeffrey Taylor, PhD. We will end with a deep look into the life and motivations of forger Mark Landis and Matthew Leininger, the registrar who tried to stop him, in Art and Craft.
For further reading, check out “How to Spot a Perfect Fake: The World’s Top Art Forgery Detective” by Samanth Subramanian of The Guardian or one of these books about forgery.
Explore the intersection of art, technology, and the market. We'll start with quick introduction through the British Art Council's What is Digital Art? Then, we'll learn more about the development of the field in Casey Reas's presentation History of the Future, Art & Technology from 1965-Yesterday at the 2015 Gray Area Festival. Finally, we'll see how technology is affecting the art market through a PBS segment on blockchain technology.
Artists' interactions with the landscape have created a very different kind of modern art - and make us look again at the world around us. We'll start off with the origins of the movement in PBS The Art Assignment's The Case for Land Art. After that, we'll take an in depth look at the work of major artists working in the field today, including Andy Goldsworthy's beautiful stone sculptures and James Turrell's extraordinary sky spaces, in the BBC documentary Forest, Field and Sky: Art Out of Nature. We'll end by hearing from two artists whose works call attention to environmental justice in excerpts from Art Basil Conversations: Confronting Climate Change Denial.
The word kitsch originated in the 19th century to criticize art seen as being in poor taste, or which hopelessly copied “high” art but remained mediocre. Kitsch suffered its most serious intellectual blow in art circles when critic Clement Greenberg railed against it in a famous 1939 essay, in which he claimed it offensive to progressive, avant-garde art since it pandered to the masses. Two short videos introduce the lives and work of Kings of Kitsch Jeff Koons and Thomas Kinkade. Explore the praise and criticism they’ve both received from passersby, collectors, and arts writers and historians alike. Compare and contrast their work against one another as well as other art giants working with similar ideas, subject matter, and/or materials, yet without the kitsch label.
Visual Intelligence is the ability to see what's there that others don't, and to see what's not there that should be. We'll test our own visual intelligence, and through a Google Talk with Author Amy E. Herman, we'll discover how artists and creatives use visual intelligence and uncover whether we can really improve our own visual intelligence. For additional reading, check out Amy's book, Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life.
See how evocative color can be while matching brands with their associated trademarked colors and learn their histories. Find out what happens when a company producing the world’s blackest black decides it can be used by only one artist in the 99% Invisible episode Their Dark Materials. For additional reading, check out the New York Times article “What Is the Perfect Color Worth?”
We'll start off with this month with a bit of humor and a short video with Jerry Saltz. After that we'll watch a video of Steve Martin in conversation with Peter Schjeldahl, critic for the New Yorker. Steve and Peter discuss art speak, Peter’s journey from poet to critic, specific artworks and Peter’s process for examining them, and the merits of bad art.
Watch and discuss the documentary The Creative Brain by neuroscientist and best-selling author, David Eagleman. Explore the stories of accomplished professionals from across the creative spectrum and unravel the creative process.