Blogs Field Guide Ilene Mojsilov

I'm from the Twin Towns but have had lives in Asia and Europe. International art projects and cultural happenings are always on my agenda. My life in art education is extensive, and I look for ways to set up a creative climate. I receive great satisfaction from participants in my workshops who take a project beyond my expectations.

Negotiating Spaces

What does a welcoming entrance look like? How do people in wheelchairs maneuver around the Sculpture Garden or the galleries? Can other sensory elements like smell and touch be part of a space where art is viewed and experienced? These are some of the questions asked by 12 artists from Partnership Resources, Inc. (PRI). In […]

What does a welcoming entrance look like? How do people in wheelchairs maneuver around the Sculpture Garden or the galleries? Can other sensory elements like smell and touch be part of a space where art is viewed and experienced? These are some of the questions asked by 12 artists from Partnership Resources, Inc. (PRI). In September and October 2012, these artists and I probed the Walker’s public spaces, galleries, and art lab. Our quest was to experience, respond to, and design two unique spaces for art ── one outdoor and one indoor. After visiting the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the PRI artists shared opinions about particular sculptures and the Garden’s overall design. Lara Hanson, artist-in-residence at PRI, collected the artists’ written feedback. Questions of accessibility were addressed and the artists had some comments. “the little ridges of metal around each of the four square plots were an issue ──chairs could probably get over them, but Andy and Richard didn’t want to try. Mud and deep edging along the sidewalks (was a concern).” This insightful critique aided artists in designing their projects. To articulate their preferences, the artists sketched out site plans and built models of their outdoor spaces.

Andy with her model September 2012

Notice the pathways/ramps for Andy’s wheelchair to climb the hill

Tammy's model has textures both rough and smooth.

Tammy’s model has textures both rough and smooth

Henry Moore’s Reclining Mother and Child inspired Tammy’s observation that motherhood has its smooth and rough times.

Zach’s model featured a hybrid outdoor and indoor design

An elevator from the parking garage would carry people, with or without wheelchairs, to Zach’s sculpture garden on the top level.

When it came to exploring the indoor spaces at the Walker, each artist documented their experience with a point-and-shoot camera and completed a feedback sheet. They responded to spaces including the Garden Cafe, Cargill Lounge, and a whirlwind tour of artworks in galleries 1, 3, 4, and 6. With our corps of volunteer tour guides and PRI staff, we had an exceptional experience. Everyone was able to flow at their own pace, and we had the galleries to ourselves. Merrie said, “Cargill was very open and light.” She also noted that the tight floor space in gallery 4 (Midnight Party) made her feel “kind of nervous” in her wheelchair. Richard took a picture of the terrazzo stairway outside the elevator of gallery 4 looking down to gallery 3. This made him uncomfortable, and he told us the story of someone in a wheelchair that had rolled down the stairs backwards.

Richard's photo of Barnes stairway with Lara's help October 2012

Richard’s photo of Barnes stairway with Lara’s help October 2012

The slower pace and individualized attention received on this tour afforded PRI artist an opportunity to scrutinize and enjoy the artworks more intensely. Everyone commented on the smoky scent and heat felt in the Haegue Yang installation titled Series of Vulnerable Arrangement - The Blind Room in The Living Years.

The design planning of the indoor spaces started with sketches again and resulted in models. Richard’s designed his space on one level and specifically said that the walls would be curved. This large gallery would display an array of his two dimensional artworks.

Large sliding doors opened into Richard's ideal indoor gallery space

Large sliding doors opened into Richard’s ideal indoor gallery space

 

2-D and 3-D artworks filled Andy's colorful gallery space

2-D and 3-D artworks filled Andy’s colorful gallery space

The PRI artists, based out of studios in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park are currently working on their final projects for Challenging Perspectives: Negotiating Spaces. Their projects will be celebrated and showcased in a PRI exhibition hosted by the Walker Art Center on March 21, 2013 in the Skyline Room.On a personal note, I’d say that PRI artists are direct and intuitive about art and they circumnavigate new spaces with determination and resilience. The artists’ spontaneous aesthetic choices delighted me, and I hope we’ll continue this partnership in the future.Richard and I worked together a number of times. On several occasions, I held his charcoal, and he held my wrist to direct my hand with the charcoal across the paper. The rhythm and pressure supplied to each gesture reminded me of a dance; I felt honored that he trusted me as his drawing partner.

Richard prefers working in 2-D as shown by the pathway and blue earthwork

Richard prefers working in 2-D as shown by the pathway and blue earthwork

A grant from MRAC (Metropolitan Regional Arts Council) has supported Partnership Resources artists’ collaboration with Walker Art Center for 2 years in a row. In 2011, the artists toured 50/50 and in 2012, they toured This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980′s.

Lighten Up in the Art Lab

Open Field has been a smashing success, and it’s no wonder people want to hang around outside whenever possible (in Minnesota). Yet, some of you may be asking what’s happening inside the Walker Art Center. Well, I can assure you that it’s just as busy in the Star Tribune Art Lab; it doesn’t go dark […]

Open Field has been a smashing success, and it’s no wonder people want to hang around outside whenever possible (in Minnesota). Yet, some of you may be asking what’s happening inside the Walker Art Center. Well, I can assure you that it’s just as busy in the Star Tribune Art Lab; it doesn’t go dark in the summer. Many campers are visiting the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and coming to the lab for some hands-on art making. Every Tuesday evening in July families have been gathering together for our Once Upon a Garden class.

Skyscapes happened on July 6th. We walked around the western side of the Walker campus with cardboard frames in hand looking at the grass and the sky. Our destination was Sky Pesher by James Turrell. We stretched out on the benches of this outdoor room and concentrated on the open ceiling. Clouds passed quickly through this room’s overhead frame. Everyone sketched the clouds on paper with colored pencils.

Back in the art lab, these drawings were used as the subject for a series of watercolor paintings.

If you were sitting in Sky Pesher, what would the sky look like at midnight, at sunrise, during a storm?

Photo: Ilene Krug Mojsilov

Stage Play took place on July 13th. We started outside making sun prints. Objects were placed on light sensitive paper blocking out the sun.

Photo: Ilene Krug Mojsilov

While the prints were being washed in the art lab, the families went to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to play with their own shadows. They practiced their storytelling on the grass and performed on Belvedere, the sculpture/stage by Jackie Ferrara.

Photo: Ilene Krug Mojsilov

Next, their figure shadows were captured with a Flip HD video camera.

Back in the art lab, the videos were downloaded and projected on a translucent curtain  with a data projector. Each participant took a turn behind this curtain creating new movements and new shadows for the audience. How was it done?  An overhead projector was set up backstage pointing light on the back of the curtain.

The mixing of shadows was great fun to watch because the indoor live-action shadows interacted with the video clips shot outdoors.

Petite Pond was held on July 20th. Reflection was the topic of conversation and experimentation. We used mirrors and 3 shades of blue paper to simulate the sky reflected on water. Then, we went out to look at the Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen and Standing Glass Fish by Frank Gehry. The families investigated the reflections in the p0nd surrounding Spoonbridge and Cherry and compared them to the reflections found in the pool surrounding Standing Glass Fish. We answered the questions, “How much of the sculpture can you see reflected in the water? Does it change when you look at the sculpture from another angle?”

Photo: Molly McGinty

Inside we created a pond and surrounding landscape for a sculpture. Some of the materials we used were molded pulp packaging, plastic bowls, cardboard, and found objects. Some artists selected tall green cocktail stirrers, made them into sculptures, and placed them in low plastic containers. Their miniature ponds (the containers) were set into the  the molded pulp packaging to make a landscape of unusual contours.  The installation was embellished with color, texture, and other shapes. During the project, one adult said, “I’ll never throw away this kind of packaging again.”

The finishing touch to the project was to add real water and some drops of food coloring to the pond. Many chose blue to resemble the reflection of the blue sky that night, but one artist noticed the algae in the pond outside and chose green for his water element.

Photo: Molly McGinty

Next week will be the last session of Once Upon a Garden. Come and join us for Garden Animals. These creatures really are going to move.

For more information follow this link.

Trading Art for Art

The $99 sale at The Soap Factory attracts a mass of egalitarian participants, and I am one of them. Being someone who firmly believes in the barter system, I favor the exchange of services without the green back. So, it’s apropos that I create an artwork and donate it to The Soap Factory for the […]

The Soap Factory's $99 Sale

The $99 sale at The Soap Factory attracts a mass of egalitarian participants, and I am one of them.

Being someone who firmly believes in the barter system, I favor the exchange of services without the green back. So, it’s apropos that I create an artwork and donate it to The Soap Factory for the sale on September 11th and 12th this year.

Just a word about the works for the sale; they must be created on 5″ x 7″ paper without any signatures. There are many top notch artists in this pool, and this standardization levels the playing field. All the artists who participate in this event are united by their support of The Soap Factory. Last year, when all the works were installed in the gallery, they read like cells on a storyboard to me. What a kick to be part of this community that backs The Soap Factory cover to cover.

Mutant Meets Gorilla

There’s a lot of glass in the Walker Art Center building. Opposites attract, right? Heat makes glass and cold makes ice. Why not combine these two materials in one experience? Family Programs had a great idea, why not celebrate winter by vicariously embracing ice?         The theme for Free First Saturday, February 7, […]

There’s a lot of glass in the Walker Art Center building. Opposites attract, right? Heat makes glass and cold makes ice. Why not combine these two materials in one experience?

Family Programs had a great idea, why not celebrate winter by vicariously embracing ice?

 

 

 

 

The theme for Free First Saturday, February 7, 2009, was showcasing Minnesota Artists and Arts Organizations, and there were interactive activities for families set up throughout the building.

Family Drawing and Ice Sculpture In Progress

One of the stops along the way was to watch Zoran Mojsilov chainsaw and carve an ice sculpture (his first) right outside the Cargill Lounge.
People watched the progress of the ice carving from the warmth of the Walker.
 Well, not everyone….
Zoran was interested in playing with the chiseled textures in ice and watching the light pierce through this material. Texture is an element he often experiments with in wood and stone, but ice stretched his repertoire. He improvised without having a model or drawing in mind. When one Free First Saturday visitor asked, “What’s it supposed to be?” He answered, “Ask yourself if you like it or not and why?”
By the way, the bronze gorilla staring at his image in the mirror is by the late British artist Angus Fairhurst.
The title of this sculpture is The Birth of Consistency (2004).
A call out of thanks to Christina Alderman and the crew of heavy lifters for getting the ice off the ground!

Pig’s Eye Landfill Is Here

Rain or shinestart practicing your putting. Zoran Mojsilovis installingPig’s Eye Landfill on the course of Walker on the Green. The large wooden assemblage was trucked in this morning with the assistance of an imposing crane. It’s mostly made of elm branches and trunks that were salvaged from a wood recycling site in town. Zoran says, […]

Zoran Mojsilov with Pig's Eye Landfill

Rain or shinestart practicing your putting. Zoran Mojsilovis installingPig’s Eye Landfill on the course of Walker on the Green. The large wooden assemblage was trucked in this morning with the assistance of an imposing crane. It’s mostly made of elm branches and trunks that were salvaged from a wood recycling site in town. Zoran says, “The mouse hole lines up with the cup just right. Now onto finishing the green.”

For more information on Walker on the Green: Artist-Designed Mini Golf visit http://blogs.walkerart.org/ecp/2008/05/13/artists-green-makers-mini-golf/

Walker Art Lab: What’s in Those Cubbies?

It’s a curiosity cabinet of sorts that displays an array of projects. These are art works that have been made by people who have attended an After Hours party, a school tour, or a workshop. This project was all about wrapping, Cassidy ran out of time and materials, but she could have worked all afternoon […]

Sci-Fi Cubby

It’s a curiosity cabinet of sorts that displays an array of projects. These are art works that have been made by people who have attended an After Hours party, a school tour, or a workshop.

Assemblage

This project was all about wrapping, Cassidy ran out of time and materials, but she could have worked all afternoon on her assemblage. Notice how her layering included her name tag. Like a cyclone, she explored her tactile sensibility, emphasizing her love of the process.

Yes, anyone can participate in an art lab. Just come with an intention to play with the materials set out for you. You’d be surprised by your ability to invent and build stuff. For those people who love to learn by doing, I suggest you take a look at the Walker’s permanent collection or a special exhibition after you’ve done the art making. You might experience the galleries in a new way.

George B

Next time, you’re at a Walker event, try out the art lab. Look for the Kiki Smith inspired doll parts sculpture, Object with a Cause, or just marvel at the playful creativity of our local talent.

Pearls

Artists Like Me

photos by: Gene Pittman This summer I facilitated 3 art-making workshops with children through Free Arts Minnesota. This is a wonderful nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the healing powers of artistic expression into the lives of at-risk children and their families. www.freeartsminnesota.org. Free Arts Minnesota partnered with the Walker Art Center at an opportune time […]

Proud Artist from Delta Place Describing His WorkProud Artist from Delta Place

photos by: Gene Pittman

This summer I facilitated 3 art-making workshops with children through Free Arts Minnesota. This is a wonderful nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the healing powers of artistic expression into the lives of at-risk children and their families. www.freeartsminnesota.org. Free Arts Minnesota partnered with the Walker Art Center at an opportune time to visit the Picasso and American Art exhibition.

Picasso’s drawings, paintings, and sculptures attracted many American artists and were excellent models for our workshops. My goal was to highlight each young artist’s unique perceptions of self and observations of the world around him or her.

The young artists started with a kaleidoscope pointed at a still-life. They named basic shapes and rolled their Cubistic inspired observations into still-life collages.

The second theme was simplified portraiture. We referred to Picasso’s unconventional portraits and the way he reoriented facial features. The young artists painted a face in acrylics and added cut-out features from magazines.

The third project was an assemblage sculpture. Remembering the freedom experienced by changing a face around, students sampled found materials to build an animal or abstract sculpture.

Over the three sessions, every participant deepened his or her creative process, taking more chances along the way.

Interspersed with the art-making lessons was a field trip to the Walker Art Center, where several kids from the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s Bush Children’s Center received a tour of the Picasso and American Art exhibition given by Susan Rotilie, the Walker’s Program Manager of School Tours. During the tour, kids carefully looked at several Cubist paintings and sculptures and identified subjects in the abstract works. Taking inspiration from the artworks, the students developed great ideas for stories, wrote them down, and then read them aloud in the gallery.

I’d like to thank the staff of Free Arts Minnesota and the Bush Children’s Center, and all the wonderful volunteers who helped out with the Artist Like Me workshops.

The culminating exhibit, Artist Like Me, included work by students at the Bush Children’s Center and Delta Place. It took placein the Walker Art Center’s Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab on September 7, 2007.

Ilene Krug Mojsilov, teaching artist and Art Lab Coordinator at the Walker Art Center.

Deep-fried Picasso on a Stick

Before you marvel at everything new on a stick at the State Fair, try twirling with a Picasso. The Walker’s exhibition Picasso and American Art is closing in four weeks, so plan a visit, and after seeing the show, you may want to try your own Deep-fried Picasso on a Stick. Check out the portraits […]

Before you marvel at everything new on a stick at the State Fair, try twirling with a Picasso.

The Walker’s exhibition Picasso and American Art is closing in four weeks, so plan a visit, and after seeing the show, you may want to try your own Deep-fried Picasso on a Stick.

postick-profile-1.jpg

Check out the portraits by Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and Jasper Johns among others and note the way they processed Picasso’s imagery. Many of their painted, drawn, and sculpted faces were treated cubistically, so the viewer sees several planes of the face simultaneously. With this concept in mind, combined with an eye on popular culture, the twirled portrait was born.

Yesterday, August 9, 2007, some dynamic young artists (ages 5 and 6) from Minneapolis Kids made some bold portraits. These students played with the features of a face and worked on four sides to simulate a 360 degree portrait.

postick-kid-work-1.jpg

postick-kid-work-2-sides.jpg

If you’d like to do this kitchen lab at your table, here is the recipe.

Materials: Tagboard, oil pastels, colored tape, 1 chop stick, and a pair of scissors

  • Draw a wacky profile
  • Cut it out
  • Trace around it on a second piece of tagboard
  • Cut that one out
  • Put the 2 profiles together (one on top of the other – both noses on the same side)
  • Fold nearly in half and crease
  • Make 2 pairs of 1/2 inch cuts into the folded side of both heads
  • Separate the heads
  • Draw features on all 4 sides (add them anywhere)
  • Fill in with any colors
  • Line up the faces on the creases (noses point in opposite directions)
  • Insert stick into the 2 slots leaving enough stick at the bottom to hold onto
  • Secure the faces at the bottom and top of the stick with colored tape

Congratulations you’ve made a Deep-fried Picasso on a Stick!

All photos: Ilene K. Mojsilov

MIXING IT UP

Photo: Ilene K Mojsilov On Wednesday March 28th, I had a small group of students from City Inc, an alternative Minneapolis High School, in the Art Lab. They came to see the exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. High school teachers may ask how do we engage our students who […]

dw-color-line-001.jpgPhoto: Ilene K Mojsilov

On Wednesday March 28th, I had a small group of students from City Inc, an alternative Minneapolis

High School, in the Art Lab. They came to see the exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. High school teachers may ask how do we engage our students who are viewing this work for the first time?The show brings up a host of questions about racial stereotypes today. For a profound conversation about Kara Walker, I suggest that teachers consider doing this art activity Skin Deep before their tour of the exhibition. This has proven to be a good way for students to consider their own assumptions about color and race.

Skin Deep is a painting activity that explores color as a metaphor for racial stereotypes and classifications. I demonstrate how to mix a universal brown using the primary colors. Next, I add black and/or white to make a myriad of skin tones. Students then mix their own skin tones and collect samples of other people’s skin tones, paint them on canvas, and add a phrase that responds to their notions of black and white.

skin-deep-palette-005.jpgPhoto: Ilene K Mojsilov

When the students from City Inc came to the Art Lab, we spent an absorbing hour previewing a few works from the show. Kara Walker has a series titled Do You Like Crème in Your Coffee and Chocolate in Your Milk? We looked at one of her watercolors that features a nude woman outlined in green with brown, black, ochre, and peach circles covering the upper torso and head of the figure. These samples refer to skin tones, and remind me of my own experience testing make-up.

Since the City Inc group had only women, we talked about this experience at the make-up counter. The way these products on the market try so hard to approximate our skin tones, and we realized how subtle our skin tones really are and how many variations exist. This theme of human variation is also current in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Race: Are We So Different? http://www.smm.org/race/. By the way, the students from City Inc had viewed this exhibition before coming to the Walker Art Center. It was opportune to pair these two field trips.

color-grid-1-004.jpgPhoto: Ilene K Mojsilov

If you get to the Science Museum for this show, don’t miss the label that introduces the artwork of Byron Kim. He did a project called Synecdoche that is composed of 400 smaller panels that match an actual person’s skin. Although I hadn’t heard of his project before, I think that it really gets at the important questions of racial politics and encourages a frank dialogue about stereotypes, classifications, and civil rights.

So, if you can take in both exhibitions, I encourage you to do so, and keep the activity Skin Deep in mind for your group here at the Walker Art Center.

Art At Home: Phonebook Towers

Are you an insatiable recycler? Do you have a creative kid at home? Why not try our project Phone Book Towers. For one of the projects at Free First Saturday in January 2007, we combined the theme of recycling with the artwork of Eva Hesse. The Walker is currently showing Eva Hesse Drawing until February […]

Are you an insatiable recycler? Do you have a creative kid at home? Why not try our project Phone Book Towers.

phonebook_towers.jpg

For one of the projects at Free First Saturday in January 2007, we combined the theme of recycling with the artwork of Eva Hesse. The Walker is currently showing Eva Hesse Drawing until February 19, 2007. Here’s what we did.

Each person got a piece of screen cut into a 4” by 10” strip, a plastic top from a yogurt or deli container, and a page or two of the phone book. These materials reflect my mania for recycling, and I bet we gave out 400 plastic lids that day, which ended my 3 year collection. Those phone books are in your household too, so unclog the kitchen drawers.

Now that you have an idea about the materials, let’s look for some inspiration from the artist Eva Hesse. I was interested in 2 of her ink wash and line drawings of cylinders that are in the exhibition. They are easy to recognize even if their labels say No Title 1967. What I like about them is Hesse’s distinctive rendering of each cylinder, as if each one had its own body language. Both of these drawings were studies for a work called Repetition Nineteen I.

Eva Hesse experimented with all kinds of materials latex, fiberglass, and resins, but she started with papier-mché. This project blends papier-mché techniques with acrylic matt medium. The acrylic medium was chosen for it strength and flexibility. I preferred the matt medium because it’s more pliable. Please note that you can buy the acrylic matt medium at any art supply store. By the way, the acrylic medium could be glossy instead of matt; that’s for you to decide.

Ok if you’d like to have the recipe, here’s what I recommend.

  • Lay the screen flat
  • Tear up the phone book pages into small pieces (approximately 2” x 2” and they can be irregular)
  • Brush matt medium on the pieces of paper
  • Collage the pieces on the screen
  • Fill the entire screen with paper
  • Repeat this technique using the paper on the top of the plastic lid
  • Roll the screen into a cylinder
  • Seal it with more paper like a band aid
  • Set on plastic lid
  • Apply smaller strips like a band aid to attach to the lid
  • Brush the cylinder and lid with matt medium
  • Add words found in the phone book
  • Touch up with yellow or tan paint
  • Set out to dry
  • (It takes about an hour to dry!)

Ilene K. Mojsilov, Art Lab Coordinator

If you come to the Walker Art Center for a tour and an art lab or drop in for an exhibition opening, you’ll see me in the Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab; I concoct these activities for you. So, tell me what you think.