moca museum

December 31, 2015
Blog 28

THE BIG DONNIE 2016 DIGITAL ART CONTEST

January 2, 2016 to January 31, 2016

The Donnie 2016 Digital Art Contest is the Museum's sixteenth annual digital art contest.

It is international in scope and open to all digital artists and photographers. Up to six images accepted per artist. Fee is $45.00 per image (same as last two years).

MOCA will publisher a full-color catalog of the contest (at extra chage). MOCA has published 16 Donnie catalogs, one for each of the yearly contests, in collaboration with Blurb.com, the online publisher. All catalogs are elegant publications, with each image reproduced in full color on its own page.

To view our catalogs, go to:

Catalogs

Contest will offer eight awards: first, second and third prizes plus five honorable mentions. Winning images are given year-long exposure on the MOCA site.

For full information on the Donnie 2016, go to:

Donnie 2016

The DABlog is now over two years old, and has been published without interruption every two weeks during this period. This blog recycles three of our most interesting articles published during this period. Here is the first of these articles, reprinted from Blog 09 published March 10, 2015.

BIG SHOTS IGNORE COLUMNIST.
WORLD STUNNED!
OR: YO, WHAT'S UP WITH DIGiTAL?

A Blog Report by Bruce Price

NOTE
Bruce Price is a digital artist who has taken up the pen to report and exhort on digital art issues. He operates a blog called DigitalRISING where he advised, "I see myself on a busy intersection far out in the digital universe. I'll report to you about what's going on out here....I imagine myself speaking to curators and collectors, editors and publishers, architects and interior designers, doctors and lawyers, anyone interested in modern art.... Digital art is new, developing fast, confusing and exotic for most people. I'd like to present the big picture, and make it easy to understand."

Bruce Price is a graduate of Princeton, author of four books and a life-long experimental artist, exclusively digital for the past eight years. He is based in Norfolk, VA.

Okay, this is the column where I bitch and moan. Why? Because there are powerful forces in the digital world that don't give a damn what I think. Yes, hard to believe! Naturally I want you to sympathize with me, and sneer in disdain at these powerful forces. I'm sure you want to, and I appreciate that, but we must be coldly professional here. These are big shots, as you'll see, whereas I'm just a talky artist. Not only that, I've been rejected by these powerful forces, not once but twice. First, by a show, and second, when I asked if they had a comment for this column. No, apparently they don't. What, just because I'm not the New York Times? Not that the old gray lady has anything to say as interesting as what I'm serving up. Question is, can my judgment be trusted? Well, let me make my case; i.e., present my digital vision, and we'll see how you feel.

THE BACK STORY--By 1997, I had my second computer, a PowerMac, I was spending thousands of hours experimenting, and my vision for the digital era was fully formed. A new kind of art would come from this machine. There was no point in having a camera and messing with photography--that was part of the past. There was no point in having a scanner and putting in stuff from the real world. That was adulteration. The point, it seemed to me, was to work on a blank screen--to use new pixels to make new art. I was sure that all digital artists would embrace this credo: digital art must be about the exploration of what had never been possible before. Oddly, some of the leading players didn't exactly share this vision. What?!

LACDA--What a thrill when I read about the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. Even the names are startling, both names. LACDA....a wild woman from Latvia, no doubt. But my God, this place keeps having shows where half the stuff is photography. They even gave Best in Show to a woman whose work was--children, cover your ears--mostly PAINT. I don't get the point. I wrote to the director asking what's going on. Here's my email: 'LACDA calls itself a center for digital art but a lot of the art you show is basically photographic in nature or even more retro, sort of mixed media where digital is less than 50% of the art--is this because there isn't enough really good pure digital art being made? Or the owners really don't want to face making a sheep-from-goats decision? Or what? Your last solicitation welcomes photography that uses even a little digital. But almost all photography uses a little digital these days. There's photo and art galleries for this work, right? Why the adulteration? Why confuse the public? Or why not educate the public about how this new medium is different from what came before? The only answer I can come up with is that you don't find enough great digital art. Is that the case?'

As of press time, no comment.

BITFORMS--Oh so hip bitforms, in Manhattan and now Korea. Nothing could be cooler than this place. Think Soho. Right off the bat, about five years ago, they were ambitious enough to launch a big PR blitz. A long article got into my local paper. I was spellbound. Look, the digital revolution is happening! But something nagged. A lot of space was spent explaining and extolling a piece of 'digital art' that asked all the people entering a theater to turn in their cell phone numbers; at a designated time a computer would randomly call them. The resulting rings were the art. First, it almost had to be mere cacophony. But that's not my theoretical objection. A bunch of bingo ladies, sitting around a table at the local church, could dial those numbers--same randomness, same music. Digital not required. So where the hell is the digital art? Nowhere. It's pure conceptual art. (Of course, it's much cheaper to do with a computer but that's a secondary issue.) Here's what I wrote to the Director of Bitfoms: 'Do you think of the art in your gallery as primarily digital art or it is often/sometimes primarily conceptual art or modern art or hip Soho art or what? My own tendency when I'm shown digital art is to wonder, well, could that be done non-digitally or pre-digitally? If it could, then why call it digital art? Do you ponder the same questions?'

PURDUE UNIVERSITY GALLERIES--The art gallery at Purdue University had a very ambitious, very heavily promoted show in 2005 called Digital Concentrate. I eagerly entered and hoped to be selected. This show had a fancy booklet and several hifalutin essays, so I could really meditate on what had excluded me. Mainly it wasn't a digital art show. Everything was video and installation and conceptual art. So I sent this note to the director of the Purdue Gallery: 'It was a fine show; I'm sure people enjoyed it. But digital concentrate? What was concentrated? The ads, entry form and promo made me think that all the art would be focused on what digital can do. That the show would be, like me, engaged with pure digital. But to my eyes it seemed more a conceptual art show. Is this a trivial point? If you think so, say so. I'm just trying to stir up discussion. But I feel digital cannot be about the past. Wasn't that same sensibility big in the 1980's? Sure, the tools are often digital but they could as well have been movie cameras or projectors. It's idea art, right? Academia seems to love this. We look at it because there's a clever concept and because the execution is striking. Those seemed to me to be the first two requirements. Digital came in third. But many of those effects could have been done pre-digital. So where's the digital concentrate? That's my question.

------------ Wrapping up: I saw digital as NEW but these people shoehorned digital into ongoing agenda and categories. But, hey, maybe these big shots are just improvising day to day. An artist walks in with something new and interesting, digital was used at some point, so the gallery says, great, we love it. Should they be purists? I just have to state my suspicion that art history will look back at this as a period of dithering. When I see photographs at a digital art show, or conceptual art being called digital art, it feels to me like beer at a wine tasting....As for my vision, the one where this new medium must be about the exploration of what had never been possible before, well, I still think it's true. Technology keeps booming along. The 3D stuff gets more interesting. Great digital art won't be some crossbreed of previous artistic activities, some flashback or recap. You'll know you're looking into the future's crazy blue eyes....As for big shots, I'm sorry they didn't join the discourse. The public needs more discussion, not less. That's what I hope I'm doing here--pumping up the volume of the dialogue. ------------

Bruce's DigitalRISING blog

Here's the second article reprinted from Blog 04 published December 4, 2014

SALON SHOW OF DIGITAL ART

Don Archer published a review in July 2001 of a digital art exhibit in New York City. It was called the The New York Digital Salon and was held at the Corning / Steuben Glass Gallery on upscale Madison Avenue. It was held in collaboration with the School of Visual Arts.

The review follows:

This show is best described as an advertisement for themselves: Corning (Steuben) and the School of Visual Arts (NYC).

Housed in Steuben's expensive retail store on Madison Avenue in midtown NYC at one of the shopping world's most exclusive addresses, this exhibit spreads a warm self-congratulatory glow over Corning's high-tech philanthropy (Corning is one of the major developers and purveyors of the fiber optic cable; Steuben is its artsy sub-divison). Perhaps the exhibit will also help to enhance the prestige of Steuben's designer glassware and sculpture (available at this location at prices often in the thousands of dollars, thank you) by such stalwarts of the art as James Houston.

The New York Digital Salons are annual exhibits that have been going on for at least eight years and are sponsored by the School of Visual Arts in New York City, a private, degree-granting, high-tuition institution with roots in the graphic arts industry. They are juried affairs of still digital art and animation videos, curated by Bruce Wands, described as "chair" of the MFA Computer Art program at the school. These salons have been notable for the exceptional quality of their art (full disclosure statement and sour grapes admission by this reviewer: my own art has been rejected by the Salon on the two or three occasions that I submitted it), but I have always felt the Salons had a kind of inbred hot-house atmosphere about them, as the jurors were often closely associated with the school and the artists were often students or graduates of the school as well.

This show is described as "An exhibition of the best works of computer art selected by juries of the last eight New York Digital Art salons." With Corning's patronage, the exhibit lends to the School of Visual Arts a glitzy platform with which to promote itself and its Salons.

Does the show do much for computer art? I don't think so. It is premised on the idea, as the promotional literature accompanying the show advises, that computer art has come of age, but this is something computer artists have known for years. Witness the thousands of websites (maybe tens of thousands) dedicated to digital art, to fractals, to 3D rendered art, to computer manipulated photographs, to computer-painted and -drawn art, and to mixed-media computer art that may integrate different techniques and traditional art as well. What computer art needs now is not another celebration of its great achievements in an orgy of self-abuse, but careful and rewarding study of the work of individual artists, and how an artist's work may have changed and flourished, and how his or her style may have developed and matured, and of how one artist's style and subject may differ from that of another artist, or how the the artist may have adapted his or her art, if he or she has, to the onslaught of new hardware and software. I am tired of group shows, and want to see an artist's work in depth and over time, to gauge and measure it. It is time we take the art form for granted and look past it to the artist.

The remarkable art displayed at this exhibit includes 23 pieces of still art by almost as many artists and several short animation films or videos, along with two or three interactive computer displays responding to mouse or keyboard input. One of the more memorable animations is "Burning Desire" by Avi Renick of two cigarettes courting and making erotic love and burning themselves out in the process.

The still art was generally outputted at large size by Iris or other inkjet printers, but there was at least one electrostatic print on display, and a print produced in 1993 by a pen plotter, almost an extinct technology today. It was good art then and is good art today.


Here are five striking images from the Salon show:

Second Age by Enrique Cabarcos

Labyrinths of Love by Uri Dotan

The Dancers by Uri Dotan

970717_01 by Kenneth Huff

Precision Solutions by Joan Truckenbrod

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Let's hear it for the DABlog

MUSEUMS, COMMUNITIES, GALLERIES

Digital Art Gallery Online
Digital gallery of best pictures and photos from portfolios of digital artists.

Digital Art Served
Top work in categories such as computer graphics, matte painting, digital painting and photo manipulation.

Soho Arthouse (Soho Gallery For Digital Art)
Event space, gallery, tech, film screening room, product launches, pop-up, fashion week, charity art shows in NYC.

DAM - Digital Art Museum
Museum and gallery

Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art is a contemporary gallery in downtown LA dedicated to the propagation of all forms of digital art, new media, digital video.

DeviantART
Community of artists and those devoted to art. Digital art, skin art, themes, wallpaper art, traditional art, photography, poetry / prose. Art prints.

Renderosity
Almost entirely 3D rendered art from such programs as 3DS Max, Maya, Lightwave and others.

Museum of Computer Art
Nonprofit US educational corporation chartered by the NYS Department of Education.

Digital Art Online
Online digital art exhibition space. Includes thematic exhibitions.

Museum of Digital Fine Arts
Spotlighting the most brilliant new artists of the modern age.

Digital Arts: California
Showcase of digital art both physical (in gallery) and virtual (online).

IMAGES RECEIVED

Art by Sibel Sancar

Sibel Sancar is a computer software programmer and painter. She began painting in 1990, and still continues her studies today in her home studio. She paints with watercolor & acrylic media and is also a digital artist. She has had six solo and various group exhibitions. She has been working on digital art for more than seven years.

Digital Art Awards
2012 exhibitionswithoutwalls.com - OPEN (Digital Art) Best in Competition
2013 exhibitionswithoutwalls.com -Your Choice (Digital Art) Best in Competition
2012/2013 manhattanarts.com "Featured Artist" Award-Winner
2014 Exhibiton Without Walls, Impressions Exhibition, Finalist
2014 Infinity Art Gallery, Black and White Expo 2014 Honorable Mention
2014 Upstream People Gallery, 11th Annual Color art exhibition, Special Recognition
2015 Exhibiton Without Walls, Four Elements Exhibition, Award of Excellence
2015 Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery, Figurative Art Exhibition, Honorable Mention
2015 Exhibition Without Walls, Free For All Exhibition

Sibel Sancar lives in Turkey.

Software used : XenoDream, Paint.Net, and Picasa 3.

A Door to Unknown

A Mysterious Road

Behind A Window

Last Adventure

Undersea World

Here is the third reprinted article, from Blog 02 published November 8, 2014.

THAT NECESSARY LITTLE EVIL

By JD Jarvis

Published on the MOCA site December 2010

The Artist's Statement

One of the perennial tasks plaguing an exhibiting artist is the requirement to explain one's self in words. Often referred to in the most innocent of terms as an "artist's statement," our reaction to this little job can run the gamut from minor nuisance to all out revolt. Understandably, you have already made the work why must you now explain it using words, which we have been told, speak less eloquently than pictures to begin with. Why paint yourself into such a corner? Why provide the weak-minded public with the chains they will only use to bind the free-bird of your creativity? Why write a thesis about non-verbal communication?

But ask a gallery owner and they will tell you that they sell more work to clients who have met and spent some time with the artist. That is why an opening night soirée used to be so pervasive and why artist's statements continue to hold some importance in marketing one's work. As a means toward creating a personal connection between artist and potential art buyer, an artist's statement is often all you have. Sometimes the right words actually help people "see" the work.

The best example I have for this is Robert Rauschenberg's experience regarding what was to become known as his "Combines." When first displayed these works were, for the most part, disregarded. Having no previous sort of work to draw upon they were weakly relegated to the oeuvre of collage, but essentially the work went unnoticed and effectively unseen. Until he came up with the word "combine" to describe them at which point the collective light went on and people began to recognize the work within the context of the word "combine." Lesson One: without words attached to it, an object or idea is virtually invisible. Enter the "artist's statement."

Ah ha! But, what words do you use and how much is too much to say about your work. Here is one example of what Rauschenberg said about his Combines; "I wanted something other than what I could make myself and I wanted to use the surprise and the collectiveness and the generosity of finding surprises. And if it wasn't a surprise at first, by the time I got through with it, it was. So the object itself was changed by its context and therefore it became a new thing."

All in all this is an effective artist's statement. Let's examine why in the form of a few rules that I have made up: (please share your own)

1) Make the statement personal. Remember, this statement is going to be a proxy for actually meeting and talking with a person, so make it warm and inviting. In the above statement Rauschenberg avoids talking about "the work" instead focusing on the experience of surprise. People may not be able to understand the artwork, but they surely understand the shared experience of being surprised. This leads quite naturally to?

2) Avoid being too technical. The "artist's statement" is not a thesis in which you are describing and defending your difficult and impassioned work. Save this for your interview in "Artforum." The artist's statement should focus on letting the reader get to know you and perhaps realize some way in which your work connects you with them. This is especially true for digital artists. Unless you are exhibiting your work to an "insider" audience that understands and values the software and filters you use to create work you should avoid this sort of discussion. Listing software, describing the process or settings used, or revealing the number of Layers in the piece will not create the desired "gee-whiz" effect.

3) Do not tell the reader what to feel about your work. If they feel something other than what you intended (and they usually do) you run the risk of making either them or yourself look foolish. You have no real way of knowing what others are feeling so why limit the appreciation of your work only to what you know and have experienced.

4) Along these same lines avoid mentioning the famous artists who have influenced you or the current work on display. Either this will make you look as if you do not have an original idea or that you have overestimated the power and glory of your own work. An exception to this (and there always are exceptions) would be something like the recent Homage exhibit mounted by the San Diego Digital Artists Guild. If the work is indeed a homage then it is helpful to state what or who that work is in homage to. But, in general leave this sort of detective work up to the reader who essentially just wants to make up their own mind about your art.

5) Keep it short. If you can't explain your work in a few short paragraphs chances are you have not yet thought enough about what you are doing.

6) Keep it simple. Early on, one major reason I almost walked away from Art entirely was the convoluted, esoteric language I saw being used in the majority of the "Art Magazines" I was reading at the time. References to obscure theories and theorists, often sprinkling in terminology from a different language or excessively referring to work that very few people have seen; nearly sent me looking for something else to do with my life. At the last minute, I realized that a critic is not an artist but a journalist with a different set of priorities to meet and people to impress. I let the subscriptions to those lofty rags drop and became much healthier in the long run.

Complex ideas can be stated in accessible terms. For example, when Rauschenberg says; "So the object itself was changed by its context and therefore it became a new thing." He is stating a basic principle behind all Conceptual Art. A principle with which Duchamp shook the art world and for which tomes have been written. But, Rauschenberg was able to sum it up nicely in one sentence. It can be done.

7) Only use words you can spell. To be sure, "spell check" has greatly increased my vocabulary in this regard and one should always strive to use just the right word. But, using this rule is a good way to keep yourself from going too far afield when trying to compose a statement about your own work.

In the spirit of "full disclosure" you should know the problems I had because I wanted to use the word " soirée" in the second paragraph of this essay. I have heard the word and know that it basically means "party," but I wanted to use a word that presents more of a sense of class and refinement. Of course, French is a great language for gilding any topic with an air of class. What other language has a word like "sortie" that makes a bombing run sound like a brief shopping trip. But as I arrived at its place in the sentence I realized that I did not have the slightest idea how to spell "soirée." The ancient grade school paradoxical conundrum of how to look up a word in the dictionary when you have no idea how to spell it came rushing back to me. Even the "on-line' dictionary could not help. Next, the Wikithesarus? then the next one? finally tucked away in virtually thousands of Roget's possible connections I saw a word that might have been it. I confirmed it, with a dictionary that, now that the work was done, was more than willing to help and typed it in. Why go to all that trouble? I could have used "party" or "jamboree" or "hoedown" or any other word that had been digitally suggested to me. But, as it turns out "soirée" which means "an evening gathering for conversation or music" happens to be the perfect word. And? now I know how to spell it.

A good way to write effectively about your own work is to study what others have said about theirs and to adopt their concepts to your needs. Rauschenberg's statement is a good example. Certainly surprise is among one of the reason I enjoy working digitally. Or, take this example that I heard an artist named Jessica Stockholder say about her work in Season 4 of the PBS program "Art 21."

In speaking about her sculptural and installation work she said, "Plastic? it's cheap and easy to buy. My work participates in that really quick and easy and inexpensive material that is part of our culture and in that way my work engages the means of production we live with."

Well, for me this statement set off all sorts of bells. If the computer is not "a means of production" that we all live with today, I do not know what is. Working digitally is quick. Most people feel computers make things easy. If, indeed, it is important that my work participates and engages with a means of production that has become commonplace within our culture; then, I might see using her ideas to explain and support my own.

I have long since given up on the idea that my work is special because it is composed using a computer. Continuing to belabor that point was becoming counterproductive. If you are explaining your art then look at art and read what others are saying about art. If your work is art, then anything anyone says about art can be used and adopted to explain your work.

Certainly, to a rapidly increasing number, what we do as digital artists is no longer uncommon. Given that the majority of commercial art we see on billboards, TV screens and web pages has been composed digitally what we do is quite common. What is unique about your work is what you bring to it. Keep this in mind the next time you are challenged to write a statement about your artwork. Make it personal. Keep it simple. If possible, have fun with this necessary bit of evil.

JD Jarvis
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Dunking Bird Productions

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