Arizona ArtBeat: ASU Art Museum Spring Season

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The Arizona State University Art Museum’s Spring 2015 season kicks off this week, with six varied exhibits, including paintings, sculptures and other exhibits. Curator Julio Cesar Morales and artists Scott Kiernan and Victoria Keddie will discuss the museum’s new spring season offerings.

Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of Artbeat looks at the ASU art museum's spring season, which kicks off tomorrow. Here to tell us about what will be exhibited is Curator Julio Cesar Morales and artists Scott Kiernan and Victoria Keddie. Good to have you all here. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it. In general terms, how many museums, what purpose do they serve?

Julio Cesar Morales: It's the ASU art museum, and tomorrow we have our season opener. So we have five exhibitions opening, including the research center.

Ted Simons: The brickyard is one spot.

Julio Cesar Morales: And then the other one is the actual museum on campus.

Ted Simons: The goal of an university art museum is what?

Julio Cesar Morales: I think the actual goal of the university art museum is to actually take risks within art but also since ASU is such a large research center and university, we try to work with artists that are really interested in working with these other schools within the school itself, other than the museum and in collaboration.

Ted Simons: Okay. So we've got six exhibitions featured correct?

Julio Cesar Morales: Yes.

Ted Simons: Is that six?

Julio Cesar Morales: There we go.

Ted Simons: The first one is live video taping with ESP TV. All right, what is ESP TV?

Scott Kiernan: It's a project that's existed for nearly five years, and it's basically a traveling TV studio that travels to different galleries, diy spaces, any kind of space and collaborates with artists to make live television in the space. So in some ways it's a bit like this and in some ways it's nothing like this. The projects range from performance art, musicians, video artists all become part of a live taping with a live audience. We broadcast the show on television in Manhattan, in New York, and in Philadelphia and Portland occasionally, and then after that, they go online. So they're viewable from our website.

Ted Simons: As far as television is concerned, you can be live, you can be taped, you can be both. Is this one of those live events that is preserved by tape or do you not even bother taping it?

Victoria Keddie: We do. We preserve everything. Our experience is very much about the live televisual experience but we also come from a standpoint where we look to preserve everything and we do. We record everything to tape. It's kind of a living archive as well as a very alive experience at the same time.

Ted Simons: You'll be working with local artists here correct?

Victoria Keddie: Yeah, uh-huh.

Ted Simons: And everywhere you go, you work with local artists? You mentioned it was a traveling situation.

Scott Kiernan: It is. For the exhibition here in Arizona we're bringing some videos from artists from different parts of the country but the artists at the show and we are also showing videos from artists in Phoenix but also having performances by artists from Phoenix, Arizona.

Ted Simons: We're looking at some of your work right now. As someone who is involved with the museum, you see this, you hear about this, why are you interested in this?

Julio Cesar Morales: I'm interested because this is part of an overall exhibition called unfixed and unfixed looks at the history of painting, artists who are influenced by analogue and digital technology and at the same time, I think when you ask if things are taped, we tape on vhs so the live sessions are recorded on vhs, and then they're digitized in that sense. So this exhibition is really about artists, a new term called post-Internet art. And the idea, the question within the essay I wrote and I was saying what does it mean to be a painter in a post-Internet environment?

Ted Simons: Holy smokes.

[ Laughter ]

Ted Simons: But again, you're talking technology, and, you know, it's one thing to do art with minerals and soils and natural things. You're doing art with stuff that could be obsolete in another six months to a year. How do you get around that?

Scott Kiernan: Obsolete is a thing that's used to sell products. It doesn't mean it stopped working and part of our ethos of working, there's not really any rules. You can use anything if it suits what you're trying to do and you might appreciate the texture of something that's 30 years old. There's a way to mix and match. There's no rules on that.

Ted Simons: And with that in mind, can you get too much technology involved? Can it be too clean, too perfect?

Victoria Keddie: I think so. I think a lot of our practice is about deconstructing the ideas of maybe the perfect setting, the perfect set of technology, the idea of high-definition, breaking that apart, what does that mean? And how useful is it for the practice from an artist's standpoint? And so yeah, we kind of combine different tools and mesh them together, create our own hybrid system, and I think it works because it shows the imperfections in a different way that allow people to see maybe some other parts of the technology that they hadn't before.

Ted Simons: What do you want? If anyone goes and watches the live performance, what do you want them to leave with?

Ted Simons: I want them to leave with a sense of people gathering together and using a space for making something happen. Part of the thing we do with our show and why we care about it being on TV and what TV means anymore, so many people watch TV on their computer, you know, we have the show air in Manhattan, we try to have people gather together in a bar there and watch it together. We want people to gather.

Ted Simons: Big screen or just --

Scott Kiernan: Regular bar TV.

Ted Simons: Whatever screen.

Ted Simons: So we're running out of time here. Obviously, ESP TV is a main attraction. We have archives and architecture.

Julio Cesar Morales: The opening from 6:30 to 8:30 and we have -- I ran down the list here, unfixed new paintings, typing, doing an exhibition called follow my line, we have recent acquisitions from the museum archive and we have the architecture of Glen Murkot that was codesigned with the school's students and finally, we also have another exhibition of gifts from the archive.

Ted Simons: And we'll stop you right there. Sounds fascinating. Congratulations and good luck and we appreciate you being here. That's it for now, I'm Ted Simons, thank you for joining us. You have a great evening.

Video: "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by approximations from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Julio Cesar Morales:Curator, ASU Art Museum; Scott Kiernan:Artist; Victoria Keddie:Artist;

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