Saturday, October 30, 2010


As I previously mentioned, the repetition of walking is much influenced by artists we have studied in class. This piece is temporary, because with time the grass always grows back. Below is a video documenting the trail that was run. As once can see, there are greener spots of the grass and even brown and patches of dirt.

What is more interesting is the process that was put into making this piece. It involved collaboration between my brother and I. It is special that we did this together since we almost never see each other anymore. We never "hang out" in the backyard anymore since we are all grown up and I am in college.

Another thing I noticed while reviewing the video is that for some reason (I do not know why) my brother had slipped off his shoes prior to me taking the video. I feel like this makes his connection to the place even stronger.

Final Project

The final project for this class contains influences from ancient artists and the more recent Richard Long.

It is symbolic of the journeys that ancient cultures took and marked with circles. The area contained within this yard is like a world in itself.

The second part to the video is reminiscent of Richard Long's pieces where he walked in a line until a trail was left in the ground.

Although my project is not as extensive as its influences, it attempts to express the idea of the place where my grandfather spent a lot of his time, but using the styles of previous artists.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Project Part I: The Site

After listening to speaker Meghan Muller discuss her site visits, it made me question what defines my site. I feel as if an in-depth discussion of a person's site can reveal a lot behind the piece.

Most important, the site must have certain physical aspects. I have legal access to my site since it is owned by my parents. My backyard is also very spacious (although size does not matter). While there is fencing and hedges that confine the space, no more is needed. Also, the site is directly connected to the natural elements of the earth. There are trees and other parts of nature. This is very related to my piece in that it is one about time, life, etc. 

A personal meaning can be attached between the project and site, although it is not necessary. My backyard is the place where I grew up. There is a garden of vegetables, patio, and a whole yard for us kids and adults to hang out. While I was little, my parents worked a lot a it was my grandparents who took care of me and my brother. The backyard was also the place where we spent a lot of time with our grandpa. We  used to play basketball, ride bikes (yes, in the grass) and have all sorts of fun. After about his five years of residency in the United States, he returned home. I guess I have attached a very nostalgic feeling to my backyard. 

I feel as if there is always a meaning to a piece of work. As much as the minimalists want to say that there is no meaning and that their art is just art, there may always be a subconscious reason for why the piece turned out as it did. If they can not identify one, it will eventually be labeled or assumed by their audience. It seems as one can not get away from meaning in a piece. 

Monday, October 25, 2010


In addition to being a stump, a log from the original tree can also have a nostalgic feeling attached to it. It is interesting how something natural can evoke someone's feelings, or have a history behind it (Usually feelings are attached to something more materialistic). For example, this stump has been located at my house since I moved there over ten years ago!

It will be very interesting to see how the peers in our class using trees in their projects will modify them. A tree is a symbol of life, knowledge, etc and these meanings seem to be very universal. Any modification to them will enhance the artist's purpose behind it.

Modified Stumps

While the other stump was allowed to be with nature, this one had an added man made object on it. This stump is on the edge of the property between my house and that of a neighbor's. As one can see, a reflector (added by someone unknown) has been placed on the tree. 

This reminds me of the Site Seer project that our professor did where he left foreign / man made objects (a white dress, apples in a bowl) in a natural setting and revisited it later to see how it was modified. However, this is the opposite. A natural object was allowed to remain in a man made world and was later modified by man. Again, this is a very permanent piece. Who knows what I will find the next time I return home? 

Natural Stumps

(These are two perspectives of the same stump)

Reflecting on the conversation we had as a class on Thursday on what happens to trees after they are unfortunately removed, I found the remnants of trees that had been removed off of my property. It seems that many stumps are left over in my yard.

This one was allowed for natural growth on it (as one can see from the above picture). This is very interesting in that a stump - when it was part of the tree as a whole - is a creation of the earth. However, when the tree becomes a stump, its form is man made. As time proceeds, it is further modified by nature through time.

Also, stumps are very permanent. They are rooted into the earth. It requires heavy machinery (and extra cash) to have it ground up. It is as if a stump is a lasting memory of the magnificent tree that was there and a symbol of continual life with the new organisms that are making it their home.   

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Trashcans

Good afternoon! Hope everyone is enjoying their "Fall Break"! This weekend I returned home and hoped to explore the area around my house, in addition to obtaining material for my final project. 

This is again another arrangement of trashcans. The grey one is for recycling while the green one is for trash. They are located on the side of my house and are pushed to the curb of our house for the Monday morning pickups. It would have been great if I could have taken a photo of that happening all along the neighborhood.

In a previous post I stated that trashcans were as if part of our cityscape in Richmond (as with other man made objects). However, it seems as if it is a norm, even in the suburbs that I live in. With Duchamp's popularity, it has made almost anything a piece of art. These pieces of art decorate our landscape and is representative of modernism. It shows the progression of something so simple. Once trash was just disposed of on the street (more primitive) while now, due to population growth and better sanitation, we use trashcans.

Friday, October 22, 2010

VP's House

This is again another "road" is located next to the VCU Vice President's (home/office?). It is next to a house and is like an alley that leads foward to West Franklin St. It can be reached from the front of the building or by walking pass the art museum from a complex of a few buildings. Again, this is similar to Carl Andre's definition of a sculpture (although unlike his, these are actually flat, and less like a barrier which his are).

There is a repetition of bricks and is surrounded by a rather more natural area then that of the city streets of VCU.   It is quite away from the view of the street actually. It makes me look at the bricked roads of VCU's campus differently. I wonder how long have those bricks been there (since many around campus are dangerously loose)? and if they were recently placed, are they just part of a green drainage system to prevent flooding and return rain water to the earth?

The idea of roads as art, rather for their purpose, now make me question the purposes of anything similar such as paths, roads, alleys, etc.

Another thing I realize from this is that VCU has a very green campus. Recycling wise and campus wise. I remember a walk I took last year around with my Biology lab class to identify all the different types of trees around campus and there are a large variety. Not only that, but the yards of the houses surrounding campus are filled with foliage.

Beijing Lu

Courtesy of:

A street in the urban area of Guangzhou, China named Beijing Lu, literally Beijing Road, has some of the most ancient roads. In the midst of digging up and constructing this shopping center, these roads were revealed. This is reminiscent of Carl Andre's idea that "My idea of a idea of sculpture is a road. That is, a road doesn't reveal itself at any particular point or from any particular point. Roads appear and disappear...We don't have a single point of view for a road at all, except a moving one, moving along it." (Overlay 125).

Beijing Lu is similar to a sculpture in that it is made a point of interest by the modern people. As one can probably see from the above photo, there is a glass case protecting the surface and there is an explanation accompanying it.

Also, this road reveals the fact that roads appear and disappear. If you could actually look closer, it is not just one road but layers of roads from previous times. People back in the day would have thought the road was just a means of travelling along. However, today people can see each layer paved one on top of another.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Floral Sculptures

While in Guangzhou, China in 2008, during the Olympics, I noticed these floral sculptures of the Olympic mascots. These sculptures were beautiful and the time put into placing each and every single flower must have been time consuming. These sculptures, obviously not permanent, are periodically changed.

The location in which they are placed is very restricted. Guangzhou is a huge city and as in most huge cities, there are few medians in the downtown area. However, this sculpture was placed in a median for the public to enjoy. The grounds of the median were again covered with flowers. The height of each sculpture was about 10 feet each.

What is nice about these pieces are that it uses the natural materials of flowers. It brings a more earthly feel to the culture. In a city where it is all about technology, economics, noise, and transportation, it is refreshing to see a bit of natural earth around. I feel as if more cities should follow this lead. It is very opposite of the usual earth art piece. Usually, man made objects or man modifies the natural world. This time though, the natural world is brought into the man made world.

Project Proposal

Proposal #1

This is basically an aerial view of my backyard, including the surrounding borders (fence, bushes, house). In the center is a decent amount of yard and grass. The arrow represents a bike path that will be formed. I plan on this to be both an earth art and performance piece. 

The project is limited to the area within my backyard. It is a performance piece in that it is the process that is more important than the product. In my opinion it is reminiscent of Richard Long's lines he formed walking back and forth. However, with a circle, there will be a more natural meaning to it in contrast to Long's work. Although the performance is temporary, the resulting product will remain until the grass grows back (which it probably will not until next spring since the weather is becoming cold). 

The piece also embodies the characteristics of earth art in that it is part of a natural space. This would be my backyard and it is also limited by the borders that the bushes, fence, and house create. I got this idea from first thinking of a location I could have access to (since I do not drive) that was natural and spacious. 

To document the work, I plan on using photography and film. Also, I plan on using some extra people, a prop (the bike), and gaining permission from my parents before I (temporarily) destroy their backyard. 

Proposal #2

If my permission is denied, then the second option would be to hang something on the trees in my backyard. There are two specific trees in my backyard that form a very interesting shape. It is as if they are uniting together instead of growing upwards toward the sky as normal large trees do.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"International Fountain" at Seattle Center

Courtesy of

While attending the Bite of Seattle at Seattle Center, the International Fountain was of particular interest to me. To describe it in its entirety, it is a large circular depression into the earth with a small dome at its center. Spewing out of the dome is water. Around the fountain is a park. The park and fountain together act as a public gathering place.

The fountain's connection with the earth though, is that the fountain's water is returned and used as a watering system for the park. The fountain's round shape, can also be symbolic of the earth and the water returning to its earth can give the designation to the fountain as the "mother". As many pieces in art show, there is a strong appeal to the contrast of male and female and their role and connection to nature (Overlay).

For more info:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

AT&T Rethink Possible - Blanket Commercial

After viewing the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude today in class (and never before), it seemed very familiar to something I have seen in the past. It was the orange color of the fabric, the arrangement of the work, and the location that reminded me of an AT&T commercial.

However, the purpose of AT&T is to not connect the people to the earth but promote their service. In other terms they are connecting people to people. Also, the artists were not involved in the making of this commercial in any way.

Not only does this show the influence artists have on today's culture, but also a return to the importance of art and attempt for today's society to connect with the Earth. This commercial is also important in that it shows a return to a simplistic concept rather than a complicated one that a commercial usually uses to get a point across. As stated in Overlay "As Robert Roseblum has pointed out, the spirit of drastic reform often coincides with the return to extreme simplicity or "therapeutic geometry" (77). This is definably an approach I will look for next time I watch a commercial. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Blend of Nature & City

This arrangement of trashcans was found in Monroe Park on Saturday, October 9, 2010, after a fundraising event had been held there earlier that morning.

This arrangement is reminiscent of Smithson's "Mirror Displacements". All of these trashcans are approximately the same and are repetitively placed in an outdoor space. However, the trashcans are not permanent and have obviously been removed since then. Also, there was no meaning behind the objects besides its function and nostalgia of the events that morning (Overlay). 

Spatially, it connects to that of of a cityscape. Walking around Monroe Park, I realized that the trashcans, light posts, and other man-made objects are part of the environment. The suburbs where I am from we do not have public trashcans, benches, and these other objects. Cityscapes are part of the environment in which we live in and this part was to bring us back to the natural world. With these man made objects dispersed in it though, made it seem as a sort of  blending between the two.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Listen to the Earth Cone" Maya Lin

This is one of the most recent pieces by the famous artist Maya Lin (also designer of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial). This piece was on exhibit late August of this year in the Guangdong Museum in the Tianhe District of Guangzhou, China.

Courtesy of:

Although this piece is designated as an installation, the association of it with nature and the repetitiveness of the design could give it somewhat of an association with earth art. The piece is a cone in design and made of bronze and wood, 19X10X8 feet. In the center of the cone, is a television screen displaying animals whose populations are declining due to habitat loss.

The materials used to create this piece are naturally found. What one should notice is the arrangement of the boards. Although the boards are not spiraling, they are converging downhill toward a point, as would a spiral do. Spirals, as we discussed are an important symbol that has existed for a long time. Therefore, a question I would like to ask is. . . is there another significant meaning to this?

Concerning "liminal spaces in the open environment-those places where the earth and the existence of man merge-where the boundaries between the two begin to dissolve" . . . I feel as if this piece would have a greater impact if it were not an installation confined to a museum. If it existed outside as a piece of "earth art" then the message would illicit a more emotional response.

For those who are not familiar with the area, it is one of growing infrastructure. From the first time I visited the area until 10 years after, things have changed very much. Much of the mountain landscape that once existed is lost. It is steadily being replaced by condos and pavement. Highways have been built very close to residential areas, the natural habitat has been decimated, and there is pollution.

I came upon this piece when I was searching for earth art, more specifically in the area of Guangzhou. This is an area that I am vaguely familiar with and have visited. However, I would like to become more familiar with the art that this area has to offer. Hopefully, I will be able to actually see what I discover sometime soon.