In the second Visiting Artist event of the 2014-15 school year, on December 1st, BFS students were introduced to video, film and hybrid media artist, Art Jones. Art has been exhibiting since 1991 and achieved early recognition in the 1993 Whitney Biennial. Jones’ films/videos, CD-ROMs, live audio/video mixes and installations are concerned with the interrelationships between popular music, visual culture, history, and power.
In the Upper School Collection, Art discussed his recent projects that involve organizing communities to create collaborative performances and installations. In 2012, Art participated in the “smARTpower” program, initiated by The Bronx Museum of the Arts in collaboration with the U.S.Department of State. This program selected 15 visual artists to reside in different countries and create community-based art projects in an effort to encourages dialogue and stimulate discourse around local or global social issues. Art discussed his project for “smARTpower” entitled “Selector International”. This project took him to Karachi, Pakistan to lead a series of classes and workshops that culminated in the creation of mobile audiovisual installations. His workshops taught sound editing, interview techniques, and DJ skills to twelve attendees, who locally sourced the sounds and images for the project. The resulting work was presented in an open-air entertainment complex on the Karachi waterfront, and engaged the general public.
During Art’s visit to BFS, he also worked with several classes. He visited Jean Kim’s 7th & 8th grade video class, where students got to use Art’s “customized” polaroid camera to shoot black and white portraits. He also visited the 11th grade IB Visual Arts classes where he gave a lighting workshop for photography and video. Art’s work introduced and reinforced the idea that art has no boundaries. In his efforts to represent communities, environments and experiences, Art not only uses a variety of ways to make his work, but collaborates with many different people. In turn, this makes for artwork that is complex and perhaps, not easily definable. The visit provided much food for thought and a springboard for some very rich discussions with students and faculty alike.