Monthly Archives: April 2008

“Big Box Reuse” by Julia Christensen coming this fall

Henry R. Luce Visiting Professor of the Emerging Arts Julia Christensen has recently finished writing a book that will be published this fall by the MIT press. This is their description of her work:

America is becoming a container landscape of big boxes connected by highways. When a big box store upsizes to an even bigger box “supercenter” down the road, it leaves behind more than the vacant shell of a retail operation; it leaves behind a changed landscape that can’t be changed back. Acres of land have been paved around it. Highway traffic comes to it; local roads end at it. With thousands of empty big box stores spread across America, these vistas have become a dominant feature of the American landscape.

In Big Box Reuse, Julia Christensen shows us how ten communities have addressed this problem, turning vacated Wal-Marts and Kmarts into something else: a church, a library, a school, a medical center, a courthouse, a recreation center, a museum, or other more civic-minded structures. In each case, what was once a shopping destination becomes a center of community life.

Christensen crisscrossed America identifying these projects, then photographed, videotaped, and interviewed the people involved. The first-person accounts and color photographs of Big Box Reuse reveal the hidden stories behind the transformation of these facades into gateways of community life. Whether a big box store becomes a “Senior Resource Center” or a museum devoted to Spam (the kind that comes in a can), each renovation displays a community’s resourcefulness and creativity–but also raises questions about how big box buildings affect the lives of communities. What does it mean for us and for the future of America if the spaces of commerce built by a few monolithic corporations become the sites where education, medicine, religion, and culture are dispensed wholesale to the populace?

Watch for this book in your libraries and bookstores this fall!

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Posted by on April 28, 2008 in Visiting Artist


Update: Georgia Wall wins top prize at AICUO

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO) awarded prizes to senior art students from private colleges throughout Ohio in Columbus on April 21st for Excellence in the Visual Arts. The top prize winner was Oberlin Senior Art Major Georgia Wall. She was the Grand Award Winner out of six top prize winners. She will receive a $2,500 cash award and the AICUO will also purchase a work of art from her for their collection. Her Senior Studio and Thesis exhibition and performance was this Saturday, April 26th at 10:30 p.m. at 186-2 W. College Street.
Stone Skirt, Georgia Wall

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Posted by on April 28, 2008 in Uncategorized


Oberlin Professor Pipo Nguyen-duy at MICA

This Thursday, May 1, Associate Professor of Art Pipo Nguyen-duy will be travelling to Maryland to speak at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). The talk, sponsored by the department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at MICA, will be at noon in Bunting Room 420, if you are in the Baltimore area. In the lecture, Pipo will focus on his work’s relation to themes of postcolonialism and globalization.

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Posted by on April 28, 2008 in Uncategorized


Reaction to AMAM “Running the Numbers”

from the AMAM websiteIf you haven’t been to the Chris Jordan exhibit “Running the Numbers,” yet, here’s another reason why. Steven Litt of the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently wrote a very favorable review of the exhibtion, that can be found here. Litt describes the exhibition as a “Malthusian moment,” and says the work is “both haunting thought-provoking. Most important, it’s relevant.” Jordan has been making his rounds in the national media, too, appearing on the “Bill Moyers Journal,” “The Colbert Report,” and “The Rachel Ray Show.” The exhibition, in the Ellen Johnson wing of the Allen Art Museum, runs until June 8.

Read more about the exhibition at the Allen here.

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Posted by on April 28, 2008 in Allen Museum


Order Your Art Library T-Shirt NOW!

The Art Library now has special t-shirts available for presale at the circulation desk. They are only $11 each (cash only) and you get a three-color silkscreen on a natural cream colored American Apparel unisex cotton tee. The decal is the Venturi Castle (seen below), designed by our own Julia Feldman. You must pay in advance. Shirts will be available before the end of the semester, so order soon!

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Posted by on April 24, 2008 in library info



Pipo Nguyen-duy at Belkin Art Satellite Gallery

Oberlin Professor Pipo Nguyen-duy’s work is currently featured in Everything Is Not Lost, an exhibition that opening on the 19th at the Belkin Art Satellite Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia. Curated by Kim Nguyen, Everything Is Not Lost features the work of Christian Nguyen, Nhan Duc Nguyen, Pipo Nguyen-duy, and Khanh Vo, four contemporary artists who address themes of family, loss, and the intricacies of memory. These artists interpret the thirty-year influence of the Vietnam War through autobiographical experiences, narratives, and postmemories. Working in a variety of mediums, these four artists confront the socio-political and emotional complexities of warfare and the events that consequently define who they are today.
These artists unravel generational memories in an attempt to form an understanding of their own disrupted sense of historical continuity. By compiling fragments of public, collective, and personal memory, the artists formulate a new narrative unique to the Vietnamese diasporic condition. It will be on view through May 18th 2008. More information can be found on the gallery’s website.

Pipo Nguyen-duy, Ha Long Bay, 2001

Pipo Nguyen-duy will also be giving a lecture this Thursday at the University of New Hampshire.

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Posted by on April 23, 2008 in Uncategorized


Library Acquires Complete Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes

Now on display in the Art Library is the complete Peanuts cartoons and the complete Calvin and Hobbes. Charles Schultz’s complete Peanuts comes in 7 volumes and chronicles all daily and Sunday comic strips from 1950 through 1966. The set includes an introduction by Matt Groening and may be checked out of the library. Bill Watterson’s complete Calvin and Hobbes comes in 3 high quality color volumes. This particularly fine set is library use only.

Calvin and Hobbes

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Posted by on April 22, 2008 in library info


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Nao Bustamante speaks Thursday at noon

Nao Bustamante is an internationally known performance and video artist originating from the San Joaquin Valley of California.  Her (often precarious) work encompasses performance art, sculpture, installation and video. Bustamante has presented in Galleries, Museums, Universities and underground sites all around the world. Her work has been exhibited, among other locales at, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts, and the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki. In 2001 she received the prestigious Anonymous Was a Woman fellowship and in 2007 named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, as well as a Lambent Fellow. Most recently she was one of four winners of the Chase Legacy Film Challenge grant in partnership with HBO and Kodak, presented at the Sundance Film Festival 08.

Currently Bustamante is on sabbatical as a visiting scholar at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. She holds the position as Associate Professor of New Media and Live Art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Nao will be speaking at noon on Thursday at the Cat in the Cream as part of the Margin Release New Media Lectures. Lunch will be served.
All Margin Release events are free and open to the public, and supported by the Luce Professorship of the Emerging Arts at Oberlin College/Conservatory.

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Posted by on April 21, 2008 in Uncategorized


slowlab comes to Oberlin

Carolyn Strauss, the founder and director of slowLab, an emerging organization based in New York City with activities worldwide, will be delivering a public lecture at 12:20 on Tuesday, April 22.

SlowLab, founded in 2003, has as its purpose the promotion of “slowness” or “slow design” as a positive catalyst for individual, socio-cultural and environmental well-being. To achieve this, SlowLab has initiated and is growing a network of creative, civic-minded individuals from all areas of the general public to exchange ideas and resources, share knowledge and cooperatively develop projects that positively impact the lives of individuals, the communities they participate in and the planet that we share. Carolyn has been interested in these issues for a long time, having completed her architectural degree in 1992 and entering the debate on sustainable design in 2001. Accordingly, her talk will be held in Hallock Auditorium in the AJLC. Carolyn is coming from the Netherlands with the generous support of the Ward Lecture Fund, Ellen Johnson Visiting Artist Fund and the Environmental Studies Program.

To find out more, visit the slowLab website here.

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Posted by on April 21, 2008 in Visiting Speaker



Julia Christensen’s Rust Belt/Bayou

Julia Christensen’s new piece involving sound and video launched last week on April 15th on Turbulence. Called Rust Belt/Bayou it is a sonic exploration of Cleveland, Ohio and New Orleans, Louisiana. According to

During these travels, she has often been struck by the similarities between Cleveland, a city of the Rust Belt, and New Orleans, a city of the bayou. Both cities dwell on the shores of bodies of water with global reach: Cleveland on Lake Erie, New Orleans on the Mississippi River. Both cities have seen the boom and bust of industry and population throughout their histories – past and present. Cleveland and New Orleans look remarkably different, but Christensen has often noticed that they have sounds in common: industry, birds, water, tourists. Rust Belt / Bayou offers an interactive document of aural snapshots from recent trips to both New Orleans and Cleveland.

Julia Christensen's Rust Belt/Bayou

Rust Belt/Bayou was commissioned in 2007 by New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. for Networked Music Review. Experience it here.

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Posted by on April 20, 2008 in Uncategorized