Stephen Vitiello is the one and only sound artist we studied this semester.  He is also a musician and photographer.  He records sounds in everyday situations and also edits them and adds more sound digitally.  He worked on the 91st floor of the world trade center, and here he would record the sounds that came from outside of his window.  He will sometimes have photographs that accompany his sound art, and he frequently works with other artists in collaborations with his sound art.

Stephen Vitiello’s work is very innovative and new.  I have a difficult time deciding whether or not I would say he is a “fine artist.”  I am only using the term “fine” because the sound aspect would not be considered visual.  He is definitely an artist, and I do like what he has created, but I don’t know what category I would place it under.  I would say that his pieces are not music, however they are in a way experimental music, which is also kind of sound art.  This experiment music is something I learned about in a MUSIC class, and I feel like they would fall into the same, or a cousin genre of Stephen Vitiello’s pieces.  Maybe this is a new kind of art that is just now being invented and will change the art world forever.


Looking at the dates (1970s) in which Vito Acconci began his work, one could say he was ahead of his time.  He has created both photography and video pieces, and and underlying theme in much of his work is confrontation and situationism.  A lot of his work is disturbing, in your face, someone violent, and sexual.

This picture is a still from a video piece that he did in 1972 called Undertone, in which he fantasizes that a girl is under the table rubbing his legs.

His work made me feel very uncomfortable, but I think that was the point.  In which case, if that was the point, he was successful.  When watching his videos, I had a hard time actually watching them because they were so disturbing (especially Pryings), but at the same time I could not stop watching.  It was a similar feeling to how I felt when we watched the Pipilotti Rist video in class.  His pieces definitely create an emotional response, for me at least, although I’m sure I’m not the only one.


Matthew Ritchie is different then the other artists we have studied thus far because he is a digital artist, and also a painter and sculptor.  A lot of his art reflects an exploration of religion, science, and philosophy.  When is work is on display, it takes over the room.  His pieces often cover the ground to the ceiling, and even come out onto the floor.  The colors are often very bright and vibrant, and flow into long curving lines, or sometimes knots.  Sculptures are also frequently present, and they sometimes come from the ceiling and the floor.

I like what Ritchie is doing, and the way that he’s doing it.  His work kind of reminds me of Salvador Dali.  I think mixing two genres of art, drawing/painting and digital art, is a really great idea.  For me I feel like doing digital art, drawing on the computer is kind of difficult and I just really prefer when I can manipulate things directly with my hands, and he’s kind of getting the best of both worlds: he can get an idea of what he wants on paper by hand, and then scan it onto the computer where he can edit it, undo mistakes, and change it in thousands of ways.


The first thing I thought of when I saw Bill Viola’s portraits was “Cool, Talking Heads?”  due to the way his head was floating on a black background, and with his black shirt camouflaging in, it just looked really “cool.”  Here is what I’m talking about:

Cool, baby?

Anyways, Bill Viola is a video artist.  He does “videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, and works for television broadcast” (this list came from his website).  He’s very spiritualistic, and even studied religion in college.   I think this effects the simplicity and subject matter of his pieces.  The elements are often incorporated in his pieces, especially water and fire.  I read that he had a near death experience when he was six years old, where he nearly drowned in a lake.  This experience was less a fearful one, but very much a calm and peaceful one.  He said that he had forgotten about the experience until he was having a conversation with a friend in his 30s, and that it had been tucked away in his subconscious.

I think that Viola’s work is very interesting.  Something about water pulls you in, and this element is present in so many of his pieces.  I really think that Reflecting Pool was successful in many ways, mostly because of how the time has been interrupted and planned out.  It has a relaxing quality, in the sense that it is water that is fairly still, but just with a small ripple, but at the same time I felt kind of on edge because there is a figure hanging it space, and I’m waiting for it to fall, and then it suddenly disappears.  I feel like he kind of mastered the psychology behind the viewers train of thought when looking at his piece, and how interested they are during each point in time.  It seemed very thoughtful.


When you google Jeff Baij, his website is the first thing listed.  When you enter his site, you might be a little confused.. atleast I was.  Since the first time I have looked at his site, which was last week, more art has been added.  Have you been reading what UMW blogs has been saying Jeff Baij?  Because he has before, which is cool, and shows how accessible artists are, and it’s even cooler that his video biography, created by Jeff Baij, addresses a student’s blog about his art.  Anyways, about Jeff Baij:  He is a graphic designer.  His stuff is kind of different, and at first, I didn’t really know how I felt about it.  But there is something about the fact that it is different, and simple, and it’s not something that looks like it’s trying too hard.  From his video blog, and one of his pieces, which I cannot find at the moment, where he tells the viewer that he is a graphic designer and asks ” what the F are you ” (something along those lines), he has an attitude, he is sarcastic, and he is pretty blunt.  But it’s funny.  Sometimes his art moves, and it kind of looks like it would be in an old video or computer game.  This style  makes him distinct.  I don’t really see any other artists doing stuff like this today.  It’s simple, and it’s stuff that I don’t have any idea how to do. I feel like a computer science major might, or someone good with computers.   

Back to what I said earlier about not really liking it at first.  Well I didn’t.  I had to look around his site for a while before I started to appreciate it.  There is something to be said about doing what YOU want to do, and I definitely think Baij does this.   He knows how to use computers, he knows how to use computer programs, he is a graphic designer, and this is what he wants to do.  He isn’t going out and making what is IN RIGHT NOW.  He is doing his own thing, which is simple, and kind of techy, and different than what is out there today.  And so much of what is out there looks the same.  You go into a gallery and there are a million paintings, and collages and portraits and landscapes.  This is also so accessible.  It is here.  He is making his art accessible by making himself so accessible and making different kind of art.   I like it.  

Here is a pice that he did.  It’s a simple version of a  Morandi painting:


Robin Rhode captures movement and creates performances through drawing, painting, and photography.  His art is made not only in a studio, but also outside on the sidewalk, or streets.  His work is often very minimal in the use of materials and subject matter.  He often uses things like chalk, charcoal, or paint.  Much of his work is centered around the issues of poverty and social inequality.  His performances include himself dressing up as a character and drawing on the walls and floor of the gallery, and acting out the scene that he plans to portray.  He also has some video work, that is fairly simple technologically.  The frames are far apart, reflecting the simplicity of the drawing style.

I really like Robin Rhode’s work.  I like the fact that his drawings and performances are minimalistic and not over the top, reflecting his subject matter.  I think it’s creative that he has paralleled his style and his subject matter; it wouldn’t make sense to have a HD video portray poverty, in my opinion.  It’s much more personal to have a performance acted out the way he did, with few things going on, few people involved, and going in a frame by frame way.

Pipilotti Rist

Elisabeth Charlotte Rist, aka Pipilotti Rist has been making art since the 1980s.  She is a video artist, commercial artist, illustrator and photographer.    She is most well known for her video art, which is large, often taking up entire walls, and contains bright, often florescent like, colors. She often incorporates music into her video art, and water seems to be a reoccurring element in her pieces.  Much of her work is not only displayed in galleries and museum installations, but also publicly in bigger cities, like London and New York, on LCD screens.   Her art seems to have feministic characteristic, and sexuality and the human body.  Although many of the images appear to be beautiful, especially because of the colors, they contain disturbing and grotesque objects and ideas.

I find that her art makes me feel many different emotions at once, and although at times it makes me feel uncomfortable, i think this makes her successful.  In her video piece I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much I couldn’t tell if I was scared, if I wanted to laugh, or if I wanted to vomit.  The combination of the high pitch sining, and the way that it was filmed, one on one, her with the camera, and a little bit fuzzy made it seem so unreal and so strange.  It also seemed very genuine, and this honesty that is present is also why it was almost frightening.  Her art is very bold, passionate, and colorful.  It’s like an explosion of emotion.


Cory Arcangel is a New York computer programmer and digital artist.  A lot of his work might remind you of that video game Super Mario Bros., probably because it is!  He hacks into different video games and alters them or changes them in some way.  He combines old and new technology, and various pop culture icons.  For example, his piece I Shot Andy Warhol, Andy Wahol, Pope John Paul II, and Flavor Flav are present, and the object of the game is to shoot them.

I would not necessarily want to put Cory Arcangel’s work on display in my living room, but I do appreciate what he has done, and his mixture of culture and technology.. I think it’s a pretty cool twist.  And it’s also very playful and colorful, and brings together culture of today, and combines it with the idea of childhood or youth.  It’s fun, and it’s new, and it’s a combination of old and new technology, and I think that there will be more art like this in the near future.