Abstraction in Action Thomas Glassford: Siphonophora https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/thomas-glassford-siphonophora/


Artist: Thomas Glassford 

Until July 24, 2016
Museo Universitario del Chopo
Mexico City, Mexico

Siphonophora is a site-specific work that echoes earlier chapters in his career—above all his work on the articulation of neo-botanical structures—as well as a glossary constructed in the present. In direct allusion to the siphonophores, colonies of planktonic marine organisms with a peculiar morphology that places them between animals and plants, Glassford constructs a sculptural organism that recalls the building’s former incarnation as a natural history museum. The work combines reference points ranging from the human microbiome—the collection of microbes that colonize the body and that together comprise one hundred times more genes than in our own genome—to the classic children’s story Jack and the Beanstalk, by way of the artist’s own experiences on a farm, weaving together his extensive knowledge and love for plants, which form an important part of his everyday life.

In both the siphonophores and the microbiome, there is a social parallel with the community, the family nucleus, a neighborhood, or city. This dependency and correlation allows unity and divergence. The encounter with this complex installation fluctuates in the perception between a fossil, plant elements, or an animal organism. Depending on the viewpoint, its monumental character situates us walking on the ocean floor, entering a cave, observing from the sea surface, or seeing a climbing plant from cloud level. This ambiguity highlights the construction of parallel worlds in which viewers recognize themselves in the astonishment of a single, unrepeatable yet collective reflection.



April 18, 2016 Monochrome Undone https://abstractioninaction.com/projects/monochrome-undone/

Monochrome Undone
SPACE Collection

Curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill
October 24, 2015 – April 1, 2016
SPACE, Irvine, CA

Artists: Ricardo Alcaide, Alejandra Barreda, Andrés Bedoya*, Emilio Chapela, Eduardo Costa, Danilo Dueñas, Magdalena Fernández, Valentina Liernur, Marco Maggi, Manuel Mérida, Gabriel de la Mora, Miguel Angel Ríos, Lester Rodríguez, Eduardo Santiere, Emilia Azcárate, Marta Chilindrón, Bruno Dubner, Rubén Ortíz-Torres, Fidel Sclavo, Renata Tassinari, Georgina Bringas, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Thomas Glassford, José Luis Landet, Jorge de León, Bernardo Ortiz, Martin Pelenur, Teresa Pereda, Pablo Rasgado, Ricardo Rendón, Santiago Reyes Villaveces, Mariela Scafati, Gabriel Sierra, Jaime Tarazona, Adán Vallecillo, Horacio Zabala.

The monochrome as a focus in the SPACE Collection began in a spontaneous form and soon became a systematic field of research. This exhibition is about the contemporary monochrome in Latin America. The monochrome is one of the most elusive and complex art forms of modern and contemporary art. If we think about its origins or meaning, we find that the monochrome is many contradictory things. The monochrome is neither a movement nor a category; it is not an “ism” or a thing. It may be painting as object, the material surface of the work itself, the denial of perspective or narrative, or anything representational. The monochrome may be a readymade, a found object, or an environment—anything in which a single color dominates. The monochrome can be critical and unstable, especially when it dialogues critically or in tension with modernism. This exhibition is organized into four different themes: The Everyday Monochrome, The White Monochrome, The Elusive Monochrome and The Transparent Monochrome. These themes have been conceived to create context and suggest interpretations that otherwise might be illegible.  These may overlap at times, pointing to the multiplicity of content in many of the works. The unclassifiable and variable nature of the monochrome in Latin America today is borne of self-criticality and from unique Latin contexts, to exist within its own specificity and conceptual urgency.

To purchase the catalogue click here.

El monocromo, como enfoque de SPACE Collection, comenzó de forma espontánea y a poco se convirtió en un campo de investigación sistemático. Esta exposición trata sobre el monocromo contemporáneo en América latina. El monocromo es una de las formas de arte más elusivas y complejas del arte moderno y contemporáneo. Si reflexionamos acerca de sus orígenes o su significado, nos encontramos con que puede albergar muchas cosas contradictorias. El monocromo no es un movimiento ni una categoría; no es un “ismo” ni una cosa. Puede ser la pintura como objeto, la superficie material de la obra, la negación de la perspectiva o de todo lo representativo o narrativo. El monocromo puede ser un readymade, un objeto encontrado, un cuadro o un ambiente: cualquier cosa definida como una superficie cromáticamente uniforme donde un solo color predomina. El monocromo puede ser crítico e inestable, especialmente cuando se dialoga críticamente o en tensión con el modernismo. Esta exposición está organizada en cuatro temas: el monocromo cotidiano, el monocromo blanco, el monocromo elusivo y el monocromo transparente. Estos temas han sido concebidos a fin de crear un contexto y sugerir interpretaciones que de otra manera podrían ser ilegibles. Éstos pueden superponerse a veces, apuntando a la multiplicidad de contenidos en muchas de las obras. La naturaleza indeterminada, inclasificable y variable del monocromo en Latinoamérica hoy en día es producto de la autocrítica y de los contextos propios, para existir dentro de su propia especificidad y urgencia conceptual.

Para comprae el libro haz clic aquí.

September 25, 2015 Thomas Glassford: Afterglow https://abstractioninaction.com/happenings/thomas-glassford-afterglow/


Artist: Thomas Glassford

March 13 – April 19, 2014
Sicardi Gallery
Houston, TX, USA

The exhibition consists of Glassford’s large-scale sculptural installation of the same name and a series of recent works on paper. Afterglow (2010) is built from the artist’s signature industrial materials: golden aluminum rods support transparent tubes filled with fluorescent liquid. An abundance of green Plexiglas “leaves” spring from the tubing, creating an environment that alludes to tropicalia while hinting at a futuristic, man-made landscape.

Originally commissioned by Mexico City’s Museo Experimental El Eco, Afterglow was shown at The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design in 2013 for its debut in the United States. The piece suggests a synthesis of nature and geometry: Glassford engages with the human need to structure the organic. Afterglow‘s shape is informed by the architecture of jungle gyms, forms that simulate nature while using exact proportions. The scaffold-like installation, covered with invasive tropical growth, invites viewers to walk through it and move around it, an experience which evokes childhood exploration.

Born in Laredo, Texas, Thomas Glassford studied art at The University of Texas at Austin, where he received his BFA. He moved to Mexico City in 1990. His work is in several important public and private collections, including The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Jumex Collection, Mexico; The Diane and Bruce Halle Collection, Arizona; Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Artes, MUCA, Mexico; CIFO Foundation, Miami; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; and many others.

March 11, 2014 Abstracción temporal (Temporary Abstraction), Museo Experimental El Eco 2010 https://abstractioninaction.com/contexts/contemporary/abstraccion-temporal-temporary-abstraction-museo-experimental-el-eco-2010/


Abstracción temporal (Temporary Abstraction), Museo Experimental El Eco 2010
Mexico City, Mexico

“Art in general, and naturally architecture as well, is a reflection of the spiritual state of the man of its time. But there is a sense that the modern architect, individualized and intellectual, exaggerates at times—perhaps due to having lost close contact with the community—when wanting to highlight architecture’s rational side excessively. […] Only by receiving true emotions from architecture, man can consider it again art.” This is an excerpt from the introduction of the book “Abstracción Temporal, Museo Experimental El Eco 2010,” which gathers different activities (or “experiments” as they call them) that took place in Museo Experimental El Eco the same year.


Based on Mathias Goeritz’s Emotional Architecture Manifesto from 1953, El Eco establishes its grounds to understand the reason why this museum is a space for creation, experimentation and emotion in different levels. This summary of “experiments” is an interesting book that presents more than 20 examples of visual arts, architecture, music, poetry, film, performance and dance. Projects such as Pabellón Eco, Archivo Vivo de El Eco (Eco Pavilion, Live Archive of El Eco), Cine Abierto (Open Cinema), and its curator and artist residency program, are presented through interviews, visual information and letters which enhance the way the reader interacts with the book. The publication includes works, interviews, actions and interventions by Thomas Glassford, Alex Hubbard, Karina Peisajovich, Georgina Bringas, Omar Barquet, Geoffrey Farmer, El Resplandor, Marcos Castro, My Barbarian, Inger-Reidun Olsen, Frida Escobedo, José León Cerrillo, Adriana Lara, Lázaro Valiente, Melanie Smith, Rafael Ortega, Alejandra Laviada, N’Goné Fall, Sharon Houkema, Adrian Notz, Postopolis!DF, Verbatim Vortex, and José Jiménez Ortiz.

Texts by José León Cerrillo, Rita Eder, N’Goné Fall, Geoffrey Farmer, Mathias Goeritz, José Jiménez Ortiz, Jennifer Josten, Adriana Lara, Alejandra Laviada, David Miranda, My Barbarian, Adrian Notz, Tobias Ostrander, Ricardo Pohlenz, El Resplandor, Inger-Reidun Olsen, and Paola Santoscoy.

*Images taken from Arquine

January 12, 2014 Thomas Glassford https://abstractioninaction.com/artists/thomas-glassford/

Extract from “A Touch of Anguish (or two peas in a pod and a self-serving gourd). A Conversation Bewteen Manuel Hernández, Cuauhtémoc Medina & Thomas Glassford,” In: Cádaver Exquisitio: Thomas Glassford, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, 2006 (…) The work relates to questioning beauty, lowering itself to the banal and simplistic, which really is the issue of taste because beauty is simply a word based on fashion and the dictates of fashion. In case of art, it’s connected to collecting. For example, I collect containers made from bull’s scrota. As a collector of objects, I try to deal with banality and take it a step backwards from the personal –from corporeal provocation. When, for example, I see and Aster, obviously speaking in respect to sterility in this extreme, for me it’s related to the gourd. (…) I’m into the surface texture and wear of everyday street life, the influence it has on society, how it becomes a passing image in time, the aspect of its defacing one’s contemporary positioning or historic presence. If one waits long enough, what seems defacing becomes classic. (…) Art is a code or a way of encoding these kinds of anguishing thoughts. There isn’t a day when we can stop thinking about art since there isn’t a day when we can stop thinking about the wrinkle that keeps growing –the one we hadn’t noticed before- or about the spot we’re in or the breakdown we’re feeling, about the anguish of realizing we’re forty-something years old.”

Traducido del inglés

Fragmento de “A Touch of Anguish (or two peas in a pod and a self-serving gourd). A Conversation Bewteen Manuel Hernández, Cuauhtémoc Medina & Thomas Glassford,” en: Cádaver Exquisitio: Thomas Glassford, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, 2006 (…) La obra se relaciona con la cuestión de la belleza, rebajándose a lo banal y simplista, que es en realidad un problema de gusto porque la belleza es simplemente una palabra basada en la moda y lo que ésta dicta. En el caso del arte está ligada al coleccionismo. Por ejemplo, yo colecciono contenedores hechos de genitales de toro. Como coleccionista de objetos, intento considerar la banalidad y dar un paso atrás desde lo personal, desde la provocación corpórea. Cuando veo por ejemplo Aster, obviamente hablando sobre la esterilidad en este extremo, para mí está relacionada con el guaje. (…) Me interesan las texturas de las superficies y el deterioro de la vida urbana cotidiana, la influencia que tiene en la sociedad, cómo se convierte en una imagen que pasa en el tiempo, el aspecto de vandalizar nuestra postura contemporánea o presencia histórica. Si uno espera lo suficiente, lo que parece vandalizado se vuelve clásico (…) El arte es un código o una manera de codificar estas ansiedades. No hay día en el que dejemos de pensar sobre el arte porque no hay un día en el que dejemos de pensar en la arruga que sigue creciendo, la que no habíamos notado antes, o en el lugar en el que estamos o en la crisis que sentimos sobre la angustia de darnos cuenta que tenemos cuarenta y tantos años”.

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November 5, 2013