Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Art Assignment

You may not have heard of Sarah Urist Green before, but she recently stepped down as the curator of contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Her new endeavor is to produce and host a web series for PBS Digital called, "The Art Assignment."

As the website describes the show, "We take you around the U.S. to meet artists and solicit assignments from them that we can all complete." The videos are about 8-10 minutes long. Each week they talk to an artist, the artist gives an assignment, Green then explains the background and history of that theme/type of art and then you see one or more examples of people doing their assignment. It is designed to be easily done no matter where you live or what kind of art you do. Later, after people have submitted their assignments on various social media platforms (Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, etc), they put together a highlights video showing off people's work to their audience.

(Photo: Matt Kryger / The Star)

The show is hosted by Sarah Urist Green and her husband, John Green, whom you may know as a best selling author and prolific YouTuber. If you don't know him, you should go look him up now: HERE. They are super cute together and work well as a team. Sarah is referenced in John's videos as "The Yeti" because she was often talked about, but rarely seen. My introduction to her was in one of his videos where he was talking about Twilight. He was saying, "You almost get the feeling from reading the books, that, like a woman can't be whole until she has a strong independent man to take care of her. When of course, the fact is a woman needs a strong man to take care of her like a fish needs a bicycle. I mean, just ask the Yeti. (yells off screen) Hey Sarah! Do you need a man to bench press your body weight in order to feel whole?" To which she responds instantly, "Obviously, not."

There is a great interview with both of them HERE that you should read. In it Sarah says, "The Art Assignment's concern is generating ideas, the creative process, and the act of making. This is not a high pressure situation for those responding to the assignment. Judging and winning will not be part of it. I will put together episodes that show what I think are some of the best viewer responses to the assignments, but I really only see that as a way of aggregating content and making it easier to find the good stuff. The "reward" will be making something cool and showing it to other people on the internet."

There have been several assignments so far and I plan on doing some of them and posting them here. I figured I would explain what the show is and why you should watch.

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