Week 12


Finish all critiques for Conceptual Portrait


Final assignment:

Experimental Studio SART 2800 

Make your own ARTIST BUTTONS*

Since the 1950’s artists have been making inexpensive, accessible works in a series/edition intended for wider distribution than singular objects in museums. These have served to critique commercial/market aspects of the art world, and the myth of an expensive “original”. Artist multiples have been made as prints, small, manufactured sculptures, pins, artist books, magazines, postcards, t-shirts, zines and other commercially reproducible media. They are sometimes given away for free, traded or sold for low cost in bookstores, independent art galleries, libraries, convenience stores, activists’ gatherings, and more.

Artist multiples are sometimes playful and mischievous – exploring new and surprising manifestations of commercial media – and often convey ideas and meaning against expected commercial, social, and political goals.

Develop some ideas for unique, artist buttons and post your thoughts and drawings/designs on the blog.

Consider how artists use conceptual strategies to make buttons into art including:

  • a button that acknowledges its own button-ness/materiality, is self-conscious and knows it’s a button
  • buttons that work together to create a final work
  • a button that creates social interaction
  • a button that gives instructions/provokes
  • a button that reveals things usually hidden
  • a button or series that completes a sculpture
  • a button that speaks to the body directly, that knows it’s on a body
  • a button that creates a performance act by wearing it
  • a button made with unexpected materials

In class we will learn to use the button maker together with the appropriate materials. Create a single design, or a series of buttons.

Consider fonts, design, colours, images to make a professional quality artist multiple. You may use up to 15-20 buttons for your final project, plus a few tests.

*See schedule for work time and critique dates.


Demo with Nathan on Button making – design templates and button machine

Week 9


Audio Art critique


Complete Audio Art critique

Untitled, (Portrait of Ross in LA), 1991 Felix Gonzales Torres


– Uncommon documentation of an aspect of life

– A collection of objects to make a portrait

– A material stand-in for an abstract concept

-Results of an experiment performed to learn about something

Works can be in prints, slide-show images, video, audio, or found object sculptures and installations. Consider using text in your work when needed. Maximum limit for time-based works is 3 minutes.


“In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work… all planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes the machine that makes the art.”

Sol Lewitt, from Peter Osborne, Conceptual Art, Phaidon, Themes & Movements

“The system is the work of art; the visual work of art is the proof of the System. The visual aspect can’t be understood without understanding the system. It isn’t what it looks like but what it is that is of basic importance. “

Sol Lewitt

For this open media project you will create a representation of someone or something – in a non-literal way. You will create your conceptual portrait by using a system – like a rule, a formula, a series of tasks, or an experiment to plan and create the work. Your work will not be narrative or decorative – it will include only what is necessary to convey your information, follow your task, or show the results of your experiment.

 Let the system be the “machine that makes the art.”

Some artist references:

Christian Marclay Mel Bochner On Kawara The Bechers Hiroshi Sugimoto John Baldessari Kelly Mark Germaine Koh Sandy Plotnikoff Spring HurlbutFelix Gonzales Torres
Micah Lexier
Germaine Koh
Sophie Calle
Tom Friedman
Douglas Gordon Roula Partheniou
Hannah Black Dean Baldwin Katie Patterson

On the Blog: DRAFT a proposal of your ideas for discussion in the next class

Write about an artist reference from the lecture that informs your thinking – use images and prepare to discuss your proposal in our next class meeting:

*See schedule for work time and critique dates.

Week 8


No class meeting. Note make-up class: Sat. Oct. 21 in Toronto Field Trip


Artist talk from Evgenia

Sound exercise

Audio Editing demo with Nathan

Discussion of ideas in development