Don Hertzfeldt's World of Tomorrow, which made its Columbus debut here in September
Last year was a banner year for fans of animated film.
From crowd-pleasing major studio releases such as The Peanuts Movie, which recently screened here with a visit from its director—and The Ohio State University alum—Steve Martino; to Pixar’s extraordinary Inside Out; to stellar independent works from past Wex guests Lewis Klahr and Don Hertzfeldt; to the handcrafted, uncomfortable intimacy of Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa; the scope and ambition of animated filmmaking and filmmakers continues to push boundaries and create powerful images that last long after you leave the theater. In addition to those aforementioned highlights of animation at the Wex, you'll also find Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, a hit at our last Zoom: Family Film Festival, and reminder of our commitment to bringing the best and most forward-thinking animated films to Columbus.
Dave Filipi, our Director of Film/Video and resident animation enthusiast, has assembled a list of some of the most notable animated films of 2015 for the pages of the latest issue of Film Comment, and it’s an expansive and thoughtful compendium of some of the most memorable and groundbreaking achievements in the form—and a great way to build up your movie watching lists for 2016.
Since April, the billboard at North 4th Street and East 5th Avenue, the gateway to the Weinland Park neighborhood, has been home to original art reflecting the community, located just east of Ohio State’s campus. Local artists teamed up with Weinland Park youth in the R.I.S.E. Youth Program, a partnership of Boys & Girls Club of Columbus and Godman Guild Association, to create the artistic billboard designs. During a recent changeover from one design (by artist Stephanie Rond) to another, local artist Emily Westernhouser salvaged the vinyl material left, repurposing it in order to create tote bags for Weinland Park residents.
Emily Westenhouser holds a BFA from the Columbus College of Art & Design with a focus in Three-Dimensional Illustration and Sculpture. She began her journey as an educator at the Wexner Center and has now taught at organizations including Columbus Academy, the McConnell Arts Center, the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Children of the Future Program, and the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio. Her artwork features a love of drawing, found objects, sculpture, and sewing.
Stephanie Rond is a Columbus-based street artist whose colorful and feminist work can be seen on walls around cities, both inside and out. Stephanie attended Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ohio State. She is co-founder of Creative Arts of Women (CAW), founder of the website Women Street Artists, owns several galleries, and was recently invited to be a speaker at TEDx Columbus. We are honored to have partnered with Stephanie in education programs and community outreach initiatives; in addition to her recent involvement with the Weinland Park Billboard Project, they include her 2011 Pagesartist residency (and continued role as an advisor to the program. In addition, her film Tiny Out Loud screened at our 2015 Ohio Shorts competition.
In the post below, Emily and Stephanie discuss their respective relationships with the Weinland Park community, as well as their shared interest in collaborative art making, and common interest in reusing objects.
Emily: I became acquainted with Weinland Park and the history of the neighborhood when I illustrated stories in the Weinland Park Story Book.
Illustration images: Emily Westenhouser, Weinland Park Story Book
Stephanie: The Weinland Park Billboard Project is my first opportunity to work with the Weinland Park community. I was interested in the project specifically to have an opportunity to work with the R.I.S.E Boys & Girls Club, as well as open up discussions of public space and our responsibility to it. I grew up on and around The Ohio State University campus, spending most of my time at Tuttle Park Recreation Center. As a young person I needed that safe space with encouraging adults to help me thrive. The Boys & Girls Club reminded me to reflect on my own experience, but more importantly that it’s a gift to be able to return the time back to other young people.
Emily: Many of my projects begin with an object that I reconstruct. Objects carry a history into the project that can be powerful. Anything we can do to divert waste from our landfills through repurposing, recycling, or reusing desperately needs to happen. In my own practice, repurposing materials is a necessity and a source of inspiration.
Stephanie: Since my street art deals with discussions of the impermanence, cutting up my piece to make new art in the form of bags made my heart sing. Repurposed is always better than the alternative of adding to the landfill.
Emily: Collaborative art projects serve to draw members of a community closer as participants discover and share common ground. They can serve as a powerful and creative method to give voice to the community and they can build a foundation for community pride that will carry far beyond the timeline of the project.
Stephanie: I can’t wait to see the bags around the city. It will be hard for me not to stop everyone I see with them and have a chat. Who knows, maybe I’ll do just that.
Photo (Ieft): Emily Westenhouser
Want to hear more from Stephanie? Catch her TEDx Columbus talk in this video:
Gridlines is our recurring feature about the world of visual arts, performing arts, media arts, and beyond. We’re talking about the latest and greatest (and less-than-greatest) happenings—what’s grabbing our attention, bringing us joy, piquing our curiosity, and otherwise making us stop and take note. Today’s Gridlines come from Jennifer Wray, Wex Marketing & Media Assistant.
David Letterman’s final Top Ten list, May 20, 2015
I’m a big fan ofMystery Show, a podcast by This American Life regular Starlee Kline. From divining Jake Gyllenhaal’s height (“Case #5 Source Code”) to reuniting a man with an elaborately constructed belt buckle 30 years after he lost it (“Case #3 Belt Buckle,” named one of the year’s best podcast episodes by the Atlantic and Vulture), Mystery Show is whimsical and engaging, but has real emotional stakes.
1. Bust magazine recently picked its top 10 books of 2015, including selections by Wex favorite Miranda July, plus memoirs by Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney, Portlandia) and Patti Smith, both of which are available at the Wexner Center Store.
2. NPR’s John Powers has a “different and guiltier” list for the end of the year—“Books, CDs And DVDs He Wishes He Had Reviewed.” Entries include Viet Thanh Nguyen’s debut novel, The Sympathizer and Criterion Collection’s releases of two François Truffaut films: The Soft Skin and Day for Night.
3. Over at Aquarium Drunkard, you’ll find a number of familiar names in the blog’s year-end review, whose list of “albums that caught, and kept our attention in 2015” include Yo La Tengo, Destroyer, and Wilco, plus the soundtrack to the documentary Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll.
4. NPR Music polled 147 jazz critics on their favorite jazz recordings of the year, including a number of names familiar to Wex followers. More on the 2015 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll elsewhere on our blog.
5. Jenny Hval, who opened for Perfume Genius here in March, makes Pitchfork’s Top 100 Songs of 2015, as do past Wex performers such as Oneohtrix Point Never and Joanna Newsom.
6. The fine folks at RogerEbert.com have collectively decided on the top 10 films of 2015and have made individual picks, including Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room, which was supported by our Film/Video Studio Program.
7. On Artforum, filmmaker John Waters ranked his top 10 films of 2015, which likewise included a nod to The Forbidden Room, which he called “The most insanely inventive, hilariously funny faux-silent movie of all time, with sound design that should win the Oscar. (And if you haven’t yet picked up the magazine’s December issue, we recommend it. Inside, you’ll find Fiber: Sculpture–present and Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada—which opens here on January 30—on its print-only list of the year’s best exhibitions.)
8. More praise for Noah Purifoy comes from the New York Times’ Holland Critic, who named it one of the year’s best visual art shows.
9. The 2015 DownBeat’s 2015 Critics Poll includes a number of names that will be familiar to Wex jazz fans, including Lee Konitz (Hall of Fame), Vijay Iyer/Vijay Iyer Trio (Jazz Artist/Jazz Group), Rydresh Mahanthappa (Jazz Album for Bird Calls, Alto Saxophone), Bill Frisell (Guitar), and Erik Friedlander (Miscellaneous Instrument, cello).
10a. NPR’s “All Songs Considered” catalogues The Year in Music 2015 highlighting performers such as Sleater-Kinney and Missy Elliott. Meanwhile, NPR critics Ann Powers, Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson , and David Dye made their own selections, including Columbus’s own Saintseneca. NPR Music’s 50 favorite albums of 2015 included the Vijay Iyer Trio, Four Tet, and Low—all of which have been previously seen on our stage. Looking for more top music selections? Find a roundup of NPR listeners’ favorites here.
10b. And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t direct you to this roundup of top 10s from our film/video department, which range from films that made their area debut here at the Wex to music, TV, and other media from around the world. Trust me, it is not to be missed.
* Note: Some lists may have more than 10 entries. Some may have fewer. Heck, if you read closely, you may note that we’ve fudged the count a bit ourselves.
Filmmaker and visual artist Liz Roberts is no stranger to the Wex: earlier this year she taught Un-Selfie Video, a popular WexLab, and had work featured in Ohio Shorts. So we’re excited to have her join us on January 9 for Super Empowered, a brand new WexLab designed for girls ages 13–18 focused on digital video production and critically assessing representations of girls and women in the media. There are still spots available for the free, one-day course; register here.
On the cusp of Super Empowered, we wanted to hear from Liz about the course and her work; read on below.
Let’s start with the basics: what can students who sign up expect?
Students who sign up for the workshop can expect a quick primer in looking critically at media, followed by a fun, thoughtful and playful workshop that teaches video production basics. At the end of the day we screen the videos made by the students.
Can you talk a bit about your practice? Are there particular moments or artists or influences that solidified film and moving images as one of your media of choice?
I was originally trained in 16mm film production by Leighton Pierce, who remains an important influence, at the University of Iowa. When I moved to Columbus four years ago and went to graduate school at Columbus College of Art & Design, I was influenced by the fine arts department—specifically sculpture—and became intrigued by placing the moving image in physical space, rather than on a screen. I still make single-channel videos, but my current practice primarily consists of projecting moving images onto objects and/or screens in spaces where the viewer can move around, freed from their seat.
The Wex exhibited one of my favorite video installation artists, Pipilotti Rist. I also admire Joan Jonas as an early video art pioneer.
How does this wexLab differ from your Un-Selfie course?
The Un-Selfie course focused on taking the selfie back to the self-portrait and finding different ways to show yourself as how you want to be seen. Super Empowered also addresses self-representation, with the goal of unlocking the superpower of your unique perspective: finding your voice and articulating what you want to say through video. In addition, we will talk about the dire underrepresentation of women in the production industry.
What can you tell us about your ongoing relationship with the Wex?
I can tell you first about the thrilling moment that I discovered the film/video programming at the Wex. Despite growing up in the midwest, I had taken on some decidedly east coast biases and was sure I’d never get to see anything except Hollywood movies in Ohio. Little did I know! I love having the opportunity to lead the WexLabs for young women, I take in a lot of culture at the Wex, and some of my favorite people in Columbus work at the Wexner.
What’s next for you on the creative and educational front?
I’ll be teaching at CCAD and have several new projects in the works for exhibitions that are scheduled throughout the year. I want to expand and continue offering production workshops to young women: Un-selfie, Super Empowered, and more.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Always take the chance.
To learn more about Liz’s work, head to her home online.
Time for a shout-out to the National Endowment for the Arts, which, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities, launched a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary in the fall. As President Barack Obama noted on this milestone (in turn recognizing President Lyndon B. Johnson for signing the legislation creating these agencies), “It’s our artists who hold up a mirror to our society, reminding us of our common purpose and our collective obligations.” NEA Chairman Jane Chu visited Columbus in 2014, noting that the Wex “brings different archetypes and people together. That’s cutting edge and a both/and—not either/or.” We thank Chu and the NEA for their stalwart support of our artist residencies, including a recent grant for projects by visual artist Sarah Oppenheimer, choreographer Faye Driscoll, and composer Brian Harnetty. Join us in tuning in to “A Celebration of American Creativity,” featuring performances at the White House to celebrate this milestone (airing in Columbus on WOSU.TV/PBS January 8 at 9 PM, January 9 at 2 PM, and January 10 at 8 PM, or check airtimes in your hometown). You can share your personal story with the NEA about the impact of the arts on your life here.