Sabbatical Day One

Today begins my first year long sabbatical. I have not had a year dedicated to research and studio practice since my Fulbright 10 years ago. As an artist and and academic I have learned how to balance work and research but this year offers great opportunity.

I approach it with excitement and slight trepidation since now there is no excuses to get stuff done.

Green Grass in Sun
Green fields of production

New Inflatable Art Film by Mark and Angela Walley

Durning the install of new site specific inflatable art for Tongue and Cheek at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York, Mark and Angela Walley documented the process and just released a new short film about the inflatable sculptures.

Tongue in Cheek: The Inflatable Art of Jimmy Kuehnle from Walley Films on Vimeo.

The film shows the installation of You Lick Me, I Lick You, a 40 foot wide 20 foot tall sculpture of abstract tongues that hangs from the main arch entrance of the museum. IT also chronicles performances of the inflatable suits, You Wear What I Wear, Hello. Bye. and Walking Fish during the Kite Festival near the museum. The wind howls as Super Punch Bubbles is installed in the tower of the historic Glenview Mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The exhibition features inflatable art sculptures inside and out and runs from June 4 to September 18, 2016.

You can see more of the Walley’s films on their website at http://www.walleyfilms.com/

First Work Day of the 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship

Kwong Lam Double Needle Sewing Machine
Testing the new double needle sewing machine in the studio

Today is the first business day of the 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowships in Cuyahoga County. I am honored to be among the 40 artists to receive fellowships this year and plan to make huge new sculptures and performances. Part of the fellowship is public engagement, so I figured it was a good time to begin updating everyone about what I am making. I plan to post updates about my studio activities throughout the fellowship year.

Artists always need new tools and machines to make new work, make bigger work, make more efficient work and to stretch the realms of possible. I bought my first semi-real sewing machine in 2008 while on a Fulbright Grant in Japan. Unfortunately, that was after wasting money buying a not so nice sewing machine from the store that did not last a month in the studio. I have a fond memory of grad students walking in to see me sawing off the plastic case of my little sewing machine so I could replace part of the “non user serviceable” tensioner. That gave it a few more days to finish the project but is soon broke completely. Then I purchased a relatively decent consumer sewing machine from a sewing shop in Nagoya. The machine only sewed in a straight line but it was fast and tough. I still have that machine and used it to sew my most recent inflatable Please, no smash that was part of the How to Remain Human exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a trusty machine and I will still use it often to fasten zippers and make garments. But now a new tool occupies the studio.

Over the weekend at Globe Sewing Machine in Cleveland, Ohio and I bought a new double needle sewing machine. The thing is a beast and weighs about as much. The machine can sew through double layers of webbing with two rows of beautiful and strong lockstiches, saving me a lot of time fabricating in the studio. I tested the machine out briefly and installed it in my sewing studio. I am just waiting for the fabric to be delivered so I can begin fabricating new inflatables.

Speaking of fabric, today I ordered four rolls of bright red 200D polyester fabric that will become huge inflatables for an upcoming exhibition. I also ordered lots of red wedding and thousands and thousands of yards of bright red polyester bonded Tex 70 (69) thread. Can’t wait to get sewing.

Walking Fish Performing in University Circle

Walking Fish inflatable suit public art performance by Jimmy Kuehnle
Walking Fish crossing Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio

On Friday, August 28, 2015 Walking Fish inflated at the old Cleveland Institute of Art’s Gund Building and then bounded across University Circle finally coming to rest at CIA’s new building on Euclid Avenue. Power lines, low hanging trees and buildings not withstanding, students and guest helped get the large inflatable suit down the road. The performance intends to engage spontaneous collaborative action and succeeded in all aspects.It would not have been possible without everyone’s help. Thank you to all.

Explaining the Amphibious Inflatable Suit (AIS) in Captivity at Crystal Bridges State of the Art

Amphibious Inflatable Suits are fascinating creatures, one part amphibian, one part inflatable, and one part clothing. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has a Type I AIS in captivity as part of a pilot research project at their State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibit.

The video below, posted by the museum, explains a bit about Amphibious Inflatable Suits and their specific care needs.

Crystal Bridges – State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now

Logo for contemporary American art exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum called State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now
Crystal Bridges State of the Art Discovering American Art Now

This September Crystal Bridges opens a large survey show of American art featuring 102 artists from across the country. I am excited about the ideal habitat for native Type I Amphibious Inflatable Suits (AIS) at Crystal Bridges that allows for the inclusion of my work in the exhibition. These remarkable creatures pose many challenges to maintaining a healthy life in captivity. I will post about these challenges as well as the preparations for safe transit from the studio to the site in Arkansas next month.