Tag: dj hellerman

2015 | The Picture Was an Outrage

The Picture Was an Outrage was included in the exhibition
Staring Back: The Creation and Legacy of Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon.
Curated by Janie Cohen and on view at the Fleming Museum of Art, Burlington, VT
February 3 – June 21, 2015

The Picture Was an Outrage

The Picture Was an Outrage, is heard…by viewers as they stand before a life-size projection of Demoiselles. This recording was made in collaboration with members of the UVM and Burlington arts communities, an extension of Karson’s own socially engaged art practices. What emerges as subject matter in this piece is the active role that conversation plays in the development of an artist’s ideas, as well as evaluation of the artist’s later impact. Staging the voices of seven members from Picasso’s inner circle, this sound installation presents snippets of personal responses to Demoiselles when it was first seen, in his studio in 1907. We hear the documented words of Picasso’s contemporaries such as Matisse, Georges Braque, Andre Derain and Alice Derain; writers and critics Gertrude Stein and Gelett Burgess; as well as the art dealer David-Henry Kahnweiler. The overwhelmingly negative sentiments captured by this sound installation point to the general consensus that Picasso may have gone mad while creating the work, which was initially deemed by his colleagues as a horrendous affront to painting.


The Picture Was an Outrage takes its power by representing a plausible moment of failure for Picasso. The harsh comments captured from over a century ago have a haunting effect, as the very first observations of this painting are reawakened. Criticism bounces through the room on a hypersonic speaker, which carries a strong psychological presence. The experience of sound feels almost as if it emerged from the viewer’s subconscious. Building a new dimension of physicality into our collective experience of Demoiselles, Karson casts a spell. She confronts Picasso’s greatest moment of vulnerability using staged role-play. Upon hearing the voices, one cannot help but reflect on the insults launched at contemporary artists who have arrived at ideas that are not accepted within the art world today.

Laura Blereau
From the exhibition catalog Staring Back, On Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon


(In order of appearance)

Alice Derain, Georges Braque…………………………………………………….Alison Nobile Class of 2015

Matisse communicated by Roland Penrose……..………………………..DJ Hellerman, Curator, Burlington City Arts

Gelett Burgess…………………………………………………………………………Major Jackson, Professor, Department of English

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler……………………..…………………………………..David V. Rosowsky, Provost and Vice President

Gertrude Stein…………………………………………………………………………Barbara Zucker, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Art

André Derain……………………………………………………………………………Angela Patton, Senior Lecturer, Department of English


2014 | Your Attention Please! Ignore This Message

“Continuity seems lacking in a wold full of separately conceived physical entities all competing for space and attention, all without concern for what is nearby, and masked by portals, links, and signs to someplace else.”

Malcolm McCullough, Ambient Commons

Your Attention Please! Ignore this Message is a reflection on how our sensory field often refers to someplace else; it considers the role of sounds, particularly cell phone sounds, in the ambient commons.

In 2014, smartphone sound notifications often always sounded the same, depending on the make of your phone. We commonly asked each other, “Is that you or me?” when we could not decipher whose cell phone was ringing. Messages not intended for us demanded our attention. 

Cell Phone “bells” played intermittently during the exhibition Break It! Build it!
The public was invited to call in from outside locations and make the cellphone ring in the gallery.
A summary of the bell and chime sounds found
on an iPhone in 2014.

Exhibited as part of Break It! Build It!
Curated by DJ Hellerman
Burlington City Arts Gallery, July 25, 2014 – September 13, 2014

2013 | The Firehouse Bell Project

The Firehouse Bell Project was included
in the exhibition User Required at Burlington City Arts Center,
Burlington, VT, 2013. Curated by DJ Hellerman.

The Firehouse Bell Tower

The Firehouse Bell Project posed two questions:

Should the Firehouse Bell ring again?

If so, why should it ring?

464 Votes = Yes | 68 Votes = No

Selected Participant Responses:

It should ring according to the moon cycle.

Ring the bell on the morning of a voting day as a reminder to vote!

When there is an art opening, ring the bell.

The bell should ring every time someone gives any amount of money to the homeless.

Ring the bell every time an animal is adopted from the Chittenden County Humane Society.

Have water mist around the bell and ring it when the sun is in position to make a rainbow.

It should warn if zombies attack, have regular Zombie drills (Once a month @ random).

It should ring again so that people do not forget what a real bell sounds like.

It should be replaced with a bubble machine.

Just ring the damn bell!


The Firehouse Bell Project was at the Burlington City Arts Center in Burlington, VT in the spring of 2013
and as part of the exhibit User Required curated by DJ Hellerman.

464 = Yes 68 = No