ArtSlant - Contemporary Art Network http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/show en-us 40 Working (it) Out with Gillian Dykeman: Roya Akbari <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Welcome to the seventh installation of the Artslant podcast series, <em>Working (it) Out</em>. </span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">My name is Gillian Dykeman, and I'm a visual artist living in Toronto, Ontario. This summer, I am interviewing artists to ask about the role of audience in their practice. Each interview will begin with one question: "Does art require an audience?"</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/217109442&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" frameborder="no" scrolling="no" width="100%" height="450"></iframe></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Working (it) Out </span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">with Gillian Dykeman</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Episode Seven |&nbsp;<strong>Roya Akbari: Destiny's Child</strong></span></p> <ul class="ul1"> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />The Vivian Maier question&nbsp;(2:00)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Censorship and the political realities as limiting factors in finding audience&nbsp;(3:00)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Inner dialogue and intimate dialogue as integral to Akbari&rsquo;s process&nbsp;(4:50)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Love Letter&nbsp;(5:05) &nbsp; &nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" /><em>Dropping Off the Face of the Earth&nbsp;</em>(8:42)</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Nomadic experimental film&nbsp;(10:14)</span><span style="text-align: center;"><br /></span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Evoking empathy and making space for your audience&rsquo;s baggage&nbsp;(12:52)</span><span style="text-align: center;"><br /></span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Using the language one feels connected to for intimate speech&nbsp;(15:50)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Censorship further explored<em>&nbsp;</em>(19:05)</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Is it art if it&rsquo;s left in a drawer?<em>&nbsp;</em>(20:47)</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Destiny&rsquo;s Child<em>&nbsp;</em>(21:09)</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Art as therapy: A-OK<em>&nbsp;</em>(22:10)</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Roya Akbari is an experimental filmmaker and visual artist. When we met to discuss her work, she brought up important issues around censorship and the politics of what is allowed to be shown where. For Akbari, discourse <em>isn&rsquo;t</em> a precursor to categorizing a culture product as art. Akbari&rsquo;s experimental films and installations feel intimate and personal, but withdraw just enough from the edge of explicit to allow space for audience to enter the work. Akbari doesn&rsquo;t consider audience during process, but rather addresses an aspect of herself, or in the case of <em>Only Image Remains</em>, audience is addressed through a love letter to Iranian Cinema.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Music: War on Drugs, "An Ocean Between the Waves"</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150803111533-only_image_remains_still.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150803111550-onlyiamgeremainsstill2.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><img style="text-align: left;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150803111631-Onlyimageremainsstill4.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150803111610-onlyimageremainsstill3.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Four images above: Film stills from&nbsp;<em>Only Image Remains</em>,&nbsp;2014, 30 minutes, Color, Farsi / English subtitles</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150803111806-droppingoffstill.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150803111826-droppingoffstill1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150803111918-droppingoffstill4.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150803111934-droppingoffstill5.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Four images above: Installation views from&nbsp;<em>Dropping Off the Face of the Earth</em>, 2015, 5-channel video installation. Photos: Jesse Boles<em><br /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&mdash;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;" href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/374197-gillian-dykeman">Gillian Dykeman</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 15:24:46 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list The Best Non-Profit Art Spaces in Los Angeles <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Like other industries, the art world should come under the scrunity of fair and equitable business practices. With so much privatization in the gallery and museum world, it's as good a time as any for consumers of culture to question where funds come from&mdash;and where profits are going. This summer, we're seeking out the best not-for-profit and community conscious art spaces in the most commercial cities on the global art circuit. As part of our mission to give art a social slant, the first stop in our series exploring these venues is gallery hotspot, Los Angeles.</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://artandpractice.org/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ART + PRACTICE</strong></span></a></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150802231009-A_P_from_hammer.ucla.edu.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Art + Pratice. Photo: Lauren McQuade</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art + Practice (A+P) is a nonprofit founded by artist and Leimert Park native Mark Bradford, philanthropist and collector Eileen Harris Norton, and social activist Allan DiCastro. With the South Los Angeles neighborhood&rsquo;s reputation as an African American cultural destination, the so-called &ldquo;Leimert Park Renaissance&rdquo; will no doubt feed off of A+P&rsquo;s community-centered programming&mdash;A+P has already been providing the 90008 ZIP code with life-skill training for foster youth and will soon provide free, museum-curated art exhibitions and moderated art lectures to the Leimert Park community, encouraging education and culture in the area.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The organization encompasses nearly 20,000 square-feet and multiple buildings that will not only be exhibition space for visual arts, a bookstore and classrooms, but space for artists&rsquo; studios. Committed to art and social practice, the multi-use space works in partnership with UCLA&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.artslant.com/la/venues/show/10-hammer-museum" target="_blank">Hammer Museum</a> that will curate exhibitions and public programs on the A+P campus; The RightWay Foundation, which oversees the foundation&rsquo;s foster youth services by delivering mental health services and job training to foster youth (the highest concentration of the county&rsquo;s foster youth live in South Los Angeles); and EsoWon Bookstore, a black-owned business, community hub, and neighborhood institution, which directs A+P&rsquo;s lecture series. Also part of its mission: A+P has been providing studios to three artists in residence since last August, and among the first to participate is Dale Brockman Davis, founder of LA&rsquo;s first African American-owned commercial gallery, Brockman Gallery, which operated in Leimert Park from 1967 to 1989.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><a href="http://artsharela.org/" target="_blank">ART SHARE LA</a></strong></span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150802232421-Art_Share_LA.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Art Share LA. Photo: Lauren McQuade</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art Share LA is a self-described sanctuary for the arts in the heart of downtown LA&rsquo;s Arts District. The 28,000 square-foot former warehouse provides 30 subsidized live/work lofts for artists on the second level and a community-focused programming facility on the ground floor, offering affordable studio space for local artists, classes, an exhibition space, and a theater for performances and community council meetings.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The building has gone through a couple of phases, starting as a single family residential home in 1912 and transitioned into a textile recycling, or &ldquo;rag shop,&rdquo; in 1928. The building was purchased in 1997 and Art Share LA has made it their permanent home, adding a necessary safe-haven for artists in a developing area that is <a href="http://www.artslant.com/la/articles/show/43457" target="_blank">becoming less and less affordable for practicing, up-and-coming artists</a>. Today, Art Share LA acts as the Arts District&rsquo;s only low-income housing option, easily attracting arts practitioners with its artist-friendly aesthetic and resources. Their upcoming programming includes dance workshops, poetry readings, and film screenings.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.santafeartcolony.org/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>SANTA FE ART COLONY</strong></span></a></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans, 'Trebuchet MS', Tahoma, Verdana; font-size: 12px; text-align: left;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150802232255-SFAC_-_LA_Art_Tours_visiting_Don_Lewis__studio.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Santa Fe Art Colony, LA Art Tours Visiting Don Lewis' Studio. Photo: Lauren McQuade</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Santa Fe Art Colony (SFAC) is a live/work studio complex in Downtown Los Angeles whose residents work to teach and promote art not only in the region but also across the globe. SFAC residents are professional artists who have been holding an annual open studios walk-through for outsiders to see where artists who show in commercial galleries live and create since 1988, when the building was renovated and developed into artists&rsquo; lofts.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The annual tours equip those curious with knowledgeable guides who spout historical factoids and insight into this rather hidden community located on the industrial outskirts of DTLA. There are 57 spaces in total, giving residents solitude to work and engage with the greater community&mdash;those who do opt for the annual tour of the SFAC have the opportunity to meet the artists in person, see them at work, and even interact with them in ways not possible in the conventional gallery setting.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://avenue50studio.org/"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AVENUE 50 STUDIO</strong></span></a></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150802232139-Avenue_50_Studio.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: x-small;">Photo: Lauren McQuade</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Avenue 50 Studio calls Highland Park home. Since its founding in 2000, the self-described arts presentation organization has been committed to providing a space where the life and artistic interests of an under-served community can become visible. Avenue 50 works to represent their Northeast Los Angeles community by providing an ongoing structure that enhances public recognition and appreciation of their multicultural art community with supporting visual artists, writers, and poets.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The nonprofit has grown from a small gallery to an active arts nexus in a part of the city known for being a traditional arts enclave. A now important arts destination in Northeast Los Angeles, Avenue 50 grounds itself in Chicana/o and Latina/o culture and visual arts with emphasis on showing art rooted in the Highland Park neighborhood. The space operates as a venue for up-and-coming local artists and poets and includes two galleries, a community art space, and three resident artist studios. Their monthly art openings and varied literary events, including workshops and poetry readings, are part of their efforts to bridge the diverse cultures of Los Angeles. The space hosts an annual Dia de los Muertos event and is currently exhibiting renowned Chicano artist Roberto Gutierrez&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.facebook.com/sixthstreetviaductbridge/posts/902722523119570" target="_blank">latest series </a>that grapples with upcoming demolition of the iconic 83-year-old 6th&nbsp;Street bridge along the LA River.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://sparcinla.org/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>THE DUR&Oacute;N GALLERY @ SPARC</strong></span></a></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150802232040-SPARC_-_Interpretive_Green_Bridge.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal; text-align: center;">Judy Baca and SPARC have collaborated with wHY Architects to complete the designs for a &ldquo;Green Bridge&rdquo; which will be composed in part from the debris of the Los Angeles River with interpretive panels along the expanse of the Bridge from which the public can view the river and the &frac12; mile of mural along its banks. <br />Photo: Lauren McQuade</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), located in Venice, Los Angeles, was founded in 1976 by Chicana muralist and educator Judy Baca, filmmaker/director Donna Deitch and artist/teacher Christina Schlesinger. The gallery at SPARC became the Dur&oacute;n Gallery, named after Armando and Mary Dur&oacute;n, art collectors and long time SPARC supporters, and seeks to bring socially conscious art to underserved audiences by way of exhibitions and performances in an effort to engage. SPARC aims to communicate with the larger public through forms including architectural monuments, murals, or new technology spaces such as the internet.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Since 1976, SPARC has been working across Los Angeles, including poor and immigrant communities, with youth and their families as participants in the production of public monuments, which make these communities' stories visible to local, national, and international audiences alike.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Center operates under the notion of art as public property&mdash;as expressed by famed Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. SPARC&rsquo;s Artistic Director and Founder, Professor Judy Baca, asserts that the ideals of the Mexican social mural movement, which began in 1913, inspired Los Angeles muralists in the 1970s. Her work, too, was inspired by the art movement: Baca painted murals with at-risk youth, forming the basis of the first citywide mural program eventually leading to the creation of SPARC.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://machineproject.com/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>MACHINE PROJECT</strong></span></a></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150802231949-Machine_Project_-_Forest.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Forest</em><span style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">, 2009, by Sarah Newey and Christy McCaffrey. Courtesy&nbsp;Machine Project</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Machine Project in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles is an educational institution that teaches whatever Executive Director and Founder Mark Allen and his loose group of artist/performer collaborators find interesting: electronics, sewing, pickling, computer programming, and car theft&mdash;among other niche topics not otherwise supported by educational institutions in the LA area. The artist, educator, and curator has directed over 1,000 free events, workshops, and installations at the non-commercial gallery space since its founding in 2003.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Allen and his colleagues use the art gallery as a vehicle for other social interests. They work together to create, study, and share new forms of culture and ways of living by collaborating with artists, thinkers, and local communities to produce non-commercial projects in the space and beyond that encourage conversations. These projects investigate art, performance, technology, science, music, literature, and new ideas for creative engagement.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The nonprofit keeps the lights on by hosting workshops at about $20 a contact hour (materials included) and, of course, through receiving tax deductible donations either online or in person with their pneumatic cash machine. At certain events, there is a &ldquo;beerhole&rdquo; in the corner of the space that dispenses cold cans of beer through the floorboards after a thirsty patron first rings a doorbell above and places $2 in a mechanical hand.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://clockshop.org/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>CLOCKSHOP</strong></span></a></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150802231442-Clockshop_-_Con-Safos.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Sarah Dougherty and Iris Hu opened Rafa Esparza&rsquo;s new revolving installation <em>Con/Safos</em> with new works created specifically for the <em>C/S</em> surface, February 28&ndash;March 31, 2015. Photo: Matt Rose Photography</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Clockshop, located in what is known as &ldquo;Frogtown&rdquo; along the banks of the LA River, is a multifaceted arts organization working at the intersection of politics, urban space, and cultural production. The nonprofit uses its varied artist projects and collaborations along with events and screenings as a means to explore the forces that shape our lived environment. Clockshop operates out of <a href="http://www.elysianla.com/" target="_blank">Elysian</a>, a bar/restaurant and event venue, and also works throughout the city in uncommon and undiscovered locations to bring people together to share in the strange particularities of Los Angeles and the global creative practices and politics that affect its residents.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Bowtie Project, a collaboration between Clockshop and California State Parks, activates an otherwise overlooked 19-acre post-industrial lot known as The Bowtie, located along the LA River in Northeast Los Angeles. The site had been closed to the pubic for over a decade until Clockshop was invited to bring a broad and experimental blend of artists&rsquo; projects and collaborations to the desolate outdoor space. <em>Con/Safos (C/S)</em> by Rafa Esparza is the most recent Bowtie program in collaboration with <a href="http://www.selfhelpgraphics.com/" target="_blank">Self Help Graphics &amp; Art </a>and California State Parks. <em>C/S</em> is a site-specific sculpture built with 1,500 adobe bricks handmade by Esparza and his father on site that form two intersecting walls. The adobe walls will act as a year-long revolving installation where graffiti artists, painters, and sculptors are invited to design, paint, and build onto the surface of <em>Con/Safos</em>, creating temporal artworks.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><a href="http://womenscenterforcreativework.com/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>WOMEN&rsquo;S CENTER FOR CREATIVE WORK</strong></span></a></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150802232539-WCCW_-_Dinner_in_the_City.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">A Women&rsquo;s Dinner in the City,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">November 16, 2013.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">In the shadow of the historic Woman&rsquo;s Building, in the Anabolic Monument Native Plant Garden, LA State Historic Park, near Downtown LA.,&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">100 women formed a gathering in the urban landscape to examine our civic histories of place-making&mdash;<br />thinking about intentional spaces old and new.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photo: Gilda Davidian</span></p> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Women&rsquo;s Center for Creative Work (WCCW) is a Los Angeles-based network of self-described "rad women" who are engaged in conversations about contemporary feminisms and creative practices. WCCW exists as both a women-led creative co-workspace and, on a broader scale, an enabling architecture providing professional, emotional, and artistic nourishment for female-driven creative projects. Since its founding in November 2013, the WCCW has built a network of over 1,500 women who are committed to support each other socially, creatively, and economically by building the structures&mdash;physical and transcendental&mdash;that maximize connectivity and empowerment.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">WCCW's founders recognized a need for a contemporary feminist community center of sorts. Artist Katie Bachler, graphic designer Kate Johnston, and producer Sarah Williams filled the void themselves. The three women decided to bring their community together to talk about the present state of feminism with two large dinner events: one in Yucca Valley and one near Downtown Los Angeles. The two events galvanized their community in unanticipated ways and WCCW was born. WCCW is growing its female and female-identifying creative community in Los Angeles as the organization readies itself to move into new offices geared toward even more creative practices like writing, design, sculpture, weaving, filmmaking, painting, and more, while also working to expand the definitions of what is considered creative work to encourage finding creativity and a feminist angle in all labor.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><a href="mailto:emailanalogdissident@gmail.com" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ANALOG DISSIDENT</strong></span></a></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150802231239-Analog_Dissident_-_Artist_Amy_Von_Harrington.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Artist Amy Von Harrington presents her work. Courtesy of Analog Dissident. Photo: Jimena Sarno</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Analog Dissident functions as a free monthly discussion group aimed at queer/radical/feminist/politically inclined artists to critically engage outside of traditional art institutions, gallery openings and social media. Since December 2014, artist Jimena Sarno runs the space at her studio to feed a need for unmediated, meaningful interactions between artists beyond so-called &ldquo;virtual nods of approval&rdquo; within social media or mere minutes at art events or openings. Sarno curates the programming to engage an inclusive dialogue that goes well beyond the traditional white, male, straight, gender-conforming privileges rampant within mainstream and traditional art institutions.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The events offer a non-hierarchical discussion group aimed at&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"queer/radical/feminist/politically inclined"&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">artists and curators that features two guest artists in an informal, open studio visit. Guests are encouraged to bring work in progress or that is being completed for a specific exhibition and all in attendance engage in the discussion. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Analog Dissident is being displaced due to DTLA&rsquo;s rapid development, which is kicking out low-income artists and residents. The space will host a group show in August to bid farewell to its current location and will continue its monthly gatherings at a TBD location that Sarno hopes to eventually expand into an exhibition space.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a href="http://www.papillionart.com/" target="_blank"><strong>PAPILLION</strong></a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">PAPILLION, founded by Michelle Joan Papillion, moved into historic South Los Angeles neighborhood Leimert Park in 2010 and was the first gallery space to contribute to the area&rsquo;s so-called &ldquo;renaissance.&rdquo; The contemporary art gallery&rsquo;s decided focus is on emerging artists and includes a project space in Downtown LA called P.I.A. Projects, which serves as an artist residency to start or complete a new project.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">The space has some historic roots in the noted African American cultural hub: brothers and artists Dale and Alonzo Davis opened the Brockman Gallery in 1967, where PAPILLION&rsquo;s pink neon sign now stays lit day and night. The neighborhood was once home to iconic African American figures like Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles, along with many important black LA artists, like David Hammons, Samella Lewis and A+P founder and artist Mark Bradford. Up next for PAPILLION is performance artist and filmmaker Terence Nance performing&nbsp;<em>Black boys 1-18</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Black girls 1-18</em>&nbsp;to a live soundtrack. The gallery is currently closed for the summer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/431064-lauren-mcquade?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Lauren McQuade</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Art +Practice, Map of Leimert Park, LA)</span></p> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:10:03 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list The New Director of Tate Britain Set to Broaden the Museum's Audience <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As the chief founding director&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">of Nottingham Contemporary&mdash;one of the U.K&rsquo;s largest art centers&mdash;Alex Farquharson knows all about&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">tackling artistic ventures on a large scale. A long time curator with more than 20 years' experience,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Farquharson has worked with some of the foremost leading contemporary British artists, such as Pablo&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Bronstein, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Jeremy Deller, Gary Hume, Richard Long and Gillian Wearing. When&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Farquharson launched Nottingham Contemporary in the fall of 2009, little did he know the gallery would&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">go on to attract more than one million visitors in its first five years&mdash;defining and solidifying him as a&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">strong presence in the British art industry.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Farquharson studied English and Fine Art at the University&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">of Exeter, and soon after, received his Masters in Arts Criticism at City University in London. He&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">is set to replace former Tate Britain director, Penelope Curtis, who announced in the spring that she was&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">stepping down in order to take the director&rsquo;s position at Lisbon's Museu Calouste Gulbenkian.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Upon gaining his new position, Farquharson told the <em>London Evening Standard </em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">that, &ldquo;as the home of 500 years of British art, Tate&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Britain has a unique and fascinating position in the cultural life of the nation. I look forward to working&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">with a highly skilled and experienced team of curators to share these histories with audiences of all&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">kinds.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/379784-kimberly-b-johnson?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Kimberly B. Johnson</a></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: David Baird)</span></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:37:25 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list A Short Interview with Alejandro Zaia, Founder of Art Marbella <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Alejandro Zaia, the head of the critically-acclaimed Pinta London, is an unusual figure in the art world, coming to the world of the art fair through a love of contemporary Latin American art. Though a native of the PR and Advertising industries, he has now added a second fair to his collection, Art Marbella.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ArtSlant:</strong> Why Marbella?&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Alejandro Zaia:</strong> Because Marbella and the whole Costa del Sol is the hottest spot in the European summer. It is a multicultural city &mdash; plenty of Germans, English, Saudis and Russians. And, of course, Spanish.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AS:</strong> How did the idea for this fair develop?</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AZ:</strong> The idea came up from studying the area. We identified an avid public for a new cultural event and, specifically, for an art fair, and we decided to go forward. Also, we met a lot of collectors and art lovers, very low key, who had properties and second homes in the areas, and they were very supportive from the beginning.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AS:</strong> How do you see the identity of the fair?</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AZ:</strong> It is pretty early for knowing this. I imagine a vibrant fair, boutique size, with exceptional art that also has high-quality and unique parallel programs. I expect an event with an extraordinary support from all the people out there.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #262626; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AS:</strong> Given your experience with <a href="http://www.pintalondon.com/">Pinta London</a>, have there been specific challenges and surprises unique to Marbella?</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>AZ:</strong> There is one big challenge: an event of this kind has never happened before in Marbella, so we don't have any register or measurement from past editions or other fairs. Given this lack of precedent, it is a great challenge to know what to expect. On the other hand, we have received extraordinary feedback from the galleries and collectors so far. We are extremely optimistic about the results.</span></p> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:23:35 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list The Puerto Banús Strip Is Decadent and Depraved <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">They call it &ldquo;Marbs.&rdquo; Some of them do, anyway&mdash;not the real deal money; not&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">'Tony' and 'Mel' Banderas-Griffiths, whose beach-front palace&rsquo;s lease, quite&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">tragically, outlived their marriage&mdash;but the ones who are there for an earthier&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">breed of bacchanal: the drunks, the San Tropez tanners, the motor-mouthed&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">swimsuit babes, the rutting Croyden bucks&mdash;and so on, and so forth. Breasts as&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">buoyant as puppies; pectorals as tight as spinster's mouths: the strip on Puerto&nbsp;Ban&uacute;s</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;is a gorgeously populated vomitorium. Here there and everywhere, hard-</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">bodied types with full-bodied shouts are crawling, screwing, screaming&mdash;on the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">beaches, in the sea; on the decking, in the hotel&rsquo;s infinity pool, with its tall and&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">erect Montgomery palms. Young men jostle and argue and show their Gooners&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">stick&rsquo;n&rsquo;pokes. Saturday girls, bronze-legged, brandish fakes of all kinds. &ldquo;Marbs&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">is a Garden of Eden in which Accounting&rsquo;s Adams and H.R.&rsquo;s Eves never quite&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">grew ashamed of their nakedness. It is a Romanesque bloodbath. It is, in&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">essence, a huge outdoor loony bin with a sandpit. Or so they say.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150729192357-MG_3585-950x633.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Image via&nbsp;marbsboatparties.com</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Within the confines of BUTLINS FOR BILLIONAIRES&mdash;ut scribit the Mail&mdash;all&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">is absolute Breughel. It is different, they argue, from the old Marbella, whose Trip&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Advisor reviews are as Jon Leon poems, or something dry and wry by Frederick&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Seidel, or a middling passage from Gatsby. &ldquo;Parties are held in private&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">residences instead of in restaurants,&rdquo; reads one. &ldquo;There are magazines that are&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">given away in Marbella for free and they are called Absolute Marbella and Oh La&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">La. The magazines are bilingual in English and Spanish and real estate&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">companies advertise heavily in the magazines. At the back of the magazine are&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">pictures of parties and one can get an idea of the people who reside permanently&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">in the city. One also gets an idea of the houses that the rich occupy.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">(It is nice, one supposes, to be given an idea for nothing; ideas&mdash;like time&mdash;are&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">often worth money, and the right kind of money is Very Important. It is very <em>Oh La&nbsp;</em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>La</em>.)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150729185019-Absolute_Marbella.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Absolute Marbella&nbsp;</em>Cover, 1996</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: justify;"><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Once, in Marbella, there was Jayne Mansfield and Sean Connery; then there&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">were the aforementioned Banderas-Griffithses; then there was Amy Childs and&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Joey Essex. Now, there will be an art fair&mdash;Art Marbella, whose Argentinian&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Director, Alejandro Zaia, is calling it &ldquo;the most important event of contemporary&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">art in South Europe," and whose hope is to act as a rival to Madrid's larger,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">better-established ARCO. Build it in close proximity to the wealthy, it is assumed </span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">and they will come, and they will spend, and then they will flip the fruits of their&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">spending again, and so on. <em>ArtNet</em> notes that organisers must be &ldquo;hoping to&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">replicate 'the Miami effect'&rdquo;, the &ldquo;effect&rdquo; in question being that familiar act of&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">transference by which all sybaritic behaviour is rendered sophisticated by the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">application of art and money. The parties are huge, but the champagne is better&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">than the champagne chugged and popped and spilt by the hoi polloi, and so the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">parties are nicer. The super-cars are less penile. The boats are the right boats,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">and the strip, with its &ldquo;brazen hussies tempting stag groups with free Peach&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Schnapps shots,&rdquo; is not a tourist trap at all, but a theme park. The billionaire&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">casino magnate and art dealer, Steve Wynn, may once have elbowed a hole in a&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Pablo Picasso, but Amy Childs believes that &ldquo;Ebola&rdquo; is the name of a pop-group.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150729194105-Marbella-Champagne-Party.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Image via&nbsp;youngandminted.com</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Do you see? It is different, somehow. A little the same, but mostly different.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There is a distinction between the leisure and pleasure of an educated person,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">and that of a rube. &ldquo;It remains to be seen whether serious collectors will add the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">coastal city to their already busy art fair calendars,&rdquo; concludes the <em>ArtNet</em> piece,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;or if Marbella's well-heeled visitors will be tempted by the pleasures of&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">contemporary art.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Joey Essex has only ever been to a Banksy exhibition. He does not, it would&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">appear, have any idea who Peter Doig is. Ipso facto. Ipso facto.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In late July, and in early August, the projected scene is now the scene of three&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">tribes at war on the Puerto Ban&uacute;s&nbsp;Strip. To the left, the Essex types; to the right,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">the socialites, and dead centre, we find the art collectors, whose decadent&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">parties and high-grade spending position them somewhere between both other&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">factions. The savages look at the snobs, and the snobs at the savages, each&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">group believing themselves to be fundamentally better than the others. Then, a&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">strange thing happens: the TOWIE contingent look out at the throng, and can no&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">longer tell what, exactly, they&rsquo;re looking at. Art collectors narrow their eyes to see&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">whether the figures approaching them are the provincial millionaires, but the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">outlines are blurred. All in the crowd will appear, to all people present, to have&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">the abstract, mottled texture of a close-up Claude Monet, and those who have&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">read it will find themselves thinking of Orwell&rsquo;s <em>Animal Farm</em>&mdash;of the scene&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">especially where &ldquo;the animals, watching through the window, realise with a start&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">that, as they look around the room of the farmhouse, they can no longer&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">distinguish which of the card-players are pigs, and which are human beings.&rdquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">"Po-TAY-toe, po-TAH-toe, ebola, Picasso!" the horde starts chanting. But all of&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">them speak in a single voice.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/265136-philippa-snow" target="_blank">Philippa Snow</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Image at the top: via&nbsp;<a class="owner-name truncate" title="Go to saracd_20's photostream" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/saracd_20/" data-track="attributionNameClick" data-rapid_p="97">saracd_20</a>, Creative Commons</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:00:27 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Portugal Contact Zone at Art Marbella: The Complexity of Cultural Interplay in Southern Europe <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Europe's refugee crisis has reached political and humanitarian extremes this year, with an unprecedented number of asylum seekers&mdash;many fleeing conflicts <a href="http://www.unhcr.org.uk/news-and-views/news-list/news-detail/article/an-average-of-1000-refugees-now-arriving-on-greek-islands-every-day.html?utm_campaign=buffer&amp;utm_content=buffer98704&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;cHash=33a145ec618aabfdc9f30e2" target="_blank">in the Middle East and Africa</a>&mdash;risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean. Across the continent a social and political atmosphere fueled by racism, xenophobia, fiscal conservatism and austerity has given rise to a radical disconnect between many Europeans and their southern neighbors. Horrifically, Greek Isle holidaymakers have been heard complaining about vacationing in a &ldquo;<a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/british-tourists-complain-impoverished-boat-migrants-are-making-holidays-awkward-in-kos-10281398.html" target="_blank">refugee camp</a>.&rdquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Does art have a place in a toxic conflict like this? <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/43422" target="_blank">Not directly</a>, but amidst anti-immigration, anti-spending unrest there are some who would like to bring trade, travel, and migration to the fore, interrogating the legacies that have shaped&mdash;and continue to shape&mdash;the vibrant cities and nations lining the Mediterranean and East Atlantic.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art and cultural sectors in particular reflect these attitudes and exchanges. In maritime nations and port cities, cross-cultural heritage lingers in architecture, food, music, and even the archaeological record. In its mercantile digs, the Venice Biennale has always played host to intercultural dialogue (historically complicated by implicit nationalism), and recent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/43422" target="_blank">discussions of 2017&rsquo;s <em>documenta 14</em> in Athens</a> have centered on the transnational flow of people and ideas. &ldquo;It borders Turkey, it has an influx of migrants coming all over the place,&rdquo; Artistic Director Adam Szymczyk <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/40998" target="_blank">said of Athens</a>. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a figure of a larger situation that Europe has to confront.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150728112014-04_GFS-RodrigoOliveira2015.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Rodrigo Oliveira<em>,&nbsp;&Agrave; procura da utopia (estado actual)</em>, 2014/15, Photo print on fine art paper. Courtesy of the artist and Galer&iacute;a Filomena Soares</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://marbellafair.com/" target="_blank">Art Marbella</a>, situated in a Costa del Sol holiday hotspot, gives a requisite nod to this viewpoint as well. Chairman and CEO <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/43614">Alejandro Zaia calls</a> Marbella &ldquo;a multicultural city with plenty of Germans, English, Saudis and Russians. And Spanish, of course&rdquo;&mdash;though these demographics refer broadly toward the city&rsquo;s wealthy expat and tourist populations. The fair&rsquo;s <a href="http://marbellafair.com/statement/" target="_blank">statement</a> calls it a &ldquo;meeting point for the contemporary art world, and a crossroads&mdash;aesthetically and conceptually&mdash;between Europe and the Middle East.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A greater overture toward the hot topics of cultural exchange, migration, and transnational identity comes from Art Marbella's specially curated section,&nbsp;<a href="http://marbellafair.com/art-projects/" target="_blank">Portugal Contact Zone</a>. Like its Iberian neighbor, Portugal is a historically seafaring nation, with a colonial and mercantile legacy reaching to Africa, India, the New World and beyond.</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150728112256-05_GFS-ShirinNeshat.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Shirin Neshat,&nbsp;<em>Rapture</em> series <em>(Men Seated on Circle, ablution)</em>, 1999, C-print.&nbsp;Courtesy of the artist and Galer&iacute;a Filomena Soares</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Can art upturn geographic hierarchies and dissolve center/periphery binaries?&nbsp;Can it encourage cultural understanding, highlight complexity rather than reify differences? &ldquo;Contact Zone&rdquo; curator Bruno Leit&atilde;o, who lives and works between Madrid and Lisbon, thinks so. And his thoughts on Portugal as a point of contact paint a more nuanced picture than self-congratulatory multiculturalism and unidirectional migration.</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Lisbon has always been the last of the European cities, it's the only capital in Europe where when you face the ocean you're trying to see the Americas. Socially it's a very interesting spot because there's been a big community of people from Africa and Brazil or even places like Timor who came to Lisbon and surrounding towns to begin a new life. With the [economic] crisis this migration was in a sense inverted, with Portuguese nationals and descendants of African and Brazilian Diaspora going back to Africa and Brazil searching for new beginnings. This inversion of so-called "prosperous destinations" counters any idea of superiority in such a mixed society. What is surprising about Lisbon is that it has always been "natural" to see other nationalities represented in galleries. Nationalism was never a rule in the Portuguese art market.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art Marbella&rsquo;s two Portuguese galleries, invited for their &ldquo;&lsquo;curiosity&rsquo; for other latitudes&rdquo; are the internationally recognized <a href="http://www.gfilomenasoares.com/en" target="_blank">Filomena Soares</a> and <a href="http://carloscarvalho-ac.com/index.php" target="_blank">Carlos Carvalho</a>, both from Lisbon. Together <a href="http://fairs.itgalleryapp.com/art-marbella/gallery/ytr457d644gt213/carlos-carvalho-arte-contempor%C3%82nea.html" target="_blank">they&rsquo;ll be showing artists</a> from <a href="http://fairs.itgalleryapp.com/art-marbella/gallery/des23644gt213/galer%C3%ADa-filomena-soares.html" target="_blank">Portugal, Germany, and Iran</a> who represent not only the national diversity Leit&atilde;o speaks of, but also broad artistic vocabularies, ranging from minimalism and abstraction to more political and social work across a spectrum of media.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Leit&atilde;o characterizes the Lisbon art scene as idiosyncratic and dynamic: &ldquo;There are no easily identifiable &lsquo;trends&rsquo; in Portuguese art.&rdquo; At Art Marbella &ldquo;this idiosyncrasy will be expressed by the showing of artists from such diverse places as Iran or Angola but also Portuguese artists with unique approaches.&rdquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Filomena Soares will be featuring the international cadre of Rui Chafes, Peter Zimmermann, Shirin Neshat, and</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Rodrigo Oliveira.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Carlos Carvalho&mdash;exhibiting&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">M&oacute;nica de Miranda, Roland Fischer, Manuel Caeiro, and&nbsp;Richard Schur&mdash;says their presentation will show how Lisbon's&nbsp;&ldquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">geographic situation and cultural identifications provide a platform of crossing languages and enables artists to prove how transnational networks can produce more complex and rich forms of cultural exchange.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150728111615-MdMiranda_Marbella.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">M&oacute;nica de Miranda,&nbsp;<em>Botanic Gardens</em>, from the series&nbsp;<em>Linetrap</em>, 2014, Inkjet print, 230 x 340 cm. Courtesy of the artists and Carlos Carvalho Arte Contempor&acirc;nea</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Among these artists, watch out for M&oacute;nica de Miranda, who exemplifies the complexity and perspective art can bring to the subjects of identity, geography, and nationality. Born to a Portuguese father and an Angolan mother, she lives and works between Lisbon and London. But &ldquo;her nationality, that in itself could be irrelevant,&rdquo; says Leit&atilde;o, who chose de Miranda because &ldquo;her work deals exactly with the notion of contact between cultures and the critical reflection on alterity and urban archaeology.&rdquo; Her work addresses migration&mdash;from <a href="http://www.monicademiranda.org/#!--photography/vstc2=an-ocean-between-us" target="_blank">photographs</a> of liminal spaces like ships and airports to <a href="http://www.monicademiranda.org/#!projects/vstc4=new-geographies" target="_blank">redrafted European maps and collaborative projects</a> with Lisbon immigrants&mdash;and she doesn&rsquo;t shy away from the limits and asymmetries of cultural &ldquo;exchange&rdquo; in her home nation.&nbsp;&ldquo;The migratory condition of her life story coincides with her living experience of Lisbon: she scrutinizes the way in which the multi-ethnic communities that make up the city take so long to actually be included in the city&rsquo;s image, while, at the same time,<a href="http://www.monicademiranda.org/#!texts/vstc3=article-3" target="_blank"> constitute its most vital focal point</a>.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150728112758-MCaeiro_Marbella.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Manuel Caeiro,&nbsp;<em>Future House</em>, 2015, Mixed media on board.&nbsp;Courtesy of the artists and Carlos Carvalho Arte Contempor&acirc;nea</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Indeed, this simultaneous opening and closing of both literal borders and more social apertures, reflects two extreme poles: one that celebrates the influx of new ideas, cultures, and opinions (despite the unevenness of some of these exchanges) and another wrangling to batten down the hatches. During the current refugee crisis, with economic fears stoked and populist anxieties taking hold across the EU, can art play a role in challenging opinions? Is interrogating the idea of a "Contact Zone" more important than ever?</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;Leit&atilde;o says yes, but it's not simply the contact zone that must come under scrutiny:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I described Lisbon in broad strokes, which are insufficient to explain the complexity of the cultural interplay in the city since the Revolution&mdash;with all its nuances of acceptance, racism, curiosity, and disregard for public discussion of the colonial past. Nevertheless, I have a very optimist take on the outcomes of this melting pot that Lisbon represents. I believe challenging opinions in every form is essential right now, and art plays a huge role in this. But perhaps the main problem is the almost total ignorance about what is Africa in Europe. We use this big word, &ldquo;Africa,&rdquo; all too often, but we know so little about it.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Let's say someone from Mozambique visits Spain: it would be very naive of him to say he &ldquo;knows&rdquo; about Europe. We tend to talk about Africa as if it was a country, as if by knowing something about a country we know about what&rsquo;s going on in Africa. Africa is a continent with more then 50 countries with an area of about 3 Europes (if you include Russia). So we can start by knowing more about art from Africa and probably go from that. African Contemporary Art is almost always very engaging in social and political terms, so it is one of the ways you can get a sense of what&rsquo;s going on in these countries by getting in contact with its artistic production.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/95201-andrea-alessi?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Andrea Alessi</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: M&oacute;nica de Miranda, Installation view of <em>Arquip&eacute;lago</em>, Novemeber 26, 2014&ndash;January 24, 2015,&nbsp;Carlos Carvalho Arte Contempor&acirc;nea.&nbsp;Courtesy of the artists and Carlos Carvalho Arte Contempor&acirc;nea)</span><br /></span></p> Sat, 01 Aug 2015 20:43:45 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list A Monumental Gesture of Intimacy <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The number of tourists pouring into Amsterdam increases steadily every year. Obviously Madame Tussauds, the Anne Frank House and&mdash;of course&mdash;the red light district are popular destinations, but in the last decade or so museums have become a serious pull-factor. Number one on the list is the Rijksmuseum, welcoming more than 2.4 million visitors in 2014 and on track to break that record this year. For the exhibition <em>Late Rembrandt</em> alone half a million tickets were sold.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Besides happy faces on the municipal tourism board, this resulted in criticism in newspapers and on TV: the museum was simply too crowded. Rather than art, visitors could only see other visitors. When confronted with this complaint Rijksmuseum director Wim Pijbes snarked that the nagging party-poopers &ldquo;<a href="http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/04/rijksmuseum-director-qualifies-overcrowding-remarks/" target="_blank">should get their own Rembrandt</a>.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150727091448-late_rembrandt.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Late Rembrandt</em>&nbsp;visitors at the Rijksmuseum, 2015. Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Pijbes, a self-declared advocate of &ldquo;intelligent populism,&rdquo; was being sarcastic, but there are some who would argue just that. For them looking at art is an inherently elitist activity and it should preferably be undertaken in an intimate, private environment. Only under those circumstances&mdash;being able to get close to a work and take as much time as you need to study it from all possible angles&mdash;can one truly experience and appreciate the work. The museum setting is inadequate, not only because of the crowds blocking the view, but also because of its very nature. Museums are artificial spaces&mdash;often disproportionate in relation to the artworks&mdash;creating a distance between viewer and art. Here works become icons, objects to be registered but not seen, let alone experienced.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For art in public space it&rsquo;s a different story altogether. Especially if it&rsquo;s been at a fixed location for a good number of years, public art tends to blend into the cityscape. It becomes like urban furniture, not something people notice. No one seems to care about monuments or how they&rsquo;re perceived, whether they&rsquo;re perceived at all. It takes a conscious effort to really see them again.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Taturo Atzu&rsquo;s artistic practice is all about helping along this process. Operating under a myriad of names&mdash;Tatzu Nishi, Tazu Rous, Tazro Niscino, Tatzo Oozu, Tatsurou Bashi&mdash;the Japanese artist has reactivated monuments by encasing them in specially built constructions. Around the Columbus statue standing on a 60-foot pedestal on New York&rsquo;s Columbus Circle <a href="http://www.publicartfund.org/view/exhibitions/5495_discovering_columbus" target="_blank">he created a penthouse</a>, with the 13-foot-high statue itself resting on the coffee table. In Helsinki he conceived a hotel room around a fountain near the waterfront market square, with <a href="https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiedosto:Tatzu_Nishi_Hotel_Manta_of_Helsinki_2014_2.jpg" target="_blank">the bronze nude</a> penetrating one of the mattresses like the nuclear missile in the 1985 comedy <em>Weird Science</em>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150727092352-_MG_7093.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150727092828-_MG_6727.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Atzu has now taken his act to Amsterdam, to tackle one of his biggest monuments yet: the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam&rsquo;s oldest church. He has built an enormous scaffolding on the eastern side of the building leading all the way to the roof. A massive terrace has been erected around the belfry. The weather vane has been encapsulated by a cabin that from the inside looks and feels like your average Dutch living room. It&rsquo;s got prints on the wall; a bookcase contains literature about art, Amsterdam and religion; the vane sticks right through an Ikea-like table, looking like an oversized table ornament to be admired from the couch. It&rsquo;s homey and surreal at the same time.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150727092007-_MG_7053.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150727092229-_MG_7450.jpg" alt="" />If God is in the details then this installation&rsquo;s title, <em>The Garden Which Is the Nearest to God</em>, is right on the money. Climbing the scaffolding and strolling around on the terrace you get to see things you&rsquo;ve never seen before and they&rsquo;re awe-inspiring: the pointy roof construction, the parts where extensive restoration work has been done, the elegance of the tiling, the rhythm of the gothic architecture, the robust wall anchors. Plus you get a view of the city that is unrivaled. Suddenly, you notice the names on facades across the canal, quirky annexes and rooftop sundecks usually hidden from view. It&rsquo;s an exciting and enriching experience&mdash;even on a rainy or overcast day. You&rsquo;ve been granted a fresh perspective on the city you&rsquo;ve walked around in for years. It&rsquo;s like being handed a new set of eyes. And being handed back a part of the city you weren&rsquo;t even aware existed.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">That&rsquo;s what makes the group of citizens opposing the artwork so incomprehensible. &ldquo;The church has been taken away from the city,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.parool.nl/parool/nl/4/AMSTERDAM/article/detail/4087506/2015/06/24/Oude-Kerk-is-van-de-stad-afgenomen.dhtml" target="_blank">they complained</a> in the local newspaper <em>Het Parool</em>. But what Atzu is doing is the opposite of excluding. He manages to marry two seemingly contradictory values: a democratic experience of art and the intimacy necessary to make that experience meaningful.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/356010-edo-dijksterhuis?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Edo Dijksterhuis</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(All images, unless otherwise noted: Taturo Atzu, <em>The Garden which is nearest to God</em>, 2015, Installation at Oude Kerk, Amsterdam. Photos: Wim Hanenberg)</span></p> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:00:16 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Bodies and Beings: What Place Can Ceramics Have In Contemporary Art Now? <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">From the didactically ornate, magical sculptures of Adrian Arleo to the pensive and powerful busts of Jacob Foran, Abmeyer+Wood gallery&rsquo;s current exhibition&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.abmeyerwood.com/Exhibit_Detail.cfm?ShowsID=95" target="_blank">Bodies + Beings</a>&nbsp;</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">represents a range of aesthetics that reflect the potential of ceramics today. Bringing together some of the most established names in contemporary ceramic art&mdash;including Patti Warashina and Richard Notkin&mdash;it also introduces some emerging artists working in a medium many once thought of as limited to cups and bowls.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150727025755-arleo_apiary_twins.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Adrian Arleo,&nbsp;<em>Apiary Twins</em>.&nbsp;Courtesy&nbsp;Abmeyer+Wood</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Visitors are greeted by three stunning works by Arleo: <em>Apiary Twins, Awareness Owl II, </em>and<em> Reclined Lion with Interior Woman.</em> <em>Reclined Lion </em>is a small, enchanting piece depicting a lion whose face displays a certain wisdom and deep sadness&mdash;evoked by&nbsp;traces of blue that highlight the folds in the lion&rsquo;s fur. Surrounding the lion's face is an intricate mane with a tree branch motif spotted with gold at the tip of each spiraling branch; inside the space that the mane creates sits a golden woman; perhaps indicating that this lion&rsquo;s strength, knowledge&mdash;and even his melancholy&mdash;come from this female element. <em>Reclined Lion </em>seems to&nbsp;reflect Arleo&rsquo;s views on gender relations but quality and concept aside, the placement of her works is questionable. A friend noted that one of Arleo&rsquo;s works was placed directly next to the guest book, prompting the question &ldquo;was this exhibition curated by work release inmates?&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150727025815-RumorHasIt_Lowres.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Ericka Sanada, <em>Rumor Has It</em>. Courtesy&nbsp;Abmeyer+Wood</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It's not a good start, and next, you land upon the diminutive faunal forms of Erika Sanada. The works are, to me, less compelling in their size and subject&mdash;more miniature decorative models rendered in clay than sculptural works of art engaging with broader questions. A number of them seemed to appeal to the "terminally cute" charm of adorable animals.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150727025708-Foran_King.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;Jacob Foran, <em>King</em>. Courtesy&nbsp;Abmeyer+Wood</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;"><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Fortunately, around the corner, the show improves. Here sit the striking works of Jacob Foran, adjacent to the hyper-realistic,&nbsp;politically charged <em>Heart Teapot Petrol Hostage</em> from Richard Notkin&rsquo;s <em>Yixing</em> series, exploring human conflict through the unlikely shape of the teapot. Foran&rsquo;s figures are technically well executed, for example in his thoughtful choice of surfaces&mdash;using glazes, paints, and gold leaf. This initial interest is preserved by the distant, yet focused gaze held by both figures. The busts have a captivating, yet aloof presence; the sense of supercilious detachment and the divergently vibrant headwear of the two pieces almost makes them seem as though they are simply playing their respective titular roles of <em>King </em>and <em>Guardian,</em> inviting&nbsp;the viewer to question the characters they may have chosen to embody or project in their own lives.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150727073007-notkin.png" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Richard Notkin, <em>Heart Teapot Petrol Hostage</em>. Courtesy&nbsp;Abmeyer+Wood<br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Meanwhile Notkin&rsquo;s evocative sculptural pouring vessel depicts the form of a human heart with valves in the shape of oil drums or gas nozzles that also serve as the spout and handle of the teapot. Ceramic chains are sculpted around the form to indicate our systematic demand for, reliance upon, and conflicts surrounding fuel. It's a very singular piece, but the connection between Foran&rsquo;s and Notkin&rsquo;s works was not clear to me, and they suffer as a result of this lack of curatorial precision, despite being fine examples of the expressivity of ceramic sculpture. While there were other works that displayed technical prowess or quality in concept, <em>Bodies and Beings</em> could have easily focused only on the display of Arleo, Notkin, and Foran&rsquo;s works, which anchored the show conceptually and aesthetically.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Drawbacks aside, though, this range of works, and its accompanying range of quality, is a rare demonstration of what clay can become&mdash;<em>anything&mdash;</em>but it also shows how unaccustomed curators can be to working with displays of this kind. There is clearly some work to still be done on how to get audiences to engage with this medium and its fusty reputation.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I asked Jonathan Wood, one of the gallery owners, what inspired this specific theme and he told me that he is committed to &ldquo;championing ceramics and exhibiting this &lsquo;craft&rsquo; alongside media that has traditionally been considered fine art&mdash;in essence blurring the lines of that silly fine art vs. craft debate that seems so antiquated today.&rdquo; This intent in approaching the exhibition touches on a larger conversation about the place of ceramics in contemporary art. However, by focusing exclusively on figurative sculpture&mdash;which as an artistic taxonomy has never been denied the title of fine art&mdash;the exhibition seems to have evaded the issue altogether. With that in mind, the question still remains: why <em>is</em> ceramic art still so often ignored by the contemporary art world?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">M. Anna Fariello&rsquo;s essay, "Regarding the History of Objects," suggests the schism between fine art and craft resulted from shifts in thought during the Renaissance defining these categories with the development of art and art theory. This system still troubles ceramics, as many works in clay continue to have minimal visibility in museums and galleries.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Jacob Foran responded to this issue &ldquo;&hellip;the truth is, the ceramics community is a small one compared to others. So, I don&rsquo;t think that it is ignored altogether, it just maybe does not have the momentum or take up the same amount of bandwidth in the big scheme of things. I don&rsquo;t know if it is ignored. In fact, I think it is celebrated when it happens.&rdquo; </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">With a long process fraught with potential for failure with each firing, any piece that survives the kiln is an achievement in itself. Why then, do artists chose to work in clay when it is technically difficult, still broadly underrepresented, on top of which, it is an historically unappreciated art form?&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Foran shared his thoughts on this too:</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;"</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I&rsquo;m not sure if I could access the things in my work quite the same way with other materials. With clay, once you commit to making a thing, you immediately slow down your intuition. You can&rsquo;t just raise a magic wand and make the thing appear in front of you. It can be temperamental and it is sensitive in a way. Ultimately, like any artist, I make things that I need to see the most."</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Bodies and Beings </em>evidences the reality that clay&mdash;an inherently conceptual material of the earth&mdash;can become and connect to sculpture or "fine" art. Though this exhibition may have struggled in one sense, the gallery&rsquo;s choice to highlight ceramics and attempt contextualize them now is opportune, and a sign of progress. On the back of major exhibitions of late, such as&nbsp;Ken Price's retrospective and <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/39641" target="_blank">major exhibitions</a>, and 2009's touring&nbsp;<em>Dirt on Delight: Impulses That Form Clay, </em>ceramics are gaining visibility in the art world. They are also earning currency in the art market, with a generation of artists like Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Sterling Ruby who fluidly use ceramics within their wider practices&mdash;and are getting recognized in big commercial galleries and art fairs. This&nbsp;will hopefully stimulate more galleries and patrons to move beyond the confines of tradition and engage the public in greater depth with this incredibly varied medium.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/430152-alex-anderson?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Alex Anderson</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Cynthia Consentino, <em>Lady.&nbsp;</em>Courtesy&nbsp;Abmeyer+Wood)</span></p> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 06:27:24 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Paris Tear Sheets: Of Hummus and Other Stories <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Paris Tear Sheets is the blog of&nbsp;ArtSlant's Georgia Fee Artist-in-Residence, Lara Atallah, who will be undertaking her residency in Paris during July and August 2015. &ldquo;Paris tear sheets&rdquo; refers to daily snapshots taken during the artist&rsquo;s peregrinations in the city. She will use the blog to chronicle her encounters in Paris as well as her observations of the city.</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>You can find more information about ArtSlant's Georgia Fee Artist/Writer Residency <a href="http://www.artslant.com/par/articles/show/33747" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Immigrants tend to carry with them the one concrete thing that connects them back to their homeland: food. When I started &ldquo;Tales of a Non-Country,&rdquo; food played a key role in some of the <a href="http://www.lara-atallah.com/abandoned-dinner-party#1" target="_blank">earlier works</a>. I produced still lifes, paired with reconstructed archival images that spoke to the nature of the historical recollection. With this new chapter in the tales, I want to reduce the level of mediation that the studio environment provided and give voice to the people behind the food.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Paris is replete with Lebanese restaurants in just about every corner of every arrondissement, but I&rsquo;ve chosen to visit the doyen who has been thriving at the art of balancing chickpeas and olive oil since 1952. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150731195002-4.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150731195126-7.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150802092324-IMG_1306.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A red tablecloth; a water carafe; a spread of mezze with ambrosial tangs mix with the delectable aromas that permeate the air of this family owned restaurant. Warmth is one of the keywords of this establishment: it is draped in rich colors and dotted with vivacious characters.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150731195257-3.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150731195423-5.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The father, Kamal, will spend hours talking about farming in his native village and what makes a good <em>muhallabiyya;&nbsp;</em>while Matthieu, his son, brainstorms PR strategies.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150725155311-IMG_1304.JPG" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150725155209-PopeBlessings.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Here and there, one spots an icon of the Virgin Mary or a postcard of the Pope. As friends of the church and devout Christians, the Nassifs are often visited by congregation members of Syrian, Lebanese, or Palestinian descent who all come together to pray on Sundays and have made the restaurant a frequented outpost. I am introduced to members of the congregation who take pleasure in giving me a tour of the Lebanese Church nearby, and suggest I attend the Sunday service and meet their fellow congregants.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150731195720-8.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150731195755-9.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As the days go by and my encounters begin to weave themselves into a larger tapestry of faces and lives, I am slowly discovering the stories of satellite communities that form the greater whole of a disparate identity. </span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/398157-lara-atallah" target="_blank">Lara Atallah</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Lara Atallah (born Beirut, Lebanon, based in Brooklyn, NY) is a visual artist working with photography.&nbsp;</em><em>You can find the full list of blog posts from her Paris residency&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/398157-lara-atallah?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">here</a>. Additional&nbsp;images from Lara's residency are on Instagram,&nbsp;<a href="https://instagram.com/explore/tags/paristearsheets/" target="_blank">#paristearsheets</a>.</em><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: xx-small;">(All images: Lara Atallah)</span></p> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 13:45:33 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Working (it) Out with Gillian Dykeman: Andrew Maize <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Welcome to the sixth installation of the Artslant podcast series, <em>Working (it) Out</em>. </span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">My name is Gillian Dykeman, and I'm a visual artist living in Toronto, Ontario. This summer, I am interviewing artists to ask about the role of audience in their practice. Each interview will begin with one question: "Does art require an audience?"</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/216071395&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" frameborder="no" scrolling="no" width="100%" height="450"></iframe></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Working (it) Out </span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">with Gillian Dykeman</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Episode Six |&nbsp;<strong>Andrew Maize: The Tide is High</strong></span></p> <ul class="ul1"> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />&ldquo;No&rdquo; and New Earth&nbsp;(1:30)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Maize&rsquo;s 32-foot-tall ladder to the top of the tide&nbsp;(3:50)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Audience and spectacle vs. intimate gesture&nbsp;(7:15)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Memorial kites, ephemeral homage&nbsp;(12:47) &nbsp; &nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />&ldquo;Antigo-night&rdquo; and, Is there a distinction between audience and participant?<em>&nbsp;</em>(16:30)</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Parameters enliven participation&nbsp;(16:56)</span><span style="text-align: center;"><br /></span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Studio work vs. community work and their respective collaborators&nbsp;(21:50)</span><span style="text-align: center;"><br /></span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Outsourced artist statement&nbsp;(23:40)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Collaborating with gravity<em>&nbsp;</em>(26:00)</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />&ldquo;Pouring Paint down a goddam staircase&rdquo;<em>&nbsp;</em>(26:45)</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Andrew Maize has a thoroughly collaborative art practice producing both studio-centric work and participatory, socially engaged performance. Maize is an artist, art educator, as well as an arts organizer. He&rsquo;s currently a nominee for the RBC Painting Competition, I caught up with him from his home in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Music: Atlas Sound, "Doldrums"</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150724085943-ladder-sitting.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150724090025-ladder-morning.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150724090204-o-aadder-stand1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Tidal performance. Photos:&nbsp;Matthew Carswell &amp; Clare Waque</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/34268021" frameborder="0" width="600" height="338"></iframe></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/34268021" target="_blank">kites (Point Pleasant June 26th 2011)</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user6441664" target="_blank">a.corn</a></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150724090453-Screen_Shot_2015-07-23_at_10.02.03_PM.png" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Still from <em>Kites</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150724125730-paintdescendingstaircase_2_amaize.jpg" alt="" width="300" /></em></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em>Paint Descending a Staircase</em> #3, Oil on Canvas 5' x 3'</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150724090603-06-A.Maize-Chartpak-Marker-Drawing-Series-2-1-3-e1396229533153.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></em></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150724090627-02-A.Maize-Chartpak-Marker-Drawing-Series-3-1-6.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></em></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><em><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150724090646-01-A.Maize-Chartpak-Marker-Drawing-Series-3-26.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></em></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Images from marker painting series. Photos: Kara Highfield</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><span style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&mdash;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;" href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/374197-gillian-dykeman">Gillian Dykeman</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:58:10 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Los Angeles to Open Its Largest Free Contemporary Art Museum <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Los Angeles&rsquo; latest contemporary art access point, The Broad Museum, will officially open its doors to the public on September 20. This is exciting news for Angelenos, as the 120,000-square-foot structure will house more than 2,000 works from the Broad Art Foundation and the personal collections of long-time philanthropists and art enthusiasts, Eli and Edythe Broad.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.kcet.org/arts/artbound/counties/los-angeles/the-broad-contemporary-art-museum-downtown-los-angeles-photos.html" target="_blank">According to</a> Joanne Heyler, founding director of The Broad and chief curator of The Broad Art Foundation, this means access to more than 30 works by <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/91-jeff-koons" target="_blank">Jeff Koons</a>, 120 images by <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/11769-cindy-sherman" target="_blank">Cindy Sherman</a>, 26 <a href="http://www.artslant.com/sp/artists/show/966-andy-warhol" target="_blank">Andy Warhols</a>, and additional works from German photographer <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/3038-andreas-gursky" target="_blank">Andreas Gursky</a>, conceptual artist <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/681-barbara-kruger" target="_blank">Barbara Kruger</a>, and paintings from icons <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/1948-jean-michel-basquiat" target="_blank">Jean-Michel Basquiat</a> and <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/7151-keith-haring" target="_blank">Keith Haring</a>.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150723184523-BroadRendering.jpeg" alt="" /><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">A digital rendering of The Broad Art Museum. Courtesy&nbsp;The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The museum is quite arguably the most anticipated museum launch in recent years, with a $140 million price tag and an ambitious undertaking by museum coordinators. The Broad will be a multi-level structure with two full floors of exhibition space, and several enticing amenities including a 24,000-square-foot public plaza in the works. This communal space is being designed by <a href="http://www.dsrny.com/" target="_blank">Diller Scofidio + Renfro</a> and will house a slew of 100-year-old Barouni olive trees alongside the avant-garde building design and futuristic architecture. Additionally, an adjacent <a href="http://la.eater.com/2015/5/15/8612437/otium-timothy-hollingsworth-downtown-los-angeles-video" target="_blank">restaurant</a> developed by top LA restaurateurs Bill Chait and Timothy Hollingsworth will be erected to accompany the museum space.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This new addition to the landscape of Downtown LA will likely prove itself to be historical&mdash;high attendance and public attention is anticipated, with good reason. Not only will the space hold a permanent collection including works from several of the leading authoritative figures in contemporary art, general admission to the museum will be completely free<em>.</em> You can keep up with the building&rsquo;s construction and development at <a href="http://thebroad.org/" target="_blank">The Broad Museum&rsquo;s official website.</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/379784-kimberly-b-johnson?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Kimberly B. Johnson</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;(Takashi Murakami) Installation of Takashi Murakami's 10-feet-high and 82-feet-long "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" at The Broad Art Museum on July 1, 2015. Photo by Anne Cusack for Los Angeles Times.)</span></p> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 08:04:33 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Ai Weiwei Receives His Passport Back After 4 Years <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Celebrated artist and political activist Ai Weiwei has received his passport back from the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Chinese government four years after it was confiscated</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. The silencing of Ai Weiwei at the hands of the Chinese government has been a&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">continued occurrence, due to the artist&rsquo;s open criticism of China&rsquo;s communist government and the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">country&rsquo;s controversial human rights standards.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In 2005, Ai Weiwei was invited to blog on China&rsquo;s largest internet platform, Sina Weibo. He used the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">forum to discuss his discontent with China&rsquo;s political situation&mdash;most notably renouncing and&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">disavowing his role as an artistic consultant in the building of the Beijing National Stadium to be used for&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">the 2008 Olympics, claiming that the event was tainted by official corruption and unscrupulous&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">government propaganda.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ai Weiwei also spoke out following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in which&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">substandard construction was suspected to have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of school&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">children in collapsed public schools.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The blog was soon after shut down.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In 2011, the artist was arrested at the Beijing Capital National Airport and held in a 12 by 24 meter room for 81&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">days without official charges being filed. Officials eventually concluded on &ldquo;economic crimes&rdquo; as justification&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">for his imprisonment. During his detention, Ai Weiwei was subjected to psychological abuse: he was&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">interrogated some 50 times, made to ask for permission to move, and spent the majority of his stay in&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">solitary confinement under 24 hour watch.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The confiscation of the artist's passport has essentially been another form of further imprisonment by the Chinese&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">government, confining the artist to the country without the option of traveling abroad where he is able to express himself freely and continue his artistic practice. In 2015, Ai Weiwei was made an Ambassdor of Conscience by Amnesty International, <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/43093" target="_blank">but was unable to travel to receive his award</a>.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Now, reunited with</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;his documents, Ai Weiwei's work on the international sphere can continue, together with his crusade</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;for free speech.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/379784-kimberly-b-johnson?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Kimberly B. Johnson</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Photographed by Adam Dean in 2011 for&nbsp;<em>Newsweek</em>)</span></p> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 07:47:20 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Kamiar Maleki Turns a Passion for Collecting into an Exhibition—with an #InstagramTwist <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">They say that for an art collection to have impact it must have a strong focus, a direction. For London-based collector and patron Kamiar Maleki, son of mega collectors Fatima and Eskander Maleki, that direction is found in the works of emerging artists, primarily young abstract painters. He&rsquo;s looking for works that, in some way, speak to our time. And since digital media and social networking primarily characterize our time, for Maleki&rsquo;s inaugural exhibition as curator he has put together a group of abstract paintings that look&nbsp;really,&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">really</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;good online (and presumably in person too). With works by Oliver Clegg, Christopher Kuhn, Kasper Sonne, and Richard H&ouml;glund, </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Hashtag Abstract </em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">at London&rsquo;s Ronchini Gallery explores current developments in abstraction and tries to engage with the question of how social media trends develop and grow.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the following exchange, I ask Maleki how collecting compares with curating, what abstract painting has to do with the digital world, and where the women artists are in his collection.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150722103049-Oliver_Clegg__Bloody_Mary__2015__oil_on_canvas__120_x_162_cm__Courtesy_the_artist__and_Ronchini_Gallery___1_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Oliver Clegg, <em>Bloody Mary</em>, 2015, Oil on canvas, 120 x 162 cm. Courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Natalie Hegert: I</strong> <strong>understand you&rsquo;ve been collecting for about ten years, and your parents are also avid collectors. What made you decide to take the plunge into curating? How does this curatorial project compare with collecting?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Kamiar Maleki:</strong> Growing up, I was surrounded by my parents&rsquo; art collection and quite quickly felt inclined to start my own, concentrating on emerging contemporary artists. The idea to curate a show with Ronchini Gallery was conceived during an engaging conversation with the director, Lorenzo Ronchini, discussing numerous emerging artists I have come across at various exhibitions, fairs, and studio visits. This inspired me to hold <em>Hashtag Abstract</em> as my first exhibition as a curator, to exhibit emerging artists and consider the different ways in which people collect in the current landscape.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Curating and collecting have clear similarities, as well as strong differences. Curation may be considered as a more focused process, whereby the curator acts as an organizer of information/artwork, creating a unique narrative that highlights a particular issue, in order to engage creatively with the viewer. Collecting can often be far more impulsive and personal. An art collection provides a unique insight into the collector&rsquo;s interest, which can often be far more varied than a strictly curated exhibition. My personal advice as a collector is: love the art you buy, you&rsquo;ll be living with it!</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150722101524-Installation_View__Hashtag_Abstract___Ronchini_Gallery___2_July_-_29_August_2015__7_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Kasper Sonne, Installation view of&nbsp;<em>Hashtag Abstract</em>, <a href="http://ronchinigallery.com/" target="_blank">Ronchini Gallery</a>, London, July 2&ndash;August 29, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>NH: This show comes with <a href="https://instagram.com/explore/tags/hashtagabstract/" target="_blank">its own hashtag</a>, and invites viewers to interact with the works on social media. In a way, Instagram helped curate this show. How do you think Instagram, vis &agrave; vis our social-networked society, might be changing the contemporary art landscape, and the way people consume and collect art?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>KM:</strong> Nowadays, thanks to Instagram, Facebook etc. you don&rsquo;t necessarily have to visit a gallery to buy art. I recently bought my first piece of art online, through Instagram; the art piece was by Kasper Sonne and his work inspired me to consider social media as a motivating force for the show. Visually striking pieces, such as Sonne&rsquo;s abstract works, are particularly suited for social media, but also look equally as amazing on the walls at home or in a gallery. Social media&mdash;in particular Instagram, but increasingly all platforms&mdash;has solidified the power of the image as a tool of engagement and, as such, this is beginning to affect the market for art.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The digital world has also made art much more accessible to the everyday user. Firstly, the individual no longer has to be the first person&nbsp;at an art fair and run around like crazy to find the best pieces; they don&rsquo;t have to travel the world to every single gallery. The artworks are now being sent to us up to one or two weeks in advance of the shows or openings, and we can buy them from the comfort of our own home. Secondly, viewers are interacting with art in a different way. Social media has given all viewers a platform to become critics, picking and choosing which works they wish to share and comment on; this is already affecting the decisions behind gallery shows&mdash;more &ldquo;shareable&rdquo; exhibitions will generate their own publicity, so are often more attractive to organizers.&nbsp; Within <em>Hashtag Abstract</em> we wanted to bring this trend to the forefront of the show, encouraging the viewer to share works through social media in a critical and engaging way.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">However nothing beats going to an art fair, opening, or meeting various people along the way. Relationship building and meeting artists and gallerists and collectors are still vital to my work.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>NH: Why focus on abstract painting? What does abstraction have to say about our contemporary digital world?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>KM:</strong> My love for abstract art goes back to my appreciation of artists such as&nbsp;Gerhard Richter&nbsp;and Anselm Kiefer. I always try to find something within emerging artists that links with my love of the past and post-war art. I also enjoy process-based art, where one can see how the artist works with different material; this is often integral to abstract art.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I think the importance of abstraction links to my answers above. Social media has perpetuated a very visually-driven culture, whereby the individual gaze is drawn to instantly attractive images. The works included in the show can be appreciated immediately for their aesthetical qualities, and this is arguably what makes them popular with viewers and collectors today.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150722102043-Christopher_Kuhn__Smear_Campaign__2015__oil_and_acrylic_on_linen__177.8_x_137_cm__Courtesy_the_artist_and_Ronchini_Gallery.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Christopher Kuhn, <em>Smear Campaign</em>, 2015, oil and acrylic on linen, 177.8 x 137 cm, Courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>NH: I think it&rsquo;s really important for collectors to help support young, emerging artists, rather than just artists who have already proven themselves in the market place, and the <a href="https://paddle8.com/editorial/collector-spotlight-kamiar-maleki/">collector profiles</a> about you always mention that you &ldquo;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/arts/international/hot-new-artists-getting-hotter.html">specialize in collecting the work of emerging artists</a>.&rdquo; What factors have contributed to this focus in your collection? How do you discover new artists to collect?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>KM:</strong> In my opinion art collectors should be patrons of artists or institutions of their choice. There should not be a distinct separation.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As a collector of young contemporary artists, I can support brilliant artists&rsquo; works and enable their careers to flourish. Following the example of my parents Fatima and Eskander Maleki&mdash;who are patrons to many artists, organizations, charities, and trusts&mdash;I was compelled to become a supporter of the arts myself. Collecting is a gratifying passion because you feel a sense of pride and excitement each time you meet an artist whose work you collect. There is also a joy in finding an unknown emerging artist that you feel is going to become established one day.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There are no set rules on how to discover artists. I personally visit exhibitions at newer emerging galleries, attend graduate shows such as at Royal Academy Schools, the various colleges of the University of The Arts London and many more. I also attend fairs including Photo London, Frieze (London, New York), Art Basel (Hong Kong, Basel, Miami), Art Brussels, and LA Contemporary to name a few. Of course studio visits give you an invaluable glimpse into the world of an artist. At the moment the artists I am looking out for are Ida Ekblad, Ne&iuml;l Beloufa, and Charline von Heyl amongst others, and I am also very interested in the work of Will Boone and Harold Ancart. In regards to more emerging artists, I have recently been following the career of Marco Palmieri, Stefania Batoeva and Luke Diiorio.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>NH: I haven&rsquo;t seen your collection, and I don&rsquo;t know all of what it contains&mdash;this is just based on what information was readily available&mdash;I couldn&rsquo;t help but notice that no female artists are named in relation to your collection. Do you have any women artists in your collection? I must ask, because it&rsquo;s widely known that collectors, like yourself, have a great influence on the art market, and it&rsquo;s these two areas&mdash;private collections and the art market&mdash;that are the greatest bastions of continuing inequality in the art world. How would you position your collection and your activities as a collector, and now a curator, in relation to this issue? </strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>KM: </strong>It is interesting that you have not read about any female artists in my collection as there are indeed several. I collect works from very talented female artists such as the Italian Alek O, the Iranian artist Shirana Shahbazi, the English Vicky Wright, Ayan Farah, and others. As you mention, it is important that collectors such as myself keep an eye out for new artists, male and female, and from a variety of countries and cultures. It is this engagement with a wide range of artists, from myriad backgrounds, that keeps my collecting so interesting to me; I can only hope that this will help to affect the art world and promote more equality within these areas.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/11505-natalie-hegert?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Natalie Hegert</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>ArtSlant would like to thank Kamiar Maleki and Emma Gilhooly for their assistance in making this interview possible.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(All images:&nbsp;<em>Hashtag Abstract</em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://ronchinigallery.com/" target="_blank">Ronchini Gallery</a>, London, July 2&ndash;August 29, 2015. Courtesy the artists and Ronchini Gallery)</span></p> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 07:12:45 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Why Collect Artist Books and Zines? <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;&mdash;Walter Benjamin&nbsp;<a href="#f1">[1]</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Brooklyn-based publisher and curator <a href="http://blondeartbooks.com/" target="_blank">Blonde Art Books</a> recently organized its third annual <a href="http://blondeartbooks.com/2015/06/21/bushwick-art-book-and-zine-fair-babz-fair-2015/" target="_blank">Bushwick Art Book and Zine Fair</a> (BABZ). A three-day event, BABZ featured a few dozen independent publishers hawking their goods, plus workshops and performances throughout the weekend. The presence of something like BABZ is not particularly surprising; a market for Do-It-Yourself printed matter still exists, whether at fairs like BABZ, stores like Printed Matter, or even in university library collections (such as <a href="https://zines.barnard.edu/" target="_blank">Barnard&rsquo;s</a> or <a href="http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/research/fales/findingaidsrg.html" target="_blank">NYU&rsquo;s</a>). What drives collectors to keep these venues running? What, or who, fuels the market?<img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150722032712-BABZ_Fair_2015__Room_View_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">BABZ Fair 2015. Courtesy of Blonde Art Books</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Blonde Art Books founder Sonel Breslav positions the practice of art book and zine collection near to&mdash;but separate from&mdash;art collecting at large. In a post-fair interview, she noted the distinctions between the two collecting practices as chiefly to do with accessibility. &ldquo;Having something [a buyer] can walk away with quite easily,&rdquo; she added, referring to the size and cost of the objects on offer at BABZ, &ldquo;opens up the space for what it means to be a collector, or to be able to connect to art in a different way.&rdquo; In other words, a collector could have easily left BABZ with a tasteful haul, having spent just ten or twenty dollars.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But do low prices and replicable goods enable a new class of art collectors? Or is art book collecting a &ldquo;lower&rdquo; pursuit than art collecting precisely because of the cheaper, hand-made objects involved? <a href="https://printedmatter.org/" target="_blank">Printed Matter</a> attempts to squash any such hierarchy. Co-founder Lucy Lippard explained in a 2006 <a href="https://printedmatter.org/tables/41" target="_blank">interview </a>with Julie Ault: &ldquo;Printed Matter was triggered by Sol [LeWitt]&rsquo;s involvement in making artists&rsquo; books which got no respect; dealers used them as freebies&mdash;bait to draw in collectors to buy the big stuff. We both took them more seriously and wanted them to become a real option for artists.&rdquo; For Lippard, artist&rsquo;s books (and art books and zines, for our purposes) are a collectable medium in their own right; they do not sit on a lower rung on some artistic ladder.<a href="#f2">[2]</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Breslav likewise conceives of no such ladder. For her and Blonde Art Books, the boundaries between art book and &ldquo;art&rdquo; (or &ldquo;book&rdquo;) are fluid. As with many collectors, her bookshelves do not differentiate between mediums: art books, zines, histories, and theoretical texts sit side by side. Each object can serve as inspiration for an aspect of her overarching artistic practice&mdash;and each object possesses, as it would to any collector, some type of personal value. &ldquo;They often bring me back to a place in which I maybe met the artist or a bookshop where I had an extraordinary experience,&rdquo; she says. Her invocations of memory, inspiration, and social encounters illustrate moreover the ultimate appeal of this type of collecting: creating and collaborating.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150722032844-Barnard__Jenna_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Barnard Zine Library collection. Courtesy of Barnard Zine Library. Photo: Karen Green</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the communities in which these objects thrive, there is always an imperative to make as well as collect. One of Breslav&rsquo;s favorite aspects of BABZ is the &ldquo;shared community that shares ideas and shares resources as well.&rdquo; The small, open atmosphere at the fair encourages socializing and collaborating between publishers and publishers, and publishers and visitors, in a way unseen at larger art fairs. In an otherwise hyper-competitive New York art world, zine communities offer an alternative&mdash;however utopian&mdash;in which the roles of artist, dealer, and patron are happily interchangeable.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150722033335-Small_Editions_Workshop.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;Small Editions&rsquo; book-binding workshop with Corina Reynolds at BABZ Fair 2015. Courtesy of Blonde Art Books</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">At BABZ, for instance, Corina Reynolds of <a href="http://www.smalleditionsnyc.com/" target="_blank">Small Editions </a>hosted a book-binding workshop in which all the attendees were given materials with which to assemble a zine about how to make zines. Traditional galleristic distinctions between seller and buyer, artist and patron, began to collapse. That zine-makers want you to make zines alongside them courses, further, through the medium&rsquo;s roots. In an interview, Barnard zine librarian Jenna Freedman commented on the format&rsquo;s independence, as well as its promotion of mutual admiration, and inspiration. Zines are self-published because of &ldquo;the zine's content, the author's ability to maintain creative control, or control of distribution,&rdquo; she said. As a result, advertisements&mdash;as would exist in traditional art magazines&mdash;are scarce; when they do show up, they emphasize communal support: &ldquo;You advertise my zine, and I'll advertise yours,&rdquo; Freedman added.<a href="#f3">[3]</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150722091813-Barnard__Karen_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Barnard Zine Library collection. Courtesy of Barnard Zine Library. Photo: Karen Green</span><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Whereas Walter Benjamin says that writers write &ldquo;because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like,&rdquo; zine-makers like Freedman or the people at Small Editions often create because the &ldquo;market&rdquo; is in their view rich&mdash;not in cash flow, of course, but in ideas.<a href="#f4">[4]</a> &ldquo;Young zine makers are writing for each other,&rdquo; Freedman said, &ldquo;and in a different way than if they were writing a journal or scrapbook, prior vehicles for self-documentation.&rdquo; A zine collector measures exchange value by message and creativity. Breslav noted that for BABZ-goers, &ldquo;it&rsquo;s important for there to be a sense that their voice can be heard&mdash;which is again, quite different from a lot of fair circumstances.&rdquo;<a href="#f5">[5]</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art book and zine collecting offers buyers fiscal, creative, and emotional agency in a way collecting painting and sculpture largely does not. In &ldquo;Unpacking My Library,&rdquo; Benjamin discusses the practice&rsquo;s &ldquo;childlike element.&rdquo; For adult collectors, acquiring whatever type of &ldquo;beautiful object&rdquo; represents a rebirth, he writes. But &ldquo;among children, collecting is only one process of renewal; other processes are the painting of objects, the cutting out of figures, the application of decals&mdash;the whole range of childlike modes of acquisition, from touching things to giving them names.&rdquo;<a href="#f6">[6]</a> Breslav and Freedman pointed to collecting&rsquo;s activation of memory and experience; in the case of art book and zine collecting (like Benjamin&rsquo;s book collecting), this activation spurs a call not to the viewer&rsquo;s accountant but to their creative impulse&mdash;to the proverbial, and literal, drawing board.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/431528-joe-bucciero?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Joe Bucciero</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a name="f1"></a>[1] Walter Benjamin, &ldquo;Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting,&rdquo; in Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (New York: Harcourt, Brace &amp; World, 1968), 67.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a name="f1"></a>[2] Note: for this article I am grouping together zines, independent art books, and artist&rsquo;s books, as they are all independently-published publications with&mdash;in general&mdash;similar markets. Lucy Lippard more strictly delineates the mediums. &ldquo;My own definition of an artist&rsquo;s book was quite strict,&rdquo; she said: &ldquo;mass produced, relatively cheap, accessible to a broad public, all art and no commentary or preface or anything that wasn&rsquo;t part of the artwork by anyone&hellip; Hand-made, one-of-a-kind books were something else&mdash;often very beautiful, but the kind of &lsquo;precious objects&rsquo; I hoped [Printed Matter would] escape.&rdquo; Although some BABZ tables sold &ldquo;precious objects,&rdquo; I think their and Lippard&rsquo;s goals are often still compatible.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a name="f3"></a>[3] Trading is a big part of zine culture too; amassing a great zine collection often necessitates frequent creating and socializing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a name="f4"></a>[4] Benjamin, &ldquo;Unpacking My Library,&rdquo; 61.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a name="f5"></a>[5] In its early days at least, Printed Matter served a similar purpose in Lippard&rsquo;s view: &ldquo;We were the only place artist&rsquo;s bookmakers could go and we always got flack when anything was rejected from the store&hellip; Printed Matter was an incredible support system for artists (despite its insolvency and various organizational problems).&rdquo;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a name="f6"></a>[6]&nbsp;Benjamin, &ldquo;Unpacking My Library,&rdquo; 61.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;" dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image the top:&nbsp;Nikholis Planck, BABZ Fair 2015 Flyer, courtesy of Blonde Art Books)</span></p> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 07:13:02 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Paris Tear Sheets: Footnotes on Encounters <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Paris Tear Sheets is the blog of&nbsp;ArtSlant's Georgia Fee Artist-in-Residence, Lara Atallah, who will be undertaking her residency in Paris during July and August 2015. &ldquo;Paris tear sheets&rdquo; refers to daily snapshots taken during the artist&rsquo;s peregrinations in the city. She will use the blog to chronicle her encounters in Paris as well as her observations of the city.</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>You can find more information about ArtSlant's Georgia Fee Artist/Writer Residency <a href="http://www.artslant.com/par/articles/show/33747" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Walking through Parisian streets is at once a slalom through slurs of clich&eacute;s, but also an invitation to careen through chance encounters. As I continue my immersion in the city, I began revisiting Henry Miller, and specifically <em>Tropic of Cancer</em>. I came across lines that rang loudly in my mind:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Paris is simply an artificial stage, a revolving stage that permits the spectator to glimpse all phases of the conflict. Of itself Paris initiates no dramas. They are begun elsewhere. Paris is simply an obstetrical instrument that tears the living embryo from the womb and puts it in the incubator. Paris is the cradle of artificial births.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Miller wrote these words in the 1920s, at the time where the city was burgeoning with expats who sought refuge in a place that drove them to create. I have begun correlating his ideas to the larger context of immigrants who come here in the hopes of grasping a second chance at life.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150721144034-Arak_2015.jpg" alt="" width="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Arak</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The incubator has amassed a wide variety of embryos. The expats that I have met so far have laid the grounds of their new homes in different manners. Those in their twenties, who came here to study just a few years ago, are either eager to go back to Lebanon or have completely moved on. Those who have been here for decades and have seen their children born and raised in Paris have surrendered to musings about a Lebanon that is no longer there and possibly never was to begin with.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150721144139-LibrairieAvicenne.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Librairie Avicenne</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">My walks took me to Librairie Avicenne a small bookstore adjacent to the Institut du monde Arabe where for the past few decades Hachem M. has taken on the task of selling knowledge&mdash;mostly about the Arab world&mdash;both in French and Arabic. The man greets me cordially, and as I navigate the titles on display we begin a conversation about the homeland. He shakes his head in exasperation as he stares at a news website before quickly changing the conversation again to more pleasant topics. I&rsquo;m invited to the Friday evening ritual where a bunch of his fellow expats gather around whiskey and macadamia nuts to recreate the Middle East and indulge in what ifs and maybes. Amidst the staggering nostalgia of these Friday evening rituals and the enchanting atmosphere of a recreated Beiruti balcony, the clamor of Parisians enjoying happy hour at the nearby brasserie seeps into the conversation in between moments of silences. It becomes apparent once more that despite the familiarity of the context, it remains of an illusory transplant and subscribes to a convenient and reassuring imaginary.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150721143200-Courtyard_Outside_Hind_s_Place.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Courtyard outside Hind's place (more on Hind soon)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150721143249-Afternoon_light.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Afternoon light</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150721143313-Street_Shrines.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Street shrines</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/398157-lara-atallah" target="_blank">Lara Atallah</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Lara Atallah (born Beirut, Lebanon, based in Brooklyn, NY) is a visual artist working with photography.&nbsp;</em><em>You can find the full list of blog posts from her Paris residency&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/398157-lara-atallah?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">here</a>. Additional&nbsp;images from Lara's residency are on Instagram,&nbsp;<a href="https://instagram.com/explore/tags/paristearsheets/" target="_blank">#paristearsheets</a>.</em><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: xx-small;">(All images: Lara Atallah; Image at top: Hind's books)</span></p> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 14:55:31 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Boys Against Girls <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If you look out the window these days you can&rsquo;t help but see boys, girls, and&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">the political all manifest on the pavement, floating large as a topic within our&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">cultural exchange: girls walking as boys, boys becoming girls, girls still so&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">horribly un-/mis-represented in Hollywood that Jennifer Lawrence comes&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">across as a goddess for acting like a normal human being. Etc.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Besides asking if Caitlyn Jenner&rsquo;s transformation isn&rsquo;t the final act of&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">masculine hegemony&mdash;something along the lines of "it takes a real man to be&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">this good a woman"&mdash;it almost seems like there is little else to add to the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">conversation.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150721040409-SIDE_INSTA_2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Which is good, because <em>The boys, the girls, and the political</em>&nbsp;at the Lisson Gallery London doesn&rsquo;t try to&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">do that. Instead, it plonks itself down in the middle of the babble and shows a&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">bunch of good art. It&rsquo;s the kind of exhibition that once you slow down from the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">street outside and give it a few moments to get working, it emerges as, by&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">turns, sharp, funny, interesting, visually strong, and engaged: a suitable show&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">for a London summer.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150721041533-SCHB150004.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <div class="page" title="Page 5"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Richard Sides, <em>narc</em>, 2015, Laminated mixed media, Dimensions variable &copy; the artist; Courtesy, Lisson Gallery, London</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The women, and the men, whose art is shown here are as diverse as you&rsquo;ll&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">find, but&mdash;as a kind fatuous exercise&mdash;it&rsquo;s fun to pair them off into neat little&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">oppositions.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Beatriz Olabarrieta&rsquo;s precarious and intense installation, the interior of which&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">materializes an uncomfortable anxious feeling of madness, and Richard Sides&rsquo;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">parallel piece, that throws you into a kind of teenager&rsquo;s bedroom, the video&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">and the wall pieces giving the world the sneering, disaffected attack of&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">adolescence smarts; Ben Schumacher&rsquo;s collaged</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;paintings and installation/sculpture demands an&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">anthropological investigation of production and labor, in comparison to Alice&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Theobald&rsquo;s triptych video piece that comes across as a dissection of&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">relationships lived in the city; Elaine Cameron-Weir&rsquo;s decorative,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">fetishistic sculptures opposed to George Henry Longly&rsquo;s lush threshold and polished&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">marble wall pieces.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It&rsquo;s dumb to do this sure, the assignment of a set of dichotomic characteristics&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">totally conforming to the normative restrictions of gender, and kind of what&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">we&rsquo;re all trying to struggle against, so it&rsquo;s fitting&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">then that the possibly the best, or at least the funniest, piece in the show is&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">a collaboration between Lucy Beech and Edward Thomasson. <a href="https://vimeo.com/43263764" target="_blank"><em>7&nbsp;</em></a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/43263764" target="_blank"><em>Year Itch</em></a> is a video where six very "normal" looking couples hilariously&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">produce the soundscape of sex via various absurd physical actions. It&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">captures a bit of our fascination with the whole thing in all its ridiculous&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">wonderfulness: especially as everyone pulls their yoga mats from sight looking very&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">pleased with themselves.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150721043606-LIST150006__1_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <div class="page" title="Page 3"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p style="line-height: normal; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">Jesper List Thomsen,&nbsp;2015 wooden stretcher, plastic, industrial paint, tape, marker pen, acrylic paint</span><br /><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;"> 101.6 x 152.4 cm&nbsp;&copy; the artist; Courtesy, Lisson Gallery, London&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The eponymous work of this show maybe pulls the whole thing together:&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Jesper List Thomson&rsquo;s <em>The boys, the girls, and the political</em>, a wall piece&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">where a protruding form dallies just inside the threshold of an encircling&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">receptacle, each seeming a little uncertain of what to do; maybe lays it out&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">there, if not in the title, the definite article and oxford comma reinforcing&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">separation of something that might not be, in fact, so separate.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/273879-james-loks?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">James Loks</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: &nbsp;Alice Theobald, A<em>nd the Wanderers Wandering at the Wonders of Themselves</em>, 2015 3 x channel HD 16:9 video in 3 parts Scene One: 10'11" Scene Two: 10'12" Scene Three: 10'44" &copy; the artist; Courtesy, Lisson Gallery, London)</span></p> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 16:18:04 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Turning the Tables on Global Self-Evidence <p style="line-height: 26px;"><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.utrechtdownunder.nl/" target="_blank">Empty prisons</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.artslant.com/ams/articles/show/35743" target="_blank">abandoned shipyards</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://creativetime.org/projects/karawalker/" target="_blank">derelict factories</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;in the past couple of decades these raw and unpolished places have become very popular as locations for </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.artrotterdam.com/users/128/content/Home/EN-Main%20section.html" target="_blank">art fairs</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://manifesta9.org/en/home/" target="_blank">biennials</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, and </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.artslant.com/ams/articles/show/31938" target="_blank">temporary exhibitions</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. Often it&rsquo;s simply because of their atmospheric quality. Or to stress the fact that the art on show really is connected to the outside world and not only functions within the artificial ecosystem of the museum. But it works best if the location&rsquo;s identity and the exhibition&rsquo;s content are in synch. With </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Global Imaginations</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> that&rsquo;s the case.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Global Imaginations</em> takes place in <a href="http://demeelfabriek.nl/" target="_blank">De Meelfabriek</a> in Leiden, an industrial complex harboring 13 robust buildings which together comprise a flour-processing factory. Its history goes back to 1884, when a local grain merchant and a miller teamed up to build one of the then largest food processing plants in Europe. During the 1950s the company was responsible for one fifth of Dutch flour production. In 1988 the site closed and fell into disrepair until it received the status of industrial monument in 2000. In anticipation of its redevelopment into luxury lofts and state of the art office space, the factory now serves as an annex for Museum De Lakenhal while it&rsquo;s being renovated. During <em>Global Imaginations</em> this place that once fed the world has become a destination for artists from all continents feeding Leiden intellectually, artistically and politically. Thirty of them have been invited to reflect on contemporary global dynamics.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150720140504-Mark_Dion__The_Natural_Sciences__2015__Foto_Taco_van_der_Eb.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Mark Dion, <em>The Natural Sciences</em>, 2015. Courtesy the artist &amp;&nbsp;Waldburger Wouters Brussel. Photo: Taco van der Eb</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Quite a few participants focus specifically on Leiden, which in the early 17th century was home to the Pilgrim Fathers and thus has its stake in early globalization. Around that same time Leiden University was founded&mdash;its 440-year anniversary is the direct occasion for <em>Global Imaginations</em>&mdash;and the groundwork was laid for institutions of international repute and influence. Mark Dion&rsquo;s <em>The Natural Sciences</em>&mdash;a collection of black-lit casts of large insects, a human skull, a microscope and so forth&mdash;refers to the <a href="http://www.naturalis.nl/en/" target="_blank">Naturalis Biodiversity Center</a>. The heritage of the <a href="http://volkenkunde.nl/en" target="_blank">Museum Volkenkunde</a> is echoed in the works of Andrea Stultiens and Brook Andrew. The first tries to reconstruct Ugandan history as documented by a 1930s local chief&mdash;a historically interesting installation but visually much less so. The latter criticizes the way Aboriginals have systematically been omitted from Australian history books and sarcastically invites those suffering from ethnic amnesia to come bounce in the <em>Jumping Castle War Memorial</em>.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Globalization as an abstract phenomenon inspired works dealing with symbols rather than specific locations and stories. The banner Meschac Gaba created for <em>Global Imaginations</em> unites all the national flags of the world. It&rsquo;s a radiant kaleidoscope that brings to mind images of space ships shifting into warp speed: true globalization is beyond our globe; it&rsquo;s out there, where the idea of separate nations stops making sense and we&rsquo;re all merely human.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150720140641-DSC_0142.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Tintin Wulia, <em>Nous Ne Notons Pas Les </em>Fleurs, 2009&ndash;2015. Game performance and installation with flowers in painted terracotta pots, security cameras and screens. Courtesy the artist and Kaap/Stichting Storm. Photo: Hidde van Greuningen</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150720140721-Rivane_Neuenschwander__Pangaea_s_Diaries__2008.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Rivane Neuenschwander, <em>Pangaea&rsquo;s Diaries</em>, 2008,&nbsp;Digital photography on 16 mm-film projection, 00:01:00, 1,85 x 2,5 m. Photo: &copy; Rivane Neuenschwander. Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery (London), Galeria Fortes Vila&ccedil;a (S&atilde;o Paulo) and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (New York)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Rivane Neuenschwander and Tintin Wulia both work with transforming world maps. In Wulia&rsquo;s case the map consists of flowerpots that are moved around to illustrate the changing shape of continents over time. The shifting is done by visitors following the artist&rsquo;s instructions. In Neuenschwander&rsquo;s video <em>Pangaea&rsquo;s Diaries</em> it&rsquo;s an ant colony mimicking tectonic activity. The insects drag slabs of beef carpaccio back and forth on a plate making South America, Africa, and Asia collide and melt together into the primordial continent.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150720140838-HA2015062901207.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Pascale Marthine Tayou, <em>Plastic </em>Bags, 2001&ndash;2015,&nbsp;Metal, nylon, plastic, &Oslash; 3.5-2.5 &times; 12.5 m. Photo: Marc de Haan</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150720141150-Tsang_Kin-wah__The_Fourth_Seal_-_HE_Is_To_No_Purpose_And_HE_Wants_To_Die_For_The_Second_Time__2010.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Tsang Kin-Wah, <em>The Fourth Seal &ndash; He Is to No Purpose and He Wants to Die for the Second Time</em>, 2010&ndash;2015, Digital video projection with sound, 6 min 25 sec, appr. 10 x 12 m. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Marc de Haan</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">These works represent a rather neutral perspective on globalization but a morally critical stance is present in Leiden as well. Pascale Marthine Tayou constructed a massive installation consisting of thousands of colorful plastic bags. This monument to consumerism and pollution is boisterously cheerful and a bit scary at the same time. Tsang Kin-Wah takes it a few steps further. His moving light sculpture is downright haunting. It&rsquo;s part of his ongoing film project based on the Book of Revelations and in this fourth chapter the focus is on the world&rsquo;s destruction by plague, famine, and war. Using original texts from the Scripture and historical sources from the Far East and the West, the artist projects on the floor a tangle of phrases&mdash;&ldquo;A time to kill again,&rdquo; &ldquo;The desirable opposite of life.&rdquo; &ldquo;The non-mortal you&rdquo;&mdash;that crawl around like snakes gone mad. But it&rsquo;s not all doom and wagging fingers. <em>Global Imaginations</em> is big on constructive creativity as well. Eco-veterans Lucy and Jorge Orta show how water from the nearby canal can easily be purified, using only reclaimed wood, glass, water tanks, and pipes.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ghana ThinkTank publicizes that problem solving is not a Western prerogative. Prior to <em>Global Imaginations</em> this international think thank did a survey in Leiden, asking the local population what it thought the city&rsquo;s biggest problem is today. It turned out to be intolerance and the growing divide between Muslims and non-Muslims. On video we see Sudanese inhabitants of an Israeli refugee camp and Indonesian youngsters discussing this First World problem and trying to come up with solutions.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150720141301-RH1401028-14.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Romuald Hazoum&egrave;, <em>NGO SBOP</em>, 2011,&nbsp;Plastic parts, paper clippings, two monitors, furniture of jerrycans, bicycle. Courtesy Magnin-A Gallery, Paris</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But the most impressive example of reversing the traditional North-South dynamic&mdash;and the paternalism it&rsquo;s often accompanied by&mdash;is Romuald Hazoum&egrave;&rsquo;s installation <em>NGO SBOP</em>. It revolves around the fictional development aid organization Solidarit&eacute; B&eacute;ninoise pour Occidentaux en P&eacute;ril, an NGO for helping poor whites in the West. In a film Hazoum&eacute; goes out into the streets of Cotonou collecting money for the organization. At first passersby are surprised, outraged even: &ldquo;they should be giving us money!&rdquo; But when the aid worker explains that poor Europeans lack not only funds but also a social network and brotherly love, almost all of them produce some coins for the collection box.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/356010-edo-dijksterhuis?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Edo Dijksterhuis</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top:&nbsp;Romuald Hazoum&egrave;,&nbsp;<em>NGO SBOP</em>, 2011,&nbsp;Plastic parts, paper clippings, two monitors, furniture of jerrycans, bicycle. Courtesy Magnin-A Gallery, Paris)</span></p> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:24:57 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Between Mock Ruin and Imagined Emergency <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">In a recent lecture on the work of Harun Farocki, Thomas Elsaesser proposed that in a time pervaded by performative approaches to social life, &ldquo;we are all now insurance companies, risk-assessing a world of catastrophe and danger.&rdquo;<a href="#f1">[1]</a> This statement connects Farocki's notion of operational images with Ulrich Beck's concept of a risk society, while also alluding to current states of precariousness and self-regulation, and a resurgent popular fascination with narratives and images of disaster. It is thus a catalyst for thinking about the space (and time) between risk and ruin, and how this aperture might be navigated using strategies of rehearsal and prefiguration.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The figure of the risk-assessor channels what Anthony Vidler identifies as &ldquo;the repressed master discourse of the twentieth century: not the trauma of past loss, but the anticipatory fear of future loss.&rdquo;<a href="#f2">[2]</a> In a risk society, this &ldquo;anticipatory fear&rdquo; is exacerbated by society's inability to either control or fully comprehend the destructive consequences generated by its internally manufactured risks (i.e., risks resulting from human decisions and technologies, as opposed to natural causes). These &ldquo;unknowable&rdquo; anthropogenic hazards are not contained by geographic or temporal boundaries; they reiterate global interconnectivity, while paving the way for &ldquo;organized irresponsibility&rdquo; (i.e. the denial of accountability) amongst political, corporate and social bodies at all levels. Inevitably, one is reminded of the 2002 U.S. Department of Defense press briefing in which Donald Rumsfeld responded to questioning about alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq with his now infamous statement about known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.<a href="#f3">[3]</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In a risk society, to what extent does increased insecurity and concern for safety trigger precautionary behavior&mdash;such as a desire for instruction and preparation, to counteract the realization that the only certainty is uncertainty? Fear begets violence, which begets fear. Do rehearsals, re-enactments, and contingency plans act as placebos, indoctrination, or minor reassurances in the face of an uncertain future? Certainly they have been hot currency in the art world in recent years, from Tom McCarthy's <em>Remainder </em>(2005) to Omer Fast's <em>Nostalgia </em>(2009). The trend is perhaps reaching its apex with Fast's forthcoming feature<a href="http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/novel-idea/" target="_blank"> film adaptation </a>of McCarthy's novel.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In a 2014 interview, Elsaesser discussed Farocki's fascination with images of &ldquo;role-play, test-drives, drills and rehearsals of emergency situations&rdquo; and other methods of &ldquo;rehearsing (for) living&rdquo; that have migrated from specialist industries &ldquo;<a href="http://www.e-flux.com/journal/farocki-a-frame-for-the-no-longer-visible-thomas-elsaesser-in-conversation-with-alexander-alberro/" target="_blank">into everyday life, either in the name of self-improvement and optimization, or for the sake of risk aversion and security.</a>&rdquo; Farocki termed these &ldquo;operational images&rdquo;&mdash;images that instruct or initiate action. They are produced to participate in a process rather than for aesthetic value.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150719162152-unnamed-4.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Installation view of Harun Farocki: <em>Vision. Production. Oppression. </em>at MUAC, Universidad Nacional Aut&oacute;noma de M&eacute;xico, 2014. Photo <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Exposici%C3%B3n_temporal_Harun_Farocki.JPG" target="_blank">Mariana Renter&iacute;a</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Farocki makes visible the repetition required to create and calibrate operational images, from the construction of advertising spreads in <em>Ein Bild </em>(1983) and <em>Stilleben </em>(1997); to the instructional training films of <em>Leben: BRD </em>(1990) and <em>Was ist los </em>(1991); and the military video games of <em>Serious Games I-IV </em>(2009-10) and <em>Parallel I-IV </em>(2012-14). Over the course of decades, he documented a transition from instructional image/video to participatory game, reflecting technological advancements and &ldquo;a new generation of users who want to click on images, not just look at them.&rdquo;<a href="#f4">[4]</a> As the latter works show, operational images have long been intimately connected to warfare, military training, and now <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ber/articles/show/38969" target="_blank">the rehabilitation of soldiers</a>. Video game rehearsals act as virtual conditioning for the trauma of violent combat; video game re-enactments provide the subsequent therapy for post-traumatic stress disorders. Images prepare for physical risk, and treat psychological ruin.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150719161507-unnamed-2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Damage Caused by V2 Rocket Attacks in Britain, 1945. Ruined flats in Limehouse, East London, following the explosion of the last German V2 rocket to fall on London. Courtesy <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Damage_Caused_by_V2_Rocket_Attacks_in_Britain,_1945_HU88803.jpg" target="_blank">Imperial War Museum</a><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Rehearsal and disaster are historically intertwined in the genre of &ldquo;future ruins,&rdquo; fantasies of imagined catastrophe and decay visited upon famous or familiar sites. This tradition became fashionable in the eighteenth century, immediately congealed into clich&eacute;, but never really dried out&mdash;just mutated from Hubert Robert's picturesque <a href="https://www.google.nl/search?q=hubert+robert+ruin&amp;espv=2&amp;biw=1083&amp;bih=510&amp;source=lnms&amp;tbm=isch&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0CAYQ_AUoAWoVChMI-cbpycXpxgIVjA8sCh1sOwMo&amp;dpr=1.25" target="_blank">paintings of collapsed monuments</a>, via Victorian allegories of anxiety over the end of empire, to modernist architecture cast as failed utopias, and now coffee-table books documenting the economic decline of Detroit through luxurious double-page spreads.<a href="#f5">[5]</a> Disaster sells; prophecy and profit have an on-again, off-again relationship. Nina Dubin has pointed out that the emergence of &ldquo;the cult of ruins coincided with [that of] of modern market structures,&rdquo; noting that &ldquo;market forces appear to have catalysed an awareness of contingency,&rdquo; &ldquo;unpredictable returns,&rdquo; &ldquo;<a href="http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/20/dubin.php" target="_blank">the vicissitudes of credit,</a>&rdquo; and&mdash;for the real-estate entrepreneur&mdash;the lucrative potential of urban catastrophe. Like the still life or vanitas, the &ldquo;future ruin&rdquo; fuses aesthetics, economics, and ethics in a visualization of property ravaged by the sins and delusions of its owners: the Dorian Gray effect.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Brian Dillon&mdash;the go-to expert on ruination and co-curator of Tate Britain's popular 2014 exhibition <em><a href="http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/ruin-lust" target="_blank">Ruin Lust</a>&mdash;</em>writes that one reason for the enduring fascination of ruins is their ability to conjure an <a href="http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/20/dillon.php" target="_blank">&ldquo;intermediate moment</a>&rdquo; in which past, present, and future collapse. This compression of time, along with accompanying notions of fragmentation and entropy, are hallmarks of the patron saints of ruin in the contemporary art world: Robert Smithson&mdash;who coined the much-loved phrase &ldquo;ruins in reverse&rdquo; in his landmark 1967 photo-essay <em>A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey</em>&mdash;and JG Ballard, whose dystopian science fiction novels have alternately drowned, burned, and crystallized the world, experimenting with humanity's creative capacity for self-destruction. A <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0462335/" target="_blank">film adaptation</a> of Ballard's 1975 book <em>High Rise</em>&mdash;about the violent fate of residents of a tower block, whose social dynamic disintegrates in tandem with their desecration of the building&mdash;is scheduled for release within months of Fast's <em>Remainder</em>. <em>High Rise </em>casts gentrification as an anti-civilizing force, in which progress and regress converge to rot structures from within.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Actual ruins are a rarity in London, surviving only through heritage listing and the whims of &ldquo;urban regenerators.&rdquo; Gentrification drives demolition and reconstruction at a cracking pace, often to the despair of existing residents. Narratives from contested zones are explored at the BFI next month in the short film programme "<a href="https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=londonasbattlefield&amp;BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::context_id=" target="_blank">London as Battlefield</a>," including screenings of John Smith's <em>Blight</em> (1996) and <em>Concrete Heartland</em> (2014) by Steven Ball and Rastko Novaković. In a consumer cycle predicated on planned obsolescence, structures are seldom allowed to <em>reach </em>ruin.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If there is no longer space or time for the ruin as real estate, will it expand into the virtual? Hito Steyerl's &ldquo;<a href="http://www.e-flux.com/journal/in-defense-of-the-poor-image/" target="_blank">poor image</a>&rdquo; is a <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/43239" target="_blank">digital ruin</a>, degraded by constant circulation and the impact of numerous crops, filters, and compressions.<a href="#f6">[6]</a> Here, ruin is produced through excessive love&mdash;uncontrollable memetic contagion.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150719161830-unnamed.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Thomas Hirschhorn,&nbsp;<em>In-Between</em>, Installation view at the South London Gallery, 2015. Courtesy Thomas Hirschhorn. Photo Mark Blower</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For <a href="http://www.artslant.com/lon/events/show/386286-in-between" target="_blank"><em>In-Between</em></a>, his current exhibition at the South London Gallery, Thomas Hirschhorn has also produced ruin&mdash;or rather, the appearance of it&mdash;through excessive love. Hirschhorn is a self-professed fan, and his relationship to philosophy, literature, vernacular culture, products, materials, and aesthetics are thoroughly fan-like&mdash;that is, dominated by the importance of displaying the fan's love and dedication through creative acts. This love must be indiscriminate or it isn't real love. Hence, the artist's rejection of the qualitative and embrace of the quantitative, evident in his mantra of &ldquo;Energy: Yes! Quality: No!&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the exhibition's accompanying artist's statement, Hirschhorn sets out the terms of his self-imposed challenge: to give form to destruction, ruin, and disaster, &ldquo;precarious and floating but dense and charged.&rdquo;&nbsp;<em>In-Between r</em>esembles the set of a B-grade, post-apocalyptic science fiction film&mdash;cheap materials built into ruin; the set limited in space, but evoking an extreme scale of destruction and mass havoc. In the tradition of the depiction of future ruins, nothing has fallen: everything is placed. Yet rather than cashing in on the traumatic transformation of a well-known monument, <em>In-Between </em>is a composite image, unspecific, with no clear referents from which to be estranged.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The installation dips and juts, receding across the gallery in successive tiers of stage scenery. This compartmentalization creates a series of dead ends, often the remains of cubicle or cell-like structures fitted with toilets&mdash;for a moment, the work appears to be a destroyed prison block. This would be logical: <em>In-Between </em>is presided over by a bed-sheet banner bearing a single line from Antonio Gramsci's <em>Prison Notebooks, </em>written during the Italian Marxist's near-decade of incarceration by Mussolini's Fascist regime. But what about the other furniture&mdash;desks, chairs, a broken IKEA bookcase? A tower block, then, mid-demolition&mdash;in reference to London's rabid housing bubble and aforementioned relentless gentrification. Yet there's also something of the ruined cathedral, the collapsed bunker, the Blitzed city street. The expanse of black fabric suspended above is both a starry night sky and a shrapnel-torn ceiling.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150719162238-unnamed-5.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Thomas Hirschhorn,&nbsp;<em>In-Between</em>, Installation view at the South London Gallery, 2015. Courtesy Thomas Hirschhorn. Photo Mark Blower</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The conflation of dead ends&mdash;&ldquo;blocked passages&rdquo;&mdash;and toilets again recalls John Smith's <em>Blight</em>, with its recurring motif of the toilet nested in the rubble of a partially demolished house. Waste is both a theme and a strategy for Hirschhorn, who desires to use &ldquo;<a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/07/29/house-philosopher%20" target="_blank">wastefulness as a tool or a weapon</a>&rdquo; by giving &ldquo;too much&rdquo; of his time and energy; by overproducing; by expending huge volumes of materials in his displays of enthusiasm; and by writing fervent artist's statements that provide too much information. Our treatment of waste reveals how we cope with the inevitable. To return to Beck: modernity's promise was to overcome natural disaster and mass wreckage with &ldquo;<a href="http://www.iasc-culture.org/THR/archives/Fear/5.3HBeck.pdf" target="_blank"><em>more </em>modernization and <em>more </em>progress... [but] in the age of risk the threats we are confronted with [are caused by] 'modernization' and 'progress' itself.</a>&rdquo; Globally, our response to mounting piles (and pits) of toxic, non-degradable waste is to create yet more waste. The writing's on the bed-sheet: &ldquo;Destruction is difficult; indeed, it is as difficult as creation.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Engaging the culture of uncertainty on its own terms, Hirschhorn short-circuits the relationship between progress and waste, success and failure, value and irrelevance, function and uselessness, urgency and stasis. Heavy things are made of light materials; new materials are made to look second-hand; the creative product masquerades as the aftermath of destruction. There are piles of carefully shaped cardboard rubble, painted matt grey or black, but no actual dirt or dust; all materials are manufactured&mdash;have undergone decades of complex engineering to look and be functional, reliable, simple. Brown packing tape, cardboard, cloth, Styrofoam, ducting hose, wires, toilets&mdash;materials that facilitate transit, wrapping, and disguise. Means to an end, used to construct an effigy of The End.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150719161914-unnamed-1.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;Hubert Roberts,&nbsp;<em>Imaginary View of the Grand Gallery of the Louvre in Ruins</em><em>,&nbsp;</em>1796</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">To aestheticize risk and ruin is truly an ambivalent gesture: it inevitably underestimates human suffering and trivializes horror. Gramsci was scathing on the subject: the authentic destroyer-creator is compelled by historical necessity, while the &ldquo;self-proclaimed destroyer&rdquo; attacks the material instead of the message, thus only effecting &ldquo;unsuccessful abortions.&rdquo;<a href="#f7">[7]</a> Yet Hirschhorn courts this ambivalence as a necessity for operating &ldquo;in-between&rdquo; destruction and creation. As Svetlana Boym writes, &ldquo;a tour of ruins leads you into a labyrinth of ambivalent language&mdash;no longer, not yet, nevertheless, albeit&mdash;that plays tricks with causality.&rdquo;<a href="#f8">[8]</a> Hirschhorn's guiding principle is intermediacy. Rather than attempting solidarity with the precariat, the artist's desire is to act out &ldquo;the values of the precarious&mdash;uncertainty, instability, and self-authorization&rdquo; through &ldquo;hazardous, contradictory and hidden encounters,&rdquo; and thus &ldquo;to be awakened... to be attentive&rdquo; to &ldquo;the fragility of life.&rdquo;<a href="#f9">[9]</a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Painted ruins are discrete zones, regardless of the illusions wrought by crumbling edges and mist-veiled depth of field. Hirschhorn avoids external vantage points, hierarchies, and clear sight-lines. The physical distance required for traditional ruin-gazing is denied; rather, the (special) effect is of being surrounded by destruction, wandering through wreckage, minding one's head, hands and feet. In this hall of grand disaster, I find myself automatically risk-assessing perils so mild they are almost absurd: trip hazards; swooping cables of tape and card; unexpected contact with other life forms surveying the wasteland. The gap between my situation, and the experience of real ruin by others elsewhere in the world, suddenly feels embarrassingly wide.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/229458-marianne-templeton?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Marianne Templeton</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="f1"></a>[1] Thomas Elsaesser, '<em>Simulation and the Labour of Invisibility: Harun Farocki's Life Manuals</em>' presented at the symposium<em> Life Remade: The Politics and Aesthetics of Animation, Simulation and Rendering</em>, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, London, 5-6 June 2015.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="f2"></a>[2] Anthony Vidler, 'Air War and Architecture' in Julia Hell and Andreas Sch&ouml;nle (eds), <em>Ruins of Modernity</em>, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2010, p32.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="f3"></a>[3] Though already in usage in the field of risk analysis, these terms entered into popular consciousness as the prime example of 'Rumspeak'.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="f4"></a>[4] Elsaesser, 2015, op. cit.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><a name="f5"></a>[5] A quick internet search locates illustrated titles such as <em><a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Detroit-Stories-Behind-Majestic/dp/1596299401" target="_blank">Lost Detroit: Stories Behind the Motor City's Majestic Ruins</a>,</em><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Yves-Marchand-Romain-Meffre-Detroit/dp/3869300426" target="_blank">&nbsp;The Ruins of Detroit</a></em>,&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Moore-Detroit-Disassembled/dp/8862081189" target="_blank"><em>Detroit Disassembled</em></a>, all published in 2010&mdash;the same time that Jan Kempenaers' <a href="http://www.jankempenaers.info/works/1/" target="_blank"><em>Spomenik </em></a>sparked off a wave of photographic surveys of abandoned Soviet Modernism.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="f6"></a>[6] Steyerl also has an interest in operational images.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="f7"></a>[7] Antonio Gramsci, <em>Prison Notebooks, Volume 3</em>, Columbia University Press, New York, 2010, p25.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="f8"></a>[8] Svetlana Boym, 'Ruins of the Avant-Garde: From Tatlin's Tower to Paper Architecture' in Hell and Sch&ouml;nle, op. cit., p58.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="f9"></a>[9] Thomas Hirschhorn quoted in Hal Foster, 'Crossing Over: The Precarious Practice of Thomas Hirschhorn' in <em>The Berlin Journal</em>, no. 20, Spring 2011, pp28-30.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: &nbsp;John Smith, film still from&nbsp;<em>Blight</em>, 1996. Courtesy John Smith)</span></p> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 12:59:56 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Is the Internet Living Up to Its Promise as Democratic Equalizer of the Art Market? <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">On June 20, the Berlin-based online auction house Auctionata sold </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="https://auctionata.com/intl/o/125433/imperial-immortal-mountain-clock-guangzhou-workshop-qianlong" target="_blank">an 18th century Chinese clock</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. Created by a Guangzhou workshop, the musical and automaton clock is ivory-mounted and adorned with figurines and pagodas set in a mountain scene. The bidding started with 300,000 euro. A mere ten minutes later the final bid of 3.37 million euro was made, setting a new online auction record. The buyer is an art world fixture: businessman Liu Yiqian, owner of the Long Museum in Shanghai. More remarkable, however, is that competing with Mr. Yiqian were more than 1,000 bidders from 35 countries, most of whom have never set foot in a live auction house but readily offered six figure bids via livestream or even over an iPhone app on a piece of art they hadn&rsquo;t seen with their own eyes.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150715094726-Screen_Shot_2015-07-13_at_3.43.20_PM.png" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Screengrab of&nbsp;<a href="https://auctionata.com/intl/o/125433/imperial-immortal-mountain-clock-guangzhou-workshop-qianlong" target="_blank">"Important Asian Art"</a>&nbsp;auction results at Auctionata. Accessed July 13, 2015.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The art market took a long time getting to the internet. It&rsquo;s a late if not extremely reluctant adaptor. The general opinion was that art </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/abigailesman/2012/02/14/vip-artfair-bombs-again-a-lesson-in-art-marketing-and-online-sales/">wouldn&rsquo;t be suitable for online trading</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. Its uniqueness and physical qualities would render appraisal based on digital files impossible. The VIP Art Fair, the world&rsquo;s first online art fair that premiered on 22 January 2011, tried to refute these misgivings but stumbled upon technical difficulties. After heavy investments in software and personnel the fair made a comeback the next year but ever since its </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://observer.com/2013/04/artspace-acquires-vip-art/">acquisition by Artspace</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> in April 2013 no news about a follow-up has been released.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There are no figures about sales at the VIP Art Fair but judging from reactions of participants they weren&rsquo;t that great. The pioneering initiative may have been handicapped by its head start. If it were to be launched today, it would be a completely different story. Over a span of only a few years the art market has travelled the same route as booksellers, fashion retailers and coffee merchants. And it has done so with a vengeance. In a <a href="https://www.hiscox.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Hiscox-Online-Art-Trade-Report-2015.pdf" target="_blank">2014 report</a>&nbsp;insurance company Hiscox assessed online art sales in that year to be $2.64 billion worldwide, a number that is expected to grow to $6.3 billion in 2019. The 2014 <a href="http://www.tefaf.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=15&amp;tabindex=14&amp;pressrelease=16959&amp;presslanguage" target="_blank">TEFAF Art Market Report</a>, commissioned by The European Art Foundation,&nbsp;estimated even higher online sales at 3.3 billion euro (approximately $3.6 million), comprising 6 percent of the global art market.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The bulk of online art sales are made through auction houses. Specialized parties like <a href="https://auctionata.com/intl" target="_blank">Auctionata</a> and <a href="https://paddle8.com/" target="_blank">Paddle8</a> claim a large slice of the pie but traditional houses have also diversified digitally. Christie&rsquo;s, for example, organized an online only auction pilot in December 2011 of 1,000 items from the <a href="http://www.christies.com/elizabethtaylor/saleroom.aspx" target="_blank">Elizabeth Taylor Collection</a>. Since then, the world market leader has seriously stepped up its online activity, resulting in 2014 in no fewer than 78 e-commerce sales held across 21 different categories. Amongst the bestsellers were Richard Serra&rsquo;s <em><a href="https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/online-post-war-contemporary-art/pamuk-3/5941/" target="_blank">Pamuk</a></em> ($905,000) and Pablo Picasso&rsquo;s <em><a href="https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/picasso-ceramics-impressions-in-clay/service-corrida-18/5835/" target="_blank">Service Corrida</a></em> ($245,000). Compared to the auction house&rsquo;s total revenue of over $5 billion, the online turnover is modest at $35.1 million, but a growth figure of 60 percent is telling: the internet is the future.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150715095450-Screen_Shot_2015-07-13_at_3.56.35_PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Looking up close at Picasso's <em>Service Corrida</em>, sold online for $245,000 in 2014. Screengrab via<a href="https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/picasso-ceramics-impressions-in-clay/service-corrida-18/5835/" target="_blank"> Christie's</a>. Accessed July 13, 2015.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Not in the least because online is where the new buyers are. Christie&rsquo;s calculated that 32 percent of online buyers last year were new to Christie&rsquo;s. Of these novices a whopping 42 percent were under the age of 45. This is the demographic everybody in the art market is aiming for. Christie&rsquo;s archrival Sotheby&rsquo;s is following another strategy for reaching tomorrow&rsquo;s collectors community. It has <a href="http://www.live.ebay.com/lvx/sothebys" target="_blank">teamed up with eBay</a> and on April 1, 2015 organized its first online event. The photography auction with works by the likes of Irving Penn, Ansel Adams, and Richard Avedon resulted in a $5.17 million turnover. More auctions are likely to follow.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">According to the <a href="https://www.hiscox.de/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Hiscox-Online-Art-Trade-Report-2015.pdf" target="_blank">Hiscox online art trade report</a>, convenience is a very important factor in the success of online art sales. But a lot of respondents also cite the fact that bidding from behind a screen is a lot less intimidating than attending an actual auction. Moreover, they find it a lot easier to select works fitting their budget. That an online presence can lower the&mdash;for some people forbidding&mdash;threshold of a physical location, is something Christie&rsquo;s has experienced. The growing digital audience was echoed by a 39 percent increase in footfall to the Christie&rsquo;s King Street headquarters in London.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">What is true for auction houses is even more so for galleries. Hidden behind glazed windows or massive steel doors, with a laptop-absorbed beauty in Prada black as its stern gatekeeper: that&rsquo;s still the rather unwelcoming image a lot of potential art buyers have of galleries. In a recent survey done by Dutch online art platform <a href="http://www.welikeart.nl/" target="_blank">We Like Art</a>, 72 percent of 18 to 35 year-olds admit they find asking for prices in a gallery prohibitive. Instead they do their research online, where things can be a lot more transparent. And they often stay online, buying art from web shops and by email. This is a generation weaned on Amazon and eBay, not hesitant to spend large amounts of money online. The exclusivity of galleries&mdash;the unspoken set of rules, the cultivated inner circle, the lack of clarity about prices&mdash;is not something they aspire to; it&rsquo;s something they regard as an obstacle. The far more democratic internet levels the playing field for them and that&rsquo;s where they&rsquo;ll develop their taste and eventually build their collections.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150715104204-Screen_Shot_2015-07-15_at_12.38.54_PM.png" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Screengrab of Gagosian<a href="http://www.gagosian.com/shop/parkett" target="_blank"> web shop</a>. Accessed July 15, 2015.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Some galleries have picked up on this trend. Many have crafted an online presence through social media and newsletters. But most gallery websites still look like they did a couple of years ago: like shop windows flaunting the same stark white cube aesthetic of the gallery they&rsquo;re an extension of. Gallery owners probably think implementing a web shop environment cheapens their aura and thus shy away from it. But it&rsquo;s a way of thinking that is rapidly becoming outdated. If galleries want to appeal to new, young collectors, they&rsquo;ll have to embrace e-commerce wholeheartedly. With the older gallery-going generation fading away in the near future, it&rsquo;s actually quite simple: introduce a shopping cart on your website or perish.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/356010-edo-dijksterhuis?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Edo Dijksterhuis</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Screengrab of Sotheby's <a href="http://www.live.ebay.com/lvx/sothebys/auctionhouse" target="_blank">Auction House page</a> on eBay. Accessed July 15, 2015)</span></p> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 21:25:45 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list We Contain Multitudes: the Hybrid Identities of Andrea Crespo <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Within the first few minutes of David Cronenberg&rsquo;s 1999 movie </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">eXistenZ</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, video game designer Allegra Geller is referred to as both &ldquo;goddess&rdquo; and &ldquo;demoness.&rdquo; The polarizing reaction to Geller&rsquo;s games sets the stakes for the ensuing narrative&mdash;one in which &ldquo;realists&rdquo; fight against gamers, who, according to the realists, &ldquo;deform&rdquo; reality. Indeed, in immersive games like </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">eXistenZ</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, players are never sure if they are themselves or their characters. Buried under several layers of &ldquo;reality,&rdquo; everyone in the film ends up with a multitude of identities; Allegra is goddess </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">and</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> demoness at once.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Although the muted, sterile objects in Andrea Crespo&rsquo;s <em>polymorphoses </em>do not resemble the veiny, grotesque <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=existenz+gamepod&amp;espv=2&amp;biw=1041&amp;bih=617&amp;source=lnms&amp;tbm=isch&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0CAgQ_AUoA2oVChMI9ZSHkI7ZxgIVwdSACh3g4gjB#tbm=isch&amp;q=existenz+game+pod" target="_blank">game pods</a> in <em>eXistenZ</em>, Crespo asks Cronenberg-ian questions: must we establish a single identity when it is so easy, because of video game and internet avatars, to assume multiple? How can we feel secure, if at all, while navigating alternate &ldquo;realities&rdquo;? In <em>polymorphoses</em>, as in <em>eXistenZ</em>, beings and their projections are constantly splitting and re-joining, doubling and reducing, disappearing and reappearing. Are such dimensional shifts necessarily negative, or can a confusion of identities open up new (inter)personal possibilities?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150715080833-Installation_Shot_2-min.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Installation view of <em>polymorphoses</em>, 2015. Photo: Fran Parente. Courtesy of the artist and Hester, New York</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Crespo addresses these themes most saliently in <em>parabiosis: neurolibinal induction complex</em>, the exhibition&rsquo;s sole video piece. Evocative words and Game Boy images appear on a black screen. A glowing bar wipes them away, or perhaps copies them, acting as a Xerox machine. The devices we use&mdash;scanners, Game Boys, and their contemporary counterparts&mdash;play both goddess (creator) and demoness (destroyer) every day. Throughout <em>polymorphoses</em>, then, Crespo navigates the boundaries between these two roles in a post-<em>eXistenZ</em>, post-internet, cultural climate: one a bit more comfortable with hybridity.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/132575599" frameborder="0" width="600" height="338"></iframe></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/132575599">parabiosis 2.2 excerpt</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user12061539">Andrea Crespo</a>.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In <em>plurisim (incubator)</em>, one of five &ldquo;data security boxes&rdquo; hanging on Hester&rsquo;s back wall, Crespo interrogates our digital relationships. Nintendo Game Link cables connect on one end (not unlike the umbilical cord cables and bio-ports in <em>eXistenZ</em>), their other ends growing outwards. In conventional use, the cables allow Game Boy players to &ldquo;interact&rdquo; across platforms. Even though the cables are secured within a box, they suggest a possible union between human avatars. Is this&mdash;multiplayer gaming&mdash;a &ldquo;real&rdquo; connection? In <em>eXistenZ</em>, the answer is no; no relationship is firm, or even physically safe. In <em>polymorphoses</em>, however, even with glimpses of techno-exclusivity (i.e., objects locked in data security boxes), it seems as though Crespo wants to unlock some sort of personal &ldquo;reality&rdquo; and potential for &ldquo;real&rdquo; connectivity.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150715080924-Plurisim.jpg" alt="" height="400" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150715080954-Somatospasm.jpg" alt="" height="400" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">(left) <em>plurisim (incubator)</em>, 2015, Data security box, UV print on acrylic glass, poly mesh, Nintendo Game Link Cables, sprites by rockiecuff.deviantart.com<br />(right) <em>somatospasm (disinterface)</em>, 2015, Data security box, inkjet print on paper, UV print on acrylic glass<br />Photos: Fran Parente. Courtesy of the artist and Hester, New York.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The printed surface of another box, <em>somatospasm (disinterface)</em>, affirms Crespo&rsquo;s grasp for the personal&mdash;anthropomorphically, with hands clutching the box, and aesthetically, with the images&rsquo; hand-drawn look. Despite being mass-produced objects, the boxes&rsquo; function is private: for security, safekeeping. By using small, portable hardware that is industrially fabricated but for individual use, Crespo renders potentially alienating processes of production and replication single. The <a href="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31i9G5RiDOL.jpg" target="_blank">mobile scanners</a> that hang two of the prints, then, illustrate our ability to take replication literally into our own hands. When we scan, we create. Are we &ldquo;goddess,&rdquo; or do our relationships with these devices &ldquo;deform&rdquo; reality, regardless of the resultant creations?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Since before <em>eXistenZ</em>, people have been wary of the dissociating effects of video games. Countless <a href="https://scholar.google.nl/scholar?q=video+games+and+violent+behavior&amp;hl=en&amp;as_sdt=0&amp;as_vis=1&amp;oi=scholart&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0CB4QgQMwAGoVChMIoKCfjbbbxgIVRaNyCh3LHwFU" target="_blank">studies</a> have questioned whether gamers bring on-screen violence to the &ldquo;real&rdquo; world. Although Cronenberg&rsquo;s moral position remains unclear, <em>eXistenZ </em>ultimately presents something negative: a violent dystopia. Crespo addresses this paranoia explicitly in the 2014 series <a href="http://andreacrespo.com/complexcases/2014.html" target="_blank"><em>Complex Cases</em></a>, which questions the motives and psychoses (often linked to video games) of notable young male killers like Adam Lanza and Elliot Rodger. And in <em>polymorphoses</em> the artist elaborates; interactive exhibition centerpiece <em>polymist: echolalic transponder</em> specifically fights perceived dissociating effects while being, in some ways, a game itself.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150715081631-Polymist.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">Andrea Crespo, <em>polymist: echolalic transponder</em>, 2015, EMDR light bar kit, stereo mixer, media player, 9m12s digital audio file, foam tiles, 30 x 49 x 49 inches. Photo: Fran Parente. Courtesy of the artist and Hester, New York</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">To view the work you sit on a mat, wearing headphones and watching moving lights&mdash;much like the experience of playing a video game. But the EMDR light bar Crespo uses is borrowed from PTSD therapy; as such, the &ldquo;game&rdquo; cures the negative mental consequences of violence and gaming (PTSD or, for instance, Dissociative Identity Disorder). Simultaneously cause and cure, <em>polymist </em>evades definition (its subtitle is, more or less, &ldquo;meaningless communication device&rdquo;). Meaning is scattered like, well, <em>mist</em><em>, </em>or the bar&rsquo;s photons splashing from left to right and back again. We are there all the while, though, participating in the creation and destruction of our psyches.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Crespo&rsquo;s pieces ultimately outline the ways in which technologies both distinguish and form&mdash;<em>not </em>&ldquo;deform&rdquo;&mdash;our realities. The objects in <em>polymorphoses </em>point to reproduction (scanners), even intercourse (inserted cables); they also suggest memories (PTSD) and dreams (the transient dotted images in <em>parabiosis</em>). They receive abstruse names like <em>echolalic transponder </em>or <em>teratosyzygy</em>&mdash;but like PTSD or DID, these jargon-y words have simple implications: we are hybrid beings feeling for our roots.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">View the </span></em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">polymorphose</span><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> press release video by Andrea Crespo <a href="https://player.vimeo.com/video/130706759?autoplay=1&amp;loop=1" target="_blank">here</a>.</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/431528-joe-bucciero" target="_blank">Joe Bucciero</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Installation view of <em>polymorphoses</em>, 2015. Photo: Fran Parente. Courtesy of the artist and Hester, New York)</span></p> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:06:32 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list From Private Collection to Mega-Museum: the Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">When private collections take on major dimensions, rather than donating works to existing institutions,&nbsp;the collectors who pioneer them tend to go public and open museums. This growth has led to a recent boom in museum-building globally. The private collection of Jochen Zeitz will be at the core of one such new mega-museum, the <a href="http://www.segera.com/zeitz-mocaa-a-museum-for-africa/" target="_blank">Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art</a> (Zeitz MOCAA) opening in Cape Town, South Africa.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Thomas Heatherwick designed building, which will boast 65,000 square feet of exhibition space, is set to open at the end of 2016. Zeitz is also supporting the programming and acquisition funds.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150716075129-mocaa2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">A rendering of Thomas Heatherwick's design for the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art&nbsp;&nbsp;&copy; Thomas Heatherwick</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The longtime CEO of Puma began collecting in the early 2000s and with the input of Mark Coetzee, the Zeitz collection expanded its strong focus on contemporary pan-African and Caribbean art. The forthcoming museum will be of this scale for international contemporary art on the African continent. Although it's not the only private museum project, existing or in planning, </span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Zeitz MOCAA is likely to set a precedent for the museal landscape in Africa. Its development may well be followed by other private initiatives of major African collectors, such as Sindika Dokolo (Luanda, Angola) or the Lazaar family (Tunisia) who have sizable foundations of their own with residency programs, educational facilities, publications, and in some cases future museum plans. In the environment of the African continent overall, where the infrastructural requirements for state-funded museum initiatives are frequently beset by bureaucratic problems, and regulations are either not in place or not fully actionable, large private initiatives make sense and may spark improvements for state infrastructures as a consequence. The private collector in Africa also provides a welcome lifeline for young artists. Many of the collections are orientated in part towards the direct patronage of emerging talent while also acting as hubs for introducing established global names to new audiences.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150715201043-Artslant_Isaac_Julien_Segara.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Isaac Julien, Zeitz Collection, Segara Retreat, Kenya</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150715200146-Artslant_Nandipha_Mntambo__stevenson_gallery.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Nandipha Mntambo <em>Cowhide</em>, 2009,&nbsp;Resin, polyester mesh, waxed cord, 24 figures. Courtesy Stevenson gallery</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Zeitz collection comprises of work by globally established artists such as Chris Ofili, Kehinde Wiley, Glenn Ligon, Wangechi Mutu, Julie Mehretu, and Rashid Johnson. It also boasts a significant number of works by South African artists such as Marlene Dumas, as well as young/emerging artists from the region such as Nicholas Hlobo (whose work is represented in the Tate collection) and Nandipha Mntambo.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While the museum is being built, parts of the collection are housed in the temporary pavilion of the Zeitz MOCAA in the Waterfront development in Cape Town, while other works are on display at the <a href="http://www.segera.com/zeitz-collection/" target="_blank">Segera Retreat</a> in Kenya, a vast eco-resort founded by Jochen Zeitz in 2005. &nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150715200906-Artslant___Kabiru__c_stunners15.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: 26px;">Cyrus Kabiru, <em>C-Stunners &amp; Black Mamba</em>, 2015, Installation View, Smac Gallery, C-Prints and found object sculptures, new-age glasses made from recycled materials found throughout Nairobi and reconstructed &ldquo;Black Mamba&rdquo; bicycles. Image courtesy Cyrus Kabiru and Zeitz MOCAA</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Mark Coetzee, a South African who made his mark abroad as the director of the Rubell Family collection in Miami, was appointed Executive Director of Zeitz MOCAA. Coetzee is dauntingly tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the concept and infrastructure of a prototype museum. The news of the museum&rsquo;s launch was met with some controversy from South African critics, who are carefully questioning the accountability of a privately funded collection and initiative. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">However, there are also positive voices&mdash;especially from South African government institutions plagued by a lack of a supportive infrastructure, who welcome the ambition, scale and long-term sustainability of the plans. The founding collection&rsquo;s main focus on young contemporary art has also been at the center of some debate in relation to the ambitious scale and significance of the planned museum. For now, private African collection initiatives largely celebrate the wealth of contemporary talent with works by living artists and tendencies of the recent decade. To some degree, this may be a conscious departure from the established collections of historical African artefacts, contentious in that they can not easily or cleanly be separated from colonialist readings. The works of young emerging artists such as Swazi artist Nandipha Mntambo (born 1982) and Kenyan Cyrus Kabiru (born 1984), are voices of a decolonized African culture and feature strongly in the Zeitz MOCAA collection alongside the work of artists from the global African community and diaspora. It is a powerful reflection of the fact that a new era of African art history has begun, and one that will resonate internationally.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/409489-bea-de-sousa?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Bea de Sousa</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;&nbsp;A rendering of Thomas Heatherwick's design for the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art&nbsp;&nbsp;&copy; Thomas Heatherwick)</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 08:04:45 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Artists' Desks <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">In today's atmosphere of techno-voyeurism, we're constantly peeking through the keyhole to see how other people live. The artist's studio has always had a certain allure as a site of creative aspiration and the setting for private artistic practice, like the escort's boudoir&nbsp;it ignites our imagination.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">But what do artists keep on their most personal work space, their desks&mdash;and what does it reveal about their art? Exclusively for our Collector's Catalogue, we invite artists we know from very different disciplines to share their images and thoughts about what is in, on, and around their worktop, and why.</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><a href="http://franklaws.com/">Frank Laws</a>&nbsp;</strong><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Painter, London&nbsp;</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150716052506-20150714203349-IMG_1676_650px.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">It&rsquo;s not really a desk but this is the main place I work, it&rsquo;s more of a work bench I guess. All the standard paraphernalia someone would need to paint using water based mediums are here: various types of brushes and sizes for details, washes, pipets for getting ink out of pots, numerous water containers (those blue and red ones are yoghurt pots I bring back from Paris when I go to work there) usually about four so I clean brushes in each one in order meaning the last pot still maintains clean water and I don&rsquo;t need to keep refilling with fresh water. Also there are different types of ink, the main ones I use are the small pots but they don&rsquo;t come any bigger so they&rsquo;re a bit impractical but I&rsquo;m kind of stuck with them because I&rsquo;ve developed a specific technique and I know exactly how they react. Also liquid watercolours, acrylic ink and acrylics which I use for different finishes or under painting. I use a lot of sponges and tissue to dab brushes but most of it ends up on my clothes or I use them to soak up excess ink / watercolour on the working surface. Those white porcelain pots are really good for mixing ink and clean really easy. I use those and a few different palettes for paint. I use a straight edge or rulers quite a bit for drawing the initial image in pencil. That hairdryer is really useful, helps to speed up drying and the thermos flask cup you can see are from childhood and my Mum's so I&rsquo;ve been using them for ages and I&rsquo;m quite attached to them. Those radiators are needed in winter and the same goes for the daylight bulbs.</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;"><a href="http://anastasiasamoylova.com/"><strong>Anastasia Samoylova</strong><br /></a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Artist &amp; Educator, Chicago</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150714204805-AnaStudio.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">This is my tiny studio in the basement. If I&rsquo;m not careful I can bump my head on the ceiling. I don&rsquo;t really need a lot of space since most of my photographs are of constructions that are about 40 x 50 inches in size. On the opposite side of the room there is a desk on which I cut and sculpt paper and prints. But all the action happens on this folding table, where I construct the sets piece-by-piece over the course of hours and sometimes days.&nbsp;</span></p> <div style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The sheet of corrugated plastic clamped onto stands came from an artist residency where I started this series. It was actually a protective layer installed against hurricanes on the windows at the residency unit. Since my space there was next to a window, I used to set up my tableaux right against this plastic sheet. Eventually this material was showing up in most of my photographs, and became a unifying grid-like element of the composition. Once the residency was over, the owners donated this plastic sheet to me&mdash;and now it is here in my basement serving as a background once again.</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="http://www.brokenfingaz.com"><strong>Broken Fingaz</strong><br /></a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Artist collective, Haifa&nbsp;</span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150716051439-IMG_1854_copy.jpg" alt="" /></div> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">This is our mobile studio. This station was in Vata, South India, in the mountains. When you move around all the time, you have to adjust your studio and the way you work to the lifestyle of vagabonds. You have to be a bit more compact. On this trip in India, we carried antique sheets of paper we found in Israel, acrylic paints and brushes. It was nerve-wracking moving the paintings once they were done. We had 17 of them, 66 x 83 cm, all very delicate and then you have to get through India and try to keep them clean and dry... overall it was ok but when we opened them in the gallery in LA, there were a lot creatures glued to them.<br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/162742-char-jansen?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Char Jansen</a></span></p> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 08:21:34 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Athar Jaber's Defaced Sculptures Speak to Violence, Entropy, and Human Nature <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Where Pain Becomes Beauty</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> is an exhibition at the </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.palazzo-medici.it/" target="_blank">Palazzo Medici Riccardi</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, in Florence, presenting 19 works by the young Iraqi-Italian sculptor </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.atharjaber.com/" target="_blank">Athar Jaber</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. Several members of the international art community opened the exhibition with a series of talks and discussions on "</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1442386752724674/" target="_blank">Poly-cultural Identities</a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">," examining topics related to the blurring of national narratives and cultural boundaries. Both</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;t</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">he exhibition and the debates spoke to the ideological nature national identity, opening onto&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">themes that coincide with a number of current events: the attention that the Iraqi pavilion at this year&rsquo;s Venice Biennale has received, the destructive influence ISIS has had on national heritage and identity, and the effect of globalization and mass connectivity on art.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Athar works exclusively with marble, creating sculptures that frequently reference the human body. The bodies that he creates, despite the classical association we make between marble and the representation of the ideal human form, are broken, contorted, deformed, and mutilated. He utilizes a series of techniques to treat the marble, including acid erosion, sandblasting, and shooting&mdash;all of which contribute to an eerie aesthetic of physical vulnerability and decay. There is an intrinsic element of destruction present in Athar&rsquo;s work&mdash;committed against a material considered beautiful&mdash;suggesting violence as a basic human condition.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150713133128-IMGP1243.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photo:&nbsp;Janos Mark Szakolczai</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150713133144-Woman_s_Head_-_Op._5_nr.4.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Some of the faceless busts in the exhibition have been treated with acid, drawing connections to the violence committed against women (in South Asia, acid throwing is often a crime of retribution against women). The sculptor also shoots bullets at his sculptures, recalling the recent devastating events such as ISIS&rsquo;s destruction of cultural heritage. The violence he inflicts on marble also refers to time&rsquo;s passage and its natural effect on matter&mdash;the eventual and inevitable decay of all that is material.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">At their core, both the exhibition and the conversation surrounding it pointed at national identity as an ideological mechanism, rather than a fixed condition that may determine cultural output. In Athar&rsquo;s works, this sentiment comes through in his emphasis on our fragile material condition, where national narratives and cultural boundaries become irrelevant factors: at the end of the day, we are all matter. The panel talks reached the same basic viewpoint, with subjects including the importance of national affiliation in understanding oneself and the differences between the local and the diasporic. Speakers also considered the challenging task cultural facilitators like curators and critics have in approaching art in a time when the idea of weakening cultural boundaries has been closely examined in the past couple of decades.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150713133221-Shoot.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Participating speakers included Philippe van Cauteren, curator of the Iraqi pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Riccardo Lami, the head of branding at the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, Sultan Al-Qassemi, the panel&rsquo;s principal organizer and founder of the Sharjah-based Barjeel Art Foundation in the UAE, and Athar himself. They addressed the need for a move away from past conceptions of cultures as singular pockets that define personal and collective identities. In conversation with one of the exhibition&rsquo;s curators, Neri Torcello, van Cauteren suggested that we still approach identity, national narratives, and art from a Western perspective, carrying fixed prejudices. A possible solution to this condition might be to think of culture as community-building, while learning understanding and tolerance. &nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Van Cauteren additionally noted that looking at the local and the diasporic in terms of differences is unproductive. There is no such thing as art that is specifically Italian, Belgian, Iraqi, or Brazilian&mdash;these delineations in art are more fluid and ideological rather than determinant and static.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150713133259-exhibit.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Indeed, in a conversation with Sultan Al-Qassemi, Athar noted that he is not interested in having his sculpture represent a particular national narrative, despite his Italian and Iraqi roots. This sentiment seems to be common today when, to some, nationality no longer carries a powerful, underlying affirmation of one&rsquo;s identity. This transition could be attributed to the effects of cosmopolitanization and connectivity in our transition into &ldquo;global citizens.&rdquo; Riccardo Lami added that technology and the knowledge we have of the world that surpasses borders or boundaries changes how we see and understand contemporary art today.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Athar&rsquo;s sculptures steer away from personal or national identity politics in favor of outlining common denominators across cultural time and space: violence as an intrinsic factor in human nature and time&rsquo;s entropic effect on matter. Things fall apart.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Destruction, whether gradual or inflicted, is an inevitability.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Carving, chiseling away at marble, is often associated with classicism and beauty, but this form of sculpting is also violent; it's an inherently reductive process through which a pristine surface is transformed or manipulated into something new.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Athar's sculptures emphasize this violence, while also suggesting entropy as a calming, aesthetic process. In his destructive acts of art-making, the artist gives time a hand, proposing violence as innate, whether it is used to damage and maim or to produce beauty.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/396844-yoli-yoanna-terziyska?tab=REVIEWS">Yoli (Yoanna) Terziyska</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Where Pain Becomes Beauty</span><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> was curated by Neri Torcello and Yan Blusseau and runs from July 2&ndash;31 at Palazzo Medici Riccardi, in Florence.</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The panel discussion&nbsp;"Poly-cultural Identities" was organized by Sultan Al-Qassemi, and included the following participants: H.E. Saywan Barzani, Philippe van Cauteren, Riccardo Lami, Tommaso Sacchi, Sultan Al-Qassemi, Athar Jaber.</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Unless otherwise noted, all images courtesy Athar Jaber)</span></p> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 10:09:40 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Jenny Kendler Translates Confessions into Birdsong <p class="normal" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 60px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Where did we ever get the strange idea that nature&mdash;as opposed to culture&mdash;is ahistorical and timeless? We are far too impressed by our own cleverness and self-consciousness&hellip; We need to stop telling ourselves the same old anthropocentric bedtime stories.</span></em></p> <p class="normal" style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 150px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Steve Shaviro, </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Doom Patrols&nbsp;</em><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" title="" href="#_ftn1">[1]</a></p> <p class="normal" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="normal" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Tell it to the Birds</em> is an interactive project by Chicago-based artist and activist Jenny Kendler in collaboration with her software developer husband, Brian Kirkbride. Created as Artist-in-Residence with environmental advocacy non-profit <a href="http://www.nrdc.org/about/" target="_blank">Natural Resources Defense Council</a> (NRDC), <em>Tell it to the Birds</em> debuted last year at NRDC's booth at EXPO Chicago, the contemporary art fair held each year on Chicago's Navy Pier. The second iteration of this project took place as a 7-hour-long &ldquo;pop-up performance&rdquo; this past Tuesday, July 7, at the Mylayne Pavilion in Millennium Park&rsquo;s Lurie Garden.</span></p> <p class="normal" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Myalayne Pavilion show accompanies two other exhibitions of work by avian photographer <a href="http://www.mutualregardchicago.org/" target="_blank">Jean-Luc Mylayne</a>&nbsp;(French, born 1946) at the The Arts Club of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. Based on simple geometry, Wheeler Kearns Architects designed the pavilion, also called the &ldquo;chapel.&rdquo; There you can find a quiet space among the busy touristy area of the Millennium Park. With nothing on the walls, the space forces visitors to look up and encounter a series of Mylayne&rsquo;s photographs, covering the whole ceiling, with an azure sky and a small passerine bird.</span></p> <p class="normal" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150713101904-Image_2_Pavilion_M004910_033_copy.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150713101927-Image_3_Pavilion_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Jean-Luc Mylayne.<em>&nbsp;C16, Small Chapel for One Person or at Most a Couple</em>, April 1987, a public project presented by the Art Institute of Chicago and <br />The Arts Club of Chicago in the Millennium Park Lurie Garden in&nbsp;2015. Courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Kendler patiently greets and explains the project to each visitor as they arrive at the pavilion. Participants are invited to choose one bird from the eleven available species in the &ldquo;field guide.&rdquo; The choice is then communicated via walkie-talkie to another person on the other side of the building. Kendler explains that she &ldquo;was looking for species with interesting/beautiful songs, as well as birds that are imperiled or endangered, though sadly, many birds fall under that designation.&rdquo; Once the choice on the bird is made, the participant is allowed to enter the pavilion alone. In the calm and hushed interior, each person is invited to &ldquo;tell it to the birds&rdquo; or &ldquo;make a confession to the natural world,&rdquo; as Kendler says&mdash;namely, to tell a secret to the forest-scented lichen microphone dish. A special audio-processing software &ldquo;translates" the participant&rsquo;s words into birdsong, heard both inside and outside the pavilion&mdash;yet only the speaker knows the meaning of their song. Kendler does not alter the bird songs beyond cutting them together and removing any &ldquo;blank space&rdquo; or other background noises, &ldquo;the way the birds sound is as they would sound in nature,&rdquo; she says.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150713102127-Image_4_Field_Guide.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Jenny Kendler, Field Guide for <em>Tell it to the Birds</em>, Soy-ink printed 100% post-consumer recycled paper, 17 x 11 in. 2014</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150713102207-Image_5_IMG_9802-edit-Credit_Megan_Isaacs_for_SAIC_copy.jpg" alt="" width="460" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">School of the Art Institute instructor Lindsey French and early-college program student Stormy choose a species from the &ldquo;Field Guide.&rdquo; <br />Photo: Megan Isaacs for The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Kendler shifts our urban attention to be more aware about environmental issues. We share space with birds, but that does not mean that they sing for us, but rather communicate information to each other. By telling a secret that is then translated into bird language is a way to blur the differences between people and animals, to erase the hierarchy between one and the other. <em>Tell It to the Birds</em> aims to shift our relationship to nature so that like Steve Shaviro wrote: &ldquo;we [&hellip;] stop telling ourselves the same old anthropocentric bedtime stories.&rdquo; Kendler&rsquo;s activism recalls Karen Barad&rsquo;s theory of &ldquo;agential realism&rdquo; that conceptualizes an entanglement between ethics, ontology, and epistemology where <em>there is no given or fixed difference</em>. Kendler is interested in asking people to momentarily inhabit the mind-space of animals: &ldquo;partly because what a miracle it would be to be able to temporarily feel what it is like to be a bird, and partly to remind participants that birds, like us, have their own interiority or <em>umwelt</em>.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150713102341-Image_6__Pavilion_speaker_B_W.jpg" alt="" /></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">During the one-day pop-up project, visitors to the pavilion are invited to voice a confession to the natural world. <br />Photo: Karen Greenwalt for the Art Institute of Chicago</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="normal" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/171869-ionit-behar?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Ionit Behar</a></span></p> <div style="line-height: 26px;"><br clear="all" /><hr style="line-height: 26px;" align="left" size="1" width="33%" /> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a title="" href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> Quoted in Karen Barad, <em>Meeting The Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics And The Entanglement Of Matter And Meaning</em> (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007), 132.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: The&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Tell it to the Birds</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;microphone, nestled in a forest-scented lichen dish, poses for a photo in the Lurie Gardens where the Mylayne chapel is located. Courtesy: Jenny Kendler.)</span></p> </div> </div> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 08:53:27 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Paris Tear Sheets: The Lay of the Land <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Paris Tear Sheets is the blog of&nbsp;ArtSlant's Georgia Fee Artist-in-Residence, Lara Atallah, who will be undertaking her residency in Paris during July and August 2015. &ldquo;Paris tear sheets&rdquo; refers to daily snapshots taken during the artist&rsquo;s peregrinations in the city. She will use the blog to chronicle her encounters in Paris as well as her observations of the city.</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>You can find more information about ArtSlant's Georgia Fee Artist/Writer Residency&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/par/articles/show/33747" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">When the plane landed in Charles de Gaulle airport last week inaugurating my two-month residency in Paris, I remembered an article I once read in which the infamous general accused Churchill&rsquo;s government of being responsible for the end of the French mandate over Lebanon and Syria 1943, the year French troops withdrew from the region. The mandate, which was sealed by the two European countries&rsquo; Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, divided the Levant area into its current borders, giving birth to modern day Lebanon in 1920. Decades later, the mandate may have technically ended, but the carnage was just beginning. Lebanon, perpetually plunged in an effervescent nightmare, including a devastating civil war from 1975 until 1990, hardly seems to have found a moment of quiet.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710134711-carousel_lara_atallah.png" alt="" width="640" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Lara Atallah,&nbsp;<em>Untitled</em>, 2013, 35mm slide projection, from&nbsp;<em>The Carousel</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710133912-coffee_time_lara_atallah.png" alt="" width="640" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Lara Atallah,<em> The Abandoned Dinner Party (Coffee Time)</em>,&nbsp;2014, from&nbsp;<em>The Feast</em><br /></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In 2013, I began an ongoing project titled <em>Tales of a Non-Country</em>. Commenting on the country&rsquo;s lack of unified historical discourse, the project unfolds in several chapters. Each uses a different visual language and methodology, looking into the country&rsquo;s disparate narratives, while also exploring the use of photographic archives in the distortion of collective memory. Following from the first chapter, <em><a href="http://www.lara-atallah.com/the-carousel#1">The Carousel</a></em>, a 35mm slide projection of altered archival images, to the most recent chapter, <em><a href="http://www.lara-atallah.com/abandoned-dinner-party#1">The Feast</a></em>, I&rsquo;m using this residency to go a step further and produce a body of work that is more concerned with the voices of others. I am referring to those in the Lebanese diaspora who left years ago, to turn over a new leaf, committing to their new lives in their adopted homes.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The project is intended to start in Paris where an estimated 80,000 Lebanese expats currently reside. Since arriving in Paris, I have begun meeting some of the individuals who have agreed to take part in this endeavor, and I look forward to introducing you to their lives and their stories.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The title of this blog, "Paris tear sheets,"&nbsp;refers to the daily snapshots I will be taking throughout my time in the city. Some early impressions follow:&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710125746-IMG_0961.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710125807-IMG_1032.JPG" alt="" width="640" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Looking through the archives</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710125833-IMG_1007.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Pantry essentials</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710125907-IMG_0970.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">4th of July aftermath</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710125931-IMG_0981.JPG" alt="" width="640" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710125920-IMG_0974.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710125945-IMG_0945.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">"L'amour est mort"</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/398157-lara-atallah" target="_blank">Lara Atallah</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Lara Atallah (born Beirut, Lebanon, based in Brooklyn, NY) is a visual artist working with photography.&nbsp;</em><em>You can find the full list of blog posts from her Paris residency&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/398157-lara-atallah?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">here</a>.</em>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: Lara Atallah,&nbsp;from <em>The Feast</em>)</span></p> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 13:59:43 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Working (it) Out with Gillian Dykeman: Kelly Jazvac <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Welcome to the fifth installation of the Artslant podcast series, <em>Working (it) Out</em>. </span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">My name is Gillian Dykeman, and I'm a visual artist living in Toronto, Ontario. This summer, I am interviewing artists to ask about the role of audience in their practice. Each interview will begin with one question: "Does art require an audience?"</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/213992777&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" frameborder="no" scrolling="no" width="100%" height="450"></iframe></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Working (it) Out </span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">with Gillian Dykeman</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Episode Five |&nbsp;<strong>Kelly Jazvac: Spoiler Alert</strong></span></p> <ul class="ul1"> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Variable considerations for variable audiences&nbsp;(2:30)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Presenting art to paleo-biologists (4:20)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />The WHOLE story of the plastiglomerate&nbsp;(5:45)</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />The Anthropocene and geologists (9:35) &nbsp; &nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Culture Salon Spa and Jazvac's&nbsp;current show at <a href="http://www.diazcontemporary.ca/" target="_blank">Diaz Contemporary</a><em>&nbsp;</em>(14:10)</span><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Public funding and accountability (17:25)</span><span style="text-align: center;"><br /></span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />"PA-PA-PA-PATRIOTS"&nbsp;(21:15)</span><span style="text-align: center;"><br /></span></li> <li class="li1"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605145809-artslant-social-logo.png" alt="" width="15" />Weird moon (24:10)</span><span style="text-align: center;"><br /></span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Kelly Jazvac is an artist living and working in London, Ontario, where she teaches at the University of Western Ontario. She is the co-discoverer of<a href="http://www.kellyjazvac.com/Stones/Stones.html" target="_blank">&nbsp;Plastiglomerate</a>&nbsp;alongside geologist Patricia L. Corcoran and oceanographer Charles J. Moore. Plastiglomerate is a new substance that forms when plastic melts and holds together various debris and natural materials, and, the team argues, acts as evidence of the anthropocene. On today's <em>Working (it) Out,</em> we discuss Jazvac's current show at Diaz Contemporary, her interdisciplinary practice and an interdisciplinary audience.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">Music: J.S. Bach Concerto no. 3 in C major&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: left;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710215047-plastiglomerate1.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Plastiglomerate. Photo: Jeff Elstone</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710215125-plastiglomerate2.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; line-height: 10px; text-align: center; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Plastiglomerate. Photo: Jeff Elstone</span></p> <p style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; line-height: 10px; text-align: center; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710215140-plastiglomerate3__1_.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; line-height: 10px; text-align: center; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Plastiglomerate. Photo: Jeff Elstone</span></p> <p style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; line-height: 10px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; text-align: center;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710215257-3._Kelly_Jazvac_Site_Words__CULTURE_SALON_SPA__2015.jpg" alt="" height="400" /><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710215325-6._Kelly_Jazvac_Shoplifter_print__2012-2015.jpg" alt="" height="400" /></p> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(left)&nbsp;<em>Site Words (CULTURE SALON SPA),&nbsp;</em>Found sign, metal, paint, 2015</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(right)&nbsp;<em>Shoplifter (print),&nbsp;</em>Lithograph on handmade Japanese paper, and<br /><em>Shoplifter (gold)&nbsp;</em>and<em> <em>Shoplifter (silver),&nbsp;</em></em>Cast gold and silver, lithograph on handmade Japanese paper, all 2015.&nbsp;<br />Photos:&nbsp;Toni Hafkescheid, Courtesy Diaz Contemporary</span></div> <p style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; line-height: 10px; text-align: center; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto;"><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans, 'Trebuchet MS', Tahoma, Verdana; font-size: 12px; text-align: left;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710215342-7._Kelly_Jazvac_Pluck_2015.jpg" alt="" width="600" />&nbsp;</span></p> <div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Pluck,&nbsp;</em>Vinyl, thread, adhesive, thumbtacks, 2015.&nbsp;Photo:&nbsp;Toni Hafkescheid, Courtesy Diaz Contemporary</span></div> <p style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; line-height: 10px; text-align: center; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto;"><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans, 'Trebuchet MS', Tahoma, Verdana; font-size: 12px; text-align: left;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710215406-4._Kelly_Jazvac_Site_Words__PATRIOTS__2012-2015.jpg" alt="" width="600" />&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; line-height: 10px; text-align: center; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Site Words (PATRIOTS),</em> 2012&ndash;2015,<em>&nbsp;</em>Salvaged wall paper, vinyl, paper, thread and grommets.&nbsp;Photo:&nbsp;Toni Hafkescheid, Courtesy Diaz Contemporary</span></p> <p style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; line-height: 10px; text-align: center; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150710215435-5._Kelly_Jazvac_Spoiler_2007-2015.jpg" alt="" width="600" /></p> <p style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; line-height: 10px; text-align: center; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Spoiler, 2007&ndash;2015, <em>Spoiler,&nbsp;</em>Car part, metal, adhesive.&nbsp;Photo:&nbsp;Toni Hafkescheid, Courtesy Diaz Contemporary<br /></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&mdash;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;" href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/374197-gillian-dykeman">Gillian Dykeman</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 21:54:39 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Conflict Art: Creation in the Face of Destruction <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The vast number &ldquo;51200000&rdquo; begins a small quote in Peter Kennard&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-london/peter-kennard" target="_blank">retrospective at the Imperial War Museum, London</a>. The newest work in the show,&nbsp;</span><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Boardroom,</span></em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> has a handrail separating the viewer from reprints of his famous photomontages, printed with statements of fact&mdash;the horrendous quantifications of human conflict. &ldquo;51.2 million,&rdquo; we are informed, is &ldquo;the total number of forcibly displaced people across the world in 2013 (the highest since the Second World War).&rdquo; To aid our comprehension of this the text continues: &ldquo;If these people were a nation it would be the 26th&nbsp;largest in the world.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Such unfathomable facts rarely seem to make dents in the western conscience these days, and this is Kennard&rsquo;s point in laying these statements bare, reprinting his well known images with these numerical additions and the corporate logos of the companies that profit from war. Images are everywhere these days, but rarely do they seem to make a real impact or have lasting effect: the horrific images of North Africans drowning in the Mediterranean in April sparked brief indignation in the press about the human catastrophe, but the same displaced people attempting to get into the country on trucks in Calais provoked media contempt. With double standards such as these, can and should artists make artwork about such devastation? What possible artistic language can percolate through collective denial and avoidance?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150709111554-protect_and_survive_a_1000.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Peter Kennard, <em>Protect and Survive</em>, 1981, Photomontage on paper. Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, London</span><br /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Kennard&rsquo;s work has posed a critical response to war and its representation in western media since he began making prints and photomontages in 1968, and as such is a specifically western perspective and form of resistance. The Imperial War Museum&rsquo;s retrospective, titled<em>&nbsp;Unofficial War Artist</em>, demonstrates his continual preoccupation with war&rsquo;s visual representation: the problematic nature of war propaganda and mass media images that reach us, and their various versions of the truth. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Kennard&rsquo;s method of dealing with war has always been to disrupt at the level of&mdash;and using the language of&mdash;the image. Despite <em>Boardroom</em> creating a fully immersive room of images, I alarmed myself with how quickly I was able to walk past pictures of violence, giant weapons, and scenes of destruction. The Imperial War Museum as a venue both helps and hinders the show. People visit it at once to revere and condemn war, and tourists casually take selfies with warheads only meters away from the exhibition. Instead of leaving with Kennard&rsquo;s iconic images in my mind, I took with me the printed numbers, whose effect has been to reframe my reality with their magnitude: &ldquo;one US army veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes; in 2013, BAE Systems revenue was $26.82 billion, 94 percent from arms sales; on February 15 2003 30 million people worldwide protested the Iraq war.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708230624-Mark-Blower-000101-Thomas-Hischhorn-SLG-0008.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans, 'Trebuchet MS', Tahoma, Verdana; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Thomas Hirschhorn, <em>In-Between</em>, installation view at the&nbsp;South London Gallery, 2015. Courtesy Thomas Hirschhorn.&nbsp;Photo: Mark Blower</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Meanwhile Thomas Hirschhorn, in his exhibition <em>In-Between</em> at the South London Gallery, takes the question of destructive human forces into his own distinctive parcel tape and corrugated cardboard aesthetic, creating a room of ruin. Quoting Gramsci&rsquo;s <em>Prison Notebooks</em>, and fabricated in the media of resistance and protest&mdash;ripped fabric and spray paint&mdash;a scrawled quote reads: &ldquo;destruction is difficult; indeed it is as difficult as creation.&rdquo; In fact, Hirschhorn has transformed the main gallery into a creation of destruction, from pieces of cardboard made to look like steel poking out of reinforced concrete to ripped, silvery trails of heating ducts tumbling out of the sprayed-on brickwork. In giving form to the unseen details of ubiquitous images of destruction&mdash;bombed out buildings with daily life still clinging to their side in the form of plumbing and tiling&mdash;he reveals such images&rsquo; depressing universality.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Unlike Kennard&rsquo;s pointedly critical works, Hirschhorn&rsquo;s exploration&mdash;even in its vast scale&mdash;asks more questions than it suggests answers for. Gramsci&rsquo;s<em> Prison Notebooks</em> was a response to a failed Marxism in fascist Italy. And yet, in reinstating this quote in 2015, in one of the most commercially driven cities in the world, the work feels complexly, ethically difficult in a way that is hard to nail down. It seems to suggest that there is art in an aesthetic of dereliction; yet this state of ruin is endlessly, destructively being created elsewhere in the world with huge human cost. But in London architectural destruction like Hirschhorn&rsquo;s is only temporary, part of making way for capitalism&rsquo;s advances, illuminating another double standard, between what destruction means "here" versus "there."</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708225608-Akam_Shex_Hadi__Kubani_2.jpg" alt="" /><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans, 'Trebuchet MS', Tahoma, Verdana; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Akam Shex Hadi,&nbsp;<em>Untitled</em>,&nbsp;2014-15,&nbsp;B+W digital print on Innova-Baryth Smoothgloss paper. Courtesy the artist</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Although Hirschhorn&rsquo;s work is ambiguous enough to avoid specific, charged recollections of destruction, I wonder if its aestheticizing reinforces the problem that this work could only be made by someone who has not directly experienced the impact of destructive ruin. In contrast, at the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, curator Philippe Van Cauteren&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.ruyafoundation.org/en/venice-biennale/" target="_blank"><em>Invisible Beauty</em> </a>seeks to make those who have experienced such destruction visible. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Haider Jabbar&rsquo;s haunting watercolors of decapitated heads and murdered men, painted from memory, are witness statements of the horror of ISIS; Rabab Gazoul&rsquo;s video work uses the official testimonies of the Iraq War, transposing them to the mouths of anonymous British citizens thereby blending the politics of her adoptive country and the troubled collective conscience of Iraq. Brought to Venice by the Ruya Foundation, the pavilion&rsquo;s purpose is to both nurture art in Iraq at a time when development priorities and funding are focused elsewhere, and to build bridges internationally. Unlike in the presentation at 2013 biennale, Van Cauteren deliberately chose Iraqi artists who confront the legacy of the conflict in Iraq. The exhibition is therefore able to articulate the lived experience of Iraqis, acting as a vital voice not heard often enough in western culture and media.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708230859-Haider_Jabbar_Case_1303_19x21cm.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Haider Jabbar,&nbsp;<em>Case 1303</em>,&nbsp;2014,&nbsp;Drawing. Courtesy the artist</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Accompanying the exhibition is the series <em>Traces of Survival</em>,&nbsp;hundreds of drawings, pieces of poetry and prose made by refugees, portraying their experiences of displacement and violence. En masse it acts as a crucial reminder of the refugees&rsquo; humanity and dignity, in spite of the events they have survived. <em>Traces of Survival</em> has also been made into a book, ensuring a lasting impact beyond the biennale. Its presentation to audiences far from its genesis in refugee camps make their experiences speak to those who can easily avoid such realities when the conflict isn&rsquo;t on their doorstep.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">At a recent conversation at Tate Modern between Mary Kelly and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Kelly&rsquo;s more recent work concerning the experience of women affected by conflict in Kosovo was discussed. At one stage she relayed a conversation with a young artist, who asked her the question: &ldquo;how can you as an artist make work about these conflicts that don&rsquo;t immediately affect you?&rdquo; Flipping the question around, Kelly said that she has always wondered: &ldquo;How can we live in this world and not?&rdquo; Artists have always made artwork about and within conflict&mdash;as official war artists, <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/43193" target="_blank">conscientious objectors</a>, and in protest. Kelly&rsquo;s response, like all artwork that transmits the horrors of war and conflict, shrinks the world a little, bringing "there" to "here," a foreign other to the world we share. Reflecting again on Hirschhorn&rsquo;s bombsite, I wonder if the ambiguity of the work is a necessary part of this process of closing the gap. But in being a creation of destruction, <em>In-Between</em> embodies this double standard rather than confronting us with it. Hirschhorn forces us to dwell for an uncomfortable time in precisely this complex state of in-between&mdash;a place that all artists impelled to make art about conflict must occupy.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/377935-phoebe-stubbs?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Phoebe Stubbs</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Peter Kennard, <em>Haywain and Cruise Missiles</em>, 1981, Original photomontage. Tate Collection. Courtesy of&nbsp;Imperial War Museum London)</span></p> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 14:58:09 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Jerry Saltz: The Conscience of the Critic <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">What does the conscience of a profession look like? Physicians and futurists have ethics councils. This or that Board or Agency marks the boundaries of most fields and enterprises to better direct cooperative human energy in mutually agreed upon trajectories. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/health/chinese-scientists-edit-genes-of-human-embryos-raising-concerns.html?_r=0">Sometimes it doesn&rsquo;t matter</a>, but overall, it&rsquo;s a system that has worked well for the past century. Arts writers don&rsquo;t have a sanctioned conscience as such. Instead, we have a much more free-market approach, a loose band of semi-trained critics lashing out in unconstrained diatribes from their computer stools and standing desks.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Overall, arts criticism is usually a home for the forefront of progressive politics (except when it&rsquo;s not: <a href="http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/6a964dba-1997-11e5-8201-cbdb03d71480.html#slide0">ex. 1</a>, <a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/arts/what-to-make-of-kehinde-wileys-pervy-brooklyn-museum-retrospective-7194480">ex. 2</a>) and an exercise in encouraging artists&rsquo; engagement with redefining humanity through cultural progression. Most can agree that one of the main purposes of contemporary art is to push, prod, and critique people into being <em>better</em>, even if it means belaboring points.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">An arts writer&rsquo;s conscience then lies somewhere within the term &ldquo;progressive.&rdquo; Progressivism, a wholly Western concept, was the concern of Kant, Hegel, and Marx and was conceptualized as a rejection of cyclical time (colloquially, history repeating itself, and a notion that is deeply tied to Judeo-Christian&rsquo;s <a href="http://cscs.res.in/dataarchive/textfiles/textfile.2010-11-02.7672177498/file">conception of time</a>). To reject the notion that time is cyclical and therefore the notion that the human will is hemmed in, an end point was needed. For Kant, the terminus was the abolition of war through education. Hegel was a bit more of a pessimist, arguing that conflict was absolutely necessary for progress to be a condition. The endpoint for Hegel was self-realization and the development of a rational system of nation states that would then mark the end of history. Marx also argued that the culmination of human history lay in the development of rational systems but that they would be based on humanity realizing cooperative self-interest. Sometimes we forget that &ldquo;modernity,&rdquo; the condition of the Western world 50 years ago, was seen as the end point of progressivism. Yet, here we are, beyond the end of history, in postmodernity, still fiddling away, fine-tuning and evangelizing progress to the far-flung corners of the globe. It could be argued that the new modernity will be one in which we are all freed from our bodily strictures, ascend into a realm of pure surface and become the <em>Geist</em> that Hegel hoped for. Rational systems and societies of surface make me wince dystopic. Darkened visions of pod people and VR happy days. But, still, it's enticing.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The end of history, however, is unlikely and what we are left with is cyclical progression. Even with modernity spread to every corner of the Earth, outer space remains.&nbsp;</span><strong style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Progress! Forever!</strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;it&rsquo;s the perfect motto.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the meantime, we&rsquo;ve got our short lives to live and a lot of time to devote to the minutiae. <em>So let&rsquo;s get dirty.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This sentiment seems to be the bellowing call of art criticism&rsquo;s most well-known <em>enfant terrible</em>, Jerry Saltz. Saltz came of age at a time of obnoxious moralism and social conservatism. A simpler time when being nude was revolutionary. Now, when most people have to worry about an errant nude selfie floating around the internet, no one ought to care if you&rsquo;re naked anymore, let alone in the arts where shock value and market value are virtually synonymous. But back in March, Saltz got the boot from Facebook for <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/facebook-ban-art.html" target="_blank">posting medieval art</a> that featured the naked form. Turns out, artists that followed him were taken aback by the imagery (and probably his &ldquo;idiotic jokes&rdquo;) and reported him to Facebook. Saltz lamented that this incident finally broke his naive fascination with Facebook:</span></p> <blockquote style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">On Facebook, the boundaries between high and low seemed finally to slip away. Doing criticism in public, in real time, live, was thrilling, satisfied my need to try new things, reach a much, much wider audience, be a ham, alleviate the long terrible hours of aloneness that all writers and artists know well, all the while exercising my own demons and dancing naked in public.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">He goes on:</span></p> <blockquote style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This from people who subscribe, navigate to, seek out, and read my Facebook page voluntarily, people who then use their energy to criticize how I&rsquo;m trying to use mine. This seems perverse to me.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">And on:</span></p> <blockquote style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">And anyway, I love that the art world is always getting its panties in a wad about the collapse of cultural values and the like. I didn't mind being "the like."</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For me this is illustrative of a severe break that is extremely encouraging. The high and low is finally slipping away and people are allowed redress against what public personas and organizations express. Saltz bearing criticism is the internet in action. When phrases like "panties in a wad" are used, you will be called out for your <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansplaining" target="_blank">mansplaining</a> bullshit. Dancing "naked in public" is encouraged but be ready for the response because we live in a polyethical society. This polyethical society will eventually converge but it doesn't happen overnight, not even in small, specialized groups like the one that follows Saltz on Facebook.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Progress towards and out of modernity has led us to a point where traditional power structures are continuously questioned, dismantled, and reassembled in new formations. These are the effects of progress that will continuously cycle, bringing progress to bear on the now.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Saltz is conflicted, at once wanting to protect his position of power&mdash;let me post what I want!&mdash;and celebrating the freedom of playing the devil on the shoulder.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There's a fantastic conversation between Vulture editor David Wallace-Wells and Jerry Saltz on the release of Kim Kardashian-West's book <em>Selfish</em>. In it, they go through the general derision that came to define Kardashian-West's image within popular culture: a kind of begrudging acceptance and in that acceptance, a kind of rapturous thrall. The interview takes on a meta-tone for those familiar with Saltz; as they break down the popularity of Kardashian-West they are also breaking down the popularity of Saltz. It might be best summed up by the following quote from Saltz:</span>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">We have so many people using their energy now to attack how other people use their energy. This is the new nullity.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I'm not sure what the old nullity was, but again, this process of social critique practiced by the masses is not nothing. It is everything! It is our future, it is progress in motion! We do not cancel each other out, we make each other better. We are our own conscience.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/website/joel-kuennen" target="_blank">Joel Kuennen</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top: One of the offending medieval images that got Jerry Saltz kicked off Facebook)</span></p> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 14:58:58 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Contested Development: One Person's Growth Is Another's Destruction <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Arts District farmers' market in Los Angeles is a recent addition to a small but growing community wedged between Little Tokyo and west of the L.A. River. Since June of last year, local sellers, artisans and patrons gather at what is known as the Triangle, or Joel Bloom Square&mdash;within sight of what was once legendary West Coast punk venue Al&rsquo;s Bar.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Al&rsquo;s opened its doors in 1979 to a sparse population of artists who had been working, and often living illegally, in the decaying warehouses and factory spaces abandoned following the post-WWII period of industrial boom in the early 1970s.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Manufacturers either moved on or went out of business, leaving industrial space that was rented for only pennies per square foot. A vast surrounding area contributed to a seedy, crime-ridden urban landscape that was not yet appealing to profit-driven investors. This scene was described to me by Mark Walsh, sculptor, video artist, and owner of Downtown Artist Space, a creative workspace for artists of all mediums to rent located in the AD along Skid Row.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708193020-007.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;MaRS, Museum as Retail Space, Anderson Street.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Photo: Lauren McQuade</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" align="center"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">By the time Walsh moved to the district in 1987, the City of Los Angeles had already passed the Artist-in-Residence ordinance in 1981, which allowed artists to legally live in the vacant buildings.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;No one cared what you did just so long as you didn&rsquo;t burn [the building] down or maybe hoping you&rsquo;d burn it down because it&rsquo;s worth more as a parking lot,&rdquo; said Walsh.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Artists first trickled, then flocked to the AD, during the time Al&rsquo;s Bar was becoming a well-known venue across the Southland&mdash;upcoming bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Misfits, and Sonic Youth played there throughout the 80s and 90s. While Al&rsquo;s Bar was the early pulse of what would later become the AD, as most would attest, it was Joel Bloom who brought the district its soul.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Bloom arrived in 1986 a year before Walsh&mdash;who witnessed his reign as first official Arts District advocate and revered curmudgeon. Bloom&rsquo;s General Store was founded in 1994 in the same building as Al&rsquo;s Bar. Today, the AD still benefits from his efforts and countless victories. The pioneer and activist passed away in 2007, but his recognition of the Arts District as a separate entity, a place with its own identity, was something he took upon himself to foster and maintain, and remains a sentiment long-time residents remember and still work to uphold.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708192631-009.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photo: Lauren McQuade</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The DJ at the farmers' market is set up nearby under an E-Z Up in a line of tented vendors selling natural sponges and handmade jewelry, turning the music volume up as the sun sets. Walsh is there getting tacos from a food truck vendor, and pulls up a chair at the far end of a long communal table where Laura Velkei is sitting.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m kind of the voice of the Arts District because I&rsquo;m the one who does communication for most of the boards,&rdquo; said Velkei, who will periodically catch eyes and wave at an old neighbor, or someone else she knows from serving as board member for several AD organizations, including as founding member and Treasurer of the non-profit Arts District Community Council LA and Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council. She formally served three years on the LARABA board, Los Angeles River Artists and Business Association, where Walsh sits as a current board member.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A farmers' market in the Arts District signals that the 52-square-block neighborhood has reached a population and economic tipping point&mdash;a fact Velkei is all too aware of.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Velkei has been a community activist for over 30 years and evokes a brazen self-confidence that demands attention. She lived in the AD for four years and today operates her non-profit out of the Toy Factory. She continues to channel her community activism toward helping the neighborhood she loves for its passion fight against &ldquo;cagey&rdquo; developers and works hard to keep its quiet legacy alive and well.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The tenacious philanthropist has encyclopedic knowledge of both finished and upcoming developments planned for the AD&mdash;good and bad&mdash;that include everything from outdoor malls to mega-complexes for hundreds of pricy live/work lofts with indefinite hoards of uppity residents to match.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve literally seen huge cars roll up, people get out of the car, and realtors standing next to a purchaser saying, do you want that building or that building?&rdquo; said Cheyanne Sauter, Executive Director at Art Share. She sat down next to Velkei with a bag full of fresh produce after making her round at the market vendors.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708191921-003.1.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" align="center"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photo: Lauren McQuade</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" align="center"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art Share is a non-profit creative art center in the AD that operates as a two-story, 28,000-square-foot safe haven for emerging artists, offering them creative space for rent at below market value (the only low-income housing option in the AD) with exhibition space and a theater to engage the community.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Artists are getting priced out 100 percent of this neighborhood,&rdquo; said Sauter, &ldquo;It just doesn&rsquo;t matter if it&rsquo;s a 500-square-foot micro-loft or 750 and above, three dollars a square foot prices them out 100 percent.&rdquo; Only established artists can afford to both live and work in the AD&mdash;the rest scatter to the fringes of Downtown to Boyle Heights, or to Culver City East, she said.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The skyrocketing price of land in the AD has also meant developers prioritize cost-cutting over sustainability, in order to increase profit from their original investment.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The previous night&rsquo;s Arts District Community Council meeting bubbled up some long brewing tensions between community leaders and the Los Angeles Department of City Planning. The conflicting entities have been at odds since developers started cashing in on properties in the AD three years ago, constructing new apartments and live/work lofts, transitioning from a long period of adaptive reuse of existing structures to the construction of new buildings.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Community leaders have spent hours with the Planning Department hashing out how best to evolve the neighborhood&rsquo;s defined ethos and to facilitate viable population growth by establishing some ground rules such as an affordable housing bracket that must be tailored to artists as defined by HUD guidelines, which defines "Artist" as an income discriminated group&mdash;considering how to put brakes on the transformation of a once affordable, low-key community of artists and creatives into a walkable retail and restaurant mecca for professional. It&rsquo;s a balancing act, according to Thed Jewel, designer and AD business owner.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Jewel&rsquo;s high-end retail store 12345 is getting priced out as the AD struggles to find that balance between residents who have little disposable income and retailers that must rely on those residents for business. The neighborhood is not &ldquo;retail friendly,&rdquo; according to Jewel, who explained business has remained stagnant since he opened the store at 811 Traction three years ago.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Now, I can understand if it was jumping over here and it was very retail-heavy and I was making money, yes, you raise my rent I completely understand that but it&rsquo;s like we&rsquo;re polishing shit right now,&rdquo; explained Jewel. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not making money, [the building owners] are just making money off of me.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">As of August 1, rent for the storefront would have more than doubled based off of what the building owners consider the market value. Jewel suspects they are &ldquo;trying to capitalize on something that the papers and everybody is saying is the new jumping spot.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like fake fame,&rdquo; said Jewel. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve just found that it&rsquo;s a cheap way of making money&mdash;I&rsquo;m of the understanding that clout is expensive too.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708192137-Development.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" align="center"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photo: Lauren McQuade</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" align="center"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Behind 12345, in the early 19th</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;century old flour mill building on East Third Street, will be the location of the new Hauser Wirth and Schimmel Arts Center, spanning an entire block of the AD, or 100,000-square-feet, opening early next year.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s probably just a next step,&rdquo; said Brant Ritter, artist and furniture designer, of the moneyed mega-galleries like Hauser Wirth and Schimmel moving into the area. Ritter has lived in his live/work loft in the AD since 2002, and plans to open his own pseudo-gallery space in September of this year at his studio, taking full advantage of the ample foot traffic Urth Caffe provides across the street.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s either you get in or get out. You either monetize what you have or just go, just leave now, because this wave is coming,&rdquo; said Ritter.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708193420-005.JPG" alt="" /><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;Brant Ritter's live/work space,</span>&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photo: Lauren McQuade</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Across the Sixth Street bridge just outside of the AD is MaRS, Museum as Retail Space, on Anderson Street, the next developer-decided creative hub, according to Ritter. Demolition on the upcoming Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project has already begun and investors are buying up properties on the desolate street in anticipation of its completion in 2019, which will provide space underneath for community programming.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ritter hopes to counterbalance the commercial galleries that are moving in by providing an exhibition showcase to feature underrepresented artists. The idea is to put on interesting shows without worrying about feeding the machine of a traditional art gallery.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s just by dumb luck that I&rsquo;m here,&rdquo; said Ritter. &ldquo;If I&rsquo;m not actively participating in the neighborhood, what&rsquo;s the point?&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Living in this once tiny community of artists felt akin to living on a desert island, according to Walsh. He recalls a few &ldquo;false starts&rdquo; of gentrification throughout the 80s and 90s, and before the economic crash in 2008, but he recognizes that it is now fully underway. &ldquo;You could feel the ground shaking and the peak smoking then the volcano hit; it happened really quick but it wasn&rsquo;t unexpected,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re just trying to ride the wave instead of getting swept up with it.&rdquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The first interim ordinance written by city planners missed the mark, according to Velkei. &ldquo;It was a lot of bullshit and stuff that catered to developers who had bought into the community and couldn&rsquo;t get their projects built because we were cock-blocking them.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The community regrouped and together drafted their own ordinance to provide a real-world framework for the growth of the Arts District as a productive, mixed-use neighborhood. They presented it to Planning, but despite their efforts working with the City, the draft (along with hundreds of signatures urging the City to adopt the Community Ordinance) remained largely unchanged.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;The core of what we think would drive and make sense for sustainable growth for [this district] they left out and blatantly so,&rdquo; said Velkei.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The Planning Department&rsquo;s second draft also altered the original name of the ordinance from Arts District Interim ordinance to the Hybrid Industrial ordinance and now not only affects the AD, but also what turned out to be an industrial district in Boyle Heights.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s important that we keep fighting. I think we might just have to embarrass these guys,&rdquo; said Velkei.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708193543-Garey_Street.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" align="center"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Garey Street, Arts District, Photo: Lauren McQuade</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;" align="center"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Amid recanting a heated discussion from the previous night&rsquo;s community meeting, Velkei sees Yuval Bar-Zemer, partner and real estate developer at Linear City, LLC, arrive at the farmer&rsquo;s market.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">When asked if he would like to give a statement regarding the other developers in the Arts District, Bar-Zemer responded, &ldquo;Suspicious.&rdquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">He followed up with a question for Velkei, &ldquo;Are you sure she&rsquo;s not sent as a spy for the Planning Department?&rdquo;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m pretty sure,&rdquo; Velkei laughed.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;This is a guy who I&rsquo;d lay down for any day of the week,&rdquo; said Velkei. Bar-Zemer is a long-time Los Angeles resident who lives in the AD and has committed to the preservation of the neighborhood since the establishment of Linear City in 2001. He is a &ldquo;good&rdquo; developer who has worked with the Historic Biscuit Company Lofts and Toy Lofts under the adaptive reuse ordinance.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">At this point, the City is not bending, and neither is the Arts District community. What&rsquo;s at risk for the AD? According to Velkei: The OC.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Orange County is what we don&rsquo;t want and we don&rsquo;t go down without a huge battle and there will be a huge battle that will ensue&mdash;I don&rsquo;t know what it&rsquo;s going to look like but it will get much bigger than it has been,&rdquo; Velkei said.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;Lauren McQuade</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Image at the top: MaRS, Museum as Retail Space on Anderson Street,&nbsp;Lauren McQuade</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></p> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:39:17 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Private Debt/Public Value: Art Education's Social Responsibility <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There have been a lot of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/upshot/the-rise-of-student-debt-for-those-who-get-degrees.html?ref=topics&amp;_r=0&amp;abt=0002&amp;abg=0" target="_blank">articles about</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/102742696" target="_blank">the rise of</a> <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2015/06/24/cnbc-student-debt-crisis/29168475/" target="_blank">education debt</a> accrued by students in the United States, especially where <a href="http://fortune.com/2015/04/27/best-worst-graduate-degrees-jobs/" target="_blank">arts-focused degrees</a> are concerned. Few degrees these days can guarantee employment, regardless of the field, and it is becoming increasingly hard to justify the value of an art degree that has the least hope of creating jobs for its future graduates. Yet grad school admissions skyrocketed shortly after the 2007/08 economic crash, when the stakes for getting a new job shifted from life experience to credentials&mdash;all for less pay.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Despite my ten years&rsquo; experience owning a gallery and working with museums and civic institutions, I found myself unemployed for the first time in my adult life. Of course there are many other reasons to continue with grad school, but for myself and others, deciding to go to graduate school was a very personal decision that came about as a result of the recession. Many at the time, myself included, were reflecting deeply on the state of affairs, feeling uncertain about the future and about the art world. It was a do or die moment; it was also a time to have deeper conversations about art and its role&mdash;and my role with it.</span><img style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708132407-1._Contreras_I_ARIAR1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <blockquote> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Irina Contreras,&nbsp;<em>A Racket is a Racket,&nbsp;</em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Performance Documentation,</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Ghetto Biennial 2013. Photo: Tom Bogaert<br /></span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">A Racket is a Racket</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;was first performed for the Ghetto Biennial 2013 in Port Au Prince, Haiti and later as part of Hemispheric Institute's GSI in NYC in 2014. Taking the cue from prolific US Attorney General Smedley Butler's speech and booklet, War is a Racket created in 1935, the project looked to the ways in which the West or Westerners have looked to make peace with violent actions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I graduated from California College of the Arts 2014 with a Master of Art in Visual &amp; Critical Studies and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture. (Full disclosure, I have and still work as a part time writing consultant for students at CCA, predominantly assisting them with critical thinking, and honing the language surrounding the purpose of their practice.) I chose CCA because of its founding history as a seminal school at the height of the California Arts and Crafts Movement in 1907; its principles were in keeping with the movement as an anti-industrial response to the growing machine-made economy, concerned with social reform and empowering independent makers and designers. The political sentiment still holds true today, which is why I chose it over other more affordable options that didn&rsquo;t offer the same quality of education or the same specific ethics.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In 2016, the CCA&rsquo;s MFA program will add a Master of Art degree in Social Practice. The new MA will join the school's existing Social Practice Workshop, first-of-its-kind in the U.S., which started as a degree option in 2005, and became a stand-alone curriculum option in 2007. On its website, </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="https://www.cca.edu/academics/graduate/fine-arts/socialpractices" target="_blank">CCA defines Social Practice</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> as a field that: &ldquo;focuses on topics such as aesthetics, ethics, collaboration, persona, media strategies, and social activism, issues that are central to artworks and projects that cross into public and social spheres.&rdquo; A field-based model is emphasized &ldquo;to co-create their work with a specific audience or propose critical interventions within existing social systems that inspire debate or catalyze social exchange.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708141812-7_fallacy.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Megan Lavelle,&nbsp;<em>A Facade of Idyllic Fortitude,&nbsp;</em>2013, Sculpture and performance. Addressing issues of insur&shy;ance, cor&shy;po&shy;rate out&shy;put, brand&shy;ing, and personhood.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Considering the subject of conscience and the roles that education and MFA degrees play in the art economy, I spoke with&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cca.edu/academics/graduate/fine-arts/chair" target="_blank">Ted Purves</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ranumukherjee.com/" target="_blank">Ranu Mukherjee</a>, CCA&rsquo;s Graduate Fine Art Chair and recent Assistant Chair respectively. The new program is not attempting to reconfigure the MFA program as is, but rather add an option for artists whose practice predominates outside of the romantic lone-practitioner&rsquo;s studio. Purves will now become Chair of the MA in Social Practice, and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cca.edu/academics/painting-drawing/associate-chair">James Gobel</a>&nbsp;will be the new Chair of the MFA program, and both are excited about the focus that the new arm will bring.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The move is going to be vital, not only for the future of art education, but for its potential to offer people a stronger foundation for their practice and ultimately their future as makers in the world, not just as producers of things.</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Leora Lutz: I&rsquo;m writing a piece for the Conscience Issue of <em>ArtSlant</em>.</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Ted Purves:</strong> Conscience&hellip; the students will definitely be bringing that to the program.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LL: Of course! With the new MA, is there going to be a set curriculum with standards and criteria? What are some of the main differences between the MFA program and the new MA?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>TP:</strong> Yes, there will be letter grades. One of the destinations after the program would be towards an art practice PhD and the students will need grades. One of our alumni is getting a PhD in education, or perhaps someone would go on to study Urban Planning.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Ranu Mukherjee: </strong>We&rsquo;ve been feeling more and more that the artists in Social Practice (SP) who were interested in the MFA had a need for a studio practice. So the MFA in Social Practice, or what is called the Social Practice Workshop, will still be in place for artists that identify with a studio practice and they will be taking courses that are aligned with the MFA program. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The MA will be a group studio environment and is being added as a separate, accredited program.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>TP: </strong>On a nuts and bolts level, the primary difference is that the MA will not require an exhibition, which all MFA programs in North America are required to have.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>RM:</strong> A good percentage of SP students were not interested in an exhibition and some found it problematic [it didn&rsquo;t make sense for the kind of practice they were developing], whereas other people really wanted it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>TP:</strong> So now, students could have the option to do other things for their final project: a creative project, curate a show, preparatory work, design a curriculum, write a thesis. It&rsquo;s a very flexible and individually determined project that will have parameters, but it doesn&rsquo;t need to be a certain &ldquo;thing.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LL: Are you going to have a selection of &ldquo;things&rdquo; to choose from or work toward, or will it be open?</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>RM: </strong>It&rsquo;s a negotiated thing&mdash;it has to be in line with the person&rsquo;s research interests and to help them move toward their... life.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LL: That is great! The problem I had in my MA program was that the &ldquo;thing&rdquo; had to be only one form, and that form could not deviate from an exacting norm. That was highly problematic for me.</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>TP: </strong>This is not that. Without getting into arcane accreditation language, we incorporated the &ldquo;research and work towards a conception of larger works of art&rdquo; category of completion. It caters to students who have an idea of what they want to do coming into the program. We came to this point where we were discussing the MFA model: that it is viewed as a time for you, that this is your time to explore your subjectivity as an artist.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708142524-6_calen_table_2.JPG" alt="" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Calen Russell Hall, Setting/Clearing the Table, 2013, Digital Video. Performer sets the table via a speeding truck.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LL: I think students deserve more opportunity from a school than personal reflection on themselves as makers. I feel like I did that in undergrad. Those conversations were driving me crazy in grad school, because I was more interested in what my art was doing, not where I was coming from with it. It sounds like your solution to that problem is to say: &ldquo;This is your opportunity to dream big, and think about what your art is doing and we will help you do that.&rdquo;</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>RM: </strong>[nodding &ldquo;yes&rdquo;] It&rsquo;s a productivity platform.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>TP: </strong>It shares pedagogical goals with more of a curatorial program. There is an assumption in that program that you are going to go on and work in the field, be it at an institution, as a program director, a curator. We&rsquo;ve put forth something for community-based artists, artists interested in residencies, site-specific work&hellip;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>RM:</strong> Activists!</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>TP:</strong> Yes, it&rsquo;s a lot of &ldquo;working with and working in,&rdquo; rather than working inside. We also came to a point that was difficult in our program, where the SP was making students think about research, long-term outcomes, and pushing them in a different direction than the MFA program was asking them to do.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>RM: </strong>Students got to a point where it became so much focus on how to make the work that they were doing outside relevant or conducive to a gallery space. That is not a conversation that you should be having when paying so much money for an MFA program. It&rsquo;s an ethical issue&mdash;if your work is conducive then you can figure that out.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>TP:</strong> But some people may not even need that. Public projects, engagement practices&mdash;they don&rsquo;t necessarily need a gallery space to do them. With that also, we are thinking that our final projects will be similar to the Visual and Critical Studies (Vis/Crit) final project symposium, but maybe a type of presentation weekend and a publication which Vis/Crit also offers. And maybe also incorporate writings from our visiting artists.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708142647-5_Masi_lauren.JPG" alt="" /><br /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Monte Masi,&nbsp;<em>Songs for Open Studios (Lauren Marie Taylor),&nbsp;</em>Guitar by Lex Kosieradzki.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Still from performance 2013</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LL: It would have been great to see our outside advisors contribute to our Vis/Crit publication, as a show of support for the work that was happening at the time.</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>TP: </strong>Fiscal and flexible responsibility is important to us too.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>RM:</strong> It&rsquo;s a 12-month program that includes the summer.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>TP:</strong> And we welcome part time students. Let&rsquo;s say there is a student &ldquo;A&rdquo; who gets a Fulbright from Bogota&mdash;they can come and complete the program in a year. Or student &ldquo;B&rdquo; is someone already living in San Francisco programming at an institution with a BFA, and they want to up the ante with what they are doing, but they can&rsquo;t afford to quit their job and go to school full time.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There&rsquo;s another ripple that we are thinking about too, which is setting up a matriculation program with community colleges. We aren&rsquo;t sure yet if community colleges will be free on a national level, but it might be something that California tries. For example, Berkeley City College, which has a community arts track, and we can work with students from there to offer a two year BFA in community arts with the one year MA in Social Practice and be done in three years.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>LL: I see a morph happening now with art. You have, on the one hand, makers who are looking at the role of what art is in the world, and on the other hand you have people from non-art backgrounds looking at ways in which art can be a facilitator for other social concerns.</strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>TP: </strong>We think about this a lot. How art can be a diagnostic system for understanding the world, rather than a vehicle for expression. If you really want to be a part of how art operates in the world, on the street and in peoples&rsquo; lives, that is really what the course of study that the MA in Social Practice is going to be doing. I bring in a lot of theory about public space and globalization, and Ranu brings in theories of embodiment and affect. But we are finding that MFA programs are heavily based on theories of the self, image theory, representation&mdash;but I also think that there is a slightly different theoretical toolkit that Social Practice artists are concerned with: post-colonial theory, anthropology&hellip;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>RM:</strong> The public realm is the basis of the studio practice.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708140042-6._Mismar_IMG_3952-small.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Omar Mismar,&nbsp;<em>Transient City (San Francisco Camera Obscura Tour),&nbsp;</em>2014,&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 26px;">Camera obscura inside a U-Haul. Viewers rode inside for a tour of San Francisco.<br /><br /></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In many ways my conversation with Purves and Mukherjee brings us back to the difficult and personal decision that justifying or choosing to go to graduate school can be. It also opens onto how institutional structures and pedagogical requirements can be of better value to students, and potentially the community. Mukherjee brings up a good point when she says that certain conversations (namely, in MFA degrees) emphasizing studio contemplation, and navigating gallery space do not warrant the cost for students with more project-based or community practices. If institutions are to take monetary concerns in mind, it behooves them to revisit their programming and curriculum to offer students critical tools that navigate beyond the traditional, studio/gallery trajectory of making. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The economy seems to have picked up recently despite the rise in real estate costs that are <a href="http://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2014/02/07/priced-out-new-tech-wealth-and-san-franciscos-receding-art-scene/" target="_blank">pushing many artists out</a>. More galleries are cropping up in the Bay Area all the time; the opportunities are becoming more plentiful, museum programming more engaging. So what does that mean to people interested in pursuing an art degree now?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If economic downfall is the catalyst for rise in college attendance, prices, which are already soaring, may increase with demand; but viewing education as a mere commodity is a dangerous notion that turns access to knowledge into a privilege. It is a very expensive privilege that my DIY roots and social conscience grapples with on a regular basis. Debt looms, but my consolation is to view the cost of my education spread out over the rest of my lifetime, which amounts to about $8 a day. There are a ton of analogies to apply to my $8 in order to further validate my debt logic to cope with the expensive cost, but art education need not be devalued by metaphor. It is a type of education as important and viable as any other; what one does with it is its greatest value.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/1872-leora-lutz?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Leora Lutz</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">(All images are of MFA in Social Practice alumni. Image at top:&nbsp;Monte Masi,&nbsp;<em>Two Weeks of e-flux,&nbsp;</em>2015, Video still from single channel video,&nbsp;Parceling e-flux with commentary)&nbsp;</span></p> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:50:50 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Dushanbe Dispatch: In Political Critique, Tajik Artists Work Around the System <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;People here need art to be fun, that&rsquo;s the first step. Then maybe when they start understanding more, it can also be conceptual. But to attract them, it must be fun,&rdquo; explains <a href="http://murodsharifov.wix.com/murodsharifov?fb_ref=Default" target="_blank">Murodjon Sharifov</a>, one of a handful of contemporary artists working in Tajikistan, a post-Soviet Muslim country struggling with the aftermath of a devastating civil war, religious radicalization, and extreme poverty. The country&rsquo;s dictatorship&mdash;President Emomali Rahmon has been in power over 20 years&mdash;is seen by many as a stabilizing force in what would otherwise be utter chaos or a Taliban-style takeover.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Murodjon is referring to his work, <a href="http://murodsharifov.wix.com/murodsharifov?fb_ref=Default#!projects/c1lo9" target="_blank"><em>Wish them luck!</em></a>, an outdoor installation that took place within the frame of <em>Spaces on the Run</em>, a project that included workshops, a multi-site public art exhibition and events in various locations of the capital, as well as a tour of other Central Asian countries for the participating artists, themselves originating from these countries and Tajikistan. The project's&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">aims are &ldquo;to analyze the processes behind recent transformations of public spaces in the post-socialist context and to investigate the status of public spaces in Central Asia by challenging the hegemonic narratives, consumerist and private interests by re-appropriating/re-thinking and re-activating the public space trough contemporary art and social practices.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708135441-IMG_4428.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708112056-_MG_6605.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(above) Stefan Rusu and the author listening to Sabzali Sharifov's accou</span><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">nts of the civil war.<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">(below) Jamshed Kholikov at the office of Dushanbe Art Ground. Photos:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vladpetri.ro/" target="_blank">Vlad Petri</a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">, 2015</span></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Spaces on the Run</em> was initiated in 2014 by Stefan Rusu, an expat curator from Moldova currently working at&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/dushanbe.artground">Dushanbe Art Ground</a>, the only contemporary art space in Tajikistan, founded in 2012 by artist and curator Jamshed Kholikov.&nbsp;</span><span style="text-align: left; font-size: medium;">Jamshed is a pioneer of the small contemporary art scene in Tajikistan. He was initiator and participant in some of the first contemporary art projects that took place in the country starting in 2004, before co-founding the Dushanbe Art Ground with the support of the Swiss Cooperation Office that has funded contemporary art activities in Dushanbe for more than a decade.</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Wish them luck!</em> is composed of around two dozen watering cans arranged in lines radiating from a central point, placed near a water faucet on the grounds of a private amusement park. The visitor is intended to fill the cans with water but gets trapped by the rules of the game: only one unmarked can is empty, the rest are filled with sand. It is the artist&rsquo;s comment on the profound systems of corruption eating away at his country, where nothing can be achieved without bribing some official or agent.&nbsp; Bribery is the only way to create something, to act, while those who don&rsquo;t are stuck with cans filled with sand, immobile and inactive. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><img style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708110347-wish_them_luck1.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Murodjon Sharifov, <em>Wish them luck!</em>, 2015, Public performance at Pаrk Poytaht. Courtesy of the artist and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/dushanbe.artground" target="_blank">Dushanbe Art Ground<br /><br /></a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This more profound social criticism is lost on the audience, who prefer to play with water. And who can blame them? Tajikistan is also a country facing severe water shortages with its glaciers rapidly retreating, and more than 1.5 million of its 8 million people are food-insecure. Experts believe that this extreme climate change in Central Asia might result in regional warfare, and that it should be a top geo-political priority. But it is not, because here politicians are focused on enriching themselves and their families.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While &ldquo;contemporary art,&rdquo; a term that in any case needs some analysis, is considered by many in the west as a dominant cultural form, and believed accurately or not to have transformative powers, its role in Tajik society is almost entirely inexistent. It is something practiced by about ten artists within a closed circle. When asked what contemporary art means to them, many artists with whom I spoke told me that for them it is video art. Not installation, painting, or even performance. Not a specific language or a critical approach. Rather it is something medium specific: namely, video. This might be due to the complex socio-cultural situation in Tajikistan, torn between the present resurgence of Islam, a religion that for fear of idolatry forbids human representation in art, and a Soviet past that encouraged the idolatry of sanctioned people and images. Or it is due to the lack of funding for production. With only two local funders, the Open Society Institute, a Soros Initiative, and the Swiss Cooperation Office, the former of which is under threat of expulsion, the small budgets that do exist are for implementation exclusively. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But video might also be to some the culmination of contemporaneity, with its ability to record, document, and reflect reality, and also deconstruct it. Video seems to have been the medium of choice also because of its non-materiality; this, in a dictatorship that cracks down violently on any public dissent and criticism, is an asset. It can be easily distributed anonymously on the internet, it leaves almost no traces, and yet can reach people all over the world instantaneously. It can be screened surreptitiously and due to its temporality, has a much higher chance of not attracting the attention of the censors, while an object-based exhibition with critical material would much more likely be shut down.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Spaces on the Run</em>, for example,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">was carried out both officially, with due permits, and unofficially, assuming the risks.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;The project is critical of current urbanization policies that favor the demolition of soviet era buildings, while supporting the construction of new, stylistically hybrid structures that may aspire to reflect a modern autochthonic architectural identity but are embroiled in corruption and money-laundering. The governmental policies of eliminating the past while privatizing and commercializing all public space echoes the trend in many post-socialist countries, where a violent form of capitalism has usurped most social preoccupations. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But here, in Dushanbe, it&rsquo;s not a question only of eradicating the past by razing entire neighborhoods and important architecture from before 1989, </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.eurasianet.org/node/67493" target="_blank">an issue</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> that historian and journalist Gafur Shermatov addresses in his writings. The more egregious problems are the absolute opacity in awarding building contracts, the totalitarian decision-making in city development lacking any civic input, the corrupt spending of European funds on megalomaniacal construction projects, and the absurd amount of money-laundering that occurs in the construction industry, the most profitable in the country. These issues, however, are less likely to be addressed openly and directly because while general social problems, like gender inequality, the environment, the changing urban landscape, the dependence of Tajikistan&rsquo;s economy on remittances from Russia, are vaguely touched upon in the public sphere, once specific individuals are named culpable or some civic action taken, there is immediate censorship and retaliation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708111841-guided_tour_2_Gafur_Shermatov.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Gafur Shermatov's guided tour of destroyed parks of Dushanbe, within the frame of Spaces on the Run. Photo: Stefan Rusu<br /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The grey zone in which <em>Spaces on the Run</em> managed to function is characteristic of how any critical public discourse can exist in this country. There are protected spaces, few, where a certain indirect critique is allowed, and where to garner permission to act, one must hide the true nature of the activity or engage in bribery. So it was with a series of presentations on transformations in public space in post-socialist countries that took place in the Children&rsquo;s Park of Dushanbe. The park is managed by an office associated with the municipality that focuses on children and youth with disabilities. To get the necessary permits for these events, Dushanbe Art Ground co-opted the office by inviting it to present its civic activities, all the while obfuscating the criticisms expressed by Gafur Shermatov in his lecture about the destroyed parks of Dushanbe. However, other projects within <em>Spaces on the Run</em> needed to take place in private spheres: Murodjon&rsquo;s <em>Wish them luck!</em> and Kazakh artist Bakytzhan Salikhov&rsquo;s <em>The Best Citizens</em>, a work composed of mirrors reflecting onlookers&rsquo; countenance, thus reminding them of their civic responsibilities, were installed on the private land of an amusement park where Murodjon&rsquo;s mother works. Other lectures about this transformation were scheduled in a former state cinema turned private restaurant, where the group was allowed to gather semi-privately in exchange for food and drink purchases, thus highlighting the very phenomenon addressed by the speakers.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708114106-the_best_citizens.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Bakytzhan Salikhov,&nbsp;<em>The Best Citizens</em>, Installation view at&nbsp;Pаrk Poytaht. Courtesy of the artist and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/dushanbe.artground" target="_blank">Dushanbe Art Ground<br /></a></span><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Many in Dushanbe who lived under the Soviet regime are nostalgic for that past: it was a time when roads and cities were built (it was then that Dushanbe was developed from a small village into the country&rsquo;s capital, with unique architecture and excellent infrastructure); education and health care was universal and free; cultural institutions like opera, museums and theater were funded; and people had jobs. Russian is still the language of culture, business, and interethnic communication, but the young generation brought up in a post-civil war reality, when nationalistic tendencies also manifest themselves in the battle for the Tajik alphabet, a Persian language, is losing its literacy in Russian and is not yet gaining it in Tajik either. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Some of my students don&rsquo;t know how to write their own names neither in Tajik nor in Russian, and we expect them to understand and take an interest in contemporary art,&rdquo; says Murodjon, who also teaches painting and drawing at the Institute of Art. The conflict over the script of Tajik, which is now the official language, embodies the political conflict within the Tajik people themselves: some want to Latinize it and thus get closer to Uzbekistan who also adopted this alphabet. Others, the devoutly religious, prefer the Persian alphabet to align themselves to Iran and their Persian heritage, while a final group prefers to leave it in Cyrillic and not distance themselves from Russia on which Tajikistan heavily depends economically and militarily.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708110547-_MG_6664.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">The author and Larisa&nbsp;Dodkhudoeva at the office of Dushanbe Art Ground. Photo: Vlad Petri, 2015<br /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Women's rights and gender inequality are also serious issues here. Larisa Dodkhudoeva, the only art history professor at the University in Dushanbe, explains:&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the Soviet times, the gender gap was not nearly as wide. Women were educated, had good jobs and social standing in society. Now it seems we have regressed with this resurgence of religion and traditionalism. Women are now pushed back into the home and their presence in public is diminishing more and more. They are becoming invisible.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">These subjects are taken up by two female artists in <em><a href="https://www.facebook.com/dushanbe.artground/posts/414035735409770" target="_blank">Reimagining the New Man</a></em>, another project initiated by the Dushanbe Art Ground in 2014 and curated by Stefan Rusu. In one part of the project participants were involved in a video production workshop taught by two American filmmakers and were given access to film archives from the Soviet period from which to work.&nbsp; This event was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in collaboration with the local funders previously mentioned and was an extension of an initiative on civic engagement proposed by the U.S. Embassy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708110739-I_MET_A_GIRL_1_Alla_Rumyantseva.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Alla Rumyantseva,&nbsp;<em>I Met a Girl</em>, 2014, Video still. Photo: Stefan Rusu<br /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Alla Rumyantseva&rsquo;s <em>I Met a Girl</em> is based on a famous Tajik film from 1957 in which the patriarchal structure of society is criticized and questioned in favor of women&rsquo;s emancipation. After a long period during the Soviet era when women could, within a limited frame, &ldquo;follow their dreams,&rdquo; a return to the patriarchy of old is taking root in modern Tajikistan. Using fragments of the 1957 film juxtaposed with new interviews with women, this video criticizes the religious values that are taking over society and making it nearly impossible for women to self-actualize.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708111058-generation_next_2_surayo_tuichieva.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708111040-generation_next_1_surayo_tuichieva.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Surayo Tuychieva,&nbsp;<em>Generation Next</em>, 2014, Video stills. Photos: Stefan Rusu<br /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Generation Next</em>, the work of Surayo Tuychieva who is the only professor of art theory in Tajikistan and Larisa Dodkhudoeva&rsquo;s daughter, reveals the transformation of political ideology in Tajikistan through the prism of changing accessories worn by women. During the Soviet era schoolgirls, like boys, wore red kerchiefs around their necks. They were all Pioneers, members of the Soviet youth. A new religious ideology has replaced the former atheist one, and has instead relegated women to an inferior position, hiding them behind hijabs. The red scarf has morphed along with the ideology, from a sign of atheism and equality between the sexes to a sign of religiosity and oppression.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In today&rsquo;s Tajikistan there are only few who criticize publicly, and those that do tend to do it in general terms, using a masked language of metaphor, or without pointing the finger to individual culprits. In this oppressive and potentially explosive context, where the people are forced to choose between a secular corrupt dictatorship that keeps the country semi-stable or a collapse into yet another civil war, only small, primarily private events that try to bring awareness to various social problems can take place. But with no public debate and only a few who take an interest in these issues, transformation will be very slow. For the most part people want to be businessmen, artists included. The struggle to make a living in Central Asia&rsquo;s poorest country supplants all other preoccupations.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150708111248-_MG_6944.jpg" alt="" /><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;">Murodjon and his father Sabzali Sharipov at Sabzali's studio in Dushanbe. Photo: Vlad Petri, 2015<br /></span><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Sabzali Sharipov, Murodjon&rsquo;s father, and one of the most famous artists from the Soviet era, sums up the perspective of some in this way:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">What our president did for our country after five years of bloody civil war is very good&mdash;he united us, he made us a nation. We fear Islamization, religious fanaticism&mdash;it happens very fast regardless of the education at home. Art and science are our only hopes.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But how can art offer hope when it exists for so few and is constantly at risk of being silenced by this same president&rsquo;s government? Stefan Rusu looks ahead:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I hope and want to believe that Dushanbe Art Ground and its team will survive the increased restrictions which will continue to impose themselves following the examples in Russia and Uzbekistan, where the independent sector was stifled on all levels.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Tajikistan sits at the crossroads of ideologies&mdash;it is here that the battle between east and west, modern and traditional, past and future, secularism and religion is taking place. And if art will have any role in the country&rsquo;s future, it must be brought out from the private realm into the public.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/51287-olga-stefan?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Olga Stefan</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Olga Stefan&nbsp;is an independent curator, writer, and lecturer born in Bucharest, raised in Chicago and since 2009, based in Zurich.&nbsp;She contributes regularly to&nbsp;</em>ArtReview<em>,&nbsp;</em>Frieze<em>&nbsp;Magazine,&nbsp;</em>Art in America<em>,</em>Flash Art<em>,&nbsp;</em>Sculpture Magazine<em>, ArtSlant, and&nbsp;</em>Artmargins<em>. Her upcoming exhibition, Laughter and Forgetting, takes place October 9-16, 2015&nbsp;in the frame of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bucharestartweek.eu/" target="_blank">Bucharest Art Week</a>.</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at top:&nbsp;Murodjon Sharifov,&nbsp;<em>Wish them luck!</em>, 2015, Public performance at&nbsp;Pаrk Poytaht. Courtesy of the artist and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/dushanbe.artground" target="_blank">Dushanbe Art Ground</a>)</span></p> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 14:59:53 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Here's Johnny <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Look, here's the thing: under certain circumstances (in a court of law, in matters of dress, in affairs of the heart) I believe in being totally up-front and honest, which is why I believe that I should tell you from the outset that I am absolutely crazy about John Waters. I mean to say: I actually once came very close to having the man's initials permanently tattooed onto my bicep after a meet 'n' greet. That was back, I think, in 2012, when my body was a slightly more worthy vessel to be etched on, and it offered up a very slightly more exclusive and less expansive portfolio of real estate. I know for certain that he etches in his pencil moustache with Maybelline liner in &ldquo;Velvet Black,&rdquo; (though I can scarcely remember a word of the French that I learned for years). Whenever a famous person dies, I'm also struck by a vaguely psychopathic realization that I will one day live in a Watersless world, and I'm not prepared for it. I mean it! I'm </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">sick</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">! But that's kind of the point. The sick ones are John Waters' target audience. I wish he'd stay&mdash;yes, </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">seriously</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;69-years-old in aspic.</span></p> <p class="p1" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150707180456-JWA_24504_Beverly_Hills_John_framed.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">John Waters,&nbsp;<em>Beverly Hills John</em>, 2012&nbsp;C-Print&nbsp;&copy; John Waters,&nbsp;Courtesy the artist and&nbsp; Sprüth Magers</span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In <em>Beverly Hills John</em> at Spr&uuml;th Magers, London, anyway, we find him posing unusual questions. What if the dog who played Lassie had facial rejuvenation surgery? What if Justin Bieber had the eerie, unnatural proportions of Jocelyn Wildenstein? What if&mdash;I don't know&mdash;a colossal ruler was manufactured in order to make a joke about the size of Fellini's dick? The real joy of his work, both as a filmmaker and as a visual artist, is the way in which Waters manages, always, to be both bawdily dumb and left-wing highbrow at the same time; the way in which, say, <em>Hairspray</em> manages to be a sweet cult classic which has birthed a Broadway musical, and a film with a far more cynical, smart and nuanced view of white white-knighting than many viewers give credit for (&ldquo;Tracy,&rdquo; opines Tracy Turnblad's boyfriend, &ldquo;our souls are black, even if our skin is white&rdquo;&mdash;tempting as it may be, I'll avoid invoking Rachel Dolezal, here, for the sake of my sanity).</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150707180630-JWA_24505_Reconstructed_Lassie_framed.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;John Waters,&nbsp;<em>Reconstructed Lassie</em>, 2012,&nbsp;C-Print&nbsp;&copy; John Waters,&nbsp;Courtesy the artist and&nbsp; Sprüth Magers</span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">An image of a famous dog with a Photoshopped facelift is funny, yes, but also asks: <em>is this Hollywood? Is this America? Where does this nightmare really end? </em>Death looms over Kennedy and Onassis. Ansel Adams is slapped with the open palms of progress. Dick Van Dyke is transfigured into &amp;c. &amp;c. You get the picture, I'm certain. In truth, I believe that John Waters likes and loathes the movie &ldquo;biz&rdquo; and its players and pawns just as much as I do: that, like myself, he is hungry for new camp icons, just as he points out the system's well-worn hypocrisy and its rank injustice. Glamor is damaging, but it is also hard to resist; the juxtaposition of the B-Movie title &ldquo;She Shoulda Said NO!&rdquo; with the smeared and frightened face of Amy Winehouse&mdash;a coulda-been Dreamlander&mdash;is poignant and lovely and terrible.</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150707180853-JWA_24514_Mom_and_Dad_framed.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;John Waters,&nbsp;<em>Mom and Dad,</em> 2014,&nbsp;3 C-Prints,&nbsp;&copy; John Waters,&nbsp;Courtesy the artist and&nbsp; Sprüth Magers</span></p> <p class="p1" style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">One last thing: even as this exhibition combines a number of &ldquo;loves&rdquo; (namely plastic surgery, celebrities, and spoof pornographic movie titles), I am forced to admit that it also uses&mdash;as a kind of ironic device&mdash;one of my greatest turn-offs: children. In <em>Kiddie Flamingos</em>, a group of children offer up a table-reading of Waters' most iconic film. I get the juxtaposition, of course, but the fact is that anything &ldquo;kiddie&rdquo; will almost always leave me cold. Perhaps I am simply jealous of the adulation they receive for being small and uncoordinated and seeming inebriated when I am given no praise at all for the same achievements myself; or perhaps the world of the traditional heterosexual is a sick and boring life, and I am right to resist it. As a means of making personal peace, I tell myself, sometimes, that the absence of filth is the filthiest thing of all. In making a PG-rated version of a film where the lead eats real shit, Waters has outdone himself. &nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/265136-philippa-snow?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Philippa Snow</a></span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="p2" style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: x-small; font-family: georgia, palatino;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;John Waters,&nbsp;<em>Congratulations</em>, 2014&nbsp;C-Print&nbsp;&copy; John Waters,&nbsp;Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers)</span></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 19:25:26 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Carsten Höller: Like a Fun Fair, Without the Fun <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;">&ldquo;Like a fun fair, but without the fun&rdquo; was the quote from one of my companions at the Carsten H&ouml;ller exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London. And it&rsquo;s a fair enough point: the slide is a bit wobbly and not very fast. The upside down goggles didn&rsquo;t fit me properly and so primarily showed a slice of uncharacteristically blue London sky, that no matter how many times I reminded myself to look up to look down, it still didn&rsquo;t fully challenge normative expectations of my vision. And as for the flying over the streets of London, first of all, you weren&rsquo;t flying: you were revolving slowly suspended from a metal arm. You also weren&rsquo;t over the streets of London, you were on a balcony of the Hayward. And finally, the queue was over an hour long, despite our visit being on a Monday. So we didn&rsquo;t go on it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-size: medium; font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150704053900-Carsten_Holler_courtesy_of_the_artist_and_Gagosian_Gallery._Photo__c__Ela_Bialkowska.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Carsten H&ouml;ller,&nbsp;<em>Two Flying Machines</em>, 2015 &copy; Carsten H&ouml;ller. Installation View&nbsp;<em>Carsten H&ouml;ller: Decision</em>, Hayward Gallery, London 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo &copy; Ela Bialkowska, OKNO studio</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If you want a fun fair, go to the fun fair. This is lame in comparison. Which still doesn&rsquo;t stop it from being a whole lot more fun than your average art show, irrespective of what side of the inevitable &ldquo;but is it art?&rdquo; conversation you come down on. For me, it&rsquo;s a pretty valid gesture to consider the creation of an "experience" for the viewer/participant as an artistic gesture, no matter how loose, woolly, and open to hysterical tabloid-esque denigration that idea might be. I suppose the caveat is that it gets termed an "art experience," not just any old experience, but it&rsquo;s interesting to consider just what that might be. What makes an experience "artistic," after all?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150707120038-150610_CH_Events_In_Focus_Decision_Corridors_WEB.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Carsten Höller,&nbsp;<em>Decision Corridors</em>, 2015. &copy; Carsten H&ouml;ller. Produced with&nbsp;HangarBicocca, Milano. Installation view:&nbsp;<em>Carsten H&ouml;ller: Decision</em>, Hayward Gallery, London,&nbsp;2015. Photo &copy; David Levene</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I&rsquo;m not going to answer this question, merely leave it hanging uncomfortably, and perhaps if anyone really wants to get stuck in, they can do it in the comments section. I will mention, however, that the first thing it calls to my mind is the experience of sitting drinking a tin of lager on an East London street (with a friend&ndash;I'm not rock bottom, yet) while watching a pigeon peck away the center of a cheap piece of white bread, ending in such a frenzy of pecking that it managed to flip the still intact crust over its head so that it was wearing it like a necklace, thus burdening itself with adornment now no longer accessible to pecking, and heavy enough to prevent the bird from taking flight. Profound, I know.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150704053944-Carsten-Holler-Isomeric-Slides-during-installation-at-Hayward-Gallery-Photo-David-Levene-855x570.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Carsten Holler, <em>Isomeric Slides</em>, 2015, Installation view:&nbsp;<em>Carsten H&ouml;ller: Decision</em>, Hayward Gallery, London, 2015. Courtesy the artist and LUMA&nbsp;Foundation, Arles. Photo &copy;&nbsp;David Levene</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While I don&rsquo;t know if H&ouml;ller is simply providing cheap thrills for cosseted urbanites with lives so anodyne that a slip on a slide signifies a major departure from reality, I do know there are some good pieces in here. Notably I found myself drawn to the quieter ones, <em>Two Roaming Beds</em> and <em>Pill Clock</em> being good examples. In the former, two hospital beds slowly track around the gallery on mechanized units. Their movement is apparently&nbsp;random, but I was certainly lead to believe that they actually come and nuzzle up to you like a very slow, lonely puppy (apparently people actually sleep in the beds at night). In the latter, a red and white pill is released from a perspex box on the upper floor, and falls onto a pile on the lower floor. You can take one of the pills if you want, but not disturb the pile (that to me looked a little too neat). The only disappointment with this experience was when we asked the guard what the pills did, he couldn&rsquo;t come up with anything more original than tell us it was a placebo. Think of the possibilities&hellip;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150704230522-Installation_view_Two_Roaming_Beds__Grey__and_Decision_Corridors_Carsten_H_ller-_Decision_at_Hayward_Gallery_Photo-_David_Levene_WEB.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Carsten H&ouml;ller,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;"><em>Two</em></span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Roaming Beds (Grey)</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">, 2015. Produced with Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, and HangarBicocca, Milano. Installation view:&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Carsten H&ouml;ller: Decision</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">, Hayward Gallery, London, 2015. &nbsp;Photo: &copy; David Levene</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Perhaps the ultimate problem with this show is the strongest artwork is the very first thing you see:&nbsp;<em>Decision corridors</em> is awesome. Wobbling down a pitch black corridor through a number of diorientating turns and unexpected risings and fallings unquestionably feels like an "art experience." But some of the others leave you in doubt.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/273879-james-loks?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">James Loks</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Carsten Höller, <em>Pill Clock</em> &copy; Carsten-Höller, Installation View Carsten-Höller <em>Decision</em> Hayward Gallery London 2015. Courtesy the artist Photo &copy; Linda Nylind)</span></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 12:03:57 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Art Is Good, in Theory <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Do we make the assumption that art is good for us? If so, on what evidence do we base that assumption?&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There are intelligent voices ready to tell us that it is.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><a name="ftnref1text"></a><a href="#ftnref1">[1]</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But really if you want to see the value of the arts, and its contestation, all you need do is look at the struggle that is currently taking place in the UK to maintain arts funding in the face of a neo-liberal austerity drive. A discourse that is strictly along the lines of:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Yeah I know but, like, in the end what is it really worth?&rdquo;<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&ldquo;Ha, an arts degree, <a href="http://www.artslant.com/sf/articles/show/43452" target="_blank">what good is that in the world?</a>&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Etc.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">They might have a point. [Says a man with two.]</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In funding wars, art generally gets placed in opposition to science, maths, engineering, computing. What we might call "the practical skills."<a name="ftnref2text"></a><a href="#ftnref2">[2]</a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This argument is kind of long, and boring, and dumb, and is often premised on a harshly economic basis, whereby the fact that arts don&rsquo;t "make any money" is a reason not to fund them.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But anyway. Putting to one side the study of art and munificence thereof&mdash;the question here really is: Is art a benevolent force?</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">And this is often how the counterargument to the above goes&mdash;the idea that there is something intrinsically <em>good</em> in art,&nbsp;that it is a good thing to have in the world. <strong>Bataille</strong> called us the "art making animal," after all.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Alain de Botton</strong>, meanwhile, says this:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It is a therapeutic medium that can guide, exhort, strengthen and console its viewers, helping them to become better versions of&nbsp;themselves.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Note that he says its <em>viewers</em>. So just looking at art makes you a better person.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">To me this all sounds a bit Victorian, as in, "if we were all just a bit more civilized, we&rsquo;d all be much happier." And, you know, for as much as this is true I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s the biggest revelation.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But maybe what he&rsquo;s really talking about is self-actualization.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">OED definition:</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The&nbsp;realization&nbsp;or&nbsp;fulfilment&nbsp;of one&rsquo;s&nbsp;talents&nbsp;and&nbsp;potentialities, especially considered as a drive or&nbsp;need&nbsp;present in everyone.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Self-actualization tops Maslow&rsquo;s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs" target="_blank">Pyramid of Needs</a>. And art? It's a form of generally "purposeless" self-expression that equates to self-actualization, in the sense that we all need "to release our inner poetry," and can do so by learning to appreciate other people&rsquo;s work.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">And there&rsquo;s a corollary to this: that art somehow gives our existence a context through which we can understand it (this function would seem to be increasingly important within today&rsquo;s entropic and disorientating atmosphere).</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I&rsquo;d add two other facets to our idea of the "goodness" of art:</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><br /></span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">1. Art as the voice of dissent/freedom. The subversive element; a voice of truth.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;<br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">2. And a religious idea: art as a vehicle of mysticism; fetishism; spiritualism.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This is how we consider art to be <em>morally</em> good. Our topic is conscience, that&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re talking about here, we&rsquo;re saying that art is <em>morally</em> good.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But not everyone agrees.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708205616-Rembrandt_van_Rijn_-_A_Polish_Nobleman_-_1637.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;Rembrandt van Rijn, <em>A Polish Nobleman,</em> 1637</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Most notably, of course, <strong>Plato</strong>: the banishment of the poets by the philosopher king in book ten of <em>The Republic</em>. They pretend to know things, but in fact they know nothing. They portray the worst part of souls (i.e. not the rational part) and they&rsquo;re two steps away from the platonic world of forms, even <em>further</em> away than reality itself. Crazy stuff. Although, he does say he would let them back in, if someone talked him round. But then he died.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Aristotle</strong> was pro:&nbsp;<em>The Poetics</em>, Katharsis, etc.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Then there&rsquo;s <strong>Hegel</strong>. In one sense, he&rsquo;s very pro. Art sits alongside Religion and Philosophy as it expresses <em>Geist</em> (spirit) too, expressed in made things, visibly or audibly perceivable. The sensuous expression of this is beauty. He also expounds "<a href="https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/ae/ch03.htm#45" target="_blank">comes consciousness of itself</a>"&mdash;and this happens most easily through perception (it's that idea of self-actualization again). Hegel was a fan of figurative art. He&rsquo;d spend his time looking at Rembrandt. (And back then, you couldn&rsquo;t get art on your phone, or in a book. You actually had to travel to where it was.)</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Given that Hegel was a contemporary of both Beethoven and Goethe, it's surprising that he also thought the need for art would fade away, that the need for it would end as <em>Geist</em> reaches its full realization, bringing with it the "end of art" as thing.<a name="ftnref3text"></a><a href="#ftnref3">[3]</a> Or perhaps he was just incredibly perceptive, and looked around, and thought, <em>it can&rsquo;t get any better than this</em>. His point of view also had a lot to do with the fact he saw art progressing historically from the symbolic, the classical, the romantic.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In terms of philosophy and art this is all the classical stuff. The modern starts with <strong>Nietzsche</strong>:&nbsp;</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The existence of the world is justified only as an aesthetic phenomena.</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Kapow!</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This quote is from the reissue introduction, <em><a class="extiw" title="s:An Attempt at Self-Criticism" href="https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/An_Attempt_at_Self-Criticism">An Attempt at Self-Criticism</a></em>,&nbsp;to his first book,&nbsp;<em>The Birth of Tragedy</em> that he wrote 14 years earlier. Nietzsche</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;was the first one to fully introduce the idea of the ambiguity of art.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In <em>The Birth of Tragedy</em>, he opposed Apollonian impulses (rational, ordered) against Dionysian impulses (wild/irrational, chaotic, untamed, drunk, etc.) and gave examples of each, but the much more fun part is the introduction.<a name="ftnref4text"></a><a href="#ftnref4">[4]</a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;[</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">I recommend you read the little section in footnote, he is wild.]</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Nietzsche ties art to a profoundly <em>ambiguous</em> morality; he kind of agrees with Hegel that it is sign of our human predicament, but without Hegel&rsquo;s utopian teleology. He sees our need for art pessimistically, that it comes about because we are the most contradictory of beings. He talks about something profoundly human, that touches on the unconscious (in both a Freudian and Jungian way), a spirit within us. Bataille was influenced by Nietzsche after all.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But he definitely doesn't consider art as good </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">per se</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708205957-memories-of-travel-1911.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Luigi Russolo,&nbsp;<em>The Revolt,</em>&nbsp;1911, Collection: Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague &copy; The Estate of Luigi Russolo</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It&rsquo;s important that Nietzsche places art within the phenomenal world in the final sentence, because next up is <strong>Heidegger</strong>.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">But before we get there, it's worth thinking about what art came after Nietzsche, post-"god is dead": your avant garde movements like DADA, Surrealism, Futurism, German Expressionism. DADA was important because, you know, this was killing off God (probably last expressed by Picasso) and of course the Futurists, along with Dal&iacute;, were sucked into fascism.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Which brings us nicely to Heidegger. [Bad joke.]</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In his "post-turn" work Heidegger redeems art as an unmitigated force for good. In his essay "What Are Poets For?" he argues that it is the only point of access to re-find the spiritual dimension, to re-find the gods [note the plural]. The lack of religious sense is something Heidegger thinks is terrible for humanity&mdash;he talks of the abyss, and so on.<a name="ftnref5text"></a><a href="#ftnref5">[5]</a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Art, or "poetic thinking" is also an important counterfoil to "technological thinking," an idea that is expressed in a number of different permutations in Heidegger.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The thing with Heidegger is that he&rsquo;s a phenomenologist. So he brings all these grand ideas down to the point of experiencing reality: technological thinking is where everything you see is weighed and assessed for value, an objective/use value, whereas poetic thinking is where you see the value of the thing in itself. [Maybe a morality of the heart.]</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There is a strongly moral dimension to poetic thinking. It's religious to the point of perception. Heidegger's assessment of the prevalence of technological thinking is dire (t</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">his was all before we lived in a world with the prevailing economic system).</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It&rsquo;s worth noting that what Heidegger has done is, in a way, invert Plato's ideas, in that instead of art taking us <em>away</em> from a metaphysical plane, it brings us closer to a kind of metaphysical plane in the world, in Being&mdash;although technically, it&rsquo;s not metaphysical, it's actually the opposite.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">If you search around for how these ideas might be seen in art roughly contemporary to Heidegger, it could be as prosaic as pop music, songs with lyrics (he believed poetry was the preeminent art form), or you could find this religious encounter in Abstract Expressionism.<a name="ftnref6text"></a><a href="#ftnref6">[6]</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">To quote <strong>Barnett Newman</strong> in&nbsp;<em>The Plasmic Image:</em></span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Surrealism is interested in a dream world that will penetrate the human psyche. To that extent it is a mundane expression&hellip; the present painter is concerned not with his own feelings or with the mystery of his own personality, but with the penetration into the world of mystery. His imagination is therefore attempting to dig into metaphysical secrets. To that extent his art is concerned with the sublime.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">So, the sublime being a good thing.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Which brings us to today, and a very different world from the 1950s.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">And the question we come up against are:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>How do we understand morality today?</em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">and its two subsidiaries:</span></p> <blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>Where do we as individuals discover it?</em></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;<br /></span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">How do we as a society express it?</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</em></p> </blockquote> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708210206-Hans_Belmar_Adjustable_Doll__second_version_1935.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Hans Bellmer,&nbsp;<em>La Poup&eacute;e Poup&eacute;e</em>, 1935-6.&nbsp;Collection:&nbsp;Centre Georges Pompidou,&nbsp;Mus&eacute;e national d' Art moderne, Paris&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; padding-left: 30px; text-align: center;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>Michael Sandel</strong> frames our problems within a pluralist society quite well. Morality is based on the idea of what good is, the Aristotelian "good life," but in a world of "free" individuals we all have different ideas of what this might be. Society always places boundaries on freedom, some not significantly contested, like basic laws, others more so, like more benign modes of behavior. The tension arises from negotiating the boundaries between these two things: the interaction between society and the individual.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A nice analogy for me here is that it&rsquo;s like the eternal tension of being a critic, the challenge you face when writing about art: part wants to be the objective voice, the one who judges value and shares those values with others&mdash;but this is dictatorial. The other part retreats to subjectivity and only puts forward an individual opinion&mdash;but this lacks authority.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The situation today is that the market has stepped into this void: money is presented as objective, not only a shorthand to allow individuals to have all the things they want, but also a "free" system whereby the collective subjectivities together form a "true" objectivity.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In politics, this is most often presented as the idea that what is good for the economy is good for us all&mdash;or in art, as with many other things, that would mean, what is expensive is good.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Now sure, there are many different ways to attack the idea that what is expensive is good: it&rsquo;s enough to use your own eyes and brain&mdash;but this idea isn't very popular. Just go and try to be a critic at an art fair, and you very quickly realize that you&rsquo;re singing from the wrong hymn sheet, because any contrary voice is made to look like it&rsquo;s a spanner to the smooth running of the machine that is good for us all. And it is.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150708210601-Jeremy_Deller__Battle_of_Orgreave__Dir._Mike_Figgis__film_still.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Jeremy Deller, <em>Battle of Orgreave</em>, Dir. Mike Figgis, film still.&nbsp;&copy; Jeremy Deller. Commissioned and produced by Artangel&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In&nbsp;<em>The Perfect Crime</em> the grumpy old man that was <strong>Jean Baudrillard</strong> fiercely critiqued the art world for creating the value system by which it is judged.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The art market is a very "pure" capitalist market: the value attached to art objects is "free" value, created by the market itself. And the relationship between the art world and the art market is very unclear, the one having permeated the other.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The things about value systems created by themselves is that they are very far from the moral ideal as we understand it: as in what we think of as the right way to live, the right way to act.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It&rsquo;s the problem when the proxy becomes the thing itself; instead of being a conduit to the good life, it is what&rsquo;s perceived as the good life.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Now, don&rsquo;t get me wrong&mdash;I&rsquo;m not saying that art doesn&rsquo;t have any purchase in this situation, that there aren&rsquo;t a million acts and gestures in response, but maybe we&rsquo;re back again with <strong>De Certeau</strong>&rsquo;s individual tactics against the strategies of market structures [see footnote 1].&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The problem is that in order to establish a platform, you have to conform to certain standards, most simply put, you need to have value.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">One of the most high profile tactics used by artists in this situation brings us back to Nietzsche&rsquo;s <em>ambiguity</em>.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This ambiguity allows artists to do tricky things&mdash;<strong>Jeff Koons</strong> being an easy example. He is, in a sense, the master of both having his cake and eating it. Shiny pretty kitsch that sells for millions of dollars and, through its </span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">total</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> shiny pretty kitchness, critiques the market for paying millions of dollars for such shiny crap, crap that is also kind of beautiful. <span style="background-color: #f6f608;"><br /></span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In part this is preserving the essential unstable core of a genuine piece of art, and in another it&rsquo;s getting trapped into a dilemma similar to the one put forward by Sandel: refusing to be one thing or another.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">While this is one artist&rsquo;s problem, if we look at art as a whole there is one thing we can guarantee: it will always be appropriated by the dominant orthodoxy of the day, be that Christianity, Totalitarianism, or Capitalism, so the problem <em>we</em> face is in a way the same problem Koons faces: when the dollar signs are this large, critique of the system becomes a difficult exercise.<a name="ftnref7text"></a><a href="#ftnref7">[7]</a></span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">This is perhaps the ultimate dishonesty of art, that it will never be pinned down; it will never be one thing. So, while it might become a toy for the whims of the world&rsquo;s uber-rich and a system entirely designed to favor them, at the same time it also presents one of the few means to attack and subvert those systems and attitudes.<a href="#ftnref8">[8]</a><a name="ftnref8text"></a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the end maybe this is the bottom line: we can&rsquo;t expect or imagine art to have a moral compass, and, in its multiplicity and uncertainty, its impenetrability, it seems doubtful that art comprises a formula to make us all better people. It&rsquo;s maybe wilful utopianism (or desperation) to imagine that it is. It also perhaps begs the question of whether or not it&rsquo;s actually down to art to make the world better. Surely that would, collectively, be our job. If we want better art, we&rsquo;d need to make a better world first.&nbsp;</span></p> <div style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</div> <div style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/273879-james-loks?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">James Loks</a></span></div> <div style="line-height: 26px;"><br clear="all" /><hr style="line-height: 26px;" align="left" size="1" width="33%" /> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="ftnref1"></a><a href="#ftnref1text">[1]</a> In Britain Alain de Botton has that humanistic thing going on where the viewing of art is all personal development and the growth of the individual.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Whereas for Michel de Certeau art could be a repertoire of tactics, a way to tackle the &lsquo;strategic&rsquo; structure, a means of achieving individual autonomy.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">If you stretch your imagination you could imagine art as a means to short circuit Pierre Bourdieau&rsquo;s structures of power, the &lsquo;artist&rsquo; as a class has traditionally sat outside the rigid strictures of class and social standing.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">These are three basically arbitrary examples.</span></p> </div> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="ftnref2"></a><a href="#ftnref2text">[2]</a> They are not practical.</span></p> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="ftnref3"></a><a href="#ftnref3text">[3]</a>&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;">Any discussion around Hegel and Aesthetics is often dominated by his &ldquo;End of Art Thesis - Hegel&rsquo;s Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Arts." (Translated by T. M. Knox. Oxford; The Clarendon Press, 1975. 10).</span></p> </div> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="ftnref4"></a><a href="#ftnref4text">[4]</a>&ldquo;the book acknowledges only an artist&rsquo;s meaning behind all that happens&mdash;a &lsquo;god&rsquo; if you will, but certainly only an utterly unscrupulous and <em>amoral</em> artist-god who frees himself form the dire pressure of fullness and over-fullness, from suffering the oppositions packed within him, and who wishes to become conscious of his autarchic power and constant delight and desire, whether he is building or destroying, whether acting benignly or malevolently. The world as release and redemption of god, achieved at each and every moment, as the eternally changing, eternally <em>new</em> vision of the most suffering being of all, the being most full of oppositions and contradictions, able to redeem and release itself only in semblance; one may say that this whole artist&rsquo;s metaphysics is capricious, otiose, fantastical&mdash;but its essential feature is that it already betrays a spirit which will defend itself one day, whatever the danger, against the <em>moral</em> interpretation and significance of existence. Here, perhaps for the first time, a pessimism &lsquo;beyond good and evil&rsquo; announces itself, here that perverse mentality itself within the phenomenal world, to degrade it and to place it not merely among the phenomena, but even among the deceptions, as semblance, delusions, error, interpretation, manipulation, art.&rdquo; [italics are mine]</span></p> </div> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="ftnref5"></a><a href="#ftnref5text">[5]</a> For Heidegger this idea was connected to Hegel&rsquo;s idea of the progression of art. In the symbolic era art is a form of communication with the gods, you make art to make the gods happy and get something you want, i.e. an animal in the hunt. In the classical period the art <em>became</em> the god, so classical sculpture, in the Greek temple etc., is actually a physical manifestation of the god itself, example of this perhaps being the oracle at Delphi. In the romantic period the image of man replaces the image of god, both in art and in actual Christianity. In art it is best represented by the figure of the genius, this is a combination of god and man. So far so good, from there, for Heidegger, we begin to realise that the figure of the man-god is just a chimera and nothing lies behind it, nothing other than the absence of the gods, the empty space where the gods once were before we scared them off. For this reason all kinds of pantheistic beliefs have been attached to him, and probably not without good reason.</span></p> </div> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="ftnref6"></a><a href="#ftnref6text">[6]</a> Contemporary examples of this kind of spiritual art might be Olafur Eliasson or Matthew Barney.</span></p> </div> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="ftnref7"></a><a href="#ftnref7text">[7]</a> One of the other problems of the art market is that it isn&rsquo;t entirely ineffective as a means of judging work, the most expensive living artists are people you kind of need to respect as valuable artists in one way or another, even if it&rsquo;s uncertain they will be remembered as the greatest of their generation in one hundred years.</span></p> </div> <div style="line-height: 26px;"> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: small;"><a name="ftnref8"></a><a href="#ftnref8text">[8]</a> If you want more effective examples of critique than Koons, I could give you Barbara Kruger&rsquo;s &ldquo;When I hear the world culture I take out my checkbook,&rdquo; Jenny Holzer &ldquo;Protect me from what I want,&rdquo; Jeremy Deller&rsquo;s reconstructions, or Aleksandr Brener&rsquo;s suprematist gesture. These are obviously a fraction, and it&rsquo;s an interesting question to ask: who offers the strongest critique of capitalism through their work?&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;">&nbsp;</p> <div><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: Matthew Barney as Entered Apprentice,&nbsp;Matthew Barney, <em>Cremaster 3: The Third Degree,</em> 2002, Produktionsphotographie&nbsp;Aus:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cremaster.net/crem3.htm" target="_blank">www.cremaster.net/crem3.htm</a>, 12.01.2009 (Ausschnitt))</span></div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 14:59:38 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Love Locks vs. Street Art: On Self-Expression in Public Space <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Romantics looking to express their love with a padlock on Les Pont des Arts over the Canal Saint Martin in Paris are in need to find another place to do it: the famed "love locks" bridge was finally deemed a safety hazard, due to the weight of the huge quantity of locks left there by lovers. At&nbsp;the beginning of June&nbsp;local officials put an end to the tradition, removing some 45 metric tonnes of locks off the bridge. But the public&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">reactions surrounding the municipal action have generated a wider conversation about the emotional significance of public space in the city.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150703203911-bridge1.jpg" alt="" /><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photo via <a href="http://itinerrance.fr/hors-les-murs/pont-des-arts/" target="_blank">Galerie Itinerrance</a>. Art by Jace</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">While there was an online ripple lamenting the removal of the locks&mdash;lovers traditionally go to leave a padlock and throw the key into the river Seine&mdash;the&nbsp;<a href="mailto:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/01/pont-des-artes-love-locks-removed-after-parisians-fall-out-of-love-with-eyesore"><em>Guardian</em></a> reports that others, such as Parisian denizens Lisa Anselmo and Lisa Taylor Huff, began a petition to remove the locks. They called the act a &ldquo;destructive trend&rdquo; while Paris Deputy Mayor Bruno Julliard called it &ldquo;ugly.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 26px;">What is interesting about this conflicting public opinion is that, interventions in public space, whether sanctioned or not, provoke a divisive emotional reaction that shows us a lot about the collective psychology of space and what we believe should be in it.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Ironically, when the locks were removed, murals derived from the most divisive art form&mdash;graffiti&mdash;replaced them:&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Mehdi Ben Cheikh of </span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://itinerrance.fr/" target="_blank">Galerie Itinerrance</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;brought together four artists&mdash;Brusk, eL Seed, Pantonio, and Jace&mdash;to create works on the bridge which paid homage to the long-lost love locks.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Over a span of 220 panels, they transformed the bridge into an outdoor canvas. But again, a battle over the bridge ensued, and the reaction to the new art was not completely favorable. According to&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://hyperallergic.com/213991/in-place-of-love-locks-a-paris-bridge-gets-street-art/" target="_blank">Hyperallergic</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">, one of the commissioned works was tagged with the words &ldquo;Oui Sont Les Cadenas?&rdquo; (Where are the padlocks?).</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150703204010-Screen_Shot_2015-07-03_at_11.35.06_AM.png" alt="" /><span style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Where are the padlocks? Photo via in_your_opinion on <a href="mailto:https://instagram.com/p/3zF9huGRBG/%3Ftaken-by=in_your_opinion">Instagram<br /></a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The bridge has almost become a turf war, with angry lovers defending a space that they believe should remain theirs. Though local authority controls the space, and deemed the removal of the locks necessary for public safety, the decision on how to replace what once inhabited the space has prompted strong responses. The tags over the artwork in themselves are reaction against the transformation of a communal space that held so much sentimental value.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150703204030-bridge2.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Photo via&nbsp;<a href="http://itinerrance.fr/hors-les-murs/pont-des-arts/" target="_blank">Galerie Itinerrance</a><br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">With or without its locks, it might be difficult to erase the association of the bridge as a site for public expression. By controlling the space with commissioned artworks, there has been no room left for the public to leave their own mark there. The locks left behind something more than the promise of finding everlasting love in Paris: they were a way for visitors and locals to connect with the public space&mdash;and the idea that a small action can carry enduring meaning.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/347546-eva-recinos?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Eva Recinos</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top: The bridge before it&rsquo;s makeover. Photo via Lisa Norwood,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanorwood/13987670428/in/photolist-nj3t6w-bhAy3V-dbRbox-bhAywP-nPaQwK-p8DdLD-ekjkRm-ftooc2-b6MqtB-i9HDzt-sM3fU-ahYRLg-2r9ai-fYfLXn-eWLcC9-eHoyjU-3261Y-aeKCnx-8VYA2u-7rkMDV-h2jK91-eduZWZ-2r9af-2qLYF-a5bxeo-2r9" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a>.)</span></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 06:49:46 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Learning from Athens: How Can <em>documenta 14</em> Respond to the Greek Crisis? <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">It's been one of the most turbulent weeks in the modern history of Greece. The nation's position within <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/06/greek-referendum-optimism-fades-eurozone-yanis-varoufakis">the eurozone remains precarious</a> following the results of Sunday's referendum when Greek voters chose to reject the austerity terms of an EU bailout. Their decision follows a week of last minute talks,</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;banks closing their doors, the imposition of capital controls, and</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;non-compliance on the country's IMF payment deadline last Tuesday. The so-called "Grexit,&rdquo;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">equally feared and desired by different camps, seems all the more real as an option following yesterday's "no" vote. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">For now anti-austerity protests have given way to voter celebration, occurring alongside new questions about how to salvage Greece&rsquo;s place within the EU. And all of this is happening at breakneck speed, with a deep and immediate impact on people&rsquo;s daily lives&mdash;including the arts and its role as a political interlocutor.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><iframe src="https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/world/video/2015/jun/30/greek-rally-no-vote-refereundum-athens-video" frameborder="0" width="560" height="315"></iframe></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Via the <em>Guardian</em></span><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">In advance of Sunday's "no" vote, I initiated a transatlantic conversation with artist Stefanos Tsivopoulos, who is currently based in New York. In our conversation, below, Tsivopoulos reflects on the state of the arts in Greece as well as on his own work and how art can respond to its political context.&nbsp;We try to the best of our joint ability as arts practitioners to make sense of the situation, which affects us both.&nbsp;<br /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">Our dialogue takes place in the light of this economic and political setting, but also in the knowledge that <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/40998" target="_blank">Athens will be one of two sites for the mega-exhibition&nbsp;</a></span><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/40998" target="_blank"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">documenta 14</span></em></a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;(set to open 2017 in both Greece and in Kassel, Germany). In a time of debt and national crisis, does reality supersede art, or can we make history while debating it?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Held every four or five years in Kassel since 1955, <em>documenta</em> was founded as a site to rekindle international cultural relations and to inspire a post-war generation of young German artists, poets, and writers as to &ldquo;what inheritance they must nurture and what inheritance must be overcome.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Last year, d<em>ocumenta 14</em>'s lead curator&nbsp;Adam Szymczyk and his curatorial collaborators announced that Athens would be added as a second host city in 2017, highlighting its unique position at the edge of Europe, which makes it one of the first ports for immigration from the neighboring continents. Under the heading &ldquo;Learning from Athens&rdquo; the concept of&nbsp;</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">documenta 14</em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;postulates Athens as a geographical site, not just for debate leading up to the exhibition itself, but for an exhibition occurring concurrently with Kassel.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">History may be about to take a turn, and t</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">his could be a game changer for <em>documenta</em>&rsquo;s makers and collaborators both logistically, and perhaps over time, conceptually.&nbsp;Szymczyk spoke to&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="%20http://www.zeit.de/kultur/kunst/2015-07/adam-szymczyk-athen-griechenland-documenta/" target="_blank"><em>German Zeit</em></a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"> magazine on Friday, re-iterating the premise of <em>documenta</em> to &ldquo;learn from Athens&rdquo; as well as pleading (to a German audience) not to vilify or, as he put it, "infantilize&rdquo; the Greek position. He re-asserts that whatever may happen, <em>documenta</em> in both Kassel and Athens will be a platform for artists and curators to discuss current events.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In light of Szymczyk&rsquo;s resolve to comment directly on real-time political events in the arts, it begs the question whether <em>documenta 14</em> will override individual artistic concerns, or help fuel any grassroots actions. Perhaps the exhibition will become the test site for this debate.</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">The current acute crisis in the European Union has dominated public attention and it will likely continue to influence the working context for both <em>documenta</em> and the Athens Biennale, <em><a href="http://www.athensbiennale.org" target="_blank">OMONOIA</a>,</em>&nbsp;set to run for a whole two years from October 2015 until June 2017.</span></p> <hr /> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150703200815-De_Sousa__Greece_HISTORY_ZERO_tsivoploulos.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Stefanos Tsivopoulos<em>, History Zero, 2013 Episode 1, </em>Arri Alexa 2.35:1, Dolby surround 7.1.&nbsp;2K transferred on media player. Three episodes, 11 minutes each. Total duration, 33 minutes. Courtesy the artist</span><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><em style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">BdS: Stefanos, i</span></strong><strong style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">n 2012, your participatory performance lecture&nbsp;<em>Castoriadis Marathon</em> referred to the Greek economist and psychologist. The work cites his views on the ecological crisis, the extreme inequality of the division of wealth between rich countries and poor countries, the near-impossibility of the system to continue on its present course. In a way you prophesized</span></strong><strong style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;today's events in 2012. What moved you to make this work, and other pieces like it that respond to these political issues?</span></strong>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ST:<em>&nbsp;</em></strong>The Greek crisis was established when the word "Grexit" appeared in the months ahead of the national elections of May 2012. It was at the time that Golden Dawn came third party and Syriza second. Things were unravelling and there was lots of civil unrest. In my mind, Castoriades' prophetic thought gave shape and words to the deep class divisions, the income inequality, social injustice, and even more importantly to the lack of <em>collective imaginary, </em>that were dominating the Greek society. <em>Castoriades Marathon</em> was conceived as a participatory performance that I presented together with other works for the first time in Elefsina a port town, near Athens. Elefsina in the 80s used to have 60 percent of Greece's heavy industry. Fast-forward 30 years, the place is a destroyed landscape, a battlefield between labor unions, industrialists and the political establishment. I found in Elefsina the perfect showcase of what contemporary Greece is: a place, in which all contrasts, divisions, and conflicts erupt and the results are obvious to see. <em>Castoriades Marathon</em>&nbsp;was performed by citizens of Elefsina, who voluntarily responded to my call. Other works included <em>Geometry of Fear</em>, a single-channel video about the empty Greek parliament shot during the transitory election period between May and June 2012 in which Greece was without government.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150703200859-De_Sousa_Tsivopoulos_Eleusis.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Stefanos Tsivolpoulos, <em>Eleusis</em> (2012),&nbsp; (Part 1), single channel video installation, Arri Alexa 4K transferred on Blu-ray disc, 16:9 color, stereo sound. Duration 38 min, (Part 2), synchronized triple channel video installation, Arri Alexa 4K transferred on Blu-ray disc, 16:9 color,&nbsp;stereo sound.&nbsp;Duration 13 min, (Part 3), single channel video installation, Arri Alexa 4K transferred on Blu-ray disc, 16:9 color, stereo sound. Duration 9 min. Courtesy the artist</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">BdS: Aside from the more current debates the initial brief of <em>documenta</em> refers to Athens being on the edge of Europe and the first port of call for many migrants. When travelling to Athens, the presence of homeless migrants is immediately present in the city, precariously juxtaposed with the lives of many ordinary Greeks under apparent financial pressure. This is a topic you have touched upon in your work in various ways.<em>&nbsp;</em></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ST:</strong> I think Greece's geographical and cultural position has been historically identified in the crossroads of West and East. I believe that is very true to this day and that it should reflect on its policy towards immigration too. Greece should open its borders to immigrants from everywhere and build an open society that goes beyond nationalist barriers. I am the son of immigrants. My mother is Iranian and my father's family lived in political exile for years out of Greece. I have been living and working outside Greece for a long time now and every time I revisit my country I feel like a newcomer. This distance creates a relationship of <em>known unknown</em> with Greece. All personal questions and soul-searching about cultural identity and origin are reflected in my work, mainly by referring to issues of cultural displacement and political and economic mobility.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">BdS: Athens has been described as one of the new hotbeds for art. It seems that a mixture of established collections committed to contemporary art and a financial and infrastructural crisis in society make for the kind of backdrop which fuels debate in the arts. How do you view the impact the general crisis has had on the cultural sector in Greece?&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><br /></span></strong></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ST:</strong> The situation is slightly more complex. On an institutional and state level, things are bad. There is no financial planning from the state to fund contemporary art activities now or in the future. The inaugural opening of the new Athens Museum of Contemporary Art will be delayed further because the officially elected director was removed from her position because of infrastructural problems. The <a href="http://thessalonikibiennale.gr/en/" target="_blank">Thessaloniki Biennial</a>, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, was not sure that it would open its 5th edition until two weeks before its scheduled opening on June 23. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">There isn't anything like an established arts council in Greece that can act as mediator and build partnerships between state policies and private funding. Yes, at the moment there are a couple of collectors who are resuming the responsibility of the state acting as an arts council and they're doing a great job! They revitalized the local scene, commissioned Greek artists to do new productions, something that never happened before. They bring artists from abroad and organize shows in Greece. </span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">At the same time several new artist initiatives are sprouting all over the city contributing to a developing and vivid scene. We also see artists forming lots of art groups, and communal, participatory projects are more common than ever. Overall there is a sense of solidarity in the Greek scene in a way that I haven't witnessed in the commercially established art centers. What the art scene of Athens is lacking in my mind is consistency and structure. For example, several art initiatives do not have a long term plan and the lack of money shortens the projects. I also want to believe that committed art lovers and collectors will continue investing and helping Greek artists in 5 or 10 years from now, and that's not just a fluke. I truly think it's a powerful moment for the arts given the magnitude of the crisis, but we also have to think how all this translates into foundational work for the future and not just our 15 minutes of fame.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/101642/4cut/20150703200718-De_Sousa_Tsivopoulos_I_Rebel_Therefore_We_Exist_.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">Stefanos Tsivopoulos<em>, I Rebel, Therefore we Exist, 2012, </em>multi-facetted video installation, image Courtesy the Artist</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">BdS: The cooperation between <em>documenta </em>in Kassel and Athens was conceived when the knife-edge situation we have seen develop over the last few months didn't exist. In fact, there was no Syriza then. The situation has only changed recently with the currently collapsing and seemingly endless negotiations around the Greek national debt mountain, and the renewed threat of a "Grexit." Do you think art can deal with events of such magnitude in real-time?</span></strong><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><strong>ST:</strong> While I'm writing these lines, the news-feed of the<em> Guardian</em> reports on the "Shock Referendum" called by Syriza to decide upon the creditor's bailout to Greece, a precarious new condition with unknown effects. This situation is beyond my grasp of understanding and I feel both as a citizen and as an artist totally powerless. Right now I don't think that art can succeed in being even relevant with events of such magnitude. I can't even start thinking what the role a powerful institution like <em>documenta</em> Kassel can create for itself by working in Greece now. That doesn't mean that we as artists and citizens of this country and Europe shouldn't try. <em>Documenta</em>'s relevance for Greece depends a lot on whether we as local community can take advantage of it. If <em>documenta 14's</em> motto is "Learning from Athens," we Greeks should also claim our right in "learning from <em>documenta.</em>" Perhaps as a society we need a <em>documenta </em>now more than ever.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/409489-bea-de-sousa?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Bea de Sousa</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Stefanos Tsivopoulos represented Greece in the 55th&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Venice Biennale 2013 with his film and archive installation </span></em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">History Zero</span><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">. His work continually reflects on the ideal of archives and questions of historical truth. His works are shown in major institutions internationally. He was born in Prague but lives in Amsterdam and New York. Current exhibitions of his work are at the&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.kunsthaus.ch/en/exhibitions/current/europe/," target="_blank">Kunsthaus Zurich</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;and&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;" href="http://www.macba.cat/en/expo-beast-sovereign" target="_blank">MACBA, Barcelona</a><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">.</span></em></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(Image at the top:&nbsp;Photo: Nils Klinger, Courtesy documenta 13 01)</span></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 14:50:16 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Evol Brings East Berlin to Chelsea, with Talk of Gentrification <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Gentrification is the big bad wolf in the modern day urban party. Never formally invited, it heard of the gathering by word of mouth and will restlessly attempt to enter even if it has to blow the entire structure down. No one likes it&mdash;neither the apologetic gentrifier nor the displaced community who lack enough financial clout or power to resist or keep up with the shift. It barrels forward as if it has no memory of itself, all history lessons completely erased. After it passes, the area has a new face: cultural and physical landscapes are transformed, a coat of fresh paint is at once attractive and hollowing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In his show Un<em>real Estate </em>at Jonathan LeVine artist Evol brings a familiar conversation back to New York&rsquo;s Chelsea art district, a place where art itself played a role in transforming a neighborhood and changing the real estate market.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150701094414-IMG_3376.jpg" alt="" /><em style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Freudenberg</em><em style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</em><span style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">(left). All images:&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: x-small; text-align: center;">Frankie Galland</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">Altering streets is nothing new to Berlin-based Evol. His trompe-l'oeil paintings of residential buildings in East Berlin are deceivingly realistic and commonly found on surfaces common to the streets: on cardboard boxes to be framed and placed inside of an art institution, or on outdoor electrical boxes and cement slabs that remain in their native environments. The tenements he recreates in miniature are usually depicted in daylight and in a state of vacancy&mdash;as if they house a working class who use the space for little more than sleep. There is a continual awareness of the ordinary, established city block. Tears and holes on the fa&ccedil;ade of his painted buildings are cleverly matched the defects that his cardboard canvases already had; tears, folds, tape residue, and packing labels become features in his painted buildings, the imperfections suggesting the neighborhood&rsquo;s history and battles.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150701094954-IMG_3418.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">HHHaus</span></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">These architectural scars (in the artwork and in real life) may be charming to a visitor, but to Evol they &ldquo;symbolize the possibility of a certain freedom.&rdquo; In less affluent neighborhoods, there is more room to self-govern, to try and start a business or to openly struggle. With the rise of luxury condos comes a shift for the responsibility of culture&mdash;the ability to create culture versus consume it&mdash;and this exchange is mirrored in the architecture.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">In the front of the gallery there is a <a href="http://jonathanlevinegallery.com/?method=Exhibit.ExhibitArt&amp;exhibitID=33212292-EC67-1E67-49CC4C6E4845E5DB&amp;artidx=15&amp;artistidx=1" target="_blank">broken window</a> painted on a cardboard box. Through the holes of another painting we can see construction undertaken inside a building&rsquo;s gutted shell. In <a href="http://jonathanlevinegallery.com/?method=Exhibit.ExhibitArt&amp;ExhibitID=33212292-EC67-1E67-49CC4C6E4845E5DB&amp;ArtistID=F9E9CFCC-19DB-5802-E030DBBB24EB505E&amp;artidx=11&amp;artistidx=1" target="_blank"><em>Who's afraid of Yellow, Orange and Blue?</em></a>, a long, warehouse-like structure is covered in graffiti; the sun casts a shadow of scaffolding on a residential building in <em><a href="http://jonathanlevinegallery.com/?method=Exhibit.ExhibitArt&amp;exhibitID=33212292-EC67-1E67-49CC4C6E4845E5DB&amp;artidx=12&amp;artistidx=1" target="_blank">Shadows of Things to Come</a>. </em>Moving towards the back of the gallery, the work becomes more surreal and also more like an installation.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/32120/1dkh/20150701094535-IMG_3348.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">A funhouse mirror hangs opposite the show&rsquo;s only sculpture, which is a typical Evol city building spray-painted on a cardboard box, leaning against the wall. However a sticker on it reveals a New York City address. All reflections in the mirror are warped: the building along with the gallery hopper viewing the artwork along with the leisurely white walls of the gallery. Everything is caught in the eye of gentrification, participating in its rituals, brought together by this moment of awareness in the artwork&rsquo;s contorted reflection.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/361782-stephanie-berzon?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Stephanie Berzon</a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: x-small;">(All photos: Frankie Galland)</span></p> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:35:45 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list Exposing Visual Rhymes: An Interview with Mario Ybarra Jr. <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em><strong>This interview was <a href="http://www.artslant.com/chi/artists/rackroom/450" target="_blank">originally published</a> way back on ArtSlant Chicago, in May, 2008, on the occasion of&nbsp; Mario Ybarra Jr.'s exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. The LA-based artist is known for his installations drawing from pop and street culture, including a recent solo show examining the mythos of Scarface at LA's Honor Fraser Gallery. Right now his work can be found <a href="http://nomadicdivision.org/exhibition/mario-ybarra-jr/" target="_blank">on a billboard in Mobile, AL</a>, part of Los Angeles Nomadic Division's Manifest Destiny Project.</strong></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"> Mario Ybarra, Jr. is a LA-based visual and performance artist who has created room-sized installations all over the world and most recently right here in Chicago for the Art Institute of Chicago. This year Ybarra was also selected to participate in the Whitney Biennial. Beneath Ybarra's friendly demeanor lies a keen observer who is quick to expose visual rhymes in seemingly unrelated sources and to expand and build upon those connections until a cohesion is reached, or as he might say, a story. Ybarra graciously met with ArtSlant's Abraham Ritchie while putting the finishing touches on his installation at the Art Institute. Ever the raconteur, Ybarra talked about his native LA, baseball and King Arthur. Below is an excerpt of our conversation.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img style="margin: 10px auto; vertical-align: middle; display: block;" src="/userimages/3151/PICT0018.JPG" alt="" /></span></p> <hr style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;" /> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>Abraham Richie: I think a lot of Chicagoans, and everyone, might want to know what the connection is between Southern Los Angeles, Catalina Island and Wrigley Field? It&rsquo;s kind of funny to think that Wrigley Field had a &ldquo;secret brother&rdquo; or something like that on the West Coast, because I am not sure that many people remember or know about this other Wrigley Field.</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>Mario Ybarra, Jr.:</strong> Well that&rsquo;s where this whole project started for me. About a year ago Lisa Dorin, the Assistant Curator in the Contemporary Art Department, asked me if I wanted to come up with a proposal to do a Focus project here at the Art Institute of Chicago, and I said I would think about it a little bit. The way that I try to work is that I try to make some kind of relationship between a personal experience, or my personal understanding or knowledge and the place that I show. I don&rsquo;t like the idea of coming in and claiming an expertise on a place that I know nothing about. I&rsquo;ve found that doing something that starts in the realm of the personal and then taking it out to another place and trying to make relationships between those two places is the most successful tactic for me. . . I try to make bridges, so to speak.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">As a kid we would take trips out to Catalina Island, which is part of the Channel Islands, about 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. I remember part of the tour was the local history. They&rsquo;d always tell us that William Wrigley, Jr. owned Catalina Island and he had famous movie stars of the time going out there, like Clark Gable. His Chicago Cubs would go out and have their spring training there. The main town there is called Avalon and it gets its name from [Wrigley&rsquo;s] niece, who told [Wrigley] to name it that after the Avalon of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and those stories. So it has this mythological side of it too. It has real histories, the local histories, of it being owned by Wrigley, and it has this mythological history through the King Arthur association. My studio back in LA is on Avalon Boulevard and they named [the street] that because that&rsquo;s where the boats used to take people out to Avalon Harbor on the island. I started doing research about that, I&rsquo;m like a de facto historian, and I found that Wrigley, along with owning the island, owned this other Wrigley Field that was in South Central Los Angeles on Avalon and 66th street. So we had the Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island, my studio on Avalon, this field that Wrigley owned was also on Avalon, I just kept following the line. I thought I could take this story from Avalon, to Avalon Boulevard, to my studio, to Avalon were the stadium was, to all the way down Highway 66 to Chicago and the Art Institute.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I&rsquo;m figuring out ways to make these relationships between historical figures like William Wrigley, who was important to historical cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, and bring these stories together somehow, make bridges between the stories. Between what I know and my experiences and the places that I go.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>AR: Sports are the site of an obvious physical conflict and throughout the exhibit are interesting juxtapositions: the Mexican flag and the U.S. flag, the sword and the baseball bat, the fist of the Revolution and an image of a capitalist&rsquo;s private island. The history of the island reflects conflict as well, in the seventies it was occupied by the Brown Berets. How are sports, especially baseball, viewed both literally and metaphorically for this project, and the issues it raises?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>MY:</strong> Well I have always thought of the history of baseball as particularly related to the United States. It&rsquo;s billed as &ldquo;the American Game;&rdquo; it&rsquo;s not really played around the world at all other than some Latin American countries, like the Dominican Republic where all these new players are coming from and where young people are specifically groomed to be ball players. But in relation to the United States, and this comes from the different things that I have watched or read, the developments of social movements in the United States almost always came ten years later than in the ball game itself. Baseball has been very slow to change, and it hasn&rsquo;t changed really over the few centuries its been played here. But it still has these kind of leading edges. Let&rsquo;s take for example the story of integration and civil rights. Jackie Robinson starts playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950's and certain places, like schools, weren&rsquo;t integrated until the early sixties or late sixties. Baseball reflects a little bit in advance the kind of social movements that will happen in the United States.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Another thing that I think is very interesting in terms of conflict and it being a spectator sport, even though there are rival teams and most big cities have their own team, [there is a sense of unity]. Before professional baseball, each little town would have a team, even though there was a sense of rivalry or competition, the people were brought together as spectators to cheer on their team. So even though there was a site of conflict, it wasn&rsquo;t like it was Rome and gladiators were getting fed to lions [laughter]. There is a sense of sportsmanship [. . .]</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Related to issues of capitalism and revolution, or acts of civil disobedience, there is a sense of teams. I play off that with the posters, we have here a baseball with two bats crossed, but instead of a regular team you have the Brown Beret guys who tried to occupy the island in 1972 so they&rsquo;re like &ldquo;the team.&rdquo; The idea of &ldquo;the team&rdquo; is important too and the metaphor of a team. The idea that everyone has their positions but also act as a unit is very important and is a metaphor for myself.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="/userimages/3151/PICT0019.JPG" alt="" width="338" height="443" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><br /><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>AR: The idea of teams is also apparent in this wall of flags you have installed. What are the flags we have here?</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>MY:</strong> This is the state of Illinois&rsquo; flag. The flags are also stadium-esque, they always have them. The other thing, again about making relationships, is this is the state of Illinois&rsquo; flag, which has an eagle perched on a rock holding a shield and in his mouth is a banner. I thought that is very interesting, because over here is the Mexican flag, and again we have the eagle, this time perched on the cactus, and the snake in his mouth pretty much mimics the banner in the Illinois flag. Those kinds of aesthetic relationships and symbolic choices are very interesting.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img style="margin: 10px; vertical-align: middle;" src="/userimages/3151/PICT0015.JPG" alt="" width="430" height="328" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><br /><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong><em>AR: Even looking at the Illinois flag, that&rsquo;s more of an Aztec style eagle than a typical American-style eagle.</em></strong></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><strong>MY:</strong> Yeah. Those are the kinds of things I noticed in my visits to Chicago to prepare for this show, last year and earlier this year. I started seeing these kinds of relationships, like the Illinois flag&rsquo;s similarity to the flag of Mexico.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">This row of flags will start off with the U.S. flag, the state of Illinois flag, Chicago flag, Los Angeles flag, state of California flag, and the Mexican flag. We have these different relationships between these two places starting with the cities and then going to the states. We have the state of Mexico flag, even though California is not part of Mexico, it used to be part of Mexico, but it&rsquo;s related to the histories that we have here. Catalina Island was occupied by the Brown Berets because in the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which separated the Southwest from Mexico after the Mexican-American War, the island wasn&rsquo;t specifically mentioned. This is why the Brown Berets tried to occupy it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">There are interrelationships between the two places [Chicago and LA]. I thought that was another kind of metaphor for the show, in terms of Wrigley being this character and starting with him, saying no man is an island, or no city, or no country or land is an island. They&rsquo;re all in relationship, in context, to their neighbors. Imagine if we thought that we could do everything, under our own power, we&rsquo;d get ourselves in trouble. We can talk about it in relationship to land, in relationship to people. Or no island is a man, we could even switch it.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I wanted to draw these kinds of relationships together, one between Los Angeles and Chicago, two between Mexico and the States, three between baseball and mythology. Different symbolic orders, things like ships or bubble gum.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>ArtSlant would like to thank Mario Ybarra, Jr., Jenny Gheith and Lisa Dorin for their assistance in making this interview possible. Additional thanks to the Anna Helwing Gallery and the Art Institute of Chicago</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">-<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/16747-abraham-ritchie?tab=REVIEWS"><span style="color: #000000;"> Abraham Ritchie</span></a></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;">(Top image: <strong>Mario Ybarra Jr</strong>, Manifest Destiny Project billboard, 2014; Courtesy of LAND. All other images are installation views of <em>Take Me Out. . . No Man Is an Island</em>, 2008; Courtesy of the Artist)</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> Wed, 19 Mar 2014 21:52:42 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list F.A.T. Lab, F.A.T. GOLD Europe: Five Years of Free Art & Technology <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I crouched down, picked up a marker, and tried to remember the illegible scribble that used to be my &ldquo;tag&rdquo;: a gesture of sharp points and steady curves punctuated by a strategic line slashed through the whole inscription. In high school I would trace it onto book covers and notepads and think I was cool. It came to me eventually, the first delivery unsteady as I carefully considered which shapes fit where; in a second, more successful attempt, I let my arm do the work, confidently forging my mark in muscle memory.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140558-me_tagging.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Yours truly, tagging the graffiti wall, <em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>; Photo: Ben Harvey.</span></p> <div><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"> <br /></span></div> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">I was in Eindhoven attending the Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.) Lab&rsquo;s exhibition <em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>&nbsp;at <a href="http://www.mu.nl/" target="_blank">MU</a>, which ended in January. The show, which also took place in April last year at <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/venues/show/335-eyebeam?tab=VENUE" target="_blank">Eyebeam</a> in New York, was a sort of five-year anniversary round up of the Internet collective&rsquo;s practice. (F.A.T. Lab has now entered its seventh year, but the originally scheduled retrospective was put on hiatus in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.) But back to the incident at hand. Why, at an exhibition dedicated to a network ostensibly operating online, was I contributing my meager tag to a sanctioned graffiti wall?</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140845-installation_view1.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi.</span></div> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">The connection isn&rsquo;t so far fetched. Some of F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s twenty-five <a href="http://fffff.at/people/" target="_blank">members</a>&mdash;an international network of artists, engineers, scientists, lawyers, and musicians&mdash;are themselves graffiti artists. Their core values, which include &ldquo;spreading open source and free ideals into popular culture&rdquo; through DIY entrepreneurship, open source, and activism, have more than a few intersections with street art. On the one hand, art on the Internet can be viewed through a street lens: it can bypass normal distribution channels, appealing directly to viewers. Turning the comparison on its head, street art can be seen as a form of &ldquo;hack&rdquo;&mdash;an unendorsed appropriation of space, medium, or idea.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302135918-ideas_worth_spreading.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Evan Roth</strong><em>, <em><a href="http://fffff.at/ideas-worth-spreading/" target="_blank">Ideas Worth Spreading</a> (TED Talks)</em></em>, at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">In his recent book, <a href="http://viralart.vandalog.com/read/" target="_blank"><em>Viral Art</em></a>, <a href="http://blog.vandalog.com/" target="_blank">Vandalog</a> blogger RJ Rushmore looks at how the future of street art, with its focus on &ldquo;unmediated distribution,&rdquo; might find a natural home in the digital domain. He uses the term &ldquo;Viral Art&rdquo; to describe both shareable and invasive online practices that have an affinity, if not a direct evolutionary line, to street art (n.b. &ldquo;Viral&rdquo; here implies a level of approachability that excludes some older forms of Internet Art. The pioneering duo JODI, for example, have a great exhibition at <a href="http://www.showroommama.nl/nl/" target="_blank">Showroom MAMA</a> in Rotterdam right now that isn&rsquo;t particularly accessible or viral). F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s <a href="http://fffff.at/category/projects/" target="_blank">projects</a> don&rsquo;t always fall within the categories Rushmore outlines either&mdash;viewers may seek out content rather than encounter it serendipitously&mdash;yet they do open onto notions of self-dissemination, egalitarianism, activism, and anonymity. In fact, there are examples at MU of some of the <a href="http://viralart.vandalog.com/read/chapter/google-bombs/" target="_blank">very</a> <a href="http://viralart.vandalog.com/read/chapter/katsu-getting-up-in-digital-space/" target="_blank">works</a> discussed in Rushmore&rsquo;s text&mdash;namely, <a href="http://fffff.at/ideas-worth-spreading/" target="_blank"><em>Ideas Worth Spreading</em></a>, a mock-up TED Talk stage where visitors can record images of their own &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to share online, and <em>40,000 GML Tags</em>, a massive screen showcasing graffiti gestures in <a href="http://fffff.at/tag/gml/" target="_blank">GML</a>, or Graffiti Markup Language, &ldquo;a file format designed to be a universal structure for storing digitized graffiti motion data.&rdquo;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140719-kopyfamo.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Geraldine Juarez, <a style="font-style: italic;" href="http://fffff.at/kopyfamo-free-copyright/" target="_blank">Kopyfamo'</a>, watermark on mirror, at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span><em> <br /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Some F.A.T. Lab projects exist in the real world, others are strictly manifest online, and many straddle the two&mdash;that is, projects shaped in the real world and shared online. The MU exhibition, curated by <a href="http://www.lindsayhoward.net/" target="_blank">Lindsay Howard</a>, highlighted them all, offering documentation, online viewing stations, and even physical objects and artworks. Where <em>F.A.T. GOLD</em> differed from the typical exhibition was that most works were not autonomous objects, but rather reproducible examples of a wider practice. Motivated viewers could (and can) recreate many of these works on the web or at home*, and the materials for some projects, like an <a href="http://fffff.at/obama-google-glass-prism-mask/" target="_blank">Obama PRISM mask</a>, were even available at the exhibition.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140049-free_universal_construction_kit.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;"><em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view with&nbsp;<a href="http://fffff.at/free-universal-construction-kit/" target="_blank"><em>Free Universal Construction Kit</em></a>, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: x-small; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">Good fun is always on the menu: in <em>F.A.T. GOLD</em> there was a sub-genre of works touting the douchiness of Google Glass and its adopters, and a presentation of Greg Leuch&rsquo;s viral Add-on <a href="http://fffff.at/shaved-bieber/" target="_blank"><em>Shaved Bieber</em></a>, which censors all mentions of Justin Bieber online (earning Leuch more than a little hate mail from teenage fans). But some of the best and most shareable projects are greater than their capacity for the lulz. The <a href="http://fffff.at/free-universal-construction-kit/" target="_blank">Free Universal Construction Kit</a> is a set of adapters that makes ten brands of children&rsquo;s construction sets, like Lego and K&rsquo;Nex, interoperable. It&rsquo;s eminently cool/novel/clever, but it also visualizes the ways in which childhood playthings ostensibly meant to spark creativity are limited by proprietary measures. The F.U.C.K. undermines these protective implements, removing barriers to cross-trademark creativity. The exhibition featured a complete set of adapters, a construction/play station, and a 3D printer that staff members kindly set to printing new pieces whenever visitors turned up. (3D models of the adapters in .STL format are available online for <a href="http://www.thingiverse.com/uck/designs" target="_blank">free download</a>.)</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140151-facebook_id_card.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Tobias Leingruber</strong>, <em><a href="http://fffff.at/tag/fb-bureau/" target="_blank">Facebook Identity Card</a></em>, video presentation of ARTE Creative, <em><a href="http://fbbureau.com/" target="_blank">Social ID Bureau</a></em>, 2012,&nbsp;portrait of Mark Zuckerberg,&nbsp;at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span><em> <br /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s perspective seems carefully poised between an irreverent techno-optimism (&ldquo;look at these cool things we can do!&rdquo;) and deep skepticism at the ways in which technologies can be regulated, marketed, and used for power and control. Given these positions, in which use of certain technologies seems self-evident, it&rsquo;s easy to forget that not everyone has access to the distributional paradigm shift that is the digital domain. Rushmore&rsquo;s account also overstates viral art&rsquo;s present accessibility: an encounter with this type of work is more likely to be spread within specific enclaves of Internet activity, with limiting factors being not geography, but usage. The case for &ldquo;unmediated&rdquo; distribution is further undermined by the cryptic algorithms used by Facebook and Google for post placement and search results&mdash;the very systems F.A.T. Lab exploits when images of their fake TED Talks turn up in search results. In a destabilizing twist, F.A.T. Lab often coopts the very technologies and systems it protests (or defends).</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302140313-skatekeyboard.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Tobias Leingruber</strong>, <em><a href="http://fffff.at/skatekeyboard/" target="_blank">Skatekeyboard</a></em>, keyboard attached to skateboard deck,&nbsp;at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span><em> <br /></em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><em>&nbsp;</em></span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">In a way, that&rsquo;s why it was such a treat to see some of F.A.T. Lab&rsquo;s works in physical form, Away From Keyboard as it were. <em>F.A.T. GOLD</em> did a great job of making works and ideas accessible to people who might not be tech-savvy or know what terms like &ldquo;net neutrality&rdquo; and &ldquo;Open Web&rdquo; mean. Or those who aren&rsquo;t necessarily ready to accept or understand this sort of practice as &ldquo;art.&rdquo; The exhibition was forward looking, but also rooted in the past and present&mdash;a thought-provoking bridge between time, technologies, and disciplines. Be it in a subway tunnel or on a homepage, a mark on the wall is a sign of presence; it can be a declaration of ego, of resistance. Or like my clumsy signature, it can be an affirmation, a &ldquo;Like&rdquo; or an &ldquo;upvote&rdquo;: I was here, with so many others, and I want to be counted.</span></p> <p><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/1538/2dh/20140303002936-compubody_interface.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: x-small;"><strong>Becky Stern</strong>,&nbsp;<em><em><a href="http://fffff.at/knitted-compubody-interface/" target="_blank">Knitted Compubody Interface</a>&nbsp;</em>(<a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Laptop-Compubody-Sock/" target="_blank">knit one</a> yourself!), at MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; </em>&copy; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">*The MU exhibition ended on January 26th, but interested readers can see the projects <a href="http://fffff.at/category/projects/" target="_blank">online</a> or in the new <a href="http://fffff.at/the-fat-manual/" target="_blank"><em>F.A.T. Manual</em></a> (available for purchase or <a href="http://www.lulu.com/shop/domenico-quaranta-and-geraldine-ju%C3%A1rez/the-fat-manual/ebook/product-21251172.html" target="_blank">free download</a>), released on the occasion of the exhibition and the collective&rsquo;s five-year anniversary.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;">&mdash;Andrea Alessi</span></p> <p style="line-height: 26px; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: medium; color: #000000;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/3215/4yn/20140302141000-installation_view3.jpg" alt="" /></span></p> <div>&nbsp;<span style="font-size: x-small;"><em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi</span></div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="font-size: x-small;">Image on top: <em>F.A.T. GOLD Europe</em>, installation view, MU | De Witte Dame, Eindhoven; Photo: Andrea Alessi.<span style="color: #000000;">]</span></span></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 00:40:07 +0000 http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list http://www.artslant.com/ber/Articles/list