Episode 60: Hamza Walker

October 22, 2006 · Print This Article

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This week Richard, Duncan, Brian and Meg the-sexy-single-lesbian-intern talk to one of the Seven Most Important Curators, Hamza Walker. We talk about everything under the sun from Neal Adams to Duncan being a “dour Canadian”.


Brian Andrews and Marc LeBlanc talk about galleries in San Francisco and make fun of us Midwesterners for living in the cold. Those assholes.


TUESDAY: Live recording with Kerry James Marshall
SATURDAY: Art media pancake breakfast

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Lisa Yuskavage
Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola
Richard Tuttle
Hirsch Perlman
Jeanne Dunning
Tony Tasset
Arturo Herrera
Corey McCorkle
Helen Mirra
Marc LeBlanc
49 Geary St. San Francisco
Jack Hanley Gallery
Donald Urquhart
Fraenkel Gallery
Eleanor Harwood Gallery
Emily Prince
Adobe Books
Suitable Gallery
Standard Gallery
Gary Hill
Martin Puryear
James Welling
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Chris Johanson
Christopher Garrett
Raymond Pettibon
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Kim Keever
Josiah McElheny
Donald Young Gallery
Martin Kippenberger
Suzanne Ghez
Flash Art
Anne Rorimer
Bruce Nauman
Eva Hesse
Sol LeWitt
Jean Arp
Jeff Koons
Robert Gober
Haim Steinbach
Ghost World
Art School Confidential
Michelangelo Buonarroti
Paul Beatty
Raymond Pettibon
Benjamin H.D. Buchloh
Andy Warhol
W Magazine

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42 thoughts on “Episode 60: Hamza Walker”

  1. BAS says:

    Please post all Meg fan-mail here.

  2. Richard says:

    He may indeed shop at IKEA, but I am not so sure I am clear on the connection here. Maybe I am tired and a bit fuzzy on the details.

  3. Steve Hamann says:

    Although I too, love to shop at IKEA, I was more interested in the comments on the comic show at Milwaukee. It seems that more and more art related to, or influenced by comics, comic books, and illustrations are popping up. Mark Bradnl commented on the “new” artistic developments of “Gallery Comics” and “iconosequentiality” in Sharkforum. I was wondering if anyone thought this is a new development in art? I personally believe that comics in art or comics as art has been around for a while, and is nothing really “new”.

  4. rachel says:

    i agree that its not a “new” development. i think its just new to right now, with that comic show in milwaukee, (which i agree with meg, was way too much to see in one visit), and also i’ve been noticing more comic-like art in the past few months. also, maybe the relevance of comics tuned into movies that we have been bombarded with over the past few years–spiderman, x-men, superman, batman, etc. so, definitely not new; maybe just revived.

  5. Phyllis Stein says:

    It is a pleasure to listen to Hamza speak and he certainly uses beautiful words. But he didn’t say a damned thing. Nothing. A friend says “Hamza has mastered the art of meaningless elocution.” Did Hamza say anything substantive?

    If a curator falls in the forest does it make a sound?

  6. Blah-zac says:

    Yes, thud.

  7. glenn ligon says:

    When I get emails from badatsports.com I usually hit the “report spam” button. I thought you were a sports website. Seriously. Something like, “we can play, but we can talk about sports all day long.” The last email you sent had “Hamza Walker” in the subject heading and I was like “hang on?”. So now I know that you cover culture and I can turn off Terrie Gross and Fresh Air on NPR and get the down in the streets version of cultural reporting from Bad At Sports instead.

    Good on you!!!!

  8. The Scarlett Pumpernickel says:

    Maybe you should try reading your damn e-mail!!!


  9. mark says:

    That stuff in Art on Paper with the crazy exhibit visitor comments– brilliant and so funny!

  10. Steve, you didn’t read my blog or my CAA speech closely — or I didn’t make it clear enough! I was and AM in NO way asserting that an influence of popular or vernacular culture on fine art is new in and of itself. Hell, that’s pop art and Imagism and Leger and much else — I’m a diploma-ed art historian, I would never assert such a thing. The “new” things I meant were two:

    1. theorist and artist C. Hill’s notion of “gallery comics” (what in my work becomes painting installation comics). That is, works made to be exhibited, not to be presented in books, to over-simplify Hill’s complex notion. I think Hill is right in identifying this as an interesting new area. Many art scholars also believe so.

    2. The notion on “iconsequentiality” in fine art works. Not sequentiality itself, and not “citations” of popular images. For a deeper expanation of that, you’ll have to read my speech notes on my site (http://www.markstaffbrandl.com/CAA/CAA_brandl_pcv.html) or wait for the journal early next year. That too, which is my formulation, is, I believe, an important development in structural, tropaic and theoretical direction. The CAA did too, and so do other folks, such as the scholarly _Journal of Popular Culture Studies_ which will be printing a spiffied-up verion of my speech.

    Is that clearer?

  11. steve hamann says:

    In my comments, I was poorly trying to compare two uses of comic book images in art. There’s one type, like you see the Milwaukee show, which is comic art by comic book artists, shown in the gallery. That type of gallery show has been around for a while: not new. The classifications that Mark Staff Brandl reported about at shark forum seemed new to me. Both types are cool. I’m really interested in the new art I’m seeing that utilizes comic book images or into contemporary art.

  12. Me too, Steve, — and as you mentioned about the two uses of comics, that’s exactly what C. Hill means. I’ll send him to your site, since you are working with that too. Of course, there is an overlap — as I always make clear, I learn a lot from Gene Colan and other comic masters and “mistresses,” as well as fine artists. You, Steve, and I, David Reed, and C Hill and others are simply taking these ideas in a new direction. (Expressly making objects, not publication works, so not normal comics; expressly using comic formal inventions, thus not really (citational) pop-art or Neo-Conceptual art.

    I’m primarily interested in art which unites the vernacular and the “fine,” but in an aggressively contradictory fashion; art which uses vernacular insights to challenge the limp mannerism of so much fine art now, and which steps beyond simple citation. That act was great — and creative — for Lichtenstein, Warhol, etc., but if not developed further would remain a kind of slumming. We owe them a lot, but must express that by pushing onward.

  13. steve hamann says:

    Hey Mark,

    In Scott McCloud’s book, Understanding Comics: The Invivible Art, he writes about how the comic book image is a form of abstraction, and in it’s simplification, the viewer can identify with it’s subject matter. What I like so much about your work is that you take that abstraction to the next level, but try to still keep the parameters of the “comic book”.

  14. Actually, this comment set is supposed to be about Hamza. More than his choice of artists, which seemed rather CC standard, I found him most enjoyable for his sense of humor, about himself as well, and for his obviously over-bubblying energy!

  15. The Shark says:

    Mark -Hamza’s choice of artist is party-line and not particularly interesting -which is what I find fascinating in terms of how highly regarded in certain circles he is. But perhaps its simply and merely born out of expedience, a regard held by the academic crowd he supports as a propagator and proponent.

    I would like to have heard Mr. Walker discuss his earlier career as the conceptual artist known as ‘Sunny Venice’…I enjoy Hamza’s self deprecating sense of humor as well, and, I personally like Hamza Walker -I just wish his choice of what art and which artists to support was a little more original, slightly more interesting, that his attitude was perhaps a little more intense, serious and his own, and a little less lightweight, fascile and ultimately, dull.

  16. Ball Zack says:

    Holy Shit!

    There is someone in town Wesley does not hate!

    Who would have thunk it.

  17. The Shark says:

    Excuse me, The Shark doesn’t hate -he simply dines on what is weak. And it just so happens perhaps as mere coincidence, that what is weak in the Chicago Art World happens to be much of what could be described as the official, institutionally sanctioned version of what takes place here. An egregious and slanted version of events, of which, Hamza is an apologist and, proponent.

    Its all about context. Do you accept the official version of what is important here, and what kind of art you should make to address these same concerns as career opportunity, or, as an artist, do you create your own context, based upon what you feel is legitimate and important.

    I do not regard the art world or, being an artist as a ready made.

  18. Ball Zack says:

    So who, other than you and people who directly are working in your interest, are important, in your opinion?

  19. The Shark says:

    A conversation? Not until you demonstrate even a small modicum of courage if not in your convictions at least in your argument by not hiding behind a pseudonym -but you won’t. There is always a uniformity or should I say conformity to cowardice.

    Who do I like off the top of my head -Kerry James Marshall is a terrific artist -not to mention that his view of institutionalized art education seems to coincide with mine- -Tony Fitzpatrick is quite good, Scott Fife last month at Bodybuilders was over the top -great, Vera Klement remains a lion……Marianna Levant is a talented youg painter showing this winter at gescheidle …photography -how about two Chicagoans highly regarded in the photogaphy world (as opposed to ‘art ‘ photography) -both Sandro Miller and Marc Hauser carry on in the tradition of Helmut Newton /Richard Avedon/ Irrving Penn…..and both are higly regarded here and internationally -though unrecognized by the so called local art world…

  20. The Shark says:

    -why stop there? -Jim Nutt is tremendous -Karl Wirsum continues his strange meditations in plastique…Michael Paha was a brilliant installation artist -until he quit the art world (apparently from what I hear in disgust-)….Jim Lutes continues as does Suzanne Doremus…….the late Donald McFadyen was a great phtorealist painter -whose sad death of lung cancer last year has caused barely a ripple in this insipid milleu that was so damned lucky to have him……

  21. Ball Zack says:

    Glad to hear that you are capable of something more sophisticated than the simple spewing of bile. Thanks for the list.

  22. The Shark says:

    – look, besides being your typical cyber coward who is actually spewing bile here?….whats so hard to understand about the fact that I support and have the support of many artists here in Chicago -and that the short list -the small group of Kirchner Clones that have had most of the attention here focused upon them -both by the ‘Ren’ and UIC -how backroom politics have decided who from here receives even an opportunity for international exposure -is what I have problems with. Is what has retarded the art world here…

    what is it with the pseudoclones -do they check their brains at the door when choosing their fake names?

  23. The Shark says:

    btw -why not discuss the ‘Rens’ piss poor take on painting? When was their last good painting exhibition? Albert Oehlen in the late 90’s? Kerry James Marshall in 1998? -who in my opinion did not bring his top painting game to the place..but still way better than the tepid, academic colorfield/pattern painting accompanied by what Robert Hughes refers to as “the vile art jargon of the academe” that has been I believe, the sum total of whats been shown there in terms painting this decade….

    perhaps this is interesting to look at when one considers that in many quarters its installation/video/conceptual one-liner junk and blurred oversize cibachromes that have become tired -while painting has emerged once more (as if it ever went anywhere)

  24. The Shark says:

    For those whom it may concern; Mark Staff Brandl -a most excellent artist who btw, I left off my previous list as I tried to consider only artists active recently here in Chicago, has written a terrific piece over on sharkforum.org -addressing my recent ‘dialog with the unfortunately titled Ball Zack. The short essay titled Critique vs. Cronyism..is a further forray into Brandl’s ongoing discussion of sophistry – I recommend it as well worth the read.

  25. A Badly Pseudonymed Comment Writer says:

    I’m really surprised Mark Staff Brandl can look at anything, his nose is buried so far up the Shark’s ass….

  26. Ball Zack says:

    Hey, no need to make it a personal attack. I too find “the shark”‘s agenda largely self serving and surrounded only by those who support his rather skewed view of world, but lets be polite about it.

  27. The Shark says:

    as noted -conformity in their cowardice

    -not to mention an apparent inability to discuss for instance, the issues Mark Staff Brandl addresses in his most recent argument on sharkforum, no different from the name calling I get coming from the clouds of krill -who never offer anything substantive, never actually even attempt to argue even one issue being discussed – for instance; after asking for names of artist I find interesting -the answer -“thanks for the list” …..whew! did you think that one up all by yourself……..that and ‘Ball Zack’ all in one week….pretty scary stuff! what will you think of next?

  28. The Shark says:

    btw – there is this rhetorical construct known as ‘argument’…since you feel my views are so skewed, why not offer up reasons why you think so…

    ..how about for instance, a discussion of anyone of a number of essays Jed Perl has written on the contemporary art scene -expousing views not unlike mine, or significant others on sharkforum…. -why not argue that the premise of his new book New Art City -is merely historical -with no contemporary resonance

    …or, Robert Hughes for instance…he has written copiously and vehemently about todays fucked up art world -you disagree…how so?

    -how about Jerry Saltz’s recent call to artists to have a moratorium on photo based painting….or perhaps Donald Kuspits recent writings on how he views the art world today..

    .what about a discussion of Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith’s lecture here a year or so ago discussing the failings of the contemporary art world/ institutional education….or for that matter why not a real discussion of what Kerry James had to say on the subject…that is, if the argument could ever get past the snarky comments coming from clone like puds the likes of you two clowns…

  29. The sandwoman says:

    This whole line of pseudo rhetoric is so trite and tired we shold bottle it and monopolize the sleep aid market. The 80’s are over people, stop wishing you were minor characters in Slaves of New York. Move on!!! Sheesh. Enough with the macho BS already.

  30. Thanks Ball Zack. I should have ben more polite to you too — but I do find your name “Ball Zack” badly chosen and can’t see why anyone would hide behind a pseudonym, since it leads to such silly-ass crap as that wimpy attack on me above. That fake-name attack thing riles me. So I was indirectly nastier to you than I really meant to be — I used your comment as a springboard to write about something that disturbed me, but may not be anything you considered.

    I think you are wrong about Kimler’s “agenda largely self serving and surrounded only by those who support his rather skewed view of world” — as I pointed out in my post, we are mostly very very different from one another. We tend to agree on his CRITIQUE of the artworld, although I personally try to do far fewer personal attacks than the Shark. I think he raises important questions, of course I notice that he does so in a way that pisses lots of people off — even “us” other sharks too — but try to concentrate on the points made, not the delivery. Look how it must hit so close to home incertain cowardly people such as the “A Badly Pseudonymed Comment Writer” above. By the way, “Badly” — I know how to trace “IPs” and find out who you are, although I do not intend to do so, but I thought you’d just like to know that, since you seem so intent on hiding and insulting. Trying thinking and being critical instead of the clearly kiss-ass wuss you obviously are. You seem reasonable Ball Z, even if I think you are mistaken. Why don’t you write a comment about your take on it over at Sharkforumunder my post — I’d prefer if you used your real name. Then we can argue a bit, but openly, not like the wimp above.

  31. Oh — I forgot— I’d like to point out that it would be more fun to talk about HAMZA here — which is why I switched by tangental thoughts over to Sharkforum. I would love to see his obvious joy in art and energy directed toward more surprising choices of artists, what about you?

  32. The Shark says:

    Mark -please note I attempted to discuss Hamza initially, and then I returned for another chomp attempting to talk about the ‘Rens’ patently awful painting exibition record.

    – as far as Ball Zack goes -I think you are being way to nice considering attitude accompanied by complete lack of considered opinion this smug, self satisfied (aren’t they all) philistine brings to the table -while offering nothing to the discussion beyond that he doesn’t agree with me……how about even the slightest specificity? Like, what is it you take issue with in any argument I have made?

    Fat chance that will happen.

  33. The Shark says:

    from sandwomans actually somewhat appropriate, however disengenuous complaints, to the two buffoons attacking both of us Mark -my only question really, is if they find the point of view offered so skewed or, trite, why bother writing in?

    -actually the answer is simple: they are threatened.

    So the question then is, are these mere ex-suburbanite/mfa’s wondering whether or not they should have better spent daddy’s money on an mba -or pursued a degree in law since their careers are being so openly questioned, or, and, are they also bootlickers, kissing up to their institutional educators in the hopes of career advancement……

  34. Wow, all this bitsching at one another sure killed a discussion about Hamza’s ideas and approach! And nobody wrote fanmail to Meg!

  35. David_Roth says:

    hey, could you guys keep it down? I was slumbering blissfully in the knowledge that everything is just hunky dory.

    PS – pseudonyms are for pussies.

  36. The sandwoman says:

    Meg is so cool.

  37. The Shark says:

    why is it everytime I swim on to the scene, members of my fan base start calling out for me to help them?……can’t they bemore specific than Help! SsshshshsshsssssshhhhaaAARRRRRK!? Well?

    Meg can come for a swim along with of course, lunch, anytime.

  38. The Shark says:

    btw – Duncan/Richard -bas blog is acting kind of glitchy

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