Episode 81: Joseph Ketner II and Christopher Kennedy

March 18, 2007 · Print This Article

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This week’s show is a cavalcade of amazing-ness. Duncan and Richard talk to Joseph Ketner II, Chief Curator at the Milwaukee Art Museum where we ask the question “did Francis Bacon simply need a hug?”. Next, there is an excerpt from a lecture by Christopher Kennedy, President, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc., on the future of the Art Fair here in Chicago which is not to be missed as we move ever closer to the 2007 fair and away from the 2006 debacle. Christian Kuras guest stars in the expanded intro and Amanda is back from her travels to say all sorts of funny and possibly offensive things!

Be sure to buy your Pitchfork Festival tickets! Sonic Youth is performing Daydream Nation in its entirety. Hot damn.

Holy Guacamole the new Chicago Reader art listings (if you can even call them that) suck like space. For shame Reader, for shame. This is one of the biggest slaps to the art community in some time. Rise up!!!

Lastly, PLEASE vote in this week’s poll as we need your input on what might be changes to the format of the show. www.badatsports.com

Planned for next week, artist and author David Robbins!!!

Josh Ketner II
Christopher Kennedy
Milwaukee Art Museum
Christian Kuras
Deb Sokolow
Allison Peters
Merchandise Mart Properties
Gallery 400
Stewart Keeler
Green Lantern
Roots and Culture
Jason Dunda
Sandra Dillon
Scott Waters
Joe Trupia
Janet Cardiff
Anselm Kiefer
Bob Gober
Francis Bacon
Mark Rothko
Ellsworth Kelly
Jack Taylor
Tracy Atkinson
Sol Lewitt
Agnes Martin
Eva Hesse
Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley
Andy Warhol
David Salle
Julian Schnabel
Stanley Landsman
Henry O’Tanner
Frank Lloyd Wright
Matthew Barney
Mel Bochner
Frank Stella
Jose Lerma
Tom Blackman
Art Basel
Frieze Art Fair
Art Institute of Chicago
Art Chicago
Rhona Hoffman
Hyde Park Art Center
The Renaissance Society
Michael Workman
Christo and Jean Claude
David Hockney
Keith Haring
Franz Kline
Jim Dine
Direct download: Bad_at_Sports_Episode_81_Ketner-Kennedy.mp3

33 thoughts on “Episode 81: Joseph Ketner II and Christopher Kennedy”

  1. Richard Holland says:

    Thanks for the enthusiasm!!!

  2. lloyd says:

    i enjoyed the show this week and thanks for including that speech by mr. kennedy. my heart did rise a little listening to how enthusiastic he is about the upcoming artropolis, but seriously, does anyone really believe this will be greater than any other fair happening right now? i’m really not so sure. the new insight event sounds, i must say, kind of lame. when did the university of illinois at urbana champaign become one of the top MFA programs? but i suppose we must wait and see? i’m very skeptical.

  3. mike kaysen says:

    Hey BAS ……. I was casting my vote and could not tell if the “voting” was functioning correctly (soooo Chicago) so I clicked the “VOTE” button again (which is also historically sooo Chicago) ……… nice javascript message …..


    P.S. the results did not show up …….

  4. mike kaysen says:

    correction ….. I needed to reload the page; results work fine. DOH!!!!

  5. The Shark says:

    lloyd -my opinion after being involved in any number of meetings with the Mart people -Chris Kennedy, his excellent group of people he has around him, is that though it may be a way from being competitive with the show that stole our thunder -namely Art Basil Miami, finally we have -as you can surmise for yourself in what Mr Kennedy has to say, people you get the nature of the challenge confronting us in restoring our art fair. Professionals with, the ability to mount a show of this nature, get it done while covering all the basis.

    -without getting in to and rehashing the power point presentation Mark Falanga has been doing out and around, lets just say that from going to all the fairs, getting up to speed on the nature of these animals -to identifying and meeting with major collectors and dealers, these people have done their homework. It is, impressive. As, is the commitment shown to our community -beyond simply mounting a trade show.

    Is it perfect? No. The Artist Project misses the boast by not being simply a juried show of booths based on aesthetic criteria -including both affiliated and non- artists. Hopefilly this will be rectified next year- still I would like to see people rather than sitting around and bitching about whats not right, finding creative ways to partcipate, staging events outside of the fair -like what happens in Miami-

    I think it is major, and, was a huge part of my discussion with the Mart -that this event be -interdisciplinary and, city wide. I am hoping that now up and running, artropolis can become a year around site -perhaps connecting all sites -and acting as a kind of interdisciplinary cyber museum for Chicago, serving the community, bringing us to the world, creating the infrastructure and support system so desperately lacking in our art world here-

    SHARKSTOCK 2 is going to be an official off site after party that saturday evening, Mucca Pazza and others are set to return and reprise last years brilliant bash – this is as much our deal as the Marts -don’t sit around expecting others to do for you – this is our town, our deal, our time.

  6. The Shark says:

    -you guys need to give us a way to go back and correct out typos! Its exasperating to not be able to correct- bases/basis -boats/boasts hopefully/hopefilly -it adds up and is a distraction and is way too much of a hassle to do in Word first- there must be some sort of way of dealing with this-

  7. Steve Hamann says:

    I am voting to have a new Bad at Sports podcast three days a week!

  8. Richard says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, we are pleased to announce the addition of Steve Hamann to the team, he will be producing the Bad at Sports Daily Show M-F and our weekend spectacular.

  9. Steve Hamann says:

    Don’t forget the matinees.

  10. I think weekly is enough — I’m amazed you can do SO much anyway — and I don’t know if I would then listen to all of them. I just think you need some MONEY. Some support from somewhere in order to lighten your load, maybe have a paid engineer, whatever. Dream on, Mark..

  11. Richard says:

    Without help, particulary with the engineering duties, we will not be able to maintain the weekly format. I have some thing going on that are going to reduce my ability to be involved as full time as I have been and I need to scale things back. Either the quality of the show suffers, we make it more occasional, or we hang it up entirely.

  12. Hey, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago Arts Council, or whoever still exists GET THESE GUYS SOME MONEY for an ENGINEER!!!!

  13. Wesley Willis, does he count as outsider art? I Saw him drawing at a show with his music buddies in Austin Tx. in the 1990s. He was doing the freeway bus type ballpoint posterboard masterworks stuff.

  14. Bill Dolan says:

    I hate the term “outsider art,” but I guess he would be considered “outsider.” His pen drawings are magnificent. His attention to detail was amazing, even down to his understanding of CTA bus series characteristics.

    “Buy my drawings! Twenty Dollars! Two for Forty!” Bump my head. Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!

  15. Eric May says:

    Hey BAS-
    Thanks for the plug. BTW, you are the first to mention the impotency reference. The show title- Mr. Softy- takes cue from a Kid Creole and the Coconuts tune by the same name about, you guessed it… Doesn’t mean much, just a hint of cheekiness, that’s all.

  16. I enjoyed listening to J. Ketner’s thoughts on art and the discussion on the Francis Bacon exhibition along with the very insightful advertising genius of Christopher Kennedy and his impact on the resurgence of Art Chicago at the Merchandise Mart. It is amazing to be so connected that one makes events that important happen on such a large scale. My goal is to get connected to great energy to move my work from my studio to new homes, collections, businesses, museums and other spaces. I am seeking a perfect place for representation. I have a website as follows: http://www.evelynpatriciaterry.com. I need people who are devoted to promoting careers, selling art and love paying the artists that they represent. My previous very successful six dealers all purchased my work for their own collections. They were true believers. They were excited with every sale and loved paying their artists. They all retired to travel, see their children and grandchildren and have more fun. Please contact me at terryevelyn@hotmail.com if this profile fits.

    I know some artists are considered great in our lifetimes, which is always a wonderful thing, but it is not the end of the story, because we never know whose work will survive for future generations to relate to. I get my work out to diverse locations, so that my story can add to world history and has the possibility of being told from my point on the earth. I try to think about my special place in the world and go with that. Critics have a role to play and can do their thing, because I am going to do mine.

    Thanks for the enthusiastic inspiring art exchange. Evelyn

  17. Bahlzaq says:

    How oddly inappropriate to plug your work on the BAS Blog.

  18. Ann Onymous says:

    Maybe BAS can start selling ad space for artistes to plug themselves on the site for $$$ to hire some help!

    Or Duncan can start selling his body.

  19. The Shark says:

    Bahlzaq, I concur -it is bad! The work, the plug.

  20. Maybe you could combine a blog ad with a minor mention on the podcast. “Thanks to Soand so Gallery, who has this or that show on” whatever. I don’t think it would disturb even my “lefty” attitude.

  21. Hudgens says:

    We just need to be a bit larger to have a footprint big enough to be worth the attention of advertisers. Even though we are a very sharp and focused nitch that can be very healthy our total size is still below entry level for most. With a growth rate around 142.58% from September to now things are very steady and moving well enough that it will not be long.

  22. Richard says:

    Actually we are setting up a meth lab to make some money.

  23. BillDolan says:

    So do you need donations of cold pills and allergy meds?

  24. Richard says:

    Send them, by the truckload, and solvents, and aluminum….

    to wit:

    Methamphetamine is most structurally similar to methcathinone and amphetamine. When illicitly produced, it is commonly made by the reduction of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Most of the necessary chemicals are readily available in household products or over-the-counter cold or allergy medicines. Synthesis is relatively simple, but entails risk with flammable and corrosive chemicals, particularly the solvents used in extraction and purification. Clandestine production is therefore often discovered by fires and explosions caused by the improper handling of volatile or flammable solvents.

    Most methods of illicit production involve hydrogenation of the hydroxyl group on the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine molecule. The most common method for small-scale methamphetamine labs in the United States is primarily called the “Red, White, and Blue Process”, which involves red phosphorus, pseudoephedrine or ephedrine(white), and blue iodine, from which hydroiodic acid is formed.

    This is a fairly dangerous process for amateur chemists, because phosphine gas, a side-product from phosphorus production, is extremely toxic to inhale. An increasingly common method uses the process of Birch reduction, in which metallic lithium (commonly extracted from rechargeable batteries) is substituted for metallic sodium, to circumvent the difficulty of procuring metallic sodium.

    The Birch reduction, however, is dangerous because the alkali metal and liquid anhydrous ammonia are both extremely reactive, and the temperature of liquid ammonia makes it susceptible to explosive boiling when reactants are added. Anhydrous ammonia and lithium or sodium (Birch reduction) may be surpassing hydroiodic acid (catalytic hydrogenation) as the most common method of manufacturing methamphetamine in the US and possibly in Mexico. Hydroiodic acid “super lab busts” receive more media attention because the equipment employed is much more complex and visible than the glass jars or coffee carafes commonly used to produce methamphetamine with Birch reduction.
    Industrial scale methamphetamine/MDMA factory in Cikande, Indonesia
    Industrial scale methamphetamine/MDMA factory in Cikande, Indonesia

    A completely different procedure of synthesis uses the reductive amination of phenylacetone with methylamine, both of which are currently DEA list I chemicals (as are pseudoephedrine and ephedrine). The reaction requires a catalyst that acts as a reducing agent, such as mercury-aluminum amalgam or platinum dioxide, also known as Adams’ catalyst. This was once the preferred method of production by motorcycle gangs in California,[citation needed] until DEA restrictions on the chemicals have made this difficult. Other less common methods use other means of hydrogenation, such as hydrogen gas in the presence of a catalyst.

    One obvious sign of an operating Meth lab is an odor similar to that of cat urine. Meth labs can also give off noxious fumes, such as phosphine gas, mercury vapors, lead, methylamine gas, solvent fumes; such as acetone or chloroform, iodine vapors, white phosphorus, anhydrous ammonia, hydrogen chloride/muriatic acid, hydrogen iodide, lithium/sodium metal, ether, or methamphetamine vapors. If performed by amateurs, manufacturing methamphetamine can be extremely dangerous. If the red phosphorus overheats, because of a lack of ventilation, phosphine gas can be produced. This gas, if present in large quantities, is likely to explode upon autoignition from diphosphine, which is formed by overheating phosphorus.

    Until the early 1990s, methamphetamine for the US market was made mostly in labs run by drug traffickers in Mexico and California. Since then, authorities have discovered increasing numbers of small-scale methamphetamine labs all over the United States, mostly in rural, suburban, or low-income areas. The Indiana state police found 1,260 labs in 2003, compared to just 6 in 1995, although this may be a result of increased police activity.[10] Recently, mobile and motel-based methamphetamine labs have caught the attention of both the US news media and the police.

    These labs can cause explosions and fires, and expose the public to hazardous chemicals. Those who manufacture methamphetamine are often harmed by toxic gases. Many police departments have specialized task forces with training to respond to cases of methamphetamine production. The National Drug Threat Assessment 2006, produced by the Department of Justice, found “decreased domestic methamphetamine production in both small and large-scale laboratories”, but also that “decreases in domestic methamphetamine production have been offset by increased production in Mexico.” They concluded that “methamphetamine availability is not likely to decline in the near term.”

  25. Bill Dolan says:

    Artists are used to working with dangerous solvents and chemicals with inadequate safety precautions. This should be a snap.

  26. Steve Hamann says:

    My condo reeks of cat urine. But sadly not from meth.

  27. Richard says:

    We are indeed great at meth!!!

    What a stellar fundraiser. The shark has lots of space we could do some serious hydroponic farming in there, a huge art community industry could arise!!!

    Then we can raise an army using the funds derived from our business and crush all opposition.

    Victory will be ours!!!!

  28. Richard says:


    Your house is the perfect locale, no one will be able to tell the cat pee from the cat pee smell!!!



  29. Steve Hamann says:

    We can totally set it up in my son’s room!

  30. Bill Dolan says:

    My place wreaks of cat urine as well if we need to expand. Plus my condo is pretty fire-resistant so that we wouldn’t burn the whole building down if there was a mishap.

  31. I finally listened to the whole podcast. It was great! Ketner was very interesting and perceptive. I would love to shout one of his observations from the rooftops of the artworld — his call for more personal, individualistic (and I’ll add, brave) curating, and less consensus drivel. Likewise, Duncan explanation of why this consensus exists directly following Ketner’s statement was spot-on. Great going Duncan! He explains how it is a career-power problem, thus taking it out of the quasi-mystical realm many try to place it in by claiming it is a “normal” cultural reaction to confusion in the postmodern world or whatever. As I have said elsewhere, when even many perceptive curators themselves call for this change, why do so many artists insist on denying it? Ketner clearly outlines the absurdity of the situation when he speaks of the vast array of artwork out there, yet one sees only a tiny agreed-upon academy of figures in most shows. Congratulations Mr Ketner!

    Kennedy’s speech was also inspirational. I have to admit that I am coming to be a part of the Artist Project, and was interested in it primarily to get back “home” after about a million years and get to meet a bunch of you people face to face (the Sharkforum crew, the BAS folks and others) — but after listening to Kennedy I got really excited about the potential of the fair and the City again. Made me feel kind of Windy-City-boosterish-patriotic for a while. I hope it goes great! Congratulations to Mr Kennedy as well.

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