Local up and coming Chicago Art starlet Melanie Schiff is quizzed about what it is like to be curated into the 2008 Whitney Biennial, her work and WTF is up with contemporary Photography. Oak Park correspondent/Chicago Art Star Tony Tasset co-hosts.
March 30, 2008 · Print This Article
San Francisco Art Institute has canceled closed the controversial Abdessemed exhibition as well as the public forum. The exhibition was curated by Hou Hanru, who was interviewed by us in Episode 129.
From the SFAI Website:
In response to a series of violent threats by animal-rights extremists, the San Francisco Art Institute announced today that the public discussion on Adel Abdessemed’s exhibition Don’t Trust Me, scheduled for Monday, 31 March, has been canceled. For the same reasons, the exhibition itself, which was temporarily suspended on Wednesday, 26 March, has now been permanently closed.
“We unconditionally repudiate these threats against SFAI,” stated President Chris Bratton: “My first concern is with the safety and security of SFAI’s students, faculty, staff, and their families, as well as members of the public that regularly visit the campus. In light of the violent threats by extremists against this institution, we are unfortunately forced to cancel any public discussion or display regarding this artwork.”
Soon after it opened, the Abdessemed exhibition became the subject of an orchestrated campaign by a number of animal-rights groups, including Animal Liberation Front (ALF), In Defense of Animals (IDA), and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). One result of this campaign was a parallel onslaught of explicit death threats and threats of sexual violence against SFAI staff members and their families. The swift escalation from controversy to credible threats has regrettably forced SFAI to make a decision unprecedented in its 137-year history.
“Though we’ve decided to take this action,” continued President Bratton, “SFAI stands behind the exhibition as an instance of a long-standing and serious commitment, on SFAI’s part, to reflection on, and free and open discussion of, contemporary global art and culture. As an institution, we take seriously our responsibility to encourage and promote such dialogue.”
“The artist,” continued President Bratton, “participated in an already-existing circuit of food production in a rural community in Mexico. The animals were raised for food, purchased, and professionally slaughtered. In fact, what causes the controversy is that Abdessemed, an artist, entered this exchange, filmed it, and exhibited it.”
“Here, then, is a case where highly local assumptions about how things are produced have come to inform how the world itself is seen. In general, consumption in the US is fueled by things produced out of sight and from far away. In many cultures, particularly those of the global south including Mexico, the killing of animals for food is often direct and present, not concealed from sight as is the case of industrialized food production here. This distinction is certainly relevant to Don’t Trust Me. Admittedly, this is an uncomfortable confrontation for some, but is nevertheless a real condition not only for animals, but also for the people whose lives are bound up with them. Simply stated, it is an outrage that threats of violence have, in this case, succeeded in derailing a public debate on issues that are critical to our everyday lives.”
The press release can be found here.
March 28, 2008 · Print This Article
An exhibition at the San Francisco Art Institute’s (SFAI) Walter And McBean Galleries has been suspended after the gallery received over 3000 emails from students, faculty, and community members in protest. Don’t Trust Me is French artist Adel Abdessemed’s first exhibition on the West Coast. The controversial work consists of several monitors, each showing looped footage of a tethered animal – a goat, an ox, a horse, a sheep, a pig, and a fawn – being hit on the head with sledge hammer. In addition to the contentious footage, the exhibition includes a large neon brain, a series of wall drawings, and a large video installation that features the artist hanging from a helicopter while trying to draw Gericault’s Raft Of The Medusa (1818).
The institute is having an open forum at 12PM Monday at their lecture hall where concerned individuals will be able to discuss the issues surrounding the work with Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and former BAS interviewee Hou Hanru, Dean of Academic Affairs Okwui Enwezor, and institute professors and artists John Rapko and Tony Labat. If you happen to be in the area, please come.
Mining the media fallout:
The San Francisco FOX affiliate KTVU did a short segment on the exhibition, watch it here.
SFAI has a statement out on Tuesday.
San Rafael-based animal rights organization In Defense Of Animals has referred to the videos as animal snuff films, you can link to their interpretation of the exhibition, here.
San Francisco SPCA has released a statement condemning the exhibition, read that here.
The San Francisco Examiner published an article about the exhibition, read that here.
This week Caleb Lyons, one of the directors at Chicago curious space “Old Gold,” drops in to interview John Phillips and Tony Wight about the current changes at Bodybuilder and Sportsman/Tony Wight Gallery, John and Caleb’s exhibitions, contemporary abstract painting, and we once again tackle the topic of what is a hipster?.
Where is Richard? Read more
Finally, after a six month wait, it is here…
The audio from the 2007 Stone Summer Theory Institute: Is Art History Global?
This will be a series of six or seven 2-4 hour excerpts from the week-long event. In advance of the second iteration “What is an Image?” You can find more info and the application for the 2008 Institute at… http://www.stonesummertheoryinstitute.org
The 2007 participants can be viewed at http://www.badatsports.com/megsmagic/2007-panorama.jpg
Keep in mind that this audio is rough “B-side stuff,” but nonetheless provides a chance to go behind the curtain on this thoughtful conversation.
In this episode we present… “The Intro Round Table Event.”
From The Stone Summer Theory Institute Site…
2007: The Globalization of Art, co-organized with Zhivka Valiavicharska
The book will be co-edited with Alice Kim; please see the book series for more information.
The “biennale culture” now determines much of the art market. Literature on the worldwide dissemination of art assumes nationalism and ethnic identity, but rarely analyzes it. At the same time, there is extensive theorizing about globalization in politics, postcolonial theory, economics, sociology, and anthropology.
This was the first event of the series to bring political theorists together with writers and historians concerned specifically the visual arts and its art history.
Seminars were taught by Fredric Jameson, Harry Harootunian, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Shigemi Inaga, Susan Buck-Morss, James Elkins, and Zhivka Valiavicharska.