This week’s this and that…
*Threewalls and The Green Lantern Press publish The Artists Run Chicago Digest, which complements the exhibition that was on view at the Hyde Park Art Center last summer. Release party: October 30th, 2009.
*Donald Young one of 65 gallerists not returning to Art Basel Miami this year. However Rhona Hoffman Gallery will be back for the Fair’s 2009 installment.
*MOCA’s in Turnaround: The L.A. Museum has raised $60 million since last December, putting it on path to recovery.
*Outsider(ish) art hits the iPhone with new Daniel Johnston video game app; too bad Johnston himself has no idea what an iPhone is.
*Bike Rides: The Exhibition: New exhibition at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum “explores the growing relevance of bicycles in contemporary art and culture;” musician/bicycle enthusiast David Byrne is an adviser to the exhibition (Via Artipedia).
*What’s the matter with Frank Lloyd Wright’s 100 year old Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL? Turns out, a lot.
*Phong Bui interviews Agnes Gund for The Brooklyn Rail.
*New online art mag: James Wagner and Barry Hoggard launch Idiom, “an online publication of urban artistic practice.”
*Rant of the Week (technically it was last week, but I’m behind on the news): Charlie Finch on Dave Hickey’s “The Good Ennui” lecture at the SVA. Watch Hickey’s lecture on YouTube here (it was posted, yanked, and now it’s back up again).
September 29, 2009 · Print This Article
This month the Gene Siskel Film Center hosted the 16th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival hosted. Not too much of a surprise that both of the films I did catch this year were both documentaries.
American Radical: the trials of Norman Finkelstein
American Radical: the trials of Norman Finkelstein directed by David Ridgen (Mississippi Cold Case) and Nicolas Rossier (Astride and the Endless Revolution), follows the American born academic and activist as he lectures across the country and fights for tenure positions in both New York City and Chicago. Often referred to as a “self-hating Jew”, Norman is most well known for his views on America’s and Israel’s relations with Palestine. He is also the author of six books including his most controversial book to date, “The Holocaust Factory.” Throughout the film we retrace Norman’s life beginning with his upbringing in New York City by two Holocaust survivors. He studied with Norm Chomsky and soon became an outspoken activist and scholar about the Israel and Palestinian conflict. The film itself attempts to convey the complexities of Finkelstein’s character. Providing interviews with his supporters and his opposition the directors demonstrate Norman’s devotion to his work while showing his greatest downfall is his persistence in expressing his opinion.
Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo
Let me start off by saying that I was expecting something very different from this film. When I first read the title Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (BQCT), I had imagined a contemporary low budget Godzilla film, not a nature documentary. After my expectations were dashed I decided to press on in hopes of finding an enlightening film on Japan’s obsession with insects. I had just watched David Attenborough’s documentary Life in the Undergrowth and expected Jessica Oreck, an employee at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, to follow in the same vein. According to BQCT’s Facebook page, the film “delves into the ineffable mystery of Japan’s age-old love affair with insects. A labyrinthine meditation on nature, beauty, philosophy and Japanese culture that might just make you question if your ‘instinctive’ repulsion to bugs is merely a trick of western conditioning.” On paper that sounds great, but in reality I found the film poorly edited and suffered from clichéd insect-like camera perspectives. Attenborough uses the same shots with much greater success. He let the shots linger for much longer, creating a more languid motion that appeared much more subtle. I could get over these shots when learning that this was Oreck’s first film. But, what I found unforgivable was the limited amount of subtitles. If I am going to watch a foreign film, I expect to be able to read all of the dialogue and not selections. I happened to watch the film with an entomologist who helped explain some of the scenes that had no subtitles or explanations on what was happening. But in the end, I asked countless questions and felt more frustrated than informed.
Coke has followed (and some might say lead this trend) by simplifying the cans from full of bubbles and ribbons to a slightly antiqued red with a flat single ribbon. Now would the next step be a can that doesn’t roll? Designer Dzmirty Samal thinks so and has proposed an alternative to the cold forming manufacturing process all cans undergo today to make them fast and round out of aluminum with instead using impact extrusion in which aluminum is pressed at a high velocity into a mold.
What you get is a can that Buckminster Fuller himself could easily get behind and pound a few away with.
This week we return to Chicago’s magic love and check in with a few local heroes, Rob Davis and Michael Langlois. Fresh from shows in New York and Berlin, they have returned home to a run of great exhibitions starting with the Cultural Center in January and rolling up to the current 12 x 12 at the MCA. They join us to chat about painting, perspectives on art history, collaboration and show making in the contemporary context, while always draping one hand back to tradition.
The outro has a guest commentator with a message for Joseph Mohan. After that there is a special surprise for those who hang about for end of the credits. Or maybe not. I thought it was funny. Read more
Over the last week the music file sharing debate has found new fodder to play with in the form of Pop singer Lily Allen. Lily Allen started a proactive discussion on the net complete with website to address her concern with the negative effects of file sharing. In only a few days the site and most of her postings have been deleted but you can read much of the archives here.
As with any good debate it’s in the light of opposite views that you find informative and interesting contrasts and in this case one of the better opinions came in the form of a new song by artist Dan Bull who sampled Ms. Allen’s song “22” to make an open singing letter titled “Dear Lily”