Episode 212: Jay Wolke

September 20, 2009 · Print This Article

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Jay Wolke
This week: Duncan and guest interviewer (who really does most of the interviewing while Duncan slumbers) Anna Kunz talk to artist and educator Jay Wolke! This entertaining and at times wacky interview is not to be missed. As you listen to this you can think to yourself; “I wonder what general zaniness was in the 10 minutes Richard chopped out of this show for the purposes of brevity and flow”, but you can rest comfortable that most of it consisted of Anna giving Duncan a hard time.

Do not miss the longest, most unfocused and rant laden outro/credits in the history of the show, where Richard and Duncan are interrupted by Buses, the El, a panhandler, and Richard’s spontaneous rant about a cop on a Segway smoking a cigarette. This spawns a discussion about the ascendancy of “douchebag” in the contemporary lexicon.

Wow. That is a lot of quality show!

Lifted shamelessly for somewhere else:

Jay Wolke is professor and chair of the department of art and design at Columbia College Chicago, and the author of All Around the House: Photographs of American-Jewish Communal Life. Dominic A. Pacyga is a professor at Columbia College Chicago, and the author and editor of numerous books on Chicago’s history, including Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago and Chicago, both published by the University of Chicago Press. Read more




Friday’s Twitter Roundup | 9.18.08

September 18, 2009 · Print This Article

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Glitch: Designing Imperfection

This week’s roundup is short and sweet. We checked out info on the forthcoming book Glitch: Designing Imperfections, A video about gay scientists locating the Christian gene, and Miranda July Pillowcases. Make sure to check out our twitter page for updates on my trip to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to see the show “The Quick and the Dead” this weekend.

@KnightLAT attempts to explains Glenn Beck’s art criticism.

RT AiANews Obama appoints some big names to the Committee on Arts and Humanities to aid private investment in the arts. 

Glitch: Designing Imperfections A book on Glitch Art and Design Aesthetics  via @Postfamily

RT @heyhotshot If you’re in Chicago this evening, head to @gallery400 tonight for a public lecture by Brian Ulrich

Call for Proposals for Proximity issue #6.

RT @kemperartmuseum new podcast featuring st louis visual arts, with a new episode about chance aesthetics; details

A conversation between Barbara Kruger and Richard Prince. 

RT @hragv Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene (YouTube)

The New Museum is now offering Miranda July pillowcases.




Entire City Rendered In 3D Using Nothing But Flickr Photos

September 18, 2009 · Print This Article

What was Archimedes famous quote? “Give me a place to stand to take enough photos and I can map the world” no but he might have

University of Washington’s Graphics and Imaging Laboratory, the researchers who built a lot of the code that went into the original Microsoft Photosynth software, have devised new algorithms that take the existing ability to create a rough 3d map from multiple photos up by a order of magnitude. Now it not only can do basic depth perception and skinning with photos but create pinpoint 3d skeletons if given enough data to pull from. The uses and implications of this are vast.

We just need to use the v1.0 and start rendering gallery openings in 3d :)




Artist Tania Bruguera Causes Controversy With “Cocaine Performance”

September 18, 2009 · Print This Article

Artnet News reported yesterday on the controversy kicked up by Cuban artist (and University of Chicago faculty member) Tania Bruguera, whose performance on Aug. 27 at the Facultad de Bellas Artes at the Universidad Nacional de Columbia in Bogota caused an uproar. As part of a larger piece dealing with Columbian history and politics, Bruguera offered lines of cocaine to her audience, some of whom took the bait and consumed what turned out to be authentic (and, apparently, “good stuff” according to those audience member who partook). Here’s an excerpt from Artnet’s story:

Bruguera’s performance, which took place on Aug. 27 at an auditorium of the Facultad de Bellas Artes at the Universidad Nacional, drew enough of a crowd that it was transmitted outside to spectators via a large screen. According to various accounts, it began with three figures — representing, the artist said, a right-wing paramilitary fighter, a left-wing guerrilla and a refugee displaced by the long-running conflict in Colombia — all speaking simultaneously into a microphone. However, whatever they were trying to communicate was overshadowed when the second part of the show began, with an assistant wading into the crowd carrying a tray laden with lines of coke, presenting it for the audience’s consumption.

Reactions at the time were mixed. According to a student who was present, writing in El Tiempo, at first the event was assumed to be a joke, until several members tested the drug, and proclaimed it to be “good stuff.” At this point, some spectators joined the festivities, and others walked out (mainly the older crowd seated up front, El Tiempo’s correspondent says). Some audience members warned those who were doing the drugs that they were participating in illegal activity, while others continued to try and watch the stage action. Following the commotion, Bruguera herself took the stage, thanking her Colombian audience and exiting. And according to reports, the police were called.

Artnet also links to a YouTube clip of Bruguera responding to critics at a panel after the performance, which I’m including directly below for you Spanish speakers and body-language readers. The clip shows an angry audience member who, according to Artnet, describes herself as an “activist, journalist, artist and direct victim of the violence” and vehemently criticizes the piece for its superficiality.

Bruguera was part of the MCA Chicago’s “Diversity and Contemporary Art” panel that took place a few weeks ago on September 9th. I wasn’t able to make it – but I’m curious if this particular performance was brought up at all during the discussion. Did any of you reading this attend? For that matter, if you happened to have been present at Bruguera’s performance in Columbia, by all means let us know what you thought of it in the comments. We’re trying to reach Ms. Bruguera directly to get the artists’ side of the story, and will keep you posted.




Doug Ischar’s Marginal Waters @ GOLDEN

September 18, 2009 · Print This Article

Marginal Waters at GOLDEN in Chicago exhibits 13 of the works in the series by Doug Ischar. The backdrop of Chicago’s own Belmont Rocks, since destroyed, sets the stage for the documentation of gay men in the 1980s.

The first room in the impeccable space presents three large framed photographs. The titles of the images are sterile and indexical, simply numbered. MW 19 (1985), the first piece I confronted, is a portrait of a scattered group of men, sunning on the rocks by the water. Two men are standing close, just of the verge between friendship close and intimately close, and there are men stretched out sunning on towels.  Besides the incredibly dense colors, there is something about all of the photographs that is so captivating; the latent sexual desire rubbing up against the innocence of an afternoon in the sun. The subtle hand on the thigh, the peak of underwear beneath impossibly short shorts, the glint of a nipple ring, or connection between two bodies that speaks to the audacity of a normally closeted culture behaving freely in a public arena, almost like  Sunday In the Park on poppers.

The dual landscape of bodies and the rocks was elegantly captured in MW 22 (1985), a portrait of two men embracing on the ground. The curve of the shoulder, knee, seem to act as an extension of the terrain. Also in this image is a lone can of Miller High Life, just one of the many cultural artifacts that look planted in the compositions. Other images include a Diane Arbus book, a Vanity Fair, walkmans (walkmen?), and many ten speed bicycles. There is a subtle illicit implication to the images, an innuendo of illegality.

This feeling of “getting away with something”, as opposed to just being or doing is represented extremely well in the one video piece in the show, Forget Him (2009). This single channel video is extremely compelling and layered. Silent footage found by the artist in a Chicago area flea market in 1990, originally shot in the 1960s, is kept in its entirety with only the playback speeds altered. Ishcar adds captions of Walter Benjamin’s One Way Street, as well as a beautiful section from Heirich Schultz’s Symphoniae Sacrae (1629) . This video serves as a present day reflection on the project from the 80s. It begins with footage of a backyard flower garden, has spaces of blank footage with dust and scratches, and then segments of two men at the rocks. The men are changing, one taking off his pants and donning a jock strap, the other removing his fishnet shirt and khakis and dressing in the tightest shorts you have ever seen, struggling to zip them up. The whole time they are looking around, and the gaze of the camera catches passersby in the distance. This seems like a getting ready ritual that would contemporarily be done in the home, to get ready for a club, but takes place in the open space of the Belmont Rocks.  The word from the text, “lovesick, sick, sick”, echo on the screen, seeming to allude to the previously believed “illness” of homosexuality, as well as the consciousness of the AIDS epidemic.

The gallery itself, located in a classic Chicago graystone in Boystown, (apparently one of the first officially recognized “gay villages” in the United States) is incredibly appropriate, adding to the sense of history and urgency of preservation felt in the show. There was also a neatness to the images that worked extremely well in the historic yet well-groomed space. Jacob Meehan, director of GOLDEN, says that many of the neighborhood homos who showed up for the opening this past weekend actually thanked him for showing the work, and reminisced over the images. I think that this show is a great way to begin the year, and to make a meaningful connection with the community.

There is going to be a catalog for Marginal Waters, which will include all 26 of the images in the series as well as text by David Getsy, Steve Reinke and an interview with John Neff. The exhibition has been extended and there will be a closing and catalog release reception, the dates of which will be posted on the website.