Portraiture as Punishment?

September 27, 2010 · Print This Article

A few weeks ago here on the blog, I wrote a post about portraiture in the age of Facebook. At the conclusion of the piece, I said this:

“To whatever extent our online selves reflect our offline selves, Haugsjaa and Moore’s portraits make it harrowingly clear that our online profiles and virtual personas have, in a very real sense, escaped us. They/We are up for grabs, ready to be data-mined, added, followed, memed, and retweeted. The opportunity to have one’s portrait painted was once available only to a select few: typically, the very rich or the very poor. Social recognition used to be a privilege. So why does it now seem more like a punishment?”

After writing that paragraph, I kind of laughed at myself for being so hyperbolic with my prose, but for some reason I still didn’t want to change it. Over the weekend, I read an article in the business section of the Chicago Tribune that was pretty horrifying, and I felt that it kind of confirmed my suspicions that nowadays, having one’s photo taken might be more of a punishment than it is a privilege.

I can’t help but think that vile websites like People of Public Transit exist partly as an offshoot of virtual hangouts like Facebook, My Space, and Flickr. I find it more than a little disturbing to think that not only are our images and personas are up for grabs in a social media sense; a lot of people now apparently think (probably because of this) that it’s totally okay, and not at all morally problematic, to snap a stranger’s picture on the subway train and post it Facebook style for their own and others’ amusement.

Read the Trib’s article about what happened to CTA commuter Jennifer Fastwolf and tell me you don’t agree with me just a teeny bit. (It’s okay if you don’t though).




50 Posts About Cyborgs

September 27, 2010 · Print This Article

I’m an inveterate seeker-outer of new and interesting websites to add to my ever-growing RSS feed, which I in turn viciously cull with as much frequency as possible (I hate virtual clutter more than I do the real stuff). 50 Posts About Cyborgs is one of my new mainstays, and I dare say it’s required reading for anyone who is interested in Cyborg theory and other instances of human-machine dalliance. It’s a Tumblr site that was started as a way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the coining of the term “cyborg.” Over a month, the site will update 50 times with links to material “celebrating 50 years of one of the 20th Century’s more enduring concepts,” the cyborg.

Here’s the scary part: I don’t have to worry about the site adding to my virtual clutter, because it’ll go dark once those 50 posts have been posted.

The project began on September 1st, so by my calculations there’s less than a week left to peruse the site before it vanishes into the ether. Thus far, 50 Posts About Cyborgs have posted essays on the origin and meaning of the term ‘cyborg;’ a review of the classic work of cyborg fiction, Genesis of the Daleks; a link to a Wired article about how disabled people are on the cutting edge of assistive technology; and links to more than one article arguing that the Bible is actually filled with cyborgs.

I’m not linking to any of the essays mentioned above on purpose, because I want you to click around 50 Posts About Cyborgs yourself. It’s such a great project — a fantastic use of the Tumblr interface — and overall an incredibly fascinating place to hang out for awhile. So click on over, please!




Episode 265: Abby Chen

September 26, 2010 · Print This Article

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This week: Matthew Harrison Tedford talks to curator Abby Chen.

They talk about the difficulties of curating contemporary Chinese art in the US, the relationship between social activism and art in China, and about a recent sympsosium on gender identity held by Abby in Guangzhou, China.

Abby Chen was born in Shandong, China, and raised in both Beijing and Shenzhen. She has been the Program Director of the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco. Since 2006 she has overseen the Center’s Xian Rui Artist Excellence Exhibition Series and the Present Tense Biennial.

Formerly, she was the co-founder and Director of the Chinese Artists Network (CAN), an organization dedicated to contemporary Chinese visual artists.

With CAN, Abby has curated exhibits for the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Museum of Chinese in America in New York, the San Leandro History Museum & Art Gallery, Photo San Francisco, and Olive Hyde Art Gallery.




Who’s Hot Tonight, Strindberg’s Hot Tonight

September 24, 2010 · Print This Article

Youtube & The Guggenheim have released their short list for the “Play” Biennial and there is a God since my favorite art video not only is back from the dead but has a new work out. Strindberg and Helium at the Beach tell the tale of a fatalistic Swedish playwright and his best friend a bubble gum pink ballon named Helium. Even though Bad at Sports didn’t make the short list if “Play” does nothing more then vault artist Eun-Ha Park and Strindberg & Helium back into production I call it a roaring success.

  • What is this you say? The Art world has a habit of being delinquent on payments (even more so since October of 2008) and that can have larger ramifications throughout the entire ecosystem? Balderdash I say, pure poppycock; where did I put my monocle. Read more here
  • A new Art Fair called of all things “VIP” that has no physical location and is 100% virtual on the net, marketing is not discussed nor noticable yet, there is no meet and greet which is the cornerstone of art, you will be expected to buy without ever seeing the work in the flesh & they want to charge $20,000 a booth and be held 22-30 January. If this didn’t have Gagosian, Sadie Coles, Emman uel Perrotin and David Zwirner involved I would be rolling on the floor laughing, oh wait I still am. Laugh more here
  • Auction house Christie’s has hired, from outside, a former publishing, record company and Disney executive as its new CEO. Read more here
  • Chuck Close does a public interview at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he discusses his life, art, and the creative process. Watch more here
  • The Art Institute of Chicago Sues the Engineering Firm that built it’s Modern Wing citing cracks in concrete floors, condensation clouding the main vestibule glass and an air-conditioning system that can’t maintain a safe climate for artwork. The estimated cost of repairs is $10 million. Read more here
  • Stuart E. Hample, Humorist and Cartoonist, Dies at 84. Read more here Also Howard Brodie, Combat and Courtroom Artist, Dies at 94 Read more here
  • Deep in us we all love science and have had great joy in the data coming from the Large Hadron Collider and even more in the sillyness surrounding it but it’s interesting to watch scientists fall all over themselves trying to address what would happen if the beam hit anything organic. Watch more here

One more video from the “Play” Biennial, this is fun lol.




Top 5 Weekend Picks! (9/24 & 9/25)

September 23, 2010 · Print This Article

Another week, another round of art. I am busy, busy, busy, but going out and seeing the work is an essential part of it. Time is of the essence. Shows to see, my friends…

1. The Exhibitionist at Co-Prosperity Sphere

Work by Tom Torluemke.

Co-Prosperity Sphere is located at 3219 S. Morgan St. Reception Friday, 6-11pm.

2. Ron Artist: MVP (Malleability vs. Preservation) at Noble & Superior Projects

Work by Lindsay Apatow, Ben Balcom, April Behnke, Luis Miguel Bendaña, Joey Carr, Emilie Crewe, Matt Cummings, Lori Felker, Yasi Ghanbari, Samuel Gove, Jordan Grimes, Jeriah Hildwine, Randy Sterling Hunter, Seth Hunter, Tom McCormack, Ross Meckfessel, Josh Sampson, Kristen Stokes, Vincent Uribe and Corrine Webb.

Noble & Superior Projects is located at 1418 W. Superior St. Reception Friday, 8-11pm.

3. Basement Show at Parking Space

Work by Brandon Warren Alvendia, Caroline Polachek, Daniel Sullivan, Eleni Ann Kelaidis, Justin Thomas Schaefer, Marion Ramos, Michael Thibault, Scott Reeder and Tyson Reeder.

Parking Space is located at 2246 W. 19th St. 3R. Reception Friday, 6-10pm.

4. Girls at The Hills Esthetic Center

Work by Caitlin Arnold.

The Hills Esthetic Center is located at 128 N. Campbell Ave., Unit G. Reception Friday, 8-11pm.

5. Book Release Party at Golden Age

Release party for Can I Come Over to Your House: The First Ten Years of The Suburban.

Golden Age is located at 119 N Peoria St, 2D. Release party Saturday, 6-9pm.