Spiritualize Chat

March 30, 2011 · Print This Article

I just wanted to call attention to this awesome web symposium inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s book, On the Spiritual in Art. It looks amazing and people have already started posting their remarks. The announcement is as follows:

The year 2011 marks the centennial of the publication of Wassily Kandinsky’s classic text, On the Spiritual in Art. Inspired by this anniversary, this project seeks to explore the place of the spiritual in contemporary art and to propose a challenge to the current devaluation of the inner life that prevails within the art world in our market-driven era.

Beginning today – Wednesday, March 30th – a ten-day virtual symposium moderated by Taney Roniger and Eric Zechman will be held in this forum.

Our symposium participants are: Suzanne Anker, Laura Battle, Connie Beckley, Anney Bonney, Deirdre Boyle, Nathaniel Dorsky, Jeff Edwards, James Elkins, Max Gimblett, Tom Huhn, Atta Kim, Roger Lipsey, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Joseph Nechvatal, Daniel Siedell, Charlene Spretnak, David Levi Strauss, Alan Wanzenberg, and Pawel Wojtasik. For participant biographies and other project details, please visit our site: www.beyondkandinsky.net.

March 30th–April 1st: Session I: The Spiritual Then and Now

April 2nd–April 3rd: Session II: The Changing Shape of Art

April 4th-5th: Session III: Art and Its Audience

April 6th–April 7th: Session IV: The Artist in Society

April 8th: Conclusions


(And then I just thought I’d quote the very first post, since it seemed particularly interesting to me…)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A response to Session I questions

Posted by Max Gimblett at Wednesday, March 30, 2011

(1) How have our ideas about the spiritual changed with the dissolution of the Modernist dream, in which Kandinsky’s vision was so deeply embedded?

What dissolution?! The Modernist dream has deepened and magnified.

(2) How has the notion of transcendence changed? Is transcendence still viable in a largely secular, postmodern culture?

Yes. We know much more about the world’s cultures. For instance: the phenomenal growth of American Buddhism; our understanding and study of Indian Gurus; and the emergence of current Indian Art.

(3) What might account for the deep suspicion — or indeed denial — of the spiritual shared by many artists and intellectuals in our culture?

Postmodernism, cynicism, parody, materialism, suicide. These nihilistic tendencies choose academic study and ritual in an effort subvert our collective spiritual connectivity. Spirituality is perception and clear perception delivers the truth. Krishnamurti delivers the truth. My primary school model was “seek after truth.”

(4) How have attitudes toward nature, the material world, and the body changed since Kandinsky?

As art history moves forward artists have branched off into ever more specialized investigations into all things. New and old ideas are explored and enriched. Beauty is found and lost.

Chip Kidd Speaks at Columbia College Tonight!

March 30, 2011 · Print This Article


Chip Kidd, one of the most rockin’ of book cover illustrators and an author himself (True Prep, The Cheese Monkeys, The Learners) will be speaking at Columbia College tonight, Wednesday, March 30 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. Here’s where to show up:

Stage 2 at Columbia College Chicago 

618 S. Michigan Ave. 2nd Floor

Chicago, IL
Just look at all the a-maaaazing book covers this guy has designed. Over 1500 they say. Seriously, his shit is incredible. The Book Cover Archive, a website dedicated to, well, archiving book cover design, is pretty frakkin’ awesome too – take a moment to check it out.

New “Centerfield” Post on art:21 blog | Protest Songs and Lullabies: Susan Philipsz in Chicago

March 29, 2011 · Print This Article

Our latest “Centerfield” post is up on Art:21 blog today. This time, I write about the multiple presentations of Susan Philipsz’ works on view right now in Chicago at the MCA and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. An excerpt from the piece follows; click on over to read it in full.

…My husband and I realize that it’s kind of weird to sing our kid to sleep with a song about men dying of silicosis, but then again the lyrics to “Rock-a-Bye Baby” are pretty disturbing too. Still, the question of why someone would sing a protest song as if it were a lullaby was very much on my mind during several recent encounters with the work of Scottish artist Susan Philipsz. She has three installations on view right now in Chicago: We Shall Be All and Internationale at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Pledge at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum on the University of Illinois, Chicago campus. The winner of this year’s Turner Prize, Philipsz is widely acclaimed for her use of sound — and more specifically of voice — in works of art that engage the history and culture of protest. Almost all of Philipsz’s installations rely on her own, untrained vocals to weave densely allusive tapestries that commemorate the experiences of those struggling for a better world — something we don’t normally associate with the soothing nature of lullabies.

Commissioned by the MCA, Phillipsz’s We Shall Be All references Chicago’s labor movement and its legacy of social reform in the context of worldwide struggles for worker’s rights. I think it’s partly the fact that public-sector labor unions are so much in the news nowadays, due to the efforts of numerous GOP legislators to quash the collective bargaining power of those unions (or even its mere visual representation) that lends such a sharp sting to Philipsz’s Chicago presentations. Consisting of several speakers and a projection screen arranged within a completely darkened room, We Shall Be All takes its title from Melvyn Dubofsky’s We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World. This book provides the definitive history of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the Chicago-born labor association whose influence was especially strong during the years before World War I. In particular, Philipsz’s piece alludes to the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, whose anniversary is commemorated on May 1st of each year in honor of International Workers Rights.

(Read more).


Episode 291: Polly Apfelbaum

March 28, 2011 · Print This Article

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This week: Tom and Amnda talk to contemporary artist, and all around interesting person Polly Apfelbaum!

Dead Hare Radio Hour Interviews Duncan MacKenzie

March 28, 2011 · Print This Article

The Dead Hare Radio Hour is a new radio show originating from Poughkeepsie, NY. Focusing on the art/culture/thought/talk nexus, it is broadcast every Tuesday at 5pm (EDT) on 91.3 WVKR, Poughkeepsie, NY. Even better for those of us outside broadcast range, the folks behind the program are making each show available via iTunes, get it right here! Their first episode features interviews with Bad at Sports’ beloved co-leader Duncan MacKenzie, as well as with the kick-ass NY-based art journalist/blogger Carolina Miranda aka C-Monster.

I am lovin’ their whole Dead Hare rationale. Here’s an excerpt from the “About Us” page of their website:

Why ‘Dead Hare Radio’?

We settled upon Dead Hare for a number of reasons.  It is in part an homage to Joseph Beuys and his work 1965 performance “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare.” The image of the hare (living and dead) has populated works throughout the history of art.   One aspect of Beuys’ piece is the allusion to this presence and, by default, we’re doing the same.

In regard to Beuys’ piece, the homage we’re paying  is to an aspect of that work that Beuys certainly did not intend; the futility of it all.  The futility of discussing visual culture on the radio is our project.

Another appealing quality of the name is its opacity.   For those unaware of its reference to Beuys’ work it renders a fugitive image in the mind of the beholder.  Hare or hair?  Indeed, there’s a strong relationship between the genre of radio station one listens to and the hairstyle one sports on one’s head and we are honoring that synchronicity.

Also, Dead Hare has a lovely semblance of the term “dead air” – a constant reminder to us now we’re on the radio.

The show is produced by artists Christopher Albert (also of MAYKR) and Matthew Slaats. Hooray for art on radio! And double hooray when it’s available for download!