Episode 348: The Art Practical Sound Issue

April 30, 2012 · Print This Article

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This week: And now for something completely different!

This week’s episode comes to us from our friends at Art Practical, whose current issue delves into the rich history of sound art in the San Francisco Bay Area. The included essays and interviews constitute a fraction of the rich and varied world of experimental sound. Here, Art Practical’s contributing editors Catherine McChrystal and Kara Q. Smith offer an all-audio version of that issue with samples of work by the artists profiled in that issue, including:

Maryann Amacher, Joshua Churchill, Paul DeMarinas, Chris Duncan, Jacqueline Gordon, Aaron Harbour, Shane Myrbeck, Pauline Oliveros, Ethan Rose, and the San Francisco Tape Music Center.

The Bay Area’s technological reign has established San Francisco as a destination for sound artists and experimental composers seeking to advance their practices through the genesis of new mediums. They explore sound’s capacity to conflate sensory experience; from the earliest days of sound art, artists and experimental musicians discovered in the genre a medium that is inclusive, participatory, disruptive, and that could embody their political goals. This episode explores how sounds are both aural and physical, producing reverberations that register in our ears and bodies and that locate or disorient us in space.

You can check out the articles included in Art Practical’s Sound Issue here.

Endless Opportunities (Or Something)

April 28, 2012 · Print This Article


Alright y’all, I’m pretty proud of this one after the last bender post. What it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality and here at Bad At Sports we are all about something for everyone…usually…

I highly recommend the AFC’s open call for writers, making a book for the National Museum of Woman in the Arts and checking out CULTUREHALL. What artist opportunity list would be complete without a possibly sketchy art contest, though? Not this one, that’s for sure.




Weirdo email fundraiser of the week comes from Duncan’s friends over at Wikipedia art, calling for help for “TWEETS IN SPACE.”

The gist:

We will beam Twitter discussions from participants worldwide towards GJ667Cc – an exoplanet 22 light years away that might support earth-like biological life. Anyone with an Internet connection can participate during two performance events, which will simultaneously take place online, at the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA2012, New Mexico), and in the stars.

Feeling frisky with your 10 dollars?





Rhizome at the New Museum

New York, New York

May 1, 2012
The Commissions Program supports emerging artists by providing grants for the creation of significant works of new media art. Projects can be made for the context of the gallery, the public, the web or networked devices. Awards generally range from $1,000 to $5,000.

This year, Rhizome is placing a specific focus on projects geared that address social issues and/or promote individual advancement through education or participation. Our focus is not restricted to this theme, but it is a priority.

The Commissions Program also provides members with a significant opportunity to survey and select applications; two of the commissions will be determined by the membership through an open vote. The majority of awards will be decided by a jury moderated by Lauren Cornell, executive director of Rhizome. The jury includes Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London; Jonathan Lethem, author of The Ecstasy of Influence, The Fortress of Solitude, and Motherless Brooklyn; and Caitlin Jones, executive director of Western Front.



National Museum of Women in the Arts

June 30, 2012

The Library Fellows Program was established in 1989 to encourage and support the creation of artists’ books and to benefit the Library and Research Center.


Although collaborative works are allowed and even encouraged, the artist who is responsible for the overall creation, design, and realization of the book must be a woman.

The Fellows’ contributions are used to produce an artist’s book in a limited edition of 125 copies. As a benefit of membership, each Fellow receives a copy of the book. The artists keep 25 copies as a form of remuneration for their creative efforts. The remaining copies are sold and the money generated from the sale benefits the Library and Research Center.





Culturehall’s New Artist’s Feature

May 6, 2012

Culturehall is a curated online resource for contemporary art. There is an open call is to share your work with the curators, collectors, and gallerists who visit Culturehall daily. Four artists will be selected from this call to participate in our June 6th Feature Issue.




Open call for submissions

Friend of B@S Paddy Johnson is accepting pitches from new writers for 1) discourse about art OUTSIDE of NYC (holy shit!?) and 2) ‘Net art. No one really knows what any of that really means but you should go for it anyway.



Gallery 44

Toronto, Canada

June 1, 2012

Call For Workshop Proposals
Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography is seeking new, dynamic & innovative workshop proposals that respond to contemporary photography through diverse image-making techniques and skill development.





May 24, 2012


The ArtPrize event is a radically open, international art competition and social experiment, focused on expanding and broadening the conversation about art. Registered artists and venues match with one another at artprize.org and the public votes for the winners using mobile devices and the Web.  ArtPrize 2011 included 1,582 artists from 39 countries and 43 U.S. states, as well as nearly 400,000 people who participated in the unprecedented event that awarded $498,000 to the prize winners. Since its inception, individuals of all backgrounds have cast more than 1.2 million votes for public art.

Leading the jury panel includes Jerry Saltz, senior art critic at New York magazine, and Tom Eccles, director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. Others include:

  • Tyler Green, columnist with Modern Painters
  • Lisa Frieman, chair of the contemporary department at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Cathy Edwards, director of performance programs at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas
  • Susan Szenasy, editor-in-chief of Metropolis magazine







AIDS Demo Graphics

April 27, 2012 · Print This Article

One night in the mid-80s, my friends and I were walking along Capitol Hill, and there on the lawn of Seattle Community College was a group of men holding a candlelight vigil. There were only four or five of them. We asked them what the vigil was about. One man gave me a pamphlet and said that gay men and junkies were dying of a new disease. He told me that with the way this mysterious illness was spreading, soon everyone would have it. I didn’t believe him. But over the course of the next ten years, what he said turned out to be true, or at least to many of us felt true.

For that long decade, Americans struggled to make sense of HIV-AIDS and what it meant to us, not just as individuals, but also to our communities. We saw conceptual art enter the national consciousness, exemplified through the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who took as his subject matter grief and loss. Cleve Jones’ Names Project, is a robust example of memorial art, that is as powerful today as it was when it was first displayed in 1987. Here at the 30th anniversary of the start of the AIDS crisis, it is not surprising to me that both Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America are experiencing successful revivals. Of course, we are also seeing exhibitions, like the one at the MCA, This Will Have Been: Art, Love, & Politics in the 1980s, that reconsiders the work of artists and activists of the time.

The way I best come to understand a historic period is to look at the cultural production of the time. AIDS Demo Graphics by Douglas Crimp, with Adam Rolston set out to document the graphic protests of the time–mostly through the work of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and Gran Fury. In the introduction, the editors position the book itself as a direct action, which at first seemed to be an overstatement, but as I read, I came to agree with. The book opens with ACT UP’s first direct action, a demonstration on Wall Street. In the photograph a young man, dressed in a suit is being hauled off by the cops. Called “No More Business as Usual,” this action protested the US government’s cozy and deadly relationship with the drug manufacturer Burroughs Welcome. “The target: BUSINESS. BIG BUSINESS. BUSINESS AS USUAL.”

Undoubtedly, ACT UP in particular  changed what American protest looks like. While the 60s and 70s offered homemade political signs, ACT UP’s imagery resembled an exhibition poster, or more accurately, a United Colors of Benetton ad. The book is organized chronologically and by the time I reached the middle, Gran Fury (the design arm of ACT UP) is producing compelling posters of protest, that are visually compelling and convey information about the spread of HIV that at the time, the public did not have access to. You can see one of Gran Fury’s famous ads, “Kissing Doesn’t Kill, Greed and Indifference Do,” as part of the This Will Have Been advertisement on the Red Line around the Belmont stop.

Only three years passed between that first action and the publication of AIDS Demo Graphics in 1990. Even without the privilege of hindsight, the book serves as a snapshot of the graphic history of protest around the spread of HIV/AIDS. Each protest and its direct action is detailed, so that by the end of the book you have an understanding of the trajectory of both the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and US government policy. I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in a succinct history of the AIDS crisis, and also to those who have an interest in the role design plays in social movements.

AIDS Demo Graphics
Douglas Crimp, with Adam Rolston
Bay Press. Seattle. 1990.
142 pp.
Out of print. Widely available on the interwebs for about $5, or from the Chicago Public Library for free.

Top 5 Weekend Picks (4/27 & 4/28)

April 27, 2012 · Print This Article

1. Spectral Landscape (with Viewing Stations) at Gallery 400

Work by Polly Apfelbaum, Ali Bailey, John Baldessari, Madison Brookshire and Tashi Wada, Zachary Buchner, Tyree Callahan, Anne Collier, Jacob Dahlgren, Jose Dávila, Gaylen Gerber, Adam Grossi, Gary Hill, Rashid Johnson, Anna Kunz, Judy Ledgerwood, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, and Richard Mosse.

Gallery 400 is located at 400 S. Peoria St. Reception Friday from 5-8pm.

2. Justification a priori at The Mission

Work by Gustavo Diaz.

The Mission is located at 1431 W. Chicago Ave. Reception Friday from 6-9pm.

3. Natural History at Bert Green Fine Art

Work by Scott Horsley.

Bert Green Fine Art is located at 8 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 1220. Reception Saturday from 4-7pm.

4. The Task at Carrie Secrist Gallery

Work by Liliana Porter.

Carrie Secrist Gallery is located at 835 W. Washington. Reception Saturday from 4-7pm.

5. It ain’t over… at Slow

Work by Barbara DeGenevieve, Brent Garbowski, and Joe Mault.

Slow is located at 2153 W 21st St. Reception Saturday from 6-9pm.

Background Color : An Interview with Matthew Goulish

April 25, 2012 · Print This Article

Photo by Lin Hixson

Over the last several months, I have been working with Matthew Goulish as an editor and publisher of his forthcoming collection of essays, The Brightest Thing in the World: Three Essays from the Institute of Failure. Over the course of that process, questions began to emerge from the periphery of the text as I continued to read and re-read the manuscript. These questions did not arrive at first glance for me, but rather coalesced with my sense for Goulish’s craft. The Brightest Thing in the World is a collection of essays that touch on seating strategies, Dick Cheney, cuckoo clocks, the Fibonacci series, butterflies and old friends. It covers tremendous ground for being only 70 pages; the experience of those pages feels most like an afternoon I spent once, a few years ago, when a very dear friend whom I hadn’t seen for years had a six-hour lay over in Chicago. We spent about three of those hours walking around Wicker Park and after the 20 minutes of  personal-life catch up, regularly found ourselves in a conversant territory that was at times abstract, reflective, sanguine, funny and joyous. Only in retrospect did I consider how our physical derive coincided with the discussion we’d had, or how — perhaps — we had, in an intuitive and accidental way, managed to negotiate the past and the present at once. Goulish similarly weaves multiple threads together like a tapestry and by their accumulated resonance creates an impression of loss and longing. As in Sebald’s Rings of Saturn, the reader passes through an associative experience and the colors of each facet are bright and vivid — perhaps like the leaves in fall on a misty morning. These are the essays of a poet; like the performance of words, each verb is as active as a muscle. The Brightest Thing in the World: Three Essays from the Institute of Failure will be released at Defribillator Gallery on Monday, May7th from 7-9pm. 

Caroline Picard: At the end of the book, there is a small but striking note about the deteriorating relationship between humankind and animals. Something came into focus when I read that note —I suddenly realized how present other life forms were in the book, from the pets abandoned in Katrina, to monarch butterflies, to ctenephore (what in some ways feels to me like an A-list star of the book, though I suppose there are many stars). Can you talk a little bit about the presence of animals in The Brightest Thing in the World?

Matthew Goulish: When I go to the movies, I always sit through the credits until the very end. Sometimes a dedication appears and pauses on the screen before the fade out. I appreciate that the very last words one sees have a special place, and a particular role to play, as the threshold leading out of the work and back to the world – like an usher opening the door of the theater. Beyond that gesture, I find the last moment a charged one in the way it can, with a very small comment, re-inflect everything that has come before, as if to offer a revelation from the vantage of the retrospective view, and to invite a second reading with that end grace note in mind. The passage on the possibility of animals going away forever comes from Howard Norman, whose writing has been a longtime inspiration for me. Throughout his work, starting with his earliest translations of the Swampy Cree in Manitoba, one finds this attitude of respect for animals who “are people like us” although they have a skepticism of humanity. I remembered the quote as I was working on the Barbellion essay.  I wanted to introduce that kind of thinking into the essay, as it seemed to make explicit the implicit reverence with which Barbellion observed nature. I did not know what to do with it until I had the thought to drop it in at the end like that. Then when I selected these three essays to constitute this book, the quote guided my thinking in the way it might amplify that thread through all three of the essays, and do so after the fact if it appeared at the end of the book. I had in the back of my mind, for example, in the middle essay, that between the death of the monarch butterflies in Mexico in 2002 and the race riots of Tulsa in 1921, an equation exists that has to do with uncountable loss, and the ancient belief of the butterfly as psychopomp, the carrier of the human soul between lives. This was how I formulated my response to W. G. Sebald – as if to compress and Americanize his obsessive hysteria, his monologues that seem to be running to try to keep pace with accelerating disaster. But through the three essays this thread appears in a backgrounded way, the way animals might make their appearances in human life, anyway my life, rushed and crowded in an urban setting. As the bus approaches the bus stop, I see a Sandhill Crane flying over Division Street, possibly headed for the Humboldt Park lagoon. Or I’m leaving a friend’s house at the end of the night and I surprise a raccoon at the back porch. If I let it, that encounter, however fleeting, resets my thoughts about my behavior, my values, or anyway my day. I wanted to use the book’s last moment to draw attention to that unobtrusive thread – call it ecology.

CP:  What does it mean to fail? And is this inherently tied to mortality? Can failure be a quest?

MG: My father is a retired engineer. Growing up with him I learned about failure analysis as a way to understand a complex system. It is not difficult to see the philosophy in that, when the system concerns thought. My jacket catches on the arm of the chair as I try to stand up, and the comedy of my life commences. Failure is certainly inherently tied to the mortality of my intentions. Attention to failure can constitute a quest to understand the broader spectrum in which any action actually operates. In the last essay, I do not mean to suggest human mortality as a form of failure. The operative failure is in my ability to write about death, maybe because death, when it is actual and not imaginary or virtual, eludes writing, or maybe just because writing about it eludes me. I can only write in proximity of it. I mean to say that to succeed, in any traditional sense, would mean to ignore events that insist themselves into one’s thinking, but to ignore them would be the death of the writing. One must fail and include them.

CP: What happens to the text when it is printed and read? How does this differ from its passage as a delivered lecture?

MG: I am happiest when I write as if there is no difference.

CP: I also love the presence of diplomatic relations — the way these come up, with the presence of Orsen Welles in the first lecture, and then a second reiteration of WWII through Barbellion’s position in history. There is another instance with Dick Cheney’s duck hunt. I can’t quite put my finger on it, or necessarily understand why I’m asking this, but I want to ask you about freedom, the freedom of an individual acting within his or her time. How do we negotiate our context? What is the point of that negotiation?

MG: This question relates to the first one for me. The comment, made in passing, toward the end of the analysis of the Dick Cheney hunting accident, that animals feels insulted if they are hunted incompetently, also derives from Howard Norman. I think that the appearance of animals in the book, that I mentioned above, brings with it two modes of discourse; one, that we can talk about animals as a veiled way of talking about the human (the ctenophore as a life); and two, that we can read in attitudes toward animals a measure of human ethics. The Cheney passage operates in this second mode, as relevant in relation to the care for the apprehension of the other as separate from, and not in service of, oneself. I am partial to the way that ethic asserts itself in stories of diplomacy, in which individuals represent nations perhaps, as in Graham Greene’s tale of Harry Lime, an American war profiteer who realizes the fantasy of witnessing his own funeral on his way to becoming the perfect, invisible gentleman criminal. During the Bush-Cheney years, there was a great deal of talk in philosophical circles about a resurgence of Hobbesian brutality, in service to the sovereign and in irreconcilable conflict with other nations, seen as fundamentally alien. I felt I needed to address that at the time, and my own role as an ambassador to Switzerland, where that lecture was delivered. By address it, I don’t mean examine it in any way other than the hall of mirrors approach of parading case studies and letting them bounce off one another. That is to say, when I talk about Harry Lime, I mean Dick Cheney, and when I talk about animals, I mean to offer an escape hatch from the prison of the individual as representative of a nation-state, that is to say, the fixed identity, and therefore the grandiose self. How we behave now, or anyway what we are attentive to, in response to the social interactions that the moment offers us, is determined by how we consider our own identities. Are they fixed, or always in motion? How do I attend to another person’s intention invading my own? How does the pursuit of dignity differ from the pursuit of happiness? How do I think of the margin my life occupies in relation to the historical moment as a kind of center?

CP: I think this interview would be remiss if I were to skip over the idea of love. It comes across in Dan Beachy-Quick’s reflection on your book, where he says “I want to say the failure of the bud results in the blossom — such ruptures lovingly unfold as failure’s larger gifts” but is also evident throughout the body of text: the care of your description and interest. The time you spend with Barbellion, or the effort of Kust’s grave site. Can you talk a little bit about care in the face of failure?

MG: Is it possible to feel love without an object for that love? Without a person, or creature, place, or recipient of any kind? Can writing serve as a form of training for such objectless love? For aligning the powers of thought with the powers of feeling, as an exercise, that brings one into a relation with oneself, or constantly adjusts one’s being in the world? Those are questions for which I do not have an answer, but questions that I want to stay close to, or keep near at hand, in any act of writing.


On the other hand, it has been said that we are here simply to find the things we love, and to find the appropriate way to praise them. Then to risk making of our lives a public song of praise. I mean that writing offers us a chance to find what we love, and to pay attention.

Matthew Goulish co-founded Goat Island in 1987, and Every house has a door in 2008. His 39 Microlectures – in proximity of performance was published by Routledge in 2000, and Small Acts of Repair – Performance, Ecology, and Goat Island, which he co- edited with Stephen Bottoms, in 2007. He was awarded a Lannan Foundation Writers Residency in 2004, and in 2007 he received an honorary Ph.D. from Dartington College of Arts, University of Plymouth. He teaches in the MFA and BFA Writing Programs of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.