Tony Fitzpatrick Brings “This Train” to Steppenwolf

June 7, 2010 · Print This Article

This Train - Tony Fitzpatrick


There are bums. There are tramps. There are hobos. And then there’s Tony. That’s how the description of Tony Fitzpatrick’s new show “This Train” goes, and after talking to him at length about it, I would agree when at first it didn’t seem fitting.

Tony Fitzpatrick - Hudson King

Tony Fitzpatrick loves America, and not in that “I love the coast vs. the plains, the hills vs. the valley or certain cities over others” kind of way. No, Tony is of that rare type that from the surfers on the west coast to the bar patrons in the northeast and from the shrimp boats in the south to the factories in the north, he identifies with what makes America whole and loves it equally.

That’s what the “This Train” performance is seemingly for him; a 100 minute mix of art, music and spoken word that looks back on the working class, post civil war/early industrial influences in America (the music, the hobo alphabet, the melting pot) and how many became one without being the exact same.

With the support of the vocal skills of Kat Eggleston and his long time friend Stan Klein, “This Train” looks to give its audience a sample of the music, visuals and soapbox plain direct speak that Tony loves and has sewn into his work for a long time.

The idea for the show grew in the death of Studs Terkel in 2008. Studs, a man who greatly influenced Tony, was an American author, historian, actor, and broadcaster who received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for “The Good War.” A man who made his home in Chicago after being born in New York City and is best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans.

To hear Tony talk about “This Train” feels more like a tribute to Studs and his ideals of enjoying the differences in people, finding that common humanity be they unionists, capitalists, Klansmen or even misguided members of the Tea Party movement. It reminds people not to over glorify the origins of American thought, politics or art; that we are all just immigrants; and that the Bughouse Square/Washington Park soapbox speeches in Chicago are as noble and important as the ones in the Capital building. That High Jazz music was born in the bosom of the whorehouses of New Orleans and that Art is at its best when it speaks to everyone with the purpose of sharing a story.

“This Train” runs in Chicago, July 15 – August 1 at Steppenwolf’s Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted St.

More can be heard from Tony in an audio interview here

Tony Fitzpatrick Artist Talk from Dowling Walsh Gallery on Vimeo.

Episode 249: Ted Purves

June 7, 2010 · Print This Article

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249-Ted-PurvesThis week: The first in our series of interviews from the Open Engagement conference that took place in Portland this past May. We start off with an excellent discussion that Randall Szott, Duncan, Brian and the occasional Incubate person had with artist, writer, lemon tormentor Ted Purves. Topics include; Ted’s work, the past present and future of Social Practice and what it means to be an artist today.

This series of interviews (thusfar, I’ve only gone through the first two) are some of my favorite discussions that (the royal) we have had in the 5 years of the show. Great stuff!

Ted Purves is a writer and artist based in Oakland. His public projects and curatorial works are centered on investigating the practice of art in the world, particularly as it addresses issues of localism, democratic participation, and innovative shifts in the position of the audience. His two-year project, Temescal Amity Works, created in collaboration with Susanne Cockrell and based in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, facilitated and documented the exchange of backyard produce and finished its public phase in winter 2007. His collaborative project Momentary Academy, a free school taught by artists over a period of 10 weeks, was featured in Bay Area Now 4 in 2005 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Ted recently received a visual arts grant from the Creative Capital Foundation and a Creative Work Fund grant from the Elise and Walter Haas Foundation.

His book, What We Want Is Free: Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art, was published by State University of New York Press in 2005.

The Open Engagement conference is an initiative of Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA concentration and co-sponsored by Portland Community College and the MFA in Visual Studies program at Pacific Northwest College of Art and supported by the Cyan PDX Cultural Residency Program. Directed by Jen Delos Reyes and planned in conjunction with Harrell Fletcher and the Portland State University MFA Monday Night Lecture Series, this conference features three nationally and internationally renowned artists: Mark Dion, Amy Franceschini, and Nils Norman. The conference will showcase work by Temporary Services, InCUBATE, and a new project by Mark Dion created in collaboration with students from the PSU Art and Social Practice concentration.

The artists involved in Open Engagement: Making Things, Making Things Better, Making Things Worse, challenge our traditional ideas of what art is and does. These artist’s projects mediate the contemporary frameworks of art as service, as social space, as activism, as interactions, and as relationships, and tackle subject matter ranging from urban planning, alternative pedagogy, play, fiction, sustainability, political conflict and the social role of the artist.

Can socially engaged art do more harm than good? Are there ethical responsibilities for social art? Does socially engaged art have a responsibility to create public good? Can there be transdisciplinary approaches to contemporary art making that would contribute to issues such as urban planning and sustainability?

Open Engagement is a free conference May 14-17, 2010, in Portland, Oregon. This annual conference will be a focal point of a new low residency Art and Social Practice MFA that PSU hopes to launch in Fall of 2010.

This years conference will host over 100 artists, activists, curators, scholars, writers, farmers, community organizers, film makers and collectives including: Nato Thompson, The Watts House Project, Linda Weintraub, Ted Purves, Henry Jenkins, Wealth Underground Farms, Brian Collier, Anne E. Moore, David Horvitz, Chen Tamir, and Parfyme.

Mini Ice Ball Maker In Less Than 60 Seconds

June 5, 2010 · Print This Article

Pure fluff fun but this aluminum mold can in just a few seconds turn ice cubes into any number of shapes from spheres, molecules, snowflakes to soccer balls. The high conductivity of the aluminum slowly melts the cube and the weight of the top section squeezes it into shape. You can make 30-40 of these an hour and have a great item for a gallery opening or party.

If you really want to go the next step you even have AK-47 ice trays which make a magazine at a time lol.

Artist Jennifer Sanchez

June 4, 2010 · Print This Article

For your enjoyment this weekend, the work of  artist Jennifer Sanchez

Detroit Banksy Work Moved After Threats to Gallery

June 3, 2010 · Print This Article

Bad at Sports posted a week or so back about the removal of a Banksy mural by 555 Nonprofit Gallery & Studios (a local Detroit gallery) from the old Packard Plant to their site. At the time I knew this was not the end of this tale and that they were potentially going to reap the kind of attention they really dont want regardless of the intentions behind the act.

As an Update the cinder block mural has now been removed from display after the gallery & work had been reportedly threatened with defacement or destruction (I would imagine the gallery more then the work). The gallery has also now updated their statement in regards to their claim to include that they were given permission by a scrap metal removal crew working at the plant at the time.

Carl W. Goines, executive director & co-founder of 555 Nonprofit, told The Detroit Free Press

There was a lot of anxiety with the threats, so our board of directors requested that we move it until it can be displayed safely.

I still think there is more to come on this still yet and might even include a statement by Banksy himself eventually.