This week on the Podcast! BAS goes west coast! We talk to Adriana Salazar and John Spiak, director and chief curator of the Grand Central Art Center, which has an exhibition of Adriana’s work up currently. Also, we talk to Sabina Ott about The Terrain Exhibitions Biennial which just happened. Plan your life around seeing us at EXPO!!! You know you want to.
Edition no. 17 kicked everything off last week with a reminder a) that fall is here and b) an account of fall’s gallery opening festivities:
It’s official, Chicago artists are back from their residencies and vision quests and it is time for the fall gallery season. Inaugurated this weekend with about a million openings from River North to the ‘burbs and back again, we’re still reeling.
On the subject of filmic experience, Jesse Malmed discusses durational works, specifically that of James Benning, with a later dash of Empire:
James Benning‘s Nightfall is a curious piece. His works are often challenging structurally, but saying the logic of this one is simple is like saying the simple logic of this is one. We watch the trees and they are still. We watch the light and it changes slowly. It would change more slowly, but the camera is doing what it can to keep up. Fauna haunts the aural space and I thought I even heard what sounded like human sounds. Mostly I floated in and out of the cinematic space (the seats, the people around me, my thirst, someone else quenching theirs, the size of the rectangle, the quality of this light) the represented space (the trees are so beautiful, there are fourteen main trees, there are an additional dozen supporting trees, the light coming through the branches looks like someone I know, the light through these branches looks like a stranger) and the space between (could I sit on the stump I’m imagining for this long?, when was the last time I spent this long seated with my head facing one direction?, when was the last time I spent this long seated with my head facing one direction outside?, how much better must this be to be there instead of here?, how has the concept of nature become so abstracted from [my own, at least] daily life?, what is that phrase about seeing forests and trees?, is this based on that?).
I posted an interview with Elizabeth Tully about the upcoming Fountain Art Fair, coming o so soon to a Chicago near you. In describing its origins, she says:
“Fountain was started in 2006 as a platform for three galleries (Capla Kesting Fine Art, McCaig Welles Gallery and Front Room Gallery) to access collectors, curators and critics during the New York Armory weekend. We have grown to represent over 100 international galleries, artists and collectives. Our model is “alternative” because we give free-reign to our exhibitors, and are not exclusive to just galleries, or just independent artists. Our mission is for people to come to Fountain and connect with whats happening inside through installations and performances that engage visitors and push boundaries. Of course, people want to sell art, and they do. But the overall vibe is one of community and goodwill as opposed to commercial frenzy.”
Duncan MacKenzie gave a shout out to one of our own this week, as Tom Sanford’s show just opened in NYC:
Something we don’t do enough of here at Bad at Sports is trumpet the successes of our various contributors. It sort of happens piece meal, sometimes, but considering that the project is and always will be an artist run type thing – our collaborators are more then just the deep thinkers, aesthetes, and vulgarians you know them to be! Such is the case with our Tom Sanford and his new show at Kravets|Wehby in NYC.
Adventures in Union Square courtesy of SF resident, Jeffrey Songco:
Regardless of the weather, which is never a topic of conversation in SF until this very month, it was a delight to see paintings by Pamela Wilson-Ryckman in an exhibition titled GPS. From the exhibition statement: “Precise knowledge of location gives one the illusion of control but knowing exactly where you are doesn’t necessarily mean you are in a good place. Rather than location it is often the experience of place that matters. How much information does one need to reconstruct a memory or sense of place? The answer is – not that much, imagination fills the gap”. I was most interested in Geppetto’s Jacket (2013) and it’s glaring painterly techniques, creating so much dimension of space for that “imagination”.
The third Minnesota Biennial opened at The Soap Factory this last weekend and Eric Asboe writes about it, and each work is a butterfly:
The flashiest, brightest butterflies do not need to fly past us to catch our attention. They overwhelm all of our senses. The Basketball Team‘s Sgt. Moore wafts the smell of whiskey throughout the gallery. The looping, Reichian patterns of Nate Young‘sUntitled (Soul Clap no. 1) echo in the silence of the distant companion video Untitled (Soul Clap no. 2). The shuttering of the 16mm projector pulls us into Stefanie Motta‘sSeeing. The drone of the prepared keyboard inside 7-Sided Room with Painted Floorby Andrew Mazorol and Tynan Kerr permeates the galleries and intensifies the rarefied air inside the room.
Dispatch from Brighton, UK this week, where Mark Sheerin talks (social) networks, contemporary art, and Artstack.com:
Art needs networks, and the 20th century testifies to that. There could never have been a lone fauvist, a solitary cubist, an isolated futurist, etc, etc. The avant garde loves company, and, without it, could never have made the great strides which came along with modernity. Now we live in a different landscape. Cafes have become corporate part-time creches and third place venues for business meetings. Cigarettes and pipes, both intellectual props, are banned. And just try paying for your triple shot latte with a sketch, it can’t be done. The avant garde have been in retreat everywhere for decades now. So it is good news to have some networking technology which might serve as a focal point for new visual ideas.
Shane McAdams boldly begins with a nod to Kevin Costner’s performance in Field of Dreams as he goes on to describe the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts and the “two moving and exceedingly complementary exhibitions” it contains by Novie Tremp and Hap Tivey:
In Fond du Lac last week the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts opened to the public. A hybrid of contemporary architecture and a Masonic temple that had previously housed the Windhover Art Center, the Sadoff Center is an impressive specimen: granite topped bars; a spacious terrace for live music; two large and gloriously lit art galleries, classrooms, workshops and a hall for lectures and performances. It’s a cultural diamond in the heart of a pragmatic industrial town – an only slightly less quixotic enterprise than trying to lure the ghost of shoeless Joe Jackson out of a cornfield.
Terri Griffith talks MOOCS! (and how they affect the world of contemporary art):
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are the future of education. I feel as certain of this as I am certain that one day cars will fly and that ironing will become obsolete. There’s a Ted Talk with the co-founder of Coursera Daphne Koller and an episode of Charlie Rose with the CEO of EdEx Anant Agarwal that addresses this new way of teaching and learning. To summarize Agarwal on Charlie Rose, the thing that is fundamentally different about MOOCs versus the way traditional college works is that with traditional college all of the gatekeeping is at the front end. You have to apply. You have to be accepted. You have to have tuition. Sometimes you need to have prerequisites or test into the courses you want. With MOOCs it is different, at least for now. The gatekeeping occurs at the backend. Anyone can register for a course, but not everyone will finish. And for those who do, there is often the option of a certificate. With some courses there is even the option of credit…for a fee. This allows all kinds of learners to participate in a course. For example, some might only be interested in part of the course’s curriculum. That student can participate in just that portion of the lectures, readings, and discussion, and ignore the rest. Of course, they will not receive a certificate, but then again, So what? Others might successfully complete all of the assignments for the entire sequence and receive a certificate. Both students got what they wanted from the course, but they dictated their level of involvement, not the instructor or the institution.
Speaking of the future:
September 10, 2013 · Print This Article
In about a week the city of Chicago will be upturned with contemporary art fervor. The art fair, EXPO Chicago, returns for its second year, along with a satellite, Fountain Art Fair. Already the city is buzzing with preparations. In the midst of all this I had a chance to email with Elizabeth Tully, Fountain Art Fair’s official Producer, about the history and aesthetic of the organization along with what we might expect at Fountain.
Caroline Picard: Can you talk a little bit about the history of Fountain Art Fair? What is Fountain’s ideology?
Elizabeth Tully: Fountain was started in 2006 as a platform for three galleries (Capla Kesting Fine Art, McCaig Welles Gallery and Front Room Gallery) to access collectors, curators and critics during the New York Armory weekend. We have grown to represent over 100 international galleries, artists and collectives. Our model is “alternative” because we give free-reign to our exhibitors, and are not exclusive to just galleries, or just independent artists. Our mission is for people to come to Fountain and connect with whats happening inside through installations and performances that engage visitors and push boundaries. Of course, people want to sell art, and they do. But the overall vibe is one of community and goodwill as opposed to commercial frenzy.
CP: How do you facilitate a community vibe?
ET: There is something special that happens when the Fountain Team gets together, and all the exhibitors show up. I’m sure part of it is the type of art we showcase tends to bring in exhibitors that are open-minded and down for adventure (and the Fountain Team certainly personifies that as well) People start installing their art, checking out their neighbors, borrowing ladders, lending drills, etc. The energy is palpable and really starts to build, by opening day its reached a fever pitch. That sense of “we’re all in this together” is really what Fountain is all about. For Chicago especially, we are working with Johalla Projects as our partner out there. They have been incredible, making connections and fostering relationships to help get this show off the ground and build a new Fountain community in Chicago. I think visitors can feel that goodwill when they come, and its something we take a lot of pride in.
CP: What was it like shifting the fair from something created as a satellite to the Armory, in NY, to a fair that travelled?
ET: Fountain has always operated as a satellite to these larger fairs (Armory, Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Platform Los Angeles). Our purpose is to provide a platform for these alternative spaces to showcase their work during these major weekends, but as an affordable art fair, our budget is always tight. The challenge is to keep the show affordable while still creating an environment that is going to be conducive to our clients selling art. Working as a satellite allows us to take advantage of opportunities created by the large shows and the audience they attract. It also gives us the freedom to explore new markets in new cities, and bring Fountain’s particular brand of art + vibes around the world. CP: This is related, I think, to the last question — but your name, Fountain and logo, point back to the infamous Duchampian urinal. Is that a moment in art history that the fair is particularly inspired by? And what bearing does it have on the contemporary art fair model? ET: Just as people were shocked by Duchamp’s Fountain, we aim to bring that refreshing spirit into everything we do. We want visitors to engage with art they wouldn’t normally be open to, and break from the things they have seen at all the other fairs. This spirit of “art for art’s sake” is at the heart of the Duchamp/DADA paradigm.
CP: Do you have an example of a work or a couple of works from Fountain that managed to turn your audience’s heads?
ET: Where do I even start??! Over the years there have been some amazing moments that have happened at Fountain. Many of them center around the performance programming, which has been curated by Bushwick-based Grace Exhibition Space for the past few years. They invited a world-renowned group of artists from Estonia called Non Grata to Miami in 2010 that resulted in a car almost being blown up! Non Grata returned to Miami this past December with incredible programming involving live branding. (See photos attached). During my first Miami show in 2009, I remember Russell Young pulling silkscreens live using viles of his own blood. I remember watching him, disturbed but so intrigued. It was a defining Fountain moment for me. New York 2012 exhibitors Creamhotel also brought in an amazing performance involving aerialist Seanna Sharpe and her team suspended from the ceiling of the Armory, 130′ above the crowd. Watching that with a couple of thousand people on the floor was breathtaking, we were all just looking up with our mouths hanging open. Performance art for this show will be curated by chicago-based performance space and I’m really excited to see what they bring! We will be announcing the lineup next week.
CP: How do you encourage your galleries to be experimental? Is it simply the result of the ecology you have developed over the years — for instance do you all try and work exclusively with galleries prized for their experimentation — or do galleries apply with specific projects in mind, projects that you vet from your end?
ET: I think its a little bit of both. Fountain has a reputation for showcasing progressive, sometimes challenging work, so we do attract exhibitors who like to think outside the box. I love when potential exhibitors reach out to us with a wild idea(examples above), bringing all the elements together to help them realize that vision is, for me, one of the best parts of producing a show like this.
CP: What brings Fountain to Chicago?
ET: Fountain staged an exhibition in Chicago back in 2007, and we have been waiting for the right time to return. We were very excited to see EXPO Chicago launch in 2012, signaling a renaissance in the Chicago market. Then this spring, our now-partners at Johalla Projects reached out to us about organizing an alternative fair during EXPO week. There were so many amazing, progressive spaces in Chicago who were interested in participating in a fair, but there was no fair to represent them. The timing was finally right and everything has been clicking into place. We are excited to showcase our unique take on whats happening in Chicago, Brooklyn and beyond!
CP: Often I feel like fairs inadvertently reflect a trending icon or strategy — like a deer’s head cropped up repeatedly at the last Chicago Merchandise Mart fair, for instance, last year several galleries at EXPO featured paintings with holes or tears in the canvas — are there any trends you anticipate this year at Fountain?
ET: I suppose there may be a trend towards accessibility in art. If that’s the case, I’m glad we’re on the front lines! I think more and more people are realizing that it is possible to have fun with art, and that they can bring amazing, original work into their home or office without breaking the bank. That’s a beautiful thing, for both the artists and art-lovers.
CP: You all are planning a benefit for the DIA, I believe. Can you talk about how that decision came about?
ET: We were alarmed by reports of Christie’s valuing the DIA’s collection and the possibility of these works being hawked to pay off the city’s debt. Fountain co-Founder David Kesting has a long-time affinity towards the City of Detroit and the DIA. We believe that these works have been given in trust to the people of the Detroit and that legacy must be upheld. By pledging to funds from our VIP Preview day, we hope to ensure that this conversation continues, and that support builds momentum.
An interview with Melbourn-based artist Amy Spiers — we talk online dating, social practice and plans to remove the Sydney Harbor Bridge in an upcoming, collaborative work “Nothing To See Here.” Amy Spiers is a Melbourne-based artist and writer interested in socially engaged and participatory art. She employs a cross-disciplinary approach that includes photography, video, installation, text and performance for both site-specific and gallery contexts. Amy completed a Master of Fine Art at the Victorian College of Art in 2011. During her studies she explored strategies for inviting viewer participation in her art. Listen to our convo here.
Wendy Lee Spacek submits the last segment of her summer series of Indianapolis adventures focusing, this time, on what fall has in store:
A guest post from Daniel Baird came in this week, by way of Chicago Artist Writers. Baird writes about the Field Museum’s exhibit Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux, exploring the implications of the replicas its contains and their relationship to virtual space:
This possibility of representing the cave structure in virtual space results in a new consideration of aura. In becoming virtual, the caves are now equated with any digital model of any object and as a result now exist in historical ambiguity. A digital spoon, table, asteroid, CAT Scan, height-field map of a farm in Nebraska or the Lascaux Caves all share the potential to exist simultaneously with one another, and at any scale, in the digital terrain. The digital caves are now a pseudo-artifact that share a likeness with the function of the souvenir. The 3D model of the cave presents the possibility for an acute historical analysis of the markings on its surface by way of mimicking the lighting conditions, zooming into the surfaces and experiencing time inside of the virtual models. It also allows for them to be placed in any virtual situation as object, container or reference.
For anyone seeking fortune, endless opportunities are all here.
September 7, 2013 · Print This Article
1. Hatch Project: Curator Application deadline: September 8, 2013 Fee (USD): $15.00
HATCH Projects is a yearlong, juried incubator for contemporary Chicago artists and curators that strives to support an ecology of curatorial and artistic practice. A pioneering initiative of Chicago Artists’ Coalition (CAC), HATCH Projects fosters shared experimentation, exchange and creativity to produce ground-breaking exhibitions and programs.
Four Curator Residents are accepted into the program based on an application evaluated by four leading and established Mentor Curators (To be announced). Curator Residents are then responsible for selecting the twenty-four Artists Residents. Each Curator Resident manages a group of six artists for the year to realize three innovative and experimental exhibitions and public programs at CAC. In addition, curators receive professional development through feedback from and working with Mentor Curators, as well as through conversations and critiques with an active peer-to-peer creative network. Through this unique hands-on experience and mentorship program, curators develop valuable insight and experience in contemporary exhibition making. Read about it here.
2. Vermont Studio Center Fellowship Awards Deadline: October 1, 2013
The Vermont Studio Center is excited to announce 31 fellowship awards for artists and writers – including 16 awards open to all artists and writers working in any genre/medium –available at our upcoming deadline. Applications must be received by October 1, 2013. Visit www.vermontstudiocenter.org/fellowships for more information and eligibility details.To apply, visit www.vermontstudiocenter.org/apply, or vsc.slideroom.com.
3. Princeton University – Visiting Fellow – Hodder Fellow Deadline: October 1, 2013
The Hodder Fellowship will be given to writers and non-literary artists of exceptional promise to pursue independent projects at Princeton University during the 2014–2015 academic year. Potential Hodder Fellows are writers, composers, choreographers, visual artists, performance artists, or other kinds of artists or humanists who have “much more than ordinary intellectual and literary gifts”; they are selected more “for promise than for performance.” Given the strength of the applicant pool, most successful Fellows have published a first book or have similar achievements in their own fields; the Hodder is designed to provide Fellows with the “studious leisure” to undertake significant new work.
Hodder Fellows spend an academic year at Princeton, but no formal teaching is involved. A 75,000 USD stipend is provided. Fellowships are not intended to fund work leading to an advanced degree. One need not be a U.S. citizen to apply.
Applications must be submitted by October 1, 2013 through the Princeton Jobs site athttp://jobs.princeton.edu/, requisition # 1300448
Submit a resume, a 3,000-word writing sample of recent work, and a project proposal of 500 to 750 words.
Performing and Visual Artists:
Submit a resume, a project proposal of 500 to 750 words, and examples of ten minutes of performance through link(s) to sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flicker, etc. Visual artists should provide up to 20 still images saved as a PDF file and submit as part of their online application or supply a link to a website, YouTube, etc.
We cannot confirm receipt of applications nor can we accept applications submitted after the deadline. Limits on the statement size (500-750 words) and sample size (3,000 words) are strict.
The appointment of the Hodder Fellows will be made in January 2014.
An announcement of the award will be posted on our website:
4. Travel Grant!: Roberto Cimetta Fund Deadline: 30 September 3013
The General Fund is open to all requests for travel grants that respect the eligibility criteria of RCF, whatever the destination of travel, the artistic discipline or the direction of mobility. The General Fund functions on an annual basis which means that candidates can apply for the March session and to the other sessions in June and September depending on the funding available.
Some grants for travel from the South on the General Fund are provided by the European Union as part of the Istikshaf programme.
The Conseil Général des Bouches du Rhône and Marseille-Provence 2013 provide funding on two specific funding lines. Details concerning these funding lines are provided on the Cimetta Fund website http://www.cimettafund.org
Artists and cultural operators living and working in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa can apply in Arabic, English or French. Priority is given to mobility from the South and East of these regions.
The results are announced as follows:
Fourth session: 1st December 2013 (Deadline for receiving applications: 30/09/2013)
If you want to apply, please visit the Roberto Cimetta Fund’s website and fill in the contact form on the website www.cimettafund.org. The office of the Fund will send you the link to the online form to fill out.
This week in the podcast realm of Bad at Sports: I had the great opportunity to sit down and talk with Claire Doherty in Portland this last May. Doherty was a keynote speaker at Open Engagement where we met. She initiated Situations, where is is currently the Director, in 2003 following a ten-year period investigating new curatorial models beyond conventional exhibition-making at a range of art institutions including Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Spike Island, Bristol and FACT (Foundation of Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool. Listen to our discussion about art in public space, alternative models for funding and curatorial practices here.
Edition #16 came in this week with notes about the magnetic field of Roger’s Park galleries, the pilot episode of “Better Luck Next Time,” (a newlyweds-style game show for artistic duos), dispatches from ACRE, and noted recent popularity of the sahrong. That and much much more here.
Paul King kicked things off on Monday with a vivid description of Protues, an a-typical, evocative video game:
To move past the title screen and into the game, you begin by clicking the silhouette of a distant island. After fading, the screen opens from a murky black into a gently disappearing elliptical shape, as though you were slowly opening your eyelids. You’ve awoken in what appears to be an endless ocean, a muted sea-green punctuated by the gentle lapping of white reflections. In the distance, you begin to make out the outline of a shrouded landmass. As you trudge towards it, the only anchor in the game’s ceaseless sea, you can practically feel the sunlight of the raincoat-yellow orb shining in the sky.
Everything in Proteus is rendered in a blocky, colorful style that should be familiar to everyone who’s ever seen an early pixelated video game. (Think the “ball” of pong, or the sharp edges of Mario.) But the style isn’t due to a lack of processing power or graphical method; instead, the world’s lack of texture translates into a picturesque canvas of flat colors, almost as though you were gazing directly into a visual interpretation of one of Brian Eno’s ambient tracks.
This week, James Pepper Kelly submits The Greatest Proposal for hi-fiving high culture, via an imaginary embodiment of Judith H. Dobrzynski and James Durston:
Imagine that a writer named Judith H. Dobrzynski boards a plane. She’s ambivalent about her recent op-ed for the New York Times, “High Culture Goes Hands-On,” in which she mourned the loss of a classic, passive museum experience. The response was decent (63 comments and a spot on the “most-emailed” list), and the negative response didn’t go much beyond baseless ad hominems (“crank,” “elitist”). But real-world impact? Judy sighs. She tries not to think about institutions these days, their obsequious rush to digitize, crowdsource, and create a “fun experience” for all. Instead, she thinks about real change: about her upcoming fellowship at the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria, and how she helped influence the country’s new Holocaust restitution laws. Judy sinks back into her business class seat (being a Fellow has perks!), orders a tomato juice and relaxes, thinking of all the reading she’ll be able to catch up on in the air.
Juliana Driever interviewed Chris Stain who’s “characteristic large-scale murals evolved out of his practice as a graffiti writer, and stand today as a kind of contemporary nod to WPA-era portraiture, featuring the faces and plights of everyday people in all of their affecting, confrontational realism.” When asked about how graffiti has changed since the 80′s, and whether there is a difference between graffiti and street art, Stain replied:
In one sense it’s all art but there are different energies to what is known as “graffiti,” mostly lettering based primarily using aerosol paint, and “street art” which runs the gamut of various mediums. As for the letter-based movement, it has changed quite a bit since the 80’s. Technically, its reached levels unimagined back then through the help of all the newer spray paints on the market with lower pressure and cap options. The introduction of the internet helped styles develop more rapidly as it was easier to access photos from all over the world, get new ideas, and spark creativity.
I reposted an interview with EXPO’s Stephanie Cristello, and Bad at Sports’ own, Richard Holland and Duncan MacKenzie. They discuss the upcoming newsprint publication Dana Bassett is spearheading, exactly how much gossip said paper will contain, and the interviews Bad at Sports will be conducting on site at the art fair:
Duncan MacKenzie and Richard Holland of Bad at Sports are two of the best in town to talk with about art. Known for their witty commentary and contemporary art talk platform Bad at Sports, they are most admired for their weekly podcasts and blog. The three of us sat down to discuss their involvement with EXPO/2013 – the recent venture of a newspaper that will be distributed throughout the fair spearheaded by What’s the T?columnist Dana Bassett entitled The EXPO Register, and the live interviews they will be fielding from their booth next to the /Dialogues stage. The lineup for this year’s panel is impressive, titled “One-on-One,” just one of many sports puns, MacKenzie and Holland will be in conversation with gallerists, directors, and curators, such as Solveig Øvstebø of the Renaissance Society, Elysia Borowy-Reeder of the MOCAD Detroit, and Director Charlie James, as well as artists William Powhida, José Lerma, and Sanford Biggers. While the details of these interviews are kept secret (you will just have to see them in person to find out), our conversation breaches the extent of Bad at Sports coverage at the fair, their plans for the paper, and MacKenzie and Holland’s bucket list – like an interview about interviews, or something along those lines.
Monica Westin interviewed Zach Cahill about the third and final installment of ”his epic USSA 2012 project,” presently on view at the Smart Museum and now called USSA 2012: Wellness Center: Idyllic—affair of the heart. In this interview Cahill composes as imaginary travel brochure for the USSA, flowers on facebook, and art mourning:
I mean I very much like the direct experience of being in front of an art work, but I enjoy being haunted by art works too…a visceral quality that occurs with the work of some of my favorite artists…they infect me and I can’t stop thinking about it…Ideally, I’d like my work to do both: give off an affecting sensation for the viewer and to haunt them after they walk away from it… my work wants to have its cake and eat to….
And last but not least, I posted a series of upcoming opportunities including the call for Anchor Graphics’ Artist in Residency program at Columbia College. That and much more here.