Suzanne Lacy (born 1945) is an internationally known artist, educator, writer, and former public servant. She describes her work, which includes “installations, video, and large-scale performances”, as focusing on “social themes and urban issues.” She also served in the education cabinet of Jerry Brown, then mayor of Oakland, California, and went on to become an arts commissioner for the city.
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.
This week: We talk to artist Katharina Fritsch!
Richard says “cock” and “Hologram Tupac” a whole lot.
Katharina Fritsch is known for her sculptures and installations that reinvigorate familiar objects with a jarring and uncanny sensibility. Her works’ iconography is drawn from many different sources, including Christianity, art history and folklore. She attracted international attention for the first time in the mid-1980s with life-size works such as a true-to-scale elephant. Fritsch’s art is often concerned with the psychology and expectations of visitors to a museum. Gary Garrels wrote that “One of the remarkable features of Fritsch’s work is its ability both to capture the popular imagination by its immediate appeal and to be a focal point for the specialized discussions of the contemporary art world. This all too infrequent meeting point is at the center of her work, as it addresses the ambiguous and difficult relationships between artists and the public and between art and its display—that is, the role of art and exhibitions and of the museum in the late twentieth century.” The special role colour plays in Fritsch’s work has roots in her childhood visits to her grandfather, a salesman for Faber-Castell art supplies, whose garage was well-stocked with his wares.
Her most recognized works are Rattenkönig/Rat King (1993), a giant circle of black polyester rats, included in the 1999 Venice Biennale. Other works include Mönch (Monk) (2003), a stoic, monochromatic male figure, made of solid polyester with a smooth, matte black surface; Figurengruppe / Group of Figures (2006-2008), an installation of nine elements; and Hahn (Cock) (2010), a 14ft (4.3m) cockerel in ultramarine blue to be shown on London’s Trafalgar Square in 2013.
In her working process, Fritsch combines the techniques of traditional sculpture with those of industrial production. While many of her early works were handcrafted, Fritsch now makes only the models for her sculptures and then hands these over to a factory for production, to near-pathological specifications. She uses these models to create moulds, from which the final sculptures are cast in materials such as plaster, polyester and aluminium. Many are made as editions, meaning that multiple casts are taken from one mould. For the duration of some of her exhibitions, Fritsch has made her multiples available for sale at the respective museums.
This week: Another of our interviews from the Hand in Glove conference! Duncan and Patricia speak with artist Martha Wilson.
Martha Wilson is a Philadelphia based feminist performance artist. She is the founding director of Franklin Furnace. Over the past four decades she has developed and “created innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity through role-playing, costume transformation, and ‘invasions’ of other peoples personas”.
In the early 1970s while studying in Halifax in Nova Scotia, she began to make videos and photo/text performances. When she moved to New York City in 1974 she continued to develop and explore her photo/text and video performances Due to this and her other works during her career she gained attention around America for her provocative characters, costumes, works and performances.
During 1976 she founded and became director of the Franklin Furnace Archive, which is an artist-run space that focuses on the exploration, advertisement and promotion of artists books, installation art, video and performance art. By promoting these certain areas of work, due to their content they challenge the established normality of performance, art work and books. Other aspects that are addressed through the promotion of the archive are the roles artists play within the visual arts organisations, and the expectations around what is acceptable in the art mediums.