This Week: Has it really been 6 years? Really?
Wow. Duncan and Richard have a rambling bout of personal abuse as the intro and then get on to the good stuff.
Richard talks to Peter Zegers and Jill Bugajski about their work on the stellar new show at the Art Institute of Chicago Windows on the War, Soviet TASS Posters at Home and Abroad, 1941-1945, and on the accompanying catalog.
Overview: During World War II, the Soviet Union’s news agency, TASS, enlisted hundreds of artists and writers to bolster support for the nation’s war effort. Working from the TASS studio in Moscow, these artists and writers produced hundreds of storefront window posters, one for nearly every day of the war. Windows on the War: Soviet TASS Posters at Home and Abroad, 1941-1945 is a monumental exhibition centered on these posters, which have not been seen in the United States since the Second World War.
Impressively large, between five and ten feet tall and striking in the vibrancy and texture of the stencil medium, these posters were sent abroad, including to the Art Institute, to serve as international cultural “ambassadors” and to rally allied and neutral nations to the endeavors of the Soviet Union, a partner of the United States and Great Britain in the fight against Nazi Germany. In Windows on the War, the posters will be presented both as unique historical objects and as works of art that demonstrate how the preeminent artists of the day used unconventional technical and aesthetic means to contribute to the fight against the Nazis, marking a major chapter in the history of design and propaganda. While the exhibition’s focus is primarily on the posters, viewers will also find their rich historical and cultural context revealed through photographs and documentary material illuminating the visual culture of US-USSR relations before and during the war.
Windows on the War is not only a fascinating glimpse into one of the most significant government-sponsored cultural efforts of the 20th century but also a major scholarly undertaking that brings these posters into the public eye for the first time in six decades. Catalogue: The exhibition is accompanied by a 400-page catalogue featuring essays by Peter Zegers, Douglas Druick, Jill Bugajski, Konstantin Akinsha, Adam Jolles, and Robert Bird as well as by an extensive online initiative that will bring hundreds of these unique works to the public for the first time since the war.
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This week: We talk to artist David Hoffos. Next, we talk with Joe Lanasa about the Fulton Street Collective.
In 1994, David Hoffos received a BFA with great distinction from the University of Lethbridge. Since 1992 Hoffos has maintained an active exhibition schedule â€“ with over 30 solo exhibitions, including Catastrophe, 1998 (Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary; FundaciÃ³ Joan MirÃ³, Barcelona; Or Gallery, Vancouver; and Blackwood Gallery, Mississauga) and Another City, 1999-2002 (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; TrÃ©panier Baer, Calgary; Joao GraÃ§a, Lisbon; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and MuseÃ© des Beaux-Arts, MontrÃ©al). In 2003 Hoffos (with TrÃ©panier Baer) launched the first phase of Scenes from the House Dream, a five-year series of linked installations. The entire series is set to begin its cross-Canada tour in the fall of â€™08. His single-channel work has been shown in festivals in over twenty countries, and he recently represented Canada at the 48th Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany. A survey of his installation work debuted at the Edmonton Art Gallery in December, 2003. His first theatre piece â€“ Hoffos/Clarke Conspiracy (with Denise Clarke/One Yellow Rabbit) â€“ debuted at Calgaryâ€™s High Performance Rodeo in 2006. He has just completed scenic and visual effects design for the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks production wowandflutter. Hoffos has been invited to several residencies, including three at the Banff Centre. The artist has received awards including 2nd place in the inaugural Sobey Art Award, December 2002; the 2004 York Wilson Endowment Award; Images Grand Prize, 2007; and a Long-Term Visual Arts Project Grant, 2008. David Hoffos lives and works in Lethbridge, Alberta. He is represented by TrÃ©panier Baer, Calgary.
About Fulton Street Collective:Â In the early 1990s, Anna Fermin and I were struggling singer-songwriters on the northside of Chicago, rehearsing in a corner room of a print-shop business owned by Don and Janeen (who also managedÂ our budding musical careers). Â Â We were the epitome of poor, downtrodden, and struggling artists.Â Â One day Don and Janeen decided they wanted to leave the stress of Chicago, and relocated to the Pacific Northwest coast of Washington state. They gave their business to a â€œcollectiveâ€ of printers.
The printers business didnâ€™t do very well and one day they informed Anna and I that we had to leave the veryÂ next month.Â By this time Anna was developing a popular fan base in Chicago with her unstoppableÂ talent, in alt-country bands (AnnaBoy and Trigger Gospel), and I was turning my angst-ridden, heartÂ and soul-wrenching songs into rock anthems and road-house dance parties (Fulton St. Saints, JLB).
We didnâ€™t want to jinx anything by leaving our sacred practice venue, so we put ourÂ heads together to figure out how to keep the space. We negotiated with the building ownersÂ (Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago), which provides small businesses incubator environmentsÂ in the neighborhood.
Anna suggested that we could create an environment geared towards artistsÂ and other creative people by purchasing the 2nd and 3rd floors. So we did. Â We worked, mostly byÂ ourselves, to completely gut the 2nd floor of the building (we whitewashed the walls with a sprayÂ painter that left us spitting out white paint still to this day). Â We then put an ad in the newspaper forÂ artists, and before long, the 2nd floor filled up, and so we expanded to the 3rd floor, which is nowÂ very active as well.
This week: We wrap up our series of presentations of recordings from Monique Meloche Gallery’s Winter Experiment with Shannon Stratton talking to Ben Fain.
This week: Duncan talks with Wangechi Mutu! With many thanks to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s visiting artist program for making this interview possible.
Wangechi Mutu (b.1972, Nairobi, Kenya) is an artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Originally from the Kenyan Kikuyu tribe, she was educated in Nairobi at Loreto Convent Msongari (1978-1989) and later studied at the United World College of the Atlantic, Wales (I.B., 1991). Mutu moved to New York in the 1990s, focusing on Fine Arts and Anthropology at the New School for Social Research and Parsons School of Art and Design. She earned a BFA from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of the Arts and Science in 1996, and then received an MFA from Yale University (2000).
Mutuâ€™s work has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Miami Art Museum, Tate Modern in London, the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, Museum Kunst Palast in DÃ¼sseldorf, Germany, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Her first solo exhibition at a major North American museum opened at the Art Gallery of Ontario in March 2010.
She participated in the 2008 Prospect 1 Biennial in New Orleans and the 2004 Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. Her work has been featured in major exhibitions including Greater New York at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and the Barbican Centre in London, and USA Today at The Royal Academy in London.
On February 23, 2010 Wangechi Mutu was honored by Deutsche Bank as their first Artist of the Year. The prize included a solo exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. Titled My Dirty Little Heaven, the show traveled in June 2010 to Wiels Center for Contemporary Art in Brussels, Belgium.
She is represented by Barbara Gladstone in New York, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects in Los Angeles and Victoria Miro Gallery in London.
This week: Mark Staff Brandl reports from Art Basel 2011!