Episode 253: Nils Norman

July 5, 2010 · Print This Article

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Nils Norman

This week: We talk with artist and visionary Nils Norman.

Nils Norman was born in Kent, England in 1966. He studied fine Art Painting BA Hons at St. Martins School of Art in London. After graduating in 1989 he moved to Cologne, Germany. There he lived for three years and collaborated with the artists Stephan Dillemuth and Josef Strau at their experimental storefront project Friesenwall 120, during this time Norman also set up a small gallery space in London, which later became Milch. In Cologne Norman worked for one year assisting the German painter Gerhard Richter in his atelier.

His first US exhibition was at the Pat Hearn Gallery in Chelsea (with Denis Balk and Simon Leung), after which he began to be represented by the late Colin Deland at American Fine Arts.

Norman founded an experimental space called Poster Studio on Charing Cross Road, London. This space was a collaborative effort with Merlin Carpenter and Dan Mitchell. In 1998 in New York he set up Parasite, together with the artist Andrea Fraser, a collaborative artist led initiative that developed an archive for site-specific projects.

Norman now lives and works in London Copenhagen. He exhibits internationally in commercial galleries, museum, and in public and alternative spaces. He writes articles, designs book covers and posters, collaborates with other artists, teaches and lectures in European and the US. Norman completed a major design project: an 80m pedestrian bridge and two islands for Roskilde Commune in Denmark in 2005 and is now working together with Nicholas Hare Architects on a school playground project for the new Golden Lane Campus, East London. He has recently finished an artist residency at the University of Chicago, Chicago, USA.

Episode 252: Natasha Wheat

June 27, 2010 · Print This Article

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Natasha Wheat
​This week: Brian and Patricia talk to Artist Natasha Wheat.

As part of the ongoing collaboration between Bad At Sports and Art Practical, as well as the summer series exploring social practice, this week Brian Andrews and Patricia Maloney sit down with Natasha Wheat as she prepares for her upcoming exhibition and temporary restaurant “Self Contained,” which opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago on July 13.

Currently based in San Francisco, Wheat is an American artist whose work attempts to understand and interrupt the way that human beings exist together. She is interested in the social hierarchy of space, utopian attempts, and the tension between exclusivity and inclusion. Wheat founded Project Grow, a Portland Oregon based Art Studio and Urban Farming Project that includes people with mental diversity. Her recent work examines agriculture in relationship to human culture, distribution, and control. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008.

Wheat has exhibited collaboratively and individually at The UC Berkeley Art Museum; The Pete and Susan Barrett Gallery, Santa Monica; Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger, Norway; G2, Mess Hall, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Check out the text version of this interview, starting July 1, in Issue 18 of Art Practical.

Episode 251: Mark Dion

June 20, 2010 · Print This Article

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Mark Dion

This week: We talk to artist Mark Dion, about social practice, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, cabinets of curiosity. The word “taxonomy” is bandied about at great length.

Mark Dion was born in 1961 in Massachusetts; he lives and works in Pennsylvania.

Dion is known for making art out of fieldwork, incorporating elements of biology, archaeology, ethnography, and the history of science, and applying to his artwork methodologies generally used for pure science. Traveling the world and collaborating with a wide range of scientists, artists, and museums, Dion has excavated ancient and modern artifacts from the banks of the Thames in London, established a marine life laboratory using specimens from New York’s Chinatown, and created a contemporary cabinet of curiosities exploring natural and philosophical hierarchies.

His approach emphasizes illustration and accuracy but is charged with a biting undertone. Dion has a longstanding interest in exploring how ideas about natural history are visualized and how they circulate in society. Dion’s work has been presented at many U.S. and international museums and galleries, including solo exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; Galleria Emi Fontana, Milan; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; and Deutsches Museum, Bonn. Dion has been commissioned to create works for Aldrich Museum of Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut; the Tate Gallery, London; the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Episode 250: Nato Thompson

June 13, 2010 · Print This Article

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Nato Thompson
This week: Holy bicenquinquagenary Batman! Brian and Duncan (and guest stars including but not limited to Randall Szott) talk to Creative Time chief curator, author, and all around interesting guest Nato Thompson.

This show is the second in the series of interviews recorded at the Open Engagement conference at which Mr. Thompson was a guest. This series already charts among some of my favorites in the history of the show. Enjoy!

Since January 2007, Nato has organized major projects for Creative Time such as Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), Paul ChanÂ’s acclaimed Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007) and Mike Nelson’s A Psychic Vacuum. Previous to Creative Time, he worked as Curator at MASS MoCA where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions such as The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004), a survey of political art of the 1990s with a catalogue distributed by MIT Press.

His writings have appeared in numerous publications including BookForum, Art Journal, tema celeste, Parkett, Cabinet and The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. The College Art Association awarded him for distinguished writing in Art Journal in 2004. He recently curated an exhibition for Independent Curators International titled Experimental Geography with a book available by Melville House Publishing. His book on art and activism is due out by Autonomedia in October 2009.

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.