This 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 Universityâ€™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 artistâ€™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.
This week: Brian Andrews and Duncan MacKenzie check in with JudithÂ Leemann and Shannon Stratton while visiting Portland, Oregon and discuss theirÂ most recent curatorial endeavor the “Gestures of Resistance” exhibition at Portland’sÂ Museum of Contemporary Craft.
We talk about problematizing the standard static exhibition,Â how a viewer can access a dynamic and evolving show, what an object beÂ “loaded” with, and the problem with placards.
The exhibition includes…
Sara Black and John Preus, Anthea Black, Carol Lung, Cat Mazza, MungÂ Lar Lam, Ehren Tool, and Theaster Gates.
This week: The third in the lecture series that was in conjunction with the Bad at Sports organized exhibition â€œDon’t Piss on Me and Tell Me it’s Rainingâ€. Tom and Amanda talk to Bridget Elmer and Emily Larned of Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts.
Founded by two letterpress printers, Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA). ILSSA is a membership organization for those who make conceptual or experimental work with obsolete technology. Consisting of a Union and a Research Institute, ILSSA seeks to build community and create resources, promoting the creative re-use of discarded innovations and the values embedded within them. Since its inception in 2008, ILSSA has grown to over 100 members, including a social sculpture weaver, a clip art librarian, a blogger who posts in needlepoint, a designer/builder of vacuum tube electronics, and an heirloom farmer.
On this evening with the use of an overhead projector and a portable anachronistic sound system, the ILSSA co-operators will provide an overview of the organization, its activities and members, and the philosophy behind their collective interests.
This week, Duncan, Amanda and Tom talk to artist Steven Rand, who is the founder and Executive Director of apexart in New York.
If you are in or around NYC this is the last week of “Don’t Piss On Me and Tell Me It’s Raining” the Bad at Sports organized show, go check it out while you still can!
Painter and Bad @ Sports NYC correspondent, Tom Sanford will moderate a panel of 5 other painters who will talk about painting. Kamrooz Aram, Holly Coulis, David Humphrey, Dike Blair and Deborah Kass not only represent three or four generations of New York painters and are all prominent voices among their cohort, but also represent a wide variety of approaches to the medium.
These, “the Painters of Painting”, will discuss the current concerns in painting as well as painting’s enduring relevance as a humanistic and idiosyncratic antidote to the prevailing corporate culture of consensus and commodification.
Tom’s wrap up e-mail sent to all involved afterwards-
-----Original Message----- From: Tom SanfordÂ Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 7:13 AM To: Tom Sanford Subject: Thanks from PAINTERS/PAINTING Hi Guys I just wanted to send y'all a note to thank the many many of you who came out to the panel and offer my apologies to those who weren't able to get in! I am so sorry that a super turnout put apexart in the position that they had no choice but to not allow a few people in. It was totally packed inside - i actually had an audience member sitting on my lap for most of the talk. But thank you all ever so much for making the effort, i sincerely appreciate the overwhelming show of interest! The incredible turn out certainly speaks to the great enthusiasm for painting in the medium's global capitol city and I think the talk was a success. The panelists (David, Deb, Holly, Dike & Kamroos) were charming and interesting and insightful, i did my best to keep us on course, and Steven Rand and the apexart crew (Cybele, Julia & Julien) were gracious and generous hosts. Best of all the audience has plenty of great questions comments and the occasional well timed out-burst! Special thanks to for really great questions and comments from Daniel Davidson, Alfred Steiner, Michael Anderson, Carlos Fragoso, and George Rodart among others whose names I didn't know - great hustle guys! Anyway, thanks a million for all of your support and interest and remember the most important thing is to keep those brushes wet - and Michael Anderson pointed out with the optimism that we all share for painting and picture making "There are about 9 million new kinds of paintings yet to be made!!" Cheers Tom