It Is What It Is Has Begun

March 30, 2009 · Print This Article

0Libby Rosof and Roberta Fallon have a post up on the artblog about Libby’s Philadelphia encounter with British artist Jeremy Deller’s roving Iraq project, It Is What It Is: Conversations about Iraq, which is coming to the MCA Chicago in the form of an exhibition to take place next Fall 2009.

Presented by The New Museum and Creative Time for the Three M Project (the ongoing series of exhibition collaborations by the MCA, the Hammer Museum, and The New Museum), Deller’s endeavor began on February 11th at the New Museum, where over a six week period Deller asked journalists, Iraqi refugees, soldiers and scholars to discuss their experiences of Iraq over the past decade.

At the show’s close on March 22nd, Deller began a cross-country journey from New York to California, conducting further conversations with various people at appointed stops along the way. From the website’s project description:

“It Is What It Is” puts a premium on discussion that is open-ended. Skipping easy categories of “for” or “against,” the invited conversationalists bring to the table their wide experiences in order to broadly describe political and social issues that affect those in Iraq as well as those outside. These conversations might be a bit messy, which is good, as black-and-white readings of this situation have been of little use up to now. “It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq” does not promise to solve the problems between the U.S. and Iraq, but it posits that there is beauty that approaches art in human contact and intellectual exchange—that is, in simply talking amongst ourselves.”

An annotated schedule of upcoming stops can be found here; after the road trip is over, the project will be exhibited at the Hammer in April and May, and at the MCA  in October and November of 2009.

Jeremy Deller, It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq

Jeremy Deller, It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq

You can also follow what happens on Deller’s trip by viewing videos and road diaries, interviews, essays and maps on the project’s website.

Rinder’s ‘Galaxy’ at Berkeley Art Museum

March 30, 2009 · Print This Article

Last December on the podcast Patricia and Brian conducted a wide-ranging interview with Larry Rinder, the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive’s then newly-appointed director, which focused on his future plans for the institution. During the interview Rinder talked about his upcoming permanent collection exhibition titled “Galaxy: A Hundred Or So Stars Visible to the Naked Eye.” That exhibition–the first Rinder has curated for BAM/PFA–is now open, and Kenneth Baker of the San Francisco Chronicle has written an informative background piece that contains further insight on the curatorial process from Rinder. I especially liked the moment where Rinder talks about the thinking that goes on in a curator’s  mind whilst deciding whether or not to hang certain works side-by-side:

“Certain juxtapositions made even Rinder nervous. ‘Here I had to take a kind of curatorial pause,’ Rinder said in the top floor gallery. ‘Does one hang Warhol’s ‘Race Riot’ next to a black painting by Ad Reinhardt?'”

Organizing permanent collection shows isn’t always considered the sexy part of curating; it’s the provocatively-themed group shows and surveys by art world stars or hot up-and-comers that are supposedly where all the curatorial action is. I like how this article, along with Brian and Patricia’s interview, reminds us of how a museum’s core collection can be just as thought-provoking and fresh if approached with vigor, creativity, and a certain fearlessness when it comes to teasing out the hidden relationships in disparate artworks. Which brings me to my question: what’s your favorite permanent collection ‘moment’? Are there any curatorial choices that you’ve come across in a permanent collection show that have surprised, provoked, delighted or enraged you? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

(Baker article via Modern Art Notes).

Consider a Degree from the Philadelphia Institute for Advanced Study

March 29, 2009 · Print This Article

picture-4Don’t be fooled, there’s no degrees.  There is an excellent explanation of cultural capital.  Watch the informational video tape here.

The rest of the website is only slightly more elucidating, but equally fascinating: http://www.pifas.net

Bad at Sports Giveaway #2

March 29, 2009 · Print This Article

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So here is how it’s going to go. I have a brand new copy of former BAS guest Trevor Paglen’s book Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World. Duncan has been M.I.A. since the start of the Southern Graphics Council Convention this past week. The best comment that answers where Duncan is hiding wins. You have until Sunday April 5th.

“Blank Spots on the Map is an expose of an empire that continues to grow every year—and which, officially, it isn’t even there. It is the adventurous, insightful, and often chilling story of a young geographer’s road trip through the underworld of U.S. military and C.I.A. ‘black ops’ sites. This is a shadow nation of state secrets: clandestine military bases, ultra-secret black sites, classified factories, hidden laboratories, and top-secret agencies making up what defense and intelligence insiders themselves call the ‘black world.’ Run by an amorphous group of government agencies and private companies, this empire’s ever expanding budget dwarfs that of many good sized countries, yet it denies its own existence.”

In other Paglen related news, earlier in the week Art Fag City posted a video of him speaking at the Google Mountain View HQ to discuss Blank Spots.

Check out the video here.

Leon Fleisher Performing at Artspeaks Tuesday

March 29, 2009 · Print This Article

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | 7:30 pm
Mandel Hall, University of Chicago
1131 E. 57th Street

$20 general public
$5 students

via Artspeaks

“Performing works by J.S. Bach; Post-concert Q&A session hosted by
Thomas Christensen, associate dean and master of the Collegiate Humanities Division

As the first American to win the prestigious Queen Elisabeth of Belgium competition in 1952 at the age of 24, Leon Fleisher went on to perform throughout the world with every major orchestra and conductor and released numerous touchstone recordings with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. In 1965, at just 37, Fleisher was forced to “retire” from performance when two of his fingers became immobilized due to focal dystonia. For the next 40 years, he pursued a successful career as a conductor and teacher, in addition to performing left-handed works. With new developments in the medical treatment of focal dystonia, Leon Fleisher is once again able to brilliantly play the piano with two hands. He has recently released his first two-hand recording in 40 years, aptly entitled Two Hands. Its repertoire includes the works of J.S. Bach.”

Artspeaks next and final lecture in the series will be Kara Walker on May 13.

For more information please visit Artspeaks