Protect Protect

March 11, 2009 · Print This Article


Yesterday Art21 posted a video of Jenny Holzer’s projection on Chicago’s Lyric Opera House from November of last year. As part of her exhibition Protect Protect, soon to be at the Whitney, Holzer projected on the MCA, The Lyric Opera, the Tribune Tower and the Merchandise Mart. I had a chance to catch the Lyric and Merchandise Mart projections and really enjoyed them. The projection across the river onto the back of the Lyric Opera was pretty rad, way more so than at the Merchandise Mart. So far it doesn’t look like there will be any projections to accompany the show in New York.

via Art21:
“Jenny Holzer discusses the process behind her series of Xenon Projections as part of the exhibition PROTECT PROTECT at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Featured works include Projection for Chicago (2008), a multi-part projection of the texts of Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska on building facades around the city…”

Check out the video here:

Art journals round table discussion

March 10, 2009 · Print This Article

e-flux journal round table discussion

For those who don’t subscribe to the e-flux announcements, or have stopped paying attention to them, there was an intriguing round table discussion going down over the weekend at their New York City space on the Lower East Side.  With the launch of issue #4 of e-flux journal, they set out to ask:

How do art journals reflect what is currently available or possible in terms of content and distribution?
What forms of practice or engagement do they propose?
And how do they produce and reflect readerships?
And, at the end of the day, why produce or publish (an art journal)?

In the interest of disclosure, I must mention that I have been working with e-flux on their e-flux video rental project, but hopefully that doesn’t undermine my saying that their approach towards producing a journal is an all around forward-thinking one.  As an online, freely available, print-on-demand effort, the issue of physical production is not negated but rather deferred.  The publication’s production not only lies in wait for the individual, but also the potential producer/distributor.  From what I understood, e-flux seems to be daring someone to actually take up the task of producing the thing, while they focus on what is surely more rewarding.

As far as the participants in Saturday’s round table, AA Bronson brought a lovely smattering of rare and out-of-print journals for show and tell, dot dot dot’s Stuart Bailey dropped the Deleuze references (“P” is for professor), Silvia Kolbowski valiantly stuck up for October, and Gareth James took a ribbing for the yet-unpublished Scorched Earth. Other participants were Sara G. Rafferty from North Drive Press, Sina Najafi from Cabinet, and of course the three editors of e-flux journal, Brian Kuan Wood, Julieta Aranda, and Anton Vidokle. This was the dynamic that led to the most interesting line of questioning regarding the pedagogical role of a journal, the construction of an audience (otherwise just a phantasm), and the need to publish a journal at all. Look for the recording at, I know there was one.

Two With Water Magazine Gets Incubate’s “Sunday Soup Grant”

March 9, 2009 · Print This Article

Incubate (Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and the Everyday) has awarded its $250 March “Sunday Soup Grant” to new Chicago-based magazine Two With Water, a still-developing publication with a focus on “self-realization and urban life” run by Amy Ganser and Rebecca Roberts. The magazine features work by emerging writers and visual artists; click links above to learn more about the grant program and the magazine’s submission guidelines. That Sunday Soup Grant program sounds like a pretty darn nice idea to me: modest, yes, but sometimes small cash infusions (and the community support that comes with it) can make a surprisingly big difference in those early days when a project is still finding its way.

Meg watched The Watchmen

March 8, 2009 · Print This Article


I went in with low expectations of The Watchmen after reading reviews and speaking with my sister, who saw a midnight showing in LA. Her review was “Eh”. Typically I am really anal about showing up on time to movies. I forced my girlfriend to show up about an hour and a half early expecting a line for the 7:00 Saturday showing. No line was to be found. We began to realize that not even half of the theater was going to be filled. At around the end of the pre show countdown (approx 6:45) a mother and her brood of toddlers not only showed up to this rated R film but decided to sit next to us. Not exactly next to us, but I could see the whites of their eyes as they peered at me during violent parts of the film.

If you have read the comic you already know what is going to happen within the first ten minutes of the film. I did enjoy the alternate reality flashbacks accompanied by Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’”. This point marks when my viewing experienced was ruined, as the kiddos began to scream and tell each other to shut up. I will save you the details of their other antics but after about half way through the movie security came in to escort the toddlers out and deny the mother a refund.

As for the film, I say less romance, less slo-mo, less action. Alan More is clearly a genius when it comes to comics (excluding Promethia) but in the film something was lost in the dialogue even though much of it was lifted directly from the book.

I left the theater (approx 9:45) feeling similar to my sister, but wondering what the meetings were like when they decided what size Doctor Manhattan’s penis would be and how much it would sway as he walked.

Token New York Art Fair Post

March 7, 2009 · Print This Article

Jenny Holzer, Money Creates Taste, Limited Edition from the Sculpture Center available at the Armory Fair 2009

Jenny Holzer, Money Creates Taste, Limited Edition from the Sculpture Center available at the Armory Fair 2009

One thing that remains true across most markets is that its all about the buzz, so I feel compelled to weigh in on my experience at this years Armory and satellite fairs.  Perhaps ironically, I appreciate the crass commercialism of art fairs for the discussions and contextualization they bring about.  Hypothetically, one doesn’t even need to see the work in the gallery booths to get the most out of the fair.  The difference between a worthwhile contemporary art fair and a superfluous one is their ability to provoke conversations around art, and that often comes down to programming, programming, programming, (the same often remains true for contemporary art museums).  With this in mind, I made it a point to check out the two Open Forum discussions at the Armory and Volta on Friday, making these the main event and lofty excuse to visit these otherworldly candy stores in downtrodden times.

The first of the day at Pier 92 in the Armory was “Museums Speak! Funding, Exhibitions, Collecting and the Future” featuring Arnold Lehman, Director of The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Claudia Gould, The Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.   Of course the obvious topic of conversation was the economic recession’s effect on museums large and small.  This amounted to amplified fretting and  hand wringing about poor endowment returns, staff cuts, and pressure to sell off artworks for those collecting institutions.  Ultimately this inside baseball failed to peek my interest as the average art enthusiast, but by no fault of the participants or others whose jobs might depend on the future funding of museums.

Next up was Volta, a more engaging fair simply for its concentration on individual artists.  Part of the same Open Forum programming was the panel “Re-Inventing Non-Profits in NYC” featuring Anne J. Barlow, Executive Director of Art in General, Mary Ceruti, Executive Director of Sculpture Center and Gianni Jetzer, Director of Swiss Institute.  The discussion was far more reaching in its implications for the future of artist, which automatically perked up my ears as the tendency in these circles is to forget that without artists there is no art.  Again the discussion was set to the doom and gloom tune of economic woes, but fortunately geared towards adjusting and moving forward.  Artists take note, it appears these non-profits are foregoing extravagant exhibitions in favor of funding and facilitating projects that might not otherwise be feasible for emerging artists.  The level of succes for these spaces is refreshingly difficult to quantify relative to the museums — which ultimately just want to get bodies through the door –  but issues such as branding still came up as a stategy of shear survival.  Gianni Jetzer seems to think the Swiss Institute has no branding, but he fails to notice that Switzerland itself is a brand, and a damn good one as his performance confirms.  Of the three non-profits, SI seems to be the most willing to take chances and perhaps it’s that godmother country’s loose purse strings on top of her sex appeal that keeps SI not truly in any position to worry.

A closing note from this last discussion was the divisive question about whether tough economic times will be good for art, as some have suggested.  There seemed to be some consensus that any such idea is a myth, but I have to say I’m not quite convinced.  My hunch is that the playing field is a little more level and its hard not to notice the change in the air that has inevitably come from the powerful having a little less power.