Episode 104: Brian Holmes with Lane Relyea

August 26, 2007 · Print This Article

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Brian Holmes
The show opens with a bang! Britton Bertran’s car is hit and we are the witnesses.

And as you listen to this week’s intro designed specifically to irritate Duncan, pause a moment and say to yourself…”Seriously? Episode 104?” Richard’s parents have called us both to mention how happy they are. Here we are poised on the cusp of another Bad at Sports season and this week Duncan is joined by friends of the show Lane Relyea and Claire Pentecost to interview/interrogate French American Theorist and Art Critic Brian Holmes.

As we roll over the two year mark we once again are faced with questions about the Bad at Sports Project. We know what we think but once again we want to hear from you. Please email your thoughts about the show and your hopes for it’s future to badatsports@gmail.com please use the header “Hope Chest.” Thanks in advance for taking the time to help us get better.

Piet Zwart Institute Bio for Brian Holmes-
Brian Holmes is an art and cultural critic, activist and translator, living in Paris, interested primarily in the intersections of artistic and political practice. He holds a doctorate in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of California at Berkeley. He was the English editor of publications for Documenta X, Kassel, Germany, 1997, was a member of the graphic arts group Ne pas plier from 1999 to 2001, and has recently worked with the French conceptual art group Bureau d’études. He is a frequent contributor to the international mailinglist Nettime, a member of the editorial committee of the art magazine “Springerin” and the political-economy journal “Multitudes”, a regular contributor to the magazine Parachute, and a founder of the new journal “Autonomie Artistique”. He is currently preparing a book in French, entitled “La personnalité flexible: Pour une nouvelle critique de la culture.”

http://brianholmes.wordpress.com/

Theo Hakola is a god among men.
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Call to Arms, an open letter from Paul Klein

June 4, 2007 · Print This Article

Art Protest

The City Council is on the verge of passing an ordinance that is bad for Chicago, bad for its citizens and particularly bad for the art community.

We have proposed an alternative ordinance that will not be considered unless you act.  We are the following groups: Bad at Sports, the Chicago Artists Coalition, Lumpen, Sharkforum, ArtLetter and others to be named soon.

Short Story:

Mayor Daley and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) have proposed a terrible ordinance to modify the Public Art Program.  The stated reason makes no sense: that the meetings were open to the public was cumbersome and unnecessary in their judgment.  That the previous ordinance existed for 25 years and that the City has an exemplary art collection they deemed irrelevant.

  • It “privatizes” the the selection of public art by eliminating all Open Meetings.
  • It means the DCA does not have to post thorough information on their website about upcoming commissions.
  • It will remove transparency and accessibility from the Public Art program and  art commissions.
  • It eliminates voting, democracy and public recourse.

Unless the art community acts the City Council will approve their proposed ordinanceon the 13th of June.  The best way to prevent this from happening is for artists to

stage a large rally at 5:30 PM Monday, June 11th at the Picasso Sculpture

and a letter writing campaign to make the Mayor and the Aldermen aware of what Chicago artists think and want.

Full Story:

  • Visualize 100’s of Chicago artists rallying around a single cause – Artists’ Rights.
  • Have you ever read about a large group of artists speaking out publicly with one voice?
  • Think about the media coverage.
  • To a large extent the events of the next ten days stand to significantly affect the future of Chicago artists (and Chicago galleries that care about their
    Chicago artists).

Here’s the deal:

In mid-May at the request of the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs (Lois Weisberg), Mayor Daley proposed an ordinance to revamp the Public Art Program. 
This proposed ordinance is bad government, bad for Chicagoans and particularly bad for the Chicago art community and artists.

Shortly after the ordinance sailed through committee (despite us “winning” the discussion) a few of us succeeded in having the measure postponed by the City
Council.

WELL, the issue is coming back up for a City Council vote on June 13th.  We’ve spoken to a number of aldermen.  Most aldermen think: If the artists don’t care, we don’t care.

It is possible to change the system and it is not going to be easy. 

It is time to step up or get stepped on.

As an artist or a member of the art community in Chicago, or elsewhere, if you ever want to able to apply for a commission, or give a damn about your peers
being able to, now is the time to act:

  • Appear at a RALLY FOR ARTISTS’ RIGHTS on the Monday the 11th at 5:30 at the Picasso
    – 2 days before the City Council meets to vote on the 13th.
  • Write letters to the Tribune & Sun Times editorial page.
  • Write a letter to the Mayor
  • Write a letter to your alderman. Speak to your alderman.
  • Speak in favor of Our New (alternative) Ordinance supporting Artist’s Rights
  • Send an email to me or a member of our team telling us what you think. We’ll count them, print them and share them where they’ll hopefully make a difference.
  • Under the pretense of streamlining the selection process, the DCA’s proposed ordinance means the DCA does not have to have “open meetings” to give or get any information to artists about upcoming commissions, nor answer to anyone about selected commissions.
  • They do not have to put information on their website anymore (they’ve been doing a horrible job putting out information so far.)
  • They do not have to allow artists to apply for specific projects.
  • They do not have to respond to the community.
  • They do not have to be responsible for their actions.
  • They do get to keep their inbred selection process whereby they dip into their archaic database, pick whoever they want, sometimes repeatedly, and not have to tell artists why or how they chose or choose.
    If you are going to write a letter, here are some key points.
  • No fair, honest or open consideration of Chicago artists
  • No Open Meetings.
  • No useful listings of commission possibilities
  • No applying for a specific commission
  • No knowing why you weren’t considered
  • Under their proposed new ordinance, the finger-pointing will shift from the DCA to the aldermen because alderman will be asked to have ward forums to discuss art commissions in their ward. This will be an added logistical and financial responsibility for the alderman they may not want.  The aldermen will be responsible to post notice of the forums (many don’t have web sites). They will have to pay for postage out of their own pockets. They will have to host and attend art meetings in their wards. They will have to put up with the potential for dividing their community over art issues. These selfish reasons may be sufficient reason aldermen will defeat this ordinance June 13th – if they are informed.
  • If the aldermen think you care, you will be heard.
  • If the aldermen don’t think you care they will automatically vote with the Mayor and pass this ordinance assuring a closed doors, patronage system where those who are favored will get the most commissions.  It will not be based on quality, or a competent committee considering your work.  Instead of a democracy we’ll have the Department of Cultural Affairs acting like a country club, picking who they want, why they want, without opening up the selection process and broadening the amount of art they can consider.
  • The artists suffer.  The City suffers. The community suffers. The DCA gets a free ride.
  • Think about Chicago’s reputation in the rest of the country.
  • We are already being discussed by National Public Art Administrators
    • We will be a topic of discussion at the National Public Art Conference in Las Vegas.
    • Is this going to look good for Chicago in the rest of the country?
  • How about internationally?
  • How about the Olympics?
    • Every Olympics has a large Cultural Olympics held concurrently.
    • Do you think the Olympic Committee is going to be favorably impressed with this ordinance?
  • You and the Olympics
    • Hidden in the bowels of their ordinance is a distinction between Percent for Art and Public Art. The DCA has succeeded in keeping this totally vague. All Percent for Art (a specific term) is part of Public Art (a general term).  Only the Percent for Art must have public forums.(Percent for Art applies to money spent in City government buildings and land.  But Public Art also includes money for art not for city property yet still administered by DCA – like housing to be constructed for Olympic athletes – which could be billions of dollars.) Can you say cronyism?
    • Well get this: According to their proposed ordinance they only have to have forums (namby-pamby discussions with not binding authority and no vote) with Percent for Art. Okay, but for Public Art they don’t even have to have any forums at all.
  • Who do you think they are trying to take care of?
  • Actions speak louder than words.

Paul KleinDo
you understand why the Mayor doesn’t care about you – the Chicago artist? Or why the Alderman don’t, or the rest of the world for that matter?  Because you haven’t made yourself seen and you haven’t made yourself heard enough.

It is time again to assume responsibility for your career, to take a stance.

Can you visualize the impact just 500 artists showing up at a rally could have globally?

Do you realize the publicity Chicago artists can get?

Do you grasp the impact the discussion of this ordinance will have?

You can either shape your future constructively or get screwed.

It is up to you.
Paul Klein




Episode 80: Berin Golonu & Erik Wenzel

March 11, 2007 · Print This Article

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This week: Marc LeBlanc and Brian Andrews talk to Berin Golonu, Associate Visual Arts Curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Mike Benedetto makes his fabulous return. Nathan Rodgers-Madsen interviews Erik Wenzel of the Art or Idiocy? blog and numerous other artistic and journalistical type projects.

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Episode 70: James Elkins

December 31, 2006 · Print This Article

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Duncan and Terri talk to James Elkins about his books, criticism and more! Mike Benedetto provides an utterly hilarious movie review and public service announcement.

From Mr. Elkins’ web site: James Elkins grew up in Ithaca, New York, separated from Cornell University by a quarter-mile of woods once owned by the naturalist Laurence Palmer.

He stayed on in Ithaca long enough to get the BA degree (in English and Art History), with summer hitchhiking trips to Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, the Caribbean, and Columbia. For the last twenty years he has lived in Chicago; he got a graduate degree in painting, and then switched to Art History, got another graduate degree, and went on to the PhD in Art History, which he finished in 1989. (All from the University of Chicago.) Since then he has been teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. He also teaches in the Department of Visual and Critical Studies, and is Head of History of Art at the University College Cork, Ireland.

His writing focuses on the history and theory of images in art, science, and nature. Some of his books are exclusively on fine art (What Painting Is, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?). Others include scientific and non-art images, writing systems, and archaeology (The Domain of Images, On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them), and some are about natural history (How to Use Your Eyes).

Current projects include a book called Success and Failure in Twentieth-Century Painting, another called Writing about the World’s Art, and several edited books: a series called “The Art Seminar,” one called “Theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Visual Art.,” and edited books on W.G. Sebald, representations of pain in art, and the university-wide study of images.

He married Margaret MacNamidhe in 1994 on Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands, off the West coast of Ireland. Margaret is also an art historian, with a specialty in Delacroix. His interests include freshwater microscopy (with a Zeiss Nomarski differential interference microscope), optics (he owns an ophthalmologist’s slit-lamp microscope), stereo photography (with a Realist camera), playing piano, and winter ocean diving

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Episode 70: James Elkins

December 31, 2006 · Print This Article

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Duncan and Terri talk to James Elkins about his books, criticism and more! Mike Benedetto provides an utterly hilarious movie review and public service announcement.

From Mr. Elkins’ web site:

James Elkins grew up in Ithaca, New York, separated from Cornell University by a quarter-mile of woods once owned by the naturalist Laurence Palmer.

He stayed on in Ithaca long enough to get the BA degree (in English and Art History), with summer hitchhiking trips to Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, the Caribbean, and Columbia. For the last twenty years he has lived in Chicago; he got a graduate degree in painting, and then switched to Art History, got another graduate degree, and went on to the PhD in Art History, which he finished in 1989. (All from the University of Chicago.) Since then he has been teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. He also teaches in the Department of Visual and Critical Studies, and is Head of History of Art at the University College Cork, Ireland.

His writing focuses on the history and theory of images in art, science, and nature. Some of his books are exclusively on fine art (What Painting Is, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?). Others include scientific and non-art images, writing systems, and archaeology (The Domain of Images, On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them), and some are about natural history (How to Use Your Eyes).

Current projects include a book called Success and Failure in Twentieth-Century Painting, another called Writing about the World’s Art, and several edited books: a series called “The Art Seminar,” one called “Theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Visual Art.,” and edited books on W.G. Sebald, representations of pain in art, and the university-wide study of images.

He married Margaret MacNamidhe in 1994 on Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands, off the West coast of Ireland. Margaret is also an art historian, with a specialty in Delacroix. His interests include freshwater microscopy (with a Zeiss Nomarski differential interference microscope), optics (he owns an ophthalmologist’s slit-lamp microscope), stereo photography (with a Realist camera), playing piano, and winter ocean diving