Minimalism Now Panel Discussion at The Ren

March 13, 2011 · Print This Article

The Renaissance Society can always be counted on to organize some meaty talks and discussions around its current exhibitions. It’s last one, Gerard Byrne’s A Thing is a Hole in a Thing it is Not, was no exception. Among other programs, the Ren organized a panel discussion titled “Minimalism Now” that included sculptor Rachel Harrison, art historians Miwon Kwon, James Meyer, and David Raskin and moderator Hamza Walker. Each panelist gave a brief presentation which was followed up by a group discussion. I’m in the middle of listening to it right now, and It Is Good. The Ren has over thirty previous public lectures, talks and discussions archived on its Vimeo website (lectures and gallery talks by artists like Byrne, Katharina Grosse, Allen Sekula, Moshekwa Langa and Rebecca Warren among them)–a fact which isn’t prominently featured on the Ren’s website – a tiny little “Vimeo” icon provides the only portal, as far as I can tell. It’s a great archive, and as I’ve said numerous times here before, I’m always extremely happy when institutions videotape and make their public programs available via YouTube or Vimeo.

I’ve embedded both parts of the Minimalism panel for your easy access – dig down and enjoy.

 

 




Hamza Walker Wins $100,000 Ordway Prize

February 5, 2010 · Print This Article

Hamza Walker, Director of Education and Associate Curator of The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago

Congratulations to Hamza Walker, curator at The Renaissance Society — it has just been announced that he’s won the Ordway Prize from Creative Link for the Arts and the New Museum!  Walker, along with artist Artur Å»mijewski, will receive an unrestricted award of $100,000. Here’s the text of the announcement in full:

“Creative Link for the Arts and the New Museum have announced Hamza Walker, the Director of Education and Associate Curator at Chicago’s Renaissance Society, and Polish artist Artur Å»mijewski, as the recipients of the Ordway Prize. An international panel of Nominators and a Jury of leading arts world figures-led by Jennifer McSweeney, Director of Creative Link for the Arts, and Richard Flood, Chief Curator at the New Museum-selected the Ordway Prize recipients from a global pool of nominees. Walker and Å»mijewski will each receive an unrestricted cash prize of $100,000.

“Working with artists is a reward in itself, and I feel privileged at being so generously honored for my passion. I wish I had a grand vision for the award, but as it stands, the bricks and mortar of my life are in severe need of tuckpointing,” said Hamza Walker.

Read more




Anna Shteynshleyger at The Renaissance Society

January 4, 2010 · Print This Article

Anna Shteynshleyger, Nylon Challah. 2004-2009

While I was looking at the photographs of Anna Shteynshleyger at the opening of this Russian-born, Chicago-based artist’s new solo exhibition at at The Renaissance Society, a middle-aged woman wearing a fluffy, faux-fur coat sidled up next to me. “Do you know what that is?” she asked me, pointing to the image I was peering at intently. It was a blue-tinged photograph of some sort of twisted, fleshy material that looked like raw bread dough.

“I’m not exactly sure,” I replied. “I can’t tell if it’s soaking in a bowl of something or what.”

“It looks organic,” the woman mused, “like an organ from a body.”

“Well, it’s challah….It’s not baked yet. But I can’t make out what this part is,” I said, gesturing to the circular, fan-like opening out of which the doughy form appeared to be rising.

“Oh, it’s challah!?” she exclaimed. “I know what challah is — I make challah. But that looks more like a body part. How do you pronounce the artist’s name?” I told her I had no idea, and she nodded. “She should have changed it to Smith!” Read more




Is the $100,000 Ordway Prize Too Much?

November 18, 2009 · Print This Article

I’d never heard of the Ordway Prize until a few weeks ago, when two highly respected Chicago-based arts professionals (artist Tania Bruguera, who also lives in Havana, Cuba, and Hamza Walker, curator at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago) were included on this year’s list of finalists. The Ordway Prize is a relatively new award, established in 2005 as a joint effort by Creative Link for the Arts and the New Museum. The selection process for the Ordway Prize is outlined on the New Museum’s website as follows (excerpt):

The prize acknowledges the contributions of a Curator/Arts Writer and an Artist whose work has had significant impact on the field of contemporary art, but who has yet to receive broad public recognition. Finalists for the Ordway Prize are midcareer talents between the ages of forty and sixty-five, with a developed body of work extending over a minimum of fifteen years.

Now, it’s always great to see behind-the-scenes culture professionals get recognized for their outstanding work. This goes double for curators, who get paid relatively little and yet play such a critical role in bringing art to the public.  So if a little cash gets thrown at said curators while recognizing their contributions to the field, that’s nice too. I’m not of the view that culture workers need to be poor to have integrity. That said, however, I think that $100,000  is an inordinate amount of money given the fact that a) the prize is unrestricted and b) this year’s nominees, as well as past Ordway Prize winners, are institutionally-affiliated curators as opposed to those working independently and earning income on a project-by-project basis. Read more




Ordway Prize Candidates Announced

November 12, 2009 · Print This Article

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Tania Bruguera

Two Chicagoans have been announced as candidates for the Ordway Prize. Tania Bruguera, who splits her time between Havana Cuba and Chicago, and The Renaissance Society’s Hamza Walker are up for the prize with a handful of other artists and curators.  The prize “recognizes both a mid-career curator/arts writer and an artist with an unrestricted award of $100,000″

via The New Museum:

” Now in its third cycle, the Ordway Prize is the only unrestricted international award of this caliber that recognizes a Curator/Arts Writer and is also one of the most generous awards given to a contemporary Artist.

Candidates for the Ordway Prize are identified through an anonymous nomination process of submissions drawn from a global pool of curators, writers, artists, and museum directors, led by Jennifer McSweeney, Director of Creative Link for the Arts, and Richard Flood, Chief Curator at the New Museum. A jury composed of leading arts professionals will select the two Ordway Prize recipients. The Ordway Prize winners will be announced in early 2010.”

Check out Claudine’s coverage of Tina Bruguera’s “Cocaine Performance”

Check out Brian, Richard, Duncan, and I interview Hamza Walker in Episode 60.

For more info on the Ordway Prize check out The New Museum’s site.