The Bad at Sports podcast has been going strong for over six years and thus far has produced–wait a sec, are you f*%king kidding me?– 322 *weekly* podcast episodes??! With a new podcast released every week?! Each featuring an interview with a different artist or maker hailing from parts all across the Western Hemisphere? Uh, that’s pretty extraordinary. Over the last six-plus years of existence, Bad at Sports has talked to hundreds of artists, from local upstarts to living legends. Because B@S is constantly putting out new material, it’s easy to forget that they’ve built up a massive audio archive of material that is virtually unrivaled (William Furlong and his amazing Audio Arts casette tape magazines, of course, is the grandaddy precursor to Bad at Sports’ project). In honor of B@S’ sixth year of life on this planet, we’re going to start digging through the podcast archives on a weekly basis to highlight key episodes from the past. This, in addition to the new podcasts that the B@S team continues to create and upload for your listening pleasure each and every week.
So, please to enjoy the following selection from Bad at Sports archives, recorded in 2007 and featuring an interview with Jeff Wall that took place just prior to the opening of Wall’s retrospective exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago.
“I was … looking at the exhibition and I realized, what I feel about many of my exhibitions…that no matter how well installed they are, no matter how well lit and if the rooms are great, and all that…a lot of the time my pictures just don’t look very good together. No matter how well you hang them they often just don’t really go together. It’s hard to make what I would call a really successful show as an event or as a circumstance, because they’re very singular, each one: and each one has its own structure, its own space, its own colors, its own light, or whatever. And they don’t go in groups. At least, they only go in groups more or less. I don’t see it as a virtue or a negative thing either, it must just be how I see, or how I do things. I really see my pictures as singular. I don’t have any interest in making variations on a theme, or any of those kinds of things that tie pictures together. Each one does come from a real experience. I used to think about it [in terms of] genre, but I don’t think about it like that anymore….Genre means something known. When you think you know something, you create limitations.” – Jeff Wall, interviewed by Duncan MacKenzie for Bad at Sports
Art:21′s new “Calling from Canada” blogger Raji Sohal has written a great piece on the curatorial decisions made by the Vancouver Art Gallery‘s director Kathleen S. Bartels and artist Jeff Wall in organizing Kerry James Marshall‘s first solo exhibition in Canada, which runs from May 8, 2010 to January 3, 2011. Sohal’s piece is well-worth perusing; I’ve included a brief excerpt below to entice you to read the entire post. (Kerry James Marshall was interviewed in Episode 61 of Bad at Sports’ podcast and Jeff Wall in Episode 96).
“So how does this exhibition get framed within Vancouver? As a transplanted Vancouverite, Marshall’s paintings got me thinking about representations of blackness but also about my own identity as an Indo-Canadian person in Canada. More than fifty percent of Vancouver’s population speaks English as a second language. British Columbia is now considered Canada’s most ethnically diverse province, and the city is home to a relatively large population of Indo-Canadians and one of the largest diasporas of Punjabis in particular. So where is our experience represented in art? The most prominent representations are found instead in and by dominant media culture. Moreover, historical incidents involving new immigrant groups have transpired without the kind of acknowledgment or monumentalizing of atrocities (i.e. erecting monuments or holding services) that we have seen occur in the U.S. or in Western Europe. In British Columbia, this includes Japanese internment camps, Chinese railway worker exploitation, and the Komagata Maru incident, which prompted the Canadian government to enact exclusion laws preventing Indians from immigrating.
So while seeing Marshall’s large-scale figurative paintings at VAG provide an access point for thinking about black representation in America, framed in Vancouver, the exhibition also provokes questions about representation on home soil too. The adversity faced by the city’s ethnic groups is unique, of course, and not to be homogenized under one large minority umbrella. However, seeing this show in multicultural Vancouver is curious in light of Marshall’s comments in past interviews about how when he was a kid, he didn’t see blacks in pictoral space. Recently, Marshall told Vancouver newspaper The Georgia Straight that part of his own project has been to “figure out how to make paintings that could get to be part of the story.” (Read the full post at art21:blog).