art21:blog interviews Mary Jane Jacob and Michelle Grabner about SAIC’s Summer Studio

September 6, 2010 · Print This Article

We’re back from vacay this week, and catching up on a few weeks’ worth of happenin’s and art chatter. Last week, Georgia Kotretsos of art21:blog posted an interview with Mary Jane Jacob, Michelle Grabner and Kate Zeller on the School of the Art Institute’s “Summer Studio” program (at which Bad at Sports happily pinged, ponged, and otherwise partook) as well as their recently published The Studio Reader, a critical anthology of writings on the artist’s studio. An excerpt from art:21’s interview is below; click on over for the full-length interview.

Georgia Kotretsos: Within the first few lines of The Studio Reader preface, your words speak of a condition that sum up the essence of the artist’s studio: “Even when the making is not so visible, it is always present.” Is it that “presence” that Tehching Hsieh is exhausting by keeping a studio space without having made any kind of art for over a decade as we read in Barry Schwabsky’s essay, The Symbolic Studio?

Mary Jane Jacob: When I said that “the studio is more than a physical place and even more than a mental space; it is a necessity of being,” I intended to convey that making art is an omnipresent thing; it works in consciously, semi-consciously, and in unconscious ways. It is always just below the surface, if not right there — in the head and hand. Yes, one can also think of this as non-studio practices that are less material and in The Studio Reader, we have such discussions of Tehching Hsieh or Kimsooja’s thought that her body is her studio. But it is also true for the painter, the sculptor, the printmaker, and we could go on with this list; it is not media specific.

How we locate an idea for art, a solution to an artistic problem, and especially the development of a work and of an ongoing practice is by living art — and this happens in the very being of being an artist. So when I speak of consciousness, I mean that we bring to our work a certain perception and mindset, and that also is present in our life. The relation of art and life is not just a 20th-century, modern, or avant-garde position; it is an essential art condition. Cultivating a deep and wide consciousness is important to many artists because, then, that just-below-the-surface state can be called into operation, seamlessly, and with this openness or permeability, a natural flow can occur that can contribute to the making of art in the studio that we take on our back.

GK: I appreciate an introduction that offers insight and a cohesive historicity on a subject, such as the one you wrote about the studio in The Studio Reader. Your closing sentence — “Critical, ironic, sentimental, and practical, the practiced place of the studio is no longer the fixed space of inspiration that Poussin laid eyes on four hundred years ago” — wisely makes room and gives reason for the rest of the book to unfold. So, what is the studio today? What does The Studio Reader tell us?

Michelle Grabner: I believe that the idea of the studio today is unambiguously foundational to the complications and contradictions of contemporary art practice.

At its most pragmatic, it is simply a necessary space of production and display. After researching the multitude of shapes and forms comprising the contemporary studio, they are no more fascinating than oil stick, video, clay, or canvas: the studio akin to a medium. However, the studio can also be a subject. And this is where it gets interesting and I hope The Studio Reader points to conditions in contemporary art production that can be sussed out through the lens of the studio.

For example, the many artist’s contributions to The Studio Reader are intriguing and insightful accounts into day-to-day studio engagement, yet it is only in their collectivity that one can start to assess how the space of production, invention, creativity, and meaning are being culled by artists today.

I think one of the most interesting disagreements in contemporary art exists between the totalizing embracement of the studio and art’s democratization: “People just make things. And so I don’t know whether it’s so necessary to ‘reveal’ anything anymore,” writes Cory Arcangel. With a swift retort, Houston-based critic Mary LeClere writes, “The question isn’t whether it’s art, but whether it needs to be. Why hold onto the name if it no longer refers to something that has a cultural, and therefore shared, meaning?”

So why the need for studios? Here within lies a complex web of contradictions that configure contemporary art and culture. The contemporary studio lays the foundation for new research into those long disparaged notions of authorship, talent, and métier.

Read the full post at art:21 blog here.




Bad at Sports Interviews YOU at Sullivan Gallery’s ‘Summer Studio’ Tonight!

July 28, 2010 · Print This Article

Ever fantasized about being interviewed by the venerable Richard Holland and Duncan Mackenzie of Bad at Sports? No? Well….maybe you’re feeling bored and just need something to do tonight? Okay, good enough! Come hang out with Duncan and Richard from 5-7pm tonight at the Sullivan Galleries at SAIC, where our podcasters-in-chief will be ready and willing to interview all comers. So come! Talk to Richard and Duncan about your art, your life, your secret hopes and most shameful desires. Get it all out there and off your chest. Interviews may be broadcast on a future episode of the podcast…you never know.  This is part of the Summer Studio program taking place right now at the Sullivan Galleries, and there are a bunch of other acts, I mean artists, who are opening up their on-site spaces for you to check out as well. The full lineup includes the aforementioned Bad at Sports along with Elise Goldstein, Georgia Kotretsos, Diego Leclery, Adia Millet, Jennifer Mills, Libby O’Bryan & Elissa Papendick, John Riepenhoff, Miller & Shellabarger, Cauleen Smith, and Marjorie Welish. Hope to see you there!




Ox-Bow Art School Gets $1 Million From LeRoy Neiman

July 14, 2010 · Print This Article

LeRoy NeimanLeRoy and Janet Neiman’s have contributed $1 Million to create the LeRoy Neiman Scholarship that will provide student scholarships and support Ox-Bow’s Fellowship Program.

A gift which provides studio space and funding for 12 to 14 students from art schools across the country to spend their summer at Ox-Bow.

Both LeRoy and Janet are alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago & Ox-Bow.

Tony Jones, SAIC chancellor had this to say about the gift:
“LeRoy Neiman has been intimately involved with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Ox-Bow for many years—as a student, then a faculty member, and now as a wonderful benefactor with his wife Janet, herself an alumna of SAIC, LeRoy is particularly sensitive to what Ox-Bow offers to the working artist, and comments often on the productive time he spent there and how the bucolic serenity of that special place was crucial to his development as a painter. These generous scholarships are especially significant as they are a gift from one remarkable artist to many young artists. Because of the Neimans’ gift they’ll be able to study at this unique open-air studio for many years to come.”
More can be read at the official press release here



UPDATED Walter Massey New School of Art Institute President…..?

June 21, 2010 · Print This Article

Walter MasseyIt has been announced today that Dr. Walter Massey has been named the new President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This is a really hard article to write since it’s difficult to find much about Walter Massey in any kind of Art context and his business context is pretty basic as well.

Walter Massey, who currently sits on the board of McDonald’s (which is headquartered in Chicago lets remember), recently retired from the Bank of America board, president emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, has worked in the Unviersity of California system and at Brown University, former board member of BP, National Commission on Smoking and Public Policy & ran Argonne National Laboratory is more like a madlibs result for the executive level of Chicago Business/General Science Education world. It’s a little of this and a lot of that.

The resume reads like a interim president who was a Chicago culture buff and said “yea, I’ll do it” when no one else would?

I know I am not the only one that realizes there is 15% unemployment (even for executives) but there is no one else eligible for this position? Someone who is a tad more focused in areas of use to the SAIC? Someone other then a 72+ year old scientist whose college administration background is “leading” his Alma mater (the self described “only all male historically black institution of higher learning in the United States”) for 12 years after he had retired from a career of  Science advocacy?

How is this even close to the needs of the SAIC and Art community in the 21st century other then he is a warm body that I am sure has a Rolodex (a literal Rolodex I mean) full of moneyed contacts.

I know the Art world lives on nepotism and dresses it up as “vetting someone” but could you at least try to hide it more in the future cause it really reads poorly to a lot of people right now?

*******UPDATE********

More information has come out from, SAIC Chairman of the Board, Cary D. McMillanhas (who is also on the McDonald’s board) who by telephone from vacation in Italy told the Chicago Tribune that Walter Massey is a interim President brought on to release pressure from Elissa Tenny, who has been appointed to the newly created position of SAIC provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.

By end of the first semester, we’ll probably have a good idea of what direction we want to go, and probably begin a search some time after that. We didn’t want to be feeling that we were rushed to hire someone, and Walter is just such a great guy

Nowhere in the press release that the School issued is the term Interim even mentioned or hinted at. I am sure Dr. Massey is a great person, wonderful guy and might via his connections or mere presence help others feel more free to make the changes or growth they need but no one thought to mention that in the press release? That the Chairman needs to clarify while on vacation in Italy 7 hours ahead of Chicago for the Tribune’s late night post; the fact this in actuality an interim position?

More can be read at the Tribune’s Article here




Ryan Trecartin Speaks at SAIC and Screens at Conversations at the Edge

April 14, 2010 · Print This Article

Still from Sibling Topics (Section A) (Ryan Trecartin, 2009). Courtesy the artist and Elizabeth Dee Gallery.

Lots of Ryan Trecartin action happening ’round these parts tonight and tomorrow night. First up, Trecartin’s artist’s talk at the School of the Art Institute on Wednesday (tonight). The following Thursday night at 6pm SAIC’s Conversations at the Edge series screens two pieces from Trecartin’s latest project, Trill-ogy Comp (2009-10): Sibling Topics (Section A) (2009) and P.opular S.ky (section ish) (2009). Trecartin will introduce the films that will be screened. Full details on both events below:

Ryan Trecartin – Visiting Artists Lecture

Wednesday, April 14, 6:00 p.m. – Artist Talk (FREE admission)
SAIC Columbus Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Dr.

“Both in form and in function, Ryan Trecartin’s video practice advances understandings of post-millennial technology, narrative, and identity, while also propelling these matters as expressive mediums. His work depicts worlds where consumer culture and interactive systems are amplified to absurd or nihilistic proportions and characters circuitously strive to find agency and meaning in their lives. The combination of assaultive, nearly impenetrable avant-garde logics and equally outlandish virtuoso uses of color, form, drama, and montage produces a sublime, stream-of-consciousness effect that feels bewilderingly true to life” (Kevin McGarry).

Ryan Trecartin is the recipient of the first Jack Wolgin Prize in the Fine Arts (2009), presented by Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. He has had solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, among others. Organized by the Visiting Artists Program and Conversations at the Edge, in this special two-evening presentation, Trecartin will present selections from his newest body of work, Trill-ogy Comp (2009-10): K-Corea INC. K (Section A), Sibling Topics (Section A), and P.opular S.ky (section ish).

Screening admission $10 general public, $7 students, $5 members, $4 Art Institute of Chicago staff and SAIC faculty, staff, and students. Advance tickets available at GSFC box office or via Ticketmaster.

Ryan Trecartin: Conversations at the Edge

Thursday, April 15, 6:00 p.m. – Screening
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.

This evening, as part of a special two-part presentation organized by the Visiting Artists Program and Conversations at the Edge, Trecartin will introduce two pieces from his latest project, Trill-ogy Comp (2009-10): Sibling Topics (Section A) (2009) and P.opular S.ky (section ish) (2009). Ryan Trecartin, 2009, USA, HDCAM video, ca. 90 min.

CATE is organized by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Film, Video, and New Media in collaboration with the Gene Siskel Film Center and the Video Data Bank.

Programs take place Thursdays at 6pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State / Chicago, IL / 312-846-2600), unless otherwise noted.