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.
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!
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.
“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.”
It 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?
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
Tomorrow afternoon (Thursday March 11th), our own Duncan MacKenzie and Richard Holland will moderate a roundtable discussion at the Chicago Comics Symposium, hosted by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). The evening’s events start at 4:30 pm and go on ’till 7:00. The event is FREE and is located in the SAIC Ballroom at 112 S. Michigan Ave. But wait, there’s more! This is a two-day symposium exploring Chicago’s place in the comic book scene so there’s another round of events taking place on Friday March 12th, also from 4:30-7pm.
Full information can be found below. It’s free, it’s (mostly) in the evening, so nothing should stop you from going on over and soaking it all in!
The stubborn work ethic of Chicago’s comic scene will be explored in the first ever Chicago Comics Symposium, hosted by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) on March 11th and 12th 2010. Through panel discussions with over fifteen local comic makers, the Symposium will investigate the city’s influence on the comic making process, tackling the sad, serious, and silly topics that reign supreme in the realm of sequential art. All events are free and open to the public.
CCS will be comprised of four separate panel discussions with multiple artists on each and will be moderated by some of Chicago’s greatest thinkers, critics and (of course) readers of comics. The questions posed to the Windy City makers will address many issues including: the tasks of self-publication, the changing cultural status of comics and the difficulty of representing identity. The queries will oscillate between common knowledge and the complexity of the nitty-gritty details, giving equal enjoyment opportunity to new readers as well as true-blue comic connoisseurs.
Comics are infiltrating movie-theaters and chain book stores, sustaining independent comic shops and edging their way into academia. Comics are made any and every where, but Chicago has a distinct community of hard working doers, makers and shakers. The event will attempt to unite and uncover the inner workings of Chicago’s comics.
Attracting artists who currently live and work in the city, as well as former Chicago residents, the Symposium will bring together the old, new, big and small. Attendees include: Sarah Becan, Jeffrey Brown, Christa Donner, Surabhi Ghosh, Beth Hetland, Nicole Hollander, Paul Hornschemeier, Joey Jacks, Lucy Knisley, Ian McDuffie, Bernie McGovern, Anders Nilsen, Laura Park, John Porcellino, and Jeremy Tinder.
The Chicago Comics Symposium
Hosted by The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Thursday-Friday, March 11-12, 4:30-7pm
SAIC Ballroom, 112 S. Michigan Ave.