This week on the Podcast! BAS goes west coast! We talk to Adriana Salazar and John Spiak, director and chief curator of the Grand Central Art Center, which has an exhibition of Adriana’s work up currently. Also, we talk to Sabina Ott about The Terrain Exhibitions Biennial which just happened. Plan your life around seeing us at EXPO!!! You know you want to.
Edition no. 17 kicked everything off last week with a reminder a) that fall is here and b) an account of fall’s gallery opening festivities:
It’s official, Chicago artists are back from their residencies and vision quests and it is time for the fall gallery season. Inaugurated this weekend with about a million openings from River North to the ‘burbs and back again, we’re still reeling.
On the subject of filmic experience, Jesse Malmed discusses durational works, specifically that of James Benning, with a later dash of Empire:
James Benning‘s Nightfall is a curious piece. His works are often challenging structurally, but saying the logic of this one is simple is like saying the simple logic of this is one. We watch the trees and they are still. We watch the light and it changes slowly. It would change more slowly, but the camera is doing what it can to keep up. Fauna haunts the aural space and I thought I even heard what sounded like human sounds. Mostly I floated in and out of the cinematic space (the seats, the people around me, my thirst, someone else quenching theirs, the size of the rectangle, the quality of this light) the represented space (the trees are so beautiful, there are fourteen main trees, there are an additional dozen supporting trees, the light coming through the branches looks like someone I know, the light through these branches looks like a stranger) and the space between (could I sit on the stump I’m imagining for this long?, when was the last time I spent this long seated with my head facing one direction?, when was the last time I spent this long seated with my head facing one direction outside?, how much better must this be to be there instead of here?, how has the concept of nature become so abstracted from [my own, at least] daily life?, what is that phrase about seeing forests and trees?, is this based on that?).
I posted an interview with Elizabeth Tully about the upcoming Fountain Art Fair, coming o so soon to a Chicago near you. In describing its origins, she says:
“Fountain was started in 2006 as a platform for three galleries (Capla Kesting Fine Art, McCaig Welles Gallery and Front Room Gallery) to access collectors, curators and critics during the New York Armory weekend. We have grown to represent over 100 international galleries, artists and collectives. Our model is “alternative” because we give free-reign to our exhibitors, and are not exclusive to just galleries, or just independent artists. Our mission is for people to come to Fountain and connect with whats happening inside through installations and performances that engage visitors and push boundaries. Of course, people want to sell art, and they do. But the overall vibe is one of community and goodwill as opposed to commercial frenzy.”
Duncan MacKenzie gave a shout out to one of our own this week, as Tom Sanford’s show just opened in NYC:
Something we don’t do enough of here at Bad at Sports is trumpet the successes of our various contributors. It sort of happens piece meal, sometimes, but considering that the project is and always will be an artist run type thing – our collaborators are more then just the deep thinkers, aesthetes, and vulgarians you know them to be! Such is the case with our Tom Sanford and his new show at Kravets|Wehby in NYC.
Adventures in Union Square courtesy of SF resident, Jeffrey Songco:
Regardless of the weather, which is never a topic of conversation in SF until this very month, it was a delight to see paintings by Pamela Wilson-Ryckman in an exhibition titled GPS. From the exhibition statement: “Precise knowledge of location gives one the illusion of control but knowing exactly where you are doesn’t necessarily mean you are in a good place. Rather than location it is often the experience of place that matters. How much information does one need to reconstruct a memory or sense of place? The answer is – not that much, imagination fills the gap”. I was most interested in Geppetto’s Jacket (2013) and it’s glaring painterly techniques, creating so much dimension of space for that “imagination”.
The third Minnesota Biennial opened at The Soap Factory this last weekend and Eric Asboe writes about it, and each work is a butterfly:
The flashiest, brightest butterflies do not need to fly past us to catch our attention. They overwhelm all of our senses. The Basketball Team‘s Sgt. Moore wafts the smell of whiskey throughout the gallery. The looping, Reichian patterns of Nate Young‘sUntitled (Soul Clap no. 1) echo in the silence of the distant companion video Untitled (Soul Clap no. 2). The shuttering of the 16mm projector pulls us into Stefanie Motta‘sSeeing. The drone of the prepared keyboard inside 7-Sided Room with Painted Floorby Andrew Mazorol and Tynan Kerr permeates the galleries and intensifies the rarefied air inside the room.
Dispatch from Brighton, UK this week, where Mark Sheerin talks (social) networks, contemporary art, and Artstack.com:
Art needs networks, and the 20th century testifies to that. There could never have been a lone fauvist, a solitary cubist, an isolated futurist, etc, etc. The avant garde loves company, and, without it, could never have made the great strides which came along with modernity. Now we live in a different landscape. Cafes have become corporate part-time creches and third place venues for business meetings. Cigarettes and pipes, both intellectual props, are banned. And just try paying for your triple shot latte with a sketch, it can’t be done. The avant garde have been in retreat everywhere for decades now. So it is good news to have some networking technology which might serve as a focal point for new visual ideas.
Shane McAdams boldly begins with a nod to Kevin Costner’s performance in Field of Dreams as he goes on to describe the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts and the “two moving and exceedingly complementary exhibitions” it contains by Novie Tremp and Hap Tivey:
In Fond du Lac last week the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts opened to the public. A hybrid of contemporary architecture and a Masonic temple that had previously housed the Windhover Art Center, the Sadoff Center is an impressive specimen: granite topped bars; a spacious terrace for live music; two large and gloriously lit art galleries, classrooms, workshops and a hall for lectures and performances. It’s a cultural diamond in the heart of a pragmatic industrial town – an only slightly less quixotic enterprise than trying to lure the ghost of shoeless Joe Jackson out of a cornfield.
Terri Griffith talks MOOCS! (and how they affect the world of contemporary art):
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are the future of education. I feel as certain of this as I am certain that one day cars will fly and that ironing will become obsolete. There’s a Ted Talk with the co-founder of Coursera Daphne Koller and an episode of Charlie Rose with the CEO of EdEx Anant Agarwal that addresses this new way of teaching and learning. To summarize Agarwal on Charlie Rose, the thing that is fundamentally different about MOOCs versus the way traditional college works is that with traditional college all of the gatekeeping is at the front end. You have to apply. You have to be accepted. You have to have tuition. Sometimes you need to have prerequisites or test into the courses you want. With MOOCs it is different, at least for now. The gatekeeping occurs at the backend. Anyone can register for a course, but not everyone will finish. And for those who do, there is often the option of a certificate. With some courses there is even the option of credit…for a fee. This allows all kinds of learners to participate in a course. For example, some might only be interested in part of the course’s curriculum. That student can participate in just that portion of the lectures, readings, and discussion, and ignore the rest. Of course, they will not receive a certificate, but then again, So what? Others might successfully complete all of the assignments for the entire sequence and receive a certificate. Both students got what they wanted from the course, but they dictated their level of involvement, not the instructor or the institution.
Speaking of the future:
An interview with Melbourn-based artist Amy Spiers — we talk online dating, social practice and plans to remove the Sydney Harbor Bridge in an upcoming, collaborative work “Nothing To See Here.” Amy Spiers is a Melbourne-based artist and writer interested in socially engaged and participatory art. She employs a cross-disciplinary approach that includes photography, video, installation, text and performance for both site-specific and gallery contexts. Amy completed a Master of Fine Art at the Victorian College of Art in 2011. During her studies she explored strategies for inviting viewer participation in her art. Listen to our convo here.
Wendy Lee Spacek submits the last segment of her summer series of Indianapolis adventures focusing, this time, on what fall has in store:
A guest post from Daniel Baird came in this week, by way of Chicago Artist Writers. Baird writes about the Field Museum’s exhibit Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux, exploring the implications of the replicas its contains and their relationship to virtual space:
This possibility of representing the cave structure in virtual space results in a new consideration of aura. In becoming virtual, the caves are now equated with any digital model of any object and as a result now exist in historical ambiguity. A digital spoon, table, asteroid, CAT Scan, height-field map of a farm in Nebraska or the Lascaux Caves all share the potential to exist simultaneously with one another, and at any scale, in the digital terrain. The digital caves are now a pseudo-artifact that share a likeness with the function of the souvenir. The 3D model of the cave presents the possibility for an acute historical analysis of the markings on its surface by way of mimicking the lighting conditions, zooming into the surfaces and experiencing time inside of the virtual models. It also allows for them to be placed in any virtual situation as object, container or reference.
For anyone seeking fortune, endless opportunities are all here.
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On the podcast this week, Bad at Sports celebrates 8 years, wrapping up the latest season with the Artist as Arbiter panel from CAA 2013. Featuring moderators: Duncan Mackenzie and Shannon R. Stratton, along with panelists: Anthea Black, Laurie Beth Clark & Michael Peterson, E. G. Crichton, Reni Gower, and Philip Von Zweck. That’s all right here.
The week began with a great essay by Robert Burnier on the subject of bodies in space, beginning with minimalism, reflecting on Hesse, Samantha Bittman and more as a way to reflect on Burnier’s own artistic practice:
As I was walking through the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago not long ago, I noticed a late Donald Judd, Untitled, 1989, on view. A wall-mounted, boxy, red and black sculpture, vacillating between image and object, I found myself walking around it, going from side to side, taking it apart in my mind. Despite its seeming simplicity, the work drew me deeper into the implications of its facture. From a slight distance, it looks virtually immaculate – by the standard of most artistic mark making, it is. Of course this was typical of minimalist work from this artist and others of the 1960s. The shapes have a certain predictability verging on total blandness, like a Steelcase office desk. One reads about the importance of the gestalt of this experience from artists like Robert Morris, which he believed lead to a more holistic, unified apprehension of the object. “Unitary forms do not reduce relationships,” he says. “Rather, they are bound more cohesively and indivisibly together.” On the one hand, the rectangles empty out the object, being everything and nothing, though they might lead to some kind of mathematical spiritual reverie. Yet on the other, in this particular work by Judd, we can perceive a distance from aspirations toward a unified experience in a few ways. Looking closer at the surface – the fasteners, the corners, the paint – I feel a certain fascination for its proximity to, and utter failure to join, that virtual phantom world of forms. The “resemblance” to an imagined perfection makes the distance from this realm seem all the greater.
I always think of San Francisco as a place built on idealistic fancy. With its identity still fixed to the 60s, combined with the more recent influence of dotcom entrepreneurs make it a specific site with a specific history. But also, it is simply as far west as one can get before crossing a sea. News from San Francisco via Jeffrey Songco who walks and talks the Mission neighborhood, covering a variety of exhibits currently on view:
Sprinkled throughout this urban grid are several art venues. From private galleries to non-profit spaces, the Mission is an eclectic mix as diverse as its inhabitants. The tech folk have yet to share and indulge their economic prosperity with the artistic community of the Mission, but eventually some kind of connection will be made. Until then, these art venues continue to produce and shape an active voice in the shape of San Francisco’s cultural identity albeit in the shadow of technology’s spotlight.
Meredith Kooi continues to post on performative movement from her Atlanta roost, thinking this time about Utopia:
This July, I participated in the gloATL Summer Intensive. gloATL is an Atlanta-based dance company that creates physical installations for the public. During the Intensive, there were six of these installations that focused on the concept of utopia for a series of “utopia stations” that was part of its series Liquid Culture: a collection of gestures and sensations from an asphalt perspective that had occurred during the summer for the past few years; this summer was the last of these installations. Lauri Stallings, the choreographer and founder of gloATL, considers these performances installations – physical and public installations; the series is described as “physical installations [that] are unveiled as public utopia stations for arriving, leaving, and staying for awhile.” 
Thomas Friel writes about his experience at ACRE this week, also in reference to Utopia:
Utopia as a reality is impossible to sustain, as human drama will eventually overcome and surmount a perfect existence. Some asshole always finds a way to get his agenda to the top of our concerns. Instead, what may be proposed here is a part time utopia: a form that allows a brief exposure to a utopian system in a format that seems possible. Likewise, the temporal nature of the system actually allows it to thrive, as human nature never gets the chance to ruin it. Able to geographically remove ourselves from city life we could fit within a more fulfilling life in this part time utopia; a utopian model which recognizes the inevitable failure of utopias. In the span of a two week residency, utopia can exist. We started to get it. Hammering it home was Ukiah, a six person artist collective from the Bay Area, who leave their day jobs once a week to build a cabin out of fallen timbers and mud on a ranch property. What does it mean to have a part time or temporary utopia in the context of art? Does this mimic how art is often made, in spurts of spare time, extracted from the pressures of the real world? Could a model of a part time utopia be sustained on a personal level? Is the idea of utopia important to the creation of art? Is its manifestation proof that art can create social change, or merely a distraction from art making? Do you really want to live forever? Alphaville lyrics reprinted without permission?
The podcast this week features Amanda Browder (of the Amanda Browder show) chattings with artist/ curators Keri Oldham and Jacob Rhodes, founders of the artist run space Field Projects in Chelsea, NYC. They talk about artists as curators, the current gallery system and different ways these two have worked to make Field Projects a space for innovation. Next, Max and Hank do the shortest interview in the history of the show at Chicago Comic Con. Lastly, Bad at Sports remembers Eydie Gorme.
What’s the T? Edition #15 courtesy of Dana Bassett talks Medium Cool, Rosemont Outlet Mall art opening, and print plans for EXPO. All that and much, much more here.
I reposted an essay by Dylan Trigg about ghosts:
Today, there is a danger that the theoretical treatment of hauntology has become academically and culturally canonised, and therefore rendered sterile. Indeed, increasingly the term is marked less by a critical interrogation of the past and more with an uncritical if not sentimental affirmation of a certain type of obsolete culture and sensibility that has its roots in 1970s British and to a lesser extent North American media. Into this framework, the category of the ghost has assumed a significant role. But only now, the presence of the ghost plays a metaphorical role, not as an actual spectre of the undead, but as a device that enables the voice of the overlooked past to finally be heard. It is an aesthetic of liberation, therefore, aligned with an admirable political orientation, but which is less at the service of the ghost itself and more the voice the ghost speaks through.
Tyler Green initiated A Day for Detroit on Wednesday where we teamed up with over twenty other blogs across the country and posted a series of works from the DIA’s permanent collection, including Joyce Scott, Max Kaus, David Barr, Brenda Goodman, Eduard Duval-Carrié, A Man’s Shirt, Mary Bendolph, Charles McGee, Heather McGill, and Martin Lewis. The project (including a list of participating blogs) was covered by the LA Times here.
Shane McAdams went to the Poor Farm this week and ruminates on his experience there while reflecting on upcoming shows in Wisconsin:
I finally found the time to drive two-and-a-half hours north to the tiny town of Little Wolf to see, indeed, experience, The Poor Farm, the experimental exhibition project imagined by Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam…It’s difficult to appraise the individual exhibitions at the Poor Farm independently from the raw charm of the space itself. Though there is a clear demarcation between exhibitions, theFarm’s ambient personality unifies the experience. One of my favorite pieces on view is a painting by John Riepenhoff in gallery 5 on the second floor; another is a nearby wall in gallery 3 whose stratified paint layers happen to be artfully flaking away.
“In the air I can already feel the lateness of things, the way Autumn is waiting at the back of this month.” Helen McClory,
This week on the podcast, we discuss David Linneweh’s podcast Studio Break and his kickstarter campaign “Remembering Place.” Linneweh has been described as one who paints “unpeopled, architectural landscapes always carefully rendered on bare wood supports. Sometimes the buildings are taken apart and reassembled – fractured almost beyond recognition. Other landscapes are left incomplete with empty spaces that demand completion in viewers’ minds. What could this mean in early 21st century America?” Listen to it all here.
Monday began with Jeriah Hildwine’s reflection on critical framework:
Metaphorically, then, the frame can serve more as an unconscious bias, changing an image indirectly, by the context of its presence, and without the viewer’s conscious awareness. When you see something in a given frame, that frame alters what you are seeing, but does do without your knowledge or consent. It takes alertness and training to become aware of the influence of the frame, and even with this awareness, its influence may not be negated. To return to the initial example, seeing something in a Modernist frame may mean unconsciously minimizing the political, activist, Conceptual, gendered, or other meanings of a work, and perhaps emphasizing the rapturous and sublime, along with overt formal analysis which is the ostensible goal of this frame. If the intention is to directly change the meaning of the subject, then the frame may be the wrong metaphor; perhaps a lens is intended instead.
Word from Indianapolis this week comes with love from Wendy Lee Spacek. Spacek describes a series of events and art shows that she attended this month, including 4th of July fireworks, Ai Wei Wei’s traveling exhibit at the Indianapolis Art Museum, an installation at 100 Acres Park at the IMA called Flock of Signs by Kim Beck, a studio visit and much much more:
Later in the month I was lucky to be able to visit the studio of one of my favorite Indianapolis artists Kyle Herrington. Kyle has several shows coming up in September, so there was plenty of new work to see. One show is called Backyard Phenomenaand chronicles Herrington’s struggle with being thrust into new found adulthood, which culminated in him turning thirty and buying a house. His anxieties about something catastrophic happening to his house has translated into sculptural pieces as well as paintings. We talked for quite a long time. I admire Kyle’s commitment to making everysingleideathathehas. I think it is what has allowed him to make such a large body of work with what I see as having very consistent and complete conceptual ideas in relatively short time frame (just one year). Kyle’s work makes reference to sci-fi logic, modern obsessions with the apocalypse and celebrity and mashes them altogether into a funny, but kind of scary reality.
My favorite dreams these days are the ones closer to life, the walks down familiar streets, the supermarket with fluorescent lights. In the morning, they are clearly dreams too, but I wake to contemplation instead of surprise or relief. Those closer to life dreams linger in my brain longer, maybe because they are easier to remember, maybe because they blur the line between my waking and dreaming lives. The flashier dreams make more of an immediate impact, but the normal dreams burn much longer and slower.
Flags are meant to be visible and memorable, to represent some message, some place, someone. The artists in Flag Show use flags to call attention to the reality and complexity of waking life. Adam Setala’s I Promise To Not Kill You layers visual and textual cues to confuse who is safe from whom. Brian Walbergh’s White Flag for Misplaced Teenage Angst #1 and #2 carry the weight of personal and societal histories in their visibly heavy denim. Lea Devon Sorrentino questions the differences between long-distance and digital communication with #Semaphore.
Heralding from Brighton, UK, art writer Mark Sheerin posts about a group show in Reykjavik:
It is more than 1,000 miles from Luton, England, to Reykjavik, Iceland. But Dominic from the UK town appears to love a good caper. Why else would he put together a group show on very little money in one of the most far flung and expensive cities in Europe?
“It was done on a wing and a prayer,” he tells me on the phone from his Luton studio. “The art was just really, really ambitious considering we didn’t have much money to play with. It’s amazing what you can do with a cardboard tube and a delivery van.”
Five artists took part. And the show has just run for a month at gallery Kling & Bang. Along with Dominic, the full bill included Gavin Turk, Mark Titchner, Laura White and Peter Lamb. The show went by the name London Utd. “It’s kind of doing what it says on the tin,” says Dominic, whose eponymous town is just a twenty minute train ride from the UK capital.
Terri Griffith posted a little something on the Illinois Railway Museum:
Good public transit is the hallmark of a civilized city. One of the things I love most about Chicago is the train system. Both the Chicago Transit Authority’s “L” and the Regional Transportation Authority’s Metra are fantastic examples of how efficiently people can be transported from hither to yon. You can, if you wish, take this with a grain of salt seeing as I hail from the Pacific Northwest where public transportation is craptastic, save for the stellar ferry system. But it’s more than just getting to work or the grocery store that makes me loves these trains—it’s the history. Most people would find it impossible to conjure an image of Chicago without also envisioning the elevated train line that rings our downtown. This is why last weekend, my friends and I headed to Union, Illinois to visit the Illinois Railway Museum.
The week closed out with Saturday’s Endless Opportunities.