Laini Nemett
ICA Baltimore at Platform Gallery
Tell it Slant
September 12, 2014 – Baltimore
Laini Nemett. Queensboro Seine. 82 x 61 inches. Oil on canvas
Abigail Parrish
Forever reinterpreted and re-purposed, a given place finds its relevance in the experience of being or getting there. Nemett’s work responds to the lived, remembered, and imagined histories that have become the anecdotal anchors of aged buildings, and the possibilities of what (and who) might enter the skeletons of new constructions. Based off of her own cardboard models and related drawings, her paintings piece together fragments of place, and the incongruous ways we arrive at our destinations. At a slant.
Platform Gallery in collaboration with The Institute for Contemporary Art Baltimore (ICA) proudly presents Tell it Slant, Laini Nemett’s new solo exhibition, opening on September 12th at Platform Gallery, located on 116 West Mulberry Street, Baltimore, Maryland. This is the fourth show of Platform, a new gallery, which functions as a commercial gallery posed between two areas of Baltimore: Mount Vernon/Cathedral Hill and Lexington Market. Collaborating with ICA works in alignment with Platform’s mission to serve various communities and organizations in Baltimore and further showcase important emerging artists such as in Laini Nemett. Furthermore, the space, opened to a local audience of Baltimore’s diverse demographics, functions to responsibly engage with all cultures, genders, classes, and races of Baltimore and the surrounding spaces. Platform Gallery is hosted on the first floor of Platform Arts Center (PAC), which provides studio spaces for young artists. Platform Gallery and PAC both share a fundamental goal: to strengthen the relationships between the neighbors and artists who are in the building and/or showing in the building.
a r t + c r u s h with works by Xinyi Cheng, Ben Degen, Louis Fratino, and David Humphrey. Curated and hosted by Platform Gallery. August- September 2014. Photo by Nicholas Otto Barton
Platform’s initiative and mission reflects the artistic process of both myself, and Lydia Pettit, co-director and co-founder of Platform Gallery and director of PAC. Personally, art has functioned as a religion for me since a young age. I believed that a religious practice should exist as a selfless, universal entity that brings reason and comfort to whoever believes. Through my undergraduate education at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), I have redirected this belief into the creation of exhibitions as well as a body of paintings. Going into curatorial studies as a studio artist rather than becoming an art historian has certainly humbled my demeanor and affected the way I develop projects. I have learned that exhibitions, programs, and public art hold the responsibility of reflecting on culture, and being accessible to as many individuals as possible.
Similarly to the way Lydia and I think, the concepts behind Platform’s exhibitions are simple and universal. In June we hosted a dual artist show with Jeffrey Kent and Stephen Towns, Tradition and Interpretation, which confronts the idea of repurposing traditions set as a child to create your own paths. Both artists moved to Baltimore, and have thus changed their work due to the cultural atmosphere. Our second show, Starcrossed: The Art of Baltimore Promotion looked into Baltimore’s history of promoting live music and bands, where we exhibited the priceless Globe Letterpress Collection hosted at MICA as well as contemporary poster designers and printmakers. Our recent show, a r t + c r u s h, follows the most universal concept for artists alike: the influence and adoration of another creator that results in a positive reflection on your work. This show explored the different age and cultural facets within the art community: students, graduate students, and established artists. It is important that a passerby from the local Enoch Pratt Library or the Walters may walk by and not recognize the artists – Xinyi Cheng, Ben Degen, Louis Fratino or David Humphrey – but would relate to the idea of having a crush or be attracted to the aesthetic qualities of the work.
Graduating in 2014 with a BFA has resulted in an overriding amount of pressure for most post-graduates including myself. Instead of focusing on new concepts and theories to pursue, a number of my peers are drained with the fear of failure – that not having a full-time, salaried, job with benefits immediately out of college will ruin their lives. If unaddressed, there is a cost to this fear to all of us. This is not the time to focus on the expectations of the past, but rather what the current generation of makers and artists need.
Deciding that she needed a studio to continue her practice as a painter, Lydia Pettit used her savings to buy the row-home at 116 West Mulberry Street to convert into studios for young artists. Her mission for this project was to build studios that are affordable, with the goal of filling the studios before Spring 2014. During this process, Lydia decided that the studios would function not only as a business endeavor, but also a community. Platform Gallery arose from this opportunity and has become a vehicle for artists to grow, and as a mechanism to invite the greater Baltimore communities into more open discussions with the hopes of forging a new, inclusive art scene.
a r t + c r u s h with works by Xinyi Cheng, Ben Degen, Louis Fratino, and David Humphrey. Curated and hosted by Platform Gallery. August- September 2014. Photo by Nicholas Otto Barton
Platform promises to create driving, thought-provoking shows that question the relationship between artist, curator, and community as well as to provide opportunities for Baltimore and regional artists to show their work. Exhibitions span from showcasing emerging artists who are paving their ways into contemporary art world to curated exhibitions that investigate historical art in Baltimore. For the future, Platform hopes to extend beneficial programs involving art and the local community as well as exhibitions that reach out past Baltimore to international locations.
Laini Newmett is a New York based painter that has been a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to paint in Barcelona, Spain, a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant, and has participated in various residencies including the Jentel Artist Residency, UCross Foundation Residency, and the Alfred & Trafford Klots International Residency in Léhon, France. Newmett’s work explores interiors and the idea of home. Platform Arts Center (PAC) and Platform Gallery exist in a building built in the 1830’s that reflects Baltimore’s rich, urban architectural history. So, 116 W Mulberry seemed to be the perfect that reflects location for not only PAC and Platform, but for this particular exhibition, Tell it Slant.
ICA Baltimore is a collaboration of volunteers working to stage contemporary art exhibitions in available spaces in Baltimore. Tell It Slant is the twelfth exhibition by the ICA since 2011.
Platform Gallery is a commercial gallery in Baltimore, which opened in May 2014. Run by women, Platform promises to excite audiences beyond the art community, challenge convention, create new paths, and open its doors to change.
Lydia Pettit is an artist based in Baltimore, Maryland. She attended the Maryland Institute College of Art to attain her BFA in Painting. She opened and now runs Platform Arts Center, an affordable community of studios in Baltimore that hosts Platform Gallery on the first floor.
Abigail Parrish is a curator, painter and arts administrator newly graduated from MICA in 2014 with a BFA in Painting and a Concentration in Art History and Curatorial Studies.


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 9/10/14 08:54:21 PM

Gloria J. Browne-Marshall
67th Festival De Cannes
For Leidi: My Journey to Cannes
May 24th 2014 – Cannes Film Festival
67th Festival de Cannes, May 24th 2014: Gloria J. Browne-Marshall interviews the director of “Leidi”, Simon Mesa Soto, about the universality of the film’s story. Ms. Browne-Marshall is seen and heard introducing Artist Organized Art and The Amsterdam News within the conference. She is the only journalist granted an interview at the press conference for Best Short Film.
For Leidi: My Journey to Cannes
Gloria J. Browne-Marshall
June 9th 2014
Gloria J. Browne-Marshall on the 67th Cannes Film Festival
Staying out of prison. That’s my response to those who wonder why I push myself, unmercifully. Keeping busy takes my mind off injustice. So, for now, that’s why I am in France. No sleep, torrential rain, trying to remember when to shift gears in my rented Renault. Terrified, this time I may have pushed too hard. Clutch.Gas.Brake. But, I refuse to end up a tragic tourist story crashed on the side of a French highway. “Focus on my goals,” I chide myself. “Not my problems.” My goal is to attend the 67th Cannes Film Festival.
I am a writer – one of 4,300 members of the media converging on Cannes for its Festival de Film. As I maneuver over a flooded highway, my refusal to buy extra rental car insurance seems masochistic. My cramped cold Delta Airlines flight from JFK airport to Nice has left me jet-lagged with only four hectic days to do Cannes. As trucks pull roadside surrendering to the weather, I repeat the words of the college boy-friend who taught me how to use a stick-shift on my rusty green Volkswagen Beetle. Clutch.Gas.Brake.
Since no one at Enterprise Car rental told me about needing change for a toll booth, I must back out of a toll stall restricted to trucks. Living in New York City has made me indifferent to the curses and angry hand gestures from truck drivers as I back out of the tollbooth. This 12-day Festival opened on May 14. I am late, as usual. Although I have been following France24 cable television news and internet live-streams of Cannes press conferences, no broadcast is the same as being there. And, I want to be there.
This year the Festival de Cannes is led by director Jane Campion, the first woman to preside over the Cannes jury, those selected to judge the films. In April, I watched her being introduced on the Festival’s internet channel. Campion, originally from New Zealand, won the Palme d’Or in 1993 for her film “The Piano,” a haunting story about a lonely man and his mute mail-order bride, and her daughter, who bring a piano into his rough and isolated world. Campion won an Oscar for Best Screenplay for that film.
I’m not really obsessed with celebrities or seeking star dust. I write about what I see. I am curious about the world, generally, and this celebration of all filmmaking, in particular. I have reviewed Broadway shows and movies. I write about social justice, law, and politics, as well as theater and film. Although I still cannot clearly articulate what possessed me to seek out Cannes, I feel the need to be here.
My French tutor assured me everyone would speak English. Fortunately, I did not believe him. My French is only workable even after years of classes. Upon entering the village of Cannes, where winding streets, miniature cars zipping around me, and a spotty GPS have me hopelessly lost, I decide to park. It’s the Boulevard Carnot, a main street with shops, pastel painted three story office buildings, apartments, and fruit stands, where I encounter Jose Furtado Lopes.
Jose is built small, with intensely sad brown eyes. I will find out he is a car mechanic, who grew up in Marseille, with parents from Cape Verde. A surprisingly large number of African-French reside in communities surrounding the exclusive village of Cannes. It is about 2pm. Jose understands enough of my version of French to assist me with directions that I cannot comprehend. But, with hand signals indicating he would not kill me, Jose jumps in my front seat and leads me, without incident, to my hotel, in the residential community of Le Cannet.
My hotel room, clean and safe, is definitely a three-star. It is designed with fuchsia shag carpet and silver lacquered furniture. But, an exceptionally guest-friendly front desk wins me over. After thanking Jose profusely, he disappears. I freshen up, changing into my go-to color: black. Frayed nerves will keep my rental car parked until I leave for the airport.
A public bus serves as my limo to the red carpet. As it descends into Ville de Cannes, I fear for nonchalant tourists drifting into pastry shops, hair salons, and pizza restaurants on either side of this narrow cobble-stone street. With my Henri Bendeltote bag weighed down by a handbag, documents, note pads, pens, business cards, snacks, make-up, and all other necessary detritus, I emerge from the bus into a swarm of tuxedoed beggars holding signs requesting theater tickets, weary filmmakers, movie fans, tourists snapping photos, and jean-clad journalists.
An image of the late Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, taken from his role in Federico Fellini’s Palme d’Or winning film “8 1/2,” is the official poster, 50 ft. high, on the side of a theatre. He looks down playfully on the hordes strolling the Boulevard de la Croisette. They are taking photos of the tuxedo-clad paparazzi, bunched ten deep along the blazing red carpet, waiting hours for stars like Uma Thurman, Sophia Loren, and Quentin Tarantino to walk the red carpet and up the stairs to the Grand Theatre Lumiere.
Hundreds of perfectly coifed theater-goers, and their spectators, flow acrossthe boulevard toward the six theaters where films in competition for the Palme d’Or are being viewed. Metal dividers pen fans from the objects of their desire. Driving is nearly impossible in this constant stream of people.
Then, I see Jose in the crowd. Security is tight. Although he has changed clothes, my press credentials will not get him into the theater. Feeling guilty, I treat him to a late lunch. But, my mind is on the clock. After several attempts, my jumbled French hopefully explains that I am a correspondent covering the Festival, and not a tourist. Therefore, he cannot accompany me.
As Jose is absorbed back into the swirling crowd, I enter the glass doors beneath the massive poster of Marcello Mastroianni. Security guards, sharply dressed in matching tan-colored suits, look me over, check my bags, and wave a metal detecting wand in search of hidden cameras. Then, I am directed downstairs to receive my official press badge, materials, and film listing.
Within minutes, I’m seated on the front row, in plush red seats, watching a visual masterpiece ‘Color of the Pomegranate’ (Sayat Nova) by Sergei Parajanov (1968). I have ascended into Cannes. But, why? My reasons for seeking out Cannes still elude me.
Next morning, I’m up early, having slept surprisingly well. France is six hours ahead of New York. No breakfast. No time. On the bus, checking my list of films for the day, I circle everything and have access to little. Behind the Festival, yachts are docked side-to-side, bobbing on the Mediterranean Sea, the color of London blue topaz. But, that view will be there when the Festival is over.
With tickets, or invitations, scarce, positive rumors about a film mean disappointment for late-comers like me. Films such as “Mommy,” directed by 25 year-old Canadian Xavier Dolan and “Leviathan,” by Andrey Zvyagintsev or “Sils Maria” by Olivier Assayas, and Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut “Lost River,” are nearly impossible to see today.
So, I select short films (Courts Metrages). Arriving an hour early, I get first place in line. It is in the dark of the Salle du Soixantieme that I experience “Leidi” directed by Simon Mesa Soto, of Columbia. Leidi, pronounced ‘lady’ is an impoverished teen mother sent to the store to buy plantains, but won’t return home until she finds the father of her child. In Spanish, with subtitles, Leidi’s story is that of teen mothers – worldwide. Girls who gave their bodies to boys for fleeting love only to have his baby and begin a life-long search to get him back.
I was not a teen mother. But, Leidi’s story is churning something up inside my spirit. Simon Mesa Soto has brilliantly captured her longing and loss of freedom. This 16 minute film is somehow connected to why I spent so much time, money, and energy, travelling to Cannes. After I leave the theatre, standing on a balcony, under a bright blue sky, with a Mediterranean breeze blowing my list of films, Leidi stays with me.
Luckily, I am able to see “Jimmy’s Hall,” directed by Ken Loach, who is called the statesman of political cinema. Activist Jimmy Gralton is deported from Ireland for operating a nonreligious school for unemployed youth in an anti-communist 1930s Ireland. As a former civil rights attorney, this is my kind of film.
But, outside on the boulevard, speakers blast Michael Jackson’s lyrics, which in turn arouse an even larger crowd of star-watchers. The crowd pulsates with each star preening on that 30 foot wide red carpet of the Palais des Festivals leading up to the Grand Theatre Lumiere. Fortunately, the red carpet does not draw me as much as it does others. My gowns will go unworn, this time. All invitations to those films are gone.
On line at the Salle de Bunuel, I meet a reporter for “‘Time-Out’ Turkey” who predicts the 3 hour-long “Winter Sleep,” directed by Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan, will capture the Palme d’Or. And, it does. I restrain myself from raising Turkey’s political turbulence or expressing my sadness over the miners killed there. I have found most writers for the popular press have little interest in politics. So,  I, uncharacteristically, take selfies and exchange banal chit-chat about the weather.
Finally, I’m into a rhythm. Moving in and out of dark theatres, watching lives revealed on screen, sharing commentary with temporary companions on either side of velvety cushioned seats, such as filmmaker Nkazimbuta Kivoma Gerao (Gerome), from Angola, living in Paris, and Domitille Rivera, a resident of Cannes, originally from Italy.
In the theater, I am transported by Korea’s “The Target” (Pyo Jeok), a violent, but family-themed, martial-arts film about corrupt police, directed by Chang, to the 400 acre estate of John du Pont of “Fox Catcher” about the 1996 shooting of Olympian wrestler Dave Schultz, which earned Michael Bennett, American, the Cannes directing award. From Hungary’s “White God” (“FeherIsten”), by director Kornel Mundruczo, about dogs turning on their masters, winner of the Cannes award Un Certain Regard, to New York City and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” by Ned Benson.
Still Leidi haunts me. Then, in a twist of fate “Leidi” wins the Cannes award for best short film. Moments after the announcement of his award, director Simon Mesa Soto enters our crowded press room. French interpreters introduce him. My hand rose eagerly, I am granted the first, and only, question. Soto’s response to my question on the universality of Leidi’s quest only deepens this uneasiness within my spirit.
It is the story of a little girl, with a lifetime burden, searching for lost love. Soto said, “If I just tell her story, I will tell many things about my country [Columbia]….and Latin America, in general. “Members of the media congratulate me on my question. As I leave the press room, in deep thought, grateful for the experience, Soto’s words linger. I know an answer to my hungriness is in his film.
Awaiting “Lost River,” Ryan Gosling’s richly textured film, I meet Adrian Manzano, a director from New York whose film “Sex Love Salsa” is seeking distribution. His roots are Columbian. For him, “Leidi” represents the poverty used too often to depict life in South America. We commiserate. As an African-American woman, the Black experience is too often shown in terms of pathology absent the complexities of love, valor, and creativity, I know exists.
As the Festival winds down, I am spending my last hours in the sun. Putting my toes in the water, eating beachside, exploring the rather empty Bonnard Museum, but they all strengthen my nerve for an intrepid drive back to the airport. Clutch.Gas.Brake. Compared with the rainstorm that met me, the drive back was less harrowing.
In Manhattan, I find Leidi is still with me.I see her everywhere. She has always been with me. For I have freedom the Leidis of the world may never experience. I travel, break down barriers, and speak truth to power, for her, and so many like her.
For Leidi, I shall remain curious about a world she may never explore, and write about all that I am privileged to see.
Gloria J. Browne-Marshall is an award-winning writer, playwright, and constitutional law professor. “Race, Law, and American Society: 1607 to present” is one of her many books. “She Took Justice: 100 Black Women from Salem Witch Trials to the Civil Rights Movement” is a forthcoming book. Her recently completed stage-play is titled “CLASS.” She traveled to Cannes, France, as a correspondent for Artist Organized Art.
The Short Film Palme d’Or (French: Palme d’Or du court métrage) is the highest prize given to a short film at the Cannes Film Festival. It is chosen by the same jury of the Cinéfondation.
The Cannes International Film Festival (French: Le Festival International du Film de Cannes or just Festival de Cannes), is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is the most prestigious and publicised film festival in the world. The invitation-only festival is held annually (usually in May) at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. The 2014 Cannes Film Festival took place between 14 May – 25 May 2014. New Zealand film director Jane Campion was the President of the Jury.
Press conference selections from the 67th Festival de Cannes, May 24th 2014. This year the jury ruled that the prize is to be shared between the most senior and the youngest directors.


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 6/09/14 02:56:48 PM

Anita Hill: The Woman Who Began a Revolution
Honored By the Sackler Center First Awards
Brooklyn Museum Event
June 5, 2014 – Brooklyn, NY
Anita Hill receiving the 2014 Sackler Center First Award at the Brooklyn Museum. She is being honored on the occasion of a new documentary “ANITA: Speaking Truth to Power” about her historic 1991 Supreme Court testimony recounting the sexual harassment she lived through while working with now Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. It is an enduring look at her life and work in the last 22 years, including still gripping footage from the hearings where she sat in front of a Senate committee of 14 white men with a powerful grace and an unyielding determination that triggered a debate on power, sexism, race and gender equality in the workplace that is still very much alive today. Photos by Erika Knerr
by Yanjanani Leya Kalaya
photographed and edited by Erika Knerr
Anita Hill: The Woman Who Began a Revolution
Honored By the Sackler Center First Awards
On June 5th 2014, I attended the Sackler Center First Awards at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. This year, the center honored Anita F. Hill for her very bold and gutsy act in 1991 when she spoke up about her sexual harassment at the hands of the then Supreme Court Justice appointee Clarence Thomas while she worked for him seven years prior, becoming the very first woman to speak to the issue without being deterred or demotivated by the many disapproving voices and threats to her own person or family. Twenty three years later, the Sackler Center remembers Anita F. Hill as the woman who started a revolution. She spoke truth to power in an America riddled with racial and gender incongruences, and opened doors for women, young and old alike, to do the same when they are sexually harassed in and outside of the workplace.
The eight hours it took to drive to and from Brooklyn New York was nothing compared to the fun filled and motivating night the evening turned out to be. A contagious liveliness and excitement filled the museum from the beginning to the end of the event, and the documentary on Anita Hill directed by Freida Lee Mock reminded all in attendance of Ms. Hill’s courage and selflessness. With nothing to gain and everything to lose, Anita Hill came forward about her sexual harassment and saw it through with so much elegance and poise. The film provided the much needed information about Hill’s testimony in 1991, and also gave a behind the scenes look at her life then and now.
Speeches from the speakers of the night made it an even more worthwhile occasion to be a part of. New York’s First Lady Chirlane McGray, Elizabeth Sackler, and Gloria Steinem were in attendance, and further reminded those present how well-deserved the award was for Anita Hill. Gloria Steinem went on to coin a term for the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – “Injustice Thomas” – soliciting a hearty laugh from the audience that was neither the first nor the last of the night. Simply put, inspiration flowed from every corner of the room and rubbed off on many like me who walked away with a renewed sense of purpose in imagining and creating a better world for women.
From left to right: Elizabeth Sackler, 2013 Sackler Center First Award winner Julie Taymor, 2012 award winner Jessye Norman, this years winner Anita Hill and Gloria Steinem after the ceremony.
Anita Hill’s acceptance speech was nothing but extraordinary. It served as a reminder of the brave, confident, selfless, and elegant woman she was in 1991 and continues to be to date. Although not creative in the sense we are usually accustomed to as artists, her actions in 1991 bear testimony to the most profound form of creativity – she painted the first strokes of women’s empowerment in the workplace on a blank canvas and began a ripple effect that has allowed others to fill the canvas with a vast array of colors and join in the revolution she began. It was, indeed, a night to remember.
In her acceptance speech Anita Hill said, “Some of the problems that we thought were decided long ago still exist and they still dogged our country and they still keep us from reaching full equality. We have to have our voices heard and it’s going to happen differently than it happened in 1991; it’s going to happen differently than the film even. The twitter campaign #YesAllWomen was an amazing event, an amazing statement of women’s voices being heard.”
Anita Faye Hill (born July 30, 1956) is an American attorney and academic, currently a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She became a national figure in 1991 when she accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment while as her supervisor at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Despite Hill’s accusations, Thomas was confirmed and took a seat on the Court. Hill’s testimony focused national attention on the issue of workplace sexual harassment.
Freida Lee Mock is an American filmmaker, director, screenwriter and producer. She is a co-founder of the American Film Foundation with Terry Sanders. Mock is an Academy Award and Emmy Award winning filmmaker with a range of films on the arts and humanities that include MAYA LIN: A STRONG CLEAR VISION (Academy Award Winner); “Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember” and “To Live or Let Die” (Academy Award Nominees); “Lillian Gish: An Actor’s Life For Me” (Primetime Emmy Award); “The Kennedy Center Honors Biographical Films” (Primetime Emmy Award); and numerous film biographies including Irving Thalberg and Steven Spielberg for the Academy Awards, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, Elia Kazan, and others for the Kennedy Center Honors. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the International Documentary Association, the Independent Feature Project, and the Writers Guild of America.
Yanjanani Leya Kalaya is a senior at Smith College, [Alma mater of Gloria Steinem] where she is double majoring in Study of Women and Gender and Comparative Literature. She has completed research work with professor Naomi Miller to develop a course titled “Shakespeare’s Women, Women’s Shakespeare,” which will be offered at Smith College in 2016. In 2013 she interned at UN Women Malawi, in Lilongwe, Malawi, where she was born. She is currently a Praxis grantee interning at New Observations magazine (
Anita Hill and Gloria Steinem, June 5, 2014 at the Brooklyn Museum.


#permalink posted by Erika Knerr: 11:26:55 AM

Alison Knowles At Frieze
New York Art Fair 2014
Interview With James Fuentes
April 20, 2014 – New York City
In front of her silk screen series “The Identical Lunch” at Frieze NY Art Fair 2014, Alison Knowles is a founding member of Fluxus and is represented by New York City dealer James Fuentes. The series is part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, where the artist was commissioned to serve ready-made meals to the public.
Interview By Jessica Higgins
Alison Knowles Is Represented By James Fuentes Gallery At Frieze Art Fair New York 2014
Artist Organized Art has me on assignment to cover Alison Knowles at The Frieze Art Fair on Randall’s Island in New York City. Alison is represented by James Fuentes Gallery. The Gallery has done an exceptional job with Alison’s work. I’m in a position to give and unusual view on this, because of my long and special standing with my Mother’s work as a collaborator and someone who has been in on many minute details behind each of her projects for years, and because of my long appreciation of my sister Hannah Higgins’s work as a Fluxus historian who co-organized with James Fuentes for Frieze NY 2014.
Once at Frieze, I turned the corner and there was The James Fuentes Gallery. The show thoughtfully curated and installed. I watched Alison Knowles (81 going on 21) interact with each work. Passers-by noticed an unusual event when the artist had the nerve to pick an art object, tilted “The Bean Turner”, off the wall and revolve it creating piercing sound from hundreds of beans resonating inside the object.
The following interview reveals something exceptional. It reveals a lack of pre-condition around the culture of this artist and I found this courage to embrace it inspiring. Four works sold within hours.
Jessica Higgins: I wanted to ask you about the origins of your gallery?
James Fuentes: My first gallery was out of Bard College in 1998, I was in SoHo at the time. I rented a store front to live in, I was going to use it as a studio to make films, and it turned out to have been a well known gallery before I moved in. So it instantly democratized my notion of what a gallery should look like, because it was a tiny 300 square feet. But, people kept knocking on the door looking for this gallery, which clearly had an international resonance. So, just to help pay the rent, I decided to put up an exhibition of friends in college. That’s basically when my career began. This is October 1998. I ran the space for a few years and realized that I was incredibly naïve and didn’t really know how to run a business. I then endeavored to curate independent exhibitions, worked for other galleries for several other years and really trained and learned the ropes of running a gallery before I re-entered the fold.
Alison Knowles discusses her journal in the form of a shirt with James Fuentes at Frieze Art Fair Booth C2 2014. Many of the pages come from her journal entries also published in Footnotes, Granary Books, 2000.
JH: You originally were studying film. Did you develop your aesthetic during those studies at Bard College?
JF: Yes. I studied Film and Anthropology at Bard. Seven years ago I opened the current iteration of the gallery and first worked with Alison in 2008 in a group exhibition. Then, in 2011 we staged a solo exhibition on Delancy Street.
JH: So you met Alison in the very beginning.
JF: I met her through Emily Harvey in 1998.
Demonstration of an Alison Knowles Bean Turner, by the artist herself. The Bean Turner is a sculptural object, which functions as a sound maker when lifted and turned. Made of organic paper pulp and hundreds of dried beans, both the paper and the beans can be seen on the outside of the work as well.
JH: How great! Emily was wonderful. She took me on as an artist. She was a great person to have met early on with a great vision around Fluxus.
JF: Emily was one of the people who “gave me the time of day,” right out of school. Yes, definitely! Through Emily, through Jonas Mekas, through a painter who taught at Bard named Amy Sillman, through Bill Stone (William Stone) who’s an artist that I’ve worked with often throughout the years, through these artists many doors started opening for me in the art world and I felt very compelled to continue in this field.
JH: You’re doing a very wonderful job in terms of your vision and it’s a unique vision. Can you define that?
JF: Thank you! I’m earnest and real about everything that I do and for the exhibitions I do I’m fully invested and believe in each one. I think that’s what tends to come across.
Works by Alison Knowles cause strongly relational experiences for art lovers. It is normal to see discussion, dialogue and brainstorming emerge during her openings. James Fuentes Gallery extends that to the Frieze Art Fair New York in 2014 at their Booth C2, devoted exclusively to works by the Fluxus Pioneer.
JH: It does, you have real substance behind your work. In terms of where James Fuentes Fine Art is now and why you chose Alison Knowles for Frieze NY 2014, is there anything that comes to mind?
JF: I think, on a formal level, the decision is quite compelling. Alison said lightly that her work is different from everything else that’s at Frieze NY Art Fair this year. She said “there’s nothing geometrical about this” and I said “Yes!” That makes it extremely distinct and strong. This is a strong point of departure from what we’ve seen in the context of this art fair. Also, I believe the youngest generation of artists that I am seeing come into New York, developing careers and projects, have a tremendous amount to gain and learn from Alison’s history and what she’s still doing today.
I think it’s as good a time as any to feature this work in the biggest and best possible platforms that we can find. In 2011 it was at our gallery. This year it’s at the Frieze New York Art Fair and I’m excited by the way artists, like Alison, opened doors for me when I was right out of school. I’m in a position, now, where I can open doors for Alison with private collections, with Museums that haven’t caught-on to the work yet and even expanding her presence in museums that already have an engagement with the work, like The Walker and The MoMA. It’s super exciting.
JH: You’ve done a very interesting job in how you’ve shown the work here at Frieze. Your use of space shows an understanding of the work. What else would you like to add?
JF: I think the work says it all. It’s very much a situation where this work demands real engagement. Whether it’s through seeing Alison Knowles perform, through seeing and activating a bean turner or by reading a text related to Alison Knowles or to the Something Else Press. These are the things I hope people start to do.
JH: I want to thank you for your wonderful show here!
JF: My Pleasure, yeah!
Alison Knowles (born 1933) in New York City is an American visual artist known for her soundworks, installations, performances, and publications. Knowles was very active in the Fluxus movement, and continues to create work inspired by her Fluxus experience. In the early 1960s, published by Something Else Press, Knowles composed the Notations book of experimental composition with John Cage and Coeurs Volants a print with Marcel Duchamp. She also traveled and performed throughout Europe, Asia and North America. In 1963, Knowles produced one of the earliest book objects, a can of texts and beans called the Bean Rolls. In 1967, Knowles and James Tenney produced the computerized poem The House of Dust. A sound installation for a House of Dust public sculpture was produced by Max Neuhaus. The 1983 book Loose Pages, originally produced in collaboration with Coco Gordon, consisted of pages made for each part of the body. She is represented by James Fuentes Gallery, New York and recently appeared at Frieze NY Art Fair 2014.
James Fuentes, James Fuentes LLC, 55 Delancey Street, New York City, 10002, Phone (212) 577-1201, email:,, Description: Joshua Abelow, Jonathan Allmaier, Lizzi Bougatsos, Brian Degraw, Jessica Dickinson, Berta Fischer, Lonnie Holley, Alison Knowles, John Mcallister, Jonas Mekas, Noam Rappaport, Benjamin Senior, Willam Stone, Daniel Subkoff
Jessica Higgins, American artist, lives and works in New York and Massachusetts. Formative dance studies at Juilliard and Joffrey. Daughter of Fluxus Founders Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles. She has direct experiential knowledge of Fluxus, having early formation in that culture by way of the original members and by participation in historic Fluxus events. She is a regular correspondent for Artist Organized Art and the former Creative Director of ‘Switch’ a local access television series of performance and intermedia out of Western Massachusetts. Her works and performances have exhibited in numerous countries, in museums, and in traditional and online media.
Emily Harvey, founder of Emily Harvey Gallery, 1985, showing Fluxus, concept art, mail art, and performance art. Olga Adorno, Eric Andersen, Ay-o, Brian Buczak, Philip Corner, Jean Dupuy, Henry Flynt, Robert Filliou, Ken Friedman, Albert Fine, Geoffrey Hendricks, Christer Hennix, Dick Higgins, Jessica Higgins, Ray Johnson, Joe Jones, Milan Knizak, Alison Knowles, George Maciunas, Jackson Mac Low, Larry Miller, Alain Arias-Misson, Charlotte Moorman, Nam June Paik, Ben Patterson, Takako Saito, Carolee Schneemann, Joshua Selman, Taketo Shimada, Joao Simoes, Daniel Spoerri, Berty Skuber, Anne Tardos, Ben Vautier, Yoshi Wada, Bob Watts, Emmett Williams, Christian Xatrec, LaMonte Young, Marian Zazeela, and many others exhibited there.


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 4/20/14 03:20:37 PM

New Cultural Waves In SEOUL
Museum Of Modern And Contemporary Art
March 26th 2014 – MMCA in Seoul

한진해운 박스프로젝트, 서 도 호 , <Hanjin Shipping The Box Project: Do Ho Suh>
Home within Home within Home within Home
한국미술 국제적인 시각으로 겨냥한다
시카고 엑시스 국제아트페어 디렉터 권미연 올림
Correspondent, Mi-yeon Kwon, Artist & Executive Director of Prak-sis, March 26th 2014
(translation to english follows)
현대국립미술관 방문은 3년만에 찾은 고국 땅 에서 미술에 대한 깊은 인상을 준 곳으로 서울에 새롭게 지어졌다. 한국 미술문화를 확연히 새로운 경지로 이어줄 곳으로 굉장히 기대되는 이곳은 경복궁부터 인사동 사이의 고급스러운 상업미술관들 사이로 이국적인 자태로 우뚝 서 있다. 현대국립미술관은 내게 엘에이의 게티 미술관이 영상이 되게하였다.이 방문 속 3개의 인상 깊었던 전시들을 필자의 소견으로 짤막이 소개하려 한다. (
첫째로 이미 한국 미술잡지에 소개된 바 있어 페이스북 담벼락에 올려놓았던 서도호 작가의 설치미술 Hanjin Shipping The Box Project : Do Ho Suh 는 굉장히 현대적이면서 또한 전통적인 이미지를 가지고 있다. 이 작품은 현 한국의 30대 후반에서 약 60대 미술 감상가들에게는 가슴으로 와 닫고 공감할 수 있고, 이 연령층보다 더 젊은 층은 교육받은 기술적인 두뇌로부터 시작된 감상이 가슴으로 전이되는 설치미술이 아닐까 하는 소견을 가지게 되었다. 그 이유는 아마도 이 건축물에 대한 경험에서부터 오는 것이 아닐까? 나의 세대만 해도 기와집은 가까운 가족 친지 분들께서 소유하고 계셔서, 그 속을 일년에 몇 번 정기적으로 경험할 수 있었던 세대였다. 하지만 지금 나와 동행해준 막 미대를 졸업하고 취직한 상태인 조카(24)는 기와집에 대한 경험은 박물관 혹은 민속촌이 아니였을까…성적을 위해 암기하던 그 서양건축물들, 영화 속에서 혹은 무대 위에서 보던 그 건축 디자인들, 혹은 유럽여행으로부터의 생생한 이미지들… 이렇듯 눈으로 받아들여지는 이미지가 가슴으로 관람객들에게 전해지고 있었다. 이러한 상상의 나래 속 가장 인상적인 것은 그의 설치물의 단색과 정교함이었다. 반투명하게 비치어내는 소재는 마치 작품을 거둘 때 금방이라도 찢어지지 않을까 하는 걱정도 자아냈다. 이 작품… 왜 그리도 마음에 남을까?

한진해운 박스프로젝트, 서 도 호 , <Hanjin Shipping The Box Project: Do Ho Suh>
Home within Home within Home within Home
두 번째로 제 7 전시실에 설치된 알레프 프로젝트는 굉장히 과학적이면서도 아름다운 설치물이다. 신비스러운 소리가 흘러나오는 설치는 아름다움을 두뇌로 감상하는 듯한 느낌이었다. 과학과 미술의 만남은 항상 쉽지 않다. 그렇기에 감상에 더 많은 시간이 소요되기도 하고, 어떤이는 “왜 이러한 작품이 태어났을까?” 혹은 “이것이 예술인가?” 하는 질문들을 하기도 한다. 하지만 이 작품에서 정교히 만들어진 빛과 소리를 공유하고 즐긴다는 것은 색다른 경험이었다. 한쪽 구석에 의도적으로 형성된 그림자 또한 인상적이다.

알레프 프로젝트, <The Aleph Project by Philip Beesley, Scale Free Network (media lab),
Edwin van der Heide (multi project hall), Hah Tesoc (Mezzanine)>
작품은 비디오 설치미술이다. 한국말 안에서 찾아낸 새로운 가능성을 보여준 현장제작 설치 프로젝트… 한글 자체의 직선적이고 경직된 느낌을 전시 벽 전체를 이용함으로써 새로운 탐색을 시도했다. 타국어와 비교하면 한글의 이미지는 매우 직선적이다. 사실 글자꼴의 아름다움 또는 문장이 가지고 있는 의미보다, 광대하게 스크리닝되는 자체가 오히려 더 관심을 끄는 비디오 설치미술 이었다. 이 문장이 무엇을 말하는 것일까 하는 관심이 가득한 관객이 오히려 설치작업 안 한켠을 장식한다. 그 경직된 글꼴이 오히려 인간의 육체가 만들어 내는 자연스러운 실루엣과 상반의 하모니를 그린다.

현장제작 설치프로젝트: 장영혜 중공업 <Site Specific Art Project: Young-Hae Chang
Heavy Industries Groovin’ to The Beat of The Big Lie>
앞으로 더 많은 도시인의 문화휴식공간으로 서비스될 이곳 단지 4천원으로 많은 것을 관람할수 있어 일반서민들에게 더더욱 기대되는 곳이다.
시카고 엑시스 국제아트페어 디렉터 권미연 올림.
Prak-sis Contemporary Art Association (이하 프락시스)는 2009년 1월에 시카고에서 설립된 다양한 국제 문화를 조화롭게 이해 시키는 것을 목적으로, 공간을 이주하며 역동적인 예술을 육성하는 비영리 예술 단체이다. 수 년간 많은 갤러리, 엑스포, 아트 페어와 협연한 프로젝트들이 있으며 2010년부터 지역사회 조직과의 예술적 소통과 상호이익을 위하여 크고 작은 프로젝트들을 전통미술분야부터 뉴 미디어 아트를 포함하여 실시하고 있다. 동시대의 국제적, 문화적, 세대적 틈을 연결시키며 국제 현대 미술계 속에서 하나의 독립체로 거듭나고 있다.)
Prak-sis ( was founded in January 2009 as a not for profit art organization. Prak-sis is a dynamic art experience, migrating to diverse locations across the cityscape. Prak-sis had transformed building spaces rendered vacant due to a downturn in the market, obsolescence, or neglect into art galleries. From these experiences Prak-sis has developed exciting projects in art expos and gallery shows. Prak-sis Project aims to show that even in times of economic crisis, life can blossom, a culture can grow and most of all, hope need not die.
For projects since the Fall of 2010, Prak-sis has worked with small businesses and neighborhood support organizations for mutual benefit. With technology flooding our modern lives, we seek to promote art in new media as well as traditional art forms. Prak-sis continues to further develop and focus on online projects as we organize physical art exhibitions, bridging the gap between new technologies and traditional artistic practices.
Mi-yeon Kwon: 권미연 디렉터는 대중과 호흡하는 미술프로젝트를 많은 심여를 기울이고 있다. 디렉터권은 또한 시카고도시 전체를 캔버스화 하여 프락시스 현대미술기관과 함께 수차례에 전시회를 빈 상가를 이용하여 미술작가들과 협력미술프로젝트를 작가로써 활동할 뿐만아니라 또한 다른 작가들에게 그와같은 기회를 주었다. 이런기획의 목표는 생명력을 불어넣기위함이었다. 시카고는 지난 수해동안 많은 경제적 변화를 다른 대도시와 마찬가지로 격었다. 권미연 작가이자 디렉터로써 그녀의 고향이 겪어왔던 문화의 목마름이라는 경험으로 아주 강한 신념을 가지고 있다. 미술이 우리의 삶을 바뀌게 한다고. 현재 권미연디렉터는 엑시스 2014 국제 아트페스티벌을 프락시스 미션을 완수하는 목적으로 준비하고 있다.
Executive Director, Mi-yeon Kwon’s art practice has been primarily focused with communicating with audiences. Kwon has used the city of Chicago as an urban canvas. In staging art shows through Prak-sis Contemporary Art Association, Kwon has shown collaboration in projects with artists, and management of other participating artists, to bring life to empty commercial spaces in the city. Chicago, where Prak-sis is based, has experienced a change in economic status as many other domestic and foreign cities have. Mi-yeon grew up in an industrial city with lack of cultural exploration. This emptiness gives her motivation to create art and sustain her belief that art can change the public’s life. Currently Mi-yeon Kwon actively working for AXIS 2014 International Art Festival to fulfill the mission of Prak-sis.

한진해운 박스프로젝트, 서 도 호 , <Hanjin Shipping The Box Project: Do Ho Suh>
Home within Home within Home within Home
Fast Translation To English:
The National Contemporary Art Museum is newly built in Seoul, South Korea. I was quite impressed by my country of origin during my recent visit after three years. This museum is located at Insadong where many significant commercial galleries can be found. I sense that that this museum will enhance Korea’s presence in the international art community. The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA is reminiscent of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in the U.S. In this article, I will review three exhibitions at this museum.
The first exhibit is the Hanjin Shipping The Box Project: Do Ho Suh. I had previously shared video of this exhibition on Facebook as the interview was quite impressive. I was fortunate to catch his work on my visit. He was presenting both very contemporary as well as traditional elements in his installation. For visitors ranged in age from late 30’s to 60’s, this exhibit stimulates both intellectual and emotional responses. My generation, a post baby-boomer, would be proud to have any family members’ place of rest resemble the older Korean traditional style highlighted in this exhibit. These forms and silhouettes are still very respected and sought after in South Korea. For younger Koreans such as my nephew, a 24 year old new College graduate who accompanied me to this museum, these types of architecture and stylings are rarely incorporated into their surroundings, but are more historical relics to be memorized. Also, these traditional forms are often seen in movies and in books on past eras. As a spectator, strong visual cues are welcomed at this exhibit not to mention the inspirational feelings that come forth from such a massive installation. The visual achievement strikes a chord in our hearts. One of the most memorable ideas from this exhibit are the liner details and the single bold color that is used throughout the installation. The semi-transparent materials made an impact on me because of their extreme fragility. I continue to ask myself, why does this installation still resonate so forcefully?
In the second installation, The Aleph Project in the 7th Exhibition room is both beautiful and scientific. The evocative sounds accompanied by delicate glass objects were conducive to mental imagery. This combination of Science and Art has been controversial in some circumstances. Thus, I sense that it takes closer scrutiny for non-scientists. Some might even question if this is a work of art. How did the artist present it as an artwork? Why is this piece not in a science museum? Whatever the questions that result, you will enjoy this piece through its delicate composition and shadows. It is as if this installation speaks from a creation of beauty.
The third installation revolves around the Korean language and Korean letters. This project makes the statement about how Korean letters and language act aesthetically to fill an important role. Most Korean letters are very straight and this video projection uses interesting effects on the straightness. I have never seen a video installation before that filled the walls from top to bottom. An interesting fact is that one would focus on huge letters rather than what the writing is about and on the aesthetic shape of the words. The human silhouettes created by the appreciators harmonize with the words in the room, which seems to be the project’s purpose.
For only a 4000 Korean ₩ ($4.00 USD) admission fee, these art exhibits stand to provide Korea’s citizens a great cultural experience.


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 3/26/14 09:00:38 AM

Armory Show NYC 2014
Shards Of The Armory Art Fair
March 16, 2014 New York City

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Gallery: Baró Galeria at The Armory Show, 2014
by correspondents Jessica Higgins & Suzy Sureck
The Hudson River, having recently shed its icy scales, sparkles in the early March light. Its swells and tides surround massive structures and lengthy lines that jut out past the outer rim of the West Side Highway. Works from 29 countries represented by 203 galleries, supported by 2 piers hover over the tidal estuary of the Hudson River. It is the Armory Show 2014 – an annual celebration and logistical quagmire.
As Jessica Higgins and I enter Pier 94, Sunday afternoon, we are overwhelmed by the scale and abundance of creative expression. Video, works on paper, mixed media of all kinds, suspended sculptures, digital projections, paintings…Unable to take in the vastness, my myopia kicks in – a physical condition of the eyes, and my defense against overwhelm. I lose sight of the overall and take pleasure instead in connecting with just a few details.
To follow is a short picture essay of shards of the Armory Art Fair 2014:

Elena del Rivero, The Armory Show 2014, Photo: Suzy Sureck
On Saturday the 8th I had the pleasure of going to the Armory show with Suzy Sureck, a long time friend and fellow artist. As an artist covering an event for Artist Organized Art I felt my POV was more reflective than based on the business side of an art fair. Though I went in inspired to see a collective of artists sharing their work, I quickly found my eyes lifted to the ceiling, the metal bars and utilitarian functionality of what lay above the cubicles of art.

Infrastructure, The Armory Show, 2014, Photo: Jessica Higgins
Once we were thrilled to get our press passes we continued to make our way through the crowds, we both found ourselves trying to start somewhere. We were moved by threaded papers collaged with ink letters, by Elena del Rivero ‘Letters for the Bride.’ Her mesmerizing typography mixed with patterns.

Nick Cave, Soundsuit, Jack Shainman Gallery, The Armory Show 2014
Nick Cave’s, ‘Soundsuit’ had me curious about how so many of us were being inundated by information in the 21st century, we both peered inside at the textural hair like orifice and the reflective buttons.

Tomás Saraceno, NGC 5457, Andersen’s Contemporary, The Armory Show 2014
Many artists, when going to the Armory Show, experience a sense of overwhelm, because of the amount of art show at once in the context of some kind of fair. The sense of subtlety and individuality that is often associated with art gets plowed over. You can’t help, but smell the money associated with the art market and wonder how it effects artists. It does seem that the big expensive pieces draw the curiosity of many of the viewers. I just think big and small are beautiful.

Andrew Ohanesian, Dollar Bill Acceptor (2014), Gallery: Pierogi, The Armory Show, 2014
We slid by Shahzia Sikander’s drawings and made our way to Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s reflective sculpture. We were moved by the ball and string piece toward the end by Fernanda Gomes which seemed so simple and refreshing and the humorous piece by Andrew Ohanesian ‘dollar bill acceptance’ seemed to resonate with the art market behind the fair, it was literally an automatic teller machine bill plaque out of plastic.

Leandro Erlich, The Cloud – Rabbit (2013), Gallery: Sean Kelly, The Armory Show 2014
We ended the show finding ourselves at a small sculpture of clouds, in which two artist faces reflected. We thoughtfully walked onward and decided in the end that subtle details coming back to us in light could be a point of view for the everyday pieces within the whole chaotic pile.
Jessica Higgins, (more articles) American artist, lives and works in New York and Massachusetts. Formative dance studies at Juilliard and Joffrey. Daughter of Fluxus Founders Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles. She has direct experiential knowledge of Fluxus, having early formation in that culture by way of the original members and by participation in historic Fluxus events. She is a regular correspondent for Artist Organized Art and was the Creative Director of ‘Switch’ a local access television series of performance and intermedia out of Western Massachusetts. Her works and performances have exhibited in numerous countries.
Suzy Sureck, ( Exhibits in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Korea, Australia and India. Recent works include installations in the Nature Art Biennale in South Korea; Poznan Biennale, and fringe events at the Venice Biennale 2009. Public works include QuamaneQ for the Neuberger Museum Biennial, Fault Lines for the Darmstadt Forest in Germany, Alice and the Looking Glass for the Evergreen House in Baltimore, Taking in the Rain for the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, The Bubble Field for the Kingston Biennial, Aqua Lumina spanning 200 feet over the East River in Socrates Park, NY and Double Crossings suspended 1500 feet above the Ramon Crater in the Negev desert in Israel. She completed 2 underwater installations Many Moons for Bass in Omi, NY and Polka Dot Pond at the University of Maine in Augusta, and looks forward to creating more large-scale drawings in and around landscapes. Her works have been highlighted in The New York Times, World Art. Sculpture Magazine, NY Arts and Flash Art, and can be found in both public and private collections including The Museum of Installation in London, The Artists Museum in Poland and the Dr. Fischer Arts for Peace Collection in Tel Aviv. Suzy received a Masters Degree in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy in Michigan and a BFA from the Cooper Union, as well as studying at The Slade School of Art in London, and recently took up bee keeping. Suzy Sureck has presented lectures on her work at several universities in the Northeast and teaches at Queens College. She lives and works in New York City and Gardiner, NY..


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 3/16/14 12:42:00 PM

Pat Badani at CAA
In Conversation with Media-N
Journal of the New Media Caucus
College Art Association Conference
Chicago – February 2014
CAA Conference Edition, Los Angeles, 2012, Media-N Journal of the NMC, cover of the summer print edition, 2012, V.08, N.01.
Excerpts From The Interview
Chicago – February 2014
Preview & Download The Entire Document Below
Joshua Selman Interviews Pat Badani, Editor in Chief, Media-N Journal
While attending the College Art Association Conference at the Chicago Hilton, February 11th to 15th, I was embedded in a special community made up of scholars in art education, art history and art criticism. The annual conference itself aims to “cultivate the ongoing understanding of art as a fundamental form of human expression.” (“About CAA.” College Art Association. 11 Nov. 2004. CAA. 25 Oct. 2010: ) With over 13,000 members CAA’s influence is international in scope, and this year I engaged one of its most interesting affiliates: The New Media Caucus, a nonprofit, international membership organization that aims to advance the conceptual and artistic use of digital media ( ). It’s been gratifying to learn just how modest the organization’s online description of its mandate is. While The New Media Caucus does advance the conceptual and artistic use of digital media, its premise has evolved with very far reaching implications. For The New Media Caucus, the internal definition of new media practice is dialectic in that the NMC is prepared to re-define its scope as new media evolves throughout time.
Pat Badani, the Editor in Chief of the Media-N, Journal of the New Media Caucus, is working with me as a correspondent at CAA. Together we have launched a discussion – from within the conference – to examine what is happening at CAA this year as it applies to the New Media Caucus, to Media-N Journal and to CAA members. I am very pleased to present this conversation with Pat Badani, who is an arts practitioner, educator, curator and editor, with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Pat is on the executive board of the New Media Caucus and is an ISEA International Advisory Committee affiliate. I have joined The New Media Caucus and personally attended each of their CAA Conference presentations onsite at the Hilton in Chicago, as well as each special NMC offsite event and exhibition concurrent with the conference.
The following excerpts from my conversation with Pat Badani give a hint of what is in the full interview. Please scan through it using the viewer below and download the PDF to save and view it for a full reading.
Sledgehammer-operated Keyboard, 2005 – ongoing, Taylor Hokanson, Human-Computer Interface, © Taylor Hokanson.
JS: Are the New Media Caucus members exclusively those teaching in college and university departments of new media and are the New Media Caucus members exclusively working with New Media Art?
PB: The membership is definitely a mix of digital media practitioners and academics. To the second part of your question, we have a constitution that defines new media as an experimental form that is always reinventing itself. We define it both in specific terms and as an open-ended idiom, because we know that new media will evolve five or ten years from now.
JS: The Media-N Journal, as it stands today, follows a familiar and very manageable presentation format in that it’s both in print and online. Everyone should make sure to download a copy, if they haven’t ordered one already, here. The experience of the print version is quite rich by comparison to the online version, which is mostly scripted html. How do you see where you are now with formatting the journal and where you might be in the future?
PB: Interestingly, this is something we discussed in a closed Media-N publication sub-committee meeting during CAA. The format we now use is WordPress online, and a print-on-demand edition designed by very talented graphic designers. Online, there is a way of extracting an Adobe pdf directly from WordPress, but we decided to work with our designers on beautiful, collectible, books. We’re perfectly aware that we have an online version that’s open access. Yet we also have a collectible, precious object, for purchase at a reasonable price. The more we talk about moving into other publication formats, we’re developing our philosophy beyond “pixel versus paper.” Why not have a series of publication formats and subjects within the Media-N Journal, with that branding? Some of them could be electronic publications that come out of our new media exhibitions; they could follow – or disrupt – the catalogue format with critical essays by artists and historians in addition to artists’ statements and the work itself. That could be one of many forms as added publication formats.
CAA Conference Edition, New York, 2013, Media-N Journal of the NMC, cover of the print summer edition, 2013 edition, V.09, N.02.
We are also looking into publishing through SCALAR, an open source platform created by a team at USC that allows for media rich investigations and publications. It supports a type of journal where users can chart non-linear paths through multi-modal, modular, Web-born content and media. We might also develop a publication that does not necessarily follow the strict academic format, which is what we have right now. It has to be said that we’ve been working for several years in order to perfect our current format. Why? Because it serves our constituency, made of large numbers of academics that can use our publication as a way to obtain tenure and promotion. The essays we currently publish meet the strict academic specifications for tenure and promotion packages. Beyond that, researchers, educators, students and artists use our publication as a reliable resource. So, we do serve a purpose by publishing a traditional academic journal. However, there are many other interesting directions for us to include. It’s not a matter of dropping what we’re doing, because it does serve a purpose, but rather, adding other forms of publications that allow various types of voices and representations.
JS: How do you see the strategic partnership between Artist Organized Art, the New Media Caucus and the Media-N Journal? What do you see on the horizon that could evolve through the two organizations, which have very different missions?
PB: It’s interesting to give new media an outward facing stance. With new media, as with photography in its day, with video in its day, and with performance, in the initial decade in which emerging practices and technologies are being experimented with, the artist faces a number of problems.
Number one: Access to the technology. This creates camaraderie between like-minded individuals who share technology, discuss and improve upon it. “I want to learn from you. Or, I want to borrow your device,” etc.
Number two: Our art practice imposes difficulty with showing and disseminating our work due to lack of technology support. In addition, there’s lack of interest on the part of institutions, and lack of a viewing or participating public. Contemporary art curators often lack interest because of a lack of familiarity with our language and with the technology. So they often opt out of showing us, or including electronically controlled art work in survey exhibitions. Ultimately, bodies such as journals, magazines and books, won’t touch us because they’re missing our reading public. So, new media artists are kept out of the “cultural market,” let alone the commercial market. The cultural market makes it possible to be seen – understood – mediated. Thus, the isolation of new media gives rise to particular platforms such as festivals, symposia and specialized publications. Things become grounded and formalized, typically in the second to third decade of practice, when the practitioners themselves have developed theory, developed programs within universities and designed courses of study, and validation platforms like exhibition and publication environments. There is a point when the “new” media joins mainstream art. The initial problems are eliminated for the most part; the language being used by these artists becomes part of the mainstream. Then, predictably, a newer media emerges, a newer technology, or a newer practice and a newer community of inquiry seeks its proper enclave.
This has been happening with electronic technologies for a number of years. I think now we can safely say we’re gradually becoming part of the mainstream, in that the mainstream is actually talking about us in both negative and positive terms, but while we’re being considered by critics, by curators, by directors, there is ambivalence.
I go to a lot of festivals, a lot of symposia where there is a conversation being held right now by individuals who are in significant editorial and curatorial positions of new electronic art, writing books and curating exhibitions, who are less practitioners, but work more in a theoretical realm. What I hear them saying is that the divide between media art histories and art history needs to be addressed. How do those two realms come together? I think we are at that moment in history where we will increasingly see a co-mingling, a cross-referencing of the art theories and histories. Artists are already doing it, and in my view, critical theory has to support practice.
Stack of Open Source Paper, 2009, Denise Bookwalter, Anna Child, Laurie Corral, Brooks Edwards, Cutler Edwards, Lyman Edwards, Bridget Elmer, Stacy Elmer, Andy Grace, Rashmi Grace, Mark Greeley, Emily Larned, Sam Nichols, Jessica Peterson and Emily Tipps, handmade paper, Copyleft Flatbed Splendor.
JS: Would you agree that a minimum benefit of submitting a paper for consideration, even if it’s not selected, is to receive valuable feedback, pertinent to the submission?
PB: Yes, very much so. We’ve been thanked over and over again for doing that; especially by certain authors who may need experience with publishing. One of Media-N Journal’s missions is to mentor young scholars. One method as Editor-in-Chief is to ask an associate editor to act as supporting editor for the guest editors. We consult on editing submitted essays, so that development is coherent and top quality. Scholars, particularly younger scholars, are usually delighted to work with us in this way, because of the learning process and the camaraderie that we establish in the process.
JS: You’ve described a balance of separate and mutually supporting selection processes between the CAA Conference presentations, the off-site presentations and the three editorial programs of Media-N. As the off-site presentations beyond the CAA Conference grow, what impact will they have on the Media-N Journal?
PB: That’s an area for experimentation, which we like to do. We’ve been talking about doing something very specific, centered on the New Media Caucus, with a regional location for exhibitions, or other related ways to share. For example, we could hold a workshop to share experience with emerging technologies; work with artists, scholars, organizations, directors and curators to measure the potential support for events at their regional institution. Chicago, for example, has a high density of New Media Caucus members. Regions, such as this one, might also call people from Wisconsin, Indiana and other adjoining States. The regional off-site events would be branded as the New Media Caucus, but they might generate their own formats…these ideas are still in the process of elaboration, and it is all very exciting to us! It’s in discussion.
JS: How did working with the multi-institutional hosts CAA, Columbia College and the Chicago Cultural Center benefit the New Media Caucus and Media-N during the CAA 2014 Conference and what role will multi-institutional support take in the future?
PB: It’s exciting to be hosted whether we are joining CAA in New York City, or CAA in Los Angeles, but we also partner with offsite institutions. Sometimes we team up with learning institutions such as Columbia College in Chicago. In Los Angeles we’ve worked with three digital media centers that host our events. It’s important that we present within the CAA context, which is usually in a conference setting in a hotel, but also to present offsite events and round tables. It’s how we round out our substantial program. We are only allowed two panels at CAA itself. That is a CAA rule and as a Caucus we must abide by this limit.
So the benefit, of course, is that it helps the New Media Caucus broaden its reach. It helps us present events and exhibitions that we wouldn’t be able to show at CAA, because we’re limited to two panels. Hosts benefit the New Media Caucus and we also benefit institutional hosts, because we are bringing very unusual material that draws quite a crowd from the community at large and our events are well attended by a community which benefits the hosting institution.
JS: What role can an organization like Artist Organized Art take to help remove the divide between media art histories and art history?
PB: What interests me about Artist Organized Art – the organization itself – is what its title refers to. The New Media Caucus is precisely that. We, as a group of artists, have organized ourselves into a Caucus in order to create a forum for the presentation and distribution of our voices, of our community, of our output as artists, and – for those who are academics – our output as academics as well. What interests me is the notion of artists organizing their position in culture without any supporting structure, without funding, as volunteers. We do this because somebody must. If Artist Organized Art has a similar mandate, and it also reaches a wider community, the affiliation or partnership is of mutual interest, because it allows us to interface contrasting, but aligned, communities.
JS: We focus on many different aspects of a critical jumping off point. How does an artist choose to engage the world. We inquire whether artists choose to address the question. It seems natural to members of the New Media Caucus to question parameters of engagement, but to those working on an MFA in a categorized art form, or for artists working in performance, preparing for a white box or stage is generally accepted right out of the gate. We prepare work around installing in a white box and accept this, letting specialists put out interpretations of our work, instead of conveying our own intentions as part of the work itself. Artist Organized Art supports including many parameters of engagement within the compositional paradigm around structured conditions of art-making. These conditions are conventionally alienated from art practitioners, who are constrained specifically because they don’t include these parameters, and it does effect their ability to develop works. This may not be obvious to New Media artists, because of, on the other hand, the difficulties of finally managing so many parameters.
PB: Actually, we are aware of that, because (..more)
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Pat Badani is an arts practitioner, educator, curator and editor, with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Concerned with the relationship between art and social practice, over the last 30 years Badani has exhibited her work, participated in conferences and panels, and published widely in North and South America, Europe and Asia. She has received over twenty awards and commissions – notably a one-year Canada Council Media Arts research grant in 2001 for her transnational project “Where are you from? Stories dealing with human migration, and a 2012 “Robert Heinecken Trust Fund” for her project “AI Grano” focusing on biodiversity issues related to maize agriculture. Badani has lived in 7 countries in the Americas and Europe and has held academic positions in Canada, France and in the USA. Recent curatorial projects include a partnership with Lanfranco Aceti in a series of panels and an exhibition on the rhetoric and realities of artistic interventions in public space, from performance to Augmented Reality art. Badani is currently Editor-in-Chief of Media-N Journal, executive board officer with the New Media Caucus, and an ISEA International Advisory Committee affiliate.
Media-N was established in 2005 to provide a forum for New Media Caucus members and non-members alike, featuring their scholarly research, artworks and projects. The New Media Caucus is a nonprofit, international membership organization that advances the conceptual and artistic use of digital media. Additionally, the NMC is a College Art Association Affiliate Society.
The College Art Association of America (CAA) is the principal professional association in the United States for practitioners and scholars of art, art history, and art criticism. Founded in 1911, it aims to “cultivate the ongoing understanding of art as a fundamental form of human expression.” CAA currently has 13,000 members, primarily academics, professors, and graduate students in art practice, history, or theory, including visual arts, visual culture, and aesthetics. Its membership, concerns, reputation, and influence are international in scope.
Artist Organized Art non-profit works with artists & institutions to support artist organized media, events & cultural education by strategic, collaborative & financial means. As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization it provides strategic support to artists and organizations working in & benefiting communities everywhere in the world. Its current following has an all time high of over 150,000 subscribers. Email announcements reach 75,000+ global arts professionals & their followers: 44% North America, 33% Europe, 23% Asia and beyond. Artist Organized Art is advised by, followed by & supported by some of the most prestigious independent artists, organizers, curators, historians and institutions in the world, including founding members of Fluxus, members of the International Artists Museum and the publishers of New Observations Magazine.
Joshua Selman is an artist, composer and graduate of Yale University with a Master of Music Composition whose intermedia practice combines public space intervention, large-scale installation, cultural-strategy and critical journalism. His sound work is included on Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne, Germany. He’s also known for performance works and objects with unique virality. Some were included in a Whitney Museum Ray Johnson retrospective. Other collaborations are with Fluxus founders Alison Knowles and late intermedia theorist Dick Higgins. He first exhibited as An intermedia artist at New York Fluxus venue, the Emily Harvey Gallery. His participation in several artist organized Biennials known as Construction in Process led to a post as Executive Director of The International Artists Museum, New York Center. He’s also documented as a commercial innovator in social networks, by Wired Online in 2004, and referenced in a Facebook patent. In 2003, he launched the online space Artist Organized Art. In 2007, as President, he established Artist Organized Art, a new media based arts organization, as a tax-exempt 501(c)3. In late 2008 he guided Artist Organized Art to acquire New Observations LTD, publisher of New Observations Magazine, with a mandate to relaunch the seminal arts publication. He has gained long term support for the organization from Google Inc. His networked activities now include thousands of artists in the Americas, Europe, Asia and beyond. Residencies include South Korea, Germany, Australia, Canada, the USA and China. His works in Performa, on the High Line, other appearances and interviews are documented in print, on the we band on television.


#permalink posted by Artist Organized Art: 2/27/14 10:00:22 AM

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