Art & Development

Jonathan Haidt on the uses of adversity

In The Happiness Hypothesis (New York: Basic Books, 2006), psychology professor Jonathan Haidt explores the uses of adversity. His points seem to validate my issues with pundits’ declarations that the recession would be beneficial for artists (elaborated in “Portrait of an Artist, Wily and Engaged” on Art Practical). Haidt explains:

People need adversity, setbacks, and perhaps even trauma to reach the highest level of strength, fulfillment, and personal development

However, we oughtn’t

celebrate suffering, prescribe it for everyone, or minimize the moral imperative to reduce it where we can.

Based on numerous studies, Haidt concludes that some conditions for the uses of adversity can be inferred:

For adversity to be maximally beneficial, it should happen at the right time (young adulthood), to the right people (those with the social and psychological resources to rise to the challenges and find benefits) and to the right degree (not so severe as to cause PTSD).

To refine my position by way of paraphrasing Haidt, it’s inappropriate to celebrate the adversities that artists endure during recessions, especially considering the artists who lack the social and psychological resources, or find the adversities too severe, to continue practicing art.

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News

Art Practical Issue 40

My review of Under Destruction at the Swiss Institute (NYC) is now online in Art Practical.

Also in the current issue, curator Christian L. Frock summarizes responses to Ai Weiwei’s detainment (including mentions of bilingual Free Ai Weiwei posters and the Love the Future graphic.

Hats off to the Art Practical editorial team, who celebrate the release of their 40th issue today. In two years the publication has grown from a kernel of an idea to a presence in the SF art community, and I am so honored to be part of it.

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Shop Talk feature in Art Practical, and conversation @ SFMOMA

Shop Talk is a series of articles in Art Practical and conversations at SFMOMA about artists’ survival strategies.

MY FEATURE IN ART PRACTICAL

I’m a proud contributor. I had the pleasure of interviewing artists Tattfoo Tan, Amanda Curreri, and Torreya Cummings and collaborative Earthbound Moon to develop a feature story for “Portrait of an Artist, Wily and Engaged,” published on Art Practical today. The feature focuses on strategic optimism, bridging some of my research in the ongoing Positive Signs series on SFMOMA’s Open Space blog.

5/12: CONVERSATION

And, if you’re free, talk about the issues at SFMOMA next Thursday…

Thursday, May 12, 7pm
Shop Talk: Part Three
“What are the economic realities that artists face?”
With presentations by the artist team Sean Fletcher and Isabel Reichert, artist Cheryl Meeker, and writer Lara Durback.

Please join Open Space and the online journal Art Practical on May 12th for the final installment of our three-part series of conversations considering the survival strategies artists develop and adopt to further the social reach of the aesthetic and critical capacities of their work, as well as gain recognition and financial viability.

Koret Visitor Education Center
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA

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News

Art Practical: Talking Shop / Review of Curtain Call

The latest Art Practical is online, and it features a new collaboration with SFMOMA.

Have a look at Zachary Royer Scholz’ essay, “San Francisco and the Art World of Tomorrow” and Christian L. Frock’s “Notes on Alternative Autonomy.” While you’re there, you can also read my latest art review: “Curtain Call”, by sculptor Robert de Saint Phalle at Dodge Gallery, NYC.

Over at SFMOMA’s Open Space (where I posted Positive Signs #2 yesterday), you’ll find “Shadowshop: Recipe for Boiling Water,” by Renny Pritikin, posing a series of questions inspired by Stephanie Syjuco’s Shadowshop project at SFMOMA.

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Meta-Practice, Projects, Research

Should I Stay or Should I Go? on Art Practical

Art Practical, Should I Stay or Should I Go? Christine Wong Yap

My feature on artists staying or leaving the Bay Area is finally out in the current issue of Art Practical. Thanks to the interviewed artists—Michael Arcega, Pablo Guardiola, Stephanie Syjuco, Emma Spertus, and Jenifer Wofford—for their time and insight. And a deep bow to Editor-in-Chief Patricia Maloney, Copy Editor Victoria Gannon and the rest of the Art Practical team for their support and guidance!

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
Feature story published on
Art Practical, Issue 2.10

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Art & Development

Art Publishing Now & Critical Sources II

I am so proud to be involved with Art Practical. With its mission to cultivate and art critical writing and writers, Art Practical the result of the hard work and generosity of lots of bright, interesting people. I think the San Francisco Bay Area is lucky to have them, and that you should know about their programs and projects.

Art Publishing Now
October 9-10, 2010
Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA

This coming weekend, October 9 and 10, Art Practical will participate in Art Publishing Now, a Summit, Afterparty and Library organized by Southern Exposure and a slew of publishing dynamos. The list of participants in the Fair looks killer. I love ‘zine fairs and I love art criticism (especially presented by writers and editors). Just go!

Critical Sources II
October 16, 2010, 12 – 4 p.m.
The Lab, San Francisco, CA
$25

Art Practical and The Lab are hosting Critical Sources II, the second in a series of workshops on art criticism. Among the workshop instructors is Kevin Killian, whose charming presence I spent many hours in while at CCA. His class on writing reviews was one of my favorites. (I once drove to Fresno for a field trip—a seven-hour round trip—but cut it short to get back for Kevin’s class.)

I’m sure all the instructors are great. At that price, it’s like they’re paying you to be there. [J.L.!]

It gets better: The class includes workshop-ing your reviews, and the two exhibitions you can choose to write about include Huckleberry Finn at the CCA Wattis Institute. I previously exhibited artwork and worked at the Wattis; I’m very fond of the literary series. I’ve heard very sharp critics say that this is the best of the series so far. Judging by last years’ no-holds-barred Moby-Dick, it must be impressive.

So, not only are they paying you to improve your art writing, they’re giving you an excuse to make it out to Dogpatch and see an amazing exhibition.

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