Art & Development, Community, Works

My Imaginary Group Show

A few weeks back, I posted about an assignment for artists to describe their own dream group show.

I came up with one version of my own dream group show—it’s local, site-specific and combines numerous interests. I was so excited by all the projects and artists, the only way I could keep my presentation under the six-minute limit was to read out a script of only keywords, and that’s what I’ll include here. Enjoy! And consider coming up with one of your own—it’s a fantastic, liberating exercise.

1,000 Single Steps

For Jeremy Deller,

art isn’t about what you make
but what you make happen.

Inspiration.

Jeremy Deller, Ed Hall, (Banner Maker), Procession, 2009

Jeremy Deller, Ed Hall, (Banner Maker), Procession, 2009

Manchester Int’l Festival.
Manchester History.
Industrial Revolution.
Workshop of the World.
Birthplace of Socialism.
Textile Mills.
People’s History.
Tradition of Banner-making.
Participation.
Contemporary groups working with a banner maker.
Parade.
Absurdist.
Crown of french fries.

Even the emo teens.

Participants. Jeremy Deller, Ed Hall (Banner Maker), Procession, 2009

Participants. Jeremy Deller, Ed Hall (Banner Maker), Procession, 2009

Proposed Site: The Queens Way

Summer of public programming as grand opening.

Map of the Proposed Queens Way. // Source: TheQueensWay.org.

Map of the Proposed Queens Way. // Source: TheQueensWay.org.

• 3.5-mile portion of the abandoned Rockaway Rail Line
• community-led effort
• current status: feasibility studies

Present conditions of the Queens Way. // Source: TheQueensWay.org.

Present conditions of the Queens Way. // Source: TheQueensWay.org.

I am not a natural optimist.
Anxiety and rumination, humans’ natural states.
Exercise, surefire mood-elevation.
Importance of access to clean, green open space.
For Physical health.
For Psychological health.
A society where women can go for a run in their own neighborhoods without fear.
Improve quality of life for generations.

 

Artists and Projects

Susan O’Malley, Community Advice, 2012.

Susan O’Malley, Community Advice, 2012. // Source: susanomalley.org

Susan O’Malley, Community Advice, 2012. // Source: susanomalley.org

Susan O'Malley, Community Advice, 2012. // Source: susanomalley.org

Susan O’Malley, Community Advice, 2012. // Source: susanomalley.org

Classmate, friend.
Based in California.
Site-specific variation on project.
100 participants.
2 questions.
What advice would you give your 80-y-o self? 8?
Collaboration with printmaker.
Wood type posters
Posted in the community.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Transchromie Mécanique 1965, 1965

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Transchromie Mécanique 1965, 1965 // Source: cruz-diez.com

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Transchromie Mécanique 1965, 1965 // Source: cruz-diez.com

Immersive phenomenological optical installations.
Like Eliasson, but earlier.
Like Turrell, but happier.
Commission:
Shadows underneath elevated tracks.
Transformed to spaces of light and color.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Lunch Painting, 1965

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Lunch Painting, 1965 // Source: afasiaarq.blogspot.com

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Lunch Painting, 1965 // Source: afasiaarq.blogspot.com

Arte Povera.
Transition from gallery oriented art object to direct social engagement.
Seminal work.
Blue-chip artist.
Museum collections.
Do not touch.
Proposed exhibition copies as public sculptures.
Please touch.

Bob and Roberta Smith, The Art Party, 2011–ongoing

Bob and Roberta Smith, The ArtParty Conference, 2013 // Source: suegough.blogspot.com

Bob and Roberta Smith, The ArtParty Conference, 2013 // Source: suegough.blogspot.com

Artist mostly known for twee sign paintings on junk.
Recent years’ increasing activism.
Reaction to Tea Party.
Opposition to cuts in Art Education in UK.
Paintings, installations, videos, events.
Defense of accessibility of art education and therefore art.
Earnest.
Populist.
Art is not elitist.
Everything is made.

Agnes Denes, Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space—Map Projections, 1979

Agnes Denes, Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space—Map Projections, 1979 // Source:  students.concordiashanghai.org

Agnes Denes, Isometric Systems in Isotropic Space—Map Projections, 1979 // Source: students.concordiashanghai.org

Proposed billboards.
Artist mostly famous for wheat field in Lower Manhattan.
Beautiful drawings of world maps.
Cube, pyramid, donut.
Love diagrams.
Queens demographics.
Always changing.
Always diverse.

Michael Jones McKean, The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms, 2012

Michael Jones McKean, The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms, 2012 // Source: therainbow.org.

Michael Jones McKean, The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms, 2012 // Source: therainbow.org.

Bemis.
Artificial rainbow.
Water hoses.
Experiment.
Unpredictable results.
Depends on weather.
Ironic.
Makes it even better.

Fourth of July 2012: San Diego Pyrotechnic Accident

san diego 2012 fireworks display

San Diego 2012 fireworks display

Not art.
Curatorial influence of Jenns Hoffmann.
Contemporary art alongside historic art and artifacts.
Contextualizes art practice in wider cultural production.
7,000 fireworks in less than 60 seconds.
Holiday ruined?
Or expectations exceeded.
Grand Finale.

Addendum:

I also recently learned about this other spectacular fun-but-relatively-safe disaster, which I love for the same reasons as the fireworks display:

1986 Cleveland accidental 1.5 m balloon release. // Photo: Thom Sheridan // Source: Gizmodo

1986 Cleveland accidental 1.5 m balloon release. // Photo: Thom Sheridan // Source: Gizmodo

 

 

 

 

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Art & Development

2013 Year-end Roundup

 

phtos from residency at the Tides Institute and Museum of Art, Montalvo Art Center, Happiness Is... Chinese Arts Centre, more

2013 year-in-review. Highlights include the residency at the Tides Institute and Museum of Art in Eastport, Maine; Happiness Is…, at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California; Irrational Exuberance Flags at Southern Exposure; Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors) at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, UK; Obsolete Californias in San Francisco; Jenkins Johnson Gallery in NYC; publications such as Temporary Art Review and The Dark Would.

Looking back at 2013, I’m grateful for the generosity and passion of many people…

• the dedicated staff at arts organizations providing residencies and exhibition opportunities to artists like myself…

• whipsmart collaborators Leah Rosenberg and Susan O’Malley… and

• inspiring, fearless women artists like Torreya Cummings, Sarrita Hunn and Lauren Adams who shape the art worlds they would like to participate in.

In 2014, I’m looking forward to…

Bronx AIM informal studio visits. Visiting photographer Martyna Szczesna's studio.

Bronx AIM informal studio visits. Visiting photographer Martyna Szczesna‘s studio.

• participating in the Bronx Museum of Art’s AIM program, and helping to organize mutual studio visits in the interim…

• contributing to artist’s publications: the next Ortega y Gasset Gazette, and Land and Sea, slated to debut at the LA Book Fair…

• launching a new version of my website…

• continuing to read and participate in book clubs about class, community, and engagement.

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Meta-Practice

Be Here Now: Artists’ Majority Power

Lately among my colleagues, sharing information and support has been especially active and enjoyable. We usually send links to art opportunities,* and I’ve also been contributing ideas to CF’s curriculum. In a virtual book club, we share intellectual discourse as well as a sense of camaraderie.

I was reminded to be grateful for this generosity after hearing from a disenchanted colleague recently. He was frustrated and fatigued, but worst of all, he seemed to feel hopeless about his position in relation to the art world.

So many artists feel like there aren’t enough resources to go around; that we are all competing for a limited number of opportunities/commissions/gallery rosters/fashionably “in” careers as art stars, and only the already privileged, networked, and fashionable win. It’s true that the art world is structured so that it can’t accommodate all of the artists who would like to make art for a living. As an artist, the odds are that you win some, and lose most. Rejection is unavoidable, and it can result in

an increase in sadness, despair and hostility, and a decrease in self-esteem, belonging, sense of control and meaning in life

according to Todd Kashdan, George Mason University professor of psychology (“Understanding Rejection’s Psychological Sting,” Huffington Post, September 16, 2011). To counteract the effects of rejection, Kashdan suggests cultivating

those powerful human capacities for awareness, openness and compassion

As artists, we have to help each other. We’re in the best positions to understand what our peers are going through, and to hear of opportunities that might be perfect for a colleague. After participating in a public art program in Poland last year, a friend and I shared this year’s call, and colleague’s work was selected. A deserving artist and an interesting program connected.

Christine Wong Yap, Positive Sign #40, 2011, glitter gel pen on gridded vellum, 11x8.5".

Christine Wong Yap, Positive Sign #40, 2011, glitter gel pen on gridded vellum, 11×8.5″.

People assume that optimism is simple minded, but it’s actually pessimism that’s all too easy. If you look for reasons to be cynical about the art world, it will provide in abundance. But if you cultivate optimism and enact your principles amongst your peers, I think it will be more rewarding ultimately. Cooperation, not competition, is the best approach for a life in the arts.

Disenfranchised artists might consider RY’s advice:

Pressure leads to perseverance; perseverance to character; character leads to courage; courage to hope.

Since my birthday, I’ve been grappling with a personal achievement gap of sorts—what I’ve done or am about to do, versus some ideas that drifted down from aloft like stray pigeon feathers about where my art career and personal life should be now.

Just like everybody else, artists can easily mistake career achievement for happiness. A lawyer might think, “I’ll be happy when I finally become a partner,” and artists might think, “I’ll be happy when I my career takes off.” The challenges of working day jobs to support art practice are in ample evidence in our daily lives, so we assume that selling enough art to live on will unlock a more authentic state of creative freedom.

But as AV pointed out (in a book club meeting!), art stars aren’t necessarily more free or happier. They may feel like sovereigns of mini-empires, compelled to pump out increasingly higher priced products in order to sustain multiplying sectors on organizational charts, while terrified by the thought of ceding relevance and influence to other artists.

Two ways of looking at the art world. Left: A conventional model where the majority of artists are struggling and strive to become a member of the tiny percentage of art stars. Right: A different perspective, extolling the  benefits of not being darlings of auctions, media, collectors, etc., and appreciating the kinship of peers who are hardworking, inventive,  tenacious, and generous; free to re-invent our practices and shape the communities in which we would like to participate.

Two ways of looking at the art world. Left: A conventional model where the majority of artists are struggling and strive to become a member of the tiny percentage of art stars. Right: A different perspective, extolling the benefits of not being darlings of auctions, media, collectors, etc., and appreciating the kinship of peers who are hardworking, inventive, tenacious, and generous; free to re-invent our practices and shape the communities in which we would like to participate.

I’ve written before that the “art world” is too often equated with a tiny sliver of artists, auction houses, collectors, galleries and critics, who, in my view, are actually on the margins of most artists’ (and people’s) experiences.

Similarly, I’d like to re-frame a pyramid of working artists. I’ve always thought of the vast majority of artists as underlings, trying to claw their way into inclusion into that elite world of international art stars. But just as one chooses whether a half-glass of water is half empty or half full, we can choose to imbue the majority of artists with the majority of relevance (the beauty of majorities!). My peers are vibrant, meaningful, and no less creative and worthy of attention. To complain about this disparity is to reify the minority’s hierarchy. To acknowledge our majority power is to assert our freedom over our attentions. 

Susan O'Malley, Inspirational Posters: Be Here Now, You Are Exactly Where You Need to Be and Listen to Your Heart billboard, Rapackiego Square, Art Moves Festival, Toruń, Poland

Susan O’Malley, Be Here Now, You Are Exactly Where You Need to Be and Listen to Your Heart billboard, Rapackiego Square, Art Moves Festival, Toruń, Poland // Source: SusanOMalley.org.

*RateMyResidency.com is an artist-initiated website that offers users the chance to review residencies. I love this idea, and have been hoping for something like this appear for some time. This site is still pretty new, so not many residencies have been reviewed, and I think the interface could use some tuning up, but in the meantime, it’s a great resource for upcoming deadlines.

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Community

Happiness Is… an inquisitive conversation with The Aphorists

My fellow Happiness Is… artists and I were guests on The Aphorists, a conversational podcast hosted by artists Jesse Houlding and Anthony Daniel Ryan. Have a listen to us talking

about Positive Psychology, skepticism, cake eating and making work that makes a difference.

Check out Episode #7 and The Aphorists’ past episodes on a variety of political and cultural topics.

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Community, Travelogue, News

In Other Words, in a few pictures

Grateful for few days of art, sunshine, and friendly faces in California.

Thanks to everyone who came out to check out In Other Words at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. I really appreciate the interest and support! I think the show looks fantastic—all respect due to Kevin Chen, gallery director; Intersection staff, and the other artists for their thoughtful contributions.

The show continues through March 24, with many public events—most are free or sliding scale.

Here are a few snapshots, with better photos to follow on my site….

Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Positive Signs greets viewers at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Closer view of Positive Signs. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another set of Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Intersection Gallery Director Kevin Chen (center) delivered thoughtful comments, connecting the show's linguistic theme with the gallery's location in the San Francisco Chronicle building.

Intersection Gallery Director Kevin Chen (center) delivered thoughtful comments, connecting the show's linguistic theme with the gallery's location in the San Francisco Chronicle building.

Susan O'Malley's sandwich boards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Susan O'Malley's sandwich boards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another project by Susan O'Malley involved semi-hidden placards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another project by Susan O'Malley involved semi-hidden placards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Meryl Pataky had a nice pair of installed wire works, whose shadows spelled positive and negative words phonetically.

Meryl Pataky had a nice pair of installed wire works, whose shadows spelled positive and negative words phonetically.

More photos, including the infamous pinkie cam treatment, on Alan Bamberger’s ArtBusiness.com site.

Snapshots of other exhibitions I enjoyed…

Kinetic media installation by Mario Ancalmo, SECA 2010, SFMOMA.

Kinetic media installation by Mario Ancalmo, SECA 2010 exhibition, SFMOMA.

See also Ancalmo’s show at Eli Ridgeway Gallery; don’t miss the lower level installations.

Deflated balloon dog by Jeffrey Songco, Steven Wolf Fine Arts.

Deflated balloon dog by Jeffrey Songco, Steven Wolf Fine Arts.

No photos, but worth checking out: Gina Osterloh’s solo show of studio photos and a documentary about blind massuers, connected by her interest in dysfunctions of the body of  and Richard T. Walker’s video at ybca.

…as well as inspiring studio visits…

Studio visit with Stephanie Syjuco.

Studio visit with Stephanie Syjuco.

Spool holders, hooray!

Spool holders, hooray!

Studio visit with Michael Arcega. Baby, the artist-designed and -made collapsible, outrigger canoe, under a pinata-disco ball-hybrid. Not to mention an envy-inspiring woodshop in the studio.

Studio visit with Michael Arcega. Baby, the artist-designed and -made collapsible, outrigger canoe, under a pinata-disco ball-hybrid. Not to mention an envy-inspiring woodshop in the studio.

Mini disco ball, wood glue, and the story of a sailing expedition at Michael Arcega's studio.

Mini disco ball, wood glue, and the story of a sailing expedition at Michael Arcega's studio.

Free crate + casters + door + sawhorses = two tables that fold into one. Genius.

Free crate + casters + door + sawhorses = two tables that fold into one. Genius!

Plus, (aerial) Geometry vs Abstraction.

Geometry

Geometry.

Geometry detail.

Geometry detail.

Abstraction.

Abstraction.

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News

Opening Wed., Feb. 1: In Other Words @ Intersection for the Arts

I’m very excited to be part of this exhibition at Intersection for the Arts. I’ll have over 40 Positive Signs drawings—including several new ones not yet posted on SFMOMA’s Open Space—on view. I am familiar with the work of some of the other artists, and I think it’s a very promising line-up.

Positive Sign #59, 2011, glitter pen, gridded vellum, 8.5 × 11 in / 21.5 × 28 cm

Positive Sign #59, 2011, glitter pen, gridded vellum, 8.5 × 11 in / 21.5 × 28 cm

February 1–March 24, 2012
In Other Words
Intersection for the Arts
925 Mission Street, San Francisco CA 94103

Members VIP Reception: Wed, February 1, 6-7pm
Opening Reception: Wed, February 1, 7-9pm
Gallery hours: Tue–Sat, 12–6pm
Free admission

In Other Words is a group exhibition that looks at language and its capacity to clarify and confuse, convene and separate, inspire and discourage. Language can excite our spirit, comfort our feelings, and inform our intellect; it can also extinguish desire, destroy confidence, and cloud perception. By exploring a range of areas concerning the influence and evolution of language in our lives — the impact of technology, the obscurity of industry-specific terminology, the psychological internalization of language, and the recontexutalization of language — the artists in this exhibition demonstrate through a diversity of media the many ways in which we strive to communicate to each other.

In Other Words features work by Katie Gilmartin, Julia Goodman, Emanuela Harris-Sintamarian, Susan O’Malley, Meryl Pataky, Alex Potts, Cassie Thornton, Annie Vought and Christine Wong Yap.

Related programs:

IN OTHER WORDS: SF LIBRARY READING LIST
February 1 | Free
In celebration of our new exhibit, the San Francisco Public Library will share a suggested reading list that reflects the power and diversity of language.

(By coincidence, James Geary’s I is an Other—a book on metaphors that inspired Positive Signs—is on the reading list!)

IN OTHER WORDS: BLOG CONTEST
February 1-March 24 | Free
Every couple weeks, we’ll have a new call out for fun images and stories! Participants email us their content. Top submissions will appear on our website and a handful of lucky contributors are chosen to receive special prizes!

IN OTHER WORDS: BALDERDASH
March 21 | 7PM | $10-$15
Do you like word games and team activities? Familiar and foreign terms from the arts, business, finance, and social service worlds set the stage for a game where YOU are the expert. Join us for an uncensored friendly competition where fictitious and honest definitions abound. Sign up as a team for a round of Balderdash hosted by author Michelle Tea to show off your smarts and win prizes!

IN OTHER WORDS: ARTISTS TALK
March 24 | 2PM | Free
The “In Other Words” exhibit comes to a close. Please join us in this candid talk to hear directly from the creative minds that graced our gallery with such fun and thought-provoking art.

theintersection.org

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This & That Mail Art Swap

Welcome to This & That

logo_thisandthat_400x60logo_intlmailartswap_400x40

I’m pleased to announce a new curatorial project, This & That, an invitational mail art swap among international artists. Initiated in July 2009, This & That is a grassroots exchange by artists for artists.

32 artists/collaboratives are from 7 countries are participating:

Poklong Anading (Manila)
Chris Bell (Austrailia/San Francisco)
Simon Blackmore (Manchester)
Simon & Tom Bloor (Birmingham/London)
Jon Brumit (Chicago)
Michelle Carollo (NYC)
Mike Chavez-Dawson (Manchester)
Susan Chen (San Francisco)
Joshua Churchill (San Francisco)
Nick Crowe & Ian Rawlinson (Berlin/Manchester)
N. Sean Glover (Pittsburg, Penn., USA)
Mary Griffiths (Manchester)
Antony Hall (Manchester)
Taro Hattori (Oakland, Calif., USA)
Eric Hongisto (San Francisco)
Sarah Kabot (Ohio, USA)
Scot Kaplan (Ohio, USA)
Verity-Jane Keefe (London)
Yuen Fong Ling (Manchester)
Ivy Ma (Hong Kong)
David Moises (Vienna)
Ali Naschke-Messing (San Francisco)
Scott Oliver (Oakland, Calif., USA)
Susan O’Malley (San Francisco)
Laurence Payot (Liverpool)
Pest (Rebecca Chesney, Robina Llewellyn & Elaine Speight) (Preston, Lancs, UK)
Anthony Ryan (San Francisco)
David Sherry (Glasgow)
Daniel Staincliffe (Manchester)
Tattfoo Tan (NYC)
Jenifer K. Wofford (Oakland/Prague)
MM Yu (Manila)

Submissions will be exhibited in “Socially, Involved,” an exhibition at curated by Michelle Blade, at Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco, California, USA from August 7–September 6, 2009.

See the entries at exhibition, or at the opening reception — Friday, August 7, 7-10 pm — or check mailartswap.christinewongyap.com.

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