A unique take on the form of a traveling exhibition, For a Brief Time Only... takes the exhibition to you -- yes, you. The instructions are simple -- visit this site, email Mylinh Trieu Nguyen and David Horvitz of ASDF your address, and then they will send 24 image files by 24 artists to a photo developer near you. You can then pick up the prints from this location, and display them wherever, whenever and however you want. One caveat though -- as the title indicates, these images can only be obtained for a limited period, from November 6 to December 4 to be exact, so hop to it!
Tino Sehgal, the artist known for scripting scenarios, performed by actors following a set of instructions, brings the arena of news media into the gallery with This is new. For this piece, museum guards quote headlines from the day's newspapers to visitors, encouraging response or feedback on the part of the visitor.
Over the course of the next few weeks, Danish art collective Superflex (Rasmus Nielsen, Jakob Fenger and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen) will stage FREE SHOP in different stores around Haugesund, Norway as part of the arts festival Dynamo-Haugesund 08. Superflex experiment with alternative systems of distribution and economic production in their work, such as their Creative Commons-licensed beer franchise FREE BEER and their free photocopy shop and intellectual property discussion forum COPYSHOP. As the name implies, shops participating in FREE SHOP allow purchases free of charge. The stores do not advertise their involvement with the project and often customers are surprised when they attempt to purchase their merchandise. The project plays with customer expectation as well as accepted systems of exchange.
Opening this weekend at Utrecht's BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, "Artur Żmijewski: The Social Studio" features a handful of the Polish artist's recent works, including videos Them (2007) and Powtórzenie/Repetition (2005). The exhibition title offers a helpful, conceptual frame for Żmijewski's pieces, which take the form of quasi-documentary "social experiments," often counterpoising the disabled or marginalized with signs or representatives of societal ideals and political force. In photograph and video series Oko za oko/Eye for an eye (1998), for example, Żmijewski combines the bodies of amputees and those of the physically fit into "corporal hybrids." The articulation of bodily difference here also becomes the precondition for new forms of social interaction and integration, achieved through Żmijewski's manipulation of the conventions of portraiture. These results are in keeping with the artist's broader agenda, comprehensively laid out in his essay, "The Applied Social Arts," that artistic production should "take responsibility and engage...with the current social and political reality." A timely return to past controversy, Powtórzenie/Repetition re-conducts Philip Zimbardo's 1971 Stanford Prison experiment, in which ordinary college students assumed the roles of wardens and prisoners in a mock-prison environment. Claiming to be an expert in the "psychology of evil," Zimbardo here sought to show the predictable behaviors people adopt in such charged, power-based circumstances. While the facility with which the students adopted sadistic or masochistic roles then seemed to confirm Zimbardo's theory, Żmijewski's participants chose an alternative solution: they protested the project and collectively left the prison. Though Powtórzenie/Repetition caused a good deal of outrage in Poland, its participants' action does lend some credence to Żmijewski's belief that provocative art may "influence social consciousness and stimulate reflection." - Tyler Coburn
Image: Artur Żmijewski, Powtórzenie/Repetition, 2005 (Still)
Damon Rich would like you to remember that in Old French, "mortgage" means "death vow." This truism rings sadly ironic in the United States where financial crisis has put many people out of their homes and the implosion of the subprime mortgage market has had deeper effects upon the national economy and our international relations. In a show at the MIT Museum, commissioned by the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, called "Red Lines, Death Vows, Foreclosures, Risk Structures," Rich explores the architectural history and financial terrain of the American housing market and the continued impetus toward residential development and unsound design practices. The artist is the founder of the venerable Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) collective who work with youth and local community members to address street-level issues through research and remarkable art projects. Rich's penchant for excavating facts, figures, and ideological trends is manifest in the exhibition, which includes new video work, photos, drawings, models, and historical artifacts. Open through December 21st, the show promises to draw a big red line around "the furious circulation of finance capital." - Marisa Olson
Image credit: Video stills from Predatory Tales, produced by Damon Rich in cooperation with Lawrence Community Works in Lawrence, Massachusetts
(In collaboration with BFFA3AE)
Join us at the New Museum next week, on September 5th, for this month's New Silent Series event "the Scale of Intervention." An official warm-up for the psychogeographic festival Conflux, the panel will explore possibilities for artistic disruption within urban environments. Artists CutUp Collective, Leon Reid IV (of Darius + Downey), Betsey Biggs, and Roadsworth will present their diverse body of work, followed by an in-depth discussion led by the founders of the celebrated street-art site Wooster Collective.
[Information and tickets here.]
The Republican National Convention is still a handful of days away, but controversy is already being courted in Minneapolis-St. Paul over CBS Outdoor's decision to cancel its contract with artist Suzanne Opton due to the politically-sensitive nature of her photographs. Working with local organization Forecast Public Art and curator Susan Reynolds, Opton aimed to display several billboards depicting active-duty American soldiers, whom she photographed at Fort Drum, New York in 2004 and 2005. Like Rineke Dijkstra's series of photographs of young soldiers serving in the French Foreign Legion and Israeli Army, Opton's works offer empathetic portraits of her subjects, at a time when American military action in Iraq and Afghanistan elicits increasing national dissent. Her striking, monumental images find their subjects stripped of body armor and military dress and leaning their heads against a table. The photographs are vertically-scaled and cropped to only show each subject's head and neck, a visual decision Opton has suggested lends vulnerability to these unarmed soldiers, but which also, in light of past Al Qaeda videos, carries a far more disturbing undertone. On the project's website -- now the most significant record of the billboards -- Opton accompanies each of the nine photographs with the length of time served, by a given subject, in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a sense, because of the ambivalent mix of emotions these images conjure, Opton's choice to exhibit them in equally ambivalent public spaces seemed very appropriate. Yet that ambiguity, the artist claimed, was precisely the cause of CBS Outdoor's concern. Worry about possible misinterpretation of the images -- and the lack of explicit indication that they were artworks, as opposed to advertisements -- contributed, she said, to the organization's decision to discontinue her contract. If nothing else, Opton's proposal will serve as an ...
Montreal-based artist Matthew Biederman is daring to speak out about what he sees as military and government hijacking of what is "arguably one of Earth's most important, and only inexhaustible resources": air waves. Whereas radio was once intended as a many-to-many mode of communication, tight regulation of frequencies has led to a scenario in which the few (mostly corporate entities) are entitled to speak to the masses. His project, DAREDX, "seeks to re-establish the public's presence and right of occupation within the radio spectrum." In an effort to restore some of the utopian ideals initially associated with radio, the project will connect the public with the voices that float in the air around them and yet often go unheard: the voices of amateur broadcasters. Working almost like an astronomer, Biederman (under the call sign VA2XBX) will pluck transmissions out of the night sky, playing them back in Montreal's Cabot Square and logging and mapping them online. Drawing a connection between free public speech and the right of public assembly, DAREDX will amplify the voice of the people. Radioheads will be excited to know that non-vocal signals will also be charted, as the artist will "work with digital communications on HF, in order to send and receive SSTV (SlowScan Televsion), WEFAX (from NOAA Satellites), PSK31, Hellschrieber, and many more." In case you don't feel dialed-in enough to understand what that means, consider attending one of the talks, walks, or workshops associated with the project--including the one on how to build and take home your own FM transmitter! - Marisa Olson
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator