John Slepian
Since 2002
Works in Northampton, Massachusetts United States of America

John Slepian’s artwork has been shown at P.S.1/MoMA and Hunter College Art Galleries in New York, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Axiom Gallery, Boston Cyberarts Gallery, and the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston, and the Re-New Digital Art Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark, as well as elsewhere in U.S and internationally. He exhibits with the Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco and is a member of the COLLISIONCollective in Boston. He was a resident in the P.S.1 National Studio Program in 2002-2003, and in 2005-2006 was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts grant in Computer Arts. Slepian graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2002 with an MFA in New Genres, and he is currently an Assistant Professor of Art and Technology at Hampshire and Smith Colleges in Western Massachusetts. John Slepian lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island.
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A Really Great Idea - Performance

Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:00 - Fri Jun 20, 2014

Long Island City, Queens, New York
United States of America

Performances on the hour, every hour, from 11am - 8pm, June 19th and 20th.

Falchi Building Lobby
31-00 47th Avenue, Long Island City, NY

courtesy of

“A Really Great Idea” is a humorous conceptual performance/installation work, inspired by early Conceptual Art, that literally makes the thinking of the artist visible. Using a hacked brain wave sensor toy, John Slepian uses only his thoughts to fade on and off a lightbulb positioned over his head. In form, the piece refers to much of the highly influential performance and video work of the mid-1960s-1970s in which simple actions undertaken by the artists were structured in order to make a piece (Bruce Nauman, Marina Abromović and Ulay, Tehching Hsieh) and/or the idea alone was the piece (Lawrence Weiner, Yoko Ono). How would, or could, work like this function in our age of instant technological gratification? “A Really Great Idea” is an absurdist proposal for a contemporary technological “art of ideas."

Artist Statement:

My work is an exploration of the context and meaning in art, and the questioning of assumptions—particularly those about what the “right” goals for art should be. I am nostalgic for a time in which I didn't live, when artists tried to be rigorous and sincere in their approach to their work, in the hope that they, and we, would be transformed. But on the other hand, I agree with Walter Benjamin that, "there is no better start for thinking than laughter. And, in particular, convulsion of the diaphragm usually provides better opportunities for thought than convulsion of the soul." I hope that through irony and humor we can better understand our contemporary experience of art's past, present, future, and maybe something about the nature of our experience in general.