Rafa Esparza My grandparents were the first people who settled the pueblo where my parents were born in Mexico. I think if there was a beginning, in terms of thinking about a home, that would be a good place to start. My father grew up making adobe bricks, like most men in the pueblo. It was…
I wrote the piece below a couple days after the 4/20 MOCA gala. I was riled up. Time has passed. I'm still riled up...
I wrote the piece below a couple days after the 4/20 MOCA gala. I was riled up. Time has passed. I’m still riled up. Kids come in and out and into juvie for marijuana crimes while the connected and rich laugh about the laws the hoi polloi is subject to.
It’s such strictly economic warfare that it hurts my gut every time I remember being young and thinking that the space of art was the space of the most imaginative and advanced thought. Now it’s hard not to see it as simple jestering for the elite.
Scott Treleaven "All-Nite Cinema" @ Invisible Exports
One of the first things they disabuse you of in Art History 101 is the notion that abstract art represents or refers to something “out there in the world.” Only the naive viewer looks for a worldly referent in abstract work. The emptying out (or filling up) of a picture with abstract marks and spaces is intended to offer artists the opportunity to explore painterly problems without dressing them up as something else. But abstraction too easily becomes a veil and an excuse for not talking about things. The proliferation of a certain style of abstract painting in contemporary art feels more like a way for galleries to sell work that feels “cool,” for artists to avoid making an argument.
In May 2012, MoCA opened an exhibition on Land Art. It focused on the movement’s early years in the 1960s to mid-1970s before it became an institutionalized artform.
In 1969, sculptor Michael Heizer completed Double Negative, now considered to be a pioneering and seminal work of the movement. The piece consists of two long trenches that cut through the eastern edge of the Mormon mesa in the Nevada Desert. Heizer displaced 240,000 tons of rock to create the work, stretching it across an immense 1,500 feet of land.
Geeta Dayal is my guest for the seventh episode of Why We Listen.
We listen to and discuss:
Brian Eno – ‘The Big Ship’ Dieter Moebius, Conny Plank, and Mani Neumeier – ‘Pitch Control’ Nazia Hassan – ‘Boom Boom’
Geeta Dayal writes about music, technology and culture for The Wire, Frieze, the New York Times, The Village Voice and many other publications and is currently a staff writer at Wired. She is also the author of the book “Another Green World” about Brian Eno’s album as a part of Continuum’s 33 1/3 series.
"And here, between the boat slips, icy emaciations Past blackness somehow, the color of plummet…”
That’s the last stanza (of four) of Christian Wiman’s translation of Osip Mandelstam’s “Today Is All Beak”.
Sure, I know how to fall down. But the straightforwardness of those last four words made me think that perhaps “the color of plummet” is a more tangible thing, something that I just hadn’t learned about yet. So I slid the computer over and googled it up. The top site that appears links to a display of five rows of five colors ranging from various browns to a couple whites to a few greens and a slew of blues.
Chris Dixon is my guest for the sixth episode of Why We Listen.
We listen to and discuss:
Stevie Wonder – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing Jimi Hendrix – If 6 Was 9 Minor Threat – Salad Days
Chris Dixon owns the Explorist International, a record store in San Francisco’s Mission District, DJ’s the Saturday Night Soul Party under the name Phengren Oswald, plays bass in the HxC band Cops., solo electronics in Earth Jerks and previously played drums in Death Sentence: Panda!
Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.
You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.
Thanks for listening.
Notes: 1. From the liner notes of Big Black’s Songs About Fucking: “Hey, breaking up is an idea that has occurred to far too few groups. Sometimes to the wrong ones.”
I forgot to mention earlier that I did in fact find a small area in Central London that was not completely cleaned up. I am assuming the city officials decided to preserve the area from the clean up because of the platform it gave for children to interact at. Located in Waterloo London, this area is famous for the London Eye, the Westminster Bridge, and Big Ben. The charming graffiti skate park crawling with individuals of all ages seems to be subtly included! I found this area or space to be the most valued in my eyes, because of its value in such a historical area.
In my previous post I discussed my research at the White Chapel Gallery on Protest and Survive and the installation of Bridge! and how the exhibition conveys awareness of political consciousness. In addition I visited Freedom Press the last radical bookstore in London located in alley right next to White Chapel. You would honestly just miss the turn if you didn’t peak down this mysterious narrow Angel Alley.
When the Bears played (and demolished) the Cowboys earlier this season on Monday Night Football, Mike Tirico made it a point to emphasize the art that hangs all over Cowboy Stadium. Specifically, he wanted to point out Jenny Holzer's contribution to the scene: she wrote some new Truisms to be displayed on the world’s largest video monitor (it hangs over the playing field).
It would have been pleasant if it displayed Holzer’s quote from the newspaper about the project instead: “I’m a lucky duck. I was invited.” A surgically appropriate diagnosis of the feeling shared by many attending fans would have been lit up to boot.
In contrast with the realms of institutional galleries, points of social improvements in the London art scene have been slowly identified as combining forms of engagement specifically in exhibitions. One example of the aforementioned phenomena is the exhibition titled Protest and Survive from 2000 by curator Matthew Higgs and artist Paul Noble, which focused on a call for social, political, and historical consciousness in the British Culture. The show was less focused on historical and current activism and more focused on work that projected a metaphorical approach to resistance.
Paul Festa is my guest for the fifth episode of Why We Listen.
We listen to and discuss: Olivier Messiaen – Regard du Père (Louise Bessette) Olivier Messiaen – L’échange (Yvonne Loriod) Olivier Messiaen – Par Lui tout a été fait (Roger Muraro)
Paul Festa is the filmmaker behind Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006), an investigation into the act of listening to music and The Glitter Emergency (2010), a silent-film drag ballet comedy. He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the documentary Stage Left, A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010). He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, and his essays appear in numerous publications and anthologies. His documentary in progress, Tie It Into My Hand, premiered as a short at Cannes in May 2012.
In addition I saw that a majority of the pieces that made up Bricklane were primarily portraits, or very large pieces. A specific artist I recognized was C215, however he doesn’t reign from London but Paris so I was very excited to his work digested in another city. C215 does intimate colorful stencil portraits of individuals who are forgotten possibly refugees, street children or the displaced. Adorned with colorful pieces I saw a lot of his work on corners of walls or doorways. I thought his portrait placements were intentional for more reflection on individuals being unnoticed to the public while being so largely a part of it. Below is the link to Street Art London a website that provides consistent interviews with artists as well as maps of known pieces.
When LACE brought Derek Bailey here to play in 1989, it wasn't sound art...
It was music. And it was actual Art.
In the intervening years, it seems that most cultural institutions have decided not to encourage concerts of music that is also Art, but instead to simply pay lip service to the myriad advances made in music over the last 160 years, and, when they have the time, to exhibit and endorse selected pieces of “sound art”. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, however, has embarked on a much more substantial project: Ràdio Web MACBA.
Their efforts to invest in music and in music history reward the public in the form of commissioned radio shows and collages by people that are expert researchers into and lovers of music, if not musicians themselves (often both). These shows investigate what is actually going on in the world of music that is also Art.
By word of mouth I was introduced to Bricklane in Shoreditch, this part of the city closely resembled Brooklyn, New York. To me it seemed like the core of the vibrant city, away from the ‘cleaned up’ central London you could imagine the shift in what made up the area. Luckily, I was introduced to the area when the weekly Sunday market was in full effect. Crowds flooded the streets encompassing an array of diverse food, clothes, and everything you could imagine a market could obtain. In addition to the cobbled streets and beautiful architecture there was street art everywhere! I thought is this where they stopped cleaning, or maybe caring? Or maybe it was as simple as the attendees of the Olympics would essentially have no reason to go beyond the events in central London.
Known as one of the most visited cities, in addition to being identified as one of the art capitals of the world: London’s intense realm of institutions, culture, and history make up the cities finest appeals. Upon my arrival to London my goal was to address the physical environment of the fast paced city and experience momentary interaction with pieces of public work that are a part of the environment.
Without plan I scheduled my adventure to London during the time of the Olympics, as you could imagine I was very apprehensive to be caught in a city whose population was doubled in hustling. As you know the Olympics are a renown event that brings togetherness and unity through sports. However the contrast of this event revealed the clean up of the center of London due to the Olympics, dialogue with London locals, and the messages that reflected thoughts on walls. My goal for this city was to find cultural contrast with central London and the outskirts that surround the main historical locations, while researching institutions that included the public of London.
Another gallery I visited in Amsterdam was space W139.I came across the Dutch Art Map, which lists various art related institutions, events, and alternative spaces all across Holland. Ironically, located just between the City Centre and the Red light District, this once squat is now an alternative space for contemporary art that provides “room for risk”. I became intrigued with space W139 prior to researching locations to keep an eye out for on the beginning of my adventure.
Erected from just around the corner from GO Gallery, the photo above is a mural done by the street artists The London Police. Created in the city centre of Amsterdam, the Jordaan District, this mural is just one of the many stories of how the community raised their voices to the city council (Gemeente) in order to demand the preservation of art in public spaces. The space given by a man who lives in the building was apparently tired of the consistent dreary and not so beautiful taggings done on his property, he requested The London Police to adorn a mural and transform the once dreary wall into something more vibrant. Once the city council arrived to the half painted wall, TLP was informed about the required permission they needed in order to paint any façade in the city centre. Most of the individuals of the neighborhood, informed by the Go Gallery attendant Farud, created a petition in order to show the demand and support of art immersed in public spaces. Eventually they succeeded in the case! After all who wouldn’t want this lively mural on the side of their home?
With my new knowledge of free zones, I was motivated to parallel local galleries with the squats I encountered. The first gallery I visited was GO Gallery whose current exhibition on display was called Inside Outside. The gallery attendant informed me of the current exhibition’s theme was the unity of street artists. On display were various mediums with artists from Los Angeles, London, Paris, and local artists from Amsterdam.
Below is the interview I did with Oscar, one of the organizers of the collective Amsterdam Street Art and director of GO Gallery. I asked him various questions pertaining to the annual ASA festivals and the way in which ASA activates street art to the public of Amsterdam. Some of the questions I discussed were: How can participation be integral in the street art festival of September 2012? How can artists projects be activated so that people choose to get involved? How can you assert your role as a collective whilst adopting non-hierarchal models?
Chloe Van Stralendorff
*Also in the interview is my friend Sammy who accompanied me on my adventure.
Known to be one of the richest cities in the world, my first stop was Amsterdam. I wanted to start my trip here primarily because of the vibrant urban and unique villages that make its location in Europe like no other. In addition to its unique settings, its acceptability of normal laws are unlike any other locations or that’s what I thought. I found that Amsterdam’s metropolis had an interesting approach towards the street art scene; they try to decriminalize the activity by creating legal opportunities for artists. They provide artists places to paint in specific locations in the city, which are essentially “free-zoned” wall spaces. Although the given spaces didn’t necessarily restrict graffiti to specific areas, it does provide the opportunity for the community of Amsterdam to appreciate the vibrant mural pieces.
Hello CLOSER! My name is Chloe Van Stralendorff and I’m one of nineteen interns this summer at LACE. In addition to my experience at LACE I was granted the Sis Grenalde Travel Fellowship through Moore College of Art & Design, to travel to three art thriving European cities: Amsterdam, London, and Paris. I hope on this trip to interpret work that contributes to an ongoing dialogue with members of various international communities as well as public and private spaces.
I intend to further expand my understanding of contemporary art in these unfamiliar locations in order to merge the gap between the conventional space in which art is occupied. Having this opportunity to visit these locations would therefore further my knowledge of the social and political context of public art, which is often not valued by the masses. Over the next few weeks I will share with you my experience through these beautiful cities with photos as well as interviews.