“In 2010 photographer Wing Young Huie in collaboration with Public Art Saint Paul will transform St. Paul’s University Avenue into a 6-mile public gallery of 500 photographs revealing the complex cultural and socioeconomic diversity of neighborhoods along this urban corridor. Photographs will be exhibited in store windows and on buildings and will be projected at night onto large outdoor screens accompanied by pre-recorded and, at monthly events, live music.” – http://www.theuniversityavenueproject.com/
Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk is a project created by Saint Paul’s Public Artist in Residence Marcus Young and friends, Saint Paul Public Works, and Public Art Saint Paul with contributions from Saint Paul poets, which began in 2008. Every year residents can submit poems to be selected for imprinting in the new and newly repaired sidewalks of the city. The deadline for submissions is March 28, 2010. Guidelines here.
As “just” participatory, civic art Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk is an exemplary project, both whimsical and impactful. As Young writes in his brief introduction,
“Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk is inspired by the universal, childish desire to draw a finger through tempting wet cement. The project also has higher-minded aspiration. Our public realm, crowded with commercial and regulatory text, could use more poetry. On our modest sidewalks, we hope to create delightful moments of open-air reading, and make public and common the beauty in our hearts as expressed by our poets. Beautiful poetry can be as present and plain as sidewalk, as grass and sky.”
What is particularly interesting – even revolutionary – about Everyday Poems, I think, is the way the program is integrated into the everyday business of the city of Saint Paul. Young is in an almost unique situation in the United States. He is not just an outsider artist-in-residence, he is a “city artist,” and as such he often sits alongside the engineers, public safety, marketing and other public works staff in evaluating new projects. Like the renowned Mierle Laderman Ukeles, who has been artist in residence (unsalaried) at the New York City Department of Sanitation since 1977, Young is part of a team and Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk is as much a public amenity as the sidewalks themselves.
Add your voice to your city.
“[P]ublic art that truly engages and creates a real relationship with the public and creates a social common ground is rarer. Plensa’s fountain does that and effectively blurs completely the line between art and public. This is urban planning in the service of both art and the city’s populace.” – Dawoud Bey
via Chicago Now
Photographer Dawoud Bey writes a perceptive and thoughtful article about Chicago’s Millennium Park and implicitly – and respectfully – challenges the Burnham Pavilion projects by architects Zaha Hadid and Ben van Berkel‘s UNStudio to live up to the success of James Plesna‘s Crown Fountain. This is not just a question of numbers but how public art might create a public for itself, so to speak, without simply replicating its commonest preferences – or deigning to engage them. As Bey writes about the Crown Fountain:
“From bathing suit and Pamper clad small children splashing and laying in the shallow reflecting pool, to groups of teenagers lounging nonchalantly and parents sitting on the side or splashing with their children, Jaume Plensa’s fountain is a fantastical high tech urban concoction. It appears to be an urban black granite clad beach plopped right smack in the middle of downtown.”
One thing I particularly like about Bey’s writing is the way he approaches the public art experience. It isn’t just his pleasurable familiarity with a favorite venue – “As I so often do when the weather gets warm I took a stroll over to the Crown Fountain while I was downtown on other business.” It is also his sense of the art as an activation, not merely a destination.
“The periodic spouting of water from the mouths of the subjects brings everyone rushing to the spout in a mass of soaking wet multifarious humanity, reminding us that there are indeed moments, even in “the most segregated large city in America,” when we are more alike than different in our common citizenship.”
Not surprisingly, the notion of art that “creates a real relationship with the public and creates a social common ground”; that “literally reflects the very public [it is] meant to engage, thereby allowing everyone to see themselves in it”; that reflects “that there are indeed moments . . . when we are more alike than different in our common citizenship” is equally applicable to Bey’s own remarkable photographic work over the past 35 years.
“LA-based cross-media visual designer Ramón Coronado has built a swing, lounge chair, table and a lamp out of shopping carts: Mercado Negro meaning Black Market in Spanish is a 12 week project that deals with reclaiming an ordinary, everyday object and transforming it into a whole new object. At the same time hinting at the lack of parks and recreational functions in Los Angeles.”
“Urban intervention idealized by Felipe Morozini, directed by Jeorge Simas around Elevado Costa e Silva in SÃ£o Paulo City, to make a little bit less rough. One dweller and 21 friends painting one of the most crowded avenue in the biggest city in South America.”
Runner Up in the Street Art Award category of the Metropolis Art Prize 2009.
The University of Nevada, Reno recently hosted Prospectives.09, a three day, international festival that featured works by grad and Ph.D. candidates who explore various methods of digital arts practice. During the festival opening, the artist Doo-Sung Yoo presented his performance, Pig Bladder Clouds, in a public square directly outside the universityâ€™s fine arts complex. Yoo, who was dressed as a butcher, constructed floating balloons out of pig bladders, helium filled plastic bags, wood sticks, and LED lights with his two, like-wise costumed assistants, from a public work station he set up in the square. Accompanied by loud, cathedral inspired music from a large speaker, Yoo silently strung his sculptures from strings and staked them into the ground of the perimeter of the square. According to the festivalâ€™s website, â€œThe work investigates human-animal hybrids – inspired by the true saga of an old man who re-grew his wounded fingertip using special medicine made from powdered pig bladders.â€
As a spectator of the performance, it was encouraging to see the audience’s engagement with Yooâ€™s pieces. The square hosting the performance is located in a high traffic area of the campus, so it was an optimal location for the work. The daunting music and curious balloons drew a large audience, with people going out of their way to observe the performance. I saw friends and strangers conversing, trying to decide what they were seeing and how they were affected by the presence of these flying objects. I think the most interesting experience was how you found yourself cautious to walk onto the grass of the square. As the crowds began to gather, it felt as if there was a communal acknowledgment that we were witnessing something sacred, and the space needed to be respected.
— Peter Whittenberger is a Reno based artist whose work uses various, social practices to explore community engagement and the power of everyday interactions.
“West of Rome Public Art and Los Angeles artist Sam Durant propose Scaffold: A Direct Appeal (Working Title), an interactive, sculptural installation promoting public forum, to take place in the Spring and Summer of 2011 in three different citiesâ€”Houston, New York City and Los Angeles. Scaffold continues the artistâ€™s long-standing practice of incorporating socio-political issues into large-scale installations.
“Building from previous works like Upside Down: Pastoral Scene (2002), Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monuments Transposition, Washington D.C (2005), and Scenes from the Pilgrim Story (2006), this new project takes themes from American history into the public realm. An architecturally scaled construction that will serve as a platform for public programming, performance, reading and theater, Scaffold will engage the public on multiple levels, questioning received wisdom and historical truths.”
More gallows via PRAZ-DELAVALLADE
Looks like a great line up for a panel with a ho-hum title “Confounding Expectations X: Photography in Context The Projected Photograph” at the Vera List Center this Thursday – George Baker, Andrea Geyer, Paul Pfeiffer, and Krzysztof Wodiczko.
“This panel will explore the multiple ways in which contemporary artists have utilized projection and installation strategies to display still photographic images, creating immersive and cinema-like experiences in museum and gallery environments.”
It’s still faintly amusing to me that a stellar panel like this might coalesce around the medium-specificity of the photographic image, deploying the term “immersive” in relation to cinema without, apparently, a nod to either the communicating projections of, say, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitiz’s Hole-in-Space or the dynamic environments of, say, Fashionably Late for the Relationship (installation version) by R. Luke Dubois and LiÃ¡n Amaris.
Nevertheless, it is a rich topic. See MHKA’s The Projection Project exhibition with work by Marie JosÃ© Burki, Marc De Blieck, Thierry De Cordier, Rodney Graham, Pierre Huyghe, Kristina Ianatchkova & Vitto Valentinov, TimothÃ©e Ingen-Housz, Yeondoo Jung, AndrÃ© Kruysen,Bertrand Lavier, Bruce Nauman, Stephen & Timothy Quay, Joost Rekveld, Matthew Stokes, Fiona Tan, Krassimir Terziev, Ana Torfs, Paul Van Hoeydonck, Benjamin Verdonck, Cerith Wyn Evans and Thomas Zummer.
I contributed a talk “Into the Streets,” which attempted to construct a discernible trajectory from the kind of gallery-based work that Chrissie Illes presented in her mesmerizing 2001 exhibition, Into the Light: The Projected Image in American Art 1964-1977, to contemporary practice, such as Wodiczko’s CECUCT project and the kind of work I am interested in at Northern Lights as well as the 01SJ Biennial.
And hopefully, Pfeiffer will at least mention his The Saints project, which remains an animating experience for me and taught me that even in a large-scale, public context, spectacular size is not everything. The visual element of The Saints was physically minor, even though critical to the overall experience.
Not unlike the United guitar guy, Davide Luciano and Claudia Ficca turned their run in with a pothole into an excuse for some guerrilla street art from flower gardens toÂ a baptism to deep fried donuts. Check out the slideshow.
via Toronto Star
I love signs. My growing personal collection is here. There is a real joy in finding a sign like the tagged “Respect Signs and Signals” (Boston),Â but many artists have mastered such interventions as a kind of physical meme. So I particularly enjoyed Joseph del Pesco’s interview on the excellent SFMOMA Open Space blog with Anthony Discenza about his Street Signs Project, “Coming Up: Greater Horrors.”
Other favorites include, of course, the amazing Rigo 23
Germaine Koh’s Journal on mobile signs.
Steve Lambert’s equally funny mobile arrow sign.
Finally, straight from the horse’s mouth
Which is proved by the ban on public billboards in Sao Paulo.
btw, Discenza is selling limited edition prints of his signs for a new project. Help support his habit.
Wooster Collective interviews Martin Sobey about what might be called his uplifting random acts of art.
This curb shot reminds me of Natalie Jeremijenko’s NoPark project, which returnsÂ “‘no parking zones’ â€” mostly those associated fire hydrant placement â€” to low growth mosses and grasses.”
“These micro engineered green spaces prevent storm water run off, use foliage to stabilize the soil, and to provide a durable low maintenance surface cover. These microparks continue to provide emergency parking space for fire trucks and exasperated Fresh-direct delivery persons. But the other 99.9% of the time they now do something more. For all the same rationales that apply to green roofs, greening the no-standing zones is a good thing. Practically, noPARKS capture more water than green roofs (not being limited to carrying capacity of the 2â€, 4â€ or 6â€ of soil that roofs require). These no parking/standing zones are often situated where water collects, capturing the oily runoff from the road before it runs into the river. noPARKs recharge and replenish soil moisture on the block important to trees â€” even yards away â€” to help them dilute the gallons of uric acid poured on city trees plots each day by friendly neighborhood dogs. Less water puddling decreases pedestrian slipping hazards. Lastly, the noPark reduces the number of standing water pools that are left for days, which are the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. In this way, the noPark may reduce the need for widespread fumigation to combat West Nile virus in New York City.”
On September 24-25, 2009 the G-20 Summit will take place in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, where G-20 leaders, representing 80% of the worldâ€™s trade and two-thirds of the world population, will determine policies affecting our economic and financial futures.
To foster engagement despite the insularity of these talks, Osman Khan, an artist, and Elliance, are collaborating to develop heyG20 as a forum that will allow concerned citizenâ€™s of the world to voice their thoughts and opinions to the Leaders of the G20 Summit. The project is an interactive installation that will take place during the G-20 Summit in the windows of Ellianceâ€™s offices located directly across the river from the Pittsburgh Convention Center.
Interested participants may tweet their message to @heyG20 (http://twitter.com/heyG20), whereby your messages will be transformed to a multicolored morse code light show, illuminating not only the night sky but also the concerns of the worldâ€™s citizens.
So tweet away…
via Hey G20
Hey G20 does not appear to have quite the visual punch of Johannes Gees’ remarkable hellomrpresident projection onto the mountains outside Davos during the exclusive World Economic Forum in 2002, but it will be interesting to see how/whether the ubiquity of social media like Twitter bump up participation in and the impact of the project.
See also These projects are smokinâ€™! for an earlier post about Germaine Koh’s Prayers and Ali Momeni and Robin Mandel’s Smoke and Hot Air, both of which translate messages – in these cases, datamined rather than Tweeted – into Morse code.
Four year legal battle ends with substantial donations to civil + human rights groups
CAE Defense Fund donated to Center for Constitutional Rights & New York Civil Liberties Union
Buffalo, NYâ€”After a widely watched four-year legal battle, the CAE Defense Fund was officially dissolved last week, with its remainder of unexpended funds donated in two substantial gifts to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU).
The CAE Defense Fund was originally created as a mechanism to raise funds for legal bills incurred by Dr. Steven Kurtz and Dr. Robert Ferrell in what its members argued was a politically motivated attack by the Department of Justiceâ€”one which threatened the constitutional and fundamental rights not only of the two defendants, but also of everyone, due to legal precedents that would have been set by an unfavorable outcome.
In response, thousands of people worldwide organized demonstrations and raised money for the two menâ€™s legal defense through fundraisers and a variety of other grassroots efforts.
The fund was also heavily supported by internationally renowned artists including Sol Lewitt, Richard Serra, Hans Haacke, Cindy Sherman, Carl Andre, Mike Kelley, Kiki Smith, Sam Durant, Mark Dion, Jeremy Deller, and many others, who donated work to an auction at Paula Cooper Gallery in April 2005. Other artists such as Chuck Close, Walid Raad, and Ed Ruscha made substantial direct cash contributions.Â In all, the Fund raised approximately $350,000.
Drs. Kurtz and Ferrell were indicted for mail and wire fraud in June of 2004. Under the USA PATRIOT Act, the maximum sentence for those charges was increased from five years to twenty years in jail. After an arduous four-year-long struggle, in April of 2008 the indictment against Kurtz was finally dismissed by Federal Judge Richard J. Arcara as â€œinsufficient on its faceâ€â€”meaning that even if the actions alleged in the indictment (which the judge must accept as â€œfactâ€) were true, they would not constitute a crime. Ferrell pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in October 2007 after recurring bouts of cancer and three strokes suffered during the course of the case prevented him from continuing the struggle.
When the case was dismissed instead of going to trial, approximately $108,930 remained in the fund.
â€œHad the case gone to a jury trial, that amount wouldnâ€™t have been enough to cover Steveâ€™s legal bills through the trial, let alone appeals in the event of a guilty verdictâ€ explained Edmund Cardoni, Executive Director of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo NY, and the Fundâ€™s fiscal administrator. â€œWhen the case was finally thrown out, we were thrilled, but we were presented with a new problem. The committee was very conscious of our ethical responsibility to make sure this money would be used in a way that honored the original intent of the many people who gave money to the fund, and the artists who donated art works to the fundraising auction.â€
In keeping with that purposeâ€”to defend our fundamental constitutional rightsâ€”the CAE Defense Fund and Trial Fund committees, in consultation with artists, curators, and others centrally involved in the fundraising efforts, voted to disburse the remaining funds by awarding 80 percent ($87,150) to the CCR, and 20 percent ($21,780) to the NYCLU.
CAE Defense Fund coordinator Lucia Sommer said, â€œWe are extremely happy that the case is over, and that the remaining funds can be passed on to organizations that have such a distinguished record of defending not only the U.S. Constitution, but also the human rights and dignity of all people.â€
Added Kurtz, â€œI always promised everyone who donated their time, labor and hard-earned money to our defense that this struggle would do more than demonstrate to the Justice Department that the art, science, academic and activist communities would not be intimidated by its authoritarian tactics. We knew the legal precedent set by the case was critical to preventing what happened to Bob and me from happening to others, and itâ€™s incredibly rewarding to know that these funds can now be used to defend others who do not have the kind of support we had.â€
Representatives of both organizations expressed gratitude for the donations.
â€œThe NYCLU is very pleased to receive this generous contribution from the CAE Legal Defense Fund to continue our work in restoring, defending, and upholding our constitutional and fundamental rights, including artistic and academic freedoms,â€ said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Vincent Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, congratulated the CAE Defense Fund â€œand its many dedicated and principled supporters for your extraordinary victoryâ€”a victory for our country and the Constitution as much as it is for the individuals.â€ He further stated that, â€œThe CCR is honored to use the tremendous support of the Fund’s donors to continue the fight against repression of dissent and illegal detentionsâ€”work which, unfortunately, is still sorely needed.â€
For more information about the case, please visit: http://caedefensefund.org
Krzysztof Wodiczko is one of the primary inspirations for any public projection art. This is some of what he said about his famed intervention in South Africa, which lasted a mere 2 hours – for almost 25 years now.
“We must stop this ideological ritual,’ interrupt this journey-in-fiction, arrest the somnambulistic movement, restore public focus, a concentration of the building and its architecture. What is implicit about the building must be exposed as explicit; the myth must be visually concretized and unmasked. The absent-mided, hypnotic relation with architecture must be challenged by a conscious and critic public discourse taking place in front of the building.
“Public visualization of this myth can unmask the myth, recognize it ‘physically,’ force it to the surface, and hold it visible, so that the people on the street can observe and celebrate its final formal capitulation.
“This must happen at the very place of myth, on the site of its production, on its bodyâ€“the building.”
More via the International Center of Photgraphy’s Fans in a Flashbulb.