Tag Archives: Art

Art: The Art Scene Responds To The Troubled Economy

The Art Scene Responds To The Troubled Economy
Lauren Leibowitz September 26, 2011

Like many New Yorkers, we’ve been following reports on the Occupy Wall Street protests happening in New York City’s financial district this past week. National media has been all atwitter with reports of attacks on these peaceful protesters, who have assembled a diverse group of demonstrators to make a statement about government corruption and the privileging of big business and the wealthy 1% in American policy-making.

No one was safe from their wrath, not even the art world, which typically serves as a bastion of cultural criticism and social commentary on matters of civic discontent. In an effort to champion workers’ rights over corporate greed, protesters took aim at Sotheby’s by repeatedly interrupting an art auction at the famed art auction house last week, pledging their allegiance to Sotheby’s art handlers, who have been struggling over contract negotiations. The art auction served as a poignant reminder of the discrepancies in the distribution of wealth in the art market itself, a sort of microcosm of the larger financial issues plaguing our country.

We decided to pay homage to art’s traditional role in this conversation—as criticism, commentary and instigator—by taking a look at some of the projects that have tapped into our social zeitgeist, activating it via emotive visual experiences to address the recession, unemployment and lots of other factors contributing to this particularly charged moment of worldwide economic crisis. These responses date back to 2008, when the recession first began, and paint an interesting trajectory of how the dialogue has shifted since.

Damon Rich, “Red Lines Crisis Housing Learning Center” (2008)

Damon Rich designed an architectural model to represent home foreclosures in New York City based on a panorama of the city from the 1964 World’s Fair. “In some way, I hope my exhibitions function as strange educational playgrounds for adults,” he told the New York Times.

“Dead End Part I” from arsoni5t on Vimeo (2008)

This intriguing animated graphic novel, though in German, contains many themes pertinent to the American economic climate. The Dead End series takes place during the financial crisis of 2008, and depicts an armed zombie uprising. The stark black and white imagery evokes the cold hard attitude we feel toward the machine.

Pathways To Housing staged this video installation last spring, developed in partnership with the creative agency Sarkissian Mason. The organization drew the attention of passersby to the plight of the city’s many homeless, a group whose interests are ignored all too often. A video projection of a slumbering, shivering man encouraged pedestrians to send a text message to the charity, which would, in effect, help the ghostly figure to find shelter.

“We Like America and America Likes Us” from Bruce High Quality Foundation on Vimeo (2010)

Anonymous artist collective The Bruce High Quality Foundation made this video as part of the 2010 Whitney Biennial about our complex relationship with our country. The video was projected onto the windshield of an ambulance/hearse in the exhibition, with montages from American cultural touchstones set to a narration from a disembodied voice that critiques the conflicts of our shared experiences. “We wish we could have fallen in love with America… but it never made sense.”

SPENT, (2011)

Playspent.org, an interactive site, comes from McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham, and sets out to prove that poverty is no game. SPENT is a simulation of the choices a low-income single parent must make to survive, putting the player in the tough position of choosing between essentials like auto payments or a child’s field trip funding. You might make it through the simulated month—but you might not be happy with the results.

ATM or this is [not] new york, Sponsored By Nobody (ongoing)

ATM or this is [not] new york is an NYC-based performance piece that sheds light on the city’s interactions with the homeless population. Produced by Sponsored By Nobody, this traveling theatrical endeavor presented the homeless interacting with ATM patrons in exchange for spare change. The performance evolved into a dialogue on gentrification and the interactions within the city between people of highly different interest groups. This project was successfully funded through Kickstarter.

Loft In The Red Zone, Fractured Atlas Foundation (ongoing)

Loft In The Red Zone proposes another call for action—though this group’s been affected by the ongoing Wall Street occupation to a bit more of a detriment. This exhibition is an artists’ tribute to New York City on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, expressing several artists’ reaction to the aftermath of the crisis. Unfortunately, barricades have gone up around the gallery in attempts to safeguard the city against the Occupy Wall Street protests, and the gallery isn’t receiving the action it needs. Donate to their Kickstarter in order to ensure that the exhibition makes enough money to stay open through October.

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Exhibition: Primitive Accumulation

Friday May 27th-June 30th, 2011

Curated by Arne De Boever and Dan Davis

FOLD Gallery London is pleased to present a group show celebrating the first two years of http://www.PRIMITIVEACCUMULATION.com, an online collaboration between artist Dan Davis and literary critic and critical theorist Arne De Boever. Although the project initially recorded only work by its founders, it gradually began to include works by other artists as well, leading the process of accumulation to intensify until the point of its destruction. In the midst of an emergency situation that is both political and economic, Primitive Accumulation aims to stage a dialogue between artworks and texts that would empower audiences to not simply face up to the challenges of their times, but to generate works in response.

Primitive Accumulation was launched some time in the Fall of 2009 as a means to record the creative collaborations between artist Dan Davis and critic Arne De Boever, as well as a few of their friends. In the midst of an emergency situation that is both political and economic, the blog aims to stage a dialogue between images and texts that would empower viewers and readers to not simply face up to the challenges of their times, but to generate new works in response to them. Our philosophy is that crisis is not a problem, but should be embraced as the source of new aesthetic, ethical, and political possibilities. So far, the images on the site have ranged from scratchboard drawings, to pencil and India ink on paper, to digital images; the texts have addressed key questions in ethical and political thought from Ancient Greece to the present. Although initially, the blog will only record work by its founders, our aim is to include, little by little, works by other artists and writers so as to intensify the process of creative accumulation until the point of its destruction, when the blog will burst out of its frame and the virtual accumulation it has staged will take over reality. After this break has occurred, the works featured on Primitive Accumulation will be gathered for a show at a gallery in London, where a self-published book with images and texts from the site will be launched.

http://www.primitiveaccumulation.com/

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Publication: Art Asia Pacific issue 65

ArtAsiaPacific
Issue 65
Sept/Oct 2009

http://www.aapmag.com

The depressed global economy has raised the stakes for government leaders around the world as frustrated citizens cry out for political and social reform. Waves of civil unrest in Asia have dominated the international media in recent months. In mid-June, massive protests in Iran followed the announcement of questionable results for the presidential election. Meanwhile, in western China, simmering tensions between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese erupted into bloody riots, resulting in some 200 dead, more than 1,000 injured and many more arrested.

ArtAsiaPacific’s September/October issue focuses on artists whose work engages with politically charged themes and seeks out alternative resolutions to the world’s most deeply entrenched problems.

The horrifying specter of nuclear war remains a sensitive topic in Japan. Features editor Ashley Rawlings examines how the irreverent Japanese collective ChimPom broke one of the country’s touchiest taboos after skywriting the word PIKA (meaning “flash” and an overt reference to the atomic bomb) in white smoke over Hiroshima. Rawlings analyzes why the city’s residents found the group’s action unacceptable, yet were able to embrace other interpretations of the 1945 explosions by artists such as Cai Guo-Qiang.

Turning to Taiwan, AAP’s desk editor in Taipei David Frazier looks at the sexually charged paintings and digital prints of Wu Tien-chang while reflecting on the island’s transition from four decades of martial law to democracy in 1987. Curator and scholar Britta Erickson explores the diverse work of Yang Jiechang, revealing how the artist regularly encounters social and political antagonism when he exhibits, not only in his home country of China but also in France and Poland. From the Middle East, AA contributor and Almanac co-editor Marisa Mazria-Katz considers the ruminative work of Yael Bartana, an Israeli artist who critiques Zionist propaganda in videos that touch on Israeli national identity. Looking north to Lebanon, managing editor HG Masters traces recent developments in the work of conceptualist Walid Raad who, after retiring his project the Atlas Group on the history of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90), has turned his attention to the development of art and culture in the Middle East, including the massive museum construction projects in Abu Dhabi.

In Profiles, AAP meets instrumental figures in China, Iran and Australia. Vicki and Kent Logan, owners of the largest private collection contemporary Chinese art in the United States, talk about their fascination with Cynical Realism, and how the 1990s movement broadened their understanding of social change in China. AAP’s West Asia desk editor Sara Raza talks to artist, curator, collector and gallerist Fereydoun Ave about developments in the Iranian art scene following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and his recent mixed-media collages portraying heroic figures from Persian medieval poetry. Michael Young sits down with John Kaldor, Australia’s leading contemporary arts patron, who has commissioned major public artworks in Sydney by Christo, Gregor Schneider and others over the last 40 years.

In Projects, NaoKo TakaHashi, a Japanese performance artist who has worked in Jerusalem, tells AAP about how she transformed her experience as an immigrant in London into performances and installations that record social interactions with unwitting participants. For Where I Work, AAP visited Naiza Khan in her Karachi studio, filled with the artist’s haunting abstractions of the female body and her more recent work about urban decay. Reflecting on the history of the Subcontinent, senior editor Don J. Cohn reviews three recent books on India’s passage to artistic and cultural modernity. In My Eight, artist and biting social critic Ai Weiwei lists his favorite governments, and as a reminder that democracies are not immune to the erosion of civil liberties, independent curator Hyunjin Kim discusses the South Korean government’s regulation of free speech and deep budgetary cuts to the country’s arts infrastructure.

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Event: CHANCES OF CRISIS – movements out of an unstable field

CHANCES OF CRISIS – movements out of an unstable field
Berlin, Germany

am Mittwoch, 26.08.2009 und Donnerstag 27.08.2009
jeweils 16 – 22 Uhr
in den arttransponder, Brunnenstraße 151, 10115 Berlin

The effects of the financial crisis on the field of art, including its production and circulation within art institutions, have already left visible traces on an already economically unstable field which is characterized by precarious working conditions for artists. Many project spaces, art initiatives, art projects and galleries are experiencing restructurings, major financial difficulties and closure. Incentives (here I mean grants and project sponsoring), mainly for small or non for profit organizations have been cut back, frozen or been linked to specific conditions for support. International projects have been affected as well. Confirmed project plans with signed contracts, guided with the commitments of financial support from German foundations are being canceled without any further notice.

blog: http://arttransponder.blogspot.com/2009/05/normal-0-21-false-false-false_20.html#comments

http://www.arttransponder.net/index.php?id=279&L=1

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Article / Publication: Rescue Plan

FRAMEWORK Issue 10 June´09

Framework: The Finnish Art Review
– a bi-annual magazine.

Rescue Plan
In the cover image the sculptor, performance artist and cattle keeper Miina Äkkijyrkkä guides her cattle through the forest. Her personal conflict with authorities merges together with the uncertain destiny of the endangered native cattle breed of which there are only a few members left. Her experiences have caused personal uncertainty and helplessness in a situation where she literally has to ask: Where can we go?

Similarly, the prospects concerning the future of the global society merge together with the ongoing financial crisis, the fastening climate change and its impact on the global environment. Even if the consequences of the current developments are still unknown and unfurling, they can already prove that science or technological development do not alone lead to real development and welfare – on the contrary, the course of events may take quite an opposite direction. If the ’world balance’ can only depend on economic growth, how do we rescue the home for the human race?

Keeping the demise of neoliberal ideology in mind, the contributors in Locating have been asked to sketch out alternative starting points for today’s economic, political and aesthetic practices and draft outlines for alternative models. Among writers are Chuck Dyke, Michel Bauwens, David Elliott, Miina Äkkijyrkkä, Ásmundur Ásmundsson, Antoanetta Ivanova, Kim Levin, Elena Sorkina & Oliver Ressler, Morten Goll & Joachim Hamou & Tone Olaf Nielsen, and Marita Muukkonen & HeHe.

The magazine provides a wider context for Jussi Kivi’s Fire & Rescue Museum at Finnish Pavilion in 53rd Venice Biennale. In Focus Sven Spieker and Jonni Roos examine this artistic case study which has its origin in the artist’s long-standing passionate interest in everything that relates to firefighting. The collection was brought out of confinement and transformed to communicate new meanings after the artist’s accidental encounter with an underground nuclear bomb shelter constructed by the Soviet army in eastern Estonia. Artefacts of heroism are mirrored against the Soviet-time propagandist information boards and posters that give instructions on civil defence and firefighting procedures before and after a nuclear fallout. Childhood adoration for rescuers turns out to be a thin dream when it is faced with the threat of massive destruction.
The Finnish artists reviewed in Features are: Jan-Erik Andersson, Sasha Huber, Antti Laitinen, and Jani Ruscica. Their projects presented have been transgressing established boundaries that guide and control current conditions of artistic production.

http://www.framework.fi/

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Article: What Now for the Arts in the Economic Downturn?

Arts and Business, London
2008

“On the 18 September 2008, The Financial Times published an article highlighting that arts sponsorship budgets are relatively safe in the short term but the longer term picture is troubling.  This piece was based on a survey of businesses conducted by Arts & Business in August this year.

If you would like a snapshot of the results then please click here. If you want an in-depth analysis of the survey results, download A&B’s research on Business Investment in Culture Trends 2008 – Will the credit crunch affect this? (PDF 715KB) *Please note, this research was conducted in August 2008, before the collapse of the Lehman Brothers, the Iceland Banks and other indicators of the financial crisis unravelling in the UK and internationally.”

http://www.aandb.org.uk/render.aspx?siteID=1&navIDs=1,4,29

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Publication/article: Text Zur Kunst Issue No. 74

13 THESES ON CONTEMPORARY ART”

The current issue of “Texte zur Kunst” gathers contributions from art historians, critics, artists, and curators under the programmatic title “13 Theses on Contemporary Art” – each attempts to outline the parameters, phenomena and trends with a normative claim in the field of contemporary art that are crucial for their respective current projects. The crisis in the finance market and its gradual effect on the so-called “real economy,” or the provisional end of the “boom” in contemporary art are everywhere associated with the ominous hope that it is “finally” once more all about “content.” But what is this much-lauded content that is supposedly able to resist every crisis? What is at stake “after the crisis” for various actors in the art field? How does their perspective change? Or can it still be business as usual? It is thus the present situation, in which more or less well-founded existential anxieties intermix with diffuse hopes for a return of “fixed values” that has been the inspiration to gather findings on the current state; these are inevitably particular and unfinished, but they are all the more significant for it.

Plus reviews from New York, London, Berlin, Vienna, Gent, Batimore, Basel, Cologne, Munich, Bonn and Aachen

TEXTE ZUR KUNST
STRAUSBERGER PLATZ 19
10243 BERLIN
Germany

TEL +49 (0)30 – 30 10 453 45
FAX +49 (0)30 – 30 10 453 44

editionen@textezurkunst.de
http://www.textezurkunst.de

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