Social Practice

Value/Labor/Arts: A Primer

Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson Paulsen. 100 Posterworks, 2009-2013; printed poster; 11 x 17 in. Courtesy of the Artists.

“When is it okay to work for free? Is it acceptable as long as you’re working with—or for—another artist? What is an artistic service?” These are some of the questions raised by Shannon Jackson, director of UC Berkeley’s Arts Research Center, in her introduction to Art Practical‘s latest issue, Valuing Labor. She notes, “These are just a few of the hundreds of questions circulating for artists working in the 21st-century[.....]

Mel Chin: Rematch at The New Orleans Museum of Art

Mel Chin, Safehouse, 2008-2001, Saint Roch neighborhood, New Orleans. Photo by Mel Chin.

Mel Chin’s Rematch, now on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art, is the artist’s first retrospective, long overdue and particularly prescient this week as a new U.N. report highlights the dire conditions of the Earth created by pollution, energy, and population, among other factors. Chin, while making visually stunning work, strives to create environmental reactions, rather than objects. However, reactions can have effects[.....]

Wages for Facebook at Kadist Art Foundation

Laurel Ptak (left) and Christina Linden (right).

Last Wednesday, Kadist Art Foundation and curator Christina Linden hosted a conversation with artist Laurel Ptak, the author/founder of Wages for Facebook, a manifesto (based on the 1975 manifesto Wages Against Housework) that calls for a reconsideration of what it means to participate in a system of for-profit social exchange. To a packed house, Ptak began her talk by showing slides of publications that have printed information, opinions, and reactions to[.....]

Valentina Vannicola: Dante’s Inferno

Inferno. Tolfa, Rome, Italy, April 2010 February 2011. ### Infer

In Dante’s Inferno Italian artist Valentina Vannicola merges staged photography with socially engaged practice, resulting in a rich body of work reminiscent of the postdramatic theater of Romeo Castellucci and the Societas Rafaello Sanzio. Using non-professional performers from her hometown of Tolfa, north of Rome, Vannicola has constructed absurdist scenes recreating Dante’s journey through the strata of hell. While the outcome could easily have been[.....]

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery

Jean-Ulrick Désert. Negerhosen2000 / The Travel Albums, 2003. From a series of forty digitally printed images, pigmented inks, and pencil on archival paper with mixed media collage. 11 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. Courtesy the artist.

How is Blackness performed?  Most African American contemporary artists will admit in confidence that they are often expected to perform their Blackness for the power players of the art mainstream, regardless of their choice of artistic medium. Artists working in two dimensions such as Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, and Wangechi Mutu have gained currency by creating work that makes the construction of black identity[.....]

Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation: Different Kinds of Water Pouring Into a Swimming Pool at REDCAT

Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation, Different Kinds of Water Pouring Into a Swimming Pool, 2013, Courtesy of REDCAT. Photo: Scott Groller.

The story of Los Angeles is the story of water. Since the creation of the Los Angeles Aqueduct by William Mulholland 100 years ago this month (fictionalized in Roman Polanski’s film Chinatown), water has been intimately tied to power, status, and politics in Southern California. Here, more than in any other major U.S. city, water is an essential part of the urban landscape. Who has access[.....]

If the World Changed: Singapore Biennale 2013

Teamlab. Peace Can Be Realized Even Without Order, 2012; interactive digital installation; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist and Singapore Art Museum.

Premised on the obliquely hypothetical question “What if the world changed?”, the Singapore Biennale 2013 (SB2013) is presented as a deconstructed entity centered on allusive keywords—or “tags” in internetspeak—such as “histories,” “intervention,” and “materiality” in order to highlight the transmutative and the transformative qualities of the art produced in the region. With a collaborative team of 27 curators instead of an artistic director helming the show,[.....]