The Walker Curates the News: 12.08.14

Hank Willis Thomas, Raise Up, 2013

Hank Willis Thomas. Raise Up, 2014

Do #blacklivesmatter to the art world? Not when it really counts, writes an African American woman working in arts PR:

“It’s not like my colleagues don’t know how to talk about blackness in the arts. We talk about it all the time! We write press release upon press release about the importance of promoting artists of color so that their perspectives are included in conversations about race today. And when we’re successful, we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done — because of our work another black voice is featured, and audiences are educated, and we sleep easy knowing that we’ve made a difference. Today, though, there’s no conversation. No job well done. No sleeping easy. It’s a problem that I work in a profession that capitalizes on how cool it is to be black until it’s not cool to be black…”

  • “Does knowledge change when it is presented in different technological forms and cultural contexts? Through processes of experimentation, and by producing unconventional perspectives, can artists illuminate existing knowledge and meaning for a new generation? Can an artwork lead us to new modes of consciousness?” asks Recharge, Experimenta’s 6th International Biennial of Media Art, which surveys current forms of media practice.
  • Referencing Duchamp’s concept of “infrathin,” Paul Soulellis writes that “we participate in shifting the transformational value of the material each time the framing changes” by which we can never know our relationship to the primary source. From materializing digital files to streaming artworks to websites, artists’ web-to-print practice has evolved into “performing publishing”—the self-conscious “performance of an idea by distributing it to a networked audience.”
  • Nauman’s art bothered me. It was both psychologically and culturally threatening, and the very fact that it bothered me bothered me,” writes Peter Plagens in his new book—an uncommonly approachable take on artist Bruce Nauman.
  • In an op-ed and a new set of intricate diagrams, artist William Powhida shines a light on the institutional structures that perpetuate the “endemic” economic imbalance in the art world, and suggests ways to fix them. Artists are, idealistically speaking, a working class aspiring to control some condition of their labor. “If we have any hope of changing the terms of capitalism (before it changes us irrevocably), we need to effect change throughout the entire art ecosystem,” he writes. “We need to encourage greater solidarity, in part by reaching out to artists who have access to levers of power in the vertical towers of selectivity like Art Basel Miami Beach…”

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