SF MOMA: The Art of Participation

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
8 November, 2008 - 8 February, 2009

It seems the art world has finally seen its first museum scale exhibition devoted entirely to relational art. A marginalized discourse no more?
Exhibition description:
"Looking back nearly 60 years across a wide spectrum of genres and media, this exhibition examines how artists have engaged members of the public as essential collaborators in the art-making process. Works by more than 40 artists will be on view, from early performance and conceptual pieces by such pioneers as John Cage, Lygia Clark, Dan Graham, and Hans Haacke to contemporary projects by Jochen Gerz, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and Erwin Wurm, among others. Encompassing restagings of historic installations as well as new commissions that invite your direct participation, the exhibition will change in form and content as you and other visitors contribute — either at the museum or online."

View... and participate in online works of art in the exhibition here.

Take part in the online discussion of the exhibition on the SF MOMA blog.

Visit while you can!

Participating Artists:
Vito Acconci
Francis Alÿs
John Baldessari
Joseph Beuys
Blank & Jeron and Gerrit Gohlke
George Brecht
Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Mike Bennett
John Cage
c a l c and Johannes Gees
Janet Cardiff
Lygia Clark
Minerva Cuevas
Maria Eichhorn
Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin
Fluxus Collective
Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz
Jochen Gerz
Matthias Gommel
Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Dan Graham
Hans Haacke
Lynn Hershman Leeson
Allan Kaprow
Henning Lohner and Van Carlson
Chip Lord, Curtis Schreier, and Bruce Tomb
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Tom Marioni
MTAA (M.River and T.Whid Art Associates)
Antoni Muntadas
Yoko Ono
Nam June Paik
Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv
Raqs Media Collective
Robert Rauschenberg
Warren Sack
Mieko Shiomi
Wolf Vostell
Andy Warhol
Stephen Willats
Erwin Wurm


Tino Sehgal in NY Magazine "Best of Art" Rankings

For his top ten art shows of 2008, Jerry Saltz selected Tino Sehgal's February 2008 show at Marian Goodman as #1.

This means that RA* might actually get some critical attention in NYC and great European artists and RA* pioneers like Tino Sehgal can look forward to bringing the art and social practice/relational art conversation to the seat of the empire, perhaps.

* RA = 'Relational Aesthetics' also known as 'Relational Art' also known as 'Art and Social Practice'

See Saltz' Top Nine Shows (and One Event) at NY Magazine.com
NY Times Review of the show
Making Senses of It All Review of Sehgal


Harrell Fletcher arrives in Jackson, TN

the Lyceum Committee of Union University presents:

lecture november 13th 7:30pm

Hartley Recital Hall located in Jennings Hall
Union University 1050 Union University Drive
jackson. tn 38305 information 731.668.1818

Visit his online projects:



His professional biography:
Harrell Fletcher has worked collaboratively and individually
on a variety of socially engaged, interdisciplinary projects for
over fifteen years. His work has been shown at SF MoMA,
the de Young Museum, The Berkeley Art Museum, and Yerba
Buena Center For The Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area,
The Drawing Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Sculpture
Center, The Wrong Gallery, and Smackmellon in NYC,
DiverseWorks and Aurora Picture show in Houston, TX, PICA
in Portland, OR, CoCA and The Seattle Art Museum in Seattle,
WA, Signal in Malmo, Sweden, Domain de Kerguehennec
in France, and The Royal College of Art in London.

Fletcher exhibits in San Francisco and Los Angeles with Jack
Hanley Gallery, in NYC with Christine Burgin Gallery, in London
with Laura Bartlett Gallery, and Paris with Gallery In Situ. He was
a participant in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Fletcher has work
in the collections of MoMA, The Whitney Museum, The New
Museum, SFMoMA, The Berkeley Art Museum, The De Young
Museum, and The FRAC Brittany, France. In 2002 Fletcher
started Learning To Love You More, an ongoing participatory
website with Miranda July. A book version LTLYM was published
in 2007 by Prestel. Fletcher is the 2005 recipient of the Alpert
Award in Visual Arts. His exhibition The American War originated
in 2005 at ArtPace in San Antonio, TX, and traveled to Solvent
Space in Richmond, VA, White Columns in NYC, The Center For
Advanced Visual Studies MIT in Boston, MA, PICA in Portland,
OR, and LAXART in Los Angeles among other locations. Fletcher
is a Professor of Art and Social Practice at Portland State
University in Portland, Oregon.

Check out his publications:

and others.


SFAI ARTIST LECTURE: Harrell Fletcher offers an artist lecture at the San Francisco Art Institute. (mp3 download)

MIT STUDIO SEMINAR ON PUBLIC ART: John Malpede with Harrell Fletcher, April 27, 2006 (video download)

ART TALK AM ON THE RADIO: Portland State Radio interview with Harrell Fletcher and Jen Delos Reyes (mp3 download)

OPEN ENGAGEMENT/Art after Aesthetic Distance: Conference on art and social practice with Harrell Fletcher, keynote speaker and guest artist.

Urban Outfitters Review

Try an assignment from LEARNING TO LOVE YOU MORE:
#10 Make a Flier of Your Day

Re-enchantment has arrived!!! ...to booksellers

The Re-enchantment volume has finally arrived! Congratulations to its editors James Elkins and David Morgan. It really came together nicely and is the best testament to the diversity and multiplicity of viewpoints on the subject. It will provide unparalleled insights in the field for quite a long time.

Visit Routledge's profile page on the book to learn more.

In addition to the roundtable transcripts and some great introductory readings by Elkins, Morgan, Boris Groys and Thierry de Duve, the volume contains a host of fascinating assessments of the roundtable discussion by a diverse number of prominent international voices on the topic. These include:

David Brown
Chris Parr
Norman Girardot
S. Brent Plate
Sally Promey
William Dyrness
Daniel Siedell
Robin Jensen
Diana Apostolos-Cappadona
Ted Prescott
Graham Howes
Kristin Schwain

with afterwords by
Jojada Verrips
Erika Doss

Check it out! Purchase here or here.


in exchange for a pledge to vote...

In exchange for your pledge to vote in this year's presidential election, Wilco will give you a free download of their cover, accompanied by Fleet Foxes, of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released." Visit their page to make your pledge.


for a limited time only...

Auction Day One a big success...

In the first day of a two day auction at Sotheby's in London, Damien Hirst has already outdone himself. Not only does his little experiment - bypassing the gallery system and going straight to auction with new work - seem a huge success, but he has managed to exceed the already high estimate of $112 million by securing $127.2 million. All this success is achieved in spite of world stock markets reeling from a really bad day yesterday. The auction closes this afternoon, but where will it all stop???

Read the Times coverage of the auction.
See Time Magazine's Photo Essay


Concert Review: Bon Iver

Bon Iver

Everything about Bon Iver's recent Nashville show - from the showcasing of the new song "Blood Bank" to the crowd participation on "The Wolves (Act I and II)" to the encore acoustic version of Sarah Siskind's "Lovin's For Fools" with Sarah Siskind helping out - felt fresh and special, unique and momentary.

In constrast to his often dark and broody music, Justin Vernon seemed the image of youthful exhuberance and proved jovial and amusing yet candid and sincere. I felt like my friends and I had caught the band in the midst of what must be a magical time in their lives. Fresh off opening dates for Wilco and in the middle of a headlining club tour that will soon venture overseas, these guys are having the time of their young lives, and what's really amazing is the fact that their joy has overflowed into the evening's energy and in that brief moment their joy was ours.

Who would have thought that such a remarkable and unique, but fragile and momentary album could be coupled with a similarly original performance?

From the overflow:

Backstage Sessions in Nasville (March '08) - Flume mp3
Backstage Sessions in Nasville (March '08) - Creature Fear mp3
(Thanks to the Backstage Sessions at IT'S HARD TO FIND A FRIEND)

The Siskind Cover - "Lovin's For Fools":

New Wilco Alert!

I AM FUEL, YOU ARE FRIENDS - Heather Browne's fantastic and prolific music blog, has just posted 2 live tracks of NEW Wilco tunes!

The tracks - One Wing and Sunny Feeling - exhibit the now characteristic and magnificent blend of maturely alt-pop sensibilities in Tweedy's songwriting and the sparkling highlights of Nels Cline's tone-tasticly jazzy guitar fills and Mikael Jorgensen's tastefully meandering piano. In other words, artistic arrival! They're having so much fun now, and the music is really thriving and developing to the benifit of all their fans. Hopefully, a follow-up to 2007's Sky Blue Sky isn't too far away.

Visit WilcoWorld.net
Wilco's Myspace

Stream a recent show or three from the Roadcase.

(Thanks Heather!)

St. Louis University's MoCRA celebrates 15th Anniversary!

The Museum of Contemporary Religious Art
St. Louis

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, the MoCRA has scheduled two upcoming exhibitions:

Fall 2008
Pursuit of the Spirit
Sept. 21 - Dec. 14, 2008
"Pursuit of the Spirit will set works by over 40 artists in dialogue with each other, exploring broad themes as the Sublime, Mother and Child, Sacred Spaces, and Image and Text."


Spring 2009
Good Friday
"Good Friday will present the suffering and death of Jesus as the springboard used by 24 artists to present their own personal reflections on the meaning of suffering, death, compassion, and unconditional love."

the MoCRA
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Concert Review: Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN

I must preface this review by saying that I was not a particularly ardent Bright Eyes, or Conor Oberst fan. After this show, however, I most certainly am.

I'd caught bits and pieces here and there and really enjoyed his collaborations with M Ward and Jim James (I AM FUEL, YOU ARE FRIENDS' Monsters of Folk) and 2007's Cassadaga, but I really couldn't call myself a fan... well, not until this weekend's show in Nashville.

Admitting my woeful lack of experience with all things Conor Oberst, I found the fresh batch of songs from his new self-titled album so much more carefully crafted and accessible than anything I had heard from him before. While oft or over-stated, his status as this generation's "Bob Dylan" seems more and more plausible in light of this new material. Though a less than appropriate tag, his credentials as a poet in the order of St. Bob are quite cemented now.

Visit ConorOberst.com.
...and Oberst's myspace.
Stream the album here.
Buy the album at Merge.

Another promising discovery proved to be the songwriting and accompaniment skills of Nik Freitas - the lead guitar player for the Mystic Valley Band, Oberst's support. Apparently, Freitas is a good friend of Oberst's and also some of the talent featured on Team Love Records (also featuring Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, the Felice Brothers, etc.). I enjoyed his live contributions and plan to get his solo work... Sun Down (mp3s available for download).

Visit NikFreitas.com
...and Freitas' myspace


Damien Hirst update...

Sept. 2008
Sotheby's London
Just when you thought that Hirst couldn't up the stakes on a human skull covered in approximately 8,000 flawless diamonds, here he comes again... with The Golden Calf, the truly monumental centrepiece of a new collection of formaldehyde works. Hirst's magnificent show from last summer - "Beyond Belief" created all kinds of new expectations and opportunities for contemporary art, but his recent decision to take a collection of work straight to the auction house (completely by-passing the established gallery system that has handled the sale of artworks for more than century now) has many pundits up in arms. The jury is still out on whether or not Hirst can pull this off. He stands to make, by most accounts, upwards of £65 million. We'll find out if his evil plan actually works in just a couple monthes. Sotheby's is holding the auction and providing unprecedented arrangements for the collection. (Details here.)

In the meantime, we can listen to the critics make their predictions and oogle over some of the most bizarre specimens of his practice to date.

View some fantastic images from the collection.
Read Maev Kennedy's "Golden calf, bull's heart, a new shark: Hirst's latest works may fetch £65m... Artist bypasses galleries and dealers to go straight to Sotheby's auction".

Read Roger Bevan's "Damien Hirst is Rewriting the Rules of the Market, Part I".
Read Sarah Thornton's "Damien Hirst is Rewriting the Rules of the Market, Part II".



Bon Iver on Daytrotter, while supplies last...

Bon Iver - Daytrotter Sessions

Hurry over to Daytrotter - one of my favorite online spaces for great indie music - to download (while supplies last) or stream a great four song acoustic set from Bon Iver!

Bon Iver has to be my favorite discovery of the last several years. No kidding; Justin Vernon and company create an amazing and eclectic blend of somber acoustics and stirring neo-soul evocations.

As explained there, the set for Daytrotter demonstrates how much the somber tunes on For Emma, Forever Ago have really evolved and taken shape over their recent time on the road as a touring band. Don't miss it.

Check out 'Skinny Love' from Jools Holland:

Visit the myspace.

Buy it!


Lovely Links!

Would you like to know where you can get great indie music for free and help artists at the same time?

Go immediately to NoiseTrade and make your selections!

They have a host of great artists on offer including...


Umbrella Tree - The Church and the Hospital

Check it out immediately! The Revolution Lives!


film... and fiction: No Country for Old Men

No Home Here:
An Unashamedly Obsessed Review of
No Country for Old Men

Despite all the recent accolades and the prophesied sweep in the awards, there are not enough great things to say about Ethan and Joel Coen brother's film adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel - No Country for Old Men. Ever the avid fan of anything resembling existential cinema, I fell in love with this film the first time I saw it, which was alone in a multiplex theater on New Year's Day at 10pm. It was nearly a moment of personal, existential crisis. And finding that I couldn't escape the narrative world of the film in my thoughts, I took up the book and read.

The filmmakers are quick to point out that the critics recognize this film as one of the truest, most appropriate and altogether closest adaptations of a book for the big screen. They are not wrong to boast about this. The stark and austere visual palette of the film matches so carefully the terse and matter-of-fact nature of McCarthy's fiction. This is a story that could only go down in south Texas; dusty, barren chaparral and all.

Without spoiling any of the bitter tragedy and languid terror of the plot, I have to say that a narrative like this might be the best Christians can hope for in a film. Reminding us that life is often darkly senseless and full of remorse, we might recall the reason we first grasped at hope and found ourselves just looking for a way out. In the face of a nameless evil, what is the sum of all your life and longing? Maybe the great benefit of this story is its aid in helping us remember the questions, once again or perhaps for the first time.

My simple word to you is: See this film. Read this novel. If you need any convincing, consider the scene below. How many deals with the devil do we make each day?

Read a NY Times interview with Cormac McCarthy.
(Online subscription required, but it's free.)


music... Joe Garner's 'Mourning Birds' EP

Introducing Tennessee artist - Joe Garner and his first EP - Mourning Birds...

Joe Garner - Bury the Hatchet (mp3)

Joe Garner - June and God (mp3)

Recorded at a mountain studio in east Tennessee and released independently, Garner's is a sound definitely grown from the ground. Earthy, honest and plaintive; Mourning Birds beckons back to the folk ballads of a simpler time and at the same time casts a shadow of unease on its own mirth. Compiled with a handful of friends giving sparse and simple accompaniment to his guitar, Garner's first effort includes six tracks that display the enigmatic range of moods that make this burgeoning songwriter and storyteller a haunted soul not soon forgotten.

Songs like 'Bury the Hatchet' and 'June and God' usher the listener into the quiet moments of human longing and the subterranean rage that either break our spirits or make us whole. These stories of squandered love and utter desperation place us as near voyeurs in the midst of lives unraveling and eroding before us. Idiosyncratic yet empathic, the images conjured up by Garner's characters evoke a time and place hauntingly too near. Other songs, like 'They're All Gone', move hesitantly out from the shadows. In his way, Garner captures a glimpse of hope's somber release, the silent joy of discovering that some of life's darker doubts and questions cannot be answered, not yet. For now, let's sit and listen.

Son to a life-long and road-weary Country 'n' Western picker, Garner comes by his music honest. While not too concerned with slaying the forefathers of his genre or recreating the wagon wheel, Joe Garner has been able to move in and inhabit the best sensibilities of a songwriting once known as Country Music, but upon its exit from the country now labeled 'Roots'. May his roots grow deeper; we'll sit and listen.

Visit Joe Garner Music.