Learn More About… Steve Lambert! Homework II: Long Forms / Short Utopias Keynote Panelist

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Capitalism Works For Me! True/False (2011), Image courtesy of visitsteve.com

Homework II: Long Forms / Short Utopias is less than a week away and we’re incredibly excited to be welcoming so many new and old friends to Windsor. The conference is aiming to foster a conversation around the ideas, infrastructures, and risks embedded in socially-engaged practices that unfold over years or moments at a time. For more information and to register to attend, please click here.

Now, you could read Lambert’s bio on his website to learn more about where he comes from and what he does, but we thought that reposting his artist statement might help to illustrate why we’re so excited to have him to be a part of the conference. For us, it seems to capture some of the overarching concerns we’re looking to discuss at the conference. In his words, here’s how Steve Lambert approaches art:

For me, art is a bridge that connects uncommon, idealistic, or even radical ideas with everyday life. I carefully craft various conditions where I can discuss these ideas with people and have a mutually meaningful exchange. Often this means working collaboratively with the audience, bringing them into the process or even having them physically complete the work.

I want my art to be relevant to those outside the gallery – say, at the nearest bus stop – to reach them in ways that are engaging and fun. I intend what I do to be funny, but at the core of each piece there is also a solemn critique. It’s important to be able to laugh while actively questioning the various power structures at work in our daily lives.

I have the unabashedly optimistic belief that art changes the way people look at the world. That belief fuels a pragmatic approach to bring about those changes.

Lambert’s sense of art as a bridge to everyday life, civic practices, and public spaces has always resonated with us. From his public performances, to collaborative interventions, to his large-scale signage works, Lambert’s practice implicates art into a larger set of politics and concerns that reminds us of the ways in which art can help generate new conversations and reframe old ones.

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THE NEW YORK TIMES SPECIAL EDITION (2008), image courtesy of visitsteve.com

We’ve been writing and thinking about Steve’s work for years, and we can’t wait to hear him speak in person. He’ll be a part of our Keynote Panel on Friday, November 8th at 7pm at the Art Gallery of Windsor with  Jeanne van Heeswijk and Darren O’Donnell and joining us for discussions and reflections over the rest of the conference.

P.S. We have just a few seats left for the conference! Want to join in on the fun? Email us at homework@brokencitylab.org to register!


Homework II will run November 8-10, 2013 in Windsor, Ontario at Art Gallery of Windsor and CIVIC Space.

Our featured keynote speakers this year will be Jeanne van Heeswijk (Rotterdam), Darren O’Donnell (Toronto), and Steve Lambert (New York). In addition to our keynotes, we’ve also invited a series of curatorial partners to develop panels that tackle the conference themes. And, to top it all off, everyone who attends will be co-authors of a book that captures the ideas and conversations from this year’s conference through a series of interviews with presenters, attendees, and organizers alongside collected materials from our 2011 conference.

For more information, please email homework@brokencitylab.org

Homework II: Long Forms / Short Utopias is made possible with generous support from the Ontario Arts CouncilOntario Trillium FoundationArt Gallery of Windsor, and IN/TERMINUS.

HomeworkIISponsors

Robert Montgomery: the Post-Situationist Tradition

Robert Montgomery works in a poetic and melancholic post-Situationist tradition. He’s created a number of projects that disrupt and hijack illuminated advertising billboards as well as working more directly with custom-fabricated signage.

I clearly am in love.

[via an email from Rose]

Steve Lambert: It’s Time to Fight

Two things I can’t get enough of — Steve Lambert and huge text signs.

Lambert’s latest work, It’s Time to Fight was installed recently in Pittsburgh, PA over a waffle shop.

Text-based work continues to inspire me; it’s accesible, layered, timely, and tactical. It can be hidden in plain sight. If you catch it, it can disrupt your experience of a landscape, and if you don’t, it patiently and quietly stands in waiting, alongside its capitalistic brethren. Text can steal our attention and interrupt our experience of space, particularly urban space, and that’s why we like working with it, I suppose.

To take a page from Josh’s book: thank you for existing, Steve Lambert.

REPOhistory: Lower Manhattan Sign Project

Stock Market Crashes by Jim Costanzo as part of REPOhistory’s Lower Manhattan Sign Project

I’m making my way through Gregory Sholette‘s epic Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture. Writing as a participating artist and now dark matter art archivist / dare I say historian of sorts, Sholette writes on an incredible number of projects that work at the edges of the art institution in every sense.

Many of the projects explicitly connect art + everyday life + politics and Sholette offers a generous overview of the practices that build the foundation of dark matter in the art world that art institutions and art superstars rely on for their continued existence.

One of the (many) projects that caught my eye (and on which I’ll be posting) is REPOhistory’s Lower Manhattan Sign Project, which curated these alternative history/information signs into a number of public spaces across New York City.

From the project description: “Placed in front of the New York Stock Exchange, this sign challenges the myths of the free market economy and that stockbrokers jumped out of windows along Wall Street after the 1929 stock market crash. The sign documents that government deregulation and fraud led to market crashes and depressions at the turn of the 20th century, the 1920 and the 1980s.”

In thinking about the projects we’ve done and have considered before, these alternative public demarcation projects continue to feel not only relevant, but necessary. REPOhistory’s project was installed in the early 90s — it’s strange that that is now a long time ago and that urgency seems like a form of nostalgia.

A Love Letter to Syracuse

COLAB and Syracuse University brought Steven Powers to Syracuse to work on a project similar to his efforts in Philadelphia, A Love Letter For You, aimed at transforming some railway overpasses that literally divide the community.

After having a number of discussions with the community, Powers selected from a series of things that residents loved and hated about their city to paint some phrases that span six lanes of traffic. The work was created on an overpass that doesn’t look all that different from overpasses that we have, particularly on Dougall, north of EC Row, and in Syrcause, which is a rustbelt city in its own right.

We’re written about Powers in the past, and his work continues to be a huge point of inspiration. Trained as a sign painter, I’m continually amazed at the ways in which Powers’ work can uplift an entire community and yet be such a personal message.

The video is directed by Samuel J Macon and Faythe Levine and was shot in collaboration with the University of Syracuse, Steven Powers and his crew. Parts of this short film will make its way to a larger documentary they’re working on called, “SIGN PAINTERS. STORIES FROM AN AMERICAN CRAFT.”

[via This Big City] ')}

Drifting Around Downtown Windsor: Exploring the City Slowly

We’ve been lucky over the last week or so with some surprisingly agreeable weather. The had humidity lifted and with it, the temperature scaled back considerably. So, it’s been pretty much the best time all summer to do some exploring on foot (and sometimes on bicycle) at a pace that really allows for a different kind of engagement with space.

Now armed with an iPhone 4 for an upcoming project, it’s easier than ever to take pictures on a casual exploration. Something like a dérive, though admittedly a little more aimed at looking for some new potential project spaces than a completely free drift, last night was a perfect time to play with thinking about a variety of spaces, slowly.

These slow explorations really give the time to notice and attempt to unfold the curiosities all around the city. A sign like the one above, “PUBLIC STAIRWELL,” notifies passersby that this space is publicly accessible and annotates something unseen, behind the door. I wonder what else we might be able to annotate with the same authority as this sign that could be suggested as being both public and understood as normally hidden (at least in terms of its use by a public).

Continue reading “Drifting Around Downtown Windsor: Exploring the City Slowly”