Steve Lambert on Utopia

Steve Lambert "I WILL TALK WITH ANYONE…", courtesy of

This is part of an ongoing set of one-question emails sent to people we know, or would like to get to know, about things that interest us and inform our collective practice. They’ll be featured on the site weekly, usually on Fridays. These questions are more about unfolding ideas than about the people we’re asking, but we do ask those kinds of questions too.

We’re pleased to continue this project with a question for one of our most favourite artists, Steve Lambert.

How might you write an if-then-else statement to describe the notion of utopia in your practice?

IF the world is not what we desire

THEN deal with reality as it has been constructed for us

ELSE make it ourselves

Steve Lambert’s father, a former Franciscan monk, and mother, an ex-Dominican nun, imbued the values of dedication, study, poverty, and service to others – qualities which prepared him for life as an artist.

Lambert made international news after the 2008 US election with The New York Times “Special Edition,” a replica of the “paper of record” announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other good news. He has collaborated with groups from the Yes Men to theGraffiti Research Lab and Greenpeace. He is also the founder of the Center for Artistic Activism, the Anti-Advertising Agency, Add-Art (a Firefox add-on that replaces online advertising with art) and SelfControl (which blocks grownups from distracting websites so they can get work done).

Steve’s projects and art works have won awards from Prix Ars Electronica, Rhizome/The New Museum, the Creative Work Fund, Adbusters Media Foundation, the California Arts Council, and others. His work has been shown at galleries, art spaces, and museums nationally and internationally, appeared in over fourteen books, four documentary films, and in the collections of The Sheldon Museum, the Progressive Insurance Company, and The United States Library of Congress. Lambert has discussed his work live on NPR, the BBC, and CNN, and been reported on internationally in outlets including Associated Press, the New York Times, the Guardian, Harper’s Magazine, The Believer, Good, Dwell, ARTnews, Punk Planet, and Newsweek.

He was a Senior Fellow at New York’s Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology from 2006-2010, developed and leads workshops for Creative Capital Foundation, and is faculty at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Steve is a perpetual autodidact with (if it matters) advanced degrees from an reputable art school and respected state university. He dropped out of high school in 1993.

6 Replies to “Steve Lambert on Utopia”

  1. Ha great. I’m definitely a Steve Lambert fan. I think this statement might look like this in C.

    void main(void)

    int theWorld, weDesire, makeItOurselves;

    if (theWorld != weDesire)
    printf (“Deal with reality.\n”);

    else (makeItOurselves <= weDesire)

  2. Great If-then-else statement…..may I borrow it for an upcoming event? This is my first time visiting this blog – now it is part of my regular feed. Thanks for providing a place to look at things differently. Fresh perspectives always invigorate and renew.

  3. Yes, this is really awesome. Great to see Steve Lambert on the site: love the work.
    I love how concise the statement is, and it’s very clear in its diction. The way the if-then-else statement makes you work is an awesome positive-limitation if that makes any sense!
    Love to see more of these. AMAZING POST

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