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Entries Tagged as 'biennial'

Edra Soto on the Architecture of Connecting with Communities

February 4th, 2020 · Comments

Edra Soto is a Puerto Rico born, Chicago based, interdisciplinary artist, educator and curator whose architectural projects connect with communities. Soto's temporary modular SCREENHOUSE pavilions are evocative symbols of her cultural assimilation that we can enter and share. Each free-standing structure functions as both sculptural object and social gathering place. Couched in beauty, her ongoing OPEN 24 HOURS project offers a different visceral encounter — with evidence of displacement and want. The aesthetic display of cast-off liquor bottles culled from steadily accumulating detritus in the historically Black neighborhood she now calls home suggests that we consider the personal and communal impact of poverty and racism. During a studio visit with the artist in Northwest Chicago, we talk about recent iterations of these projects.

In concert with the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Millennium Park Foundation commissioned the artist to produce a temporary gathering place in one of the park’s outdoor galleries. Only steps from Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, she worked with a team to construct SCREENHOUSE. The 10-foot high pavilion made of 400 charcoal-hued, 12-inch cast concrete blocks is part of an ongoing project, an architectural series inspired by iron grills and decorative concrete screen blocks found throughout the Caribbean and the American South.

New versions of OPEN 24 HOURS are on view in two 2020 exhibitions. One appears in Open House: Domestic Thresholds at the Albright-Knox Museum, in Buffalo, New York. Cognac bottles carefully arranged on shelves with decorative panels reveal the artist’s connection to two places she calls home. More liquor bottles command attention in the three-part installation she designed for State of the Art 2020. Featuring work by artists from across the United States, the exhibition celebrates the opening of The Momentary, a new contemporary art space at the Crystal Bridges Museum, in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio 

Related Episodes and Photo Features: Architecture with a Sense of Place, Views—Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019, Fresh VUE: Chicago Art and Architecture 2017

Related Links: Edra Soto, The Momentary, State of the Art 2020, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Knox-Albright Museum, Millennium Park, Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019

About Edra Soto: Born in Puerto Rico and based in Chicago, Edra Soto is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, curator, and co-director of the outdoor project space THE FRANKLIN. She is invested in creating and providing visual and educational models propelled by empathy and generosity. Her recent projects, which are motivated by civic and social actions, focus on fostering relationships with a wide range of communities. 

Recent venues presenting Soto’s work include Chicago Cultural Center (IL), Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (KS), Pérez Art Museum Miami (FL), Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (PR), Hunter EastHarlem Gallery (NY), UIC Gallery 400 (IL), Smart Museum (IL), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (NE), DePaul Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago (IL). Soto was awarded the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, the DCASE for Individual Artist Grant from the City of Chicago, the 3Arts Make A Wave award, and 3Arts Projects grants, and the Illinois Arts Council grant. 

Soto holds an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts from Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico. She teaches Introduction to Social Engagement at University of Illinois in Chicago and is a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

About SCREENHOUSE: Decorative screens, known as rejas and quiebrasoles, are ubiquitous in Soto’s birthplace in Puerto Rico. In her SCREENHOUSE series, Soto transforms the quiebrasol form from a planar screen that divides public from private into a nearly fully enclosed, free-standing structure that functions as both sculptural object and social gathering place.

About OPEN 24 HOURS: Witnessing the excessive accumulation of litter and detritus in the historic African American neighborhood of East Garfield Park where she lives motivated Edra Soto to initiate this ongoing project. Since December 2016, Soto has been collecting, cleaning and classifying cast-off liquor bottles to create installations that display the impact of racism and poverty on this marginalized community in Chicago. Bourbon Empire, the book quoted below, recounts the historic connection between African Americans and cognac from its genesis in the 1930s to contemporary repercussions instigated by hip-hop and rap culture.

“Cognac’s relationship with African American consumers started later, when black soldiers stationed in southwest France were introduced to it during both world wars. The connection between cognac producers and black consumers was likely bolstered by the arrival of black artists and musicians... France appreciated these distinctive art forms before the U.S. did, continuing a French tradition dating back to Alexis de Tocqueville of understanding aspects of American culture better than Americans did. For African Americans, the elegant cognac of a country that celebrated their culture instead of marginalizing it must have tasted sweet ... During the 1990s, cognac sales were slow, and the industry was battling an image populated by fusty geriatrics. Then references to cognac began surfacing in rap lyrics, a phenomenon that peaked in 2001 with Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy’s hit “Pass the Courvoisier,” causing sales of the brand to jump 30 percent. During the next five years, other rappers teamed up with brands, and increased overall sales of cognac in the U.S. by a similar percentage, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.”

—Reid Mitenbuler, author of Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey

Tags: contemporary art · art biennial · public art · identity · activism · Artist · invisible communities · black culture · podcast · installation · community · educator · Chicago · political art · architecture · architectural intervention · art podcast · biennial · history

Contemporary Psyche on View in Venice Art Biennale

October 15th, 2019 · Comments

Philadelphia-based art historian Deborah Barkun talks about the pleasure and critical thinking that she discovers each time she explores the Venice Art Biennale and collateral events. Through her eyes, we understand that the venerated exhibition never fails to create a constellation of art encounters—always stimulating the senses and challenging the mind, always offering a glimpse into our contemporary psyche. 

58th Venice Art Biennale:

For the 2019 international art exhibition, London-based American curator Ralph Rugoff chose the title May You Live in Interesting Times. This is a phrase of English invention that has long been mistakenly cited as an ancient Chinese curse. The words ‘interesting times’ invoke periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil. Rugoff invited 79 artists from around the world who, in his words, “challenge existing habits of thought and open up our readings of objects and images, gestures and situations…entertaining multiple perspectives…holding in mind seemingly contradictory and incompatible notions, and juggling diverse ways of making sense of the world.”

The 2019 exhibition includes 89 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city center of Venice. Four countries are participating for the first time: Dominican Republic, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia, and Pakistan. Twenty-one Collateral Events taking place across the city widen the diversity of voices that characterizes the Biennale.

Read Deborah Barkun’s posts from the 58th Venice Art Biennale on instagram @freshartintl.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio recorded in Venice May-June 2019

Romani Embassy performance by Delaine Le Bass, Music by Santino Spinelli

Related Episodes: Art Historian Playlist: Deborah Barkun Listens to Joana ChoumaliSamson Young: Songs for Disaster ReliefMark Bradford Connects Art with the Real WorldLisa Reihana on Reversing the Colonial GazeMonument to Decay: Israeli Pavilion in Venice

Related Links: Venice Art Biennale 

Related Images: Fresh VUE: 58th Venice Art BiennialFresh Vue: Venice Art Biennale 2017

Tags: Fresh Talk · contemporary art · art biennial · identity · international biennial · invisible communities · curator · political art · opera · art podcast · biennial · venice · venice art biennale · exhibition · technology · art tech

Commuter Biennial Brings Public Art to Miami’s Margins

October 1st, 2019 · Comments

The Commuter Biennial aims to activate unseen margins of metro Miami. Local curators Laura Randall and Courtney Levine have organized a set of art experiences for those who spend hours navigating the city in cars, busses and trains. Over the span of four months, ten public art projects will pop up around this suburban landscape.

Two of the participating artists join Randall and Levine to introduce us to The Commuter Biennial. Artist Lily Martina Lee lives and works in Boise, Idaho. Lee’s art juxtaposes intimacy and anonymity—pointing out how forensic crime scene investigations have become embedded in our everyday reality. For her commuter-centered project, she creates public memorials in locations throughout Miami Dade County, where unidentified human remains were found. Since 2005, New York based artist Marie Lorenz has navigated waterways in her handmade boats designed to optimize tidal currents. Her passengers are privileged with intimate experiences on the water. For the roving biennial, she brings her Tide and Current Taxi to Miami.

Listen to this episode to hear the voice of positive thinking. Optimistic about the potential for art to transform the grind of suburban life, the tedium of public transit and the boring daily drive, the Commuter Biennial aspires to draw our gaze from the center to the fringe—suggesting that art belongs to everyone, everywhere, across metropolitan Miami. 

Related Episodes: Public Art Meets Poetry, Public Art Hopscotches Across Buenos Aires, Art of the Everyday, Creativity in Miami’s Public Realm

 

Related Link: Commuter Biennial

Tags: contemporary art · Miami · sculpture · public art · Artist · invisible communities · curator · podcast · installation · environment · Perez Art Museum Miami · architectural intervention · art podcast · biennial

Sounds of the 57th Venice Art Biennale Revisited

June 3rd, 2019 · Comments

Venice is proven as a top destination for international contemporary art. The 58th Venice Art Biennale opened on May 11, 2019, and will be on view for the next six months. Thank you to Philadelphia-based art historian Deborah Barkun for contributing views from Venice on Instagram. Follow her encounters @freshartintl.

Today, we revisit a selection of sonic encounters at the 57th Venice Art Bienniale, when Italy was the first stop on a six-week Fresh Art International field expedition. In May 2017, preview days for the global exhibition presented an ephemeral opportunity to record the voices of curators, artists, and sounds of installations, performances and events. This episode features our experiences in the pavilions of France, Germany and Nigeria, and our walk through Egyptian artist Hassan Khan’s outdoor sound environment. Artist Carolee Schneemann (1939-2019) was honored with the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 57th Art Biennale. In her memory, we share the conversation we recorded with Schneemann just days before we watched her accept the prestigious award at the opening ceremony.

Sound Editor Guney Ozsan | Special Audio: French Pavilion—pianist Federico Tibone, vocalist Farrah el Dibany, experimental media artist duo My Cat is an Alien; German Pavilion—Vernissage TVfield recording,  Billy Bultheel's musical composition for Faust; Nigerian Pavilion—performance by choreographer and dancer Qudus Onikeku; Hassan Khan, Composition for a Park, ambient recordings by Andrew Russeth and Fresh Art International

Related Episodes: Samson Young: Songs for Disaster ReliefLisa Reihana on Reversing the Colonial GazeMonument to Decay: Israeli Pavilion in VeniceMark Bradford Connects Art with the Real World

Related Links: Venice Art BiennaleFresh VUE 57th Venice Art Biennale

About the 57the Venice Art Biennale: Christine Macel curated the main exhibition Viva Arte Viva, described as a “Biennale designed with artists, by artists and for artists.” Macel called it an Exhibition inspired by humanism. For her, direct encounters with the artists assumed a strategic role. Of the 120 invited artists, 103 were participating for the first time.

About Carolee Schneemann: Starting as a painter in the 1950s, in the 1960s, the artist began using her own body as material in experiments with film, music, poetry, dance, and performance. Her fearless artmaking explored body, narrative, sexuality and gender, in ways that challenged cultural and political taboos.

Tags: Fresh Talk · contemporary art · sound art · sonic environment · performance art · international biennial · podcast · installation · performance · political art · art podcast · biennial · venice · venice art biennale

Art Historian Playlist: Deborah Barkun Listens to Joana Choumali

May 13th, 2019 · Comments

Today’s conversation continues our Playlist series. We’re inviting artists, curators, architects, writers, filmmakers, cultural producers and other listeners to introduce episodes from our archive.

Based in the United States, art historian and curator Deborah Barkun is Chair of the Department of Art and Art History and Director of Museum Studies at Ursinus College, outside Philadelphia. Her research centers on the social dynamics of artistic collaboration. Barkun is contributing to our stories from the 58th Venice Art Biennale. Here, she introduces our conversation with Ivorian artist Joana Choumali, first released on April 30, 2018.

Deborah Barkun writes: I am excited to introduce this reprise of “Joana Choumali Embroiders Empathy.” I feel especially connected to this episode, as I was present for Cathy’s first interview with Choumali in the Ivory Coast Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. Choumali spoke poignantly about African emigration and the emptiness it leaves in the hearts of loved ones left behind. Her hand-embroidered and collaged photographic diptychs depict this global migration. Loose threads left dangling from the works speak to a sense of ongoing longing.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Photography: Deborah Barkun

Related Episodes: Joana Choumali Embroiders EmpathySounds of the 57th Venice Art BiennaleSamson Young: Songs for Disaster ReliefLisa Reihana on Reversing the Colonial GazeMonument to Decay: Israeli Pavilion in VeniceMark Bradford Connects Art with the Real World

Related Links: Joana ChoumaliIvory Coast PavilionVenice Art BiennaleDak’Art 2018

Tags: contemporary art · art biennial · Africa · identity · international biennial · Artist · black culture · black art · podcast · installation · political art · art podcast · biennial · history · art fair · venice · venice art biennale · exhibition

Process, Experimentation and Action in Dak’Art 2018

September 10th, 2018 · Comments

In 2018, seventy-five artists from thirty-three countries came together for the contemporary African art biennial known as Dak’Art. The offsite program featured more than 200 autonomous artist-organized exhibitions and events across Dakar and on the island of Gorée.

The projects we share in this episode explore ideas of freedom and responsibility as they investigate colonial histories, politics, and the economy, migration and the environment. Often achieved collectively and always emphasizing process, experimentation and action, they animate the legacy of legendary Senegalese artist Joe Ouakam and Agit'Art, the revolutionary creative movement he co-founded in 1974.

Voices: Simon Njami, Glenda León, Guy Woueté, Marcos Lora Read, Magdi Mostafa, Tori Wraånes, Marisol Rodriguez, Moataz Nasreldin, Pascal Traoré, Michel Amadou Gué

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio

Related Episodes: Magdi Mostafa Turns Analog Tech into Sound SculptureLIVE from Dak'Art 2018SITElines, Unsettled Landscapes 2014

Related Links: Dak'Art 2018Simon NjamiGlenda LeónGuy WouetéMarcos Lora ReadMagdi MostafaTori WrånesMarisol RodriguezZAM ZAMMoataz NasreldinDARB1718Issa SambAgit'ArtPascal TraoréIsland of Gorée

Tags: · contemporary art · art biennial · sound art · Africa · bilingual · sonic environment · international biennial · Artist · curator · podcast · community · international art fair · dance · political art · political performance art · art podcast · biennial · history · exhibition · art tech

Turning Analog Technology into Sound Sculpture

July 30th, 2018 · Comments

 

Egyptian artist Magdi Mostafa's interactive environment for the 2018 Dakar Biennial of Contemporary African Art turns the sounds of analog technology into a vibrating aesthetic force. Acting like tiny radio receivers, his handmade electronics make audible the otherwise silent electro-magnetic fields emanating from today’s myriad digital devices. He exposes the reverberations of energy emission and loss in our battery powered, wi-fi connected contemporary communications. 

In “Transmission Loss,” electronic residue becomes the main signal—the core source of energy for an audio playscape. Mostafa invites us to turn a field of full frequency noise into a sonic composition. By tweaking the dials of tone generators and manipulating vibrating devices, we can alter sounds, discover patterns and explore the mysterious interactions of feedback and inter-device communication. 

Sound Editor: Jonathan Pfeffer | Special Audio and Photos courtesy Magdi Mostafa

Related Episodes:

Samson Young Presents Hong Kong Mixtape

Stephen Vitiello

Live from Dak'Art 2018

Related Links:

Magdi Mostafa

Dak'Art 2018

Tags: · sound art · Africa · sonic environment · installation · international art fair · architectural intervention · art podcast · biennial · technology · art tech

Monument to Decay: Israeli Pavilion in Venice

July 16th, 2018 · Comments

At the 57th Venice Art Biennale, Miami-based curator Tami Katz-Freiman guides us through the multi-media installation that artist Gal Weinstein created for the Israeli Pavilion. The artist used glue, mold, metal, and felt to transform the shining white cube into a monument to decay.

As you listen the conversation we recorded in 2017, keep in mind the mounting tensions in the Middle East today. Consider the larger question of how nations choose to represent themselves in the context of a high profile international art biennial. Weinstein's project reveals the enduring power of art to serve as portent and marker of change.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Images: Courtesy Israeli Pavilion and Fresh Art International

Related episodes: Sounds of the Venice Art Biennale 2017, Lisa Reihanna on Reversing the Colonial GazeSamson Young on Songs for Disaster Relief

Related links: Israeli Pavilion at the 57th Venice Art BiennaleGal WeinsteinTami Katz-Freiman

Tags: Fresh Talk · contemporary art · art biennial · international biennial · Artist · installation · architecture · architectural intervention · art podcast · biennial · history · art fair · venice · venice art biennale

Live from Dakar 2018

May 21st, 2018 · Comments

Today, we bring you Fresh Art International LIVE from Dakar, Senegal. We made the journey to West Africa in May 2018, to capture sounds of local art and culture and to document our first encounter with the biennial of contemporary African art known as Dak'Art.

In the first of our two live streaming broadcasts, you'll hear Marisol Rodríguez (Mexico City/Paris), one of the biennial's guest curators, talk about her work with a team of creatives based in the Hurricane Zone (Mexico's Yucatàn Peninsula, Central America and the Caribbean).

Also LIVE: our show from la Boite à Idée, or Idea Box, a cultural hub in Dakar's Mermoz district. In the garden of this space is where cultural activist Ken Aicha Sy, founder of Wakh'Art Music introduces us to a few of the creatives engaging in the local art and music scene. You'll hear from Ms. Sy, along with Franco-Senegalese artist Gabriel Dia, jazz guitarist Paride Pagnotti, I Science vocalist Corinna Fiore, and composer Nathan Fallou Fuhr. A modest local songwriter introducing himself simply as "Jean-Pierre," steps up to the microphone with his guitar to voice our melodic good-bye-for-now.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special audio courtesy ZAM ZAM, Paride PagnottiI ScienceNathan Fallou Fuhr and Jean-Pierre 

Tags: Fresh Talk · contemporary art · art biennial · Africa · artist residency · international biennial · Artist · curator · Mexico · black culture · black art · podcast · community · international art fair · music · political art · art podcast · biennial · history · exhibition · Live Radio

Joana Choumali Embroiders Empathy

April 30th, 2018 · Comments

We follow artist Joana Choumali from the Ivory Coast Pavilion at the 57th Venice Art Bienniale to Dak'Art 2018, as she explores the shared experience of migration and violence in her birth country. Her embroidered photographs trace stories of loss and longing—depicting lone figures disappearing from home and reappearing in foreign environments, and giving shape to the emptiness left by the casualties of terrorism. Needle and thread express Choumali's empathy with the fraught human condition.

Sound Editing: Anamnesis Audio | Photography: Joanna Choumali and Fresh Art International

Tags: · contemporary art · art biennial · Africa · Miami · photography · identity · international biennial · Artist · invisible communities · black art · podcast · feminism · political art · art podcast · biennial · women's rights · feminist art · venice · venice art biennale · women