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Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 7:30pm
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn
Presented by Sven Lütticken
In the contemporary economy of time, history has become an image in motion, a series of events performed though various media. Sven Lütticken’s new book History in Motion: Time in the Age of the Moving Image analyzes artistic practices that articulate the changing production and experience of time—of the time of daily life as well as history.
For this book launch and screening, Lütticken will present a number of artworks from the context of the neo-avant-garde which were either adapted or specifically made for television. With a focus on John Cage and Fluxus, this evening highlights pieces that can be regarded as made-for-TV events that adopt and transform existing formats, temporalities, and modes of performance.
Among the works screened is a special episode of the Dutch arts program Signalement (1963) that was masterminded by Fluxus artists Willem de Ridder and Wim T. Schippers, with a contribution by George Maciunas. We will also show an edited version of Nam June Paik's 1986 broadcast Bye Bye Kipling. which connected New York, Seoul, and Tokyo via satellite, and brought together TV host Dick Cavett with Charlotte Moorman, Keith Haring, traditional Korean dancers, and the occasional elephant.
Sven Lütticken teaches art history at VU University Amsterdam, where he coordinates the Research MA program Visual Arts, Media and Architecture (VAMA). He is the author of Secret Publicity: Essays on Contemporary Art (2006), Idols of the Market: Modern Iconoclasm and the Fundamentalist Spectacle (2009) and History in Motion: Time in the Age of the Moving Image (2013).
Tickets - $7, available at door.
Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.
Alexander Alberro's areas of specialization are modern and contemporary European, U.S. and Latin American art, as well as the history of photography. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Howard Foundation fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship.
He is the author of Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity, and the editor of a number of books, including Institutional Critique: An Anthology of Artists' Writings; Art After Conceptual Art; Museum Highlights; Recording Conceptual Art; Two-Way Mirror Power; and Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology. His essays on contemporary art have appeared in a wide variety of journals and exhibition catalogues. Alberro is completing a book-length study of the emergence and development of abstract art in Latin America, and is beginning to work on a volume, Periodizing Contemporary Art, which explores new forms of art and spectatorship that have crystallized in the past two decades.
At Barnard he teaches the history of modern and contemporary art, as well as the history of photography.
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The writer in seclusion is a convention that universally characterizes literary composers. To withdraw from the world and conjure a cosmos of his own making - this for the writer is unearthly bliss. if not a source of power
There is something in solitude that disturbs the writer 's imagination to shake up and spill mysteries over. There is something in reclusion that draws him closer to the human heartbeat and to nature 's persistent howls and chirps and rustles and. silence
In privacy. the writer is a hermit madly
waging warfare against emotions and images while. at the same time. courting the apparition of fancy metaphors and personifications
Emily Dickinson is an obvious example. Her life. not just her poetry breathed secrecy and privacy. Dickinson was an unknown and obscure character in her lifetime. Most biographies would describe her stay in her hometown Amherst as uneventful and quiet for the most part. And though she had friends and acquaintances. the level of her social involvement with them were generally confined to lengthy correspondences
Dickinson 's poems are characterized by a wit and boldness that seem to contrast sharply with the recluse that she was. And in a more paradoxical nature. they may talk about suppression of bottled up thoughts and feelings expressed in an outburst of inescapable imagery and language
In I Have Not Told My Garden Yet. Dickinson 's lonesome and held back demeanor is evident
I have not told my garden yet
Lest that should conquer me
I have not quite the strength now
To break it to the bee I will not name it in the street
For shops would stare. that I
So shy. so very ignorant
Should have the face to die
The hillsides must not know it
Where I have rambled so
Nor tell the loving forests
The day that I shall go
Nor lisp it at the table
Nor heedless by the way
Hint that within the riddle
One will walk to-day
The shy ' and ignorant ' Dickinson who wrote this poem eloquently illustrates her comfort in quietness but at the same time reveals a strong desire to break free and openly express her feelings. She did not have quite the strength ' to break her silence for fear of social stigma
Privacy in this sense is explored as a defense mechanism employed to protect oneself from society 's all-seeing eye. Dickinson implies that society 's discovery of an individual can inhibit one from growing and traveling free. In this poem. Dickinson confronts prejudice as a pursuer that should be evaded I will not name it in the street
For shops would stare. that I
So shy. so very ignorant
Should have the face to die
It must be remembered that Dickinson 's works were composed in the privacy of her abode. This further establishes the nature of her poems The very conditions in which they were crafted props up the mood and emotion she usually conveys
Privacy is a being mythologized in art circles. It is venerated as a vow. Artists would testify that it is in the privacy of their laboratories where they are able to flesh out the finest ideas for if in case. they commit a mistake. no person would be around to scoff or ridicule. In I Have Not Told My Garden Yet. Dickinson shares the sentiment. A poet - or perhaps any person for that matter - would rather withdraw from the crowd and err in privacy than be exposed to public shame
Perhaps it was this thinking that led Dickinson 's works to not see publication until a few years after her death. The misgivings that held her back were palpable. She was a woman tossed in a fast-changing world coerced to hide in private living. Dickinson describes this experience in As If Some Little Arctic Flower
As if some little arctic flower
Upon the polar hem
Went wandering down the latitudes
Until it puzzled came
To continents of summer
To firmaments of sun
To strange. bright crowds of flowers
And birds of foreign tongue
I say. as if this little flower
To Eden wandered in--
What then. Why. nothing. only
Your inference therefrom The strange ' and foreign ' experience of public exposure is established by associating an arctic flower ' to fragility and defenselessness. Dickinson exploits the arctic coldness of seclusion by exposing it to and contrasting it with the summer warmth of public association. In moments like these. Dickinson attests that a person - or perhaps a woman in particular - is left with no tools or weapons for herself but her thoughts. her inference
I say. as if this little flower
To Eden wandered in--
What then. Why. nothing. only
Your inference therefrom
It is ironic that despite exposure to a warm social ' environment the arctic flower ' remains alone. wandering. with nothing but itself to confront and comfort itself
In many ways. Dickinson 's chosen medium. poetry itself. of expressing her thoughts and sentiments is. by nature. of the reclusive kind. Poetry is a secret master. It promises expression in rhythm and rhyme but refuses to be unlocked and discovered. Poetry is privacy itself. It denies to be undressed by just about everyone. It is selective. It chooses to be revealed only to a few souls steadfast enough to endure such arduous and laborious task
The descriptive give-aways of fiction stories are not typical of poems If poetry had an adversary. it must be fiction. If fiction were an entity. it would be a public celebrity
Stephen Crane scandalized society with his novels that grotesquely publicized ugly private lives. Like most fiction narratives. Crane fearlessly exposed what should have been private. He slapped the public cheek with blunt hands stained with red ink. Crane was a journalist and unlike Dickinson. his life had considerable social exposure. Moreover he was a male in a male 's world. He did not fear prejudice or scandal
Crane 's novella. Maggie. A Girl of the Streets ' takes readers to the voyeuristic publicity of domestic violence and sexual disturbance. New York style The four enter one of the "gruesome buildings " and climb the stairs They enter a room "in which a large woman was rampant " She screams at Jimmie for fighting again. He hides behind the other children and bruises his shins against the table leg in doing so. She "heaves with anger " and picks Jimmie up by the neck and shoulder and shakes him. He screams and tries to get away. The baby sits on the floor watching in terror. The father sits in a chair with a pipe in his mouth. He yells at his wife to leave Jimmie alone so he can have some peace. He complains that she is always "poundin ' a kid " She beats Jimmie even more furiously. Then she tosses him into a corner where he lies down weeping and cursing
Images of a baby gripped with terror and a wife battered to death set in an urban slum area erratically disturbs and drags what should have been private and domestic to public consumption and alarm. Crane writes with nightmarish detail. demanding attention. Dickinson expresses with disquieting silence. unsure about attracting attention Poetry tends to hide meaning more than fiction does. Crane and Dickinson stand in great contrast against each other in this respect The solitude of Dickinson the poet and the noise of Crane the fictionist demonstrate the glaring difference between the genres
There is always a sense of hesitation to social and public exposure among people. Even Crane realized this in the 16th chapter of Maggie A Girl of the Streets
Maggie stands outside for a moment and then begins to wander aimlessly down the streets. She notices that men look at her with interest when she looks like she has no where to go. so she tries to appear as if she is in a rush. After wandering the streets for a long time. she notices a clergyman. She decides to go over and asks him for help. She has heard about "the Grace of God " When he sees her. however. he steps to the side to avoid her in an effort to save his respectability "He did not risk it to save a soul. For how was he to know that there was a soul before him that needed saving
A publicly outed prostitute is shunned even by a dispenser of grace and forgiveness. The fear to go public. as Dickenson expressed. is a universal experience that is accompanied by fear of prejudice and social stigma
Is this why our poetries seal meaning in words whose chains bind them with unbreakable privacy. The poet must be a hermit. then. A hermit locked up in fear who chooses to be snobbish and ungenerous with meaning
Fiction is usually generous with detail and explication. So is it bolder than poetry. Perhaps bolder. but not necessarily less private The multiplicity of characters and diversity of moods and themes and settings make fiction an easy tool for the author to create a universe in which he cannot be easily found
The dearest ones of time. the strongest friends of the soul - BOOKS -Emily Dickinson
The Hutchinson Encyclopedia (2000. Emily Dickinson. Retrieved February 19. 2007 from. http /www .helicon .co .uk
New Millennium Encyclopedia (2000. Stephen Crane. Retrieved February 19. 2007 from. http /www .simonandschuster .com.
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November 26, 2010
by: Caroline Roux
Few doubt that Turkey’s contemporary art scene is one of the liveliest in the world. Galvanised by the Istanbul Biennial, which kicked off in 1987, the city has witnessed an explosion of commercial galleries – there are now more than 200 – allied to a proliferation of privately sponsored initiatives whose flagship is Istanbul Modern, the Bosporus-facing contemporary art museum sponsored by the Eczacibasi family.
This weekend, attention will be focused on “Contemporary Istanbul”, the annual art fair. Now in its fifth edition, the fair is going from strength to strength with 80 galleries, seven more than last year, from 14 countries. “This year we expect a strong surge in sales, bringing the total to around €25m,” says director Dr Emin Mahir Balcıoglu. “As Turkish society becomes more and more prosperous, the legion of collectors is widening.”
He notes that where private banks were once the cornerstone of the market, today there are increasing numbers of private collectors such as Ezir Ozdemir, a glamorous blonde businesswoman and board member of the powerful Limak Holding conglomerate.
Turkish art is benefiting from its country’s position as a gateway between Europe and Asia. At Contemporary Istanbul, Dr Balcıoglu expects to see “a strong participation from collectors from the Gulf countries”. Two satellite exhibitions, “New Horizons” and “Edge of Arabia”, dedicated to Iranian and Saudi contemporary art respectively, underline the eastern focus.
A similar vision underpinned Sotheby’s decision to schedule their Turkish contemporary auction in London during the week dedicated to Islamic art sales. “There’s a great overlap between Islamic and Turkish collectors,” observes Elif Bayoglu, head of contemporary Turkish sales. “The week was very successful. We will certainly do it next year.”
Certainly, Turkish sales flourished. The auction fetched £2.4m, almost doubling the previous year’s takings and setting 16 artist records. Although Turkey’s modernist painters command the highest sums – a 1954 canvas by the avant-garde abstractionist Fahrelnissa Zeid became the first Turkish modern work to surpass $1m at auction – several contemporary talents shone. Most notable was “1881”, by Istanbul-based painter Taner Ceylan. This photorealist painting of a young man in a fez wreathed in his cigarette fumes smashed its estimate of £45,000 to fetch £121,250. Also prominent was the £39,650 price tag (high estimate £18,000) fetched by “Glitch VI”, 2008, an oil painting of an architectural image transformed into an abstract grid by San Francisco-based Canan Tolon.
The most exciting new development in Istanbul is Arter, a not-for-profit contemporary space on Istiklal Avenue, the heart of Istanbul gallery-land. The brainchild of Omer Koc, who heads the cultural foundation started by his grandfather Vehbi, its aim is to showcase the foundation’s growing contemporary art collection and furnish practical support to Turkish artists.
It is a measure of Koc’s international vision that the first show, “Starter”, was curated by René Block, the German curator highly respected for his collaborations with Fluxus artists such as Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik. Now one of Koc’s advisers, Block put together a fascinating – if at times improbable – encounter between works by Fluxus talents and contemporary artists from Turkey and elsewhere.
The second show, which opens this weekend, focuses on new works – their production funded by the Koc Foundation – by 30 Turkish artists including Sotheby’s star Canan Tolon and Ayse Erkmen. The artists were called upon, in the words of curator Emre Baykal, “to take a fresh look at the idea of the institution”. (Erkmen’s typically sensitive response involves an installation of haute-couture hats, produced by a local designer, after she discovered that Arter’s building used to house a hatters.)
The theme raises the question of Turkish contemporary art’s weak rapport with public institutions. For all the buoyancy, there are fears that the lack of state support for contemporary art initiatives is putting artists at risk of losing their integrity under the pressure of the market.
Writing in the September issue of the Art Newspaper, Istanbul-born, Düsseldorf-based curator Necmi Sönmez lambasted mainstream Turkish contemporary art as “harmless, decorative, hyper-realist” controlled by a “monopoly of sales-oriented dealers and private, mainly bank-sponsored art spaces and institutions”.
A recent journey around Istanbul galleries confirmed that many artists are failing to manifest either intellectual depth or aesthetic power. Glib, provocative political statements abound – a sculpture depicting Ataturk as fallen angel, manifold banal commentaries on the veil – as do second-rate conceptual and hyper-realist paintings.
Such uneven quality is inevitable when a market expands extremely rapidly. The private monopoly however can also lead to damaging conflicts of interest. “The gallery owners and dealers are also operating as curator, editor and adviser,” says Sönmez. “The collectors are dealing and they are opening their own galleries to promote their favourite artists.”
Recently, the Turkish ministry of culture has been more active. A new modern art museum, Cer Modern, opened earlier this year in Ankara while the nomination of Istanbul as a European Capital of Culture in 2010 sparked various government-sponsored initiatives.
Most impressive was the exhibition Lives and Works in Istanbul. Showcased in a warehouse-style building, it featured works by Turkish artists who emerged during workshops conducted by European artists including Victor Burgin and Sophie Calle. Funded by the visual arts directorate of the European Capital of Cuture agency, the works – whose highlights include poetic pencil drawings of clasped hands by Ezer Epozdemir and Ayse Dogan’s creamy slabs of torn, moulded raw cotton – will be part of Istanbul’s first public contemporary art collection.
Yet Turkey’s history of repressing popular dissent has left its citizens wary of too much state intervention. “The moment you involve the state it tries to control, to censor,” declares Melih Fereli, cultural adviser to the Koc Foundation which hopes, via Arter, to provide the resources that are offered by the state in other economies. “Many contemporary artists lack funding, publicity, publications and a space in which to exhibit. We can provide all four,” says Fereli.
Nevertheless, recent events suggest the government cannot afford to pursue its policy of benign neglect. In September, galleries in the Tophane quarter came under attack by local residents who sprayed pepper gas and threw frozen oranges at guests as they mingled in the street during an evening of exhibition openings.
Most likely, the violence had manifold causes: the open consumption of alcohol, the risqué nature of certain artworks – which included naked figures and religious and political parodies – and rising local property prices. Although he condemns the attacks, Fereli points out: “The municipalities have failed to provide educational resources that would help the community develop an understanding of their artistic heritage. If they had their own cultural centre there, they would have seen their children paint and perform and the appearance of the galleries would not have seemed so strange to them.”
The Koc Foundation’s next plan is to open an arts complex in a former shipyard on the Golden Horn. “We have the amber light from the government,” says Fereli. “As soon as it goes green, we go.”
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