Steve Lambert

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Yearly Archives: 2010

EFF Takedown Hall of Shame

Since 1990 the Electronic Frontier Foundation has defended free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights online. Bogus copyright and trademark complaints have threatened all kinds of creative expression on the Internet. EFF’s Hall Of Shame collects the worst of the worst.

DeBeer’s attempt to take down New York Times Special Edition website is listed on the EFF’s Hall of Shame. I am proud.

Performance/Lecture for “Free” at New Museum

Free as in Freedom and Free as in Free Beer: a talk and walking tour with jokes

A presentation of the various definitions of “Free,” from human liberation, the law, freedom of movement, to economics.

This lecture pulls together the ideas of The Diggers, punk rock, Franklin Roosevelt, and the Free Software movement to spark some new ideas and conversation. The show starts with a brief multi-media whirlwind though these ideas and ends with a short walking tour into the streets to see how these ideas apply in the real world.

Originally presented in relation to the New Museums exhibition, Free, on November 6, 2010.

Selected Images from the talk

Reading List for Bennington College

The Bennington College Library asked me (and others) to put together a voluntary reading list for their students. This is what I came up with.

On Utopia




The PR! book above is a great segue.

The Funny

  • Re/Search: Pranks – inspiring… sometimes disturbing.
  • Anything by George Saunders. Maybe start with Pastoralia.
  • Only Joking by Jimmy Carr and Lucy Greeves – About as academic a book I want to read on comedy.

Social Marketing

Using marketing techniques to promote healthy behaviors. These are books I recommend often.

Being An Artist

This is the practical stuff.

False Documents and Other Illusions at Portland Art Museum

False Documents and Other Illusions, looks at the various ways in which contemporary artists approach the idea of trompe l’oei, lillusion, or fooling the eye. It runs in conjunction with a traditional 19th-century trompe l’oeil painting show on view in another gallery called John Haberle: Master of Illusion.

The New York Times Special Edition will be included in the show.

Portland Museum of Art
Seven Congress Square
Portland, Maine 04101
October 30, 2010—January 2, 2011.

Video for Power, Taboo, and the Artist

In the summer of 2010, we asked artists and curators worldwide to record themselves responding and commenting on the following questions:

What are or should be the taboos honored by cultural institutions?
Why should public funds be spent to support artwork that might offend some segment of the general public?
Does “concern for the community” justify (self)censorship?
What alternative institutional models are emerging in the face of restrictive conditions attached to public funding?

The responses and creative comments of artists and curators worldwide are collected in Power, Taboo and the Artist, an ongoing video project produced by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School.

The project is part is part of a series of events How Obscene is This organized on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the NEA Decency Clause and addressing diminished public funding for the arts and the culture of self-censorship or outright censorship that has taken hold in arts institutions. Besides the video, the series includes panel discussions and a censored film series.

See all the videos.  Below is my contribution:

And if you need a refresher on Muddy Waters:

Ironically, the above video was removed from YouTube. Let’s try this one:

Creative Activism Receives Soros Grant


Funds Awarded to Support Artists and Activists Working Together in “School for Creative Activism”

Stephen Duncombe (NYU) and Steve Lambert (SMFA) Receive $45,000 Through George Soros’s Open Society Foundations Grant

Steve Lambert and Stephen Duncombe

Founded and directed by Stephen Duncombe, a professor at the Gallatin School of New York University and long-time activist, and Steve Lambert, a faculty member of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and recognized political artist, the School for Creative Activism is a participatory workshop infusing community organizing and civic engagement with culture and creativity. As co-director Lambert describes it, “Imagine if Saul Alinsky took a class in performance art.”

Working directly with organizers and community actors, the SCA leverages the strengths of grassroots activism and the attention grabbing and complex messaging of art through a curriculum designed to:

  • Teach cultural tactics and creative strategies employed effectively by organizers in the past.
  • Recognize and draw upon the cultural resources and creative talents residing within individuals, organizations, and communities in the present.
  • Collectively run scenarios and plan campaigns that utilize culture and creativity.
  • Build a network of organizers and artists using a model of creative organizing more effective in our media-saturated, spectacle-savvy world.

“The first rule of activism is to know the terrain and use it to your advantage,” explains co-director Duncombe, “and the current political topography is one of symbols and signs, images and expressions. This is the avant-garde of activism today. From small community organizations to international NGOs, visionary activists are looking to broaden their base of appeal and the reach of their message by employing culture alongside more traditional organizing practices. Our training will help these organizations use innovative and creative ways to engage politics.”

“The SCA is not just about ‘better messaging,’ adds Lambert. “Our goal is more effective organizing. Our curriculum updates the activist tool-kit through the reimagination and reconfiguration of tactics, strategy and organization in such a way that creativity and culture factors into every plan and every action.”

Over the 2010-2011 year the SCA will run two training sessions working with local artists and Open Society Foundations organizing partners, one in the New York area, the other in North Carolina.

The Power and Democracy fund of the Open Society Foundation (formerly Open Society Institute) recently awarded the School for Creative Activism (SCA) a grant for $45,000 for curricular development and organizer training over the 2010-2011 year.

The School for Creative Activism is a new project of the Center for Artistic Activism. For more information about the center and its programs use contact information above.


PDF: Creative Activism Receives Soros Grant


What is Trespass? A beautiful new book of “Uncommissioned Urban Art” compiled by the folks from Wooster Collective. I will be at the Taschen Books Store on Wednesday night signing copies. If you are in NY, please do come by. If you know anyone that would be interested, please pass it on.

With an introduction by Banksy, Trespass features over 300 pages of photographs and texts by Carlo McCormick, Tony Serra, Anne Pasternak and Wooster Collective. Edited by Ethel Seno, the book is organized by theme, not chronologically or by artist. Chapters include: Conquest of Space, Public Memory/Private Secrets, and Magical Thinking.

Read about the book on WoosterCollective
Leaf through it on the Taschen site

Book Signing party
Wednesday, September 29 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm
107 Greene Street
New York, NY