SUNY Purchase Faculty Colloquium

December 2013

On October 30, 2013 Professor Stephen Flusburg and I presented at the [SUNY Purchase]( faculty colloquium. Flusburg is a cognitive psychologist and I knew I would be presenting after him, so I tried to build on some of those ideas. If you’re up for it, you can rewind back to see his presentation.

Stephen Flusberg, Assistant Professor of Psychology “Thinking about Thinking about Thinking”

Steve Lambert, Assistant Professor of New Media “Creative Disruption for the Common Good”

I start at about 41 minutes in.


Keynote at HOMEWORK II: LONG FORMS / SHORT UTOPIAS Conference November 8-10, 2013

November 2013

Steve Lambert Keynote at HOMEWORK II: LONG FORMS / SHORT UTOPIAS Conference November 8 10, 2013 photo

I’ll be giving a keynote at the Broken City Festival this weekend. Here’s some info from their site:

We’re very pleased to announce Homework II: Long Forms / Short Utopias, a three-day conference and collaboratively-written publication that will aim to unfold the ways in which we construct, articulate, and practice ideas of micro-utopias, pop-up ideals, collaboration, and long-term social engagement in Ontario, across Canada, and abroad.

The conference will build on our previous conference, Homework: Infrastructures & Collaboration in Social Practices, in bringing together multidisciplinary artists and creative practitioners enacting and articulating the complexities of working in practices driven by curiosities about utopian collaboration, community, infrastructures, locality, and long-form social practice. With support from the Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Trillium Foundation, we’re looking to build an event that can frame a discussion on socially-engaged practices that span disciplines, with a particular focus on emerging practitioners.

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

via Announcing HOMEWORK II: LONG FORMS / SHORT UTOPIAS Conference November 8-10, 2013 : Broken City Lab.


United Nations & Advertising

October 2013

Steve Lambert United Nations & Advertising photo

I was invited to speak at the United Nations on the impact of advertising on cultural rights for Special Raporteur Farida Shaheed. A report will be issued sometime next year.

One of the attendees wrote about the meeting – you can read that here and here.


We’ll Make Out Better Than Okay in Kansas City, MO

October 2013

We’ll Make Out Better Than Okay
opening Oct. 25
The Charlotte Street Foundation’s la Esquina Gallery
Kansas City, MO.

Featured artists: David O. Alekhuogie (New Haven, CT), Jennifer Boe (Kansas City, MO), Andrea Bowers (Los Angeles, CA), Candy Chang (New Orleans, LA), Blake Fall-Conroy (Ithaca, NY), Theaster Gates (Chicago, IL), Honey Pot Performance (Chicago, IL), Steve Lambert (New York, NY), Persia ft. Daddies Plastik (San Francisco, CA), William Powhida (New York, NY), Public Media Institute (Chicago, IL), Alex Schaefer (Los Angeles, CA), Mike Simi (Chicago, IL), Brittany Southworth-LaFlamme (Chicago, IL), Stephanie Syjuco (San Francisco, CA), Cassie Thornton (San Francisco, CA), and Daniel Tucker (Chicago, IL).

Charlotte Street Foundation is pleased to present We’ll Make Out Better Than Okay, an exhibition of contemporary artworks that address everyday and street-level concerns of the economic recession (unemployment, debt, corporate greed, minimum wage rates, and more) with playfulness, aplomb, and an often bleak sense of humor. Financial lack, foreclosed property, exploitative labor policy, and high-priced healthcare are just a handful of the economic realities producing absurdist dilemmas for individuals and communities across the nation. Curated by 2013-14 Charlotte Street Foundation Curator-in- Residence Danny Orendorff and featuring over 15 internationally exhibiting American artists working in medium non-specific manners, this exhibition confronts such realities and absurdities with headstrong wit and hilarious outrage.


Sharon Arts Center | (con)TEXT

September 2013

Steve Lambert Sharon Arts Center | (con)TEXT photo

Sharon Arts Center, Main Gallery
New Hampshire Art Institute

Curated by Tim Donovan – Launch F18 Gallery, New York
September 6 – October 25, 2013

Opening Reception: September 6, 2013, 5–7pm

Whether it is repurposing found letters, bombastic political statements, documenting intimate details or elusively abstracting a phrase, text incorporated within art offers a profound purpose by both redefining our perception of what language can be and what it can do. Often, by manipulating its context, text is freed to become a vehicle that allows us to take into consideration what was previously concluded.

Steve Lambert Sharon Arts Center | (con)TEXT photo

Public Programs: Curator’s Talk: September 19, 2013, 5 –6:30pm


  • Ultra Violet
  • Rachel Perry Welty
  • John Waters
  • Sam Trioli
  • Hank Willis Thomas
  • Erin Sweeney
  • Adam Stennett
  • Ryan Steadman
  • Adam Parker Smith
  • Michael Scoggins
  • David Shrigley
  • Pete Schulte
  • Glen Scheffer
  • Kenny Scharf
  • Walker T. Roman
  • Frankie Rice
  • Janaki Ranpura
  • David Potter
  • Jack Pierson
  • Kottie Paloma
  • Doug Padgett
  • Ewa Nogiec
  • Susie Nielsen
  • Edward Monovich
  • Ryan McGinley
  • Charles Lutz
  • Peter Liversidge
  • Sean Lamoureux
  • Steve Lambert
  • Darren Kraft
  • Terence Koh
  • Morten Hemmingsen
  • Jenny Holzer
  • Heather Hilton
  • Raul Gonzalez III
  • Gilbert and George
  • Peter Scarbo Frawley
  • Peter Fox
  • Mark Flood
  • Silas Finch
  • Tracey Emin
  • Tim Donovan
  • Len Davis
  • Joy Drury Cox
  • Michael Carroll
  • Tricia Rose Burt
  • Helene Aylon

Via Sharon Arts Center


Capitalism in Times Square, NYC

August 2013

Steve Lambert Capitalism in Times Square, NYC photo

Capitalism Works For Me! True/False will show in Times Square as part of the 2013 Crossing The Line Festival and Times Square Arts.

About Crossing The Line:

Over twenty-five days, Crossing the Line, presented by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), offers New Yorkers a chance to engage with the work and imagination of seventeen extraordinary international artists, several presenting their work and ideas in New York for the first time.

PDF Brochure


Capitalism Works For Me! True/False will be in Times Square on these dates.

  • Sept. 20, 12-5 pm
  • Oct. 6-7, 12-7 pm
  • Oct. 8, 12-7 pm
  • Oct. 9, 12-7 pm

Does Capitalism Work? Public Conversation

“Does Capitalism Work?”: Conversation with Steve Lambert, economist Richard Wolff, and psychotherapist Harriet Fraad

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)

Times Square, Venue to be announced

RSVP on eventbrite




Read more about the project

Photos by Jake Schlichting


Speaking: Social Design Public Action Symposium – Vienna

August 2013

I’ll be speaking at the Social Design Public Action Symposium this fall.

Social Design Public Action
International Symposium
26-27 September 2013
University of Applied Arts Vienna

Download the program.

Steve Lambert Speaking: Social Design Public Action Symposium   Vienna photo



July 2013

Steve Lambert TURN ON at KUBE photo


Sharper Image at Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, NYC

June 2013

Opening reception June 27th.

JUNE 27 – AUGUST 31, 2013
251 W 19TH ST,
NEW YORK, NY 10011

What is the unique thing that all artists share? What do they search for in their art that defines them? Is it their brush stroke, line, hand on the material, humor, politics or choices in presenting ideas?

ETHAN COHEN NEW YORK presents Sharper Image, a group exhibition that brings to together 22 artists and the unique expressions. The purpose of this exhibition is to showcase these diverse ideas as each of their practices moves toward some notion of idealism and refinement.

Idealism, in its myriad forms, can be serious or playful, abstract or representational, sculptural or painterly, conceptual or nonobjective, active or passive.

Idealism in its painterly form, like in the work of Barry Nemett, Kyle Hackett, Chi Ming, Joseph Ayers, Peter Ferguson, Li Lin, June Culp, Laini Nemett, M.Cheon aka Kim Il Soon, Liu Xiaohui or Lillian Lorraine, focuses on specific details, like an architectural step or varying approaches to portraiture. As Barry Nemett says,“Painting, for me, is about bringing subject matter, emotions, ideas into visual focus. Ironically, sometimes sharpening an image involves ambiguity, ethereality . . . even invisibility.”

The everyday object finds revision and refinement in the sculptural works of Brookhart Jonquil, Michael Zelehoski, Bob Bailey, Matt Kinney, Breon Dunigan, and Isaac Aden, who employ speakers, street signs, skeletons, fluorescent tubing, and mirrors. In the work of Eric Doeringer, the artist has taken familiar art objects – on Kawara’s date paintings, in this case – and appropriated it as his own.

The intangible is given form in the sound/algorithm paintings of John Aslanidis, and Leanna Pascual’s yoga-practice-turned-performance artwork. Likewise, Steve Lambert’s lit sign illuminates, literally, the notion of authoritarianism and power.

Sharper Image artists include Trong G. Nguyen, Breon Dunigan, Eric Doeringer, Leanna Pascual, John Aslanidis, Barry Nemett, Laini Nemett, M. Cheon aka Kim Il Soon, Brookhart Jonquil, Michael Zelehoski, Lillian Lorraine, Peter Ferguson, Steve Lambert, Kyle Hackett, Joseph Ayers, Matt Kinney, Liu Xiaohui, Isaac Aden, Bob Bailey, June Culp, Chi Ming, and Li Lin.

Ethan Cohen New York will presentSharper Image: Part II,a special exhibition, at artSTRAND in Provincetown, Massachusetts from August 9 – 18, 2013. For more information, or 508-487-1153.

For general inquiries about Sharper Image, contact 212-625-1250 or

251 W 19TH ST,
NEW YORK, NY 10011
T 212-625-1250
F 212-274-1518


Steve Lambert Sharper Image at Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, NYC photo


Questioning Capitalism in Iowa

June 2013

Bill Moyers had a show back in February called Taming Capitalism Run Wild with, my favorite economist, Richard Wolff.

I realize asking someone to watch a 45 minute video within a post online might be far-fetched, but if you have the time (now or later) I recommend it. We used it in the installation at Legion Arts because, as I am here in Iowa, this discussion is even more relevant. Here’s what Wolff has to say about the lack of criticism of Capitalism in the United States:

There has been that kind of thing in our history. I mean, we as Americans, after all, we take a certain pride, which I think is justified, we criticize our school system. We just spent two years criticizing our health delivery system in this country. We criticize our energy system, our transportation system.

And we want to believe, and I think it’s true, that to criticize this system, to have an honest debate, exposes flaws, makes it possible to repair or improve them, and then our society benefits. But then how do you explain, and that’s your question, that we don’t do that for our economic system?

For 50 years, when capitalism is raised, you have two allowable responses: celebration, cheerleading. Okay, that’s very nice. But that means you have freed that system from all criticism, from all real debate. It can indulge its worst tendencies without fear of exposure and attack. Because when you begin to criticize capitalism, you’re either told that you’re ignorant and don’t understand things, or with more dark implications, you’re somehow disloyal. You’re somehow a person who doesn’t like America or something.

I’ve experienced all those responses – the interrogation of a system with the goal of improvement, as well as the doubts about my intelligence and questions of loyalty. In fact, I’ve seen more of the latter in Cedar Rapids. There’s been more anger here than anywhere else I’ve traveled with the Capitalism Works For Me! True/False sign (not all anger, but a higher ratio).

Steve Lambert Questioning Capitalism in Iowa photo

Capitalism Works For Me! True/False at the site of a controversial downtown casino proposal in Cedar Rapids, IA

Often I get asked by people approaching the sign, “what are you proposing” or sometimes told, “there is no alternative” (and the speaker is not aware of the history of that phrase). I always answer “something better” because often socialism and communism are brought up, and I try to steer people away from things they likely see as failures of the past. Usually this tactic works and we can move the conversation from a dead-ending confrontation about Capitalism/USA vs Communist and Socialist Others to place of hope and vision – the economic system is not set in stone, there can be alternatives, things can get better. Ultimately a softening of their position and opening to, what may feel like, radical new ideas. Most importantly, new ideas that are coming from within themselves.

Iowa is the first place I have met hostility to this – from a small minority of participants, but still very present. One visitor, who was an older man, owner of multiple businesses, and a Vietnam vet aggressively responded to my “something better” with “that’s weak!” The attitude was that if I was going to criticize the U.S. economic system, I better have some idea of a system to replace it – and all the better if it was something he could rip apart – but coming to the table with nothing was even worse. The idea of moving forward admitting you don’t know exactly where you’ll end up was unacceptable.

Of course, I see this approach more analogous to advising someone to continue in a romantic relationship they know is hurting them because it’s unthinkable to be with no partner at all.

Sometimes you just need to move forward into the unknown.

If the sign is asking anything, it’s asking you to check-in at the edge of that unknown.

For some, that is threatening and causes an angry and defensive response. Perhaps because it challenges a system that has treated them very well. The reaction may also be explained by what Wolff’s wife describes – that facing the system’s failures is too ugly and clinging to the ideals is more attractive. I think part of the explanation must include the simple fact that moving away from anything familiar towards an unknown is frightening.

For me, this path may be more familiar, if not still a little frightening: it’s part of the creative process. As an artist, I don’t have fully formed ideas of completed works. They come in flashes, are fleshed out in iterations, bad sketches, and progress through tests, study, conversations, and taking breaks. It’s a long journey and sometimes ideas are even abandoned along the way. All this is normal. This is how you get somewhere better. This is how you make any progress at all.

Like all creative processes, our lives also happen in iterations. Every day we come at it again, learning from the past and striving to be better. As a culture, we can do the same. The truly harmful form of conservative thinking (not in the political sense) I see here is clinging to a single world view. As Stephen Colbert put it “Thinking the same thing on Wednesday that you did on Monday. No matter what happened on Tuesday.” Going further, it’s clinging only to what one knows as most tangible and real – their singular experience of reality – closing ones eyes in the face a problem with no sure solutions.

To solve problems, we need the vision and the courage to go forward through darkness with eyes wide open.