Artist Steve Lambert likes to say his medium is “trouble.” That’s a creative way of saying he’s less interested in pretty pictures than in artwork that challenges the audience. Or in the case of his latest, work that forces them to examine their own views.
The New York-based artist is currently an artist in residence at Birmingham’s Space One Eleven gallery. This weekend he brings his work called “Public Forum” to Birmingham’s Artwalk. Steve Lambert spoke with WBHM’s Andrew Yeager about the piece.
The police are here to protect us — true or false? Mass transit only helps poor people — true or false? Slavery is over — true or false? Jesus is more important than football — true or false?
These are just a few of the questions that form the centerpiece of a striking exhibition — part art installation, part game show, part town-hall meeting — that’s coming to downtown arts nonprofit Space One Eleven (SOE) for Artwalk weekend (Sept. 5-6). PUBLIC FORUM, the brainchild of conceptual artist Steve Lambert, blends the boundaries between art and democracy.
— Kevin Buist (@KevinBuist) September 3, 2014
by Michael Huebner on Al.com
Be careful if you cross paths with Steve Lambert. He might entice you into a meaningful conversation.
At the very least, the New York artist will have you scratching your head when he shows up with signage at Space One Eleven gallery during the 2014 Birmingham Artwalk (Sept. 5-6).
The New York Times Special Edition will show at Generator Projects in Scotland.
Opens 5th September 6th to 28th September, Thurs-Sun
25/26 Mid Wynd
U.K DD1 4JG
Curators: James S Lee & Daniel Bruton with Holly Keasey
My work is on the cover of the August issue of Chronogram – a Hudson Valley, NY based art and culture magazine.
On The Cover: Steve Lambert
By Iana Robitaille
If there’s one thing Steve Lambert learned as an undercover security agent at Stanford University’s bookstore, it’s that anyone—a history professor, a freshman’s dad on Parents Weekend, an ex-felon—can try to steal a pen. After each incident, he would sit down with the offender and discuss the attempted theft often born of some psychological conflict, according to Lambert. The meetings tended to end constructively: “Maybe today can be a turning point,” he would suggest.
Lambert retired his badge years ago, but conversation remains at the core of his work. The artist/activist creates public pieces that ask viewers to consider their value systems as consumers. Advertising is a frequent subject. “I consider myself ‘media-agnostic,’” he says. “I use whatever material will work best for me.” For Lambert, this is signage; he critiques advertising using its own methods. Sand Ocean Sky—The Commons is one of a series of arrow signs Lambert fashioned and photographed around Los Angeles. The signs are witty—one reads “No Trespassing” outside of a gated home, another “You are Still Alive” beside a large cemetery—and consider how we perceive and value public space. Lambert also fights advertising with software—his web application Add-Art replaces online advertisements with art.
For Lambert, his work isn’t about feeding a message to his audience. It’s about discussion and exchange. “[In college] I would see art in galleries, stuff that looked fun to make, but not so fun to look at. It was great when I realized that art could be whatever I wanted it to be.” The desire to make art “fun” for both artist and audience has created works that require interactivity. Lambert’s piece Capitalism Works For Me! True/False is a giant traveling scoreboard, with two buttons inviting passersby to agree or disagree. It looks and feels like a game show: bright, colorful, competitive. But Lambert is more interested in stories than scores. He recalls one man who voted false in Times Square: “He was so frustrated with the broad inhumanity of economic inequality that all he could do was cry. For the piece to cause that kind of profound response felt like an incredible achievement far beyond what I ever expected.”
In 2008, Lambert collaborated with the Yes Men on The New York Times Special Edition, distributing 80,000 fake copies of only “best-case scenario” news across the country. “The point,” he says, “wasn’t to make all of those things a reality, but to enjoy walking toward them.” For Lambert, walking is talking. Lambert occasionally sets up a table with a hand-painted sign that promises, “I will talk with anyone about anything. Free!” The mobile table has proven popular; Lambert says discussions have run the gamut, from weather to Native American agricultural techniques. Whatever the subject, the artist wants to walk and talk with you.
Steve Lambert currently teaches in the New Media Program at SUNY Purchase and works from his studio in Beacon. Information on his work and upcoming exhibitions can be found on his site: Visitsteve.com.
video by Stephen Blauweiss
Stephen Duncombe and I did a Center for Artistic Activism, Arts Action Academy workshop in St. Petersburg. The culmination was an impromptu beach, created along one of the normally unfriendly canals. The action was a comment on the gentrification happing in the area, while also acting as a proposal.
Translated (automatically) from Russian:
Impromptu beach town appeared in this Friday in Kolomna. Action “our beach”, organized by the artists of the festival “MediaUdar ‘ , students’ art schools involved, “sociologists “Open Lab City” and indifferent citizens of the District of Kolomna, turned Seattle’s waterfront in the lively public space.
Thanks activists Planking descent to the Griboyedov Canal in Alarchina bridge suddenly turned into a bright area of recreation and entertainment. Anyone could stay in the water on the comfortable loungers, sun tan, drink a glass of cool juice, play ball or Frisbee and chat with neighbors.
Organizers of the “beach” called their action “artistic proposal” for the residents. “We are not employees of the municipal government and can not guarantee that the beach will operate for a long time. Rather, it is an invitation: if the residents like it – they will develop the ideas that we offer on behalf of the art community and sociologists, “- said the coordinator of” MediaUdara “Tatiana Volkova.
Holidaymakers on the beach to collect at least 40 people, including activists of the “New Kolomna.”
I will have a photograph in the Kickstarter Blockparty art show.
Saturday May 3, 2014 | Noon to 6pm
Kickstarter HQ | 58 Kent St, Brooklyn NY
Rain or shine
Our inaugural art show includes a survey of work by artists who have used Kickstarter for every thing from public artworks, experimental publications, exhibitions, iPhone apps, new institutions, monographs, documentary films and newsprint editions.
Featured artists include: Marina Abramovic Institute, Marshall Arisman, Jeremy Bailey, Amanda Browder, Seth Indigo Carnes, Heather Hart, Steve Lambert, Ligorano Reese, Mary Ellen Mark, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mike Perry, Leon Reid IV, Richard Renaldi, Phil Stearns, Swoon, Howard Tangye, Spencer Tunick, Saya Woolfalk
An interview Stephen Duncombe and I did about the Center for Artistic Activism was published on the site We Make Money Not Art yesterday.
Here’s an excerpt:
For example, we often hear political artists say things like “I’m interested in raising awareness about issues around immigration.” This statement is so vague it could also serve as a mission statement for a Nazi propaganda office. Consciousness raising is only useful as a means directed towards something larger. Not addressing a specific, distant goal is a strategic error. Unfortunately merely political content is often what passes for political art, while it has little political impact. If the artist were to be more ambitious and more specific, “I will create a more accepting culture around immigration through my art work” they’d probably be more successful because they’d have a clearer idea of what they were trying to do.
We Make Money Not Art Read the rest.
Dirge: Reflections [on Life] and Death March 7, 2014—June 8, 2014
Organized by Megan Lykins Reich, Director of Programs and Associate Curator
MOCA Cleveland information page: http://www.mocacleveland.org/exhibitions/dirge-reflections-life-and-death
REGULAR HOURS Tuesday through Sunday: 11am – 5pm
Open late Thursdays until 9pm
Check the calendar or call 216.421.8671 for more information
Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
11400 Euclid Ave Cleveland