On The Cover of Chronogram Magazine

August 2014

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

read the article here

Steve Lambert On The Cover of Chronogram Magazine photo

Sand Ocean Sky – The Commons

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

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Interview in We Make Money Not Art

March 2014

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.

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The School for Creative Activism in Scotland

February 2014

This is a short video about out work around democracy in Scotland last November. It gives an idea of what Stephen Duncombe as the School for Creative Activism. We do about 6-8 of these throughout the year and we’re also currently working on a book.

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For Pakistani Artists, an Exercise in Creative Activism

December 2013

Steve Lambert For Pakistani Artists, an Exercise in Creative Activism photo

Midway through a workshop on creative activism the morning of November 22, a group of Pakistani visual artists visiting NYU got some surprising news: Jay-Z had heard they were in the States, and had requested that they perform with him in a music video, as backup singers.

Stephen Duncombe, the Gallatin associate professor who was leading the workshop with conceptual artist Steve Lambert, produced a blank sheet of paper. “You’ll all need to write down your shirt sizes,” he deadpanned, “so you can be fitted for costumes.”

Lambert squinted at a message on his cell phone as he rattled off some logistics. The shoot was to take place that afternoon. In Maryland. On a boat.

read the rest: For Pakistani Artists, an Exercise in Creative Activism.

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Cedar Rapids press coverage on Capitalism Works For Me! True/False

June 2013

Iowa Public Radio

I appeared live on the last segment of the “River to River” program.

Capitalism – Does it work for you? That’s the question on a 20-ft-long sign with flashing lights that’s come to Cedar Rapids. Viewers vote by pressing true or false.  Steve Lambert, the artist behind the project Steve Lambert explains his inspiration and  share some of the responses he gathered.

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download an mp3

KWWL

KWWL.com

KCRG

The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Steve Lambert Cedar Rapids press coverage on Capitalism Works For Me! True/False  photo

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Jason Sims Puts You In Your Place #2

June 2013

If you remember, I was on Jason Sims podcast, “Jason Sims Puts You In Your Place” a few months back and Jason and I decided to make it the first “2-parter.”

You can listen to Part 2 now and in this conversation we talk about:

  • getting my wisdom teeth taken out in Tijuana.
  • the non-glamorous side of traveling for work – from touring with bands to teaching with the Center for Artistic Activism
  • seeking out meaningful experiences on the road at  the expense of those very experiences
  • Visiting Kenya
  • The struggle of saying “no” to what sound like amazing opportunities

You can get it on iTunes or from the site, Jason Sims Puts You In Your Place.

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Sculpture Magazine on Capitalism Works For Me! True/False

March 2013

Steve Lambert Sculpture Magazine on Capitalism Works For Me! True/False photo
Sculpture Magazine did a review of Capitalism Works For Me! True/False in their most recent issue. Read the PDF: SculptureMag-Steve Lambert.pdf

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Social Text #114 Cover Image

March 2013

Capitalism Works For Me! True/False” is on the cover of issue 114 of Social Text.

 

Steve Lambert Social Text #114 Cover Image photo

 

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Australian National Radio Future Tense: Pranks and Tricksters interview

February 2013

I’m proud to be included in this radio piece for Future Tense (Australian public radio) on Pranks and Tricksters. The show also interviewed Charlie Todd (Improv Everywhere), Bani Brusadin, and Dr. Gabriela Coleman.

You can download the Pranks and Tricksters MP3 or just listen to it here:

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The interview went really well and the production is excellent. I highly recommend giving it a listen.

 

Steve Lambert Australian National Radio Future Tense: Pranks and Tricksters interview photo

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Interview for Type Talk blog “Steve Lambert’s Typography for Social Change”

January 2013

You can see my terrible draft sketches in this interview for Type Talk.

Steve Lambert Interview for Type Talk blog Steve Lamberts Typography for Social Change photo

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