Steve Lambert art, etc. Mon, 23 Feb 2015 01:23:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Presenting at Eyebeam Artists in Conversation Thu, 19 Feb 2015 01:20:56 +0000 eyebeam_conversations

Artists In Conversation

Featuring Eyebeam Artists and Technologists

Saturday 21 February, 2015

12:00PM – 7:00PM

Please note this talk will take place in DUMBO, Brooklyn at Gallery 216, 111 Front Street

As part of the 2015 Annual Showcase, join participating Eyebeam artists for a full day of invigorating inquiry into critical approaches to emerging technologies and their creative usage. Topics will include: Wearable Tech Against Stop-and-Frisk, Discomfortability in Public Work, Online Presentations of Fictional Facts, and Architecture as Technology.

12:00PM – 12:45PM


Eyebeam Student Resident Iltimas Doha will join Joanne McNeil in conversation about his project “Hoodie”. Combined with stealth technology, this piece of clothing can be used as a protective tool against law enforcement harassment. As a victim of the NYPD stop-and-frisk tactic, Doha wants to empower other young potential targets of police harassment using technology.

1:00PM – 2:00PM


Eyebeam Fellow Nancy Nowacek and Todd Shalom from Elastic City invite, battle and tame discomfort in their public, participatory work. As their work can potentially unsettle one’s emotional (and sometimes physical) state, it is often met with resistance or skepticism. Join Nowacek and Shalom in a talk about navigating these choppy waters. On stage will be two chairs, a microphone and nothing to hide behind.

2:00PM – 3:00PM

When the Fake Becomes Real

The internet is full of impostors, unreliable narrators, replicas, spoofers, parodies, and stories that present fiction as fact. Some things that started as fiction become fact, and this also happens in reverse. In conversation, current and former residents Joanne McNeil and Lauren McCarthy will discuss their work and give examples of the murky space between real and fake.

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Architecture as Technology

Eva Franch i Gilabert, Executive Director of and Chief Curator of Storefront for Art and Architecture, will join Eyebeam Fellow Torkwase Dyson in an inquiry into usage of architecture as a form of technology. Dyson explores architecture as a device to extrapolate ideas of human geography and in conversation, they will explore conceptual and formal architectural ideas as a means to develop iterations of space and place that impact the physiological makeup of the body.

5:00PM – 6:00PM

Playing For Laughs

How does comedy manifest itself in games? From having players do ridiculous things, to making ‘em laugh, to writing inside jokes – a panel of game designers will discuss how humor is incorporated into their games. Featuring Kaho Abe, Jane Friedhoff, and Eyebeam Residents Chloe Varelidi and Atul Varma.

6:00PM – 7:00PM

Everyday Strategies for Time Travel

There were some great things about the internet in 1970, 1992, 2000, and 2007. While nostalgia for a Web That Was is often misleading and misguided, alumni Ingrid Burrington and Steve Lambert will highlight some forgotten traits that can make our increasingly machine-readable, as-a-serviced now into a more human-inhabitable future. Burrington and Lambert will cover different approaches to stepping out of timestamps and constructing if not the web we once had, then at least the web we might want.

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This Week: Unit One/Allen Hall Guest-in-Residence Sun, 15 Feb 2015 12:38:42 +0000 Steve Lambert, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Unit One/Allen Hall Guest-in-Residence: 2/15-2/19

“The In-Residence Program at Unit One is a series of visiting guests who have a diverse range of professions and interests. Many guests have chosen paths that are unusual, and they are passionate about their work and lives, as well as fun, interesting people. Guests live in Allen Hall for 1-2 weeks, interacting with residents in a variety of non-academic programs, workshops, and informal discussions.”

More info

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Speaking at Fordham Urban Law Journal Symposium Fri, 06 Feb 2015 03:17:39 +0000 I’m giving the closing remarks at this Law symposium.

Fordham Urban Law Journal Symposium, Vol. XLII

Law, Urban Space, and The Future of Artistic Expression

Thursday, February 26, 2015
9 a.m.—5 p.m.

The symposium will examine legal issues surrounding street art, such as intellectual property and private and public spaces. It will also explore different perspectives of urban artistic expression, including large scale metropolitan art, the role of street art in shaping and changing communities, and the role of performance art generally in an urban space.

Fordham Law School
Skadden Conference Center
Costantino Room (Second Floor)
150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023

Conference is co-sponsored by: Urban Law Center, Urban Studies Program at Fordham University, and Fordham Art Law Society

The program is free and open to the public. For more information or questions, please contact:

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Resistance and Revolution at Gund Gallery, Kenyon College Mon, 19 Jan 2015 04:33:10 +0000 Capitalism Works For Me! True/False Steve Lambert at the Gund Gallery

Resistance & Revolution: Responses in Contemporary Print, Technology and Community Activism

January 16, 2015–March 8, 2015 

This show includes Capitalism Works For Me! True/False, The New York Times Special Edition, The Public Energy Art Kit, and Public Forum.

Artists document or engage in political resistance through varying visual forms, media and technological means. Representing diverse responses to recent and perennial political issues in print, digital technology and social activism from the last decade this exhibition showcases works by Enrique Chagoya, Shephard Fairey, Steve Lambert, YES MEN and others who grapple with economic disparity, environmentalism, foreign policy, racial or gender inequality, among other concerns.

More at the Gund Gallery Site

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Add-Art 2.0 Sun, 18 Jan 2015 03:39:15 +0000 Add-Art Settings Steve Lambert Add-Art Logo Add-Art on The New York Times

Add-Art is a Firefox addon that replaces website advertising with art. Originally developed in 2008, the 2.0 release allows users to choose between different sources of art from The Brooklyn Museum, Eyebeam, Kadist Foundation, NASA, and Rhizome.

The plugin works alongside AdBlock Plus, which blocks online ads, and replaces that blank space with art images.

Install Add-Art now

More infotmation at and code at GitHub

Thanks to Corey Tegeler



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NY Times Special Edition featured in “Is Satire Saving Our Nation?” Wed, 03 Dec 2014 13:54:31 +0000 The New York Times Special Edition is included in a new book, “Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics” by Sophia A. McLennen and Remy M. Maisel, published by Palgrave Macmillan

Is Satire Saving Our Nation?

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Victor Manuel Cázares Vazquez will Talk with Anyone About Anything Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:43:10 +0000 Victor Manuel Cázares Vazquez is the latest to repeat my I Will Talk With Anyone About Anything project, this time in Nuevo Laredo, MX. It got him in the local news.

Thanks Victor!

I Will Talk With Anyone About Anything Mexico Steve Lambert

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Video: Lecture at Grand Valley State University Wed, 19 Nov 2014 04:06:41 +0000 This is the talk I gave at Grand Valley State University. During the Q&A I was first told I was a finalist for Art Prize, so that’s why none of the issues around the funding and giving away the prize are mentioned.

This is what I was thinking about and talking about in September 2014. Topics covered include:

  • Growing up in San Mateo, CA
  • Liberal Education
  • What art is for
  • Jesus of Nazareth vs. Jesus the King
  • Monet’s Haystacks
  • Futurist Theory
  • Some work I made
  • The problem with awe and wonder
  • The problem with explicit persuasion
  • Power

And there are jokes.

Watch it here:

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404 Video: QualStream Will Get You Back Online Wed, 19 Nov 2014 03:44:36 +0000 In 2011 I had an idea in the middle of the night. Instead of a 404 Not Found Error page on my website, I would make a 404 Not Found video that would become “The Most Awkward 404 Not Found Page on the Internet.”

That went around.

A couple months ago I was invited to create another video for the 404th Wall Project. The 404th Wall Project – I’ll say intentionally – I never understood. It had to do with streaming a video signal to Dubai from, I think, Scotland. While assurances were made, everyone involved seemed to expect problems with the signal. So much so, they commissioned videos for when it all went South. That’s where I came in.

I asked my old friend Scott Vermeire to join. He and I recorded a 30 minute in-character tech support/sales video for a company called QualStream Solutions, LLC. As Josh and B.B., we were going to stay on the line until everything was up and running again.

I’ll warn you, it’s about 30 minutes long. I think it’s worth it, but if you don’t agree that’s fine. It’s not for everyone. However, word from the audiences there was that they either enjoyed it immensely, or found it eerily similar to real-life experiences.

(Note: originally it was over an hour, but there was a problem with the sound so we re-did it.)

About the 404th Wall Project

Hosted by The NewBridge Project and spearheaded by artists Alexia Mellor, Anthony Schrag and Dominic Smith, The 404-th Wall is a satellite project of the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA), taking place in Dubai, 30 October-8 November, 2014.

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No Thanks ArtPrize (UPDATED) Fri, 10 Oct 2014 03:21:57 +0000 I’m not keeping the money.

Last week I learned I was a jury pick for ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. Shortly after I found out I was on the short list for the public vote as well. At that point I had a shot at the $200,000 public vote prize, the $200,000 juried prize, and a 1 in 4 chance of winning a $20,000 jury prize for my category.

It’s a lot of money.

I didn’t enter ArtPrize with the hope of winning. I was curated into a show during ArtPrize. I had heard a bit about the contest and decided to give it a chance and have the piece reach an audience it may not otherwise. I was certain I had no shot at winning. I liked that my piece was understood and appreciated by critics and the public alike.

ArtPrize is hard to explain. It’s a project of Rick DeVos, who comes from a very wealthy family. How did they make that money? Founding Amway – Multi-Level Marketing, which is a polite term for a pyramid scheme. They’re married into the family behind Blackwater, the private military outfit. They’re against unions and advocate for school voucher programs. They’ve been major donors to Focus on the Family, Acton Institute, Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich’s campaigns. You may have read that article I sent last week, or about their unionbusting and plan to defund the Left in Mother Jones. (I encourage you to read them. It made my choice much easier.)

What bothers me the most is the DeVos family has, for generations, been on the wrong side of the fight for civil rights for LGBT people. And they back their opinions with millions in political money against civil rights. It’s a long story, but the end is: they haven’t changed.

Tomorrow night, I may win tens of thousands of dollars of their money.

Now, I could do a lot with that money. I’m trying to build up Public Forum. I’m trying to raise money for the Center for Artistic Activism so we can continue doing our work. I mean, I don’t have to tell you I could use the money.

But I had to ask myself, how bad does it have to be for me to say no to the money? In this situation, where is my line? And I realized, “oh, it’s behind me.”

So today I pledged, if I win I will not keep any of the money. I will hand over all my award money to the LGBT Fund of Grand Rapids. I will also volunteer to come back to Grand Rapids with the Center for Artistic Activism to work with LGBT to fight for equality.

The Center for Artistic Activism has worked for equal rights for LGBT people in Russia and the former Yugoslavia, in the most homophobic countries in the world. We’re prepared for Western Michigan.

The reason I became an artist is because I believe it helps create free human beings. It can show us other ways of looking at the world, other ways the world can be. It makes us more empathetic, more understanding, and more open. It helps us grow. I think the money behind ArtPrize is working against, what I see as, the spirit of art itself.


I did a short interview on Eyeteeth and talked about this more.

Update: ArtPrize Responds and I Have Some Questions

ArtPrize has posted a response. Overall, I’m pleased. There’s a few things I could nit-pick at (for example, they say “political statement” I say it’s an ethical position) but that’s to be expected. I do have a few questions I’m hoping to get answers to now that ArtPrize has welcomed the conversation, as they put it.

  1. Did the LGBT Fund give $50,000 to ArtPrize, or just the Grand Rapids Community Foundation? It’s very different. Personally, I can’t imagine the LGBT Fund using money specified for those issues on Rick DeVos’ project, so I am quite skeptical of this.
  2. Kevin Buist’s explanation of the budget re ArtPrize was confusing. What percent of funding comes from DeVos connected money, and what’s independent? When 55% is corporate giving, and one of those corporations is Amway, a DeVos owned company… Well, it would be more clear it was explained as n percent DeVos connected funds and x percent independent funds. The numbers, as given, almost seem meant to obscure the real data.
  3. I was really hoping to find out if Rick DeVos and ArtPrize will speak up and take action for equality, love, and acceptance for LGBTQ folks. Not to mention the other issues I talked about. But that wasn’t mentioned in their response.

Glad to hear they “welcome the conversation” though and I can’t wait to have it.

ArtPrize, you know how to reach me.


UPDATE: ArtPrize Responds Again in an open letter from the Exec. Director

Christian Gaines, Executive Director of ArtPrize, published “An Open Letter to Steve Lambert” on Monday titled “A Message about ArtPrize, Social Equity, and Inclusion.” Please read it. For all their talk about welcoming conversation, I hoped to get some answers to my questions – I didn’t – but what what I did learn has severely eroded my trust in the organization. Below is my response.

Rick DeVos, what is your silence protecting?


Thank you for responding.

I’ll get to my main questions shortly, but you’ve reminded me to send a thank you card to the Frey Foundation, who put up the money for that $2000 seed grant you made a point of mentioning in your letter. Every cent helped pay a portion of the round-trip shipping to get my sculpture out to Michigan. I am especially fortunate to be one of the 25 who received that grant. The other 1512 artists this year each had to fend for themselves to put on ArtPrize. This lack of respect for artist’s labor (when ArtPrize prides itself on millions in revenue it generates) has been a consistent criticism since ArtPrize began. 25 grants, that ArtPrize does not pay for, are a step forward but there are many artists left whose labor needs to be compensated fairly.

Now regarding my questions: I wish you would have answered the ones I asked.

My first question was simply if LGBT Fund money was used for ArtPrize. Kevin Buist’s statement conflated sponsorship from Grand Rapids Community Foundation with their LGBT Fund, but they are quite different in scope and intention. You didn’t answer my question, and in fact you left me more confused about the LGBT Fund’s role.

So I called them.

I talked to Diana Sieger, the President of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. Diana explained that the LGBT Fund is focused on helping homeless LGBTQ youth, which is estimated at 40% of the homeless population in the area. (You see, when cultures and families like ones from the Christian Reformed Church don’t accept and love their children for who they are, many sadly end up on the streets.)

She also said the LGBT Fund was created just a few months ago, well after the Community Foundation grant was given for Art Prize. Interesting.

Then I got my answer.

The grant for ArtPrize came from the general fund and supported, explicitly: translating text into Spanish and creating mobility pathways for the disabled.

Spanish translation and mobility pathways?

You’re talking like you’re crossing the finish line when you just left the starting blocks. Congratulations on the $50,000 grant for diversity and inclusion, but let’s be honest, this only directly benefits LGBTQ people who are in wheelchairs and/or only read Spanish.

So why mischaracterize this support the way you did?

In fact, why mention it at all?

At first I thought it may be a miscommunication, but I looked back at what you and Kevin wrote and it seems you deliberately made it unclear. As representatives of ArtPrize, the slippery way you and Kevin publicly described this even had me confused. I asked you to be straightforward about the involvement of the LGBT Fund and you chose not to answer. Instead you further blurred not just the funding source, but the work the funding paid for. I had expected us to have an honest exchange, but I can’t help but find your statements disingenuous. I now wonder what ArtPrize has really done (not said publicly, but actually done) to improve inclusion? And why should anyone trust an answer this time after being so evasive and misleading?

The second question I asked was what percentage of money comes from DeVos’ family interests and what percentage is independent. This still hasn’t been stated plainly in the way I requested. Perhaps because DeVos money is so entangled in Grand Rapids that it’s hard to say if a supporter is free of their influence. The DeVos family has a share in numerous corporations and foundations in Grand Rapids, as well as real estate – is it even possible to untangle into a simple figure? Perhaps not, and I am asking too much.

My last question was if Rick DeVos and ArtPrize will speak up and take action for equality, love, and acceptance for LGBTQ.

As far as your own position and feelings about LGBTQ issues as an individual, this is not a bigotry audit of you or your staff. I understand you have LGBTQ co-workers, friends, and family – we all do.

As an organization, conversation and board resolutions are a step, but what is important when it comes to equality is action. You’ve already undermined my trust about your words, which makes me just as doubtful of your follow through.

Regardless, let’s not lose sight of the real issue of why I pledged to donate the ArtPrize money and why your connections are controversial. None of ArtPrize’s public declarations of acceptance or internal policies can undo the damage the DeVos family has done for decades to LGBTQ rights, and to our unions, to our schools, and our culture. And ArtPrize remains directly connected to DeVos.

You asked how I would further improve LGBTQ inclusion efforts at ArtPrize. I’d like to help, so I thought about this for a long time.

ArtPrize could continue to do more to be welcoming and accepting of all people and really lead the way for equality for all. It would be wonderful. I’d like to see it happen.

But then people will make the connections to the unfair labor policies the DeVos family supports, and how that connects to ArtPrize’s very structure of launching a city-wide art show with little to no administrative, shipping, installing, or financial support for the hundreds of artists and spaces involved. That will become an embarrassing issue for ArtPrize also, and you will have to say you welcome the conversation, and then implement those changes.

Then people will make the connections to attacks on public schooling, and how those cuts affect the education of people in the area, particularly arts programs, and how that connects to ArtPrize’s artists and audiences. That will become an embarrassing issue, and you will have to say you welcome the conversation for that too, and then implement those changes.

Then people will make the connection to how the DeVos’ operate Amway and how its policies and profit system exploit people and primarily benefits those at the top, and they will again understand how that connects to the way ArtPrize treats artists and the region. That will become an embarrassing issue, and you will have to say you welcome the conversation for that as well, and then implement those changes.

Then people will make connections to how anti-democratic the DeVos family operates in throwing millions into policies they desire, instead of participating democratically with citizens on equal ground. People will see how that connects to ArtPrize and how citizens and the artists involved have no say in how ArtPrize is fundamentally run and impacts their city to the benefit of DeVos real estate holdings, investments, and development companies. That will become an embarrassing issue, you will have to say you welcome the conversation for that too, and then implement those changes.

I thought about this a long time. It’s a mess, because this is not just about LGBTQ rights. ArtPrize has a lot of work ahead.

I do want to offer something though. The first thing, the very first thing I would suggest to improve ArtPrize, is have a heart to heart with Rick DeVos and see if he is willing to stand up publicly for equality. Not equality within your office, but for the nation. See if he really believes in it. Ask if he will donate to the LGBT Fund. Ask if he will donate to the the LGBT Resource Center at Grand Valley State University. Ask if he will speak out publicly for same-sex marriage rights.

If not, I would separate myself from him as quickly as possible.

I know Rick DeVos has said in interviews he does not want to talk about politics. However because ArtPrize was birthed and continues to run with DeVos funds, given the context and history of that money, the outspoken beliefs and political influence of his fellow family members, and the political nature and ramifications of ArtPrize, staying silent is one luxury and a priviledge Rick DeVos can not afford. What is his silence protecting?

In your letter, you left off the last part of Hrag’s quote, which echoed my original request, (my emphasis added) “Rick DeVos and ArtPrize, make a statement to demonstrate that your mission isn’t only an idea, but a commitment to something more.”

Good luck with all your work. I wish you the best,

Steve Lambert

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