On October 30, 2013 Professor Stephen Flusburg and I presented at the [SUNY Purchase](http://www.purchase.edu) 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
via Announcing HOMEWORK II: LONG FORMS / SHORT UTOPIAS Conference November 8-10, 2013 : Broken City Lab.
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.
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.
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
I’ll be speaking at the Social Design Public Action Symposium this fall.
Social Design Public Action
26-27 September 2013
University of Applied Arts Vienna
Download the program.
Opening reception June 27th.
JUNE 27 – AUGUST 31, 2013
ETHAN COHEN NEW YORK
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, email@example.com or 508-487-1153.
For general inquiries about Sharper Image, contact 212-625-1250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ETHAN COHEN NEW YORK
251 W 19TH ST,
NEW YORK, NY 10011
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).
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.
Opening reception: Tuesday, June 25, 6:30PM-8:30PM, Free Open through September 2
Czech Center New York – The Gallery and Rooftop
Exhibition examining themes, concepts and cultural fictions dealing with environment and ecology, featuring Czech and international artists Matej Al-Ali (CZ), Silvina Arismendi (CZ/UY), Mark Dion (US), Petr Dub (CZ), Mathias Kessler (AT), Tomas Moravec (CZ), Because We Want It (US), Anne Percoco (US), Katerina Seda (CZ), Klara Sumova (CZ) and Slavoj Zizek (SI).
Curated by Kristyna and Marek Milde.
Opening Reception with Czech beer and Czech wine is supported by Staropramen and Vino z Czech.
Rather than painting green and romanticizing nature, the artists and concepts, presented in Poison Green interrogate and study the complexity of our environment, examining the consequences of the urban, post-industrial, and virtualized reality we live in.
Ultimately, Poison Green seeks to demystify the ideologies inherent in our understanding of nature, reflecting on conventions and stereotypes, and looking for possible enviro models socially integrated into our daily lives and culture.
The exhibition Poison Green is incorporated in a series of installations and visuals that extends from the gallery of the Bohemian National Hall to its rooftop, where a community garden project accompanying the show is installed. Here participants and visitors have the opportunity to experience the process of how to grow just enough food for one dish.
Czech Center New York
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.
download an mp3
The Cedar Rapids Gazette
JUNE 14 – AUGUST 10, 2013
OPENING RECEPTION: FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 5:00–7:00 P.M.
Featuring work by Superflex, Laura Kina, Chris Dorland, Mark Dean Veca, Joel Ross (with Jason Creps), Jason Thomas Pallas, Jaclyn Jacunski, Peter Liversidge, Jeffrey T. Jones, Jonathan Monk, Eric May, Steve Lambert, Nicolas Lampert, Justseeds, and Howling Mob Society.
This exhibition considers the expressive potential of image and language through signage: how do artists use the visual and physical characteristics of signage, along with its often site specific cultural currency, to create realms of poetic or political meaning in public space or the gallery? With a focus on forms of permanent and ephemeral signage this exhibition will consider artists’ billboards, marquees, street signs, banners and posters among other forms of infrastructural signage.
Held in association with the THIRD ANNUAL TYPOGRAPHY SYMPOSIUM, a four-day extravagana celebrating typography and design, featuring signmaking workshops, a lecture by John Downer, and a panel on Chicago street typography.
The European copy of the Capitalism Works For Me! True/False sign is installed in Liverpool and opens today. They brought it from Holland through The Chunnel.
This one is steel – 3 times heavier than the aluminum version in The States, which makes it all the more remarkable that they lofted it up on a scaffolding over this doorway:
So the piece is at one of my favorite places, FACT, for “Turning FACT Inside Out” through the end of August.
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.
I have work with Charlie James Gallery at ArtPadSF.
The Phoenix Hotel
Thursday, May 23, 2013 – 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Center for Civic Media, MIT Media Lab, E15-344
“Lambert has spent years researching, developing, and testing the “art of activism” – applying an artistic aesthetic tactically, strategically, and organizationally. He’ll share some of what he’s learned from history, cognitive psychology, marketing, and sociology to better understand audiences and make more effective activism.”
I will have a video screened at this festival as part of the “Oh Internetz” event.
Please join us on May 24th, at 6.00pm, to celebrate the opening of Ireland’s most ambitious New Media Arts Festival to date.
RUN COMPUTER RUN @ GLITCH 2013 is an exhibition focused on examining artistic responses to cultural, economic, and social factors that currently affect the evolution of the Internet. The festival features four exhibitions, eight workshops, a symposium featuring leading thinkers and curators in the field of New Media Art, and a showcaseof short films.
Now in its third year, GLITCH is an opportunity for the public to engage with new art in an exciting and innovative way. With a huge range of events and a programme of exhibitions involving Internationally renowned artists including Casey Reas, Marius Watz, FIELD, Pixel Noizz, Constant Dullart, Evan Roth and many more, this year’s GLITCH festival is the most ambitious and largest to date.
GLITCH: Run Computer, Run! is curated by Nora O’ Murchú, Post-doctoral researcher at CRUMB, University of Sunderland.
GLITCH is sponsored by: Arts Council Ireland, EU Presidency fund, CRUMB, University of Sunderland, Layar, EXHIBIT A, LUAS, Basic.fm, Select Digital Print Group, Bavaria
Media Partner: Totally Dublin
For more information, please see our PRESS RELEASE attached.