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What Imaginary Thing is a Museum?

by Anne Lesley Selcer

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Episode 02: Analog Days - Do or Die By Elena Gross

Episode 02: Analog Days - Do or Die

what are you looking at

"I saw it as an opportunity for us, for the first time, as black women to be on the block, and exposing our body, in our way, in our time."
 

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What Imaginary Thing is a Museum? By Anne Lesley Selcer

What Imaginary Thing is a Museum?

Features

“Dónde Está Ana Mendieta?” or “Where is Ana Mendieta?” supposes they are asking, where is the work she had yet to make?

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Episode 8: Nicole Marroquin By Weston Teruya

Episode 8: Nicole Marroquin

(un)making

A discussion about creative and political research, Lower West Side Chicago student activist history from 1968 to 1973, and youth arts education.

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Episode 7: Postcommodity By Weston Teruya

Episode 7: Postcommodity

(un)making

“[The work is] really about indigenous self determination. Whatever form that takes. It’s really about celebrating that, acknowledging it, and connecting those narratives to the public.”

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Episode 6: Mary Chou By Weston Teruya

Episode 6: Mary Chou

(un)making

What does cultural equity mean in the context of public art and city government?

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Episode 4: Ramekon O’Arwisters By Weston Teruya

Episode 4: Ramekon O’Arwisters

(un)making

“Wherever you are, do it with whatever you have, so you can acknowledge that...you have creative power, and by extension that you have power.”

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Episode 3: Grace Rosario Perkins By Weston Teruya

Episode 3: Grace Rosario Perkins

(un)making

“I want other people of color to have a space to create this sort of dialogue or network...that’s where the real stuff is going to actually happen.”

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Episode 2: Gisela Insuaste By Weston Teruya

Episode 2: Gisela Insuaste

(un)making

“You can’t isolate the object from its history, from what’s happening around you in the world..."

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Episode 1: Gaye Chan By Weston Teruya

Episode 1: Gaye Chan

(un)making

“I think that the Free Store allows us to see our irrational fear of the stranger.”

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Jerome Reyes By Vivian Sming

Jerome Reyes

Studio Sessions

Through these collaborations, Reyes creates layers of experience and intimacy between SoMa’s residents based on their personal understanding of time and place.

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Blank Map: Doing Whatever the Fuck We Want By Anna Martine Whitehead

Blank Map: Doing Whatever the Fuck We Want

Endurance Tests

Everything that I do is toward Black liberation. Giving Black people that freedom and space to be whatever we want—whether that be something that’s about Blackness or not—it’s all connected to our liberation.

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On Fire by Jonathan Griffin By Leila Easa

On Fire by Jonathan Griffin

Printed Matters

Griffin is fascinated by fire’s dual role in our collective imagination—as a mercurial force of destruction and loss and as a deeply felt, passionate form of inspiration.

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Interview with Catherine Wagner By Bad at Sports

Interview with Catherine Wagner

Bad at Sports

I'm not concentrating on the specificity of a portrait because the moment I do that it becomes about that person, and I'm trying to talk in much broader cultural strokes.

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Black is the Subject: Dana Michel is Moving By Anna Martine Whitehead

Black is the Subject: Dana Michel is Moving

Endurance Tests

This is part of the Utopia that I created for myself. I’m just going to put my hands deep in the guts of all the things I never allowed myself to touch.

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Marina Pugliese By Shahrzade Ehya

Marina Pugliese

Studio Sessions

Rather than present Italian or Italian American art just to those communities in San Francisco, Pugliese’s exhibitions depart from the traditionally insular framework of cultural institutions.

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Hughen/Starkweather By Selene Foster

Hughen/Starkweather

Studio Sessions

When the colors and shapes of a nonrepresentational work of art rearrange themselves into remembrance or recognition, magic happens.

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Daniel Coburn: The Hereditary Estate By Larissa Archer

Daniel Coburn: The Hereditary Estate

Printed Matters

The specter of some unnamed tragedy is undeniably present, as is the febrile, superstition-soaked atmosphere wherein tragedy might reasonably flourish.

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Hail and Farewell By Patricia Maloney

Hail and Farewell

Op-ed

It is one thing to bring something into the world, it is quite another to know that it will go on without you. 

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Returning Street View to the Street By Genevieve Quick

Returning Street View to the Street

Locating Technology

While Street View as a web-based network has great potential for dispersing information to wide segments of the world's population, it also operates according to corporate strictures and technological limitations.

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Interview with Dread Scott By Bad at Sports

Interview with Dread Scott

Bad at Sports

If this moment is going to stick, it will require not just a movement in the arts, but much more social upheaval.

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LPP in Conversation: Amy Ho By Little Paper Planes

LPP in Conversation: Amy Ho

Studio SessionsLPP in Conversation

Amy M. Ho builds video and spatial installations that bring attention to our existence as both physical and psychological beings. 

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Interview with Janet Cardiff By Bad at Sports, Patricia Maloney

Interview with Janet Cardiff

Bad at Sports

My main interest in sound is how it surrounds us and influences us. It's invisible, comes into our body, but it hits us in a very three-dimensional way.

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Storming the Castle By Patricia Maloney

Storming the Castle

Op-ed

And while speculation is highly problematic, unreliable, and dependent upon conjecture more so than facts, I’ll indulge it here and share my opinion

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Photography is Magic By Roula Seikaly

Photography is Magic

Printed Matters

The book, like the practices it highlights, is a thoughtful and timely response to technological leaps that don’t often afford measured consideration. 

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LPP in Conversation: Binta Ayofemi By Little Paper Planes

LPP in Conversation: Binta Ayofemi

Studio SessionsLPP in Conversation

Ayofemi’s practice is about activating such spaces as commons: repeatable, iterative experiences created through the intersection of location, materials, and opportunities for participation.

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Raiders and Empires By Genevieve Quick

Raiders and Empires

Locating Technology

Syjuco harnesses technologies of distribution and reproduction—the web, photography, and 3D scanning and printing—to create objects that reveal the tangled history of colonization and cultural hybridization.

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Interview with Orit Gat By Bad at Sports

Interview with Orit Gat

Bad at Sports

I don't think that classic structure of the art review—here's the artist, here's what's on view, here's what it means, A, B, C—is actually that bad a structure. I just think it's about time we meddle with it a little bit.

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Interview with Tanya Zimbardo By Bad at Sports, Brian Andrews, Patricia Maloney

Interview with Tanya Zimbardo

Bad at Sports

There was certain work that I wanted to experience in space and not just on my laptop at home. That was part of the interest for me.

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An Old American Problem By Amelia Rina

An Old American Problem

Printed Matters

By inserting himself as the artist/photographer/author, as opposed to a neutral observer, he dilutes his credibility as a critic.

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Finding Value in a Flattened Field By Patricia Maloney

Finding Value in a Flattened Field

Op-ed

The commitment to paying contributors must be acknowledged as only the most visible link in a long chain of interlocking, concrete exchanges distributed throughout the ecosystem.

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500 Capp Street: David Ireland’s House By Matthew Harrison Tedford

500 Capp Street: David Ireland’s House

Printed Matters

Ireland often likened himself to an anthropologist as he continually discovered new features and objects left over from the accordion maker’s 38-year occupation.

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LPP in Conversation: Kate Rhoades By Little Paper Planes

LPP in Conversation: Kate Rhoades

Studio SessionsLPP in Conversation

Rhoades is intent on seriously and hilariously wrestling with questions involving art, ethics, and access.

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Reskill Now! By Celeste Connor

Reskill Now!

Op-ed

Let’s reskill with contemporary means, the shared authorship of feminist practice, the tactical adoption of sympathetic technologies

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Conversation with Brett Goodroad By Claudia La Rocco

Conversation with Brett Goodroad

Studio Sessions

The composing is the most mysterious thing, actually. Often I’ll change what seems easy to understand; I guess I need to confuse myself. Nobody loves, with a capital L, a one-night stand. I don’t, anyway.

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LPP in Conversation: Scott Vermeire By Little Paper Planes

LPP in Conversation: Scott Vermeire

Studio SessionsLPP in Conversation

For our interview, we headed south to Gilroy, garlic capital of California to visit Scott as he directs his latest project. 

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Judy Dater: On Vaginas and Earthworks By Victoria Gannon

Judy Dater: On Vaginas and Earthworks

Notes from di Rosa

The female figure appears not as an interruption of her environment but as a continuation of it, an extension of the peaked cone on which she stands. 

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Interview with Rick Lowe By Bad at Sports

Interview with Rick Lowe

Bad at Sports

I just want to be as clear as possible about this: I’ve never worked on a project in which I didn’t feel like I was an outsider. And I own that.

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Rock, Paper, Scissors By Vanessa Kauffman Zimmerly

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Notes from di Rosa

Words (and artworks) may be an insufficient means to describe or represent our desire for connectedness to land, but these efforts nonetheless afford a great gain in the breath that language and art can bring to otherwise mundane, thirsty living.

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Derek Jarman: Super 8 By Anton Stuebner

Derek Jarman: Super 8

Printed Matters

Derek Jarman: Super 8 shows an artist fully coming into his own at a social and historical moment when his distinct creative voice would become more needed than ever.

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Little Rebellions: Women and Robots at di Rosa By Emily K. Holmes

Little Rebellions: Women and Robots at di Rosa

Notes from di Rosa

Fascinating subthemes emerge in di Rosa’s vast collection of modern and contemporary Northern California art, as in one unexpected moment in the main gallery devoted to explorations of technology and gender. 

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DOC/UNDOC: Transgress, Transcend, Transform By Jennifer A. González

DOC/UNDOC: Transgress, Transcend, Transform

Printed Matters

DOC/UNDOC echoes this history of conceptual and experimental art but equally invites us to consider older histories of colonialism, religion, and indigenous practices.

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Conversation with Steve Seid By Tanya Zimbardo

Conversation with Steve Seid

Studio Sessions

There was this new art form called video art, but there wasn’t an audience yet. [W]e were not only exhibiting it, but also creating an audience.

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LPP in Conversation: William Emmert By Little Paper Planes

LPP in Conversation: William Emmert

Studio SessionsLPP in Conversation

William Emmert’s work risks being unnoticed in his own studio...and its quietness is both impressive and a little disturbing.

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If I, Brontez Purnell By Anna Martine Whitehead

If I, Brontez Purnell

Endurance Tests

Central to every Renaissance personality, Purnell always lets the project define his practice—which is also to say that he never lets the project define him.

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All the Feels By Aaron Harbour, Jackie Im

All the Feels

Notes from di Rosa

Jackie Im and Aaron Harbour ruminate on the di Rosa collection and its founder in writing, while Erin Jane Nelson provides her interpretation through altered digital photographs. 

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The Message is the Medium By Genevieve Quick

The Message is the Medium

Locating Technology

July provocatively disrupts conventional standards for communication and efficiency to reimagine how technology could facilitate social interaction.

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Remote Viewing with Stairwell’s By Sarah Hotchkiss, Carey Lin

Remote Viewing with Stairwell’s

Notes from di Rosa

We drove up from San Francisco to di Rosa on an exceedingly hot day in late September, shortly after the Napa earthquake and the same weekend a closure on Highway 37 slowed wine-tasting traffic to a walking pace.

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Therapeutic Bodies By Genevieve Quick

Therapeutic Bodies

Locating Technology

Rottenberg and Moulton never explicitly identify the condition that the world or individual suffers from, allowing the viewers to speculate that it could be imagined or cyclical. 

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Re-Engineering: Geek Sublime By Vikram Chandra

Re-Engineering: Geek Sublime

Op-edRe-Engineering

Code is uniquely kinetic. It acts and interacts with itself, with the world. In code, the mental and the material are one.

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Michael Danner, Critical Mass By Amelia Rina

Michael Danner, Critical Mass

Printed Matters

Danner’s photographs systematically carries the viewer through the environments so bizarre they verge on otherworldly. 

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Response: Precarity as Profession By Lane Relyea

Response: Precarity as Profession

Valuing Labor in the Arts

What, if any, difference exists between the creative effort devoted to making art and other kinds of work—like, say, shipping art?

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Response: Dear Christian By Claudia La Rocco

Response: Dear Christian

Valuing Labor in the Arts

How we are implicated, being in this system? Do you really believe that as art teachers we exist firmly in the service economy? 

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Response: Common Measure in Kind By Shannon Jackson

Response: Common Measure in Kind

Valuing Labor in the Arts

After the craft making, after the questionnaires, after the yoga, the debt screams, and the ad-hoc curating—we adjourned to a larger plenary space to think together about what we had wrought.

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Response: Hammering It Out By Julia Bryan-Wilson

Response: Hammering It Out

Valuing Labor in the Arts

One sculpture, Jonathan Borofsky’s large, red Hammering Man (1976–1983), part of the Berkeley Art Museum’s permanent collection, kept returning to me so insistently it felt like it was haunting me.

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Holland Cotter By Bad at Sports

Holland Cotter

Bad at SportsVisiting Artist Profiles

Constantly learning, constantly reading—I would stay a student, basically, which is what I consider what I am, and I love that.

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Dawn Weleski By Matthew Harrison Tedford

Dawn Weleski

Visiting Artist Profiles

These hawkish voices, guided by ignorance and misinformation, are often the loudest ones, calling for shock and awe when tensions flare around the globe. Dawn Weleski aims directly at this destructive connection between ignorance and hostility with her social art project Conflict Kitchen.

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Alfredo Jaar By Matthew Harrison Tedford

Alfredo Jaar

Visiting Artist Profiles

Jaar provokes contemplation with negation and absence, by referencing what is missing or unseen. The images in and documentation of Studies on Happiness and The Rwanda Project show so little but say so much.

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Against Recognition By Emily K. Holmes

Against Recognition

Locating Technology

In Facial Weaponization Suite, Blas effectively asks: How is difference marked on the body, read by us, and in turn, read by machines (made by us)? And how can we complicate all of the naturalized assumptions underlying each of those ideas? 

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James Benning By Matthew Harrison Tedford

James Benning

Visiting Artist Profiles

Benning creates a social history of California by lingering on scenes bypassed by eight-lane freeways or left out of Hollywood depictions.

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Interview with Andrea Bowers By Bad at Sports, Patricia Maloney

Interview with Andrea Bowers

Bad at Sports

And I just wanted to reference that it’s not just about physical rape. There’s a culture of oppression of women that takes many different forms.

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Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle By Matthew Harrison Tedford

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle

Visiting Artist Profiles

As political as they are, La Tormenta and Search don’t suggest specific problems or solutions. Rather than action, the artist’s aim is discussion.

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The Squeezing of the Middle Class Gallery By Anuradha Vikram

The Squeezing of the Middle Class Gallery

Op-ed

With their leases recently terminated, the mid-sized galleries at 77 Geary Street in San Francisco are the latest casualties of the massive wealth divide that plagues contemporary American society.

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Youngsuk Suh By Matthew Harrison Tedford

Youngsuk Suh

Visiting Artist Profiles

Suh says that contrary to the simplified nature-versus-culture dichotomy, he views nature as a “highly engineered and civilized institution.”

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Casey Reas By Matthew Harrison Tedford

Casey Reas

Visiting Artist Profiles

Software is integral to the form and process of Reas’ work, and he has even said that all of his ideas about how the world operates come from software.

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Participatory Economics By Genevieve Quick

Participatory Economics

Locating Technology

While lighthearted, Bernie Lubell and Packard Jennings use technology to facilitate participation with sharp critique while viewers engage in learning, teaching, exploring, and challenging their roles in the economic system.

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Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent By Patricia Maloney

Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent

Printed Matters

The shortcomings in design and layout, however, do not diminish the book’s capacity to serve as a resource for Kent’s work, which in itself makes the strongest case for her ongoing relevance.

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Re-Engineering: Artist-Run Spaces By Aaron Harbour

Re-Engineering: Artist-Run Spaces

Op-edRe-Engineering

It has been another great year for the opening of new artist-run spaces, despite skyrocketing rent and the growing discontent among the creative community toward the latest tech surge.

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Interview with Christian Jankowski By Patricia Maloney, Bad at Sports

Interview with Christian Jankowski

Bad at Sports

I hope that in Silicon Valley, people might become more sensitive to the possibilities of their language and use it not only to build machines, but also to make poetry.

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The Year in Books By Art Practical Editors

The Year in Books

Printed Matters

Art Practical contributors provide a list of must-read titles they've enjoyed this past year.

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Alter-Circuit: Virlani Hallberg By A. Will Brown

Alter-Circuit: Virlani Hallberg

An Exhibition, Postpartum

Viewers of the piece have also had to put themselves in Et al.’s hands, as it were, journeying below ground into the dark of a laundry basement to engage with something potentially transformative.

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Rick Prelinger By Matthew Harrison Tedford

Rick Prelinger

Visiting Artist Profiles

Prelinger describes his films as being in “a perpetual state of incompletion,” and he urges his audience to construct their own narratives

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Interview with Takeshi Murata By Bad at Sports

Interview with Takeshi Murata

Bad at Sports

I just went off the deep end, trying to figure out what these characters and the space they were in would sound like.

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Brad Kahlhamer By Matthew Harrison Tedford

Brad Kahlhamer

Visiting Artist Profiles

Kahlhamer’s dolls are something deeper than mere imitations of katsina dolls, something new and personal. 

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Fault Lines By A. Will Brown

Fault Lines

An Exhibition, Postpartum

Fault Lines offered poignant commentary on the connection between the seeming disintegration of healthy (although idealized) family dynamics and contemporary society’s obsession with a growing self-voyeurism.

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Machines of Critique By Genevieve Quick

Machines of Critique

Locating Technology

As different as Delvoye and Pauline may appear, they seem to draw the same conclusions regarding the art world and its economic demands. 

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Tyrus Wong By Matthew Harrison Tedford

Tyrus Wong

Visiting Artist Profiles

Though Wong’s most well-known work is the background art he did for Bambi, he has also been an exhibiting artist since before Roosevelt was elected president.

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Interview with Monique Jenkinson By Bad at Sports

Interview with Monique Jenkinson

Bad at Sports

I do like to say that I like working from obstacles. I love to work with women’s fashion or drag as an obstacle. I’m using drag as a constraint to generate movement.

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2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson By Renny Pritikin

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Printed Matters

Robinson writes that on Mercury all the hundreds of planetary craters are named after famous artists, writers, and composers; I scoffed, unable to suspend my disbelief—then I found out that this is in fact true.

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Zarouhie Abdalian / MATRIX 249 By A. Will Brown

Zarouhie Abdalian / MATRIX 249

An Exhibition, Postpartum

Just as Abdalian’s art makes palpable the shortcomings of institutionalized democracy by hampering what we can see, hear, and touch, so too do the pieces in MATRIX 249 marshal the physical properties of the museum’s space for their critique.

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Interview with Claudia La Rocco By Bean Gilsdorf

Interview with Claudia La Rocco

Visiting Artist Profiles

One of the things that I love about performance is that if you weren’t there, then you weren’t there. It does disappear, and we disappear

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Nandipha Mntambo By Matthew Harrison Tedford

Nandipha Mntambo

Visiting Artist Profiles

Mntambo says that the biggest misconception about her work is that it has a “feminist agenda at its core.”

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Camera-less By Genevieve Quick

Camera-less

Locating Technology

As a medium based on mechanical reproduction, photography has long lent itself to appropriation.

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Mickalene Thomas By Matthew Harrison Tedford

Mickalene Thomas

Visiting Artist Profiles

Thomas says her work “is about presenting beauty and the black body.” She proclaims, “You’ll see me, therefore I exist."

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Disquiet by Amani Willett By Amelia Rina

Disquiet by Amani Willett

Printed Matters

Disquiet (Damiani Factory, 2013) utilizes the photo book format to weave a dreamlike meditation on life, death, destruction, and rebirth.

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Interview with Osha Neumann By Elizabeth Sims

Interview with Osha Neumann

Studio Sessions

I could no longer stay in my apartment and paint; I was drawn into what was happening on the streets.

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External Combustion By A. Will Brown

External Combustion

An Exhibition, Postpartum

He taught me about demanding the most from oneself: the highest possible level of rigor one is capable of.

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Interview with Pat Williams By Bad at Sports

Interview with Pat Williams

Bad at Sports

America ought to run the risk once in a while of mirroring itself, in determining whether or not we really value the arts

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Part 1: If The Walls Would Not Speak By Rob Marks

Part 1: If The Walls Would Not Speak

The Museum on My Mind

The museum is the kindest parent, ushering me to the brink, toward moments of wonder and awe, insight and revelation. But almost at once, it is the cruelest parent, jerking me back.

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