Issue

4.18 / From the Archives: No Roadmap

June 25 2013

Introduction

June 25, 2013. Building a life in an arts community is not always a straightforward task. Emerging artists, critics, curators, and arts workers all face multiple options when it comes to finding and defining their role in the Bay Area—not to mention the national and international scene, and the unwieldy Internet. In pieces from four years of AP archives, writers address a wide array of responses to these various forking paths, reflecting on institutional setbacks and local growing pains, but also on the lasting impact individual artists or collectives can have on our local communities and culture.

Considering the nexus of art practice and life, Renny Pritikin examines David Ireland’s lasting influence, while Jeanne Gerrity covers a social practice exhibition exemplifying the challenges of presenting works outside of their original situation. Reflecting on the logistics of an art scene, Aimee Le Duc offers insight into the ways and means of non-profit spaces; Christian L. Frock takes a look at alternative modes of exhibition and intervention; Christine Wong Yap discusses the prospect of leaving the Bay Area to follow artistic opportunities and economic sustainability; and crystal am nelson considers the challenges and merits of achieving true art scene inclusivity in Marfa, Texas. Working from a theoretical vantage point, Matthew Rana evaluates the way that art can contribute to political discourse by illuminating gaps between legal structures and the real world they govern, and Elyse Mallouk traces the porous boundary between art and activism in the context of the 2011 Occupy protests. Finally, Bill Berkson’s piece rounds out the issue, offering advice to arts writers, and making a case for poetry as a response to sensory observation.

While there is no one prescription for a meaningful life in the arts, or how to best contribute to a community, there are—as these articles make clear—many examples of success, and many interpretations of the lessons they offer. - Mary Anne Kluth
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Art Practical has invited its regular writers to guest edit thematic issues of content from our archive this summer as we prepare for the launch of our new website in September. These issues highlight the breadth of subjects we've covered over the past four years and some of the notable interests that catalyze artistic practice in the Bay Area. And here's a sneak peak of what is coming up for Art Practical

Features

Aesthetic Events in Occupation

Aesthetic Events in Occupation

By Elyse Mallouk

A gesture is aesthetic when it verifies the value of a previously undervalued voice. An action also has aesthetic impact when it enables access—physically, to a space, or metaphorically, to a symbol.

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Critical Reflections

Critical Reflections

By Bill Berkson

Liking or not is often not the point, or if so, it is an ulterior point. The main point is to give people something to read

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How Things Work, Part 1

How Things Work, Part 1

By Aimee Le Duc

As a long-standing member of this arts community, I am using my personal, professional and academic experience—as well as my relationships with other people in this community—to highlight particular facets of the non-profit alternative art space. By focusing a critical lens on the closing of New Langton Arts and the choices facing other spaces today, this article intends to be a forum to articulate the challenges facing these organizations.

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Social Work: Politics, Police, and the Law in Art, Part 1

Social Work: Politics, Police, and the Law in Art, Part 1

By Matthew David Rana

The aesthetics of politics is such that the sensorium is organized according to who does or does not have a legitimate claim to a share of what is common to the community. While certain subjects are marginalized to the point that they do not count as individuals with a voice and a stake in that sharing, others only acquire personhood in relation to their illegality, according to their transgressions.

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Visible Alternatives, Part 2

Visible Alternatives, Part 2

By Christian L. Frock

The emergence of alternative exhibition spaces in the 1970s subverted traditional exhibition formats and notions of public space. This shifting dynamic also resulted in an expanded conceptual framework for the definition of public art through the advent of site-specific interventions, performance, and new media, among other genres.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By Christine Wong Yap

Each of the profiles of contemporary artists in Calvin Tompkins’ The Lives of Artists (2008) includes a story about arriving in New York. But every arrival in New York implies a departure from elsewhere. For me, the cliché about artists “making it” in New York wears thin quickly. The change in location is still registering with me; I feel like a Bay Area artist living in New York. I am trying to establish a new community, network, and locus of activity because I need tangible evidence of a practice; it is my campaign against a fuzzy sense of limbo.

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