Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Beau Dick (1955-2017)

Yesterday's post was supposed to include details of Beau Dick's participation in Documenta 14's Athens platform. But just as I was about to post these details I received a text from someone who had visited Beau on the day he went to spirit and it didn't seem right to post information that some people needed to hear from somebody other than myself.

Beau Dick
Περφόρμανς, ΕΜΣΤ–Εθνικό Μουσείο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης (4ος όροφος), 11 π.μ.

I was not friends with Beau in the way people talked about friends prior to Facebook, but I knew who Beau was and he knew me as someone who wrote on art, who had questions he would sometimes indulge, and who he could talk with about hats, guitars...

A few years ago, in an effort to situate Beau in a eurowestern art historical context, I began to refer to him as our Joseph Beuys, a "social sculptor" who made what he would of materials, but also of more ephemeral systems, like those that link capital to private galleries, etc., a practice I stopped when I realized that Beau, and indeed my own research and writing, did not require this kind of alignment.

Roy Arden did a nice job of discussing Beau's work in a contemporary art context. As the curator of the CAG's 2004 Supernatural exhibition (a two person show featuring the work of Beau and the conceptual painter Neil Campbell), Roy gave us an essay that bears reading, or re-reading. Here it is.

The photo up top was taken while I was visiting the Sointula Art Shed last spring. It is more or less the same sunset Beau would have seen from his home at Alert Bay.

Strong winds, Beau. Prayers for your family.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Learning from Athens"

Documenta 14 opens in Athens, Greece on April 8 and overlaps (for 36 days) with the festival's traditional Marshall Plan-ned capital, Kassel, Germany, where it opens on June 10 and closes on September 17.

When it was announced that Documenta 14 would expand its field of operations to Athens I was hoping its program would include the participation of Athens-born architect Alexander Tzonis who, together with historian Liane Lefaivre, developed their concept of "critical regionalism" and inspired a long-running conversation of scholars, from Kenneth Frampton to bell hooks to Judith Butler and Gayatri Spivak, but I did not see Tzonis and Lefaivre on D14's just-released list of "Venues and Institutional Partners in Athens."

Documenta cannot be all things to all people, of course, but when what some have called the "Olympics of Contemporary Art" announces its program with additional catch-phrases like "Universes in Universe" and "Learning from Athens", you'd think, right? I would love to see a Tzonis and Lefaivre-hosted forum that included Butler and Spivak revisiting their Who Sings the Nation-State? (2010) conversation in light of the refugee beach-landings that were everywhere in the news a couple years ago. That and a new print of Z (1969).

Monday, March 27, 2017


In 1968 Grace Slick dons "black face" and performs "Crown of Creation" with Jefferson Airplane on the Smothers Brothers Show. At the end of the song she gives the Black Power salute.

In 1970 Mick Jagger appears in Nicolas Roeg's Performance, where he channels Bob Dylan via Son House to tell us about "the black man" from "San Antone" who "drew his knife."

In 1972 Ed Kleinholz debuts Five Card Stud (1969-1972) at Documenta 5 in Kassel, Germany. Almost forty years later LACMA shows the work as part of its Pacific Standard Time and not much is made of it, apart from Hyperallergic noting that it "couldn't have come at a better (or more ironic) time."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Snack Display

Curation continues to be this decade's word for doing anything a robot can't do. A few weeks back, while taking a short-cut through UBCO's still-unbranded Science Building, I noticed Starbuck's latest snack display.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

This Now, More Than Ever

Three months ago SFU Galleries director Melanie O'Brian and SFU English professor Stephen Collis sent out invitations to contribute to an emergency exhibition/publication/conversation entitled This Now, More Than Ever. It read:

In response to our pressurized new world order, we are seeking visual and textual responses (and these can be immediate responses, not belabored ones) from artists, theorists and writers that will be presented at SFU Gallery, Burnaby with a potential digital parallel.

We are undertaking this as part of a constellation of events occurring in response - several at SFU - and would be interested to hear about other related projects.

The invitation was accompanied by a larger text, available here. (Pictured above is the publication.)

Taking their instruction to heart, I thought all of sixty seconds before composing an old-style personal ad -- informed by new world problems:


Eurasian moment with chronic neoliberal distention looking to disembody, turn time
into space. Of variable means, prone to malaise but never lazy, and a heart -- OMG! a
heart that is large and getting larger! If you are worldwide, sustainable, intentional and
metaphysical, could we meet, start over?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Somnambulant Pleasures

In this internet meta-moment, a daughter shares with her father her sister's video of his sleepwalking.