My Barbarian Brings the Audience into the Fold

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My Barbarian (2012 Visual Arts) consists of artists Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade.  By using performance, My Barbarian dramatizes past and present problems and imagines ways of being together. Their Creative Capital project Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (PoLAAT) is a public performance and video installation, generated in close collaboration with local participants using techniques developed by My Barbarian as part of an ongoing project. Workshops and cultural research with participating artists have resulted in a visual, musical, theatrical and politically critical public demonstration.  Their project culminates with an exhibition and residency now on display at The New Museum through January 8, titled “The Audience is Always Right.”

Hillary Bonhomme: Can you describe how My Barbarian developed PoLAAT, the exchange of ideas between the collectives work and the product of the workshops, and how that helped develop this exhibition at the New Museum?

My Barbarian: My Barbarian’s Post-Living Ante-Action Theater, or PoLAAT, is the collective’s performance pedagogy, built of five techniques: Estrangement, Indistinction, Suspension of Beliefs, Mandate to Participate and Inspirational Critique.  The PoLAAT is a response to, among other things, Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed, Fassbinder’s Anti-Theater, the Living Theater of Juian Beck and Judith Malina, and other theatrical models that attempted to create social change; it is a means of addressing histories, often buried or overlooked, of critical and revolutionary theater from the 1960s and after, while situating its own enactment in (and against) the seemingly anti-revolutionary contemporary moment.  The PoLAAT occupies the space between memory and rehearsal, joke and laugh, commentary and critique; it is the theater that happens after an experience is lived, but before action is taken. It is a rehearsal. The title of the exhibition, which is shared by a recently published PoLAAT manual and how-to book, takes on a critical irony in this dangerous moment of political theater: The Audience is Always Right.” Except, of course, when they are wrong.

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Approaching the Gatekeepers of the Art World

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On October 4th, Sharon Louden begins her four-part webinar series helping artists figure out how to navigate the greater art ecosystem of galleries, curators, collectors — basically anyone that can help your professional career! In How to Approach and Engage with the Gatekeepers of the Art World, Sharon Louden will call upon the personal experiences and advice of many different experts in the art world. For more information or to register, click here!

Read the testimonies from artists who participated in Sharon’s last webinar:

“Sharon is not only full of strategies and insights for artists — she is also full of passion and energy. We feel her sincere caring. Her webinars (I have taken two) are organized, down-to-earth, and FUN! Sharon is well-known for her books, teaching, interviews, and dedication to clearing the paths for artists, as well as enlightening us about the lives of a variety of artists creating their way in the world.”                 Leslie Fry

 

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Surviving and Thriving as an Artist Parent

Andrew Simonet and Kids

Choreographer and Webinar Leader Andrew Simonet with his two sons Nicolo and Jesse

If you’re an artist raising children you know a few things to be true:
#1.  Our society does not support artists well.
#2. Our society does not support parents well.
And being both – an artist parent, can sometimes feel like a double whammy.

On Thursday September 29th, Creative Capital artist leader, choreographer and father of two Andrew Simonet will be leading our Artists Raising Kids webinar, sharing his knowledge – both from personal experience and through the stories of other artist parents, on the realities of raising children and maintaining a sustainable and enriching artistic practice. Register Here. 

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The Seven Principles of Strategic Marketing

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Artist leader Brian Tate leads a workshop on Strategic Marketing at this year’s Creative Capital Summer Intensive

Marketing is a term that often makes artists uneasy. 
It’s understandable, we are so often inundated with corporate messaging that feels cold, impersonal and profit driven.

However at its most basic, marketing is simply effective storytelling to a specific audience to drive a specific outcome. On Tuesday September 27 artist leader and marketing strategist Brian Tate will be leading our Seven Elements of Strategic Marketing webinar. This session will break down how artists can effectively and authentically deploy marketing theory in ways that help both them and the audience understand their work better. Register Here

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George Legrady’s 1973 Photographs of the Cree People Are Now Online

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An Inuit woman, Maggie Ekoomiak, living in a Cree community in James Bay with artist George Legrady in the background

In 1973, 23-year old George Legrady (2002 Emerging Fields) was invited by the Cree indigenous communities to photograph their way of life. The Cree people were about to enter negotiations to dispute a dam project that would flood land they had lived on for millennia. Recently, George received funding to digitally archive these photographs. Looking at them, I found a striking similarity between that moment in 1973 and the one we are living in now, as 280 First Nations tribes have convened to protest the construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota. Wanting to learn more, I asked George to select a few images and share his experience.

I am a digital media artist who has worked with integrating computation with conceptual art and photography since the mid-1980s. I received a Creative Capital award in 2002 for a project called Speaking/Sensing Space.

My first major project as an artist began in 1973, when I visited the James Bay Cree indigenous communities in northern Quebec. I took about 3,200 photos while living with the Cree over the course of 8 to 12 weeks (about 41 images a day). The return visits which took place with two McGill University ethnographers and my art colleague, Andres Burbano from Bogota, provided insight as to how a culture changes over time.

In 2012, I received a National Science Foundation Arctic Social Science grant to digitize the photographs and revisit the Cree to present the images back to the communities. Of the existing photos, I have digitized and archived about 700 to be used by the Cree and ethnographers. Below is a selection of 3 x 3 clusters of images from 1973 with anecdotal comments.
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Demystifying Public Art – The Basics

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Martin Creed, “Understanding”, 2016; Martin Creed Work No. 2630 UNDERSTANDING, 2016. Courtesy the artist, Gavin Brown’s enterprise New York/Rome, and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Jason Wyche, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY © Martin Creed 2016

Delving into public art can seem like a daunting process. Between finding public art commissions, creating effective portfolios, and working out the difference between RFQs (Requests for Qualifications) and RFPs (Requests for Proposals), it’s easy to get lost before you’ve really begun.

On Thursday September 22nd, visual artist Lynn Basa, will be leading the Creative Capital webinar Demystifying Public Art.  Lynn Basa is the author of The Artist’s Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions (2008),  and will be sharing from her extensive experience on all aspects of researching and applying for public art commissions. She will also tackle doubts and questions artists may have around the selection process, whether public art requires specific skills, and any lingering fears about the possibility of “selling out” by creating art for the general public. Register Here

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Artists Head to Kentucky for IdeaFestival

Jeffrey Gibson's 2014 exhibition at Marc Strauss Gallery

Jeffrey Gibson’s 2014 exhibition at Marc Strauss Gallery

IdeaFestival is an annual event based in Louisville, Kentucky where innovators across all fields come together to talk about how their work precipitates change. Every year IdeaFestival invites Creative Capital to present a session called “Art at the Edge.” This year’s panel, taking place on September 29, is an exciting opportunity to give a platform to some of the artists we support.

This year, our Executive Director Suzy Delvalle will be joined onstage by artists Jeffrey Gibson, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Shawn Peters and Phillip Andrews Lewis for the Creative Capital presentation.

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Internet for Artists: Ideas for Effective Blog Posts

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A well curated artist blog can supplement your website, increase your audience’s understanding of your artistic practice and raise your online profile. But sometimes, just the idea of starting a blog can seem intimidating. How often has the question, “But what do I blog about” crossed your mind?

On Friday, September 16 at 7pm EST artist Sue Schaffer will be offering in-depth guidance on how to optimize your web presence through her Website, Blog and Email Essentials webinar, an overview of best practices for your website, blog, and email marketing and communications. 

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Notes on Notes, Trust and the Documentary Promise

Excerpt from the documentary "NUTS!" by Penny Lane

Excerpt from the documentary “NUTS!” by Penny Lane

Earlier this summer, filmmaker Penny Lane premiered her Creative Capital project, NUTS!, about a Great Depression-era doctor who claimed to have cured impotence by implanting goat testicles into his patients. In making the film, Penny has been considering truth-telling and how documentaries are affected by dramatic story telling and creative editing. Today, she launched NOTES ON NUTS!, a footnote-like website that offers a critical look at her film NUTS! as well as documentary-making itself. Penny sent us this essay on the continuation of her project.

Trust is paramount in nonfiction. Your audience needs to trust that you’re honoring the documentary promise—the promise to in some essential way tell the truth—and so does your subject. That trust is your most valuable currency. Violating it is a tricky business­­.

What I want to suggest today is that the practice of annotation is a powerful act of transparency that nonfiction filmmakers might adapt to great effect.

By creating NOTES ON NUTS!, a database of over 300 footnotes tied to my Creative Capital project NUTS!, I had the idea that I could create one case study in order to instigate a whole new conversation: what would happen if documentary filmmakers started to regularly use footnotes?

This is meant as a provocation to my field, maybe even a call to action. Certainly a call to debate. I hope people will look at NOTES ON NUTS! critically. It is a kind of pioneer work; its flaws will be instructive to the next filmmaker who dares tread here.

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