Alex Teplitzky

About Alex Teplitzky

Alex Teplitzky studies and implements tools for arts organizations and artists to express themselves on the web and through social media. He has worked for a wide variety of galleries and museums including the de Young Museum in San Francisco, Claire Oliver Gallery, the Jen Bekman Gallery, the Richard Feigen Gallery and Ray Johnson Estate. In 2010, Alex moved to New York to study at the Draper John W. Draper Graduate Program at NYU where he wrote his thesis on artists' visual deconstruction of the media's representation of terrorism and violence. He has written arts articles for Art F City, Hyperallergic, Eros Mortis and he manages an art blog called Tout Petit la Planète. He also DJs at various venues in New York City under the alias Nabocough. He has worked as Communications Associate at Creative Capital since 2014.

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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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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Two Academic Writers Learn to Unlearn and Build on Their Own

From "On Larry Lee's 'The (Un)Timely Death of Multiculturalism," by Eunsong Kim

From “On Larry Lee’s ‘The (Un)Timely Death of Multiculturalism,” by Eunsong Kim

In May, we spoke to a few arts bloggers who had won Arts Writers grants to maintain their blogs. One blog, contemptorary by writers Gelare Khoshgozaran and Eunsong Kim, was just beginning at the time. As of August, 2016, however, their project is well underway with articles on artists and arts exhibitions, like MOCA Los Angeles’s “What is Contemporary?” Their stated focus this year on women of color and indigenous on and overall hope to reframe marginalized voices in art history and criticism struck us as particularly important, so we reached out to the writers for further comment.

Alex Teplitzky: Your blog will profile women of color and indigenous women queering the art world. Can you go more into specifics about who you hope to profile or hear from? What convinced you to start this blog?

Gelare Khoshgozaran & Eunsong Kim: We introduce contemptorary as a “cyberspace project covering: women of color and indigenous women queering the art world; queers disrupting white hegemony: immigrants and those displaced due to war, occupation and colonialism who breach all terrains.”

We wanted to create a unique space dedicated to those who have been historically marginalized (or inevitably auto-marginalized), tokenized and alienated. We wanted to assert our taste and bring into light the works of those whom we deeply value and have been inspired by, (re)introduce their works in a new context and see how their different voices resonate together cacophonously.

We started contemptorary because we didn’t see anything that was like it. We also made this decision because we have been students and practitioners of the arts and our previous education, our assigned reading guidelines have not been enough. They were curricula that consistently left us needing to: unlearn and to research and build on our own. So we’re carving out a cyberspace that holds what we want to learn about, what we want to read about, what we want to see and share.

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5 Takeaways from the 2016 Creative Capital Artist Retreat

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From left to right: Brian Tate, and Creative Capital artists Okwui Okpokwasili, James Scruggs, Ahamefule J. Oluo, Heather Hart and Jina Valentine

A lot goes into making impactful artworks. After Creative Capital announces a new round of artist projects, we bring the artists together to work on and discuss what they need to make the project actually happen. This all happens at our Artist Retreat, and we’re in the middle of one right now!

The artists spend nearly a week meeting each other, taking an intensive suite of business courses on everything from tax planning to working with arts institutions, and having one-on-one consultations with art world professionals. The crux of our Retreat, though, is presentations: each artist has 7 minutes to present their work. This year, we’ll hear from nearly 80 artists over the course of three days. Follow our Twitter account and the hashtag #CCRetreat to hear about them in real time.

Before that though, here are five takeaways we’ve already come up with since we got started on Tuesday.

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Black Lives Matter.

This past week marked the anniversaries of the deaths of Eric Garner and Sandra Bland, along with the third anniversary of the inception of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the wake of the recent shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, along with other senseless acts of violence, these anniversaries are especially tragic. We at Creative Capital offer our support to artists, colleagues and staff who are struggling to process the continued systemic and largely unpunished violence against Black people in America. Creative Capital stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those who feel this brutality is unjust.

We are grateful for the artists all across America who are directly addressing our broken criminal justice system, systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and other forms of bigotry. Artists have the power to push our societal conversation forward–asking difficult questions, taking personal risks. We are proud to support their work, protect their freedom of expression and help amplify their voices. We have highlighted some relevant artist projects below, and members of our staff have contributed their own personal statements and resources as well. We invite artists and other members of our community to share more resources and responses on our Facebook page or below in the comments. We welcome feedback about what more we can do during this difficult time.

– Suzy and the staff at Creative Capital
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42 Choreographers Performing 1 Dance in “Exquisite Corps”

Mitchell Rose describes himself as a choreographer and performance artist turned filmmaker. His experience in both disciplines is easily seen in his recent work Exquisite Corps, which made the rounds on Facebook recently (or watch above). The video reads like a who’s who in American choreography with 42 choreographers dancing around the country as if together. It included tons of artists Creative Capital has supported over the past 17 years—including Meredith Monk, Faye Driscoll, Kyle Abraham and Ann Carlson—so we loved watching it. I touched base with Mitchell to find out more about the process of making the work and how dance can translate on social media.

Alex Teplitzky: Can you describe the process of making the video? How long did it take to make, and how did it all come together? Were there any difficulties in making it all come together?

Mitchell Rose: Exquisite Corps was a two-year process. It would have taken even longer, given how technical it is, but I had already done two years of R&D on a previous film, Globe Trot, which was applicable to this project. (You can see the Globe Trot manual here which will explain some of that.)

Each participant was told to watch the entire accumulated edit and then decide where they felt the trajectory of the choreography should go. They had to start by perfectly repeating the previous person’s final movement so there would be a motional continuity. They should dance for 2–10 seconds. (Most people did 10–15 seconds so I would have to find a suitable place to edit.) And they should do a number of takes to give me editing options. (Each participant was responsible for finding a helper to shoot it for them.)

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Apply for Fall Residencies with Upcoming Deadlines

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Summer is a great time to take a break from your art practice. But it’s also the time when you want to start applying for fall residencies. Artists never rest! To make your work a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of residencies that offer stipends or are free to attend. From a residency for culinary artists to one for community activists, there’s something for everyone!

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Penny Lane’s Creative Capital Project is NUTS!

Penny Lane is a filmmaker who focuses on lesser-known histories as a means of reconsidering current issues. So, it’s no surprise that she took an interest in the little known tale of John Romulus Brinkley, a man who gained national fame and fortune after curing impotence in the early 1900s, inventing the informercial and dismissed his critics as “the establishment.” NUTS!, Penny’s Creative Capital-supported project, has already received accolades in film festivals like Sundance and Rotterdam. It premieres June 22 at Film Forum in New York, followed by a release in other major cities. We caught up with Penny to ask her a few questions about the project.

Alex Teplitzky: The Guardian calls the film’s plot “a story so odd you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard it before.” How did you come across it?

Penny Lane: Like all good things, I found the story of John Romulus Brinkley in a public library. I stumbled on Charlatan by Pope Brock—a really terrific book—and was hooked pretty much right away. As a nonfiction filmmaker I’m constantly scanning for stories, and in my case those stories almost always come from reading. (I suppose for some other filmmakers the stories come from traveling, or talking to people. I like to sit alone and read books; sue me).

And as I began telling friends about this amazing story, about “a guy who used to implant goat testicles into dudes to cure impotence,” I was amazed that a lot of people would ask, “Well… did it work?”

No, of course it didn’t! But I began to think about how much people want to believe in miracle cures. The weirder the better, really. How “one weird trick to melt belly fat” is way better click-bait than “eat less to lose weight.” Who doesn’t sometimes wish the world was more interesting, more magical, more colorful than it really is?

This is why the highest-rated Animal Planet program of all time was a fake documentary about mermaids. This is why Water Kirn falls for Clark Rockefeller. Why conspiracy theories are so compelling. And why we fall for quack doctors, time and time again: they sell us a story we want to believe. This insight became the core of the film that—a mere eight years later—is NUTS!

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The Future of Arts Blogs – Arts Blogging, Part 3

Nik Hanselmann's "Bodyfuck," as written about by Daniel Temkin in "BodyFuck: gestural code"

Nik Hanselmann’s “Bodyfuck,” as written about by Daniel Temkin in “BodyFuck: gestural code”

When blogs first started to become popular, they offered a unique opportunity to share personalized, more inclusive forms of expression. There was a sense of freedom with the platform: you didn’t have to be a known writer to publish, and you didn’t have to conform to editors wishes, or a publication’s standards. In the art world, blogging still maintains this prestige. As artists offer new ways of seeing the world, blogs allow writers to express and describe the different ways this reframing actually manifests itself.

As the open application of the Arts Writers Grant Program, draws to a close on May 18, we asked past awardees in the blog category to offer their perspectives running their own blogs. I have been talking to Daniel TemkinKate AlbersSharon Butler and Gelare Khoshgozaran & Eunsong Kim about what they think of the future of arts blogging.

Daniel Temkin: I think this is a great time to be writing about art online, especially working on a specialized blog like mine. Esoteric.Codes has an esoteric subject—there’s a sense of early-Web-utopianism when those ideas resonate in other parts of the world. At the same time, posts can inspire articles in mainstream press such as Wired (like my post on BodyFuck) as others

Sharon Butler: At first, we were all independent bloggers. Then a couple of structural changes occurred. Some bloggers, like Hrag Vartanian and Paddy Johnson, hired staffs and writers and grew their blogs into online magazines. Furthermore, mainstream media outfits like NY Observer, ArtNews, and NY Magazine, discovered the blog format and began providing online content outside their print editions. Both of these developments have expanded and entrenched art blogging as a media format and made it more sustainable. Of course, many independent bloggers left to pursue other opportunities – for instance, Carolina Miranda is now at the LA Times, and Andrew Russeth is a co-editor at ArtNews – while other bloggers just lost interest when the blogosphere became more corporatized. I’ve kept Two Coats of Paint going because it’s a key element of my art practice, but also because I think there’s a need for more arts writing rather than less. And it goes almost without saying that I enjoy it.

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