Posted inOpinion

Hilarious Portlandia Episode Shows the Dangers of Conceptual Art

For those uninitiated into its history, conceptual art can often seem like a trick — is that really a urinal in an art gallery? Is sticking yogurt caps on gallery walls really great art? Unfortunately for Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the stars and creators of the sketch TV show Portlandia, it turns out that conceptual art can actually trap you, even outside of a gallery opening.

Posted inArt

An Artistic Industry of the Ordinary

CHICAGO — A few years ago, when I spent most of a summer in Prague (Czech Republic), I visited the lapidarium, the museum where they store all the fragments of old statues. I thought of that museum again when I saw Industry of the Ordinary: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi at the Chicago Cultural Center. Industry of the Ordinary (IOTO) are Adam Brooks and Matthew Wilson, two British artists who have lived in Chicago for many years. Their stated aim is to raise our consciousness about what constitutes an ordinary or extraordinary human action, or work of art, but that hardly does justice to the almost bewildering variety of forms that are displayed in this mid-career survey.

Posted inArt

Conceptual Artist Bob and Roberta Smith Puts Us All in Charge

This week I had the pleasure of talking to British conceptual artist Patrick Brill, better known as his alter ego Bob and Roberta Smith. We talked about visiting the Occupy Wall Street protests, starting a new political party and the history behind his alter ego. The conversation was charged with one powerful message—art can, and must, be valued and nurtured for its social and political potential. Through art, we can all be in charge.

Posted inArt

Office Space: The Conceptual Art Show?

In 2011, the American Dream has deteriorated to looking like an empty office space with abandoned cubicles, lone water fountains and abandoned family photographs of the past employees. On two floors of the midtown Manhattan Lipstick Building, and only an elevator ride away from Bernie Madoff’s old office, a group of artists transformed an empty office into an art exhibition, 14 & 15, by placing conceptual art around the lavish office, playfully moving objects that had been left in the offices and changing how viewers understand office space. However, much like the current economic state with the gap between the wealthy top 1% and everyone else, only the select few seem to be able to experience this exhibition.