No Justice, No Service!

Join local artists, educators, unions, activists and workers to celebrate the recent excitement and organizing success of Adjuncts at SFAI, CCA, St. Mary’s College, Mills, Dominican University!

Performances! Installations! Speak-outs! Readings! Food! Art! Books! Socializing! Community-building! Help cultivate a cultural front for ongoing activism in arts, education, work and life.

We’ll be there begging people to fill out surveys for Compensation Foundation and trying to show some stats through live action visualizations. We’ll see how that goes. :)

Sunday, March 8 at 3:00pm
2948 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Participating artists, adjuncts, workers, groups, organizers, cooks, beer-makers and people include:
MC: Irina Contreras
Cara Emily Levine
Danielle Wright
Carrie Hott
Congratulations Pine Tree Podcast (Kate Rhoades, Maysoun Wazwaz)
Jessica Tully
Jessica Lawless
Christian Schoff-Nagler
Jennie Smith-Camejo
David Buuck
Stephanie Young
Ann Schnake
Compensation Foundation 
SEIU Local 1021
Give Me Cred!
Peak Agency
La Pocha Nostra
Kristi Holohan
Lauren C Elder
Amanda Jane Eicher
Chelsea Wills
Catherine Powell & The Labor Archive
Bay Area Strike Debt
Debt Collective
Fight For Fifteen
Chris Higgenbotham
Adjunct activist’s agit-prop from around the country
Keith Hennessy
Mess Editions
Words of Resistance
Critical Resistance
Modern Times Bookstore Collective
Joe Berry
Helena Harlow Worthen
Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo
Grace Chen
Zach Ozma
Adjunct Action Bay Area
Amy Rathbone
Francisco Grajales
Leslie Dreyer
SFAI Poster Syndicate
Shaping SF

TPG on Congratulations Pine Tree

Maysoun Wazwaz and Kate Rhoades are making a podcast- Congratulations Pine Tree – it’s the #1 Arts and Culture podcast in the Bay Area.

They are very fun to talk to and to listen to, and I’m excited that I can have them in my life more through my ears.

We’re on the podcast briefly this week talking about Compensation Foundation and the Present Prize.

Go here!

Open Call for Potluckers!

It’s not always true that if you build it, they will come. We get it. Surveys aren’t always so fun to fill out. But maybe if we come together in small groups, share food and drinks, and commiserate it will be a little more fun. That’s why we are asking you, individually or in groups, to host a potluck for your visual artist friends ideally in the first weekend of February and fill out Compensation Foundation’s “Bay Area Artists Report!” and anonymously contribute your experiences towards a better infrastructure for self-advocacy for artists.

The “Bay Area Artists Report!” is an effort to gather and make apparent how visual artists working in the Bay Area are compensated, what they value most, and what hurdles they face.  It’s the time of year for digging through old receipts and bank statements to appease the IRS, so what better time to put that effort to use for a common cause?

Artists and organizations across the globe (W.A.G.E., Visual Artists Ireland, CARFAC, Brooklyn Commune) are advocating for transparency and the establishment of standards when it comes to compensating artists for their labor. Our hope is that by contributing to a clearer picture of what’s happening here and now, we can help pave the way for a shift in cultural values and expectations.

We are working on securing beer and/or wine donations for fun. If you would prefer not to host something in your house, we can pair you up with one of several Bay Area organizations that have offered up their space. Please let us know if you plan something so we can track our progress and make sure to get you what you need!


Thank you!

Eleanor, Helena, Oliver

P.S. In an ideal world, these potlucks will occur in the first weekend in February, but anytime in the next couple of months would also be great.

Rotterdam Experiences: Off the Press: Electronic Publishing in the Arts and DEAF

Last week the Institute for Network Cultures and Digital Publishing Toolkit brought us to Rotterdam to speak about The People’s E-book.  The conference brought together an interesting mix of academics, students, artists, practitioners, and a few other designers and publishers.  There was a focus on what are artists producing in terms of e-books, what different production workflows look like, and what the future for libraries looks like.  They did a great job documenting most of the conference, so I thought I would continue that trend.

program for the conference

You can view many of the presentations here:

You can see images of the days here:

There are re-caps of most of the presentations here and here


Making Epubs Easy with The People’s E-book: 

Oliver did a demo of the tool, explained pe-epub (the open source epub generator that we built for People’s E-book), and talked about Streambooks, our Tumblr to epub conversion tool.

Off the Press – Oliver Wise: Making ePubs Easy with the People’s E-book from network cultures on Vimeo.

As you’ll see in the video, we had a little trouble with the slides, but you can see them below!


Publishing Constitutes a Public

There aren’t photos or video from the Arts and Crafts Session organized by Silvio Lorusso, but our slides are below and you can read the full text of our presentation here.  Oliver and I spoke about our thoughts about publishers as a support structure for a public, our past work that relates to digital publishing, and how and why we focused on artists when building The People’s E-book.


DEAF: The Progress Trap

We also were honored to be a part of the DEAF (the Biennial Dutch Electronic Arts Festival) at the Het Niewe Institute in their TV Lunch Program.  It was more of a casual conversation about our practice as well as the others’ who were also a part of the conversation.

The exhibition at Het Niewe Institute to go along with the festival, whose theme this year was “The Progress Trap” was pretty great. I especially loved Revital Cohen and Tuur van Balen‘s work: 75 Watt.  They designed an object whose primary function was to choreograph its creation.

75 Watt – trailer from Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen on Vimeo.

Another favorite was also a video installation, by Gabriela Golder, entitled “Conversation Piece” which showed the artist’s mother – a militant in the Argentine Communist Party – reading the Communist Manifesto with her two young granddaughters.

CONVERSATION PIECE (the installation) from Gabriela Golder on Vimeo.

And Rotterdam has a pretty interesting mix of architecture. It was fun to be around.

Artists Unite!


Click image for the downloadable pdf of the zine put out by the Artists of the 99%.  Along with contributions from Christian L. Frock, Julia Bryon Wilson, Elizabeth Sims, W.A.G.E, Art Workers Coalition, and the Beehive Collective (among others), Joseph del Pesco‘s State of the Arts posters are highlighted.




geez.. that project has legs: State of the Arts in another show

Sometimes you know projects are touching on something important at the time that you are doing them, but then they sort of quietly slide from your consciousness.  Other times projects have a sort of rhizomatic quality to them, growing beneath your feet both in terms of importance and reach.

State of the Arts seems to be one of those projects.  It keeps showing up in unexpected places, hanging out and creating dialogue everywhere it goes.  At the end of last month, down in southern California, it was part of a show and lecture series put on by the graduate curatorial practice students in the Master of Public Art Studies Program at the USC Roski School of Fine Art.

The show description:

The project explores issues of artistic production and labor, and is motivated by a keen awareness of how the current economic situation applies particular pressures on the many connotations of artistic “work.” It is a crucial moment to reexamine the shifting value, both economic and cultural, of artistic labor and to explore the ways in which artists navigate, resist, and reproduce these values. Each of the participating artists in the exhibition implement distinct methodologies for transforming the economic conditions of their artistic activities: from reflections on artistic practice as labor and entrepreneurial venture; to developing practical contracts that enforce artist fee structures; to resisting the speculative art market by offering unlimited multiples; to conceptualizations of artistic service provision, among others. Beyond evidencing economic models, the exhibition aims to reveal the shifts in political and social dynamics that artists face when negotiating the conditions of production, reception, and consumption of art.

Placemaking with Public Art: Who decides?

VSmoothe over at A Better Oakland has a recap of a recent Oakland Planning Commission Meeting in which the above Oaksterdam University signage was judged to violate Oakland business signage size ordinances.  As she notes, since “the Planning Commission was clearly sympathetic to Oaksterdam University” discussion turned to redoing the sign as a “mural” or “special sign” in order to skirt the legal issues.  As this discussion has been going on for a year, Oaksterdam had already put out an open call to attract artists to redesign the sign as a mural.  This is when the Planning Commission decided it was their place to choose which of these public art proposals should go forward.

There is a fundamental problem when the planning commission is choosing artwork.   That is not their job, and the fact that they refused the help of Oakland Public Art Advisory Commission is deplorable.  Steven Huss politely and rightly offered the PAAC‘s services, since it is their place to help decide on works of public art, but also because they have experience guiding organizations, businesses, and individuals in matters of budget, permits, and the hurdles that one has to cross when working with artwork in the public sphere.  But instead, the Planning Commission moved forward with their own opinions, deciding which work had the “broadest appeal” and which was too “on the edge.”

Here’s the one the planning commission preferred:

Proposal 1

And here’s what V Smoothe had to say:

I mean, the whole original discussion about the idea of sign or mural was about placemaking. And whether one thinks this mural is pretty or not, it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the neighborhood. Oaksterdam is not on Lake Merritt, nor is it at Oakland City Hall. I live in the heart of Oaksterdam, and I cannot see either Lake Merritt or City Hall from my apartment. The only thing about the mural that identifies the neighborhood at all is the text with the name of the business.  read more>>

If we’re talking about a mural with a purpose for place-making, that mural should be judged not only for relevance to the area and the people there, but also specifically for it’s innovation and interpretation of those concepts. This proposal does not address the specific locality as a place, other than being located in Oakland.

A mural will not assist in place-making if 1. it does not address the specific place and 2. is aesthetically bland.  Artworks and architecture can have a drastic effect on the community and pride of an area, especially if it is something that stands out.  The TransAmerica Pyramid was deplored when it was built. But what would the San Francisco skyline be without it?  Bold moves are sometimes required.  Risk is rewarded with awareness, even if some people hate it.  Richard Serra’s Titled Arc was eventually removed, but now many people think of Federal Plaza as the place where it existed.

Here are two other top contenders for the Oaksterdam mural:

Proposal 2

Proposal 3

Since we’re all into voting these days, which do you like the best?  Perhaps an art audience has a slightly different opinion than the Planning Commission?

Which proposal for the Oaksterdam Mural do you like best?

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Palin’s Breath

by Wreck and Salvage

Don’t forget to Vote!

Americans for the Arts has created some handy tools to grade our representatives and their support of the arts.  Above are the top scorers in the Senate.  Go here to see the House Representatives report card. Support your representatives who support the arts!

And, for Californians, here are the propositions we feel very strongly about:

NO ON 23!

YES ON 25! Let rationality rule the world…

Small Business Jobs Act: What artists and freelancers should know

Yesterday President Obama signed into law HR 5297, the Small Business Jobs Act.  A lot of it has to do with tax cuts for small buisnesses, encouraging investment and entreprenuership, and making it easier and to get small buisness loans: creating new funding for these loans and increasing the maximum loan amount that the SBA doles out.  There are, however, some especially exciting things for small companies, artists, and freelancers in the tax cuts area.  Hello health care deduction and total cell phone deduction.  Bullets taken from the White House Blog:

*A New Deduction of Health Insurance Costs for Self-Employed: The bill allows 2 million self-employed to know that on their taxes for this year, they can get a deduction for the cost of health insurance for themselves and their family members in calculating their self-employment taxes. This provision is estimated to provide over $1.9 billion in tax cuts for these entrepreneurs.

*Tax Relief and Simplification for Cell Phone Deductions: The bill changes rules so that the use of cell phones can be deducted without burdensome extra documentation – making it easier for virtually every small business in America to receive deductions that they are entitled to, beginning on their taxes for this year.

*An Increase in the Deduction for Entrepreneurs’ Start-Up Expenses: The bill temporarily increases the amount of start-up expenditures entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes for this year from $5,000 to $10,000 (with a phase-out threshold of $60,000 in expenditures), offering an immediate incentive for someone with a new business idea to invest in starting up a new small business today.

*A Five-Year Carryback Of General Business Credits: The bill would allow certain small businesses to “carry back” their general business credits to offset five years of taxes – providing them with a break on their taxes for this year – while also allowing these credits to offset the Alternative Minimum Tax, reducing taxes for these small businesses.

*Limitations on Penalties for Errors in Tax Reporting That Disproportionately Affect Small Business: The bill would change, beginning this year, the penalty for failing to report certain tax transactions from a fixed dollar amount – which was criticized for imposing a disproportionately large penalty on small businesses in certain circumstances – to a percentage of the tax benefits from the transaction.

Value of Art: (Public Funding) Steve Lambert

found via Joseph del Pesco

No need for bottled water

Bottled Water
Via: Ally Trigg

Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit

Detroit doesn’t cease to fascinate me.

People and Places: A Symposium of Public Practices

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 29th - 30th, 2010
7:00 – 9:00pm, FREE!

Ann Chamberlain, Untitled Installation 2, 2006. Ink on graph paper, fifty sheets, 8.5 x 11 inches.

A two-day symposium in honor of former SFAI faculty member and artist Ann Chamberlain, People and Places launches a sustained inquiry at SFAI into contemporary public practices. Pursued in conventionally artistic or increasingly hybridized, permissioned or nonpermissioned, and publicly underwritten or privately supported ways, the work of cultural producers in the public sphere is ongoing.

People and Places is structured around a series of open-ended questions relating to this vital strain of cultural activity: What does it mean for a contemporary artist to work in public settings or to solicit exchanges with the general populace? How do notions of “generosity” as a mode of social interaction, of “storytelling” as a project of collective history, and of “community” as a way of defining common ground inform creative strategies of public engagement? How are such negotiations located in particular places and enacted within particular social and political contexts?

Taken up by practitioners who work with people and places in a wide variety of forms and approaches, these questions will inform three moderated conversations: Defining Community, Practicing Generosity, and Telling Stories. These conversations will culminate in a roundtable discussion.

Andrea Bowers, Glen Helfand, Jessica Hobbs, Walter Hood, Helena Keeffe (TPG #11), Julie Lazar, Malcolm Margolin, Jeannene Przyblyski, Pedro Reyes, Susan Schwartzenberg, and Natasha Wheat

SFAI  Lecture Hall
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Free and open to the public

Steve Lambert’s New York Times Special Edition

I’m aware that this is a bit old, but I just watched this interview with Steve Lambert for Prix Ars Electronica and really loved how he spoke about the idea of a new form of activism.  There is something stale about the march and this paper in it’s positive message as opposed to a march’s (usually) negative message feels different and good.

Steve Lambert on The New York Times Special Edition from Steve Lambert on Vimeo.

Edible City" class='title'>Edible City

We caught a glimpse of this film at this past summer’s “Eat Local” Festival down in Jack London.  It looks like it is going to be great.  They’re still trying to raise money to finish it.  Click here to read an interview with the director, Andrew Hasse.

Art Work at Sight School

Sight School is a new project space run by Michelle Blade and (TPG #11 critic)  Matthew Rana. The space began from a desire to create dialogue around new modes of living and being in the world in order to reveal connections between art and life.  Thier first event is being held on this Friday, December 18th.


Sight School is pleased to host this one-night exhibition and public reading of Chicago-based collective Temporary Services’ newspaper titled, “Art Work: A National Conversation on Art, Labor and Economics.”

A handful of local artists, writers and curators including Sean Fletcher & Isabel Reichert, Lynne McCabe, Julian Meyers, Ted Purves, and Natasha Wheat will deliver public readings of texts directly from or related to the newspaper, while providing analysis and commentary in an informal reading-room environment. Readings will feature works by Chris Burden, Carolina Caycedo, Cooley Windsor & Futurefarmers, and the Guerilla Art Action Group (GAAG), among others. In addition, this event will serve as a distribution point for free printed copies of the newspaper. Participants will be encouraged contribute to the event and participate in discussion on how to build an economically viable arts community in the Bay Area.

This event will take place from 7-9pm on Wednesday December 16th.
Sight School, 5651 San Pablo Ave, Oakland CA

Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era


Julia Bryan-Wilson, director of the Ph.D. program in visual studies at the University of California, Irvine, investigates in her new book the movement to create a new recognition of artists as workers and laborers in the 60′s and 70′s.   Their efforts created some change within the museum structure, yet it continues to be a struggle today, as seen with efforts of W.A.G.E. and our “State of the Arts” project led by Joseph del Pesco.

Julia Bryan-Wilson on

THE MORE INTERESTED I became in the legacies of the Art Workers’ Coalition and the New York Art Strike, the more I became concerned with how artistic labor registers––or doesn’t––within a wider field. It was both inspiring and somewhat vexing to consider how artists and critics attempted to organize as workers and label themselves as such, particularly during the Vietnam War, when debates about the value of artistic production were raging within culture and within protest politics. How does art work? This question challenged me and pushed the project forward.

…

Her book has been published by University of California Press and there will be a release party at Printed Matter in NYC on November 7th.

Today in Oaktown- hope, business cards, and art

Oliver and I spent this morning as part of the Oakland Partnership Economic Summit.  We were part of the Showcase Oakland! Expo, “Exhibits of dynamic, innovative local companies that are putting Oakland on the map!” (you know it)  It was actually pretty exciting to see some of the diverse businesses that are here.  Some of the neat people we met were: Revolutionary Foods: organic food in schools, Lohnes & Wright: mapping, and Red Cake Gallery: an online art and design gallery.

oliver_economicsummit(sorry for the crappy photos- we only had a cell phone camera)

There was a lot of coffee, hand shaking, and business card exchanging.  I always feel bad recycling the big stack of business cards that I amass at these things.  People just love to give them away though.  There is also always the problem of the big stack of pamphlets.  Some have really great info or I think I will get to them later.  But what do you do with them?  Ahh.  Such a problem.  I always wonder about the people who quickly stop at every table and pick up whatever is there to pick up.  Do they go through it all at the end of the day?

We got to listen to the various presentations throughout the day.  The mayor started the day off touting the programs they’ve already put in place (Oakland Summer Jobs program, Oakland Green Jobs Corps, the creation of a one stop Business Center), re-affirming the goal to generate 10,000 new jobs in a 5 year period, and adding a lot of hopeful, encouraging talk about Barry, the stimulus, and the future (sans a lot of specifics).


There was also some very sobering facts that City Council president Jane Brunner brought up in the Armchair discussion about the impact of stimulus in Oakland.  She gave some context to the discussion by bringing up the budget problem they are currently facing: If one excludes voter mandated programs and the police and fire departments, they have to cut $83 million from $95 million in programs (that includes libraries, services for seniors, etc).  They therefore have to cut police and fire.  That still seems like quite a task.

And to wrap up a day filled with economic ideas and business partnerships, I though I would point out some neat things that are happening on this rainy and dreary evening.  Some ways to cheer up:

Art Murmer!

Swarm film night with works by Mills College students
“the first in a series of monthly screenings of experimental, documentary, short, feature-lenth and animated film, video and all formats in between, curated by filmmakers and film enthusiasts from the Bay Area and beyond.”
560 2nd St (at Clay), 7:30p

Snuggle up in a beautiful theater: Notorious at the Paramount
2025 Broadway, doors at 7p, movie at 8p

And for tomorrow morning:
(an early) Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Brunch at Borinquena Mex-icatessen
10 am – 3 pm
drink specials: mimosas, cervezas, sangria!
food specials: chorizo and eggs, breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros
582 7th St.

Art21: FlashPoint: How can art effect political change?

A really great collection of articles and resources is coming to a close after 2 months of input from various writers, artists, and contributors. Hrag Vartanian wraps up the discussion by pointing to the main topics of discussion and notes other things that have been talked about all around the intertubes.  The next topic for discussion is, “Art and Economics”

say-yes-comboEverything old is new again, (left) a Soviet-era poster by Alexander Rodchenko, and (right) a contemporary poster by Shepard Fairey

FLASH POINTS is a regular conversational series (on the ART:21 blog)that focuses on issues relevant to the state of the art world at large, contemporary art education, and issues artists face today. You can participate by contributing feedback, posing a follow-up question, sharing anecdotes, or suggesting new topics in the comments area below.

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Lego Hello World
I wish all my printers were made of legos.

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google
Images from Life Magazine going back to 1860′s, hosted by Google

Coming Face To Face With The President
Well crafted story about an under-heard point of view.

In California, Pot Is Now an Art Patron
A new funding source for the arts – reaping big rewards and funding many projects.  It’s pot.

Notes on Portraiture in the Facebook Age

Celebrity Book Club: A List to End All Lists
Because, well, it’s sortof awesome.

Are "Artists' Statements" Really Necessary?
The pros and cons about that nemesis for most artists.

This to That
You tell it what you’ve got and it’ll tell you what to glue them together with.

Work of art: Online store for buyers, sellers
Not the TV show!  Kelly Lynn Jones from Little Paper Planes is interviewed on her project, gives us a cheat sheet to local affordable art resources.

How to make a Daft Punk helmet in 17 months