Creavtive Conference for Entrepreneurs
August 5-7th San Francisco, CA

This August, the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs comes to San Francisco, bringing three days of specific, hands-on programming aimed at helping creative professionals become better business owners. The conference covers both universal issues like small business taxes and intellectual property, as well as grander topics like Creative Collaborations, The Art of Publicity, and Getting More Done.

Oliver and I are on a panel talking about Alternatives to the Gallery for the fine artist.  Gone are the days when art was only available in galleries, museums, and the homes of wealthy collectors.  These days anyone can be a patron, collector or exhibiting artist through the myriad alternative art venues springing up around the world.  In this panel, we’ll talk about inventive ways artists can show their work and get funding for it, from art subscriptions to microfinance organizations to online exhibitions.

With multiple panels every hour, the hardest part will be deciding which session to attend.  If you’re interested in joining us to hone some skills, we’re happy to offer a discount to all of you.  Enter the code TPG15 in the discount code box to receive 15% off any ticket.


Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs
August 5-7
The Women’s Building
3543 18th St #8
San Francisco, CA 94110
CCE on Facebook

Dreaming up ideal art worlds: New Art Economy Summit and Potluck
Saturday, July 23rd

We’re taking part in this conversation this weekend.  Hope you’ll join us. Should be fun!

As part of her residency at Royal Nonesuch Gallery, Elysa Lozano (who works under the identity Autonomous Organization) will facilitate a moderated conversation which asks participants across the spectrum of visual art production and dissemination to present their ideal art economies and engage in a dialogue around how resources and value is distributed in the art world.


Patricia Maloney, Editor-in-Chief of Art Practical
Christian L. Frock, Founder and Director of Invisible Venue
Courtney Fink, Executive Director of Southern Exposure
Dena Beard, MATRIX Curatorial Assistant at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Kevin P. Clarke, Artist and Founder of Million Fishes Art Collective and MacArthur b arthur
Jayna Swartzman, Program Manager at the Center for Cultural Innovation
Eleanor and Oliver Wise, Founders and Directors of The Present Group
Elizabeth Sims, Artist, Educator, and Activist
Vanessa Critchell, Director (West coast) at Luhring Augustine Gallery

New Art Economy Summit and Potluck Details:

Saturday, July 23, 4-8pm
MacArthur b Arthur Gallery (due to space restraints at Royal Nonesuch)
4030 Martin Luther King Jr. Way Oakland, CA 94609.
The Summit begins at 4:30 followed by a potluck dinner at 7pm. Please bring your favorite dish!

Facebook Event Page
Autonomous Organization Residency at Royal Nonesuch

People don’t like to read art: TPG 16 shows off

Rebecca Blakley’s Lichen Books: On the Road is showing at Western Exhibitions (Chicago) in July as part of the show, “People don’t like to read art.The title of the show takes its name from a 2009 drawing (not in this show) by Deb Sokolow that humorously reflects on some viewers’ aversion to reading text in visual art works. While the use of text in contemporary art is fairly commonplace, the artists in this show move beyond the use of single words and phrases by working with paragraphs, lists, fully-formed narratives and book formats, asking viewers to take the time to actively read the work.

July 9 – August 13th, 2011
Reception: Saturday, July 9, 6 to 9pm
SUMMER Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm

Gallery Address: 119 N Peoria St, Suite 2A Chicago, IL 60607

David Horvitz will put your tweet in the Library of Congress. Last day: Today!

TPG 9 artist David Horvitz (@davidhorvitz) has been commissioned by Creative Time to produce a hard copy of every tweet containing the hashtag #VadeMecum (Latin for “Go with me” and meaning a reference book designed to be carried) between June 17 and June 23. On June 24, he will carry the materialized tweets by train from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., following the route of the first transcontinental telegram (sent in 1861 from San Francisco to President Lincoln in the nation’s capital). Upon arrival in Washington, D.C., the entire collection will be submitted to the Library of Congress and donated to a public archive, where it will remain accessible.

Through the project, Horvitz will give his audience’s tweets literal and metaphorical weight. Serving as an anachronistic messenger in an era in which distance is no longer an obstacle to communication, Horvitz will re-engage with the relatively slow pace of the physical journey as a meaningful and transformative phase in the life of the message.

Read more here about the Creative Time Twitter Projects

View tweets here
View David’s transcriptions of the tweets here

TPG spotting: Bryn Athyn, PA

Spotted by Daniel Steinberg
TPG 11: Phases of the Moon by Helena Keeffe

Call for Curators: Shows of Internet Art on Art Micro-Patronage

This fall, Oliver and I will be debuting our new project: Art Micro-Patronage.  It’s an experimental exhibiiton platform that tries to figure out good ways to both display and fund artwork that is ideally viewed online.  As visitors navigate through the monthly exhibitions, they will be encouraged to become micro-patrons of the arts, associating their appreciation of the works with small monetary values. Only patrons will be able to view the exhibitions once the shows are over and they will receive a link and image as recognition for their generosity.

And we’re looking for curators!

Here are the specs:

What are we looking for?
We seek tightly curated shows of works that are ideally experienced on the internet.  Shows can be organized thematically or formally.  Some possibilities include (but are not limited to): artists working with twitter and facebook, digital artwork, video, sound, animated gifs, interactive works, web-based campaigns, physical works that address or involve the web in some way, documentary websites of artists working with intangibles.  We would like these to be group shows of between 7-15 artists and we would like the curator to write 400 – 600 word intro to the exhibition.  Shows will last 1 month.

How does it work?
We will encourage visitors to the shows to donate small amounts ($.50, $1, $5) directly to the artists as they navigate from piece to piece, similar to a “like” button only with pledging and a navigation element: if they press a donate amount, they are moved forward to the next piece in show.  AMP will take a small administrative cut from the proceeds in order to cover the transaction fees and to sustain funds for the next set of 6 (we have secured funding for the first set of 6 shows). Only the patrons will have access to the show after the month is over; the general public will still have access to the written piece by the curator and see the list of artists that were involved with the show. Patrons will also be given recognition and links on a donor’s page for each show (and each piece while the show is up).  Curators will receive a stipend of $200 upon completion of their project.

We have also set aside money for web development with each show, so we can work with you to figure out the best viewing experience to suit the artworks’ particular needs.

Please explain your proposed show and give 2-4 examples of pieces along the lines of what you’d like to highlight.
Submit your contact info and proposal to:  submit [at]

The Present Prize Report

You may recall that back in March we awarded the very first Present Prize, the grant funded entirely by web hosting fees, to Allison Pebworth who used the money to make an exploratory trip to Maine’s Shaker community in order to set up her future residency with them.  Well, she just made her journey and sent us this report via postcard:

“Greetings after a successful trip to the Sabbath Day Lake Shaker Community!  Thank you Present Group for sending me to the east coast – we were not only able to narrow down a residency for 2012m but I also found an art space in nearby Portland, ME who want to forge a collaboration with the Shakers and my project with them.  Thank you!  Allison”

Thanks to all the hostees who made this first grant possible and so successful!  On to the next one!

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.

Another Subscription Art Service Model: Project Dispatch

Here’s another!  Project Dispatch was started in the fall of 2009 and is run out of DC by two Corcoron graduates: Chandi Kelley and Rachel England.  They were looking for a way to create a small revenue stream for artists, but it sounds like the project is more about mandating the artists to continually make small works and get their work out to a broader range of people, creating a new group of collector/artist relationships.

It’s a slightly different version of the subscription art model.  Subscribers choose not only the price point they want ($25/50/75 per month) and the number of months they want (3/6/12 months), but they also choose from the group’s current list of 21 artists to get all their works from.  They do, however, have an option to randomly get work from a different artist each time.  Then on the artists’ side, they get a list of people to make work for every month and the artists are responsible for sending out the artwork to subscribers.  The Project retains 10% of the sales, but passes on the rest to the artist.  Artists pay a small membership fee of $18/year to be listed.   It is fun to see how flexible the subscription art model can be.

The importance of saying no

There is a lot of talk about what artists should do to make the conditions under which they work a little bit better.  We’ve been part of those talks, notably around the time that we were working on State of the Arts with Joseph delPesco.   However, often those talks end with big dreams, sometimes that are just too big for anyone in the room to tackle willngly.  In contrast, TPG11 artist Helena Keeffe has taken it upon herself to make a small stand for herself as an artist and the conditions she will work under.  She does this by saying no.

I don’t think demonizing institutions is the answer. If I’m an advocate for any one strategy it is giving oneself permission to say no.

Read more on OPENSPACE >>

In her recent response to a conversation that took place at the SFMOMA, she shares the letters she has written rejecting invitations and calls to shows.  Her individual campaign, where she calls on the organizers to recognize that exposure is not always enough compensation, especially for artists that are project based, has resulted in some small changes from those putting on the shows.   It helps that she is very polite in her address, just sharing her point of view without demonizing those who have imposed the conditions that she is choosing to reject.

In the end, most people are just trying to figure ways that these systems can support all that are involved and not bankrupt anyone.  We all have blind spots until someone points them out.  And sometimes small efforts like these might in the end make the most difference in creating an art world that works for everyone.

New Art Subscription: LxWxH

LxWxH is an art subscription project founded by Seattle artist and curator Sharon Arnold, which came out of the idea that (perhaps in the tradition of local agriculture movements) art should be sustainable, and accessible. Similar to the Art in a Box and Community Supported Art models of subscription art, each issue is one box containing two pieces by two artists, but they have the bonus of a short essay by a local writer.  Artists have the option of creating either editions or individual works for each box.

Subscriptions are $700 plus shipping, or $130/backissue plus shipping.
Seems to be a trend of art subscriptions getting more expensive as people figure out the best way and most sustainable ways to keep the practice going…

Upcoming artist Aaron GM on Art Practical, Bad at Sports

The current issue of Art Practical has an excerpt of a conversation between AP contributors Zachary Royer Scholz, Elyse Mallouk, and Patricia Maloney and artists Aaron GM (TPG 18) and Ginger Wolfe-Suarez that took place at the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Fair.  It was one of several conversations held over the weekend of the fair as part of “In and Out of Context: Artists Define the Space between San Francisco and Los Angeles,” a program that invited artists to consider the two cities as a continuously evolving constellation of dialogues, shared interests, and overlapping approaches. You’ll be able to listen to the full interview on Bad at Sports starting Sunday, May 22, 2011.

AGM: “I want to reflect life or this affirmation of life. You know, this optimism of transcendence in the mundane and in the domestic. That’s the space I like to dwell in, reinvent and play with. There’s a lightness and playfulness in that space.”

Read more on Art Practical >>

Annotated Links: “I want you to have this”: Art and activism

Steve’s Links:

A 2006 interview with comedian Jimmy Carr and Amy Sedaris on PRI’s The Sound of Young America:  The Jimmy Carr interview is interesting in it’s own right and I have referred to points he made in there often. But Amy Sedaris mentions hosting a “indoor garage sale” at her parties around this time and that idea was seeded in my mind.

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston: This is a book I found in a house while on vacation in 2003 (i think). I read it all in an afternoon and then started finding ways of getting rid of stuff. Some of it is a little wild even for me, but I can fairly say, this book changed my life.

Jack Kornfield on Generosity
:  I’m not sure where I originally heard this, and I don’t think this is the recording, but what I took away from it was the most cynical part – that there were different kinds of generosity and even the most begrudged, reluctant, or accidental generosity was considered on the same level as the most selfless kind.

Art and Activism, Generosity:

Aaron Gach and The Center For Tactical Magic: The Center for Tactical Magic engages in extensive research, development, and deployment of the pragmatic system known as Tactical Magic. At the CTM we are committed to achieving the Great Work of Tactical Magic through community-based projects, daily interdiction, and the activation of latent energies toward positive social transformation.

Amy Balkin: an artist pursuing “speculative counter-spaces”, her work includes Public Smog, where she created clean air public parks by purchasing pollution credits on the open market and reserved them from use, and This is a Public Domain, where she purchased land and attempted to designate it as a global commons

Packard Jennings: “I make work that delves into the realm of activism, not only to connect with individuals in provocative and meaningful ways, but also to recast my role in the system. I often put my work out into the world for chance interactions with people; this involves ad hoc installations and subversive infiltration of public and semi-public spaces, where the pieces are left to their own fate. I employ humor as a device for lowering a viewer’s guard to the reception of difficult content.”

Red76: Red 76′s work centers on the practice of grassroots publishing (both zines small newspapers, and online), conversation, and alternative economies which center around a larger theme of the American Revolution (the 76 in their name references 1776, the year the US independence) and a general revolutionary spirit.  Projects like Ghosttown and Taking Place sought to charge space and create an atmosphere wherein the public may become highly aware of their immediate surroundings, and their day to day activities, is an often recurring element within many of the groups activities.

The Yes Men: The Yes Men are a group who use any means necessary to agree their way into the fortified compounds of commerce, and then smuggle out the stories of their undercover escapades to provide a public glimpse at the behind-the-scenes world of big business.  Their main goal is to focus attention on the dangers of economic policies that place the rights of capital before the needs of people and the environment.  They’ve got a movie.

REBAR is an interdisciplinary studio operating at the intersection of art, design and activism.  Their work encompasses visual and conceptual public art, landscape design, urban intervention, temporary performance installation, digital media and print design.
Rebar remixes the ordinary, repurposes the ubiquitous and restructures the fabric of the urban environment by exposing hidden assumptions and shared meanings embedded in the everyday experience of the built world.

Against Generosity, or: Steve Lambert, and a Lot of Other People, Want Something From You

Generosity is a lie. To be more precise, generosity, as a form of absolute selflessness is almost never achievable, and most often when you come across someone attempting to be actively generous it’s an action rife with conflict and contradiction. Though we hate to admit it, we shouldn’t worry about this too much. Unless you are training to be the Messiah why should it be any other way? People want to redeem themselves, they want to boost their ego, their sense of self-worth. People want to do good deeds for any number of reasons. And yet, to continue the adage, our punishment for our good deeds done is often the guilt in knowing that we wanted something in return for our actions, no matter how incalculable that return might be within our own heads and hearts. However benignly or benevolently, however grossly, we are selfish beings. Is that so wrong? How much good is psychically corrupted in hiding it?

Would it be more helpful for us to start describing these acts in a somewhat different fashion, a fashion more productive to the situation at hand, one that for semantics sake doesn’t degenerate into questions of intent? There’s no shame in admitting that we get something out of giving. It doesn’t dilute the gesture or its value. We create our own values when it comes to unregulated and intangible systems of exchange. Let’s therefore promote a community of reciprocity wherein our return, the exchange in question, is self-determined. Let’s do away with the problematics of generosity for something more anarchic, more complex, more… generous in deed than definition.

Steve Lambert – his person and his work – exists on a continuum in a long line of absurdist provocateurs hell bent on changing the world for the better one sincere, well-formed, slightly ridiculous gesture at a time. Sometimes it’s not intentionally so ridiculous, it’s just that from the outside, for those not already there, it can seem a little far-fetched. But just wait. You’ll see. He makes objects and actions in equal measure, never favoring one over the other – they are all constructed as a means of provoking dialogue around various political subjects, profound and humorous alike. For Lambert these bits of provocation are intended to get people thinking (and talking) about how they act, what they believe, how they imagine the world around them, and how they imagine what it could be. Inaccurately defined, his work is generous. It gives a lot of itself. It also asks for much in return from its viewers and participants. So, from here on out, I’ll use Lambert as an agent for my argument.

Lambert’s newest project is an edition, a simple wooden box with the words, “I Want You to Have This” inscribed upon it. Keep it by your front door. Put that scratched copy of Come On Feel the Lemonheads inside, your old rabbit’s foot, the weed someone gave you and you’ve kept in the freezer for years, in the hopes it will remain fresh, thinking, “I like pot. I’ll smoke this someday. The perfect day…” and yet you just never got around to it. I Want You to Have This allows you to give away the shit you don’t want anymore, the items that follow you, from one house to the next, one phase of your life to another, like a benign demon, a cuddly, lice-free, and not all that heavy monkey on your back. They aren’t too much of an intrusion or burden, these items. But honestly, they take up space and you don’t need them now, and you might not ever have to begin with. Why not give them away? The piece is a very simple gesture that aims at discussing a less than simple subject; the transparency of a gift delivered insincerely. A gift can be a burden, and a burden given in the guise of a gift can really piss people off, as cultural norms state that you have to accept the damn thing without complaint.

These days it seems to call someone out as a Social Practice artist is to say they are doing something, which for one is public, as well as new and difficult to define. Or to call some a Social Practice artist is to say that their work is, again, public and that they aren’t trying hard enough. Lambert is a Social Practice artist, but not quite for either of those reasons. His work is about publics, yes. And his work is not hard to define or difficult. It is deceptively simple. Simplicity, as a methodology, is a great asset in the creation of a public around a piece or practice. It allows those who engage a work to enter into the piece easily, with confidence that they are aware of its place in the world, how it works, and how they are to engage it. From there on out, they gain the agency to consider, deconstruct, and absorb the work as their own. They are aware of the ruse, the trick, the framework, and in the case of Lambert’s practice, their “in on the joke.” His work, in line with a particular stain of Social Practice, is public in that it is often situated outside of the gallery space, but far more importantly it is about galvanizing a group of unknown people around an idea to consider it and make it their own. It is open. It is malleable. It grows from project to project to include others. It continues conversations from one to the next, and encourages the viewer/participant to converge with the work of other practitioners, as well as become one themselves if they do not consider themselves one already. It asks us to do this work till it doesn’t become work any more but life. It asks us to form A Public around our work so that through embodiment and accumulation it may become The Public, i.e., Common Place, Quotidian. It represents itself in a state of becoming, in that it suggests to those who encounter it a possibility of a future, a future which they are part of – with others.

Social Practice accepts and values the influence of other fields and histories outside of the aesthetic realm. Furthermore, contrary to what one might expect, Social Practice values art and aesthetics equally as much as the practices so-called outside influences. And, with that in mind, it finds that the designation of art can allow one to mine fields and hybridize them in a manner to elicit dialogue around issues that are important to the practitioner, and as this work is about the formation of publics, those that gravitate towards the work. Of course this forces one to mention an important issue – there’s a lot of disingenuous crappy social practice work out there that doesn’t work hard enough, that isn’t critical of its own intentions, and yet due to its relative “newness” gets lumped with the rest. This is work that wants to give, wants to be (pseudo)generous, without being honest with its intentions or desires, without being open with its tensions, which are generative and nothing to hide. I say this without a want to be cynical, and I’d argue that my statement isn’t that. It’s to say that to create a space that values the socio-cultural and political intentions of its rhetoric the person or people who envisioned and desired that space need to get naked, fight to relieve themselves of hierarchies, and attempt the creation of an area of questioning as much as an area of statement making. Too much Social Practice continues to value statements over questions. I’d argue though that the questions, in the end, are the slightly more valuable by-product of the two. Good questions provoke more thoughtful statements. Questions, which are of honest concern to those who ask them, are reciprocal in nature.

And this brings us back to my original point. A practice concerned with the formation of publics, the notion of social art as a form of generosity has become increasingly prevalent. For a practice whose strengths, for one, lay within its non-hierarchical stance, this is disingenuous when inconsiderately employed. In response to the work of artists such as Harrell Fletcher, do-gooder work abounds, with more and more works and projects proposing to do this and that for someone. But the imitators and the influenced, as well as Fletcher’s work itself, seem dangerously hollow. I say dangerous because I see and believe deeply in the public possibilities and political efficacy of a certain strain of Social Practice. When a work or worker presupposes that they have something to give to someone without making it plainly apparent that they get something in return for this act, a system of hierarchies is established and allowed to flourish; between artist and participant, between white people and people of color, between middle class or rich and the poor, able and disabled, and so forth down the line. A practitioner working in this way promotes dictation over facilitation in that its more about making statements through their interactions than it is about asking questions of the people who allow that interaction to emerge, or about being publicly questioned ourselves. We need to express, in overt, theoretical, even aesthetics terms that we as social practitioners are part(s) of the public which we are actively attempting to form, not actors alongside or outside the public(s) which we endeavor to help create. And, if it is evident to others that, in certain circumstances we do not consider ourselves part of that public, we need to ask difficult questions of ourselves if we wish to see the work we do as separate from ourselves while continuing to be politically efface-able. Simply put, our concerns and actions need to be reciprocal in some form or another, and this reciprocity needs to be visible. We need to ask, “What do I get out of this,” with as much intention as, “what can I give.” This is a problem that Lambert handles often, and elegantly.

Steve Lambert, “I will talk with anyone…”   January 2006    image courtesy of artist

Whether creating a space to publicly talk “about anything” (as in Lambert’s 2006 work, I Will Talk With Anyone…), or an object that asks its viewer to consider the manners and habits in which we give of ourselves to others (as in Lambert’s newest work), an exchange between maker and participant takes place in the work we make. In this sense, there really isn’t too much of a difference between I Want You to Have This and another work of Lambert’s, a collaboration with The Yes Men and many others, entitled NY Times Special Edition. Each work takes a simple object and presents a set of possibilities and problems in front of those who encounter it. Both are works that are supposed to live with you, rather than you visit them, in that they enter into the most quotidian aspects of our day; our commute, a visit to a friend’s house. While the scale of each project differs, the intentions of both are of a piece. They ask us to question the things in our life that we find most common place and immovable; the material wealth we collect yet find burdensome, our complicity in war’s fought in our name, education and the models we accept for ourselves and others, or our participation in economies of all sorts. With a slight smile they ask, “Well… what if?” They give something to you for free, and yet ask you to do something with the information or object you’ve received. They agitate for us to question our considerations. They are anything but singular, anything but passive, anything but generous as we know it.


Sam Gould is co-founder of Red76, a collaborative art practice which originated in Portland, Oregon in 2000. Along with his work as the instigator and core-facilitator of many of the groups initiatives, Gould is the acting editor of its publication, The Journal of Radical Shimming. He is a senior lecturer at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Ca. within the Graduate Fine Arts Dept. for Social Practice and is frequently a guest lecturer at schools around the United States and abroad.

Gould’s work has been activated through projects and lectures on street corners, in laundromats, bars, and kitchen tables, as well as through collaborations with museums and institutions such as SF MoMA; the Walker Arts Center; the Drawing Center; the Bureau for Open Culture; Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary; ArtSpeak; Printed Matter; the Cooper Union; the New Museum/Rhizome; Manifesta8; and many other institutions and spaces worldwide. He was one of nine nominees for the de Menil Collection’s 2006 Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement, is a founding “keyholder” of MessHall, and was the 2008 Bridge Resident at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

Interview with Steve Lambert

We sat down with TPG17 artist Steve Lambert to talk about the edition “I want you to have this” on March 14th, 2011.

icon for podpress  Standard Podcast [37:46m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Introduction to “I want you to have this”

“I want you to have this” by Steve Lambert is The Present Group’s 17th edition.  It is an edition of 80 birch boxes and 4 cardstock hang-tags silk-screened with the text “I want you to have this”

Sometimes it’s the simple gestures toward a better world that stick with us most.   Steve Lambert – an artist whose work scales from a one-on-one conversation up to teams of volunteers distributing hundreds of thousands of newspapers – aims to get people to envision the way things could be.

“I want you to have this” is one such gesture.  Simply expressed, it’s a tool to facilitate giving.  Place it on your coffee table as a constant reminder that maybe you don’t need all the things you own, and that instead of throwing away that pair of earrings Grandma thought were so perfect for you, you might pass them on to a friend who would appreciate them in a way you never could.

Though “I want you to have this” is, in a sense, a prescription for an overly consumptive world, it also goes beyond simply helping you purge.  In Steve’s hypothetical world, items as mundane as a bottle of shampoo or an unused notebook are imbued with new meaning.  These objects no longer appear from nowhere and disappear when your fancy fades.  Now your stuff stays “in the family”, and your shampoo isn’t just “shampoo”, it’s “the shampoo that my coworker’s wife thought smelled weird.”  In this world, the marketers’ impassioned narratives and scientific explications are no longer necessary because we’re already connected to our things.  After all, I know who wanted me to have this.

Steve Lambert believes art is a bridge that connects uncommon, idealistic, or even radical ideas with everyday life.  Steve’s projects and art works have won awards from Prix Ars Electronica, Rhizome/The New Museum, the Creative Work Fund, Adbusters Media Foundation, the California Arts Council, and others. His work has been shown at various galleries, art spaces, and museums both nationally and internationally.

Upcoming: Aaron GM

The Present Group is pleased to announce that the 18th artist edition for their Art Subscription Project will be by Aaron GM.

Aaron GM (b. 1978 in Washington D.C.) lives and works in Los Angeles. He studied at both San Francisco Art Institute and UCLA. Recently he exhibited a solo presentation at the NADA Art fair in Miami Beach (2010). Other Recent solo exhibitions include capezio (2010) at ltd los angeles, Timeshares (2009) at Parker Jones Gallery in Los Angeles, and sales calls (2008) at Blanket Gallery in Vancouver. Aaron has shown in group exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

Aaron is currently getting a new set of performances ready to show at Green Gallery in Milwaukee, WI.

And the winner is.. Alison Pebworth!

With the help of The Collective Foundation, the hostees, the general public, and all the artists who participated, we are proud to announce that the winner of The Present Prize is Alison Pebworth!  Alison will use The Present Prize $1000 Travel Grant to visit the Sabbath Day Lake Shaker Community in Gloucester, Maine to develop a residency with the last four living Shakers and to research Radical Sects and Utopian Societies of America for an upcoming tour with the Beautiful Possibility Project.

We received an extra $100 bonus check from a generous benefactor who wanted the winner to be able to have a hearty meal with a friend on her travels.  He also contributed to the grant early on, liking the idea of artists helping out other artists.  Moments like these make me feel so wonderful about the generosity and collaborative spirit of artists both around the world and in the bay area in particular.

So on Monday night, we gathered with some of the local hostees and participating artists to give Alison her giant check over some tacos and beer.  Congratulations Alison!

L-R: Courtney Fink (Art Publishing Now, Mission Arts Trail Guide), Nathanial Parsons, Alison Pebworth, Scott Oliver, Oliver Wise (TPG), Eleanor Hanson Wise (TPG), Lauren Venell, Helena Keeffe (Alula Editions), Joseph del Pesco (Collective Foundation)

The Finalists for The Present Prize: Christine Kesler, Alison Pebworth, Lindsey White

After some riotous voting by the public (thousands of votes were cast), the top three finalists for The Present Prize have been selected!   It was a very close race and up to the last minute people were pulling ahead and dropping behind by just a vote or two in either direction.  Now the hostees will choose who gets the final prize.  Thank you to all who participated in the process and congratulations to our finalists!


B, 2009

Christine Kesler’s recent work takes the form of full-studio installations of paintings and paper sculptures; this entails a great deal of re-purposing old work, and this in turn harnesses energies of destruction, rebirth, and re-imagining. Installations made of painted objects, found objects, paper constructions, and unaltered paintings, drawings, and panels, all exist to subvert the stability of painting and to create consciousness of using what is on hand.


Eagle and Bear (Haida, Quatchi, Sumi, Butterfly Maiden (Hopi), Betty Boop, Progress (Manifest Destiny Goddess), Bear Sterns Bull, Steamboat Willy, Tlazoteol (Aztec), Luchador

Alison Pebworth is a San Francisco-based artist who paintings and multi-media installations are a part of an on-going investigation into the lost and obscured histories of America. She is currently in the midst of a long-term traveling road show, entitled Beautiful Possibility Tour. This traveling exhibition is an interactive project combining art, history, and anthropology and will engage various communities and public art spaces from California to South Dakota, and across the Northern United States and lower Canada. Beautiful Possibility Tour kicked off from Southern Exposure in San Francisco in March 2010, and the artist will be traveling through October. Pebworth has received many public grants and awards for her art and research practice, including from Southern Exposure and the Center for Cultural Innovation.


Distraction, 2010

Lindsey White works in still photography, video and installation, offering subtle and often humorous insights into questions of truth vs illusion, found vs fabricated and synchronicity vs chaos. Her manipulations of materials and settings, by both analog and digital means, mixed with a keen eye for coincidence make for playful yet haunting images of the not so mundane everyday.

Lindsey White lives and works in San Francisco, where she teaches photography at the California College of Art. She received her BFA in Photography from the Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR) and her MFA in Photography from the California College of Art (San Francisco, CA). She has exhibited recently at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR), Southern Exposure (San Francisco, CA), the Kala Institute of Art (Berkeley, CA), the Headlands Center for the Arts (Marin, CA) and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (San Jose, CA).

If the Bay Area is the Capital of Art Subscriptions, then the Mid-West is the country it should be located in.

A couple of weeks ago I made the claim that the Bay Area is the Capital of Art Subscriptions.  I still think that holds true.  HOWEVER, the mid-west is a burgeoning center for them as well.   After the debut of and Springboard for the Arts’ Community Supported Art last year, two more CSA style art subscriptions have popped up:  CSA Chicago and Risograph CSA.

CSA Chicago is a program run by Threewalls.  It asks shareholders to invest directly in the arts community with a “buy local” mentality. Each share costs $400 and subscribers receive 6 artworks over three months. Each artwork is a limited edition of 50 and shareholders receive a random selection from participating artists. Subscriptions are limited to 100 per year. CSA Chicago’s season is from April to June 2011.  The pilot year of participating artists include Conrad Bakker, Sara BlackEdie Fake, Jessica Labatte, Laura Mackin, Eric Fleishchauer, Aay Preston-Myint, Pamela Fraser, Steve Reinke, Dan S. Wang, Jason Lazarus, and Jesse Harrod.

Included in the monthly box:
2 signed and numbered original works of art by contemporary Chicago artists (6 total over three months)
Coupons and ephemera from local artist-run and creative businesses
Essays contextualizing the work

They will be having a launch party on April 30, 2011, in conjunction with Art Chicago/NEXT Art Fair from 6 to 9 pm. The event will feature food, drinks, music, the 1st editions of all 12 works for auction and a chance to meet participating artists.

There is also a special deal if you sign up before April 30th ($50 off)

Risograph CSA is a project out of Grand Rapids, MI.  I think it will be run by and out of the Division Avenue Arts Collective.  The Risograph CSA project will commission 6 artists and artist groups to produce prints for an art subscription service. A total of 60 editions will be made per image on a Risograph Digital Duplicator. Of those, 30 will be available as subscriptions at rate of $120 per year for 6 pieces. Remaining editions will be given to participating artists and sold individually. If the subscription sells out, each artist or group will be paid $400 and 50% of the sales from the individual pieces.

Collectors will have the opportunity to pick up their newest acquisitions at the bimonthly CSA pickups and listen to a talk by the month’s artist. These events will be held in conjunction with that month’s Sunday Soup to augment that evening’s programming.

At the end of the second year there will be a retrospective gallery show at The DAAC featuring each of the 12 works commissioned by the Risograph CSA Project.

Unfortunately they don’t seem to have a website or they are not quite up and running yet.

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