Walker Art Center

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The Nexus of Fluxus and Social Practice

By Sarah Schultz September 29, 2014

While removed in time by four decades, the 1960s Fluxus movement and the social practice art of today hold much in common, says LA art historian Natilee Harren, including a shared focus on instruction. “The best social practice art exposes how our lives are scored, orchestrated, or performatively designed for better or for worse, in both utopian and dystopian fashions,” she tells curator Sarah Schultz. More


Topless Cellist

By Joan Rothfuss September 25, 2014

“A female shaman for the McLuhan age,” Juilliard-trained cellist Charlotte Moorman is best known as Nam June Paik’s formidable collaborator, often performing nude as she activated his avant-garde works. In this exclusive excerpt from Topless Cellist, art historian Joan Rothfuss explores the creation of Paik’s TV Bra for Living Sculpture, a send-up of the nation’s addiction to “electronic breastfeeding.” More

Joan Rothfuss reads from Topless Cellist: The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman on October 5, 2014. Nam June Paik’s TV Cello is on view in the exhibition Art Expanded, 1958–1978.


Beyoncé the Readymade

By Okwui Okpokwasili September 23, 2014

“A machine, a high-powered Porsche, hip-hop technology. She consumes everything around her.” In Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room, this is how Beyoncé is discussed—as an overwhelming force of capital that takes over our senses. With Lemon’s work as a jumping-off point, performer Okwui Okpokwasili recently met with scholar Saidiya Hartman to discuss the iconography and cultural consumption of black women’s bodies. More

The Walker hosts the world premiere of Scaffold Room September 25–28, 2014. For more, read Bartholomew Ryan’s interview with Lemon, Okpokwasili, and April Matthis.


Intersubjectivity in Tino Sehgal’s Art

September 16, 2014

Creating not objects but experiences, Tino Sehgal postulates that it’s possible to create art in a way that will not negatively impact the environment, produced through nothing more than the expenditure of human energy and exchanged sustainably in a free market system. His argument: that our current moment is not “an age of production of things,” but rather one of the “production of subjectivity.” More

This essay appears in On Performativity, volume one of The Living Collections Catalogue.


Remembering Mildred “Mickey” Friedman

By Andrew Blauvelt September 4, 2014

For Mildred “Mickey” Friedman, curating design was less about acquiring objects than letting such artifacts tell stories within the galleries, “not for veneration but explication,” writes curator Andrew Blauvelt of Friedman, who passed away Sept. 3. As Design Quarterly editor and design curator for nearly 23 years, she consistently “drew upon the power of design itself to create a compelling experience.” More

In addition to curator Andrew Blauvelt’s reflection on Mickey Friedman, we’ve invited those who knew her best—including designer Abbott Miller, curator Ellen Lupton, and critic Martin Filler—to share their memories. Read them here.


Valerie Cassel Oliver: Curating What’s in Plain Sight

August 27, 2014

“I’m engaged in presenting what’s in plain sight,” says Valerie Cassel Oliver of Radical Presence, a survey of three generations of Black artists exploring the “elasticity of disciplines.” “Even in the new millennium we’re still omitting certain people from those conversations.” In curating the show, she sought to include a “trajectory” of artists, from younger makers back to those who influenced them. More

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art is on view July 24, 2014–January 4, 2015.


Dread Scott on the Killing of Michael Brown

By Dread Scott August 21, 2014

“If you’re the head of an empire and see that an unarmed youth is gunned down by the police and your advice is for people to be calm,” writes Dread Scott in his essay on Michael Brown’s death, “your rule is illegitimate.” Taking his name from the slave who unsuccessfully sued the government in a St. Louis court, Scott salutes protesters in Ferguson while decrying those who aim to control them through force. More

Dread Scott, whose work is featured in Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, shares his perspective as part of Artist Op-Eds, an ongoing series of essays appearing online and in print-on-demand pamphlets.


James Bridle: The Siege on Citizenship

By James Bridle July 7, 2014

“The cloud renders geography irrelevant,” writes James Bridle, “until you realize that everything that matters, everything that means you don’t die, is based not only on which passport you possess, but on a complex web of definitions of what constitutes that passport.” The case of Mohamed Sakr, a man deprived of his UK citizenship and later killed by a US drone, shows how such definitions are under attack. More

London-based artist James Bridle kicks off Artist Op-Eds, our new series featuring artists’ reactions to the news.

Art News from Elsewhere More


Via vulture.com

Alluring Enigma (External)

Critic Jerry Saltz muses on Robert Gober’s MoMA retrospective The Heart is Not a Metaphor: “His work exhorts, annoys, lulls, lets boredom slip in. Yet it almost always radiates a disquieting radical strangeness and in its weird way heals.”


Via artnews.com

Instagram Equality (External)

Artist Constant Dullaart has purchased 2.5 million fake followers to “equalize” certain accounts on Instagram. “Audience is a commodity,” he says, “they can be used to influence politics by supporting political causes online, and even add relevance to art.”


Via animalnewyork.com

Test Pattern (External)

From 11:57 pm to 12 am all month, Ryoji Ikeda will cast “tightly synchronized, flickering black-and-white imagery mining data for mathematical beauty” on Times Square billboards. On Oct. 16, visitors can use one of 400 sets of headphones to take in his sound score.


Via bbc.com

Power of Images (External)

David Hockney, known for his colorful landscape paintings, blames the art world’s obsession with conceptual art for the decline of figurative art: “The power is with images, and by neglecting them the art world diminishes the very thing it aims to protect—art.”

Via artforum.com

U.S.A.I.R.A.N (External)

As part of the Washington, D.C. public art initiative 5x5, artist Sanaz Mazinani has installed a series of photographs of Tehran and D.C. in the windows of a vacant library. Says Mazinani, “I want to call attention to the significance of perspective and position.”

Via hyperallergic.com

Selective Enforcement (External)

Recent arrests of art activists in a city that makes little effort to control illegal commercial advertisements highlight the problematic ambiguity in New York’s vandalism laws and an unfair stifling of creative speech.

Minnesota Art News

Via mnartists.org

Pure Choreography

Two months after seeing Tere O’Connor Dance perform BLEED and other works at the America Dance Festival, critic Lightsey Darst finds herself “still bobbing around in the wake of pleasure and thought.” More

Via mnartists.org

Going Solo

The solo animates a dancer in obsessive, sometimes hyperbolic, always personal ways. Linda Shapiro looks into the form and talks with recent McKnight fellows about the program’s uniquely dancer-driven process of creating new work.  More



Valerie Cassel Oliver Discusses Radical Presence

Exhibition curator Valerie Cassel Oliver of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston discusses the development of Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary ArtMore



Obliterating the Frame: Steve McQueen on Art and Film

“I never tried to do anything to make my films friendly.” From his start in Britain’s video art scene in the 1990s to his first feature film in 2008 to the Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave, Steve… More



Claes Oldenburg’s Geometric Mouse

Claes Oldenburg demonstrates multiple configurations of Geometric Mouse, part of the exhibition Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties at the Walker Art Center. More

Walker Channel

Dialogue / Interview

Panel Discussion: Performance in Practice

Exhibition curator Valerie Cassel Oliver, senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), is joined by contributing artists Adam Pendleton, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Xaviera Simmons for a lively conversation about the… More



Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art

This groundbreaking exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of performance art by black artists working from the perspective of the visual arts from the 1960s to the present. More



Art Expanded, 1958–1978

Drawn from the Walker’s extensive collection of artworks, films, archival materials, and ephemera, this exhibition explores the many facets of the so-called “expanded arts” scene of the 1960s and ’70s, charting a transformational phase in the history of 20th-century… More


Ongoing Series

Artist Op-Eds

A series of commissioned opinion pieces featuring provocative reactions to the headlines by artists James Bridle, Liz Deschenes, Liam Gillick, Metahaven, and others.

9 Artists

In 10 chapters, curator Bartholomew Ryan presents his keystone essay “If You Are Willing: The Army of the Individuals” from the 9 Artists catalogue.

Lowercase P

An election-year series on personal politics and the way artists contribute to the conversation on making a better society.

From the Archives


Via walkerart.org

Sturtevant in Conversation with Peter Eleey

In a rare 2009 conversation, Sturtevant—who passed away in May 2014—discusses her repetitions of works by Warhol, Beuys, and others, as well as the discourse on “dangerous potent power” of our cybernetic world.  More


Please Change Beliefs

For her first art foray online, Jenny Holzer brought her iconic text-based work to the web in 1995, presenting five series of works (truisms, living, survival, inflammatory essays, laments). More


Philip Bither

Trisha Brown: From Falling and Its Opposite, and All the In-Betweens

Philip Bither highlights some of Trisha Brown’s less-recognized but tremendously influential dance innovations, from aerial movement inventions to equipment-based performance. More