Arts Journalism and
Criticism in a Digital Age

Walker Art Center
May 28–30, 2015

SuperScript

Arts Journalism and
Criticism in a Digital Age

Superscript Reader

An editorial supplement to the conference: follow the conference liveblog, read commissioned essays, and more.

Video

Transcript

The conference transcript is available as a PDF.

Walker Art Center
May 28–30, 2015

Schedule & Speakers →

Credibility, Criticism, CollusionRyan SchreiberPitchforkOrit GatRhizomeChristopher KnightLos Angeles TimesIsaac FitzgeraldBuzzfeedSustainability, Growth & EthicsVeken GueyikianHyperallergicEugenia BellDesign ObserverCarolina MirandaLos Angeles TimesJames McAnallyTemporary Art ReviewKeynote: Post-Descriptive Criticism by Ben Davisartnet NewsConnectivity and CommunityClaudia La RoccoThe Performance ClubAyesha SiddiqiThe New InquiryAlexander ProvanTriple CanopyBrian Kuan Woode-fluxKeynote: James BridleArtists as Cultural First RespondersMarisa Mazria-KatzCreative Time ReportsDan FoxFriezeClaire EvansVICE

Attendee Information →

Superscript took place at the Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota from May 28–30, 2015.

Funders

Mn Artists is a project of The McKnight Foundation and the Walker Art Center, and was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services .
Support for Superscript is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Superscript is sponsored by MailChimp.

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Schedule & Speakers

All events take place at the Walker Cinema unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, May 28

Early Registration6:00 pm–9:00 pm

Pick up conference materials at the registration booth in the Bazinet Garden Lobby.


Opening Party: Everyone's a Critic6:00 pm–9:00 pm

You're invited to rub shoulders and raise a glass with an array of writers, editors, artists, theorists and curators who are convening as part of Superscript. Mingle and bring your best critical self to a party full of tongue-in-cheek activities led by the St. Paul-based literary organization, Revolver. They will have you typing and reading your best zingers about everything under the sun, like art, food, film, and ex-boyfriends! A DJ and cash bar add to the party vibe. Copresented by Mn Artists as part of Target Free Thursday Nights.

Target Free Thursday Nights sponsored by Target.


Friday, May 29

Registration8:00 am–6:00 pm

Pick up conference materials at the registration booth in the Bazinet Garden Lobby.


Welcome9:00 am–9:15 am

Walker Curator Andrew Blauvelt, Walker Web Editor Paul Schmelzer and Mn Artist Editor Susannah Schouweiler


Credibility, Criticism, Collusion9:15 am–11:40 am

What does it mean to be a "professional" arts writer when it seems everyone’s a blogger, curator, critic, promoter, or publisher? Critics from four realms—music, visual art, books, and digital culture—consider the tensions: editorial vs. advertorial, promotion vs. journalism. And what about negative criticism: is it, as one editor said, "fun to read, fun to write?" Or are harsh reviews corrosive, generative of a "culture of snark"?

  1. Ryan Schreiber9:20 am

    is founder and CEO of the online music publication Pitchfork, "the most prominent brand in online music journalism" (New York Times). Pitchfork has also spawned successful offshoots, including the Pitchfork Music Festival, which happens annually in Chicago and Paris, and the Webby-award winning online music video channel Pitchfork.tv. Schreiber now employs more than three dozen staff between Pitchfork’s Chicago and Brooklyn offices, and true to his original vision, his company remains entirely independently owned and operated. He has twice been featured in Time’s annual Time 100 poll of the world's most influential people, and received an honorary arts degree from Columbia College Chicago.

  2. Orit Gat9:40 am

    is a New York–based writer who looks at contemporary art, publishing, the Internet, and all the links between these subjects. Her writing is published regularly on Rhizome, where she is a contributing editor, and has appeared in Frieze, ArtReview, the White Review, Art Agenda, the Brooklyn Rail, Spike Art Quarterly, Review 31, LEAP, and Modern Painters, where she was a senior editor. She is currently the managing editor of WdW Review and online art editor of BOMB.

  3. Christopher Knight10:00 am

    is art critic for the Los Angeles Times. A three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism (1991, 2001, and 2007), he received the 1997 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism from the College Art Association, the first journalist to win the award in more than 25 years. Knight has appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes, PBS's NewsHour, NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and CNN and was featured in the 2009 documentary, The Art of the Steal. Prior to joining the staff of the Times in 1989, Knight served as Los Angeles Herald Examiner art critic (1980-89), as assistant director for public information at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1979–1980), and as curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (1976–1979).

  4. Isaac Fitzgerald10:20 am

    has been a firefighter, worked on a boat, and been given a sword by a king, thereby accomplishing three out of five of his childhood goals. He has written for the Bold Italic, McSweeney’s, Mother Jones, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the cofounder of Pen & Ink, co-owner of The Rumpus, and editor of BuzzFeed Books.

  5. Panel (Moderated by Orit Gat)11:00 am

    Orit Gat is a New York–based writer who looks at contemporary art, publishing, the Internet, and all the links between these subjects. Her writing is published regularly on Rhizome, where she is a contributing editor, and has appeared in Frieze, ArtReview, the White Review, Art Agenda, the Brooklyn Rail, Spike Art Quarterly, Review 31, LEAP, and Modern Painters, where she was a senior editor. She is currently the managing editor of WdW Review and online art editor of BOMB.


Lunch11:50 pm–1:25 pm

Attendees can explore Minneapolis for lunch, or purchase a box lunch at the Garden Café.


Sustainability, Growth & Ethics1:25 pm–3:40pm

Four speakers represent different models: for-profit and ad-based, non-profit, "anti-profit," and legacy media. In individual presentations and a group discussion, they’ll look at these and other questions: What does financial sustainability for arts journalism look like? How can partnerships help sites better monetize content and expand audience reach? What compensation exists for nonprofit and all-volunteer ventures? What are the ethical implications of using work by unpaid writers, not just for the journalists themselves but also for the "professionalism" of the field?

  1. Veken Gueyikian1:30 pm

    is the publisher and cofounder of Hyperallergic as well as the founder of Nectar Ads, the only online advertising network dedicated to visual art and design. With far-reaching professional experience—he has degrees in medicine and engineering, career experience in pharmaceutical and music marketing—Gueyikian launched his latest ventures to ensure that independent and critical voices in the arts have a forum and support.

  2. Eugenia Bell1:50 pm

    is executive editor of Design Observer, today’s leading international design blog. From 2007 to 2014, she was the design editor of frieze and her writing has also appeared in Artforum, Bookforum, New York, and Design Observer. She is a former publications and design studio manager at the Walker Art Center (2000–2001).

  3. Carolina Miranda2:10 pm

    is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she writes the Culture High & Low blog. In this post, she covers art, architecture, design, and music—from racial conflicts at the Whitney Biennial to the urban design of Los Angeles to the rock en español grooves of Café Tacvba. Prior to joining the Times, she was an independent magazine writer and radio reporter producing stories on art, culture, and travel for Time, ARTnews, ARCHITECT, Art in America, Fast Company, NPR’s All Things Considered, and PRI’s Studio 360. Miranda has also been a regular contributor at public radio affiliates KCRW in LA and WNYC and WQXR in New York. She has been named someone to follow on Twitter by the New York Times. Find her at @cmonstah.

  4. James McAnally2:30 pm

    is an artist, curator, and critic whose work seeks to create a space of expanded authorship and exchange. He is the executive editor and cofounder of Temporary Art Review as well as a founder, codirector, and curator of The Luminary, an incubator for new ideas in the arts based in St. Louis. In his artistic practice, he works as a part of the collaborative US English.

  5. Panel (Moderated by Susannah Schouweiler)2:50 pm

    Susannah Schouweiler is a writer, arts critic, and editor-in-chief of Mn Artists, an artist-driven, online media platform based at the Walker Art Center covering the art and artists of the Midwest. Before her work with Mn Artists, she served as the editor of Ruminator, a nationally distributed art and literature magazine. Schouweiler lives and works in St. Paul.


Film Premiere: Moyra Davey4:00 pm–5:00 pm

The Walker’s Bentson Commission series premieres with Moyra Davey’s new-28 minute film, Notes on Blue. This ongoing series invites six artists to respond to the inspirations, inquiry, and influence of artists in the Ruben/Bentson Collection—including, in the case of Davey and fellow commission recipient James Richards, responses to artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman. Notes on Blue is a lyrical film essay that interweaves various biographies (including those of Jarman, poet Anne Sexton, and the artist herself) to explore the subjective experience of mortality, color, and identity. After its Superscript premiere, Notes on Blue will launch online on the Walker Channel.

Moyra Davey, a Canadian-born artist living in New York, is a writer and visual artist known for the convergence of photography and film. Davey’s art is in the collection of major institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others.


Keynote: Post-Descriptive Criticism by Ben Davis5:00 pm–6:05 pm

Ben Davis is an art critic living and working in New York City. He is the author of the book 9.5 Theses on Art and Class (Haymarket, 2013) as well as numerous essays on contemporary art that have appeared in such publications as Art Papers, Frieze, New York, Slate.com, and the Village Voice. He is currently critic-in-residence at Montclair State University and National Art Critic for artnet News.


Saturday, May 30

Registration

Pick up conference materials at the registration booth in the Bazinet Garden Lobby.


Welcome9:30 am–9:45 am

Walker Director Olga Viso, Walker Web Editor Paul Schmelzer and Mn Artist Editor Susannah Schouweiler


Connectivity and Community9:45 am–12:20 pm

How does a platform create a sense of community around the ideas it presents? What’s the best web infrastructure for fostering responsive arts journalism that encourages valuable, substantive conversations between writers and readers? How can the online intersect with the in-person? And what about virality? Let’s discuss the promise and pitfalls of massive reader response.

  1. Claudia La Rocco9:50 am

    is the author of The Best Most Useless Dress, a selection of writings encompassing a decade's worth of poetry, essays, performance texts, and reviews, and the editor of I DON’T POEM: an anthology of painters. A frequent contributor to Artforum and the New York Times, she founded thePerformanceClub.org, which won a 2011 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and focuses on criticism as a literary art form. She is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts’ graduate program in Art Criticism and Writing, teaches at such institutions as Stanford University and Movement Research and has performed and read at such places as the Kitchen, Danspace Project, the Center for New Music and the Mount Tremper Arts Festival. Her current collaborations include projects with the choreographer Michelle Ellsworth, the performance company Findlay//Sandsmark and the composer Phillip Greenlief.

  2. Ayesha Siddiqi10:10 am

    is a cultural critic and the editor-in-chief of the New Inquiry. Her commentary on race, gender, and pop culture has appeared in Vice, Spin, Al Jazeera, Dazed and Confused Magazine, and the New York Times, among others.

  3. Alexander Provan10:30 am

    is the editor of Triple Canopy, a magazine based in New York, and contributing editor at Bidoun, a magazine of the arts and culture of the Middle East and its diaspora. His writing on digital culture, aesthetics, literature, and politics has been published in Frieze, Artforum, Bookforum, Art in America, The Nation, n+1, and in several exhibition catalogues. He is a fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics (2013–2015).

  4. Brian Kuan Wood10:50 am

    is a writer who lives in New York. Together with Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle, he is editor of e-flux journal.

  5. Panel (Moderated by Claudia La Rocco)11:30 am

    Claudia La Rocco is the author of The Best Most Useless Dress, a selection of writings encompassing a decade's worth of poetry, essays, performance texts, and reviews, and the editor of I DON’T POEM: an anthology of painters. A frequent contributor to Artforum and the New York Times, she founded thePerformanceClub.org, which won a 2011 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and focuses on criticism as a literary art form. She is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts’ graduate program in Art Criticism and Writing, teaches at such institutions as Stanford University and Movement Research and has performed and read at such places as the Kitchen, Danspace Project, the Center for New Music and the Mount Tremper Arts Festival. Her current collaborations include projects with the choreographer Michelle Ellsworth, the performance company Findlay//Sandsmark and the composer Phillip Greenlief.


Lunch12:20 pm–1:55 pm

Attendees can explore Minneapolis for lunch, or purchase a box lunch at the Garden Café.


Film Premiere: James Richards2:00 pm–3:00 pm

The second artist in the inaugural edition of the Bentson Commissioning series, London-based artist James Richards introduces his new short film, a response to Derek Jarman’s visual strategies and representations, while also offering a look at several of his previous works. Following its Superscript premiere, the film will be presented on the Walker Channel. Fionn Meade, the Walker's senior curator of cross-disciplinary platforms, will introduce Richards and provide commentary on his films.

James Richards, known for his provocative and emotionally resonant work, was the winner of the prestigious 2012 Jarman Prize for film and video as well being nominated for the 2014 Turner Prize for his video Rosebud (2013). His word draws on a range of sources such as home movies, TV shows, esoteric Internet videos and archival footage.


Keynote: James Bridle3:00 pm–4:05 pm

James Bridle is an artist, writer, and publisher based in London. His writing on literature, culture, and networks has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Wired, Domus, Cabinet, the Atlantic, the New Statesman, the Guardian, the Observer, and many others. His artworks have been commissioned and exhibited worldwide and on the Internet. His formulation of the New Aesthetic research project has spurred debate and creative work across multiple disciplines. In 2014, Bridle received the Graphic Design of the Year award from the Design Museum, London, and was in residence at the White Building in London and Eyebeam in New York.


Artists as Cultural First Responders4:25 pm–6:15 pm

How does the delivery medium affect the message? This discussion centers on the interplay of platform and content, highlighting artists who embed critical cultural response into their work: media inventors who create altogether new modes of storytelling, makers who use online means to critique institutional power, artists who deploy existing media platforms in their practice to surprising creative ends.

  1. Marisa Mazria-Katz4:25 pm

    is a New York–based journalist/editor and editor of Creative Time Reports, an initiative aimed at restoring the voice of the artist in society by pushing them back in the spotlight as critical thinkers who actively participate in the issues of our time. She has contributed to numerous publications and television channels on culture, politics and art, including the New York Times, Time, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, the Economist, the New Republic, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Art Asia Pacific (Contributing Editor), Wallpaper*, Monocle Magazine, and Metropolis, among others. For four years, Mazria-Katz ran a US State Department–sponsored program in Casablanca, Morocco, which taught at-risk youth journalism and blogging.

  2. Dan Fox4:45 pm

    is coeditor at frieze magazine and is based in New York City. Fox’s writing has appeared in numerous exhibition catalogues and in publications as diverse as Bulletins of The Serving Library, Dot Dot Dot, Frozen Tears, and GQ. He is a visiting lecturer at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University, a musician, and codirector of the music label Junior Aspirin Records. His book Pretentiousness: Why It Matters will be published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2015.

  3. Claire Evans5:05 pm

    is a writer and artist working in Los Angeles. Her day job is as the singer and coauthor of the conceptual pop group YACHT. A science journalist and science-fiction critic, she is currently "futures editor" of Motherboard and editor of its sister science-fiction magazine, Terraform. She is a regular contributor to Grantland, VICE, and uncube magazine, and her writing has been extensively anthologized. She regularly participates in panels, conferences, and screenings on the subject of science and culture, including Moogfest, Eyeo Festival, WIRED x Design, the UCLA Center for the Art of Performance, the Kitchen, the Rubin Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Center for Science and the Imagination.

  4. Panel (Moderated by Fionn Meade; includes James Bridle)5:25 pm

    Fionn Meade is senior curator of cross-disciplinary platforms at the Walker Art Center. He was previously a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, and in the MFA program for Visual Arts, Columbia University. Recent exhibitions include The Assistants, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2013); Plaisance, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2013); and Coming to Reality at Futura and SVIT, Prague (2014). He has previously been a curator at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, and SculptureCenter, Long Island City, where exhibitions included Scene, Hold, Ballast (2012), with David Maljkovic and Lucy Skaer; Time Again (2011); Knight’s Move (2010), a survey of new sculpture in New York; and several solo exhibitions with emerging artists. His writing appears in Artforum, BOMB, Bidoun, The Fillip Review, Mousse, Modern Painters, and Parkett, among others.


Farewell6:15 pm–6:20 pm

A farewell from Superscript organizers.


After Party9:00 pm–1:00 am

Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis, a short walk from the Walker in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, helps us close out Superscript in grand style. The Chambers art hotel's rooftop will host music by local acts Suzie and SCRNS, with DJ Claire Evans of YACHT headlining. Enjoy hors d’ouevres, and get a cocktail or three at the cash bar. Feel free to bring friends.


Attendee Information

Location

The Walker Art Center is located at 1750 Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota. All keynotes, panels, and screenings take place in the Walker Cinema. Thursday night's Critical Reception will be held in the Walker's Garden Terrace Room. The conference closing-night party will take place at Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis, at 901 Hennepin Avenue, within walking distance of the museum. Registration takes place in the Walker's Bazinet Garden Lobby at its main entry located directly across the street, accessible from the parking garage and by entrance located just across from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden on Vineland Place.

Travel to the Walker Art Center
Taxi: $40 from MSP airport

Travel to Downtown Minneapolis
Taxi: $40 from MSP airport
Metro Blue Line Light Rail: $1.75 ($2.25 during rush hours) from MSP airport

Parking

Convenient paid underground parking is available on-site. The daily rate is $4 (for up to 12 hours; subject to change for special events). Enter the ramp on Vineland Place at Bryant Avenue. Additional paid surface parking is available in the Parade Lot next to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Free, but limited, on-street parking is available on the surrounding streets (restrictions enforced). Accessible parking in the underground ramp is designated near the elevator and entrance. Disability transfer zones are located on Vineland Place, in front of the Walker and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Bike racks are located near the main Walker entrance, across from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Registration Policies

Your registration constitutes permission to use photos and video recording taken of you at the event for promotional and educational purposes in connection with communications and promotions about Superscript, the Walker Art Center, and Mn Artists online and in print.

Superscript Blog Mentorship Program

To put ideas discussed at Superscript into practice, we announce the Superscript Blog Mentorship, presented in partnership with Hyperallergic. This responsive blogging program will create a pop-up newsroom in the Walker Art Center Library and engage a trio of enterprising bloggers in covering the three-day convening.
Open Call
We are seeking three bloggers to create live online responses to the conference—under the guidance of three world-class editorial mentors, led by Hyperallergic’s Jillian Steinhauer—through quick-hit blogging, Q&As, profiles, issues essays, and other formats. Each participant will produce a series of blog posts to be published on the Walker blogs and Mn Artists throughout Superscript, leading up to longer piece for publication on Hyperallergic. This program aims to create a dynamic documentation of Superscript 2015, for attendees and online audiences alike, while offering emerging writers invaluable instruction from seasoned arts journalists, publication experience with three digital platforms, and access to the speakers and attendees of Superscript.

Deadline for applications: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Meals

Conference registration does not include meals. However, box lunches provided by Gather at D'Amico will be available for purchase at the Walker's Garden Café. Additionally, conference staffers can make recommendations for nearby dining options.

Accessibility

The Walker Art Center is accessible to all visitors. For more information regarding assistive listening devices, ASL interpretation, wheelchair accessibility, visit www.walkerart.org/visit/accessibility, call 612.375.7564, or email access@walkerart.org.

Stenography

As a resource for journalists and the hearing impaired, a stenographer will be on hand to create a live record of conference proceedings, including welcomes, keynotes, panels, and artist presentations.

Webcasts

The conference will be streamed live and archived on the Walker Channel.     

Superscript Lounge & Community Room

Need to relax or recharge your device? Want to host an informal meet-up with other attendees? The Walker’s StarTribune Foundation Art Lab is your place. Just down the steps from the Walker Cinema, this space is un-staffed and open to all attendees.

Code of Conduct

The organizers of Superscript are committed to providing a supportive, welcoming, and harassment-free environment for everyone who participates in our conference. We welcome people of all races, gender and trans statuses, sexual orientations, physical abilities, physical appearances, and beliefs. We've written this code of conduct because we believe a clear code of conduct is a necessary part of building a respectful community space.

Conference participants agree to:

Be considerate in speech and actions, and actively seek to acknowledge and respect the boundaries of fellow attendees.

Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech. Harassment includes, but is not limited to: deliberate intimidation; stalking; unwanted photography or recording; sustained or willful disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; use of sexual or discriminatory imagery, comments, or jokes; and unwelcome sexual attention. If you feel that someone has harassed you or otherwise treated you inappropriately, please alert any member of the workshop team in person, via the phone/text line listed below, or via e-mail.

Take care of each other. Speak up and alert a member of the Superscript team if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this code of conduct, even if they seem inconsequential.

HOW TO REACH US: We will be available via voice or text at: 773.243.9791 or by e-mail at superscript@walkerart.org.

If any attendee engages in harassing behavior, Superscript organizers may take any lawful action we deem appropriate, including but not limited to warning the offender or asking the offender to leave the conference. If you feel you have been unfairly accused of violating this code of conduct, you should contact the workshop team with a concise description of your grievance; any grievances filed will be considered by the entire conference team.

We welcome your feedback on this and every other aspect of our event, and we thank you for working with us to make them safe, enjoyable, and friendly experiences for everyone who participates.

Above text is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0. Credit to SRCCON’s Code of Conduct on which this is based. Also to Citizen Code of Conduct, the Django Project’s code of conduct, and Theorizing the Web's code of conduct, and the Ada Initiative’s “how to design a code of conduct for your community.”

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Contact

Conference organizers can be reached via email at superscript@walkerart.org.

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