April 25, 2010

Endgame at The Undermain

(Dallas) – seen tonight; utterly brilliant on all levels. This play launched a thousand literary/artistic ships, and I doubt you'll ever find it better-acted or -produced.

Per Wikipedia,

"The protagonist of the play is Hamm, an aged master who is blind and not able to stand up, and his servant Clov, who cannot sit down. They exist in a location by the sea, although the dialogue suggests that there is nothing left outside – no sea, no sun, no clouds. The two characters, mutually dependent, have been fighting for years and continue to do so as the play progresses. Clov always wants to leave but never seems to be able. Also present are Hamm's legless parents Nagg and Nell, who live in rubbish bins downstage and initially request food or argue inanely."
If that doesn't snag you, what will. More info, tix at Undermain.

April 24, 2010

Absolute Oligarchy: 6 Banks Control 60% Of GNP

Bill Moyers Journal / By Bill Moyers

Moyers: Six Banks Control 60% of Gross National Product -- Is the U.S. at the Mercy of an Unstoppable Oligarchy?
Moyers and economists James Kwak and Simon Johnson wonder whether the financial powers are more profitable, and more resistant to regulation than ever.
April 23, 2010

* * * * *

You say that two years after the devastating financial crisis of '08 our country is still at the mercy of an oligarchy that is bigger, more profitable, and more resistant to regulation than ever. Correct?

Simon Johnson: Absolutely correct, Bill. The big banks became stronger as a result of the bailout. That may seem extraordinary, but it's really true. They're turning that increased economic clout into more political power. And they're using that political power to go out and take the same sort of risks that got us into disaster in September 2008.

Moyers: And your definition of oligarchy is?

Johnson: Oligarchy is just- it's a very simple, straightforward idea from Aristotle. It's political power based on economic power. And it's the rise of the banks in economic terms, which we document at length, that it'd turn into political power. And they then feed that back into more deregulation, more opportunities to go out and take reckless risks and-- and capture huge amounts of money.

Moyers: And you say that these this oligarchy consists of six megabanks. What are the six banks?

James Kwak: They are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

Moyers: And you write that they control 60 percent of our gross national product?

Kwak: They have assets equivalent to 60 percent of our gross national product. And to put this in perspective, in the mid-1990s, these six banks or their predecessors, since there have been a lot of mergers, had less than 20 percent. Their assets were less than 20 percent of the gross national product.

UPDATE: Make that 63%.

April 23, 2010

Ideas for Activists:

If you're heterosexual, refuse to be married, 'til gays can be.

If you oppose our (the U.S.'s or whoever's) perpetual wars, wear something with blood on it every day.


April 21, 2010

Events in Dallas Re- "ART WORK"

U.T.-Dallas' CentralTrak, Southern Methodist University, and yours truly are collaborating to bring you a series of events relating to ART WORK, the one-off newspaper issue produced by the Chicago-based art collective, Temporary Services, on the subject of how economic hard times affect artistic process, compensation, and property, and artists' responses in their own and others' behalf. (For more info about Temporary Services' project, see my previous post or go to artandwork.us.)

Mark your calendar! [NOTE: This info has been updated here.]

May 22 - July 24 –– Exhibition at U.T.D.'s CentralTrak:
"The Non-Profit Margin"

The exhibition will include works that confront the global economic crisis by challenging the avenues for exhibition and consumption of art and the art experience, by Ludwig Schwarz, Marjorie Schwarz, Tom Riccio + Frank Dufour (collaborating), Gary Farrelly, Richie Budd, give up, and Temporary Services. The opening reception will also include a [car] trunk show organized by Shelby Cunningham and featuring 8 other artists. Organized by CentralTrak Director, Kate Sheerin. Opening Reception May 22, 6 - 10 PM, at CentralTrak, 800 Exposition Ave. at Ash.

June 12 –– Symposium at SMU:
"ART WORK: A Local Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics"

This event will include presentations by the new head of SMU's Visual Arts Department, artist/writer Michael Corris, artist/writer Noah Simblist, and artist Maureen Connor, and artist Bryce Dwyer of InCUBATE, among others, discussing historical and contemporary aesthetic contexts for Temporary Services' project and comparable efforts. Organized by Michael Corris, Noah Simblist, and Kate Sheerin. Symposium June 12, 1 - 5 PM, O’Donnell Hall in Owen Art Center, SMU, on Hillcrest at Grenada; free parking in the "U Lot" just south of the building.

June 19 –– Program at CentralTrak:
"ART WORK: Readings"

This event will present readings of excerpts from ART WORK, including readings of texts by artist/Artforum writer Gregory Sholette, artist Nicolas Lampert, author Cooley Windsor, and others. Organized by Carolyn Sortor; support for actors' fees provided by Undermain Theatre. At CentralTrak, 800 Exposition Ave. at Ash; doors open at 7:30; program starts at 8 PM.
Contributors to the newspaper include artists, critics, writers, and educators "seeking to articulate the ways in which artists and culture-makers both respond to and deal with the economic depressions of the world," including Holland Cotter, New York Times art critic and 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner for criticism; artist/writer Gregory Sholette, contributor to Artforum and co-editor of The Interventionists: Users' Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life; Julia Bryan-Wilson, author of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam Era (2009) and Work Ethic (2003); Christina Ulke, Marc Herbst, and Robby Herbst, editors for The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest; Harrell Fletcher, visual artist; Futurefarmers, a collective design studio that supports art projects, artists in residencies and research interests; Nicolas Lampert, interdisciplinary artist; Lize Mogel, interdisciplinary artist; Linda Frye Burnham, writer and founder of High Performance magazine; Scott Berzofsky and John Duda, organizers of City from Below; and Cooley Windsor, author of Visit Me in California; and many more.

TS has been described as "working out of a Situationist tradition"; their projects or publications have been featured at Mass MoCA, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, the Smart Museum of Art, the Creative Time Summit, and elsewhere.

You can download a complete copy of the issue here or here (please share these links!)

A limited number of hard copies are also being distributed at select locations across the U.S., and additional hard copies are available for the cost of shipping, through Half Letter Press.

For more info, check back here or become a fan on Facebook (not that I encourage you to use FB).

April 16, 2010


" . . . America was the first country ever where a majority of its citizens joined the middle class. Labor unions created that middle class. Today, no country in the world has ever had a strong middle class without a strong labor movement.

"And like all social movements, the labor movement was born fighting.

"To end slavery, it took a war. For women's suffrage, it took marching in the streets. For civil rights, it took civil disobedience. Middle-class prosperity wasn't a gift to working families from the government. It wasn't something that workers got from employers after pleasant chats in the boardroom. Middle-class prosperity was the direct result of a long and difficult struggle. People fought and died for fair wages, safe workplaces and the right to join together in a union."
By James P. Hoffa; more at The Detroit News.

April 15, 2010

Banksy's Film Debut

Exit Through the Gift Shop — billed as "the world's first street-art disaster movie":

Nice article on "The Best Banksy Controversies . . . So Far" on Flavorwire.

April 11, 2010

April 9, 2010

Report from NYC

Just to let you know, I'm back in the city of hate (or as I prefer, love/hate), still wading through emails but expect soon to report at least briefly on Erick Swenson's new sculpture at James Cohan, the Whitney Biennial, the Bruce High Quality Foundation's Brucennial, Marina Abramovic and William Kentridge at MoMA, etc.

(Click on the image for a larger version.)

UPDATE: More visuals here, including more of Swenson's piece plus Marina Abramovic and Joan Jonas at MoMA and the Brucennial.