Interview: StaticMade on "curating," the Walker website, and more

I had a nice conversation with Jeffrey Inscho on his excellent StaticMade podcast last week:
"In this episode, we discuss the Walker’s institutional approach to publishing dynamic and compelling web content, the democratization of the word 'curate,' and what inspires Paul to create great work at the intersection of contemporary art and journalism."
Thanks for good discussion, Jeff!


Palin as art/oven

A sculptural depiction of Sarah Palin's head that also functions as an outdoor oven has finally found a home. Created by Chicago artist J. Taylor Wallace, it'll be relocating to the Bridgeport Sculpture Garden near Chicago. The artist says making We're havin' a Tea Pear-ody over three months was "cathartic" during times he felt Palin's political celebrity was distracting from issues the country was facing. At the unveiling ceremony at the park later this month the oven will reportedly "cook a suckling pig," seen here. 

Tax Deductions for War Art

What artist Chad Person does for his art--cuts up U.S. currency to make collages--isn't what's unique about it; it's what he does next: After completing his pieces, which have recently depicted the machines of war, he takes a tax deduction for the bills he's used.

He writes of the "TaxCut" series:
In 2002 I was teaching digital photography at a University near an Air Force Base. I’d had several talented and creative soldiers come through my class. And while I tend to forget the bad students pretty quickly, Harold is one I would always remember. 
Three semesters after the course ended I got a phone call from an administrator at the base. Apparently, Harold had used Air Force money to take the class. Since he had failed my class, the cost of the tuition (around $400 with fees) was to be reneged. This meant that Harold would have to repay the military out of pocket so they could reassign the funds elsewhere. 
In a time of war, we all need to make tough choices. I chose that day to change a grade, passing a failed student with an A+ to ensure that his tuition fees – which had fortunately found their way into education via a defense allocation, would remain there. He didn’t deserve to pass based on his performance, but I saw it as a rare opportunity to take a little back from our government’s excessive defense spending, even if it might have been just enough to halt the purchase of one box of ammunition. 
This series, playfully titled TaxCut, functions in much the same way. I have been destroying currency for my work for the past two years. As a professional artist, I deduct my material expenditures as a write off. If I slice up a hundred dollars to make an image, or a thousand, or just five, I am taking it out of the IRS coffers. Imaging the weaponry that I’m not buying with those dollars is a reminder for me that a little creativity can be quite empowering.


Presidential Street Art: Gerald Ford in Michigan

Stenciled street-art images of Gerald Ford have been popping up in the late president's childhood town of Grand Rapids, Michigan. One features a running Ford, while the other bearing Ford's words in 1974, right after being sworn in: "I am indebted to no man." The images have been appearing along I-196, the Ford Freeway. Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr., but changed his name in his early 20s to that of his adoptive father.

Could this be the start of a series of street-art homages to obscure presidents? Probably not, but Adrian Hopkins, who sent the link, suggests the next in the series: "A portrait of William Henry Harrison that's incomplete." 


Walker Art Center nominated for 2012 Webby Award

Whoa! The Walker Art Center's new website, which I edit, has been nominated for a 2012 Webby People's Voice Award under the category of "best art site." Competition's tough: we're up against the Google Art Project, among others. Check out our site, some of the ideas behind it, and some of the reviews, and--hopefully--vote for us!

Found Caricatures: Pascal Fellonneau's Photos of French Campaign Posters

Pascal Fellonneau, a photographer based in Bordeaux and Paris, has been watching the French elections eagerly -- particularly the presidential campaign posters plastered on an array of surfaces across Paris. While he documents how the postings get altered by passersby -- a Hitler moustache drawn on Left Party candidate Jean-Luc MĂ©lenchon's face; ketchup lipstick on Jean-Pierre ChevĂ©nement's visage -- it's the other shots that are of greater interest to me: the posters that are torn away to reveal startling pairings of images, and the photographic imagery wheat-pasted over contoured surfaces, transforming what are supposed to be stately, assuring images of politicians into ghoulish, comical, or Pinnochio-esque caricatures.

Reached by email, Fellonneau says he can't say yet whether his aim is commentary or documentation. "I'll write a statement later, once I really know what it is," he promises. "Of course, it has something documentary, but not only I hope."