Fetishizing bureaucracy since 2001.

Berwick Blog

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  • megan's picture

    Dear Berwick friends,

    After ten years of sponsoring support for experimental and research-based art in the greater Boston art scene, the Berwick Research Institute is shuttering its virtual doors at the end of this year.

    Since 2001, hundreds of artists have served as Berwick board, staff, Artists-in-Research, Bumpkin artists, performers and more. Each has contributed to the indelible mark that the Berwick has left on the spirit of this region's art. We will be throwing a party (stay tuned for details) to celebrate all of these contributions before each of the Berwick's current members move on to other ventures, but before we party with you, we have one more order of business--awarding some grant money to some lucky artists!

    Announcing:
    THE FINAL BERWICK ARTIST GRANTS 

    Eligibility and conditions:

    --> Grants of up to $5000 will be awarded based on the quality and feasibility of the individual proposals which match the mission of the Berwick (see Mission)

    -->This call for submissions is open to all artists, but the work being proposed must either serve or be created in the greater Boston area.

    --> DEADLINE for submissions is: December 12, 2011

    -->Brevity is a virtue in all submitted proposals. CV and bio materials are preferred as URLs. Please try to fit your proposal, including images, on one, single-page .pdf file.

    -->There is a single condition attached to the winning Final Berwick Artists Grants: You must donate/share 10% of the granted funds to another artist or arts organization in the Boston area. Please specify this artist or organization in your proposal.

    Applications can be sent no later than midnight December 12, 2011 to this address:

    BerwickGrants2011@gmail.com

  • megan's picture

    Go straight to the Bumpkin Island Art Encampment page, friend...

  • megan's picture

    The 2010 Bumpkin Island Art Encampment artists, curators and project
    fellows invite you to visit a public presentation of last year's
    projects at Mobius.

    Public opening reception: this Saturday April 2 6:00-9:00
    Gallery hours: Friday through Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m. and by appointment

    Location: Mobius, 725 Harrison Ave, South End 02118

    A performance by Sara June and Max Lord, and a talk by Cara Brostrom
    will take place at the opening reception on Saturday April 2,
    6:00-9:00pm.

    Grounded by artifacts, works, and documentation from the 2010 Bumpkin
    Island Art Encampment, this exhibition is a forum for artists to
    synthesize their Bumpkin experience with their current practices.
    Artists present recontextualized work from Bumpkin, images and video
    of their experience, as well as new work that builds upon their work
    from Bumpkin.

    ARTISTS:

    • Marisa DiPaola
    • Camilo Alvarez (featuring the work of Jessica Gath, William Pope.L, Antoniadis & Stone,
      Cyrille Conan & Douglas Weathersby)
    • Zsuzsanna Szegedi
    • Mike Szegedi
    • Maria Molteni
    • Shalini Patel
    • Ali Reid
    • Sara June
    • Nathan Andary
    • Mark Davis
    • Cara Brostrom
    • Sharon Dunn

     ARTIST FELLOWS:

    • David Tames
    • Kalmia Strong
  • daniel's picture

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     Lone Guard - Photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

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     Germany Pavilion - Photo by Sandrine Schaefer

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     United Arab Emirates Pavilion - Photo by Sandrine Schaefer

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     Haibao on Shanghai Street - Photo by Sandrine Schaefer

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    Visitors of the Nigeria Pavilion -  Photo by Sandrine Schaefer

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     Ice Cream girl - Photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

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    United Arab Emirates and Turkmenistan Pavilions - Photo by Lily Sheng

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     Haibao - Photo by Sandrine Schaefer

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     Watermelon on a Stick - Photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

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    The Seed Cathedral - Photo by Lily Sheng 

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     Dreaming of Happiness- from Jeffrey Byrd's Surrogate Performance - Photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

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      China Pavilion - Photo by Lily Sheng

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     Surrealist sculpture at the Expo photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

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    Grumpy Kid - Photo by Daniel S. DeLuca

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     Dream Cube Escalator - Photo by Sandrine Schaefer

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  • heather's picture


    "The Showing" /Finnish Dance Films Friday, October 16, 8:00 p.m. at a DOWNTOWN CROSSING LOFT

     
    Rare performances of Finnish duo - dancer/choreographer Hanna Pajala-Assefa and percussionist Mamba (Abdissa Assefa) will present "The Showing" in three unique Boston living spaces followed by a program of Finnish dance films, October 15-16, 2010.

     


    “The Showing” is a site-specific dance performance made for a private house. The artist constructs the piece assuming that house is for sale. The audience is invited inside by the artist who takes on a character of a real estate agent keen to sell the house to the audience. However, the agent’s presentation quickly transforms from official to personal revealing more details about the agent than the home she is trying to sell. Partly-improvised, full of humour and warmth, “The Showing” is dealling with ideas of femininity, fragility, strength in everyday life. 



     

     

     

  • heather's picture


    "The Showing" /Finnish Dance Films Friday, October 15, 8:00 p.m. at an EAST CAMBRIDGE LOFT 


     
    Rare performances of Finnish duo - dancer/choreographer Hanna Pajala-Assefa and percussionist Mamba (Abdissa Assefa) will present "The Showing" in three unique Boston living spaces followed by a program of Finnish dance films, October 15-16, 2010.


    “The Showing” is a site-specific dance performance made for a private house. The artist constructs the piece assuming that house is for sale. The audience is invited inside by the artist who takes on a character of a real estate agent keen to sell the house to the audience. However, the agent’s presentation quickly transforms from official to personal revealing more details about the agent than the home she is trying to sell. Partly-improvised, full of humour and warmth, “The Showing” is dealling with ideas of femininity, fragility, strength in everyday life. 


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    Fun Fact about this gallery: There is an image of a little girl peeing on the U.S.A. Pavilion! 

     

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  • daniel's picture

    Re-Value: The Construction and Consumption of Value in Contemporary Art is a conference hosted by UACC & ArtTactic in collaboration with ShContemporary. Split between two sessions, the seminar will first invite representatives from museums, art journals, foundations, auction houses and galleries to discuss the art system that constructs value from art; and then invites collectors to discuss value from the other side – those who recognize and consume the value in art. (decription taken from SHC website).

    Background:

    SHcontemporary: http://www.shcontemporary.info/English/event/welcome/
    Discoveries: Re-Value : http://www.shcontemporary.info/English/program/special/
    Conference: http://www.shcontemporary.info/English/program/events/
     
    Conference Content:  

    Part 1- Construction of Value: Speakers: Anna Waldmann (Consultant,The Sherman Foundation), Simon Groom (Director of Modern & Contemporary Art, National Galleries of Scotland), Shen Qibin     (Director, Zendai Himalayas Museum of Art), Lu Jie (Director, Long March Space & Foundation)

    The first half of the conference dealt with the "Construction of Value." It was set up as a panel discussion where each panelist presented a perspective on the topic followed by dialog between panelists and a brief period for audience Q+A.

    The discussion began with Simon Grooms describing three aspects of value. He used three popular artists to illustrate his point.

    Financial Value: Grooms referenced the work For the love of God, by Damien Hirst. He said its iconic because of how much its worth (50 million pounds).

    Aesthetic Value: Work of Olafur Eliasson: His work is meant to be spectacular and invoke the sublime.
     
    Cultural Value :  Jeremy Diller:  photograph of the sport of gurning. This is art that seeks to connect with life.

    He ends his framework by stating that work with personal connotations has the most value.  Grooms used “Rosebud” from the film Citizen Kane as an example of the relationship that personal connection has to value.

    The second speaker, Anders Peterson, presented a “quantitative approach” to the topic of value, but didn't give any numbers.  He present two pyramid diagrams that showed the institutions that influence the market.

    The first is based on a “western model” and was represented as this hierarchy:

     

    Museums: as preservers
    Public Art Institutions: as promoters
    Private Collectors: as patrons
    Galleries: as commercial entities

     

    The second hierarchy represents the developing Asian model:

     

    Auction Houses
    Galleries Dealers
    Art Funds
    Private collectors
    Public art institution
    Museums

    He described the two basic factors in determining the quantitative value.  The first is the “symbolic value” which is based on the context that the work is coming from. It is also referred to as "fundamental" value and describes the conditions, whether favorable or unfavorable, in which the art exists. This is where the museums, critics, and collectors become the arbitrators and "taste makers" of contemporary art. 

    The second is “economic value” must also have a fundamental value. The economic value is driven by whether the work is being shown, collected, traded etc.  Anders notes that China is currently in a place where the market is dictating the value since it has a weak infrastructure. He follow up by saying that this current state emphasizes the importance of having conversations about value.

    Lu Jie gave his perspective on the subjectivity of the charts and suggested that both European markets and Asian markets are in flux and that the relationships between institutions are changing.  He says, the "political economics" of visual culture are ultimately influenced by a global market in flux with changing traditional systems.  Lu Jie also emphasized the idea that artists need to create momentum and energy for themselves in working with the whole are ecology.  He supported this sentiment by suggesting that artists should be working with the galleries and institutions to create and develop “value.” They should grow together. 

    Part 1 - Consumption of Value: Speakers: Sylvain Levy (collector - France, Founder of DSL Collection), Deddy Kusuma     (collector-Indonesia), Hallam Chow (collector-Hongkong, Founder of H2 Foundation for Art and Education), Qiao Zhibin (collector-Beijing), Gong Nana (collector - Beijing, Founder of UACC)

    The second half of the conference dealt with the consumption of value and presented a panel of art collectors from both the east and the west.  Most of the time was spent looking at images and listening to collectors describe the works in their collection. Less time was spent actually talking about the methods or importance and role of collecting contemporary art.  Sylvain Levy gave the most insight into his own criteria for collecting.  He referenced this quote by Leo Castelli - “I try deliberately to detect the other thing.” Sylvain follows by saying that a good artist is someone who can move the emotion of thinking of an audience. Yes- it was that thin and mislead.

    Most of the slides that were presented were painting. There were maybe 3 sculptures referenced and one installation.  During the Q+A  I asked these collectors what their thoughts were on the viability of collecting artworks that lay outside traditional forms.  I prefaced this by stating that contemporary art includes performance, sound, movement, video, installation, conceptual art etc.  There was an bit of an awkward silence after I asked my question.  I got the feeling that no one actually had an answer for the question.  Deddy Kusuma was the first to speak up.  He began by stating that he has something like seven hundred paintings and three hundred sculptures in a variety of styles.  He asked how he was supposed to collect installation. “Its is so big,” he said, “and video’s need to be shown in a dark room.” Kasuma chose the abvious targets for avoiding an actual consideration of the question. Gong Nana was a little more encouraging with his reply. He said that while it is difficult to buy or collect something like performance art it is still possible to sponsor and in fact, Nana had sponsored a recent Chinese performance art event.  It was clear that this room of collectors were not seriously looking at how to collect non-traditional forms of art. 

    Short and synical review:
    It was an exciting proposition to have a chance to listen to such an esteemed panel of experts speak to the topic of value in art.  However, the discussions and presentations were far from enlightening in than I expected they would be.  It was more of a basic overview that described the general territory and complexity of the art market.  China is clearly developing contemporary artwork with a limited infrastructure.  There wasn’t governmental support for contemporary art in Shanghai until 2003 (this is the same year they won the bid for the Expo).  Chinese citizens have limited experience with creativity in general having grown up through an educational system that emphasizes science and math and often excludes forms of personal expression.  This lack of education can make it difficult for general public to access the work. In addition, issues of censorship  coupled with an art market that focuses on developing prices an not content means less opportunity for artists to create influential work. 

    The conference preface made it seem like all of the secrets to the art market would be revealed. The feeling that I got was that it was essentially the secrets that drive the market and that to expose them would mean to lose the edge over a competitor or a loss of mystique in the eyes of the public. If the institutions are the “taste makers” and that this unofficial accreditation of artwork is a driving factor in the value of  artworks then isn’t it in their best financial interest to maintain that influence?  When Simon Groom gave his perspective on the personal subjectivity in the defining of the value of art he prefaced it by saying that it was his personal opinion and not the official stance of the museum that he represents. This kind of side stepping fuels the stereotype that Simon himself said he felt was confining curators of contemporary art and that is, that the art world is comprised of an elite group of individuals.   I like to look at this as a kind of game and popularity contest with little interest in content.  If you want to be a successful artist whose artwork is valuable then you need to sell / market both your ideas and your work.  Say you buy a plot of land, take a piece of bark from a tree on that land, stretch a condom over it, dip it in chocolate, bronze it, mount it to the same tree and call the property with the bronze bark tree a piece of art.  Now that you have the art all you have to do is sell it.  You come up with a story around what it all means, call the local papers, send pictures to all your friends, host openings with beer and wine next to the artwork,  ask people to write about it, dig up the whole property and have it shipped to Venice for the biennial all the while you watch the value of the work grow.  Its a matter of convincing others that it is worth something.  Your best bet is find an entrepreneur who is a closet dendrophilliac with a soft spot for contemporary art to buy the work.  All you need is the right product at the right price with the right promotion in the right place.

    Some of this cynicism will become more clearly supported when I post more about the exhibition/art fair that this conference was housed within.  I think the following image says a lot. I would title this image “Modern Painting.” This image was taken in the VIP lounge at the fair. 

     

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  • daniel's picture

    Millions of Chinese citizens and international travelers make pilgrimages to the Expo to pay homage to China and fuel its nationalism.  Some seek innovation, entertainment and novelty, and some attend for no other reason than to have gone. Perhaps it was just excellent marketing, advertisement, and a good brand name? 

     

     

    Since Shanghai was approved as the host-city in 2003, its residents have been inundated with marketing and advertisements for the Expo. The barrage of media is omnipresent in illuminated billboards, banners, posters, wall murals, giant LED screens, and pervasive televisions on subway cars, the sides of buildings and platforms. Moreover, the media's propaganda seeks to curb any uncivilized behavior from citizens such as hanging laundry out to dry, wearing pajamas in public, and the sight of unkempt people in dirty living spaces. Over 18,000 people have been displaced from their homes and development projects continue to level neighborhoods.

    We have arrived at a time towards the tail end of the Expo.  There are people on either side of the issue - some dislike the expo and think its been terrible for Shanghai citizens, and others are happy the boost its brought to local economies. At this point it is clear that the topic can be a sore subject for some people and as a result we treaded lightly in certain arenas.  It is really incredible to see just how pervasive the Expo is in Shanghai.  Many institutions are partnered with the Expo and events, lectures, and performances are happening throughout the city well beyond the Expo walls.  Local and international journalists, news organizations, websites have covered many of the topics associated with the Expo.  There are even hourly updates on the monitors of local buses that  give accounts of how many people are currently in each section of the Expo.  With so much information already present its hard not to sound redundant or feel like we've missed the boat on certain things.  However, what we do have to offer is our unique insight and language as artist at a time when the Expo is supposed to peak with attendance.  Shanghai and the Expo is teeming with kitch, absurdity, novelty and often surreality. We are heading into our most productive week on the ground where we will be collecting most of our documentation and experiences at the Expo. With an event so large its impossible to see everything even in a week. Just like the other visitors we have to come up with a way of deciding which pavilions to enter.  Often rumors, propaganda and price tags are the most significant filters for people. We intend to follow suit and go where the people go, but also follow our own noses to some of the more unnoticed aspects of the Expo experience. 

     

     

     Faded Expo flyer: 

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    Metro corridor lined with post-modern paintings: 

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    These are Expo kiosks. found on street corners and inside metro stations, that try to recruit volunteers for the expo. I'm looking forward to trying to sign up.

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    Haibao images on metro ticket machines.  I wonder if these guys have been to the expo yet. 

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     Expo Family!

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     Hold on to the Expo while your on the subway. Its safer that way. 

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    Expo Wall murals/banners can go on literally forever. 

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  • heather's picture

    Help People In Space Meet Kickstarter Goal by October 2, 2010!!

    The Berwick's own Daniel S DeLuca and SPI alumni Sandrine Schaefer are heading up the research-art expedition on the ground in Shanghai as you read this, making and collecting absolutely unique data about the 2010 World Expo. Help cover the cost of the exhibition of their research results that they will mount when they return in October!

    For as little as 1 US dollar, you can be a part of the Berwick's farthest reaching project ever!

    Click here by October 2, 2010 to get involved.

     

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