Hank, Melanie and Art Talking

Priceless #1
Lectures and artists are a funny thing. There is a lot of expectations on them. I’ll hear people talk about how they liked an artists’ work until they heard them speak about it. Most artists are well learned in visual and conceptual ideas but maybe because of movies or stand up comedy I think some people expect to be entertained. Others, it seems go seeking to discover if indeed the artist is sincere about what they’re doing. I myself have certainly been swayed and even disappointed when someone clearly cannot discuss their own work or ideas, or wowed when a lecturer really expounded my understanding of their work. I like to tell students that the discussion of their work is the opportunity to steer and give framework to the dialogue and understanding of it.
Hank Willis Thomas tonight did some of my favorite things in a lecture at the School of the Art Institute. He was candid and earnest with the audience. I’ve been a fan of Hank’s since I first met him at Review Santa Fe a few years back. Since, I’ve seen his excellent work in Adbusters, artfairs and we’ve even shared a few group shows. So even with having some degree of knowing his character there were still surprises. Hank showed a lot of work which described his beginnings in photography and development into a concept and concern. Hank even made is look easy, even though I know what’s up on the screen is the result of much work. I left wanting to experiment and stop making my work so complicated. Ultimately what was nice was Hank was not performing or even stragetizing but that his work does many of these things without his words. Having his there to give us further insight was a treat (without the popcorn!).

Rainbow, 2006
Later this week Melanie Schiff gives a lunchtime talk also at the School of the Art Institute. I’m also a big fan of Melanie’s work and ran up to the Whitney Biennial last week to get a closer peek at her celebrations of light, CD cases, spit rainbows and general rock history. Her prints themselves are painstakingly seductive, (I know we’re always trying to find the perfect lambda print lab here in the city). Melanie also makes it look easy as I always run into her at artfairs on some street where I’m in a panic trying to get to some appointment and she’s on her way to the beach. Looking forward to seeing more at her talk. Join us:

Melanie Schiff, part time faculty member
Wednesday, April 9th at NOON
280 South Columbus (at Jackson)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Next week is another I’m excited about, David Maisel at Columbia College on Thursday April 17th.

One Comment

  1. Posted April 13, 2008 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    very true about Hank! I think he is an excellent lecturer.

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