I wrote a page in this book. Not the book, just one page. Also, the UN published that report I was involved in. And OXFAM came and shot a video with me.

Check out this new book:

"Why?" you ask.

I'll tell you.

One: Keri Smith is great. I've known her and her husband for about 10 years. We used to be neighbors. She's on the advisory board of the Center for Artistic Activism. And she makes great books.

Two: I wrote one page of it. Keri asked me to write a few words on Utopia, so I did. I thought she was asking lots of artists to write a little something she would include. In fact it was just me.

I got the book in the mail, re-read what I wrote, and I still liked it. So check it out. Her books are everywhere. For example, I saw a book of hers in the Philadelphia airport "Hudson News" once.

Ok, here's what else I have for you this time:

Reading time: as long as you want. Read it all, or skip to the best bits by clicking on the items above.

Steve Lambert
Artist and Associate Professor

P.S. None of this of interest? Don't want these messages? Just click here to unsubscribe. If you don't want these emails, I don't want you to get them. You can find me on facebook an twitter and on my site if you prefer that, but I will miss you. A little bit.

Capitalism is Front Page News

Capitalism Works For Me! True/False made the front page of the Grand Rapids newspaper.  It's been in some other media as well:

It did because....

I am a finalist for ArtPrize and $$$... oh boy...

I am a finalist for ArtPrize. If you don't know about it, this article is an excellent summary. In brief there are $560,000 in prizes awarded to art works shown in Grand Rapids, Michigan over a 2.5 week period happening now. The prizes are awarded based both on a popular vote and a juried award. Someone described it to me like the Hunger Games for art.

I am one of a few artists with work that is a jury finalist and in the top 25 of the popular vote. This means I have (statistically) a 1 in 4 chance of winning $20,000, a one in 20 something chance of winning something like $200,000 and... well honestly I have not been paying close attention to that part.

I emphasize statistically, because in the real world my odds are not as good. The popular vote here is... not going to vote for my sign. The juried prize... it's a long shot.

Why I am deeply conflicted about it

This might sound crazy, but as this gets slightly more real, I'm not sure I want the prize. The DeVos family, who is behind ArtPrize, are the founders of Amway, have put millions into anti-gay marraige efforts, attacking public schools and teachers unions (I am a member of a teachers union), and support the ultraconservative Calvinist Christian Reformed Church. ArtPrize is basically the least offensive thing they do and it buffers some of the criticism of the rest of the work the family does. (Did I mention they married into the family that started Blackwater?) However, even ArtPrize I have some issues with. I like some of the ideas behind it, but the way it is implemented runs too much like a lottery where artists from the surrounding area mount a city-wide show for free, all for a shot at the big prize. Again, read that article.

I was curated into a show at the local museum. They asked me to come because they wanted to have a more challenging conversation around ArtPrize. Now I am a finalist and realizing as a finalist I can extend that challenging conversation. And I am figuring out what I will do. It will all happen in the next week.

I'll let you know.

Wish me luck. It might get weird.

That time I spoke at the UN

Last October I was invited the U.N. as an expert on advertising’s effect on cultural rights.

Let me repeat that, I was invited to speak in a meeting at the United Nations. As an expert. Which means: I am an expert, recognized by the United Nations.

Ah hem, anyway…

There were about 40 people there from around the world talking about advertising and culture. There were two visual artists invited, myself and Hans Haacke. …Ok, I was joking before but writing it down again I am still a bit amazed it happened. But it happened. And the report that came out of it has been published.

You can download the UN Report from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ website.

OXFAM Australia stopped by my studio

We talked about a lot of things, then they edited it down to 3 minutes. But we did cover the Public Energy Art Kit and you can see some bicycles I keep around.

Pizarra Urbana del Capitalismo

An artist collective in Santiago did a mashup of my "Capitalism Works For Me! True/False" project and Candy Chang's "Before I Die" project

They sent me the video, but my spanish is pretty bad. I asked them to subtitle it so I could share it with you. And they did!

I am an Associate Professor now.

I was promoted at SUNY Purchase College from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor. Traditionally this takes around 7 years, and Purchase College acknowledged that my career path has been worthy, while not traditional.

If you are wondering what’s the difference between Assistant and Associate and Full Professor and so on, even I have to look it up now and again.

I used to do a radio show

All radio stations, in order to keep their license, have to have some form of "public affairs" programming. Most commercial stations air this on Sunday Mornings at 3am. Or they run something like Dr. Drew and claim it's benefiting the community. Which, you know... who am I to say.

In 2006 I had, what I called, an experimental public affairs show I did on KDVS. I did interviews on big topics or asked impossible questions and then recorded and edited the responses. There was no introduction or narration, in fact I edited myself out as much as possible. You'd just wake up at 8:00am and start hearing these people talking. Eventually you'd figure out what it was about. I even set up a phone number where any listener could contribute to the show.

This show called Killing and Not Killing is a good example.

I realized recently how this connected with the Capitalism and Public Forum signs. Eight years later, I'm still creating situations for conversations on big ideas or impossible questions.

Some stuff that's worth checking out...

Some things I’ve read (or listened to) recently I thought you might enjoy these.

It’s Really Hard to Be a Good Guy With a Gun - “My wife and I got into an argument last night over a dead man. His name was Joseph Robert Wilcox. He was 31 on Sunday, the day he tried to stop cop-killer Jerad Miller in a Las Vegas Walmart and was shot by Miller’s wife Amanda. Wilcox was a good guy with a gun. It cost him his life.”

Heretics | This American Life - “The story of Reverend Carlton Pearson, a renowned evangelical pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who cast aside the idea of Hell, and with it everything he’d worked for over his entire life.”

Jargon | The Communications Network - amusing. “To help you keep your writing and speaking free of jargon, we are pleased to present Jargon Finder - an online collection of foundation and nonprofit jargon.”

Forer effect - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - “The Forer effect (also called the Barnum effect after P. T. Barnum’s observation that “we’ve got something for everyone”) is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. This effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some beliefs and practices, such as astrology, fortune telling, graphology, aura reading and some types of personality tests.”

Learning Styles Debunked: There is No Evidence Supporting Auditory and Visual Learning, Psychologists Say - Association for Psychological Science

My New Favorite Thing

My new favorite thing is Specimen Magazine. I found it on a recent trip to San Francisco and it features interviews with expert academics in a specific field. The one I picked up had the theme of “math” (or “maths” for the UK people) so interviews with one of the top Theoretical Astronomers (I didn’t know that was a thing) or an expert in Quantum Computing, which I now almost understand. I wouldn’t normally be up for reading about maths, but the magazine conducts these as interviews and keep it at the layman’s level. It was fascinating and now I want them all.

Oh hello! This is the end. Thanks for reading this far.

Coming up:

Oct 24-26: I'll be giving at Michigan State for a lecture.
Now - Nov 23rd: The NYT Special Edition is in the show Unrest: Art, Activism, & Revolution at the Helen Day Art Center.


Last thing:

Ok, look, you read these right? Now, how do we let people know what a great emailer I am? I've been working hard at it and I think I am easily in the top 5, maybe the top 3. But there are only a couple thousand people on this list. That leaves millions who aren't. I know the climate stuff is bad, and the economic situation isn't good either. But the fact that so many millions of people don't get my emails... well let me just say, if that doesn't move you, like emotionally down to the core, you're the one with real problems that should be seeking out help immediately. Serious psychiatric treatments. Anyway, if you know some people that may enjoy this, send this on to them and let them know.

Also, let's not make this a one-way street. Feel free to tell me what you've been doing, what your new favorite thing is, or something else. I like hearing back.

Otherwise, you can always stay in touch through the following (but remember, these emails are 5 star level and Facebook... don't even get me started about that mini-mall of a garbage dump.
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