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Jim Houser

Jim Houser

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Free News Projects
125 N. 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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Radio Show Copenhagen

Posted on Aug 09, 2009 - 02:22 PM
Radio Show Copenhagen

Young British Artist Charlie Woolley is turning his first solo show at his gallery’s new home in Copenhagen into an experiment in communication on both a micro and macro scale. Radio Show Copenhagen is a month-long 24-hour live broadcast of music, interviews, phone-ins, commentary and the to-be-determined. Woolley is tapping into the ultra-local intimacy specific to low-wattage pirate radio towers and private trucker CB transmissions while broadcasting, at all times, to anyone who wishes to listen, anywhere in the world. It’s an investigation of how much impact a temporary, geographically specific exhibition can have, and it’s humble, and it’s as nakedly open-ended as an artist’s project can be. Participate.

Evan Roth’s Graffiti Taxonomy

Posted on Jul 31, 2009 - 06:51 AM
Evan Roth’s Graffiti Taxonomy

Evan Roth’s Graffiti Taxonomy, on display through September at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain (though equally well experienced through the superb Flash experience of the Foundation’s website) was clearly a grand undertaking. Roth photographed hundreds of graffiti pieces on the streets of Paris, then painstakingly separating their letters to create an alphabetical catalogue of French handstyles. The epic work done in Photoshop—sharpening and isolating the letters to create stark, almost brushy calligraphy—is absolutely top class, but we remain foggy on what the average person is to learn from this experiment in taxonomy, or what it is supposed to add up to. Kudos to Cartier for the noble gesture, the gesture that says graffiti is art and has history and is to be taken seriously. Having said that, this exercise seems, to us, to lack a point. Your thoughts, as ever, are greatly appreciated.

Evaluating a design trend

Posted on Jul 28, 2009 - 06:00 AM
Evaluating a design trend

We’re eager to report an observation of a recent microtrend in design and engineering: fanciful and/or silly concept record players. Charlie Pyott’s ‘Linos’ design is a turntable about the scale of a family-size candy bar, with extremely useful digital connectivity, while Rhea Jong’s ‘Void’ prototype has the record floating in mid-air while a clown nose apparently drives around the grooves. Beyond their fetish qualities, the fact that young designers are critically engaged with the idea of solving the record player is massively encouraging, for it leads one to believe that a new generation believes it to be a necessary object. Please have a look at the shop, where you’ll see that Free News Projects feels the same way.

Edwin Burdis

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 - 01:45 PM
Edwin Burdis

Edwin Burdis has been a consistent part of the British performance scene since the millennium: he composed with the Turner-prize-winning artist Mark Leckey in the proto-mashup synth project Donateller, then performed solo as Ed La Liq, a wiry malcontent who sang repetitively and bound himself in yards of microphone cable. A new incarnation is currently debuting for the One Dimensional Man exhibition at the International Project Space in Birmingham. Burdis is fighting for control, as a human, over modern machines, both social and actual. Burdis is worth following, but cast your eyes to the Andrew Osborne essay that accompanies the press release. A lot of serious scholarship went into it, but we’ve a question. Does it make you want to look at the art?

Peter Areh

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 - 07:24 AM
Peter Areh

Learning of the murder of pioneering Lagos art dealer Peter Areh three weeks ago opened our eyes to the newly spreading influence of the Western commercial art-dealing model, the one where professional footing is found by overwhelming a community, ostentatiously, with money. Areh’s background was in banking, and he singlehandedly brought rigor, profit, competitiveness and guarantees to the Nigerian contemporary art scene, yet he did not foster greed among its artists, or erect divisive boundaries in the art community. From his Pendulum Gallery’s mission statement: “We are not unaware of the vital role money can play in the dissemination of art, but we are at the same time wary of the dangers of hyper-commercialism. We believe that the pursuit of the gallery must transcend pecuniary interests if it must be able to fulfill its socialising role in the community.” Preposterously improbable words to see on a high-performance commercial gallery’s website. We hope Areh’s work will long continue.

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