Even though we often see artworks by artists, it is also good to hear their voices. Print is alive and well; artists help make it so.
Shifter, issue 20
Edited by Sreshta Rit Premnath and Matthew Metzger
The special theme of Shifter issue 20 is “What We Can Knot.” (It puts a positive spin on the cliché “he who cannot, teaches,” and offers anecdotal antidotes to James Elkins’ 2001 book, “Why Art Cannot Be Taught.”) What are art instructors thinking about today? What is the current state of art education? More than fifty contributors discuss the roles of professors, mentors, pupils, muses and Top Chef challenges. Many of the statements are formatted as conversations through which a collective understanding is talked out (this is an ideal of the classroom seminar) on timely topics such as de-skilling, re-skilling, friendship versus mentorship, CalArts versus SAIC, and the fate of the adjunct teacher. “Do part-time teachers work craft-services in the edu-tainment business?” asks Andrew Falkowski in his essay. The question is typical in its existential, poetic pondering among many of the issue’s contributors. Some of the most insightful problems are posed as questions. “If the goal is to get people to make up their own language, how do you do that?” asks Deborah Stratman in conversation with James Benning. Most helpful, though, are commentaries by the artist/teachers who view the studio as interlocked with the classroom and share an honest account, such as Juan William Chavez. The issue reveals diverse methods to tackling a difficult topic, much like teaching itself. “Education is the moment when you know yourself as a social being,” says Tania Bruguera in conversation with a former/lifelong student. $17.99. shifter-magazine.com.
RE: things in the lap
By Edmund Chia
Peregrine Program is Edmund Chia’s artist-run gallery, formerly of Pilsen, and now in East Garfield Park. After three years and more than thirty exhibitions, Chia has released “RE: things in the lap,” a book of free verse poetry, observations, remembrances and responses, all written by Chia, to the artists who have exhibited at his gallery, including Joan Waltemath, Cameron Crawford, Elijah Burgher and David Salkin. Chia interweaves daily experiences such as walking to the studio with memories of exhibitions and conversations. Some of the poems seem like emails written as if in a dream. There is a Lake Michigan mermaid (“gloopy”), and a heartfelt homage to Michelle Grabner. Chia’s poetry captures the mood of being a contemporary observer, passing through exhibitions and webpages and CTA buses, which Chia records introspectively: “I am aiming for clear/As clear as it can be/Though you know how that goes.” $2.50 (PDF) or $15 (printed book). peregrineprogram.com.