April 12 – The Nation’s Finest

Posted by | Paris Jomadiao | Posted on | April 6, 2018

Tara Mateik, still from Putting the Balls Away, 2008. Image courtesy of the artist.

For millennia, sports have been intrinsic to daily life, physical well-being, education, civic identity, and social harmony. Over the past decade, sports have assumed an even larger, more multidimensional place in our culture. The traditional schisms and antagonisms between sports performance and spectatorship, creative production, and scholarly activity (jocks vs nerds, square vs cool), have been blurred. Featuring works by Haig AivazianI AM A BOYS CHOIRTara MateikNam June PaikKeith PiperLillian Schwartz, and the Internet, this program deconstructs the athlete’s body—how it is used for national, political, and social agendas, and how it is viewed and re-crafted by artists (who are sometimes athletic). For example, Nam June Paik’s Lake Placid ‘80 (1980) is an unruly and slyly subversive commission for the Olympic Winter Games whereas Keith Piper’s Nation’s Finest (1990) mimics the look and tone of state propaganda with a silky, biting critique of the way predominantly White countries use Black bodies in the service of national pride while simultaneously disenfranchising their Black residents. The Nation’s Finest is curated by Astria Suparak and Brett Kashmere and organized as part of INCITE: Journal of Experimental Media’s forthcoming issue, “Sports.”

1971–2013, multiple artists, USA/Lebanon/United Kingdom/Hong Kong, multiple formats, ca 71 min + discussion
Introduced by curators Astria Suparak and Brett Kashmere.

Brett Kashmere is a media artist, historian, and curator. His work explores the intersection of history and (counter-)memory, sports, and popular culture by combining archival research with materialist aesthetics, hybrid forms, and explorations of voice. Kashmere is the founding editor and publisher of INCITE: Journal of Experimental MediaHe has curated projects for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Strasbourg, France; Cinémathèque québecoise, Montréal; Light Cone, Paris; Toronto International Film Festival Cinémathèque; among others. His writing has appeared in journals, magazines, and anthologies such as Moving Image Review & Art JournalThe Canadian Journal of Film StudiesMillennium Film Journal, and A Microcinema Primer: A Brief History of Small Cinemas. Kashmere has taught film and video production and exhibition practices at Oberlin College and Concordia University.

Astria Suparak has curated exhibitions, screenings, live music events, and performances for MoMA PS1, New York; Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City; The Kitchen, New York; Eyebeam, New York; and the Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom. At Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery, she curated Keep It Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men, the first survey of the culture-jamming group; Whatever It Takes: Steelers Fan Collections, Rituals, and Obsessions with artist Jon Rubin, which explored sports fanaticism as a form of cultural production; and Alien She with Ceci Moss, a traveling exhibition on the impact of the global punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl. Suparak coproduced the publication New Art/Science Affinities, and her writing has been published recently by The Exhibitionist; NoiseyThe Iris, the blog of the J.Paul Getty Trust; and Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community. Her curated videotape, Some Kind of Loving, produced by Joanie 4 Jackie, was acquired by the Getty Research Institute earlier this year.

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