UCSC hosts first West Coast interventions conference

From May 15 to 17, the UC Santa Cruz campus played host to Intervene! Interrupt! Rethinking Art as Social Practice, a festival designed to break the boundaries of conventional arts practice. Intervene! Interrupt!, the first West Coast interventions conference, took art performance, websites, objects and events out of the gallery and into other social and public spaces to explore politics and everyday life.

Yes Men Photo
Yes Men

The festival events aren’t limited to the three-day conference. Throughout May, a series of exhibitions featuring the work of participating artists is running up and down the California coast from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. The Yes Men, Nato Thompson, Suzanne Lacy, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Helen and Newton Mayer Harrison, Linda Montano, Marilyn Arsem, Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry, and Neighborhood Public Radio are among the many artists, critics and theorists participating in the festival.

Jonathan Santos
Johanthan Santos

The Intervene! Interrupt! conference fostered an exchange between scholars, innovative regional and international artists and curators, through panel presentations, performances and indoor and outdoor exhibitions. A Wikipedia was dedicated to real-time collaboration and exchange between participants, and a publication will document the scholarly and artistic work emerging from this event.

experienced at Intervene!

A conversation with a chimpanzee!

A game called "Dead in Iraq!"

An information portal for the local biofuel community!

A stretch limo art bar!

A rant recorder!

An experimental Green Wedding!

An inflatable outdoor museum!

Art and film in the streets!

Each day of the conference focused on one of three primary Intervene! Interrupt! themes, which were also reflected in the interventions exhibitions.

Ice Queen: Glacial Retreat Dress Tent by Robin Lasser + Adrienne Pao, 2008
(Photo by Kirk Amyx)

The first day of the conference focused on Interruption of Hierarchies: the academy and the gallery and featured a panel discussion titled “How do galleries and academic institutions accommodate interventionist art's demands on audiences?” as well as a keynote address by Newton and Helen Mayer.

On the second day, the conference examined Art and Life, Life and Art: creating community, with a panel discussion titled “How do interventionists address the everyday as art?”, a creative lunch with Terri Cohn and Laura Parker, an afternoon of interventions and performances, and an opening at the Sesnon Gallery.

Subversive Complicity: community, protest and resistance was the theme for the final day of the conference. Highlights included a panel discussion titled “How do artists subvert and influence systems to explore political, public and private concerns?”, and a creative lunch with Dore Bowen and the SJSU Archival Lounge. Green Wedding by the Love Art Lab’s Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephens marked the close of the event.

The UC Santa Cruz events were preceded by a Visual and Performance Studies (VPS) pre-conference seminar titled Interruption as a Curatorial Practice.

For more information about Intervene! Interrupt! Rethinking Art as Social Practice, please visit http://may2008.artintervention.org/.


Interruption of Hierarchies transforms Sesnon

For Interruption of Hierarchies, the Sesnon Gallery was transformed into a "lounge" complete with an "art bar" for critical conversations, surround-sound sofas, a virtual library, a video game called Dead in Iraq, and appliances to "rant" into. The exhibition, which ran through May 17, was part of the Intervene! Interrupt! Rethinking Art as Social Practice festival.

Featured artists included Joseph DeLappe, Kianga Ford, Josh Greene, Packard Jennings, Dee Hibbert-Jones + Nomi Talisman, Jennifer Parker + Tina Takemoto, Martha Rosler and Lizabeth Eva Rossof. The exhibition was curated by Shelby Graham.

Lizabeth Eva Rossof

About the Sesnon
Sesnon Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is located at Porter College and is wheelchair accessible. Admission is free and parking is free on Saturdays. Group tours are available by appointment. Parking permits are available weekdays at the main campus entrance kiosk for $5.50/day and $2.00 at the Porter College lot between 5-8:30 p.m. for special events. For more information, please call 831-459-3606 or visit http://arts.ucsc.edu.


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Spring 2008