"Schizo Culture," a four-day 1975 symposium featuring avant-garde artists (John Cage, William Burroughs) and academics (Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Jean-François Lyotard) was a milestone event in the ascendency of French theory in New Left political thinking—even if it remains relatively obscure to this day. Focusing, in part, on prisons, torture and emergent techniques of state-led social repression, the symposium was organized by French literary critic Sylvère Lotringer at Columbia University, where he remains a professor emeritus. For Chicago-based artist and activist Mary Patten, one program in the symposium has pierced the present as a potent source of creative and political inquiry: a panel on the medical establishment's complicity in developing so-called "therapeutic" forms of coercive torture. The panel featured Michel Foucault, Scottish (anti-) psychiatrist R.D. Laing, the Insane Liberation Front's Howie Harp, and Patten's friend and comrade, radical activist Judith Clark. Read More
Upon entering Chicago's Merchandise Mart for the Art Chicago and NEXT fairs of modern and contemporary art, it was difficult to gage which caused more anxiety: the omnipresence of Purell brand hand sanitizer on site to ease any lingering swine flu fears, or the numerous permutations of economic-themed panel discussions that plagued the weekend agenda. The real challenge of this year's fairs would be courting the investments of young art collectors who may be uneasy about buying work (or, rather, still waiting for the artworks they already own to appreciate in value). With less cash in circulation, fair organizers placed an emphasis on cultural capital with CONVERGE, an ambitious program of panel discussions designed to help circulat… Read More
As many of us know all too well, sexual freedoms and legal freedoms don't always enjoy a peaceful coexistance.
The law, particularly when it comes to sex, is both necessary and selective. It is the law, represented by nine charcoal drawings of America's Supreme Court justices, that greets visitors with a smug, knowing smirk at the entrance of Paul Chan's exhibition My Laws are My Whores
, now on view at The Renaissance Society
, located on The University of Chicago campus.