It was an absolute joy to have this conversation with Pedro de Llano. We have lots in common, and we cover a lot of ground in this story. Many thanks to Pedro for engaging in such a stimulating dialogue with me. And many thanks to Gloria Sutton, Alyssa Pavley, and everyone else at Art Journal Open for all of your support and for all of your editorial work. I really appreciate it!
As part of the show “Our Mind Into A Brezel” at the Kunstverein Neuhausen, a story and photo from The Sharing Project (“Shared Resources And Expectations”) is appearing in the publication, THE EXECONOMIST, which appears at first glance to be a normal financial newspaper. The contents, though, challenge those expectations in all kinds of ways. Many thanks to the curators, Susanne Jakob, Kai Bauer, and Hans Winkler for organizing this wonderful show and publication!
Share your toys and help arrange them in the museum! Then, at the end of the show, take the toys and give them away to whomever you think will enjoy them!
Toy gathering: May 12 – July 19
Exhibition: June 13 – July 19
Reception: Saturday June 20, 6-8 pm
Tour and talk: Tuesday June 16, 12 pm
Closing and toy distribution event: Sunday July 19, 2-4 pm
Normal museum hours: Sunday – Thursday, 12-5 pm
Press release with more information below:
The University Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach presents The Sharing Project, Joel Tauber’s exploration of human altruism.
Long Beach, CA – The University Art Museum (UAM) presents The Sharing Project, in which artist Joel Tauber poses questions about whether we share enough in our capitalist world. Presented as a 15-channel video installation, the project focuses on the seemingly simple task of Tauber teaching his young son, Zeke, to share. As he and Zeke struggle to understand what sharing means and how much we should share, they turn to the nearly forgotten Socialist Jewish commune of Happyville, hoping that some of the mysteries of sharing are buried in the traces of the utopian community.
As part of the exhibition, Tauber invites the public to share their toys and help arrange them in the museum. Then, at the end of the show, people will be invited to take the toys and give them away to whomever they think will enjoy them.
The Sharing Project is on view from June 13 – July 19, 2015, with a reception on Saturday, June 20, from 6-8pm. The UAM will begin collecting toys on Tuesday, May 12 and will continue to collect them during the course of the exhibition. The closing reception will happen in conjunction with the UAM Family Day on Sunday, July 19, from 2-4pm. Both events are free and open to the public.
With this artistic endeavor, Joel Tauber asks fundamental questions about the nature of human altruism:
When should we share? How much should we share? Do we have biological impulses that encourage us to share, discourage us, or both? What are the philosophical arguments for sharing? If there are good arguments for doing so, is it a value that we Americans actually have? Are we actually teaching our kids to share, or are we just pretending to do so? If we do value sharing, why is there so much poverty in this very rich country? If we value sharing, how come socialism is such an evil word? Are our attitudes about property consistent? How much have they evolved historically?
These questions perplex Tauber, as he seeks to uncover the meaning behind acts of sharing and to teach its value to his young son. Tauber´s search takes the two to explore the vestiges of Happyville, a nearly forgotten Socialist Jewish commune founded in 1905 near Aiken, South Carolina. This agricultural colony of Eastern European immigrants faded away after just three years, having been faced with dwindling financial resources, bad weather, and “soil too poor to sprout peas,” according to an agricultural report written at the time.
As Tauber and his child wrestle with the concept of sharing, the artist engages in conversations with thinkers in philosophy, evolutionary biology, psychology, history, anthropology, economics, politics, and education. Their responses to his questions reveal differing interpretations and even more questions and complexities.
The central video of the installation, Happyville, tells the story of the doomed commune, as the camera slowly lingers on the abandoned site. Zeke and Tauber wonder aloud if some of the mysteries of sharing are buried in the traces of the forgotten settlement. Determined to uncover them and “fix,” metaphysically and poetically, whatever caused this early 20th century utopian community to disintegrate, father and son go to work with Zeke’s special tools: probing and digging, then “fixing” an ancient tractor as well as a decaying building.
On fourteen separate monitors, Tauber presents a personal and interdisciplinary dialogue with his son as they negotiate the tenets of sharing. Nearby, seating and media tablets are provided for viewing twenty-one interviews Tauber conducted with experts from different fields who contributed their thoughts to his inquiry.
As part of the project, Joel Tauber invites the public to share their toys and arrange them in the Gordon F. Hampton Gallery over the course of the exhibition. The UAM will begin collecting toys on May 12. These items will be presented in the gallery, offering a glimpse of both generosity and excess. At the exhibition’s Family Day and closing reception, on the afternoon of July 19, the public will have the opportunity to take the toys to give to whomever they think will enjoy them, furthering the actions of sharing.
The UAM exhibition is the United States debut of The Sharing Project. The project is currently featured at the Adamski Gallery for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Germany. Support for The Sharing Project has been generously provided by Wake Forest University and the CSULB Department of Academic Technology. Tauber is a summer 2015 artist-in-residence at Grand Central Art Center, CSU Fullerton, through the funding support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Learn more about The Sharing Project at thesharingproject.net.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 12pm – UAM@Noon – Joel Tauber leads a tour of the exhibition.
Saturday, June 20, 2015, 6-8pm – Exhibition reception with a performance by Earth Like Planets
Sunday, July 19, 2015, 2-4pm – Family Day and Closing Reception
All events are free and open to the public
University Art Museum, CSULB
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840
For more information on exhibitions and related events, or for directions or parking information, visit www.csulb.edu/uam
About the artist:
Joel Tauber received his MFA from Art Center College of Design and his BA from Yale University. His work has been featured in the 2004 and 2008 California Biennial at Orange County Museum of Art; Kunstverein Hildesheim, Germany; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Canada; W139 Space for Contemporary Art, Amsterdam; De Appel Centre For Contemporary Art, Amsterdam; and the Torrance Art Museum. Film Festivals include the San Francisco Documentary Festival, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, the Sedona International Film Festival, and the Downtown Film Festival/Los Angeles, where his 2010 film, Sick-Amour, was awarded “Best Green Film.” Tauber won the 2007 Contemporary Collectors of Orange County Fellowship; the 2007-2008 CalArts / Alpert Ucross Residency Prize for Visual Arts; and in summer 2015 will be Artist-in-Residence at Grand Central Art Center, CSU Fullerton.
About the University Art Museum
The mission of the University Art Museum is to present education and exhibition programs that blur the boundaries between visual arts and design, technology, music, and contemporary culture. The UAM curatorial vision focuses on tension and interplay at the nexus of contemporary art and society, with a focus on multidisciplinary education that serves the university and public. The UAM also plays a vital role in training future museum and arts professionals. Through dedication to scholarly and artistic excellence, the UAM has earned a reputation for its high-quality exhibitions and award-winning publications, and maintains a permanent collection of site-specific outdoor sculpture, works of art on paper, and the Gordon F. Hampton Collection of American painting and prints. Begun as a significant campus gallery in 1973 and first accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 1984, the UAM remains an important resource in the field of visual arts for the largest comprehensive university system in the nation.
I hope you enjoy reading this piece – “Campfires, Socialism, And Multi-Level Selection” – from The Sharing Project. It’s in The Huffington Post in the “Arts and Culture” section.