I’m doing a talk on Tuesday the 16th at 10:30 at the Aiken County Historical Museum in South Carolina about The Sharing Project installation and the forgotten socialist Jewish commune of Happyville — which existed for a short period (1905-1908) near Aiken — in advance of the exhibition of the installation at the Aiken County Historical Museum this summer. If you’re in the area on the 16th, it would be great to see you there!
I’m excited about the communal sculpture sharing event this Friday from 5-6:30 at the Smith Gallery, as the finale of the exhibition of The Sharing Project installation at Appalachian State University. If you live near Boone or will be in the area, come check out the 15 videos, 21 interviews and communal sculpture in the installation – and then help distribute / share the objects gathered over the course of the exhibition.
The Sharing Project installation is traveling to the Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. If you’re in the area, I hope you can join me and gallery director, Jennie Carlisle, at the opening event, this Friday from 5-6:30 pm. The show features 15 videos – and 21 interviews – that explore the meaning of sharing and the forgotten Socialist Jewish commune of Happyville (1905-1908) in South Carolina.
A communal sculpture of shared objects has already started growing. Please consider contributing to it by bringing toys, tools, or other domestic items. You will have the opportunity, at the end of the show, to take these things and give them away to whomever you think will enjoy them.
After the opening, there will be a series of other events, including a lecture / discussion, a full day symposium on sharing, and a visit to a NC intentional community. More info and press release, below.
The Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University
215.421.7118 / firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Exhibition at the Smith Gallery Addresses the Personal and Political Dimensions of Sharing
Joel Tauber: The Sharing Project
September 1 – October 27, 2017
Opening Reception, September 1, 5-6:30pm at the Smith Gallery
The Smith Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of The Sharing Project, a multimedia documentary installation by Winston-Salem based artist Joel Tauber, which grapples with questions of how and why we share in the context of family and political life. The project features a set of fourteen paired videos that present challenging episodes from the artist’s life as a parent teaching his young son about the social virtues and limits of sharing, along with a central video projection detailing visits to the site of the historic Jewish commune of Happyville, in South Carolina to explore the land where a utopian social experiment briefly flourished. Tauber underscores the complex nature of sharing by including a diverse array of expert opinions from fields ranging from History, Anthropology, Education, Political Science, and Philosophy. These are presented through an iPad app that allows visitors to peruse interviews according to their own interests.
The final component of the installation is a community sculpture that will evolve as visitors contribute toys, tools, and other domestic items. At the close of the exhibition, all items collected will be redistributed through a community sharing event. All who attend the opening on September 1st are encouraged to bring something from their own homes to help create the foundation for the sculpture.
While The Sharing Project originated from a highly personal place for the artist, Tauber has been quick to ground the project in larger concerns. “The question of how much we should share is interconnected with the question of what political system we should adopt. Inequity is not just a political problem—it’s also an ethical, philosophical, historical, economic, biological (perhaps), psychological, and pedagogical one. I’ve tried to expose the complexities of this problem through a rigorous, personal, and interdisciplinary examination of what is inseparable from any possible solution—the meaning and value of sharing,” the artist said.
The Smith Gallery decided to host the exhibition for just these reasons. Gallery Director, Jennie Carlisle, noted that much of the current political polarization taking place at local, state, and national levels seems to center around questions of how best to allocate resources, who deserves these resources and why. “Tauber’s project is a very approachable, intimate view of an issue we are called to make decisions around every day in a myriad of ways,’’ she said. “Beyond this, we are thrilled to present the installation, because it is a rare opportunity to see an outstanding example of expanded documentary – a new field of art production that blends video, audio, and web based interactive technology.”
This exhibition and its programs are supported by a North Carolina Arts Council grant as well as the College of Fine and Applied Arts and the Art Department at Appalachian State University.
Artist Talk with Joel Tauber | September, 21, 6pm | Turchin Center Lecture Hall
Tauber will offer a public lecture about the project, his career, his approach to new media production, and the way that his Jewish cultural heritage informs the work he makes.
Field Trip to Earthaven Ecovillage | September 23, 9-4pm
The gallery hosts a field trip to Earthaven Ecovillage in Black Mountain, NC to learn about one of the most established intentional communities in Western North Carolina, and to hear community members talk about their approach to resource sharing, the challenges they face, and the role that artmaking and creativity plays in their community building. Contact Jennie at email@example.com for more information and to reserve a spot.
Family Activities in the Gallery
September 25 and October 4. Times to be announced.
Join Brooke Hofsess and students in the Art Education program for morning and afternoon playshops that incorporate art making, games, and stories on the theme of sharing. Perfect for families with children 5 and under. Contact Jennie at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to reserve a spot.
Symposium: Sharing &
Friday, October 20. Time and Location to be announced.
A one day panel discussion series addressing the idea of sharing in relation to a range of contemporary social concerns - immigration, education, healthcare, and environment. The emphasis of the event will be to present cross-disciplinary and divergent perspectives, to focus on local and statewide concerns, and to provide a forum to think through the interconnection between personal and political belief systems related to resource sharing. More information coming soon.
Free Market: Community Sculpture Distribution Event | Friday, October 27, 5-6:30pm
Come celebrate the close of the exhibition with a meal sharing event and the redistribution of items collected for the making of a community sculpture. Take home a hidden treasure, toy, tool or household item to share with a friend or family member.
About the Artist
Joel Tauber is an artist and filmmaker based in Winston-Salem. He teaches experimental film and orchestrates the video art program at Wake Forest University. His work has been shown in solo art exhibitions at a number of locations, including Galerie Adamski in Berlin as well as Aachen, Germany; the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach; the Helen Lindhurst Fine Arts Gallery at the University of Southern California; the Rocky Mountain School of Photography; and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. He has been included in numerous group art exhibitions including the 2004 and 2008 California Biennials at the Orange County Museum of Art; “The Gravity in Art” at the De Appel Centre For Contemporary Art in Amsterdam; and “Still Things Fall From the Sky” at the California Museum of Photography. Film Festivals include the Sedona International Film Festival, the San Francisco Documentary Festival, and the Downtown Film Festival – Los Angeles, where his movie, “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 a 2015 grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts in conjunction with a residency from The Grand Central Art Center.
About the Smith Gallery
The Smith Gallery is a vibrant contemporary art space, housed in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. It presents original and travelling exhibitions, features work by faculty and students at the university, and commissions daring new art in all of its forms. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM and during special events scheduled at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, 731 Rivers Street, Boone, NC 28608. Admission is FREE.
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.