A Chance Encounter

Early September in New York is full of more art openings any one person can keep track of, let alone attend. I spent last night popping between a handful of carefully chosen ones, pedaling along, courtesy of my finally working CitiBike card. As I was walking from the last opening to grab a slice I walked by a show and noticed a name I recognized out of its usual context. The opening was clearly about to end, but I popped in.

Mark Strand studied painting at Yale with Josef Albers, but I was unaware that he was still making visual work. I checked the press release: yep, the same Mark Strand. I wandered through, wondering which of the many white haired men he was.

I found him, but not because I recognized him. A woman recognized me from a show I was at earlier in the evening. She chatted me up, and in the process pointed him out to me. He was a tall thin white haired white man, wearing a rumpled white linen coat. I approached him while he held hands with his wife. I told him the story:

I asked him if he remembered visiting a small high school in Portland, Oregon in the mid 90′s. He said yes he did, and asked if I was there at the time? Yes, I told him, after his reading he came to my English class. I was a junior. We had just finished 25 page research papers on American poets. He asked us to go around the room and tell him who we had written on.

When it was my turn I told him I had written on Walt Whitman. “Whitman’s not much of a poet!” he retorted, pausing, looking at me, inviting me in to spar. I defended Whitman to the best of my abilities. I don’t really remember exactly what I said, as my memory has encoded and re-encoded the exchange. What matters is that in the version I am left with, I held my own against the former poet laureate. Last night I told him I argued for the importance of plain verse, and that Whitman’s catalogs were as great and various as America itself.

He was smiling. A kind of taught mouthed smile. I couldn’t tell if he remembered or not, and frankly why should he, but he clearly recognized himself in the story.

After I finished, he leaned in a little bit and said: “You know, you were right about Whitman. I’ve come around on him.” He smiled, showing his teeth. And his wife sweetly lead him away to the post-opening reception for which they were late.

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The Social Media Reader reviewed in Neural

The Social Media Reader tabled

Alessandro Ludovico reviewed The Social Media Reader for Neural, calling the book:

a well-curated anthology which portrays social networks as they are: as an incredibly popular phenomenon of contemporary communication whose rapid success in some respects epitomizes the precariousness and limitless of online media in general. Social media are nowadays considered absolutely essential for any online business (and personal reputation too) but at the same time there’s an embarrassing lack of tools and agreed strategies for living (and surviving) in these specific environments, much less a more general objective evaluation of their huge impact on changes to the perception of reality.

The review is included in the current print issue, and available online in English and Italian.

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TO LIFE Eco Art In Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet

I am honored to be included in Linda Weintraub’s new book TO LIFE! Eco Art In Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet (UC Press). The book has chapters on each of the artists/collectives; her chapter on my work explores Oil Standard and The Real Costs. Weintraub has created an entire website that includes useful teaching guides for use in the classroom. From the description:

To Life! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet documents the burgeoning eco art movement from A to Z, presenting a panorama of artistic responses to environmental concerns, from Ant Farm’s anti-consumer antics in the 1970s to Marina Zurkow’s 2007 animation that anticipates the havoc wreaked upon the planet by global warming. This text is the first international survey of twentieth and twenty-first-century artists who are transforming the global challenges facing humanity and the Earth’s diverse living systems. Their pioneering explorations are situated at today’s cultural, scientific, economic, spiritual, and ethical frontiers. The text guides students of art, design, environmental studies, and interdisciplinary studies to integrate environmental awareness, responsibility, and activism into their professional and personal lives.

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Edward A. Shanken on Investigatory Art

Edward A. Shanken has published a new essay entitled “Investigatory art: Real-time systems and network culture” in which he links circa 1970 work of Hans Haacke and Jack Burnham to new media work from the mid 90′s to the present. He has picked some of my favorite pieces by Heath Bunting, Josh On, UBERMORGEN et al, and Beatrice da Costa, as well as my own work. Shanken writes:

Mandiberg’s Real Costs (2007) gives real-time feedback on the environmental impact of travel; it consists of a Firefox plug-in that anyone can download and install in their browser. When searching for flights from commercial travel websites such as, the plug-in inserts Co2 emissions information into the results. When looking up airfares the user retrieves not only the price in dollars but also the ‘real cost’ in terms of carbon emissions for the journey by plane, car, bus, and train, as well as the number of tree-years required to offset the pollution and the annual per capita carbon emissions by country.

By providing the user with instantaneous feedback about the environmental consequences of their travel choices, Real Costs harnesses the potential of real-time systems to, in Burnham’s words, ‘gather and process data … in time to effect future events within those environments’. Indeed, similar programs have been adopted by municipal public transportation systems, such as the HKL in Helsinki. In this example, an artist’s innovative work not only creates awareness in an art context but also anticipates and provides a model for similar applications in a larger social context.

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The Social Media Reader Creative Commons PDF on

The Social Media Reader coverThe Social Media Reader is now available as a Creative Commons licensed PDF on The book is CC BY-SA-NC licensed; all but one of the chapters are CC BY-SA or CC BY. also hosts an EPUB and Kindle version as well.

The Social Media Reader (ed. Michael Mandiberg) is a collection of essays exploring the rise of participatory culture, and the ensuing blurring of the boundaries between creators and audiences. The book features key essays from the major authors in the field, including Chris Anderson, Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, Henry Jenkins, Lawrence Lessig, Tim O’Reilly, Jay Rosen, Clay Shirky, and Siva Vaidhyanathan.


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Digital Publishing Today panel at CUNY Grad Center

Collaborative Futures, 2nd Edition
Panel: Ashley Dawson, Matthew K. Gold, Michael Mandiberg, Tavia Nyong’o

What are the radical possibilities of open access publishing? This panel will bring together a number of scholars who have published online recently to consider how university presses are either facilitating or impeding efforts by academics to explore new forms of cultural production and media activism unleashed by movements such as Occupy Wall Street. Join us to explore these questions and to develop new strategies and models for contemporary academic publication.

Mon Nov 26, 6:30pm | The Skylight Room (9100) at CUNY Graduate Center

Co-sponsored by The Digital Studies/Digital Humanities Seminar

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Fake It! (Limited Edition) at Fabrica de Pensule

Fake It! (Limited Edition) at Fabrica de Pensule

AfterSherrieLevine is included in Fake It! (Limited Edition), an exhibition at Fabrica de Pensule in Cluj Romania, curated by Horea Avram. They are including a computer with a printing and framing station, so you can print out, sign and frame your own image from the site.

From Avram’s curatorial statement:

The “sources” to which the works of this exhibition make reference are appropriated, diverted, plagiarized, or parodied with various visual and tactical means: from video to object, to photography, performance and online intervention. In this sense, the idea of fake is seen not only as a working instrument confined to the art field but one that addresses directly the larger context of culture, society and politics. Therefore, the imperative of the title points precisely to the evident actuality and implicit diversity of such a theme.

The exhibition runs from October 5th through November 20th, 2012.

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Art, Environment, Action! – Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons

The Social Media Reader in the wild

As part of Art, Environment, Action! at Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons, I will be giving a 3 day workshop on making visual contributions to Wikipedia. Building on the work of Wikipedia Illustrated and others, the goal will be to use visual language to explain complex concepts without over simplifying them. This could range from the factual, such as diagrams of biological or chemical phenomena, maps of environmental issues/disasters, or charts, to the poetic or expressive. Artists, scientists, illustrators, environmental historians, designers, activists, and Wikipedians are invited to this collaborative workshop. No knowledge of Wikipedia editing is required. Participants should bring relevant materials, including but not limited to computers, sketchbooks, and thinking caps.

For more info, or to register, please visit the workshop page.

Art, Environment, Action! is a creative laboratory that brings together 16 internationally renowned artists/artist collectives and designers to explore art as, and in, environmental action. Over 11 weeks, the gallery will function as an active learning environment and a lively locus of exchange on ecological issues through movement, media, visual and performance art, and design.

Participating artists include: Beehive Design Collective; Stefani Bardin, Toby Heys, and Siddharth Ramakrishnan; Beatriz da Costa; Ecoarttech; Futurefarmers; Michael Mandiberg; Jennifer Monson/iLAND; Beverly Naidus; Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science; Red 76; Stephanie Rothenberg; Jill Sigman; Trade School; and Tattfoo Tan.

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New York Arts Practicum – midpoint update

Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men talks to New York Arts Practicum

The New York Arts Practicum is midway through, and going really well. The 10 participants are having productive conversations with artists and curators, working in their mentors’ studios, and making work for critique. We are meeting Tuesday evenings for Critique/Seminar, and Friday all day for site visits. The goal of the program is for the participants to bridge the gap between scholastic artmaking, and a being an artist in the world. In bridging this gap, they experience the stresses and rewards of sustaining a creative life, and begin to learn how to make work without the armatures of school proping you up.

During Critique/Seminar, Trevor Paglen and Penelope Umbrico showed us their new work, David Horvitz lead a Life. Drawing. session at Zuccotti Park, Sara Greenberger Rafferty led an equisite corpse workshop, and Jen Liu and Ricardo Miranda Zuniga were guest critics. We have had site visits with Amanda McDonald Crowley, Lize Mogel, Magda Sawon, Steve Sacks, Artie Vierkant, Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men (above), Jill Magid, Mark Tribe, and Brody Condon. We made trips to MoMA, Chelsea galleries, The Met, and Christian Marclay’s The Clock. And we are only halfway through!

There are descriptive blog posts, photos on Flickr, and a steady streem of tweets

"Life. Drawing." with David Horvitz and the New York Arts Practicum Participants

New York Arts Practicum Participants surround police in David Horvitz’s Life. Zuccotti Park.


New York Arts Practicum meets with Lize Mogel

Lize Mogel discusses the intersection of maps and art, and working as an artist outside of the art market.

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The Social Media Reader is in reprints

The Social Media Reader in the wildThe Social Media Reader is being well received, and displayed prominently. It sold through the first print run in 4 months, and and was out of print for a few weeks(!) but is now available again.

The book launches went very well, with great presentations at MoMA/PS1 from Patrick Davison and Brad Troemel (Brad made a video of his talk) and at Powerhouse Arena with David Horvitz and Ceci Moss.

NYU Press did an interview with me about the book, which is posted in several video files on their Vimeo.

Also, it is up on Project Muse. So you can download full text PDFs if you have the proper University affiliation (ironically, CUNY doesn’t cut it, so I don’t have access.)

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