“Entrepreneurship 407” Article Published in the New Art Examiner

Stamps Professor Rebekah Modrak’s article “Entrepreneurship 407: White Supremacy, Benevolent Institutions, and Shinola” was published in the December 2018 edition of the New Art Examiner.

The article proposes that, even as Civil War-era Confederate monuments are de-installed around the country, the values of white supremacy find new forums in unexpected places, namely in academic institutions, through the lapses of entrepreneurial engagement.

This article was originally published by the National Center for Institutional Diversity.

New Chapter in Criticality Book

Rebekah Modrak’s chapter “Best Made Re Made: Critical Interventions in the Online Marketplace” has just been published in the book The Routledge Companion to Criticality in Art, Architecture and Design, a collection of new essays edited by Myra Thiessen and Chris Brisbin, faculty at the School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia.

The book aims to investigate Critique, Criticality, and Criticism from an inter- or multi-disciplinary perspective. With contributions from a multi-disciplinary authorship from nine countries – the UK, USA, Australia, India, Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Belgium, and Denmark – this edited volume provides a wide range of leading perspectives evaluating the landscape of criticality and how it is being shaped by technological and social advances.

Modrak’s invited and peer-reviewed contribution is within the book’s Part 4, a section reflecting on the various new ways that media influences and provides a platform for criticism and criticality and exploring the role of new media in influencing the relationship between opinion, lay critique, and traditional forms of professional expert criticism.

Her chapter examines consumptive practices and un-critical consumerism by analyzing the dual Best Made/Re Made marketing campaigns and proposing that critical artistic interventions can enact critique through strategies of parafiction and parody. The Re Made Co. artwork responds to Best Made as brand and also to the news and cultural media that can appear critical while simultaneously promulgating brand messaging, including art and design institutions that commodify, rather than critique, luxury design items like those sold by Best Made.

The Routledge Companion to Criticality in Art, Architecture and Design has been reviewed by James Elkins of the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, who writes: “This is an exceptionally carefully assembled book. Criticism inhabits this book in Protean fashion: as a profession, an historical artifact, a philosophic position, a hope, a form of experimental writing, a family of theories, a material practice, and above all as conversation and a sense of community.”

The Routledge Companion to Criticality in Art, Architecture, and Design | Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

Presentation at ANYWHERE & ELSEWHERE, Parsons The New School

Rebekah Modrak presented at the Anywhere & Elsewhere Biennial Conference, a two-day conference on November 15th and 16th at Parsons School of Design, supported as part of a partnership between Parsons Fine Arts (Parsons School of Design, The New School) and the Centre of Visual Art (University of Melbourne).

Modrak co-presented with her collaborator, curator Marialaura Ghidini, as part of the WHERE⇄ABOUT panel moderated by Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum. Their presentation described their online curatorial project #exstrange, which generated a collection of artworks to be encountered, auction-style, by the users of one the largest marketplaces on the web, eBay. During this live exhibition project, parasitic to the commercial platform, over a hundred artists and 12 curators infiltrated eBay throughout 88 sequential days in early 2017 — spanning the inauguration of the 45th United States president, the Women’s March, and North Korean’s tests of a ballistic missile.

The Anywhere & Elsewhere Biennial Conference featured presentations from artists that successfully navigated blind peer evaluation as part of Project Anywhere’s Global Exhibition Program (2017-2018), together with invited presentations from established artists, designers, scholars, curators and writers actively engaged with practices outside traditional circuits. The conference recognized the practices of an increasing number of artists and creative practitioners working across spaces, places and temporalities well-beyond the limits of established exhibition formats. This two-day conference explored questions associated with presenting, experiencing, discussing and evaluating art located anywhere and elsewhere in space and time.

Rebekah Modrak Experimental Film Screens in Miami

Rebekah Modrak’s short animated film The Implicit Jacques Panis was screened at the 7th Art Festival of Miami in Miami, Florida on October 21, 2018. The 7th Art Festival of Miami is a forum for “counterculture cultivators,” selecting films from independent artists and filmmakers from around the world.

The Implicit Jacques Panis is a re-creation of a pre-existing promotional video presenting a typical day-in-the-life of Shinola’s then-President Jacques Panis. A choreographed succession of hats on Panis’s head throughout the narrative exposes unspoken, oft-historical, expressions of power, allowing Panis to openly act out the roles implicitly suggested by the original video.

The film festival was held at The Center For Social Change on Sunday, October 21, 2018 from 1pm – 6:30pm. Modrak’s experimental short was screened during the first segment at 2:05PM.

Address: 2103 Coral Way 2nd Floor 2nd Floor, Miami, FL

Rebekah Modrak Speaks at Fast Food For Thought

Rebekah Modrak offered her perspective on “The First Egg Out of the Chicken’s Anus” at the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative’s 5th annual Fast Food For Thought series. In this event, held on October 9, 2018, 10 interdisciplinary faculty members from across campus gave a series of fast-paced talks related to food and/or agriculture.

Modrak spoke about the elevation of the ordinary within status-based consumption, as exemplified by the first egg out of a chicken’s vent.

5th Annual “Fast Food for Thought” | Sustainable Food Systems Initiative

Implicit Jacques Panis Screened in UK

Rebekah Modrak’s film The Implicit Jacques Panis was accepted into the Bolton International Film Festival in Bolton, UK this October 2-4, 2018. The Bolton Film Festival screens innovative and groundbreaking short films from independent filmmakers from around the UK and the world. Modrak’s film will be screened in a showing of Experimental Film Shorts.

The Implicit Jacques Panis is a rectified readymade, made by painting on a found video promoting the company Shinola. The source footage shows a day-in-the-life of Shinola’s former president Jacques Panis. Detroit is the playground for his activities and his scene of conquest. The altered film creatively comments on the original by dressing Panis in a series of hats that hint at the implications of power in each scene. The Implicit Jacques Panis is dense with allusions to American history, politics, and pop culture, humorously trapping Panis as a deadpan actor in his role as a leader marketing Detroit authenticity for the consumption of affluent whites.

Rebekah Modrak’s Work Featured on Alternet

Rebekah Modrak’s art practice is featured by journalist Valerie Vande Panne in a recent article published on the progressive news magazine Alternet. In Meet the Artist Using Media to Defang Capitalism, Vande Panne introduces the artworks Re Made Co. and Rethink Shinola, writing: “Humor and truth help expose profound colonialism, racism, and straight-up ridiculousness used to sell luxury products.”

“You may have heard of Shinola, the racist shoe-polish company of the early 20th century whose brand was reinvented by hypercapitalists from Texas into the feel-good story of Detroit, marketing $1,100 watches and bicycles for more than what many Detroiters would pay for a car.”

Shinola’s marketing might make rich white folk feel like they’re “saving” Detroit by purchasing one of those incredibly overpriced, made in China/assembled in the USA by poor black people, pieces. But what the company is really doing is reinforcing a racist, plantation mentality, and selling it to the world like they are martyrs saving Detroit with each and every watch that bears its name.

But, if you’re not media and history savvy, you probably don’t know that. Enter Rebekah Modrak, an artist and professor at University of Michigan’s Stamps School of Art & Design.”

Meet the Artist Using Media to Defang Capitalism

Meet the Artist Using Media to Defang Capitalism

Humor and truth help expose profound colonialism, racism, and straight-up ridiculousness used to sell luxury products. You may have heard of Shinola, the racist shoe-polish company of the early 20th century whose brand was reinvented by hypercapitalists from Texas into the feel-good story of Detroit, marketing $1,100 watches and bicycles for more than what many Detroiters would pay for a car.

Source: www.alternet.org/local-peace-economy/meet-artist-using-media-defang-capitalism

Rebekah Modrak to Speak at Harvard’s Fair Use Week

Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies has invited Stamps Associate Professor Rebekah Modrak as an honored guest and featured voice at their Fair Use Week Symposium on March 1, 2018. The one-day program, “Tried and True: Fair Use Tales for the Telling,” celebrates Harvard’s Fifth Anniversary Fair Use Week, with leading fair use scholars and practitioners sharing their stories and engaging in discussion about this powerful provision in copyright law.

During the symposium, Modrak is scheduled to speak on the panel “Fair Use Makers and Policy Shapers,” where she will talk about legal contests to her interventionist work Re Made Co. (http://remadeco.org), an artwork posing as a “company” to critique brand appropriation of working class identities, and her use of sourcing in her latest work, Rethink Shinola (http://rethinkshinola.com).


Afterimage Journal Features “Fake News” Essay

An article co-written by Rebekah Modrak and Rochester Institute of Technology communications scholar Jonathan Schroeder is featured in the latest issue of Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, published by Visual Studies Workshop. The article is part of a special issue of Afterimage called “Media Literacy in a Post-Factual Age.”

Modrak and Schroeder’s article, “Performing Skepticism through Parody: Re Made Company’s Media Critique,” proposes that the artwork Re Made Co.’s fabrication of fake New York Times and Wall Street Journal articles, among others, is a positive parodic version of “fake news” that exposes flaws in journalism and media, which feign criticality while simultaneously propagating brand messaging. Whereas “fake news” via the internet, as in the context of the 2016 Trump/Clinton election, poses serious concerns for democratic processes and critical perspectives, the “fake news” of Re Made can be an important training tool to teach skepticism about information presented via internet-based media — an elaborate effort to enhance media literacy.

The Re Made Co. work can be viewed at http://remadeco.org/

Neural Magazine Reviews #exstrange: a Curatorial Intervention on eBay

Neural magazine of new media art, electronic music and hacktivism published a review of Rebekah Modrak and co-editor Marialaura Ghidini’s book #exstrange: a Curatorial Intervention on eBay.

Writer Aurielio Cianciotta describes #exstrange “one of the most significant net art initiatives of the last few years, developing critical online artworks and creating a whole updated symbolic system.”

The full review can be read at:

The #exstrange project began with a curatorial invitation to 21 artists to launch a 7-day artwork-as-auction on eBay. This was followed by a series of interventions by 11 guest curators based across the world who, in turn, invited three artists each according to their own interpretation of the project. Other participants joined along the way through the open call or by coming across the project. Connected by the tag #exstrange in the listing title, the works could be found in that vast archive of commodities online that is eBay, while this website aggregated them in real time on the home page and now functions as an archive. 102 artworks-as-auctions were created during #exstrange, and 91 artists, designers, collectives, researchers, and also students participated in the project. #exstrange launched on the 15 January 2017, and ended on the 13 April 2017, with the last auction posted on the 8 April.

View #exstrange at http://exstrange.com/

edited by Rebekah Modrak and Marialaura Ghidini – #exstrange: A Curatorial Intervention on Ebay