#exstrange Book Publication and International Launch

Maize Books, an imprint of Michigan Publishing, has just published #exstrange: A CURATORIAL INTERVENTION ON EBAY. The book documents the #exstrange project, curated by Rebekah Modrak and Marialaura Ghidini (Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology Professor). Over 80 contemporary artists and designers created as auctions-as-artworks for the project on eBay using the elements of the auction listing as tools of production.

The book features essays and interviews by prominent cultural critic Mark Dery, journalist Rob Walker, critic Miriam La Rosa, curator Gaia Tedone, and media scholar Padma Chirumamilla.

#exstrange book launches around the world will celebrate the DIY spirit of the project in circumventing traditional art gatekeeping. The first event has already taken place in Berlin, Germany. Upcoming launches are planned for Mexico City (Mexico); Barcelona (Spain); Hong Kong; Melbourne (Australia); Providence (RI, USA); London (UK); and Calgary (Alberta, Canada). For updates about events, visit the #exstrange Facebook page.

Locally, Professor Modrak will host an event at Literati bookstore in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, October 10 at 7pm, with #exstrange participants Sophia Brueckner (Assistant Professor, Stamps School), Masimba Hwati (MFA candidate, Stamps School), Fred Feinberg (Professor, Ross School of Business), and Padma Chirumamilla (PhD candidate, School of Information) describing their contributions to the project.

Tuesday, October 10 at 7pm
Literati Bookstore
124 E Washington, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

“Implicit Jacques Panis” at Art Prize’s Social Justice Venue

Rebekah Modrak’s new video work, The Implicit Jacques Panis on Shinola’s Quest to Revive American Manufacturing, was selected for exhibition in Art Prize by Fountain Street Church. Fountain Street Church and the ACLU of Michigan represent an important ArtPrize venue that explores issues of social justice through artwork that demands basic human needs be met, diversity respected, and freedom of expression and action fostered.

“Modrak’s video is a rectified readymade made by painting on an existing promotional video. The source video shows a day-in-the-life of Shinola President Jacques Panis. The company Shinola sells $800 watches that they falsely claimed were “made in Detroit.” Shinola’s name is “a nod” to the shoe polish company that promoted their product using caricature of blacks. The contemporary white-owned Shinola uses images of black workers in full-page ads in the NY Times as proof of the company’s authentic Detroit identity. The altered video shows Panis choreographed in a succession of hats, revealing the historical implications of hierarchy and power in each scene.”

Rebekah Modrak: The Implicit Jacques Panis on Shinola’s Quest to Revive American Manufacturing
Opening Reception: Tuesday, September 19, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Fountain Street Church
24 Fountain Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

#exstrange Featured in Journal of Curatorial Studies

The current edition of the Journal of Curatorial Studies features “#exstrange: Curatorial Interventions on eBay.” The article describes Rebekah Modrak’s #exstrange project, which presented one artwork-as-auction per day on eBay, and proposes that the curatorial work interrogated the functioning of the e-commerce platform and the role of digital culture in everyday life, and used the interactivity of the Internet in order to reconsider the relationship between exhibitions, artworks and audiences.

The Journal of Curatorial Studies is an international, peer-reviewed publication that explores the cultural functioning of curating and its relation to exhibitions, institutions, audiences, aesthetics and display culture.


Hyperallergic Features #exstrange

Rebekah Modrak’s #exstrange project – a curated series of eBay auctions as exhibition – is featured in a new Hyperallergic essay by Rob Walker.

“The fifth episode of Robert Hughes’s famous 1980 documentary series “The Shock of the New” memorably sees the critic striding through one in Paris, bellowing about the Surrealists, who had found inspiration in such settings and their ‘endless profusion of battling objects’ in the early 20th century. ‘The flea market was like the unconscious mind of capitalism,’ Hughes booms; artists prowled the sales stalls to mine connections from the seemingly impersonal goods on offer, revealing ‘secret affinities’ within a world that their work ‘declassified.’ And then the curators of #exstrange, Marialaura Ghidini and Rebekah Modrak, showed up in eBay’s infinite flea market with a different, but not unrelated, intent: to set up shop.

The selling of goods and services, in this context, would serve as a ‘pretense,’ as Modrak put it, for facilitating exchanges among strangers — borrowing sociologist Georg Simmel’s take on the ‘stranger’ as a ‘mobile figure who circulates goods.’ And thus, through more than 100 auctions, involving dozens of artists (and non-artists), #exstrange joined and added to the commodity conversation, simultaneously cacophonous and silent, happening on one of our most familiar online agoras.”

Selling Sticks and a Slap in the Face: Artists Intervene in eBay | Hyperallergic

Arshake Interview

Arshake recently published a two-part interview with Rebekah Modrak and her collaborative partner Marialaura Ghidini. The conversation between them and Arshake Editiorial Director Elena Giulia Rossi explored the nature of the curatorial project #exstrange and its relationship with the art market, the contemporary art system, the concept of site-specificity on eBay, the economics of the auctions, and exchanges between artists and bidders. Learn more about the #exstrange project online: http://exstrange.com/

Arshake (reinventing technology) is an atelier for contextualizing technology and art in the wider cultural context by presenting new projects that deconstruct, reinterpret and reinvent art in its encounter with varied disciplines.


Interview | Marialaura Ghidini e Rebekah Modrak. Part II

Interview | Marialaura Ghidini e Rebekah Modrak. Part II

Interview by Elena Giulia Abbiatici to Marialaura Ghidini e Rebekah Modrak, founders of #exstrange, continues from Part I…

Source: www.arshake.com/en/interview-marialaura-ghidini-e-rebekah-modrak-part-ii/

Curating the Contemporary Interview

On April 24, Curating the Contemporary’s Miriam La Rosa spoke to curators Marialaura Ghidini and Rebekah Modrak about their project #exstrange, an online exhibition space that uses eBay as a site for artistic and curatorial practice.

Curating the Contemporary (CtC) is a meeting place for discussions on contemporary art and its practices. It functions as a platform and resource for an international community of artists, curators, museologists and other specialists, sharing diverse perspectives in the format of exhibition reviews, interviews, previews, special features, academic pieces and creative texts.

CtC was established in October 2013 and has since grown as an experimental publisher, through the collaboration with different contributors and institutions. The interview begins …

“Miriam La Rosa: Let’s begin with a very basic question: why did you choose the hashtag #exstrange to name this project?

Marialaura Ghidini: #exstrange comes from a shortening of the title Rebekah and I gave to the project at the beginning of our discussions, Exchange with Stranger. With the hashtag, we wanted to suggest the idea of the online content search, and refer to the hashtag archives that are so entrenched in the culture of social media. Because the project relies so much on categories and the way goods are ‘catalogued’ for consumption—the whole eBay business is based on this—we wanted to propose our own category; one that is open to forming unexpected relationships, that breaks with the definitions implied by a commercial index, and that proposes a different way of making and engaging with art.

Rebekah Modrak: The idea of the ‘Stranger’ came from our desire for artists and designers to engage with eBay communities. Georg Simmel described the ‘stranger’ as someone who enters into a community with the ability to perceive entrenched dynamics with new eyes, and our initial discussions for the project recognised that artists and designers could enact this role within eBay’s categories. At the same time, we envisioned that bidders and browsers would also serve as ‘strangers,’ confronting and commenting on art experiences.”


In conversation with… #exstrange

In conversation with… #exstrange

Miriam La Rosa talks to curators Marialaura Ghidini and Rebekah Modrak about their  project #exstrange, an online exhibition space that uses eBay as a site for artistic and curatorial practice.  Mi…

Source: curatingthecontemporary.org/2017/04/24/6109/

Visiting Artist Lecture at Alfred University

Rebekah Modrak recently spoke at Alfred University about her work and the exhibition, A Day’s Work.

Rebekah’s installation at the Cohen Gallery, Re Made Co., is a multimedia intervention satirizing the brand narrative of Best Made Co., a New York City-based company that sells painted axes using calculated associations with manual labor. Evolving since 2013, Re Made Co. works across genres to introduce a critical discourse into passive consumption.

#exstrange Featured in VICE Creator Project

#exstrange, the eBay-based curatorial project by Rebekah Modrak and Marialaura Ghidini, was recently featured in an article by Catherine Chapman for VICE’s Creators Project.

“When eBay went public in the late 90s, its sale of products online completely changed what we knew about shopping and doing business, taking the consumer away from the storefront and any face-to-face communication. Now, curator Marialaura Ghidini and artist Rebekah Modrak are reversing that, using one of the internet’s largest auction sites to reconsider our transactions of art with the project #exstrange.

‘eBay was used to disrupt this idea of commerce in the real world,’ Ghidini tells Creators. ‘The one-to-one relationship became independent from any other commercial system. Using eBay, we wanted to substitute this one-to-one relationship and rethink how we consume things online.’ #exstrange is a two-month-long live art exhibit in which the pieces are completely curated, seen, and sold through eBay, changing the relationship between the artist and buyer.”

Move Over, Ebay, #exstrange Is Bringing Online Art Auctions Back to the People | VICE: The Creators Project

‘A Day’s Work’ at Cohen Gallery

Rebekah Modrak and Nick Tobier present the exhibition “A Day’s Work,” on display March 1 – April 1 at Alfred University School of Art & Design’s Cohen Gallery. The exhibit features distinct but related bodies of work that serve to challenge viewers’ social expectations. “A Day’s Work” opens March 1 from 6-8pm, with a closing reception on April 1 from 6-8pm.

Rebekah’s installation, Re Made Co., is a multimedia artistic intervention satirizing the brand narrative of a New York City-based company that sells painted axes and a range of “outdoor” consumer products using calculated and false associations with manual labor. Evolving since its launch in July 2013, Re Made Co. works across genres to challenge the values of design practice, and to introduce a critical discourse into passive consumption.

Nick will conduct performances in the gallery and in the community during the month of March. He will present, Marvelous Guests, which lends new working conditions and meanings to several trades by inviting professionals to conduct their business in unusual locations. As a guest. Each encounter will produce its own forms of communication on location. We see the relationship between guest and host as dynamic, and not without friction as each adjusts to the other.

A Day’s Work
Exhibition Dates: March 1 – April 1, 2017
Exhibition opens March 1, 6 – 8 pm; Closing reception on April 1 at 6 – 8 pm

Cohen Gallery, Alfred University School of Art & Design
55 North Main Street, Alfred, New York 14802

Rebekah Modrak Presents Talk at Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology

On Friday, January 27, Rebekah Modrak presented a talk entitled “Stop Selling What People Can’t Buy: Using Critical Design to Disrupt Brand Messaging” at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore, India.

In her talk, Professor Modrak will describe her use of recreation and critical design to critique the appropriation of working class identities. She’s explored these questions in creative works, such as Re Made Co., and in written work, such as “Bougie Crap.” Her work has been noted in The New York Times, and reviewed and discussed on sites including Core77, Design Observer, and Consumption Markets & Culture.