MCubed Funding Awarded

An interdisciplinary team of faculty and staff including Rebekah Modrak, Jamie Vander Broek, and Aaron Ahuvia, have received $60,000 in support from the University of Michigan’s MCubed program, a two-year seed-funding program.

Their project, “Humility in the Age of Commerce”, will explore the virtue of humility, with focus on how we live as consumers. The project will include a colloquium that gathers a diverse group of scholars and practitioners to discuss the value and costs of humility in their practices, and will culminate in a multi-disciplinary publication on how humility is exemplified through divergent practices.

Modrak, Associate Professor at Stamps, Vander Broek, U-M Librarian for Art & Design, and Ahuvia, Professor of Marketing at the U-M Dearborn College of Business, are supported by a fourth collaborator, Sarah Buss, Professor in the Department of Philosophy. Sarah Posner, Stamps BFA student, and Maggie Johnson, BA Museum Studies, are research assistants for the project.

Rebekah Modrak: Visiting Artist at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Rebekah Modrak will give a talk on contemporary uses and mis-uses of the terms “community,” “craft,” and “labor” at the School of Art + Design / University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

The talk will present her creative interventions and publications that challenge uncritical misconceptions that “labor” and “community” are consumable experiences, and that “craft” is the domain of the leisure class. As part of her visit, Modrak will hold a brown-bag lunch with graduate students.

Hosted by the Youth in the Creative Cities Research Cluster, the talk is supported by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities and will be held on Monday, May 2, 2016, 5pm in the School of Art + Design Building.

Harvard “Fair Use Week” Series

Harvard University’s “Fair Use Week” features Associate Professor Rebekah Modrak’s lecture about her use of fair use to challenge a cease-and-desist letter and to publish her work. “Fair Use Week” is a week-long celebration of fair use.

“Rebekah Modrak, Associate Professor, School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, recounts the challenges she encountered after creating a work of art that incorporated 3rd party copyrighted material. In 2013, she founded Re Made Co., a “company” that parodies the urban woodsman aesthetic of Best Made Co, which markets designer axes through the rhetoric of authenticity, the appropriation of working-class identities, and the revitalization of traditional male roles.

After receiving a cease-and-desist letter, she turned for advice to College Art Association (CAA), which connected her with legal advice about fair use at the University of Michigan.”

Rebekah Modrak Presents at College Art Association Conference

Rebekah Modrak will give an invited lecture as part of a panel at the College Art Association conference in Washington DC on February 5 at 12:30pm. Her presentation “Re-Made Co.: Meeting Legal and Publishing Challenges with Help from CAA’s Code” is part of the panel “Putting the Fair Use Code to Work: Case Studies from Year One,” chaired by Judy Metro of the National Gallery of Art.

Consumption Markets & Culture

Laurie A. Meamber, Associate Professor of Marketing at George Mason University provided commentary on Rebekah Modrak‘s paper Learning to talk like an urban woodsman: an artistic intervention for Consumption Markets & Culture, a peer-reviewed journal published by Routledge. Rebekah’s paper is an artist statement on her 2013 Re Made project, which presents a clever parody of “brand culture.” Visit the Re Made Company online.

Commentary on learning to talk like an (urban) woodsman: an artistic intervention | Laurie A. Meamber



Re Made Co. in Hudson, NY

Rebekah Modrak’s Re Made Co. takes over the storefront windows of Incident Report in Hudson, New York, Aug. 14 through Sept. 14.

Re Made Co. exists as a “company” via website and social media that parodies the urban woodsman aesthetic of Best Made Co, which markets designer axes through the rhetoric of authenticity, the appropriation of working-class identities, and the revitalization of traditional male roles. Re Made Co. substitutes Best Made Co.‘s $300 urban axe with a $300 toilet plunger and satirizes their marketing campaign through design, social media, and photography.

This project uses critical design to pose pivotal questions related to the aestheticization and commodification of tools: Why are tools meant for work stylized and sold as luxury items? How is working-class labor sanitized and sold for white-collar fantasy? How are objects marketed with contradictory references, each promising “authentic” experiences that will lead to self-fulfillment?