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Art and Activism
Speaker(s): Bruce Helander, Daniel S. Palmer, Rhonda Long-Sharp, Ted Riederer
Recorded at: ART NEW YORK 2017

Art and Activism

Can political art change the world? History and current examples show that it can. This panel led by artist, writer and critic Bruce Helander and including contemporary gallerist Rhonda Long-Sharp, curator Daniel S. Palmer, who is involved in Public Art Fund’s upcoming exhibition with Ai Weiwei, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, and artist Ted Riederer, who is running a socially relevant project at CONTEXT, will discuss how art touches people at deeper emotional levels, conveying what cannot be said with simple facts.

Talk Details

This session took place live during the Symposium at Art New York 2017.


Speaker Details

Ted Riederer

Ted Riederer (b. 1970, New York, NY) has armed himself with painting supplies, electric guitars, amplifiers, record players, drum kits, photography equipment, and long-stemmed roses while ambling from the Americas to the Antipodes. His work has been shown internationally, including exhibitions at MoMA PS1, Prospect 1.5, Go and Rosenthal Berlin, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, Jack Hanley Gallery, Context Gallery, David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University, University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, the Liverpool Biennial, and the Dhaka Arts Center in Bangladesh. The Tate Modern sponsored his Never Records project, which has traveled from New York to London, New Orleans, and Amman, Jordan. Riederer is also the Artistic Director of Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project, a non-profit gallery/ performance space in New York.


Tone Pictures: Our Year of Dissent

At the birth of the recorded sound, the first commercially available recordings were called tone pictures. The 1904 Columbia records catalog reads like a transcendental poem: Evening Chimes in the Mountains, The Forge in the Forest, A Shriek of Shells.

Tone Pictures evolved into a category of recordings called Descriptive Specialties, many of which have been digitized and are available from the Library of Congress’s National Jukebox. These titles attempt to paint audio portraits of life at the advent of the 20th century, and present a distinct aesthetic experience: Two Rubes in a Tavern, The Passing of a Circus Parade, and Coming Home from Coney Isle.

Tone Pictures: Our Year of Dissent is an audio-visual poem by artist Ted Riederer that is an attempt to capture the persistent echoes of our time. Since 2010, has traveled the world with his conceptual art project Never Records. From the Mississippi to the river Jordan, Riederer has recorded and cut to vinyl over 500 performances in 7 cities around the world. Never Records continues to grow while remaining faithful to its original objective: to create community across social, political, and religious division.

Tone Pictures: Our Year of Dissent will feature photo emulsion prints made with records that Riederer will record and cut to clear vinyl. Like insects in amber, these prints are an attempt to freeze an echo in time. Riederer is using the vinyl records like photographic negatives to capture traces of ephemeral sounds.

The records will represent a selection of audio recordings collected and recorded by Riederer whose titles will write a poem of this moment in our shared history: My Father with Dimentia Trying to Remember, The Heartbeats of My Lover on the Eve of our Marriage, The Sound of Trains at Midnight, The Protests on April 15th, 2017.

Bruce Helander

Bruce Helander is a former White House Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Art Economist magazine. His columns on art, values, and investing in art appear regularly in The Huffington Post.

Rhonda Long-Sharp

After a successful 20+ year legal career defending men and women on death row in the highest courts of the US, art enthusiast and collector Rhonda Long-Sharp decided to formally pursue her passion for the arts in 2005. Beginning as both an art consultant and modern art broker, Long-Sharp specialized in post-war and contemporary multiples and works on paper. Recognizing the internet’s inherent global accessibility to fine art and cognizant of obstacles that virtual galleries can place in a collector’s path, Long-Sharp invested substantial resources and years of experience as a collector and dealer to provide national and international buyers with security and confidence in the acquisition process. Long-Sharp Gallery warrants each work sold with extensive warranties as to condition and authenticity. Long-Sharp Gallery has placed works in important museums, corporations, and in public and private collections. With modern and contemporary fine art clients on 6 continents, Long-Sharp Gallery is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Along with being a member of various federal bars, Long-Sharp is also a member of the International Fine Art Appraisers and the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association.

Daniel S. Palmer

Daniel S. Palmer is currently an Associate Curator at the Public Art Fund where he has curated exhibitions including Liz Glynn’s Open House, and Commercial Break, an exhibition of digital video and photography by 23 artists exhibited on advertising screens in all five boroughs. Previously, as the Leon Levy Assistant Curator at the Jewish Museum, New York, Palmer co-curated exhibitions including Unorthodox and Repetition and Difference, and curated Masterpieces & Curiosities: Diane Arbus’s Jewish Giant, as well as overseeing the Masterpieces & Curiosities series and public eventsIndependently, Palmer has curated exhibitions including Scarlet Street at Lucien Terras (2016), New York, Lucas Samaras Pastels at Craig F. Starr Gallery, New York (2013), and co-curated Decenter: An Exhibition on the Centenary of the 1913 Armory Show at Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center (2013). He is a contributor to numerous exhibition catalogues and publications, among them The Whitney Museum of American Art’s Hopper Drawing (2013); the Kunstmuseum Bonn’s New York Painting (2015); as well as numerous media outlets, including ARTnewsMousseKaleidoscopeCura, the Exhibitionist, and Guernica, among others.

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