Qualifier: Brenda Martinez leans in

US Olympic Track and Field trials, final for the women’s 1,500 meters. Just watch.



Five Drills, Brad Killam and Zachary Cahill

Julia Lazarus: The Brittleness of the Player’s Body

Die Brüchigkeit der Spielerinnenkörper from julia lazarus on Vimeo.

Theseus Beefcake (teaser)

Theseus Beefcake – Teaser 1 from PanicLab on Vimeo.

I cannot get enough of grappling-based performance!

Hazel Meyer’s Muscle Panic

Muscle Panic (1 min) from Hazel Meyer on Vimeo.

“Performed on Thursday August 27th, at Scrap Metal Gallery in Toronto Ontario, with Cait McKinney, Lena Suksi, Anthea Black, Aisha Sasha John and Hazel Meyer. Original performance runs 32 minutes.”

A genre: installation-based work repurposing sports artifacts — often inviting movement, forms of play within the gallery. I’m partial to feminist/gendery versions like the above.


“I Don’t Think We’ve Seen That”


From the days when the rape-y-ness of the football imagination had a certain innocence to it.

Art+Sport: On the Sonic and Material Properties of Bounce

This Sunday (Nov 8), Machine Project and Cabinet magazine team up to present two new episodes in the life of bounce from artist (and former professional squash player) Carlin Wing. Episodes in the Life of Bounce is hosted by Sabrina Chou’s experimental sporting exhibition, HR.

From 1pm to 4pm, artist Carlin Wing, assisted by Luke Fischbeck, will present Live Ball Orchestra, a workshop about the sonic and musical properties of bounce. Participants will use balls of all types to sound out the architectural space of Sabrina Chou’s exhibition at HRLA. (One can play tennis with the gallery — bouncing the ball of the wall and objects in the space.) Participants will explore the aural characteristics of bouncing objects, test the range of acoustic relationships between ball and surface, and experiment with building tonal and rhythmic arrangements. Some bounce audio will be recorded. Balls will be provided but participants are also encouraged to BYOBall.

Following the workshop at 5pm, the event moves to the bleachers for Episodes in the Life of Bounce, an illustrated talk by Carlin about rubber as the foundational material of modern sport. All cultures play games with balls, but the rubber ball has a special history. In their time, the Aztec and the Maya built entire cosmologies around rubber bounce, while in recent centuries sport-crazed Europeans and North Americans have tirelessly experimented with rubber’s uncanny properties in pursuit of “true bounce.”

Balls: Michelle Grabner’s Soccer Mom Art

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Last year, the artist Michelle Grabner was subjected to a tremendously sexist review of her work by the New York Times’s Ken Johnson. He ticked many of the boxes for “most ignorant things you can say about a woman artist’s work.” Is her work narrow because it references the domestic? Yes, he says! Is her work childish for her having children? Why yes! Is her work boring and meaningless, just like housework? God, yes! He makes zero reference to the feminist contexts through which one might read her work. He punctuated this now notorious review with the following two sentences.

Nothing in all this is more interesting than the unexamined sociological background of the whole. If the show were a satire of the artist as a comfortably middle-class tenured professor and soccer mom, it would be funny and possibly illuminating, but it’s not.

So, in response, the feminist professor made a gingham soccer ball. You can buy one for yourself, perhaps you can kick it around with your kids. It’s actually less expensive than official tournament balls.

As Grabner well knows, the kind of things Johnson said about her work have been said for the past couple hundred years about women artists (e.g. Rosa Bonheur, Jane Austen) — esp. those who work from the textures of everyday life. In his review, Johnson faults Grabner for not providing a “sociological” angle to her practice — a ludicrous expectation, frankly, for Grabner’s work. (What is sociology in the context of contemporary art, really? What would make it feel sociological enough?) That kind of demand — that things feel “sociological” and REAL — is not made of masculinist artists like, say, Frank Stella. Stella makes big art from manly things like steel, and produces them in factory like conditions romancing an idea of Productive Labor. This manly work is made by a MAN and in a manly way — and that tidy lining up of masculine signifiers is enough to give it meaning and value.

Reproductive labor is always abject, even when it’s really beautiful — it’s very beauty becomes the signal of its worthlessness (the abjection of feminine/reproductive labor is explored by a wild range of artists — e.g. Mary Kelley, Toni Morrison, Virginia Woolf, Kara Walker, Faith Wilding). I have more to say about this, but other deadlines are pressing on me!

Some good articles responding to Grabner’s work and Johnson’s review:

Jillian Steinhauer, “On Ken Johnson and the Question of Sexism,” Hyperallergic

Mary Louise Schumacher, “Why Michelle Grabner warrants more scrutiny,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

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