I’ve had a pretty ridiculous week, so forgive this quick post – with luck, I will have more time to get back to theory and inquiry this weekend. Rather than maintain radio silence, though, I wanted to share my excitement about this announcement from Creative Time that I just received about the fantastic group The Yes Men:
Creative Time is proud to announce:
THE LEONORE ANNENBERG PRIZE FOR ART AND SOCIAL CHANGE FIRST ANNUAL AWARD of $25,000 to THE YES MEN, Oct 23
Creative Time is pleased to announce the inception of a new, annual, $25,000 award: The Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change, presented by Creative Time to an artist who has committed her/his life’s work to social change in powerful and productive ways. The first recipient of the prize is The Yes Men, and it will be bestowed during the opening ceremony for The Creative Time Summit: Revolutions in Public Practice, on October 23 from 6 to 8pm in the historic Stephen A. Schwarzman building of the New York Public Library. The ceremony will feature an introduction by Amy Goodman, the host of the award-winning program Democracy Now!. The award is generously supported by The Annenberg Foundation.
From the Press Release:
The Yes Men agree their way into the fortified compounds of commerce, ask questions, and then smuggle out the stories of their hijinks to provide a public glimpse at the behind-the-scenes world of business. Over the years they have also launched some very unconventional products—from the Dow Acceptable Risk calculator (a new industry standard for determining how many deaths are acceptable when achieving large profits), to Vivoleum (a new renewable fuel sourced from the victims of climate change. The gonzo political activists were the subject of a documentary film, The Yes Men (2003), and their new documentary film, The Yes Men Fix the World (2009), was awarded the prestigious audience award at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Their film The Yes Men Fix the World recently debuted in theatres in the UK and on HBO in the United States, and will be released nationally in theatres in October. More information about the film and a trailer can be found at theyesmenfixtheworld.com.
The Yes Men perfectly capture the spirit of the award, which honors an artist or artist group for historically significant work that has an expansive impact on society. At the ceremony, they will give an interactive, performative lecture.
The prize will be awarded in a ceremony that also opens The Creative Time Summit: Revolutions in Public Practice. The Summit is presented by Creative Time and LIVE from the NYPL as part of the LIVE from the NYPL fall season. The Summit continues on October 24, from 10am to 7:30pm, with over 35 international cultural producers whose work has made an impact in the world giving presentations.
These artists, thinkers, and activists range from anarchist collectives to art world luminaries. Their approaches intend to not only reflect, but also act upon moments of historic change, breaking the traditional barriers between art, culture, and politics. The Creative Time Summit will give attendees a chance to see a vast array of artistic practices in rapid-fire presentations, taking place back-to-back all day. These artistic practices defy easy museological categories, and aggressively blend art, politics, and space. Presenters include Okwui Enwezor, Thomas Hirschhorn, Temporary Services, Baltimore Development Cooperative, Not An Alternative, and many more.
I have been a fan of the Yes Men for a long time – they elegantly and brilliantly use satire in pursuing both social justice and political causes, and have a hearty set of balls to boot. They have a knack for infiltrating arenas in which they do not belong and turning inexplicable social systems on their heads. Bravo to them.
If you are interested in seeing their new film, “The Yes Men Fix the World,” the Hammer is hosting the West Coast Premiere on October 21st at 7pm. Check out the website for more information – like all Hammer programs, it is free, so if you are in LA, I hope to see you there.