Archive for the Belmar Lab Category

Platform 2, out of Cambridge, MA, is organizing a Failure Support Group on February 29. Here are details:

What: Failure Support Group
Where: Democracy Center
45 Mt. Auburn St, Harvard Sq., Cambridge, MA
When: Friday, Feb 29th, 6:30PM

When a scientific experiment fails, this is useful public knowledge. When an art project fails, it is generally to the great embarassment of the artist/s involved and any public discussion is consciously avoided. But what might we learn from discussing our artistic failures? What is so horrible about failure? Why does our culture cover it up with such vigor? American culture glories in images of success, upward mobility, achievement. At the very least a homogeneous normal is acceptable, but what is lauded is a relentless progress towards success. In the face of this, how do we deal with our failures? Do we have to see them as worthless or shameful? Can failure be recouped as a space for resistance, individual growth, or a stand for culture that embraces difference?

Platform2 invites you to a one-night, participatory support group to see what we can learn from our artistic failures.

How it’ll work: Each person gets 5 minutes to present their artistic failure. Bring visual support materials on a thumb drive for presenting from a laptop computer.

Note: We can only accommodate 20 presenters, so first come, first served. You may also attend to listen as long as you will share some of your own failures in the group discussion.

Light refreshments will be served.


Meanwhile, the Belmar Lab’s exhibition “Failure,” has now set its roster of artists (and “36 Artworks About Failure”) and the space is preparing for the opening. Details:



Cheese Cubes
Cheap Wine
Heartbreaking songs of love performed on the oboe
The sounds of Red Hook, NY
36 Artworks About Failure

Dress badly and keep your expectations low. (Ours are.)

Failure is an exhibition that considers the artistic implications of disappointment, rejection, malfunction and breakdown. Artists chosen for this exhibition were asked to consider different ways to depict the concept failure, offering, perhaps, a critique of what we are commonly told is right.

Failure features new works by artists Bill Amundson, Stephen Batura, Drew Beckmeyer, Francessca Berrini, Luke Best, Sam Brown, Chris Buzelli, Gemma Correll, Ian Dingman, Kiersten Essenpries, P-Jay Fidler, Nicole Gordon, Pamala Henderson, Bob Jewett, Rusty Jordan, Gary Kachadorian, Mister Koppa, Jeremiah Maddock, Wes Magyar, Butch Mann, Amanda Marie, Max Miceli, Lauri Lynx Murphy, Lori Nelson, Robyn O’Neil, Eric Ottinger, Qi Peng, Mike Perry, Liliana Porter, Julia Pott, Courtney Reagor, Daniel St. George II, Jay Taylor, Mark Todd, Esther Pearl Watson. Co-curated by Ethan Jantzer and Adam Lerner.

Join us. What’s the worst that can happen?

Another tip of the failure hat to Rich for alerting the Chronicle of the exhibition called “Failure,” slated to open soon at the Belmar Lab just outside of Denver.

Subtitle to this exhibition?: “FEEL FREE TO HATE THIS EXHIBITION”


And after reading Executive Director Adam Lerner’s statement for the show, I’ve decided I have to find a way to get out there and see the show, come hell or February snows.

Failure is an exhibition that considers the artistic implications of disappointment, rejection, malfunction and breakdown. Sounds implausible, right?

That’s what I would have thought until about a year when I went to visit a friend of mine who is now a professor at Cornell University. Jason called me on my cell phone the morning of my visit, “If you drive to campus directly from the airport, you’ll be able to catch Judith Halberstam’s lecture on failure as a political strategy.” “What? Yeah, sure.” And as I sped through the winding roads of upstate New York, I thought, “Wow, I must be really out of touch.”

Speaking to an eager crowd of philosophically-hip Cornellians, Halberstam presented the notion of failure as a means to affirm marginal voices in our society, people who missed out on the happy social and economic networks of family and work. But, as I listened to her wrangle a political theory out of the concept failure, a flood of images came to mind suggesting that that failure is a wide current hidden in plain sight at the very center of contemporary American culture.

Like its opposite success, failure runs deeps through the fabric of our society from the “Turn on, tune in, drop out” creed of Timothy Leary, to the aggressive nihilism of the punk rock generation, to the identification with the beautiful loser among skateboard and graffiti generation. It’s seems to be the theme of every other story on Ira Glass’ radio show This American Life and Dave Eggers literary magazine McSweeney’s. American dysfunctionality is the very subject of American’s longest running sitcom, The Simpsons.

When I shared my academically inspired insights with artist Ethan Janzer, he convinced me that visual artists have a great deal to say about failure, so I asked him to co-curate this exhibition with me. The works we selected for Failure suggest different ways of failing, and by doing so offer a critique of what we are told is right.

Right on, Adam. Failure does run deep through the fabric of our society. And, I’d add, through the fabric of art!