99 cents at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

In May, 2017 MOCAD will open a major group exhibition of a diverse range of 99 artists making work from items purchased at America’s ubiquitous 99 Cent stores. Jens Hoffmann invited 99 artists all based in the United States to purchase items at 99 Cent stores, each spending up to a total of $99. The artists will use those materials to create new artworks that will be presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

99 Cents or Less will present the work of: Kelly Akashi, Kathryn Andrews, Uri Aran, Julieta Aranda, Edgar Arceneaux, Corrie Baldauf, John Baldessari, Heidi Barlow, Michael Bell-Smith, Brian Belott, Frank Benson, Jennifer Bornstein, Andrea Bowers, Chris Bradley, Jon Brumit, Dora Budor, Nicholas Buffon, A.K. Burns, Jedediah Caesar, Juan Capistran, James Collins, Matt Connors, Bjorn Copeland, Sarah Crowner, Sara Cwynar, N. Dash, Nathaniel de Large, Michael DeLucia, Jim Drain, Josh Faught, Harrell Fletcher, Liam Gillick, Samara Golden, Piero Golia, Michelle Grabner, Nicolas Guagnini, Henry Gunderson, Mark Handforth, Lena Henke, Marie Hermann, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Ben Hall, Channing Hansen, Scott Hocking, Jonathan Horowitz, Alex Israel, Alfredo Jaar, Colter Jacobsen, Elizabeth Jaeger, Meredith James, Matt Johnson, Rashid Johnson, Sarah Kabot, Shaina Kasztelan, Osman Khan, Thomas Kovachevich, Andrew Kuo, Agnieszka Kurant, Jason Lazarus, Pamela Lins, Mateo Lopez, Bonnie Lucas, Shana Lutker, Jill Magid, Anthony Marcellini, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Josiah McElheny, Adam McEwen, Heather McGill, Jason Meadows, Josephine Meckseper, Sarah Meyohas, Jason Middlebrook, Carter Mull, Matt Mullican, Ruben Ochoa, Arthur Ou, Virginia Overton, Hamilton Poe, Walter Price, Rob Pruitt, Puppies Puppies, Jonathan Rajewski, Chadwick Rantanen, Sean Raspet, Hans Dieter Rieder, John Riepenhoff, Will Rogan, Matthew Ronay, Aura Rosenberg, Amanda Ross-Ho, Sterling Ruby, Michael Scoggins, Robert Sestok, Arlene Shechet, Amy Sillman, Casey Silverstein, Laurie Simmons, Michael B. Smith, Philip Smith, Agathe Snow, Valeska Soares, Haim Steinbach, Jessica Stockholder, Ricky Swallow, Cheyney Thompson, Clarissa Tossin, J Parker Valentine, Jamian Juliano Villani, Michael Wang, Garth Weiser, Eric Wesley, Jeff Williams, Viola Ye?iltaç, and Mario Ybarra Jr.

“Although the exhibition may at first appear rather straightforward and perhaps even brash given the direct connection it is making between the world of art and the world of commerce, 99 Cents or Less is a reflection on the development of the United States’ economy and its large income inequalities, as well as a reflection on the role and function of arts institutions in times of economic hardship and political turmoil,” says, Jens Hoffmann, Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at Large.

As of 2016, there are about forty thousand dollar stores operating in the United States, together making about $50 billion in annual revenue. The dollar store phenomenon has become such a large part of the country’s retail industry that the New York Times proclaimed that we are living in the “age of the dollar-store economy.” While about 50 percent of the stores’ customers earn less than $30,000 per year, roughly 20 percent make $70,000 or more, pointing towards how conspicuous frugality has replaced the conspicuous consumption of the pre-2008 era.

99 Cents or Less is also a reflection on the realities of a city that once was one of the country’s wealthiest, and a global industrial powerhouse. By using materials from 99 cent stores, with often obscure and questionable manufacturing chains, 99 Cents or Less hopes to make the connection between past, present, and future centers of production and points to a way that artists can address the manners in which mass production has changed and will continue to change and evolve. The exhibition follows Marcel Duchamp’s concept of the readymade, an industrially produced consumer item that is manipulated via an intervention by the artist. More over 99 Cents or Less understands itself as an extension of the Italian art movement Arte Povera within the globalized field of 21st century high end art manufacturing. Arte Povera critiqued the corporate mentality and the slick styles of art made in the 1950s and 60s with an art made of inexpensive and unconventional materials.

This exhibition will be accompanied by a publication and a series of public programs that will explore subjects like consumerism, trade, labor, new materialism, acceleration, poverty, and prosperity as well as art as commodity.

99 Cents or Less is curated by Jens Hoffmann, Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at Large and organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Curatorial support is provided by Scott Campbell, Ford Foundation Curatorial Fellow at MOCAD. Exhibition Management is provided by Zeb Smith, Exhibitions Manager. Design provided by Jon Sueda of Stripe SF.

New work at Untitled Art Fair in Miami

Milk, 2016 Inkjet pigment printer inks on canvas 48 × 60 × 2 in 121.9 × 152.4 × 5.1 cm


REVIEW: commission for SF MOMA reviewed in LA Times by Christopher Knight

SFMOMA’s expansion offers a deep dive into blue-chip artists’ works

By Christopher Knight

April 28, 2016


The studio is excited to announce its been awarded a large commission from SFMOMA for their re-opening in spring 2016!

About Time: Photographs from the SFMOMA Collection, the photography department’s inaugural exhibition will debut at the re-opening of the museum, spring 2016. The commission will enter directly into the museum’s permanent collection.

just received: Phase 1 Live Archive featured on the cover of A Political Economy of the Senses

Anita Chari revives the concept of reification from Marx and the Frankfurt School to spotlight the resistance to neoliberal capitalism now forming at the level of political economy and at the more sensate, experiential level of subjective transformation. Reading art by Oliver Ressler, Zanny Begg, Claire Fontaine, Jason Lazarus, and Mika Rottenberg, as well as the politics of Occupy Wall Street, Chari identifies practices through which artists and activists have challenged neoliberalism’s social and political logics, exposing its inherent tensions and contradictions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Anita Chari is assistant professor of political science at the University of Oregon. In addition to her work as a critical theorist, she is a creative writer, composer, and musician.

Tate Modern Photogram Survey

My photogram series “Heinecken Studies” published in Tate Modern’s magazine (Spring 2015). The full article surveys artists employing photogram techniques, tracing work by Walead Beshty, Sam Falls, James Welling, Christian Marclay, and Man Ray among others. Written by Jonathan Griffin (LA)


Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin July 9 - August 2, 2015

Kunsthaus im KunstKulturQuartier, Nürnberg December 2015 - 14. February 2016

Mùzeum Ludwig, Budapest, Hungary 14. April - 3. July 2016

Stadtgalerie Kiel 9. September - 13. November 2016

Dave Allen, Juliana Bardolim & Sergey Voronzov, Gilvan Barreto, Eva Beham & Sebastian Tröger, Dirk Bell, Klaus Beyer, Candice Breitz, Laura Bruce, Susanne Bürner, Jörg Buttgereit, Frieder Butzmann, Max Cabello, Yane Calovski, George Condo, Hubert Czerepok, Daniela Dacorso, Walter Dahn, Jeremy Deller, Sven Drühl, Lucas Foletto Celinski, Pablo Garber, Henryk Gericke, Moritz Götze, massoud graf-hachempour, Julia Herbster, Andy Hope 1930, Tibor Horvath, IRWIN, MK Kähne, Klaus Killisch, Cristian Kirby, Helmut Kirsch, Christina Kral, Jonathan Kroll, Jason Lazarus, Via Lewandowsky, Robert Lippok, Catherine Lorent, Claus Löser & Jakobine Motz, Jörg Mandernach, Bjarne Melgaard, Heiner Mühlenbrock, Christoffer Munch Andersen, Stary Mwaba, Hajnal Nemeth, Raymond Pettibon, Elizabeth Peyton, Bettina Pousttchi, Daniel Richter, Pipilotti Rist, Andreas Rost, Miguel Rothschild, Sammlung Burmeister, Chris Sauter, Günter Schickert, René Schoemakers, Sarah Schönfeld, Hans J. Schulze, Greg Semu, Jeremy Shaw, Raf Simons, Elizabeth Skadden, Florian Süssmayr, Sebastian Szary, Keiichi Tanaami, TARWATER, Nahuel Tow, Joris Van de Moortel, Fabrizia Vanetta, Koen Vermeule, Lucas Wahl, Hans Weigand, Michael Wesely, Markus Wirthmann, Adam Witkowski, Ming Wong

Installation at UNTITLED Art Fair, Miami, FL

ANDREW RAFACZ at UNTITLED (Booth A05) Miami, FL December 3-7, 2014


Review in April issue of Frieze Magazine: Jason Lazarus at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

Jason Lazarus is often described as an artist activist. But it would be more apt to say that he makes work about activism. In Lazarus’s hands, art is a channel through which to consider failure and attempt, desperation and motivation, abandonment and cause. In this, his first museum exhibition, the Chicago-based artist, who trained as a photographer, worked across installation, sculpture and found objects. The result was ambitious but not overwrought; including 17 works, the show’s cadence felt measured and nicely spare.

Lazarus’s work draws heavily on the archive and the art of collection. Even his primary objects often depict, or remake, found material (usually on a much grander scale). For instance, in this exhibition there was a rejection letter to a Neil Armstrong fan scanned and re-fabricated at 1.5 x 1 m and a copy of the 1955 ‘Family of Man’ exhibition catalogue (with a personal note inscribed on the first page) re-photographed by Lazarus and printed 1.5 x 2.3 m. Found objects were also on display, such as a board wrapped in a blanket secured by gaffer tape and an abandoned colour wheel painting, which the artist discovered in New Orleans and Tampa, respectively. More than a production strategy, this manner of generating work is a philosophy in line with the embedded content. By gathering his material from the world rather than constructing it entirely in a studio, Lazarus not only makes a political statement about the hierarchy of objects, he also reinforces his desire to make sense of other people’s private experiences. Even his photographs of ‘the real world’ seem borrowed from exterior vantages, such as his image of the entrance to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, the school that, as the title of the piece informs us, twice denied the young Hitler a place. In other shows, Lazarus has pictured the upward-facing view from Freud’s couch and the top of the tree gazed upon by Anne Frank during her period of hiding. As with collecting forgotten or discarded objects, these images are attempts – some more complicated than others – to see the world through other people’s eyes.

This strategy was propagated in one of the two large installations, Too Hard to Keep. Begun in 2010, the ongoing project is made up of donated photographs deemed too painful to retain by their original owners. The pictures, now numbering over 3,000, are scattered throughout a small room formed by four temporary white walls. Select prints, which were gifted to Lazarus but still considered private by their anonymous donors, are turned to face the wall. The majority are viewable, however, and alarmingly normal: Polaroids of young women smiling, school photos, a boy sleeping, a man performing onstage, an exposed torso. Detached from their wounded owners but not destroyed, the images stand as metaphors for emotional release or purgatory – or maybe both.

If Too Hard to Keep is Lazarus’s ultimate collection of primary images, Phase I/Live Archive (2011–ongoing), the other large installation in the show, takes a different, if more oblique, approach to the found object. For the project, Lazarus led workshops in which participants re-created protest signs from the Occupy movement. The makers were instructed to produce ‘literal, three-dimensional cop[ies],’ duplicating the text as well as ‘any creases, bends and tears’. Their resulting creations – now art objects – do not give themselves away as facsimiles.

This 1:1 object replication poses a new set of questions and internal conflicts, particularly when it comes to such loaded symbols. For instance, does Phase 1 pay tribute to the Occupy protesters by creating an original monument to the spirit of collective dissent, or does it deny specific people authorship over their messages (for example, ‘I’m 84 and mad as hell’ and ‘Doctor Who cares for the 99%’)? Does it sardonically point to the manner in which leftist activists often recycle their strategies, or celebrate the unique proliferation of the movement, which spread from New York’s Zuccotti Park across the country and around the world? All of these interpretations hold, affording the work a complex and mutable power.

Two hand-carved, elongated ‘dashes’ made of granite sat on the gallery floor, each mounted on a low, narrow plinth. Both were inverted and proportionally enlarged duplicates of the line that connects the birth and death dates on a gravestone. In titling the works George Richard Moscone (November 24, 1929–November 27, 1978) (2013) and Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (January 18, 1858 – August 4, 1931) (2013), Lazarus pays tribute to the liberal former Mayor of San Francisco, assassinated along with Harvey Milk, as well as Dr. Williams, the inventor of open heart surgery. The twin sculptures are perfect exemplars of Lazarus’s work, which seeks to gauge the meaning of lives lived through progressive action. As the so-called ‘apathetic generation’ comes of age, it’s a rather hopeful proposition.

Carmen Winant, Frieze, April 2014

Current MCA Exhibition Selected for Artforum's Critics' Picks

Chicago Works: Jason Lazarus is an Artforum critics’ pick! Claudine Ise discusses artistic strategies of obfuscation.

The exhibition also appeared in the January 2013 issue of Artforum, where Lori Waxman previewed the show.

The show is up until June 18th at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Be sure to check (the schedule)[http://www.mcachicago.org/exhibitions/next/all/309] to see when piano student Anthony Zediker will performing Chopin’s Nocturne Op 55 No 1. Every week during museum hours Anthony continues to publicly learn the nocturne; viewers are able to interact with him as much or as little as they like.

*This exhibition will travel to another museum in the fall of 2013, more details to come!

Download a digital version of the exhibition essay here (4MB PDF)

more information on the exhibition here

upcoming solo exhibition: Live Archive at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Jason Lazarus: Live Archive
November 21, 2013 – March 23, 2014
Contemporary Jewish Museum
San Francisco, CA

Upcoming MCA Exhibition Previewed in January 2013 Artforum

Lori Waxman wrote a preview for the Chicago Works: Jason Lazarus exhibition opening March 19 - June 18 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. It appears in the January 2013 issue of Artforum.

BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Jason Lazarus

March 19 – Jun 18, 2013

The BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works exhibition series is designed to showcase the best new work being made in Chicago, regardless of the status of the artist’s career—whether emerging or established, mid-career or undergoing reinvention. For his second solo exhibition at the MCA, Chicago-based artist Jason Lazarus continues to develop his practice in new directions, presenting new and recent projects. Known primarily for his photographic works, Lazarus has in recent years expanded his artistic scope, conflating the role of the artist with that of collector, archivist, and curator. Above all, Lazarus is a sign-maker—sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically—creating works that simultaneously direct attention inward, toward the personal, and outward, toward the historical. This dual provocation highlights the referential nature of Lazarus’s practice, with the artist inviting us to revel, scrutinize, imagine, and wonder along with him.

A key component of BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Jason Lazarus is the presentation of what the artist refers to as “a public parable of learning.” Inspired by his experiences as an educator—Lazarus teaches courses in photography at both Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—and reflecting on how his own processes of learning, failing, and persevering often play out in the public spaces of museums, galleries, and classrooms, Lazarus presents this parable through weekly “performances” by a student of classical piano who will learn Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturne in F minor, op. 55, no. 1, over the course of the exhibition. This piece is significant for Lazarus in that it relates to his interest in both music and the gesture; Chopin was instrumental in transforming the genre of the Nocturne, a dreamy form of composition for piano, from a practice exercise into a powerful end-piece. Thus, throughout the run of the exhibition, the student fills the galleries with the sounds of learning—mistakes, triumphs, and, eventually, the student’s own stylistic interpretation of the piece. Other works, from photographs to installations, will accompany and augment this parable by reflecting Lazarus’s own development of a unique vision and voice, in addition to his musings on how learning often becomes (mis)identified as progress in a larger sociohistorical context.

This exhibition is organized by Steven L. Bridges, Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Spring 2013 Catalog Release, "Jason Lazarus: Your Time Is Gonna Come"


Jason Lazarus: Your Time Is Gonna Come Text by Michelle Grabner, Kendra Paitz, Barry Blinderman, Nicholas Wylie.

Chicago-based photographer Jason Lazarus (born 1975) is known for using both traditionally developed photography as well as found and solicited images and texts in collaborative installations. Among the projects examined is Too Hard to Keep, an ongoing archive through which Lazarus preserves photographs too emotionally charged to keep yet too meaningful to destroy.

more info and pre-orders available here

"T.H.T.K. (San Francisco)" at SF Camerawork, January 16 - March 16, 2013

Artist Lecture: Saturday, February 16 at 6:00 pm

In 2010 Chicago-based artist Jason Lazarus initiated an archive of photographs deemed “too hard to keep” so that there would be a repository for these kinds of images to exist without being destroyed. Submissions include photos of friends, family, pets, places, and/or photo objects considered too hard to view again. To learn more about Too Hard To Keep and how you can participate, please visit: toohardtokeep.blogspot.com

A 64-page monograph that includes a text by Abigail Solomon-Godeau will be published in June 2013.

1011 Market Street (at 6th) · 415-487-1011 Wed—Sat, Noon to 5:00 pm (also by appointment) www.sfcamerawork.org

"Love to Love You" at MASS MoCA, May 26, 2013 - Jan 31, 2014

Installation of work from Michael Jackson Memorial Procession to be included in the upcoming group show “Love to Love You” at MASS MoCA.

“Fandom is less like being in love than like being in love with love.” - Michael Joseph Gross

Is it possible to tell the history of popular culture, not through celebrities, sports teams, or television shows, but through their fans? The exhibition Love to Love You brings together artists who explore fandom as a unique opportunity for shared social experience and extreme personal obsession. For many, being a fan means entering a fantasy world of devotion. Fandom transcends material consumption and becomes a fictional space in which people play out their hopes and dreams. In this sense, looking at fans tells us more about the emotional and cultural attachments we form to objects than about popular culture itself.

Using a variety of artistic approaches, the artists in this exhibition explore the lived experience of fandom as both a personal and social force. These artists present fans, not as passive spectators, but active participants in culture. Whether making memorabilia, writing fan fiction, or singing karaoke, fans become creators as much as consumers of culture. By looking at the social culture of fandom, this exhibition poses questions about authorship, collectivity, and our place in the hierarchy of cultural production. Ultimately, these works ask us to consider whether fandom can be a radical site for participation in culture.

Participating artists include Eric Doeringer, Elissa Goldstone, Jason Lazarus, and Patrick McDonough, among others.

The exhibition is curated by Martha Joseph, a student in the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. The exhibition is made possible by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in support of MASS MoCA and the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

"Circa 1970, Afterimage Studies" at Notre Dame Isis Gallery, Jan 24 - Feb 18 2012

With attendant lecture on February 7th

When looking backward in time, photography offers a carnivalesque lens through which to learn. Things that shouldn’t linger in front of us do, their features distorted and laid bare. This applies to the entirety of photographic practice­–the subjects of photographs, reduced to two dimensions, have no shame; they always dare to stay fixed. Their stubbornness transmutes doubt into belief.

A naturally occurring phenomenon, the camera obscura always offered us a manner to translate the world into an image, but has never offered a way to fix it. The intervention to stabilize images is our greatest feat and failure. We live in the complex wake of this paradox.

The optical afterimage is also our birthright–a product of fatigue of vision. The momentary lingering of an afterimage is a compensatory biological reflex–we’re hardwired for harmonious relationships in tone and color (which only begins to reveal our predicament). It’s an innate warning of stabilizing vision, of fixedness not in our nature.

An afterimage plays out as a moving image when we pay close attention, with elements moving, pulsing, dissolving and manifesting. The frame, which usually makes everything into a diptych (what is inside vs what is outside) loses some definition. Perhaps the afterimage can offer a different kind of transparency—a simultaneous view of seeing and seen. Stare at the magenta dot–there is something in this.

"Shadow Puppets: Traces of New Documentary Practices" at Georgia State University Jan 14 - Feb 8, 2013

Shadow Puppets: Traces of New Documentary Practices Exhibition Curated by Jill Frank and Stephanie Dowda Jan 14 - Feb 8, 2013

Welch School Galleries

Exhibiting Artists:
Daniel Bejar
Paul Chan
Debbie Grossman
Guillermo Gudiño
Sergei Isaenko
Lamia Joreige
Jason Lazarus
Sanaz Mazinani
Michael David Murphy
Possible Press
Joel Sternfeld

Many of the photographic and video works in this exhibition address politically charged issues by capitalizing on the way that the lens can capture and transform notions of authenticity, perception, and reality. The artists operate within a framework that aims to combat the uniformity and ubiquity of photographs while challenging dominant, and often oppressive, cultural representation. Often deploying reality as a tool that builds an illusion, the resulting works could be considered fables that ask viewers to decipher fact and fiction to gain insight, and search for elements of truth within the constructions.

Free and open to the pubic. Gallery hours: Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm. Closed weekends and University holidays. 10 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30303.

Artist Gallery Talk with Guillermo Gudiño and Michael David Murphy : January 14, 2013 at 7pm

Traces of New Documentary Practices Panel Discussion: Feb 07, 2013 at 5:30pm at Kopleff Hall, GSU campus

Followed immediately by a Closing reception : Feb 07, 2013 from 7-9 pm

Here Press / London to publish the NIRVANA project book, Spring 2013

Here Press / London will be publishing the NIRVANA project, available March 2013.

"twohundredfiftysixcolors" debuts at the Gene Siskel Film Center: Conversations at the Edge Series - 4/18/13

Thursday, April 18, 6:00 p.m.
World Premiere!
2013, Eric Fleischauer & Jason Lazarus, digital file, 72 min + discussion

Crafted from thousands of animated GIFs (the file format used to create simple, looping animations online) twohundredfiftysixcolors is an expansive and revealing portrait of what has become a zeitgeist medium. Once used primarily as an internet page signpost, the file type has evolved into a nimble and ubiquitous tool for pop-cultural memes, self-expression, and considered artistic gestures. Chicago-based artists Eric Fleischauer and Jason Lazarus chart the GIF’s evolution, its connections to early cinema, and its contemporary cultural and aesthetic possibilities, archiving this particular moment in the history of the motion picture and internet culture and reflecting on the future of both.

below still from muybridgelinkrot, animated gif by Mark Beasley, 2012