Bill T’s Tony nod: Bill T. Jones–whose extensive history with the Walker includes a long-term artist residency, commissioned performances, and a gallery exhibition–picked up a Tony Award nomination last week for his choreography for Spring Awakening, his Broadway debut. Quoted in the Chicago Tribune, he said he never fantasized about winning a Tony. “I am not and never have been one of those choreographers waiting around for my Broadway break,” he says. “Broadway found me, more or less. And though I’ve been well received there, it’s a different language, another world.”
Democrazy: Francesco Vezzoli, whose film piece Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula, was featured at the last Whitney Biennial, is taking on American politics and media in his installation at the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Bienale. His work Democrazy consists of two political advertisements by American politicians: French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy is candidate Patrick Hill, Sharon Stone is “Republican Hillary,” Patricia Hill. “They are different, but as the names suggest, fundamentally the same,” writes Bloomberg’s Martin Gayford. The project premieres at Venice this week.
Thinky smackdown: The Great American Think-off, a national philosophy slam now in its 15th year, has a winner–and it’s a Minnesotan and an arts administrator. Giving the most convincing answer to the question “Which should you trust more — your head or your heart?” Minneapolis’ Joe Kaiser was dubbed “America’s Greatest Thinker.” He debated his friend Paul Allick, an Episcopal priest from Burnsville, who won a silver medal.
Ice Cream! The Star Tribune tips me off that Walker chief curator Philippe Vergne was one 10 curators who picked the 100 artists featured in the new Phaidon book Ice Cream. Among the faces familiar to locals: Minneapolis natives Rob Fischer and MCAD grad Jay Heikes (featured recently in the exhibition Ordinary Culture). Other artists recently featured at the Walker include Cameron Jamie, Jim Lambie, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Mark Bradford, Nari Ward, John Baldessari, Gilbert and George, Dan Graham, and Huang Yong Ping. Also featured is Tino Seghal, an artist “known for making art without actually making any objects,” who’ll be featured in a Walker solo show this winter. Look for Ice Cream in the (newly redesigned) Walker Shop online.
Starck v. Barbarians: French designer Philippe Starck says there’s something more important than art and consumerism at the moment. “I believe we are definitely in a time of barbarians and therefore it is less important to talk about design or art. Priority is to be given to political action in order to fight barbarians,” he told Reuters. “The most positive action is to refuse…to buy. But if you need to, the minimum is ethical. To go back to the essence of things and ask myself: do I need this?”