by artist Steve Lambert
PUBLIC FORUM was created by New York artist and SOE’s 2014 artist in residence, Steve Lambert. Designed to create a large scale forum around current events and fundamental myths, PUBLIC FORUM asks you to vote whether the statement on the sign’s changeable marquee is true or false. Imagine a mix of Family Feud, Let’s Make a Deal, the front page of the newspaper, and the best college seminar class you ever took, while discussing topics that are important to you.
PUBLIC FORUM is designed to bring critical thought and movement to entrenched and fossilized ideas about our culture through community dialogue and participation, using the format of a game show.
Steve Lambert’s father, a former Franciscan monk, and mother, an ex-Dominican nun, imbued the values of dedication, study, poverty, and service to others – qualities which prepared him for life as an artist. Lambert has a means of addressing difficult subjects through humor and kindness. Lambert’s artist statement contains the following:
“I want my art to be relevant to those outside the gallery – say, at the nearest bus stop – to reach them in ways that are engaging and fun. I intend what I do to be funny, but at the core of each piece there is also a solemn critique. It’s important to be able to laugh while actively questioning the various power structures at work in our daily lives.”
Lambert made international news after the 2008 US election with The New York Times “Special Edition,” a replica of the “paper of record” announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other good news. In the summer of 2011 he began a national tour of Capitalism Works For Me! True/False – a 9 x 20foot sign allowing people to vote on whether capitalism worked for them. He has collaborated with groups from the Yes Men to the Graffiti Research Lab and Greenpeace. He is the founder and co-director of the Center for Artistic Activism, the Anti-Advertising Agency, Add-Art (a Firefox add-on that replaces online advertising with art), and SelfControl (which blocks grownups from distracting websites so they can get work done).
Steve’s projects and art works have won awards from Prix Ars Electronica, Rhizome/The New Museum, the Creative Work Fund, Adbusters Media Foundation, the California Arts Council, and others. Lambert’s work has been shown everywhere from museums to protest marches nationally and internationally, featured in over fourteen books, four documentary films, and is in the collections of The Sheldon Museum, the Progressive Insurance Company, and The Library of Congress. Lambert has discussed his work live on NPR, the BBC, and CNN, and been reported on internationally in outlets including Associated Press, the New York Times, the Guardian, Harper’s Magazine, The Believer, Good, Dwell, ARTnews, Punk Planet, and Newsweek.
He was a Senior Fellow at New York’s Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology from 2006-2010, developed and led workshops for Creative Capital Foundation, and is an Assistant Professor at SUNY Purchase. Steve is a perpetual autodidact with (if it matters) advanced degrees from an reputable art school and respected state university. He dropped out of high school in 1993.