Listening to Art

09.04: Frances Stark, Ian F. Svenonius's “Censorship NOW” for the 2017 Whitney Biennial

Download (MP3).

Listening to Art, by William Denton.

Volume nine, number four: Ian F. Svenonius’s “Censorship NOW” for the 2017 Whitney Biennial by Frances Stark.

Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.

Frances Stark is an American artist, born in 1967 and based in Los Angeles. The UbuWeb description of her work reads:

Through both writing and visual art, Frances Stark addresses the conditions of creative labor, producing candid and affecting work about the nature of artistic practice and the corresponding yet integral banality of the everyday. The artist’s body of work stands as a self-reflexive inquiry into the process of artistic production, and the often-elided demands of daily life.

As its title indicates, this work was first shown at the 2017 Whitney Biennial. An article in the Guardian by Jonathan Griffin gives some context for the piece, which was made while she was busy working on an opera:

Nevertheless, when the Whitney’s curators approached her she was “pretty riled up” about the current state of the world, a mood exacerbated by recent political events but rooted in Stark’s experiences at the University of Southern California, where she was a tenured professor until she quit, very publicly, in December 2014. Her grievance was with the corporatisation of higher education, specifically with the sidelining of the respected Roski School of Fine Arts in favour of the new Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, which opened in 2014, funded by Young (better known as Dr Dre) and Iovine, his business partner in the Apple-owned headphone brand Beats.

This is a set of eight paintings, ink, oil and acrylic on canvas, each 264.2 cm wide by 200.7 cm high.

Now let’s listen to Ian F. Svenonius’s “Censorship NOW” for the 2017 Whitney Biennial by Frances Stark, recorded at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York City, on 15 May 2017.

Waveform of the field recording.

That was Ian F. Svenonius’s “Censorship NOW” for the 2017 Whitney Biennial by Frances Stark. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.

For more information and links to things I’ve mentioned, please visit

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All web sites accessed as of date of publication.

Griffin, Jonathan. “Frances Stark: ‘Contemporary artists are hyper-alienated and hyper-competitive.’” Guardian, 24 April 2017.

UbuWeb. “Frances Stark.” UbuWeb.

Whitney Museum of American Art. “Frances Stark | Ian F. Svenonius’s “Censorship Now” for the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Spread 1 of 8 (Sincerely).” Whitney Museum of American Art.

Wikipedia, s.v. “Frances Stark,”

⸻, s.v. “Ian Svenonius,”