Contemporary art curating news and views from Michelle Kasprzak and team

Job: Aboriginal Emerging Curator and Artist Liaison, The Biennale of Sydney

Posted by Sofia Landström • Saturday, April 6. 2013 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The application date for this opportunity has passed.

The Biennale of Sydney, Aboriginal Emerging Curator and Artist Liaison
Deadline: 26 April, 2013

With the support of the Australian Government’s Office for the Arts (OFTA) as part of the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support (IVAIS) and the NSW Government through Arts NSW, an opportunity exists for an Aboriginal Emerging Curator and Artist Liaison to join the team at the Biennale. The Biennale of Sydney (BoS) is a not-for-profit arts organisation that presents an international festival of contemporary art (and Australia’s largest contemporary art exhibition) every two years in Sydney’s major art museums and galleries, and locations throughout the city.

The BoS is one of the longest running international biennales and Australia’s leading contemporary visual arts event. Since its inception in 1973, the BoS has successfully delivered 18 major exhibitions, which have featured the work of nearly 1600 artists from over 100 countries. The BoS also produces associated publications, supporting public programs and specialised education activities for students and school groups. The event and most BoS programs are presented free to the public.

The Aboriginal Emerging Curator and Artist Liaison is responsible for assisting in the curatorial research of the artistic program, which includes research and development of the content for the catalogue and guide, as well as artist liaison. As part of the exhibition team, this position also contributes to the development and delivery of the 19th Biennale of Sydney.

The process includes the establishment of curatorial research and artist files, artist travel arrangements and itineraries, as well as catalogue and guide preparation and working with artists on their projects.

The position works closely with the Artistic Director, Head of Exhibition, Deputy Head of Exhibition, Exhibition and Venue Manager, Technical and Production Manager, Registrar, Curatorial Research Coordinator, Nick Waterlow OAM Curatorial Fellow, Head of Public Program and Education and other contractual exhibition staff, as well as the wider team at the Biennale of Sydney.

Good organisation and research skills are required, as well as the ability to work cooperatively in a team environment.

This is a 16-month contract position with a salary of $45,000 per annum (plus 9.25% employer’s superannuation contribution), commencing May 2013.
Contact Pernille Jack, Executive Assistant, to request an information package and selection criteria.
E: pernille[at]
T: 02 8484 8700

Applications marked Confidential and addressing the selection criteria must be received by 5 pm on Friday, 26 April 2013. Applications that do not address the selection criteria will not be considered.
Gina Hall
Head of Exhibition
Biennale of Sydney
43–51 Cowper Wharf Road
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011

Further information:

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Pick 'N Mix #54

Posted by Mikhel Proulx • Thursday, October 11. 2012 • Category: Pick 'N Mix

- Terry Smith interviewed about his forthcoming publication "Thinking Contemporary Curating"

- Around the corner: Afterall’s symposium 'Artist as Curator'. November 10, 2012, London.

- Great New York Times debate: Do We Need Professional Critics?

- A considerate piece on cultural policy and measuring value by Julianne Schultz at The Australian: ‘Culture's impact on the whole of society’

- ‘The New Yorker Wades into "Curator" Confusion’ : Hyperallergic

- Carol Yinghua Lu, one of the Gwangju Biennale’s artistic-directors, reflects on the “forced marriage” of its pan-Asian, female curatorial team: Curating the Gwangju Biennale. Also, a review of the Biennale by Justin McCurry for the Guardian.
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Pick 'N Mix #44

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, April 4. 2011 • Category: Pick 'N Mix

- Firstly, an exciting announcement: after years of working on building into a high quality resource all on my own, I now have a team to help me take this site to the next level. I wish to extend a warm welcome to Katerina Gkoutziouli, Mikhel Proulx, April Steele, and Sophie Williamson. Find out more about them on the "About" page. With the addition of this powerhouse team, expect more content and new developments here at

- Moving on to my usual Pick 'N Mix fare: Augustine Zenakos boldly declares that all curators should just commit suicide. If you have followed Augustine's work you know this declaration is a jolt to get your attention that will be followed up with some substantive and interesting thoughts. We'll keep an eye out for his follow up text, but in the meantime, check out this recent interview with Augustine.

- I imagine many of us are gearing up to go to the opening festivities of the Venice Biennale. Get into the Venice mood by reading this interview with Bice Curiger, the curator of this year's Biennale.

- Remember Shin Jeong-ah, the Korean curator who was quickly shown the door once it was revealed she lied about her credentials? She's back, and has written a book about her experiences, entitled 4001, the number she was assigned as a prisoner.

- I quite enjoyed this article by Rachel Pastan, reporting on a lecture about artists acting in a curatorial capacity by Ingrid Schaffner. Says Ingrid: "It's my job as a curator to minimize the distance between the viewer and the object".

- The latest issue of On Curating is out, themed around politics and community, and you can download it here.

- Lastly: The amount of content here should not suffer, thanks to my marvellous new team, but things are definitely busy, as I recently accepted a post as Curator at V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media in Rotterdam, and am also working hard on an exhibition I'm co-curating with Karen Gaskill that will open at Cornerhouse in Manchester, UK this June. I hope your Spring is as busy and fulfilling as mine has been so far.
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Pick 'N Mix #39

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, June 30. 2010 • Category: Pick 'N Mix

- David Barrie recently gave a thought-provoking lecture entitled "A Bigger Picture: why contemporary art curators need to get out more". He describes why a heritage-oriented mindset can result in constrained collections, noting that: "Despite our long colonial history and our rich links with countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean [...] visitors to museums and galleries in the UK have remarkably few opportunities to see art that is being produced in countries that lie outside the narrow confines of the so-called 'international contemporary art world'." He also skewers the myopic tendencies of some curators who "... neglect art that does not fit comfortably into their intellectual categories". He calls for curators to "get out more", escape the bonds of insularity, and be brave by broadening their own horizons. The text is simultaneously a call to action and an examination of conscience.

- A great interview with Carolee Thea by Richard J. Goldstein that reveals some of her thoughts on the biennial ("an exhibition structure beyond itself, an event that allows for very difficult subject matter"; "Its function, as defined by planners and curators, is to add intellectual capital"; "a component in spreading visual literacy"; etc) and the art market ("artists and curators are unavoidably affected by the onslaught of art fairs and consumerism"). (Thea's recent book of interviews with prominent curators, On Curating: Interviews with Ten International Curators also looks quite good.)

- "I'm not against the market. It's just that I'm against the way the market is overdetermining the art complex at the moment," Vasif Kortun says. "At the same time, we know full well that we provide almost a recruitment ground or a research and progress for the market at the same time. It would be quite ridiculous to say that the biennale is completely alien and independent of the market and its interests."

- Francesco Bonami once said "In theory now you could curate a whole Venice Biennale using only the Internet". The Guggenheim takes a few steps in that direction with YouTube Play, a contest to find the best online video works. Submitted videos will be assessed by a jury and the winners will be exhibited at Guggenheim Museums around the world, and of course, on YouTube.

- An article by Janine Armin on the New York Times articulates the current precarious position freelance curators find themselves in, and identifies the growth of biennials as a particular bright spot in opportunities for freelancers. I found Nicola Trezzi's article describing the growth of artist-curated exhibitions in FlashArt a good complement to Armin's article. While Armin's article quoted established curators explaining why freelancers are still very much necessary (even if it is difficult to be one), Trezzi's article can be viewed as taking those statements even further, reminding us of the multiplicity of reasons why or how someone would curate an exhibition, how it's a creative act in itself, and the value of the artist-curator viewpoint.

Call for Proposals: Wales At Venice 2011

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, March 30. 2010 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The application date for this opportunity has passed.

A Call For Curatorial Propositions From Galleries, Arts Organisations, Curators, Artist/curators And Visual Arts Collectives
Wales At Venice 2011
Closing Date 16 April 2010

Arts Council of Wales is delighted to confirm that Wales will be participating at the 54th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale in 2011. Wales at Venice is supported by the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government and is a key part of the strategy for the visual arts in Wales.

Wales at Venice will be in its 5th Biennale year in 2011. Previous artists representing Wales include, John Cale, Richard Deacon, Merlin James, Heather & Ivan Morison, Peter Finnemore, Bethan Huws, Cerith Wyn Evans (see ) The Biennale enhanced these artists' international profile and has showcased outstanding work from Wales.

This opportunity remains the prime international context for contemporary art and raises Wales' cultural profile as a place for many emerging and highly respected artists. With a variety of approaches taken to date, Arts Council of Wales is now seeking to open out the possibilities for our next presence, as it responds to the on-going shifts for presenting contemporary art.

In the past, artists have been chosen to represent Wales by a commissioner and curator working with a committee. However for 2011, we feel it would be more exciting and rewarding to call for submissions and ideas from our visual arts community.

It is vital that this international platform is maximised, that the presentation speaks of contemporary Wales and that it connects in artistic terms with other curated exhibitions and presentations at the Biennale. In essence it needs to continue to build the focus on contemporary art from and within Wales.

This is a call to galleries, arts organisations, curators, artist/curators and collectives with a proven track record of working internationally or delivering respected international presentations of contemporary art. Interested parties should be based in Wales or have a connection/awareness of Welsh contemporary visual arts practice.

To prepare for Venice in 2011, Arts Council of Wales is initiating the following process: 

1. Invite exploratory propositions through this call. (March-April 2010)
2. The Venice Advisory Committee will evaluate these propositions. (April 2010)
3. Offer a short development phase supported by a fee to a maximum of three propositions, (April- May)
4. Make a final selection, before constituting and financing the partnership team and artist(s) to create the exhibition. (May-June 2010)

Reports at the various stages will be posted on the Arts Council of Wales website and the Wales at Venice website.

In addition to realising the exhibition at the Biennale, the partnership will need to actively contribute towards a strong education programme, audience development initiatives and raising the profile on an international stage of high quality visual arts practice in Wales.

For further enquiries and to request a Wales at Venice Biennale Proposition Form please contact Lindsay Hughes, Senior Visual Arts Officer at Arts Council of Wales, -at-

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Opportunity: Curatorial residency with the Athens Biennale

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, February 2. 2009 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The application date for this opportunity has passed.

As part of its ongoing Residency Programme, the European Biennial Network is issuing an Open Call for applications for a residency position offered by the Athens Biennale.

The European Biennial Network is a collaborative structure, active in the field of contemporary art, that aims to promote dialogue, interaction and collaboration between contemporary art Biennials in Europe. It intends to use the knowledge, experience and wealth of information accumulated by organisers of large-scale periodic art events, in order to support the communication and mobility of artists and art professionals.

The Residency Programme of the European Biennial Network aims to offer to successful applicants the opportunity to conduct original research on contemporary art in a major city, while supported by the organisers of a biennial exhibition. The knowledge and experience of the host and its relationship to the specific locality will provide the resident access to the local art scene, historical records, archives, academic collocutors, and any other support necessary for research.

Each member Biennial of the European Biennial Network is individually responsible for the resident it will host. The position for which this Open Call is made is the following: One three-month residency for a curator hosted by the Athens Biennale, between 1st May 2009 to 30th July 2009.

Residency position requirements: The scope of the residency must relate to researching the Athens contemporary art scene.

The resident will be required to follow a demanding programme, which will include studio visits, conversations with artists, curators, critics and academics, collectors, museum directors, and other art professionals, as well as visits to exhibitions and portfolio examinations. He/she will also be expected to fully engage with the local scene, acquiring an expertise in local artists that may be used in future projects. He/she will also be required to give lectures about former and current projects, participate in seminars with various partners of the Athens Biennale.

The term of the residency coincides with final preparations and the opening the 2nd Athens Biennale 2009 HEAVEN, which will offer the resident a unique ‘insiders look’, as well as the opportunity to experience the city at a most vivid period for contemporary art.

This application is open to all curators, whether permanently employed at an institution or independent.

Applications must be made for the specific residency position. The successful applicant will be selected by the Athens Biennale. (Please see Application Guidelines below.) The successful applicant will be offered travel to and from their host city and accommodation, as well as a stipend of 1.000 euros per month. Additional funds for equipment and/or transport of work may be available, depending on the specifics of the residency.

Upon completion of the residency, the resident will be required to produce a text, outlining the basic parameters of his/her research, which will be used for publication by the European Biennial Network.

Application Guidelines:

Applications must be made by cv and a letter of interest (max. 500 words). There is no special application form.

In the letter of interest, the applicant must clearly outline how he/she intends to respond to the requirements of the position.

Applicants may be requested to provide further clarifications and/or additional material, during the selection process. This will not constitute any indication as to the success of the application.

Generic applications, or ones not clearly relating to the requirements of the position, will not be accepted.

Applications must be in English.

Although the Athens Biennale will be selecting the successful applicant, applications must not be sent directly to the Athens Biennale. Any such applications will not be accepted. Applications must be sent by e-mail only (attached as word or pdf documents) to the European Biennial Network: [email protected].

Application deadline: 28th February 2009, inclusive.

The successful applicant will be notified by the Athens Biennale, after 15th March 2009.

Only the successful applicant will be notified. Due to the volume of applications expected, we cannot individually reply to each applicant.
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Pick 'N Mix - April 2008

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Tuesday, April 1. 2008 • Category: Pick 'N Mix

Here's the April '08 edition of Pick 'N Mix, my monthly annotated list of little news items in the realm of curating.

- The Whitney Biennial is generating the usual column inches. Of interest in the coverage of the Biennial is the ongoing commentary about the curators themselves, and their intentions. Jerry Saltz's recent column discusses the significance of their age: "I was thrilled that the Whitney was prepared to give itself over to young curators. [...] no sooner had Huldisch and Momin been named than Whitney director Adam Weinberg pulled back the reins, announcing that the two would be "overseen" by the museum’s chief curator, Donna De Salvo, and that they'd "work with" three older "advisers," Thelma Golden, Bill Horrigan and Linda Norden." A piece entitled "The Facebook Biennial" in NY Magazine, offers a detail-rich portrait of the two curators, from the ways their careers unfolded (apparently, Momin's highly planned, Huldisch's not as as much) to the technology in the room: "Momin pulls out an iPhone, Huldisch a battered Motorola".

- In a recent post on Tara Hunt's blog, she talks about the example of how the now-ubiquitous Post-It note came into being. (Stay with me, here.) Tara writes about the three personalities that were responsible for the Post-It note's success: the Creator, Catalyst, and Champion.
"...the Creator, Spencer Silver, had come up with the glue that makes the Post-It note work almost a decade before the Catalyst, Arthur Fry, found a use for the glue (keeping his church choir sheets staying put). But even then, it didn't even make it past corporate scrutiny until they found Champions: the people who were able to take the idea and sell it to others. [...] Creators are the inventors, the coders, the people who come up with a crazy idea. Quite often, though, they aren't able to connect that crazy idea with a real life issue to be solved. That's the Catalyst's job. Catalysts are really awesome at understanding real life applications of wacky ideas. They are connectors. But Catalysts aren't always good at marketing their ideas nor can they replicate themselves, so they need Champions (many of them) to take that awesome application of the wacky invention and spread the word. The three types of people behind innovation are necessary to make ideas come alive and spread."
And so, in the cultural domain, are curators catalysts or champions? A bit of both? Are they also sometimes the creator? I found this example to be an interesting way to think about the ways that the role of the curator can shift and requires a wide range of skills and roles to be played.

- And now, for a little light bedtime reading... A recent paper by London-based think-tank Demos about cultural learning provides food for thought. "In the context of recent government announcements about cultural education, Demos today challenged cultural professionals and educationalists to provide a new and coherent direction for creative learning and for encouraging creativity through culture. Culture and Learning: Towards a New Agenda, a consultation paper written by John Holden, is published today to invite debate and responses." Demos is a very interesting think tank, I recommend you browse their full collection of cultural papers at their website.
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Opportunity: Liverpool Biennial

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Friday, November 2. 2007 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The application date for this opportunity has passed.

Liverpool Biennial is working with Jiyoon Lee, a curator based in Seoul and London, on an international exchange project involving artists and curators from Seoul and Liverpool. The exhibition-based project will investigate models of artists’ studio and will involve residencies in each city.

Liverpool Biennial is currently looking for expressions of interest from ambitious Liverpool-based curators who would see this as a fantastic opportunity to gain more international experience and make the project a great success.

In order to be considered for the project, please send a CV to paul -at- by 9th November 2007.
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SCAPE 2008 biennial curators announced

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Sunday, July 15. 2007 • Category: News

Internationally renowned Turkish curator Fulya Erdemci joins New Zealand's Danae Mossman to form the curatorial partnership for Art & Industry's 5th SCAPE 2008 Biennial of Art in Public Space.

The Art & Industry Biennial Trust with Director Deborah McCormick are delighted to announce the pairing of Fulya Erdemci and Danae Mossman. Fulya Erdemci brings a wealth of international experience to this position and as Director of the International Istanbul Biennial for 7 years, (she directed the 4th, 5th, 6th and partly 7th Biennials) as well as curator of "Istanbul Pedestrian Exhibitions"� (Istanbul Yaya Sergileri) - "the first exhibition designed for pedestrians in public space in Turkey" - she has an impressive background in art in public space.

Local curator, Danae Mossman whose presence at Christchurch project space The Physics Room has been hugely influential, comes to SCAPE as one of New Zealand's most promising curators. As well as two international curatorial residencies (Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne and DAAD, Berlin) Danae recently co-curated TRANS VERSA, (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo / Matucana 100 / Galeria Metropolitana) in Santiago, Chile.

Like the last biennial in 2006, SCAPE 2008 will be developed in conjunction with Christchurch's major cultural stakeholders and will be located within the Cultural Precinct. The SCAPE 2008 Hub and Indoor Exhibition will once again feature at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, as major partner of SCAPE it will become an important venue for symposia, discussion and lectures. With site-specific interventions by participating artists from around the world, SCAPE 2008 will propose "a new culture of space" to reinvent the democracy, equality and "publicness"� through the unique space, place and locality of Christchurch City. As well as visiting artists, SCAPE will attract speakers, arts professionals and new audiences to Christchurch, stimulating and questioning the way we experience and enjoy the pubic space.

This unique curatorial pairing is supported through funding from Creative New Zealand, the Arts Council of New Zealand. SCAPE 2008 will be the 5th biennial organised by the Art & Industry Biennial Trust, New Zealand's only international biennial dedicated to contemporary art in public space.
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Job: Curator of SCAPE Biennial

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, March 14. 2007 • Category: Jobs & Opportunities

The application date for this opportunity has passed.

The SCAPE Biennial of Art in Public Space is New Zealand's only international contemporary biennial dedicated to public art. 2008 is the fifth SCAPE Biennial for Christchurch and the 10 year anniversary of the Art & Industry Biennial Trust, who present the SCAPE Biennials.

The Art & Industry Biennial Trust (Art & Industry) is seeking your Expression of Interest (EOI) to be considered as one of two key curators for this important New Zealand biennial taking place between September - November 2008 in Christchurch. SCAPE is one of the largest producers of new contemporary art in Australasia; engaging local, national and international audiences with new artworks by leading New Zealand and international artists in public space through partnerships with industry.

SCAPE also has a significant partnership with the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. An indoor exhibition, hub and public programme will be supported by the Gallery.

This exciting opportunity is for one New Zealand and one international curator. Once formed, the curatorial partnership will be responsible for reflecting Art & Industry's Strategic Plan, relationships with stakeholders and partners as well as matches to industry resources. The curators will also be required to build on the existing profile of the event locally, nationally and internationally while delivering a distinctive programme which challenges the parameters of the public's relationship with art. Both partnered (national/international) and individual applications are welcome. Art & Industry is happy to broker relationships between interested curators.

For further details and/or to receive an application pack please contact Art & Industry: scapebiennial[at] Final submission date for all applications is Friday 27 April 2007. The Art & Industry Biennial Trust is supported by Creative New Zealand, the Arts Council of New Zealand and the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.
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Man Bites Dog (or, Artist Chooses Curator)

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Wednesday, December 13. 2006 • Category: Musings

When a curator simply chooses an artist, that isn't news. (Just as a dog biting a man would not be news, either.) But when a man bites a dog, or an artist chooses a curator, we've got more of a story. (Background on the journalistic expression "Man bites dog").

I'm using "Man bites dog" in jest, of course, but it was a phrase that immediately struck me that whilst reading an article by Dana Gilerman I found at

Suzanne Landau, a senior curator at the Israel Museum, will curate the Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in June 2007. A Culture Ministry committee selected artist Yehudit Sasportas six months ago to represent Israel at the event; Sasportas, in turn, chose Landau to curate the exhibit.

An unusual move, I would say. Landau seems to think so as well:

"I have a problem with this method, in which a random group sits and selects an artist," says Landau. "It seems abnormal to me. I think this group could have irrelevant interests, and there have already been cases in the past that proved this. I have also mentioned this more than once to Idit Amichai, the coordinator of the Culture Ministry committee."

What would you suggest instead?

"That the committee choose a curator, as is the practice in other countries and as was done here in the past."

The reasoning for this inversion of process is provided a bit later on, but is glossed over:

There were also ethical problems in the past with regard to the selection of curators. "Then perhaps the problem is that Israel is a small country and there is nothing that can be done about that."

The ethical problems that would blight a selection process for a curator would also no doubt cause problems when selecting an artist. I don't have the knowledge of the art scene in Israel that would allow me to comment on this specific case with special insight. However, I think that the reasoning behind why the process ended up being a "man bites dog/artist chooses curator" situation is quite interesting. Suzanne makes a fair point in her response, but even the largest countries break down into very small art scenes, usually defined by city boundaries, but also sometimes subdivided even further. "Ethical problems" could mar a selection process in a scene of any size. The question is, how do we handle these problems, and is the solution to invert the process entirely?

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Fumio Nanjo and Douglas Fogle

Posted by Michelle Kasprzak • Monday, September 4. 2006 • Category: News

Two articles came out over the weekend featuring two curators: Fumio Nanjo and Douglas Fogle. Nanjo is the curator of the Singapore Biennale that opened today. Fogle is the curator of the 2008 Carnegie International. Both articles had the curators speaking about the influence of the city on the shows they curated (or in Fogle's case, the show he is still developing).

Fumio Nanjo says, in the interview portion of the article:
"In the beginning, we were talking about the location of Singapore, so we thought maybe (we should) refer to content. Then we visited many places in the city, 60 different locations, to look at the space for art. Then we visited many temples, shrines, churches. We thought this is quite interesting, the first time (in Singapore) art is being placed in religious sites."

Towards the end of the article on Douglas Fogle, he has this to say:
"We're not just transporting this show in from Mars. I'm hoping it will connect with Pittsburgh. It's such a wonderful city, with such a great history, and such a great history of the International." [...] "it's about doing a really interesting show."

It's excellent to hear curators of high-profile exhibitions like these discussing the impact that host cities will have on their shows. Biennales don't happen in bubbles, and it will be interesting to see how their awareness of their respective locales manifests in the final exhibitions. I wish I could be in Singapore right now to see some of the examples that Fumio spoke of.

Article on Fumio Nanjo in The Star (Malaysia).

Article on Douglas Fogle in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
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