March 11, 2009
*click on the images for larger versions, sorry about the quality of these images–they were taken on my camera phone*
P.S.1, the contemporary art sister-museum to MOMA, is housed in an old school building–it looks like a fortress. I kept imagining the battle in Lord of the Rings, where everyone’s trying to hide inside that fortress and fend off the evil ogres…
It was really nice to see some artwork outside of the fairs.
Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool
This was a really nice work. You can view the pool from above or below. People were really having fun with it–pretending to be swimming, taking pictures; it was a really well-done interactive installation.
The video installations of Yael Bartana were really engaging. The work doesn’t require one to sit through the entirety of the video, but rather, one may enjoy the works on one’s own terms. Still, I felt compelled to sit and to contemplate the moving images, allowing meaning to unravel slowly in the dark and intimate environment.
Bartana’s work brings up associations of human patterns throughout history–of violence, of power struggles, of social divisions and hierarchies.
Tofu on Pedestal in Gallery
Haha; a nice little “fuck you” to the institution.
Kenneth Anger Installation
I’ve long been a fan of Kenneth Anger–his impact on Queer artistic discourse is great, and his works were at the forefront of avante-garde video. Still, I was wonderfully surprised to experience this installation of his, which was very thoughtfully executed. It has the power to renew and shift considerations of his work. It was a real pleasure.
To see more about the artists and the exhibitions at PS1, click here.
Later on, I met up with friend and artist, Gisela Insuaste, whose work you can check out here.
We headed over to the LMCC (The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council) artist studios for their open-studios. The organization does a lot for artists in New York–offering grants, residencies, and public art programs in Manhattan. Check them out here.
Artwork by Davied Balula, current resident and wierdo.
I’m going to be paying attention to this artist…
I love the variety of common everyday materials he uses; they seemed a little frivolous at first, though that notion is disproved or rather, complicated by a cerebral approach to combining these materials, and the resulting aesthetic of the works–minimal, quiet, fun, whimsical, pleasurable. The work relies on the environment or rather, the environment is an important part of the work–physical space, and the tenets of that reality…wierd! The way he brings everything together is inventive, beautiful, and thought-provoking.
March 11, 2009
Of all the fairs, I was most excited to visit Volta–this is a fair in which each gallery’s space presented a body of work by a single artist. The fair was housed in an office building in mid-town, adjacent to the Empire State Building; its location–a signal of what I saw to be an overarching subtext for the fair itself, and much of the work on display: art’s place in commerce, the changing role of the artist in contemporary times, and the anxiety therein.
The fair seemed a collective critical response to contemporary pandemic conditions–of an ailing economy, and a society dealing with the repercussions of the failure of capitalism. It didn’t seem to propagate a simple polemic, rather, it was a forum for the exchange of cohesive artistic voices.
an allegory for the apex of artists’ careers?
by Trong Gia Nguyen
a piece by Angelina Gualdoni
Chicago was VISIBLE at the New York fairs. It was great to see Jason Lazarus’ work in the Andre Rafacz space, along with that of Walsh Gallery, Imperfect Articles, and Rhona Hoffman, Western Exhibitions, and others at the Armory.
Pieces/installation by Gavin Turk
Drawings by Sebastian Gogel
Galerie Emmanuel Post
Art by Maria Nepomuceno
A Gentil Carioca
I’ve noticed a lot of art that doubles as functional objects, being presented in a fine-art context. Is this a sign of things to come?…what with the history of consumers seeking hybrid/cross-over products with versatile functions..
Indeed, it’s a bear market…
March 11, 2009
The Armory Show*posts on volta, and other art stuffs in NYC will be posted separately*
I got a chance to go to the Armory fair & Volta this past weekend, and there was a lot to look at. Being the first time I’ve gone to the New York art fairs, I didn’t know what to expect; though I have to say that I held onto the notion that commerce is really at the heart of art fairs’ existence. Since the ’90s (?), they’ve played a very real function in contemporary art–being the primary mode for displaying and dictating the trends of VALUABLE artworks. I was also really interested in observing how current market conditions are affecting the ubiquity of these fairs–if and how the structures for widespread cultural legitimization/commodification of art will shift. I’ve yet no declarative sentiments. Even still, this is very exciting for me. 🙂
I took pictures of some artwork that really captured my attention–be it through the materials, color, or a more ambiguous percieved connection in ideas between myself and the art…
[click on the images for larger versions]
Bin (Version 2)
Wood, mirrors, fake fur, rock lamp, metal handle, dvd monitor and playback
36 x 52 x23”
Mitchell-Innes & Nash (New York)
Something about this piece feels like home–kinda like something I’d see in Chicago. I can’t quite put my finger on it–it lacks that veil of seamlessness that many contemporary art objects strive for. When I look at this piece, I start to develop a narrative of the work’s creation, from the inception of the artist’s ideas, to the compiling of materials, and the way the artist uses what they’ve got, the way they know how, because the artist had to make it when they did–resulting in this wierd, crazy thing that fucks with notions of singular material discourses (is it a painting? video? sculpture?); and it’s so captivating, yet unostentatious.
21st century aggressive carpet growth
Wood, Carpet, metal , wire, lightbulb, glass
269 x 15 x 15 cm
Galerie Krizinger Vienna
K, perhaps I just haven’t seen much of Dumas’s works outside her body of monochrome portraits–but it seems she’s made a huge shift in her painting. The way she creates this ambiguous space, and her complex, yet understated pallette, and how she physically handles the paint on the canvas–the goops, the brushwork, the finnesse of her hand–it’s all the more powerful to me–here in this very painting. Blown away…
What did others think of the fairs?
March 9, 2009
Art Fair Tips from New York:
The Armory & Volta
Just got back from the New York fairs; it was fabulous! The parties were just crazy! The art-myehhh. Everything is fabulous in New York…until you run out of cash. The fairs aren’t cheap y’all. But you know your girl lil elote don’t let a lil thang like money hold me down-I break those motha-effing chains-YAHHHH!!!!!
Like the song says, “Don’t be fooled by all these rocks that I got, I’m still, I’m still lil’ elote from the block.” To be exact, I’m from the mean streets of Queens-represent! HEEEEEEYYYYYYYYY. That’s right, so I’ve still got a little hustle-game in me, and I’m gon give y’all some tips to get past the gatekeepers at the fairs for little to nothing-listen up children:
You gotta walk-like you’re on the runway. Remind yourself, “I am a star! These bitches ain’t got nothing on me!” Anyways, walk-fiercely, right past those bitches at the front taking tickets or checking wristbands. After all, only the masses have time for checkpoints! This method works best when you’ve got a tight outfit and you’re fully accessorized-like an upper-east side WASP, like you’re going to buy some art. Make sure your hair and nails are all did, pat your weave; also, giant sunglasses help, “I’m not looking at you, I’m looking past you, bitch!”
This second method takes a little bit more nerve and some stamina: Run your ass off, right through the checkpoint. You should try to get a decent running start, then fly like the wind-like the time yo daddy had a little too much hennesy and he’s about to open a can of whup-ass on yo mommy and the kids. If a bitch tries to stop you, cry, scream, and yell “get off me you Racist, Sexist, Classist bitch!” whatever you can throw at them.
Obtain a press/VIP pass. This requires some prior research. Name-drop your ass off. You’re an artist, but who isn’t? So get one of the pamphlets for the fair and read the gallery names-a suprising # of them are self-named, so say you’re a personal friend of say, Kavi Gupta, David Zwirner, or Marianne Boesky. Also, can’t forget to let them know who you are: “I’m Terrence Koh, goddamit!”
As a last resort, I suggest rubbing some shit on yourself. I know, I know-nasty; but they don’t call it hustlin’ for nothing’. A friend of mine told me a sure-fire tactic for making people think you’re crazy is to present yourself covered in shit (’cause sometimes people can’t see you’re crazy on the inside). Hopefully, no one will want to touch, look, smell, or be near you. You are exempt from all the tenets and checkpoints of civilized society. But then again, it’s an art fair. “Is it art?” people will wonder. Hell the fuck yes! Now, Move aside bitches! Respect!
I hope this was helpful y’all.
Till next time,
February 20, 2009
Abraham Werewolf (Danny Bischoff, Matt Hooks, Jack
McDonald, and Alberto Mendoza) does NOT ART
Oh, characters, you slay me. Remember Zach Plague’s boring boring boring boring boring boring boring and how it used modern archetypes to deconstruct the art world? Not dissimilarly, Abraham Werewolf and their production of “Not Art” play with the traditional roles of the boys-in-a-band structure and we come out laughing.
They originally wanted to put on Yasmina Reza’s “Art,” but Steppenwolf got there first, so rather than take up the long fight for the rights, they wrote their own piece inspired by the original. And it’s quite clever.
Alright, I have to admit here that I’ve never seen or read the original play. But the way Abraham Werewolf played with it went like this: Tony Bongos of the band D’Artagnan buys a painting from a “very fashionable” painter. He unveils it to the singer of the band, Billy, who digs the painting, (“How much did you pay for this?” “$5,000” “What a steal!” “I know!”) but not the interpretive “prongo” (progressive bongo) rhythm Tony’s written to channel the painting’s energy. Tony in turn shows the piece and his rhythm to the guitarist who totally digs both. They think Billy is being a controlling so and so. Egos collide when the guitarist is late for practice because, we come to find out, his pregnant fiancée is breaking off the wedding, which concerns him most sincerely because she’s making him late for band practice. Once he finally arrives, bottle of whiskey in hand to be sure, the three of them go at it about fiancées, familial relations, maracas and bandmatedom. At the precipice before they break up as a band and as friends, the guitarist gets a call from his newly exed fiancee and Tony and Billy take a quick time-out to recognize that this is not who they are. They are friends, man. You know what they need to solve this? A scapegoat! And right then the guitarist returns with the information that the girl was never pregnant- she just got fat! So they figure she’s part of the evil-doings that has torn them apart, (“I bought that painting to impress a girl!” “Everything I’ve ever done to was to impress a girl!”) and they start playing music: a well-harmonized, catchy tune that sends us off right and reunites them as a creative unit. As soon as they’ve finished, Billy exclaims that he’s disappointed the mic wasn’t on, he wished they’d recorded it. Just then the narrator re-enters to say, oh, but you have, and holds up a cd-r of the night’s music. It’s for sale in the lobby, he explains. The lobby? they repeat. Yes, our narrator returns, they’ve seen the whole thing, as the house lights come up and the characters realize their silly drama has been witnessed. And we all laugh and laugh. . .
Here’s the thing, though. I went to Gorilla Tango last night to see the show, and it was their last of “Not Art.” However, Abraham Werewolf will be back in the spring with a Grand Guignol-inspired production, which means late nineteenth to early twentieth century Parisian horror theater. Oh, yeah.
February 19, 2009
Marvin sent me this awesome video–enjoy!
February 5, 2009
written by Meredith Kooi
Modification or, rather, mod.i.fi.ca.tion – 1. an act or instance of modifying, 2. the state of being modified; partial alteration, 3. a modified form; variety, 4. Biology. a change in a living organism acquired from its own activity or environment and not transmitted to its descendents, 5. limitation or qualification
It seems that we can modify almost anything, and we do: our food, our bodies, our genes… However, we do not tend to foresee the unintended consequences of these modifications, or manipulations. What does it really mean to modify? What are the implications of intervening in natural processes like DNA formation and reproduction?
In recent news, Obama, as promised, is going to help “restore science to its rightful place” including the lifting of the ban on stem cell research. Read an article about it here. This issue – harvesting stem cells from unused in vitro embryos or aborted fetuses – is extremely controversial. The Bush administration was firmly against enlarging this research even with the urgings of Nobel Laureates. The debate is hot; the moral implications are many. It also brings forth questions of progress. Do we need to manipulate our own body environments in order to progress further?
Adam Zaretsky writes and makes work about issues of biotechnology. His paper “The Art of Germline Mutagenesis” talks about embryonic stem cells specifically. He discusses our want of changing our genetic make-up. He quotes James Watson as saying “And the other thing, because no one really has the guts to say it… I mean, if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we do it?” He also attempts to “sculpt” life by performing microsurgeries. He attempted to create “fashionable, ‘Mosaic Brut’ designer zebrafish by removing the head off of one fish’s embryo and attaching it onto another’s embryo, creating a double-headed zebrafish. He claims “Science is a subset of Art,” and so this exercise was meant to be an exploration into the unknown – how nature forms bodies. He attempts to investigate how and why we form the way we do.
We have to ask, if we can determine how we are formed and change the formation: What would make a better human? One that can see better? Or hear better? Or run faster? Or has a more symmetrical face? Or someone who maybe doesn’t produce any body odor? It is not only the nature outside of our own bodies that we are trying to conquer – it is also our own.