Thursday, June 6, 2013
Interested in sketching some retro models?
Faciliated by Bil Donovan
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Interested in sketching some retro models?
Faciliated by Bil Donovan
I played this Great Gatsby Game for the first time at an MIT exhibit in their library… you can try it out online! I haven’t ever gotten past the eyeglasses, but maybe you will.
The performative exhibition tour based on the current Gutai exhibition at the Guggenheim was most memorable for two elements: the beautiful constructed paper “capes” created by Amy Sillman and the playfulness of the white balloon-banners performance. The Gutai collective was founded Japanese artist Yoshihara Jirō in 1954 in the postwar era and became a forefront avant-garde collective that experimented with new art forms combining performance, painting, and interactive environments. The tour succeeded most in areas where playfulness and interactive were heightened and lines blurred (either by accident or intentionally– for that is the unique nature of play) and lagged most when the tour became divided into traditional lines of audience vs. performer (e.g., comedy duo performance).
As Amy Sillman placed the taped and painted colorful capes over our heads in an inclusive ritualistic manner (recalling moments like the white coat ceremony for doctors, armor for knights and so on), she cautioned us to allow her to take them off at the end of the hour-long performance, due to their fragility (and the practical need for the second performance). And right she was to worry about her works’ fragility, as throughout the tour, at least one was torn and another trampled over. The capes allowed the audience to transform into participants and transformed a ragtag bunch of visitors into a collective. The capes were constructed from Gutai brochure essays, taped in blue, and painted with black and orange dots and strokes resembling characters. This made our walking crowd look like a dispersed colorful font winding its way up the Guggenheim’s spiral inner staircase. Gathering the tour group into a silver-lined freight elevator became a delightful experience of herding commas and dots into a freight elevator, with tour leaders asking us to pack as tightly together as possible to fit everyone much like a teacher shepherds their classroom children.
We traversed the layers of the Guggenheim to retrieve clear banners at the top and on our way down sat and watched a pre-audio-recorded comedy performance about “Frenemies” which was neither poignant or coherent with the theme (for a better conversation on Frenemies see NPR’s This American Life). The redeeming section of that piece was the “shape-shifting” portion where for 30 seconds the male and female performers created shapes with their bodies. The finale performance was indeed the most successful and beautiful, with clear banners tied to large white balloons and released into the air while people shook coffee cans (filled with beans?) and members clinked toy red and yellow xylophones.
Recounting the experience with the friend afterwards over dinner, he remarked “Everyone loves balloons.” And while I wanted to think that it wasn’t so simple, I realized that there was truth to the universal playfulness of balloons in resonance with the Gutai manifesto to lift our spirits: ”Keeping the life of the material alive also means bringing the spirit alive, and lifting up the spirit means leading the material up to the height of the spirit.” (December 1956)
Performers of this tour included Ei Arakawa, Shinsuke Aso, Kerstin Brästch, Gabriel Feliciano, Eileen Quinlan, and Amy Sillman.
The four artists shortlisted for the Turner Prize this year were announced this morning at Tate Britain.
Laure Prouvost, Tino Sehgal, David Shrigley and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
Saturday, April 20th, 2013
Rhizome Seven on Seven Conference pairs seven leading artists with seven game-changing technologists in teams of two, and challenges them to develop something new—be it an application, social media, artwork, product, or whatever they imagine—over the course of a single day.
Is a time capsule concept enough to make an art exhibition interesting? That is the question that NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star at the New Museum (until 5/26/13) sidesteps with its articulated goal as putting forth a cross-section of art of 1993. The difficulty is same as with time capsules– that remnants of a period do not equate into conveying the emotional and lived experience of that era. Some pieces of art inevitably fare better than others when reexamined in a new context. And as Russian philosophy Mikhail Bakhtain emphasizes “the primacy of context” generates the meaning– even if it is a new context as in 2013 in which we read 1993 pieces. In this case, the sum was less than the individual parts. This was in striking difference compared to an earlier New Museum exhibit centered around futurism and 1960s (Ghost in the Machine).
Most of the viewers at this particular time appears to be Millenials, or some slightly older as in Generation X, or however one wants to label the age groups. One can’t help but wonder how they synthesized and approached the broad nature of the exhibition. The strength of prior exhibitions at the New Museum have been how pieces will speak to each other, enhance and flow together as a whole. Did the cross-sectional curating undermine some of the individual pieces to make them appear more as time capsule, unburied archaic objects rather than works that are alive today? Why is it that some pieces appear to survive and engage still today while others appear less relevant or not daring enough? Does it speak to what we expect now in this decade to engage us? It was as if the awkward lure and dazzle of the 1990s had lost its voice and not aged very well at the same time.
– For a quintessential representative of Outsider Art, Henry Darger at Ricco Maresca gallery suggests questions of gender identity and the vulnerability of children, with his detailed and prolific drawings of young girls with male parts.
– Stefanie Gutheil amuses and amazes again at Mike Weiss gallery with a brilliant collection of playful pieces filled with colorfully distorted creatures and cats that you will want to welcome into your home immediately. Sculptural frames are welcome details. How Gutheil manages to combine so many vibrant features into one piece and make each part essential and balanced (and never overwrought) is a delightful wonder.
– Trisha Baga’s installation at Greene Naftali gallery skillfully featured fragmented narratives in the most unexpected places with a combination of video, sculptural, and animated pieces.
– Nancy Spero’s printmaking genius and political/feminist perspective on display at Galerie Lelong
– Ed Ruscha at the Gagosian Gallery leaves a trail of open books and a few unanswered questions of meaning, reproduction, and representation.
– Questions of death, preservation, and legacy are inevitably raised by the broken disfigured wax figures in David LaChapelle at the Paul Kasmin gallery. A horror-filled version of Madame Tussauds meets Great Expectations.
If you were thinking Huang Yong Ping, then you may have seen his recent taxiderm-ied installation at Gladstone Gallery. Both artists share references insofar as political satire, dark humor, and use of anthropomorphized dead animals as stand-ins for political and mythical figures. The Chinese French artist who left his native country for France at the age of 35 and associated with Joseph Beuys, John Cage, and Marcel Duchamp stands apart from his Western counterparts as distinctly as his heritage and tradition.
His work has an ability to chill the temperature in the room immediately while saving some surprises at the same time. His most recent installation “Circus” at Gladstone Gallery takes well-known folklore of Sun Wukong into much more troubled territory. The usually cheerful, wily, and intelligent mythical Monkey King leader is now diminished and frozen in skeletal remains attached to a dull large wooden hand. All the lesser animals have lost their heads and it is as if all life force has left the room. A headless ape-seer looks out from a tall wooden dais, the figurative phantom hand shielding his eyes invisible as he tries to see what lies in the future. Impossible and futile an attempt, as there are no eyes– and no head at all. These animals reference the traditional Chinese zodiac stories and tropes of a journey, a race where each animal must outsmart the other in a race to the finish (lead or be led). Here, the outcome– and the futility of such race– is frozen into oblivion. Not even the gigantic hand wields any vitality or source of power; it hangs limply, pieces destroyed. The punchline is, however, in fact upstairs in the gallery, where around the corner behind a large red flag (the color of luck, fortune, blood, prosperity, China) are the skewered heads of all the animals, like a feral shish kabob. Whereas the temperature of the first floor piece was cool, the upstairs heads work is angry, emotional, and violent. Who is responsible? What was the before and after? However, questions of justice or loss, which one might expect, oddly seem out of place and meaningless– as vacant and empty as their glassy eyes.
Huang Yong Ping, at Gladstone Gallery
Let’s see what looks interesting in the galleries this week!
Huang Yong Ping’s Installation at Gladstone (530 W21st)- Chinese French Avant Garde artist
Carroll Dunham at Gladstone (515 W24th)- father of the now more famous Lena, but dare one say, that his works are far more NSFW?
Artists of Gugging at Ricco Maresca (529 W20th)- amazing collection of Art Brut in its heyday in Vienna.
Kienholz- Ozymandias Parade at Pace Gallery (510 W25th St)- political satire on float wheels