Tony Labatt

Brian and Marc recently collaborated on a review of Tony Lebat’s Bulk at Queens Nails Annex for Shotgun Review. Here’s an excerpt:

“Tony Labat’s exhibition Bulk opened to throngs of art students, smoking and drinking on the sidewalk. At first, the event seemed like any other gallery reception. However, as a show focusing on the manifestation of social relations in an art event, the students hadn’t come to see anything in particular, but to rather simply be with one another. With the gallery’s main space converted to a bar, complete with amateur bartenders, swill cocktails at criminal prices, and makeshift wooden tables; Bulk turned Queens Nails Annex into a speakeasy, one built like a cheap theatrical set.

Bulk’s events have drawn together those who share in a common perspective – art students, gallerists, curators, etc.- participating in their prescribed roles of social exchange and power dynamics, as if the events had a written script. The exhibition doesn’t challenge itself to compose the audience, who provide its labor, or translate their efforts into meaning. Any examination into the relationship between the mechanics of audience as a means of production, and how it conditions the possibilities of interpretation, is absent. Without intervention, the events emerged as expected; codified and rigid. Creating work that fosters social relations shouldn’t reduce an event to the calling together of a coterie, turning the artist into a socialite of aesthetics whose practice would be a chain of well-hosted shin-digs. Bulk is emblematic of this festivalist, lackadaisical attitude that’s far too common in contemporary art.”

The full review can be found on Shotgun Review. This writing is an extension of a survey of the San Francisco art scene Brian wrote for Artnet.

Brian Andrews

Bad at Sports' West Coast Producer.