Week in Review : Art and then some

June 2, 2013 · Print This Article

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The week began with a guest post from Jamie Kazay who continues her serial Barbie-reflections:

Play time with Barbie created a space for the infinite possibilities that language enables. This is, albeit a different medium, how the principles of La Nouvelle Vague operate. Within this movement there seems to be an intense need to circle-back, to recreate, and to satirize all with the intention to provide a variety of end results. It is the distance that is traveled while watching these films that should be observed. They provide a wealth of possibilities. For instance, in “À bout de souffle” I am amused by the collage of scenes that jump back and forth like a child playing jump rope. The mismatched shots pull from a variety of American cultural references. I recount the jazz notes and sounds, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans, Humphrey Bogart, and countless other references. As I played with Barbie, I adapted. I coordinated a sense of wonder and culture, and this established my freedom to create.

Photo by Clay Hickson.

Photo by Clay Hickson.

Following that, EDITION #10 spellz hot hot hot and, aside from a Who Wore It Better contest between TIME Magazine and a tombstone, the weather report, Facebook art convos, and more, contains a nice little list of good books to check out. As What’s The T? mastermind, Dana Bassett, puts it:

BREAKING: In a surprising turn of events, books exist in the physical realm…

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Chicago Artist Writers hosted a workshop with Lori Waxman at Gallery 400 on March 14, 2013. This week on Bad at Sports, they tried to collect and recap some of Waxman’s two-hour lecture:

Lori posited that criticism has largely not changed much since its first appearance with Diderot’s reviews of the Paris Salon of 1765, and the writing that we see in major outlets like the Tribune or Artforum holds the same basic values of that style to this day. This default approach to art criticism doesn’t reflect the drastic changes in art and technology’s influence on the contemporary conversation as much as it could.

She used Documenta as a case in point–-it embodied a sprawling, time-intensive experience for the viewer, and the critical responses to it suffered as their structuring was inadequate to cover the exhibition’s curatorial conceits. Critics who were only able to visit 3-5 days and print 1000 words were ill equipped to critique the event in its totality. “Who goes to NYC for a weekend, and tries to see everything, and if they can’t, it’s New York’s fault?” Lori asked. She used Dieter Roelstraete’s review of the Documenta in Artforum as one example; one of his main critiques was that it had too much going on. Similarly, Roberta Smith’s review in the New York Times was schizophrenic, unable to deal with the scope of the massive three-month undertaking. Lori suggested that despite the stubborn precedent of “objective distance” in traditional criticism, she herself might be the best critic of Documenta, having spent her entire summer there.

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News from New York: Juliana Driever interviews Jason Eppink, who by way of introduction has said on his blog: “At some point in time I will write three succinct sentences that clearly express who I am and what I do. Alas, we have not arrived at that point in time yet. ” He is also the Assistant Curator of Digital Media at theMuseum of the Moving Image and, at one turn in the interview says:

Every generation is comfortable navigating the world with the tools they grew up with and every generation feels uncomfortable with the tools they didn’t grow up with, and there’s a simple evolutionary reason for this: Our brains are elastic during our youth as we figure out how the world works, adapting very easily to new tools because, well, everything is new to us. And our brains become more firm as we age so we can more efficiently do the things that ensured our survival. And in age, we can interpret new tools as threats or we can adapt and relearn behaviors. Historically this was not much of a tension, because, e.g., it took thousands of generations to perfect agriculture. Today, the tools change a little faster.

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Top 5 Weekend Picks via Stephanie Burke #huzza! 

BIG & BOLD: a post from your truly about exciting things (or should I say, things I am excited about) including the Rapid Pulse [Performance] Festival, ACRE’s kitchen festival, a Heather Mekkelson show from 2008, and the new Vitamin D2 book, featuring Deb Sokolow and Elijah Burger. 

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Monica Westin posted her piece on Steve Juras this Friday:

The first impression Steve Juras’ studio calls to mind is of self-constraint as aesthetic. His work spans any number of two and three dimensional, formal and conceptual practices, and it’s the consistently tightening systems he builds and acts under that provide a through-line: repetitions and experiments in tightly restricted games that insist on looping back on themselves. Juras’ background is in design– his MFA from SAIC is in visual communication– and it’s easy to read some of that background into his somewhat detached approach, which often translates into the obsessive working of images into their most basic shapes (like a long series of skull drawings in notebooks, where a naturalistic sketch ultimately devolves into a study of curve and line) and explorations of shapes within grids. “I’m always looking back to abstraction, the investigation of the line,” he muses as he flips through carefully labeled notebooks that offer endless repetitions on simple themes.

Trine Søndergaard and Nicolai Howalt, from DYING BIRDS (2010)

Trine Søndergaard and Nicolai Howalt, from DYING BIRDS (2010)

MAINTENANCE #2 courtesy of one Mairead Case — who adeptly discusses the MORE books (including) Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler (Seven Stories Press, 1996), Kite by Dominique Eddé, trans. Ros Schwartz (Seagull Books, 2012), Dying Birds by Nicolai Howalt and Trine Søndergaard (Haasla Books, 2010), Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun (Riverhead Books, 2009), STIR Vol. 1 (www.stirtoaction.com, 2012), and Man vs. Sky by Corey Zeller (YesYes Books, 2013), with an introductory note:

This MAINTENANCE comes to you from my neighbors’ apartment, where it is thunderstorming outside and inside, I am looking after one very great, very large, very orange boss of a cat. My Buddha machine is on and every hour or so, a cuckoo clock pings and the cat leaves the bedroom to hiss or to glare. Across the alley, some little girls are shriek-giggling.

All the disquiet—a word I’m using like the great Marc Weidenbaum does—is, in the end, pretty cozy. (Kitty calmed down.) I didn’t always feel this way, the shrieks in particular would be too many hooks for hanging my hat. But Weidenbaum’s writing and sound archives, which include field recordings and more traditional performances (usually as part of Disquiet Junto, a series he runs), they help me maintain focus even when my neighborhood’s not playing a lullaby. They help me see chaos settling into music, not into garble but patterns and rhythms, however hiccupily.

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And, rounding off the week Adrienne Harris posted this very same Sunday with notes from our other coast, about her theater and movie attendance:

When I lived in New York, theatre felt almost as easy as going to the movies. There were so many theaters all over town. There was public transportation and the TKTS discount ticket center in Time Square offering me tickets to shows I desperately wanted to see at a price that was in my budget. I had friends that worked for live theatre and could get me free tickets. Hell, I sold concessions at a small professional theatre in West Village and saw all those plays, multiple times, for free. I saw the original production of the Last 5 Years and an amazing productions of Burn This with Edward Norton and Katherine Keener for free! It was great. Now I live in LA and my friends work for tv shows and in movies and no one has access to free theatre anymore. So, I go to the movie theatre near my house and park in the large parking structure that takes the movie theatre’s validation and I use my Stubs card to earn upgrades on popcorn and eventually free movie tickets and I sit in the dark and watch Super Heros duke it out, or couples turning 40 fight about their marriage, or young people who feel lost but find love in the end. And I LOVE this too. I really love it.

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