Herb and Dorothy

June 1, 2009 · Print This Article

Herb and Dorothy. I’d like to see this film screened in Chicago. Has anyone seen it here? I didn’t see any mention of an upcoming Chicago venue on the website.  Please don’t tell me I’ve missed it. The synopsis, from the film’s website:

HERB & DOROTHY tells the extraordinary story of Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy Vogel quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb’s salary to purchase art they liked, and living on Dorothy’s paycheck alone, they continued collecting artworks guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Within these limitations, they proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists including Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi, and Lawrence Weiner.

After thirty years of meticulous collecting and buying, the Vogels managed to accumulate over 2,000 pieces, filling every corner of their tiny one bedroom apartment. “Not even a toothpick could be squeezed into the apartment,” recalls Dorothy. In 1992, the Vogels decided to move their entire collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The vast majority of their collection was given as a gift to the institution. Many of the works they acquired appreciated so significantly over the years that their collection today is worth millions of dollars. Still, the Vogels never sold a single piece. Today Herb and Dorothy still live in the same apartment in New York with 19 turtles, lots of fish, and one cat. They’ve refilled it with piles of new art they’ve acquired.

HERB & DOROTHY is directed by first time filmmaker Megumi Sasaki. The film received the Golden Starfish Award for the Best Documentary Film and Audience Award from the 2008 Hamptons International Film Festival. It has also received Audience Awards from the 2008 SILVERDOCS Film Festival and the 2009 Philadelphia Cinefest. Palm Springs International Film Festival named HERB & DOROTHY one of their “Best of Fest” films in 2009.

HERB & DOROTHY Trailer from Herb and Dorothy on Vimeo.

Via Beautiful/Decay.

In lieu of a review of ‘Several Silences’ at The Renaissance Society…

June 1, 2009 · Print This Article

…I’ll ask you to try this instead:

Go to your iTunes. Create a ringtone for John Cage’s 4’33” (if you don’t want to spend money for it on iTunes, you can find a free ringtone for 4’33” here).

Install that ringtone on your cell phone, and assign it to one of your frequent contacts. Keep it this way for at least a week (no cheating!).

That’s it.

The Hamza Walker-curated group show “Several Silences” closes this weekend at The Renaissance Society, so if you still want to catch it, best get there soon.

Installation view, "Several Silences" at The Renaissance Society

Installation view, "Several Silences" at The Renaissance Society

Richard Hunt at G.R. N’Namdi Gallery

June 1, 2009 · Print This Article

Richard Hunt, Model for Tower of Aspiration, N'Namdi Gallery

Richard Hunt, Model for Tower of Aspiration, N'Namdi Gallery

Richard Hunt’s terrific sculpture show at David Weinberg Gallery closed last weekend, but if you missed it there’s another powerful selection of Hunt’s work from the past 20 years on view at G.R. N’Namdi Gallery.

David Weinberg’s space, the smaller of the two galleries, showed off the many paradoxical elements of Hunt’s sculptures in a surprisingly effective manner. When I first walked in to that exhibition, the room felt overly crowded to the extent that I feared one of sculptures’ edges might actually jab me (or I it). But it quickly became clear that, physically at least, there was plenty of room for all of us.

Richard Hunt, Low Flight, welded stainless steel. David Weinberg Gallery

Richard Hunt, Low Flight, welded stainless steel. David Weinberg Gallery

Hunt’s work is full of surprises like that. Eluding easy formal classifications, his sculptures can’t adequately be described as organic, nor are they exactly technological in nature. They’re somewhere in between the two, where spiraling forms evoke the flow of waves or the whir of circular blades. One sculpture at N’Namdi recalls a stack of bones, human and otherwise; others have sharp, protruding hooks.  The lines of Hunt’s sculptures alternate between curving and jagged, their movement sometimes vertical, sometimes lateral, but always, always upwards.

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Stacks of things frequently rest atop stacks of other things, as if someone were trying to build a stairway to heaven by piling object upon object as high as the whole thing will go–an implausible and impossibly graceful agglomeration of broken wings, torn dorsal fins, discarded hand tools and shards of bone.

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Hunt’s sculptures may reach upwards, but they’re far from dreamy. The often rapid transitions from one form to another doesn’t suggest rebirth or regeneration so much as an effort to fit together, sometimes clumsily, that which already exists. In this Hunt’s forms evoke the forward movement of history (be it an individual’s or a nation’s) as something precariously and pragmatically achieved, in fits and starts, over time.

Richard Hunt, Incline with Rising Curve. David Weinberg Gallery

Richard Hunt, Incline with Rising Curve. David Weinberg Gallery

The show is at G.R. N’Namdi Gallery (110 N. Peoria, Chicago, 312-563-9240) through June 30th. 

I Hate L.A.

May 30, 2009 · Print This Article

This one’s for Duncan.

(via The World’s Best Ever).

Warning: NSFW.

Interview with Wynne Greenwood

May 29, 2009 · Print This Article

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Video still from Libber

Last month I wrote a post about Wynne Greenwood’s latest performance Sister Taking Nap.  Wynne is best known for her performance as the three member band Tracy + the Plastics. Last year she had a solo show at Susanne Vielmetter which consisted of new sculptures and videos. In 2008 Wynne was the recipient of a Genius Award from Seattle’s the Stranger . Wynne was nice enough to answer some of my questions and fill me in on some of her projects.

1) After Tracy + the Plastics were over I had heard that you were doing a new musical venture called libber. I remember hearing that it was like the plastics plus marching bands. What happened to that project? I was seriously stoked when I heard about it.

I did make a short (4 min) performance w/ video and music called LIBBER in summer 2004.  I made and performed this for the LTTR Explosion at Art in General, NYC.  LIBBER was literally a “breakthrough” moment for me.  It was the first, and to date only, time I physically performed through the projection surface.  I cut a hole in the sheet and stood behind the sheet, the video was projected from the front onto the front of the sheet that I was standing behind.  I put my arm through the hole in the sheet to be the arm of the abstracted girl figure.  My real arm became her arm.  And it (my real arm) played a real drum.

The story was that this girl has a drum and she’s walking around the city with her drum.  The drum lets her know that she can never be nostalgic because the drum is always wanting her to hit it again.  And she’s wondering what to do with her life when a marching band walks by and she joins in with them.

At the time I thought I would make this into a band somehow. Not with any video, but with the idea of the abstracted figure, and the idea of an ever-changing make-up of a band, like a marching band.  You graduate, and you’re not in the band anymore, but there’s a new person there who brings new and different or maybe similar things to the instrument/role.  I also wanted to have the music and performance be very drum-based.  But I got weary of using the word “Libber” to be a title for something that was very specific to me and my experience/created experience.  And so I changed my music-making “name” to my name, wynne greenwood.  And that’s where I’m at now.

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Video still from Big Candy

2) Big Candy is probably one of my favorite pieces of yours. Was it a precursor to Sister Taking Nap? From the photos that I saw visually they seemed to be linked.

Yeah, I do think Big Candy and Sister Taking Nap are like memories or ideas from the same body.  Sister Taking Nap was a smooshing together of two different projects I’d been thinking about for a couple years – one was a performance and the other was a series of sculptures.  After I made the Big Candy video, I started thinking about the possibilities of interacting with a sculpture using words and dialogue.  For me, the form of “music video” is like a really relaxed (to the point sometimes of negligent) babysitter.  There’s no consequences, in a way, maybe because there’s no rules.  And I say that while I believe that there are always consequences, though that word is more complicated than its surface.

3) Will there be an audio component released for Sister Taking Nap?
It’s really funny you ask this, because in the middle of performing Sister Taking Nap I thought “oh wow I could have made the audio into a record.”  But I’m not going to do that.

4) I noticed that you often have discussed the notion of reality. What type of realities are you interested in creating with your work?

I’m interested in creating realities that are feminist and queer and self-aware.  That are interdependent in their structure.  Realities that have integrated surfaces and structures.

5) I read an interview for the Stranger that you are a twin.  I was wondering if T+P might be a reaction to or at least influenced by having a close sibling?

All of my work has been influenced by this.