In January I had posted about the Renaissance Society‘s roundtable “Is there such a thing as a Chicago artist anymore?”. I was unable to attend but I just stumbled on The Ren’s Youtube page. They have not only the full panel separated in 12 segments but also a bunch of interviews that they have done over the course of this year. The panel includes: Elizabeth Chodos, Director of Three Walls; Paul Klein, critic; Chuck Thurow, Director of The Hyde Park Art Center; Philip Von Zweck, artist; and Lynne Warren, Curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art. I haven’t had a chance to finish the series but it seems worth checking out.
view video here
For the sake of introduction, here’s a project that kicked off last Saturday in New York City’s Coney Island and on the Lower East Side at MWNM. The Box Game is the traveling stage of a larger artwork called ‘What’s in the Box’. In the month of March a black box will be taken to various locations throughout the United States and Canada by Lukas Geronimas and David Horvitz. At each location they will set up a game that asks people what they think is in the box.
As a sort of real life meme, this project will be interesting as it develops.Â Also check out the website. It is much in the same spirit as the artist David Horvitz’s other Internet activities both on his own site and the co-curated ASDF Makes.Â One can purchase editions of this work in the form of tanks of gas to help these two drive the box across North America.
Check out Ben Streetâ€™s thoughtful and timely essay on curatorial practice of the institutional kind posted today on the Art 21 blog. Best line: â€œ…(G)reat curatorship hides itself, or, put another way, the first rule of curating is you donâ€™t talk about curating.â€ Here, here!
Via Art Fag City.
CROSS-FADE, a group show of Chicago-based artists who are romantically involved, gives new meaning to the term relational aesthetics. The chosen lovebirds here are Julia Fish and Richard Rezak, Michelle Bolinger and Todd Simeone, and Kevin Kaempf and Michael Thomas of People Powered and Lucky Pierre, respectivelyâ€”couples who don’t normally collaborate but, as organizer Stacie Johnson points out on the Swimming Pool Project Space website, “their independent practices have been in dialogue for some time.”
I like how this show explicitly acknowledges the influence of a domestic partnership on artistic practice, viaÂ (one imagines) the kinds of conversations that occur not only in the studio but over coffee at the kitchen table or in bed watching t.v. It’s a small show, with a piece from each artist (Kaempf and Thomas contribute a single collaborative video) and a sculpture of a potted plant credited to Bolinger and Simeone. Johnson treads lightly over her theme, as if she’s afraid that by making too much of the romantic ties that bind she’ll warp our view of what each artist is doing on his/her own.Â The works aren’t installed in a manner that encourages side-by-side comparisons, and there’s no accompanying text to provide insight into precisely how these artists’ practices are in dialogue. We’re left to figure that out for ourselves, but I think Johnson’s curatorial premise is good enough to warrant a much larger and more in-depth exploration of the idea.Â Maybe she could include some examples of what happens to work when lovers break up. Now that’d make for some juicy encounters at the opening reception.
I think we’ve all had this experience:Â you see a show that’s mostly forgettable save for one work so good it makes you re-think everything else in the room. This happened to me while viewing Alison Katzâ€™s exhibition at Kasia Kay Art Projects Gallery, which on the whole struck me as a pretty good example of not-so-interesting painting, the show’s provocative title (â€œYou Talk Greasilyâ€) not withstanding.Â I’ll admit it: I went to this show under the vague impression that this was an artist who painted with fat, and I was kind of turned on by that idea, but instead I found paintings in oils and acrylics whose execution was of the fashionably loose and sloppy sort; Katz’s garish palette and flattened perspectives also left me cold.
To use a (now-unfashionable) term from Roland Barthes in an admittedly off-kilter context, there’s no punctum in Katz’s paintings, nothing to latch on to, emotionally or intellectually. Is that what they mean by “greasy”? Katz makes paintings for a post-photography era; she also seems to want to deflate traditional notions of authorship.
As Patrice Connelly points out in her New City review of the show, Katz employs so many varying stylistic devices it’s hard to tell that the work was made by a single artist. Perhaps that’s why the one image that repeatedly drew me back was also the most mundane: a still life of a flower bouquet soaking in a clear glass jelly jar, the cellophane still wrapped around the red and yellow buds.
I still can’t quite put my finger on why I liked this particular painting so much. Maybe it’s in its seamless melding of the recognizably “real” with the patently artifical, the way Katz’s rough brushstrokes capture the hurriedness with which the flowers have been plunked into the jar and how the painted materiality of the glass and the cellulose behind it extends the parameters of the still life into something more like a frozen landscape. It was the only painting in the show that worked for me, and I caught myself wishing I could tuck it under my arm and take it home, like a real bouquet of flowers.
Whatâ€™s that oft-cited quote? “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Variously attributed to Elvis Costello, Miles Davis, Lauri Anderson and a bunch of others, whoever said it, I just lived it a little during a visit to Sebastian Craigâ€™s new installation at Old Gold. With its 70â€™s era rec room feel, Old Gold looks and feels like a party space; no doubt a few prior generations of kids have gotten stoned down there while their parents drank martinis and watched TV upstairs. Sebastian Craig plays off the grungy conviviality of this basement gallery’s past and present incarnations with a party-themed architectural installation that invites (nay, requires) participation and gives you permission to dance like a dork (yay me!). Craig has taken a lengthy pink cord and angled it across two walls so that it looks like the laser beam security device from spy films like Entrapment.
As you pick your way through it to cross the room,Â you’re forced to lift up your limbs in a wonky kind of dance. No doubt the piece reached a certain apotheosis during the opening, when the room was filled with people weaving in and out of the cords in order to view the video on the other side of the room, or more importantly, grab a beer.Â But I was there alone, when the room was empty (save for co-director Caleb Lyons and his cutie-pie pug), and I’m glad I was, as I don’t think the work’s remarkably strong architectural elements would have asserted themselves so clearly had I seen it only during the opening festivities.
… Anyone go to Paul Chan’s opening at The Ren yesterday? If you did, what’d ya think?
I donâ€™t Tweet, and no one can convince me that Wikipedia is a fundamentally reliable source of knowledge, but I’m definitely intrigued by gallerist and 20 x 200 impresario Jen Bekmanâ€™s experiment in â€œcrowd-sourced curation.”Â Bekman asked fellow Twitterers to recommend artists theyâ€™d like to see participate inÂ 20 x 200, and received a deluge of suggestions in response. Get the full story here.
Did any of you New York readers see Bekmanâ€™s talk â€œOvercrowded â€“ How crowd sourcing is ruining everythingâ€ at Ignite NYC III last week? If you did, can you give us the lowdown in the comments? Bekmanâ€™s take on the issue is of interest, as sheâ€™s one of only a few dealers to develop a successful model for marketing affordable contemporary art to the masses. Makes me wonder if or how phenomena like micro-blogging and crowd-sourcing willÂ affect the future of art criticism as well as institutional curation. Iâ€™m sure thereâ€™s a number of art critics already twittering out there (are there any who now use Twitter exclusively?), and you know some enterprising curator will find a way to Tweet out an art show, itâ€™s only a matter of time.