March 20, 2012 · Print This Article
I arrived 11 hours late to the movie. I asked the ticket-man if I’d missed anything. Yeah, he said, you missed the really dirty parts.
Jesse Cain‘s Parts and Labor is 13 hours. It is his hands replacing the engine of a car, piece by piece. The work is shot in sparkling HD, with steady close-up shots. The compositions are arresting. The depths of field are shallow. His hands, the moving parts, the parts his hands are moving shift in and out of focus as he works. It is a durational film, certainly. It is the length of time it took him to perform the action–over two years. The labor dictates the form, the length, the shape.
Parts and Labor showed in a traditional theatrical space, the mainstay Anthology Film Archives. People were welcome to come and go as they pleased (as one might during any other movie), and did. Audience members left to eat a meal, to drink a drink, perhaps, even, to perform their own labors.
The film is tremendous. My brain was abuzz with the ways we can ensure the cinematic experience is maintained when moving images are brought into visual art contexts. The world of art has never been so formally or materially diverse, of course, but not all presentation strategies are utilized equally. I am continually surprised and annoyed by curators, artists and exhibition-makers’ insistence on showing films and videos with integral trajectories on a loop. There are, obviously, makers whose works are meant to be looped and meant for gallery contexts. I don’t know how effective Tony Oursler‘s puppet projections would be on a screen, in a traditional cinematic environment (actually, I bet it’d be amazing). There are also, of course, pieces that can function (and change meaning, etc.) through a variety of exhibition strategies. However, for works meant to be seen in their entirety (and, as obvious as it sounds. starting at the beginning and ending at the end), it’s a travesty to not even allow audiences the chance to experience them in their intended state.
It is, then, with great excitement that I believe the 2012 Whitney Biennial has pulled it off. Along with Elisabeth Sussman and Jay Sanders, the show’s curators, Thomas Beard and Ed Halter (who also run the recently moved and renovated Light Industry) have not only assembled an excellent calendar of screenings, but with the Biennial’s staff have done a wonderful job of presenting films in a museum in a way that honors the unique capacities of both of the traditional exhibition models. On the day attended (Friday), Jerome Hiler‘s quiet, beautiful Words of Mercury began every half hour, on the half hour. There is a sign at the tightened curtain requesting audiences wait until the next half hour to enter. There were still the types of conversations one might rather not hear during a screening, but those mostly died off within the first ten minutes. I sat near the front and absorbed very few of the stings of walk-outs. Noise from other rooms was minimal and Hiler’s hypnotic, textural superimpositions were given the space to breathe they needed.
One hopes other exhibition organizations will follow the lead of the Whitney in their exhibition of time-based works. Through very simple means (in many cases more suggestive and informative than anything else), viewers were able to see the works as they were intended. And, with a show as vast as the biennial, the time until the next screening just means a greater, longer consideration of works whose temporal strategies are less oblique.
This week: Richard and Duncan speak with Chicago based artist and 2010 Whitney Biennial participant Julia Fish about her work, Japanese architecture and more!
Before that starts, there is a short pithy segment on C2E2, which was awesome (the show not our bit).
Yes I made a stupid Front 242 musical joke which only I will find funny.
This week: Duncan talks to 2010 Whitney Biennial participant and decontructivist photography raconteur, Curtis Mann.
Send us your video questions for the art world!!!
This week Patricia and Brian chat with Lawrence Rinder, currently the director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Previously he was the Dean at California College of the Arts, curated for the Whitney Museum of American Art, and founded the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art at CCA. He has curated numerous exhibitions including the 2002 Whitney Bienial. In this conversation, they discuss BAMPHA’s new building, arts education, the future of the museum, and the Bay Area art community. At the end Larry agrees to come back on the show in the future to discuss all the curatorial projects in his past thay didn’t have time to discuss. Read more
I haven’t updated in a bout week. After returning from New York I was swamped with art students trying to print their final projects. Everything will be back to normal this coming week. I’m hoping to post a recap of art viewing from my trip and a recap of what is going on with MOCA. In the meantime, The New York times has an article on next years Whitney Biennial curators. Former BAS guest Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari have been named curators of the 2010 show.
via the New York Times:
“…First, the Biennial. Although it seems as if there just was one (there was, ending in June), officials at the Whitney Museum of American Art are already plotting the sequel, scheduled to open in March 2010. This week they are announcing the choice of curators, who in years past have consisted of
all-Whitney teams, groups of outsiders, or variations in between.
This time the museum has paired Francesco Bonami, 53, a seasoned Italian-born curator with an international reputation, and Gary Carrion-Murayari, 28, a homegrown senior curatorial assistant. Mr. Bonami will serve as curator for the Biennial, with Mr. Carrion-Murayari acting as associate curator.”
Read the entire article here