Author Archives: monitorart

Damien Hirst’s Dot Paintings & Eyebeam Art+Technology Center: Lumarca

This Thursday night was a dot filled evening given the fanfare surrounding the Damien Hirst openings at the Chelsea Gagosian Galleries.  The exhibition spaces on 21st  and 24th streets were packed with people.  Rather than a retrospective of unexpected works,  the abundance of dot paintings underscores the corporate attitude of this Hirst series.   Rather than a groundbreaking conceptual show,  the simultaneous exhibitions prove to be an art marketing coupe (which seems to be Hirst and Gagosians’ objective.)   I can’t help but have a soft spot for the mini dot paintings in the 21st street gallery.

The most innovative art I found of Thursday night is in the main room of Eyebeam Art+Technology Center.   Lumarca is an interactive combination of a video game and a light installation.   The viewer stands in a cube taped on to the floor and follows instructions given by a chandelier-like installation of electric light tubing.   The electric tubes form a cube shape that mimics the space where the person interacting with the installation stands.  The computer senses the movement of the person.  The outline of the person is reflected in the tubing structure and stylistically alludes to early video games or anime characters.  The tubes light up designating the hands, feet, and head of the player.

The participant is then expected to move their body to capture lit up parts of the electrical tube matrix.  Acting like video games projected with a green screen,  Lumarca produces a similar effect and even provides people with final scores.  Apart from the general interactivity of the installation,  the electrical lighting is especially aesthetically pleasing.   The person playing with the installation is illuminated, flooding the small square with light which contracts the expansive dark room that houses Lumarca.  This makes the player appear majestic and like the person is literally fighting the machine.  Lumarca proves to be a mesmerizing installation,  drawing a large crowd and illiciting cheers from the crowd when the installation issued a high score.

The unique installation is a collaboration between Albert Hwang and Eyebeam Resident Matt Parker and is on display until February 14th at Eyebeam Art+Technology Center.

Here is a video of Lumarca at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009:

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Saatchi Gallery: New Art from Germany and Richard Wilson

Over the Thanksgiving holiday,  I traveled to London to visit family and used the time to check out visual arts in London.   I was particularly excited to experience the Saatchi Gallery, which is owned by Charles Saatchi the legendary London based collector.    Known for acuqiring very contemporary works,  his large private museum exhibited GESAMTKUNSTWERK: NEW ART FROM GERMANY.  This was mildly disappointing to me, because I had traveled to Berlin in June and felt like I had a handle on what was new in Germany.  

If this is the zeigiest of young German artists,   the nation has a whole lot more to worry about than the Euro Zone crisis.  A large majority of the work was what I would like to classify as hipster art.  Large assembilages of neon shapes, ironic house hold applicances,  and objects with vauge political associations.  

For example,  the section of the exhibit devoted to Isa Genzken consisted of large sculptures made of found objets.   Her work toyed with the idea of the impact of art history on contemporary art and was heavily indepted to Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau. 

 Isa Genzken, Geschwister, 2004

The best part of the Saatchi Gallery was niether young nor German.  A wonderful piece by the English artist Richard Wilson filled the basement gallery space.   The entire floor of the gallery was filled with a pool of crude oil about 4 feet deep.  Akin to Walter De Maria’s Earthroom in New York,  visitors were not allowed to walk into the gallery,  but simply peer into the vast gallery space to observe the beauty of the oil.   The insallation 20:50,  was originally exhibited in 1987.  

Richard Wilson, 20:50

The surface of the oil was enticingly smooth.   It almost looked like a polished plastic surface.  The major aspect that altered the viewer to the media was the smell that emitted from the oil.   When looking at the installation it made me think of how important oil is to our global economy and politics,  but how rarely it is seen in large open quantities.  This was the first time I observed the physical qualities of oil, like the thickness of the liquid the smoothness of the surface. 

Richard Wilson, 20:50

Even though the artist created this installation in 1987,  it remains especially pertinient given the continuing environmental problems caused by oil in recent memory.   As a person very familiar with the Gulf Coast of Florida,  I tend to percieve oil as a destructive force instead of a beautiful liquid.  

This tension between the beauty, the environmental problems,  and the technological necessity of oil makes 20:50 the most impactful work of art I have encoutored in a long time.   If you make it to London,  GESAMTKUNSTWERK: NEW ART FROM GERMANYis up until April 2012.  

Richard Wilson, 20:50

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Of Lamb: Matthea Harvey and Amy Jean Porter

Last night I had the joy of listening to the poet Matthea Harvey at NYU’s Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House.   Harvey read her work, Of Lamb, that contained 100 illustrations.  Harvey read her poetry accompanied with a power point presentation of Amy Jean Porter’s illustrations.  The words and images continued to amuse me throughout the reading turning form lighthearted humor to twisted self reflection.   The written and visual componets occupied an uneasy ambiguity.  Was this a children’s book for adults?  Harvey said that she was comfortable creating for an audience of an indeterminent age.  

The words are built from an erasure of Lord David Cecil’s A Portrait of Charles Lamb.  Harvey used white out to transform the exsisting words into a narrative arch about Mary and her little lamb.  Amy Jean Porter’s illustration prove equally implusive,  with the large number of pages.   The drawing reflect the words on the page,  echoing Harvey’s whimiscal and disturbed narrative.  

Amy Jean Porters illustrations were shown at the P.P.O.W. Gallery this summer.  Harvey and Porter’s book Of Lamb is available from McSweeny’s.

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Do Ho Suh: Home Within Home

This Saturday I went to Lehman Maupin Gallery to see Do Ho Suh’s Home Within Home a delightful show that combined two of my childhood passions, art and overly decorated dollhouses.  Entering adolescence, my love of dollhouses faded as my commitment to art blossomed.  If you knew me before middle school, you are aware of my extremely large, messy, interior decorated dollhouse where I spent countless afternoons parading my Barbie collection.  That is why I was pleasantly amused by Do Ho Suh’s exhibition and especially the sculpture Fallen Star.

The highly detailed house is split in half, displaying impressive amounts of craftsmanship.  The bifurcated home shows humorous details, like a cut turkey in an oven and a sullen teenage boy’s lair.  What is quaint about the home is that the interior mimics real furniture from the Ikea catalog.


The interior of the home is destroyed in certain areas, because of the surprising detail that the viewer finds when circling the sculpture.  In the back of the home is a traditional Korean house smashed into the back.  A parachute extends out of the back of the Korean home. This sculpture recalls obvious metaphors of cultural identity and struggle to sustain a Korean American identity.  While these over arching themes are not new to Do Ho Suh’s work, the large-scale representation is an impressive step forward in craftsmanship for his body of work.

Do Ho Suh standing in front of Fallen Star

Home Within Home at the Lehman Maupin Gallery closed Saturday.

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Leonardo Erlich: Two Different Tomorrows

Leonardo Erlich’s Two Different Tomorrows confronts gallery visitors about ordinary spaces.   Based conceptually around the idea of different time zones and spatial disorientation, Erlich uses the form of the elevator to explore what the artist calls a “shifting sense of reality.”  The show consisted of 5 large installations and sculptures.


The highlight of the exhibition is Elevator Maze,  which consists of grid of mock elevator interiors.  The elevator doors are open, which allow the viewer to step inside the interior.  In each individual elevator interior,  the viewer has the illusion of standing inside a mirrored space (because the left and right  walls have mirrors).  The viewer doesn’t register that the immediate reflections on the left and right are in fact real spaces until another person walks into the sculpture. The piece reveals an interesting tension between technology and illusion.  The repetition in the mirrors is like an ode to the gridded repetition of Minimalist sculptures.

For Example:

Erlich, Elevator Maze, 2011

Another piece that created a disorienting allusion was a simulation of the interior of an elevator shaft.   The installation called Elevator Shaft tilted the vertical structure on its side.  This gives the viewer the feeling of physically walking down the walls towards the top of a moving elevator.   The realistic installation proved to be the most realistic out of all of the Erlich art works.

Erlich, Elevator Shaft, 2011

The show is an ambitious exploration of spatial experience,  but there is also a poinient tension between high and low technology. In the sculpture, Stuck Elevator, Erlich created a fully realistic replica of an elevator complete with an submerged interior elevator chamber.  However,  the illusion was ruined by the painted panel on top of the open door.  The painted panel revealed the pulleys and gears of the elevator,  but appeared neither realistic nor convincing.  Also,  instead of using a real video of the clouds in the piece, Double Skylight (The Clouds Story) the hyper perfect clouds were created in aftereffects.

Erlich, Stuck Elevator, 2011

Leonardo Erlich’s show Two Different Tomorrows closed this Saturday at Sean Kelly Gallery.

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WPA Biennial: Options 2011

The Washington Project for the Arts presents it’s biennial “Options.”   The exhibition features young artists from the Baltimore/Washington DC area and functions as a survey of unrecognized talent.  Stefanie Fedor is the curator.  The show included a impressive range of media including,  sculpture,  drawing, audio, mix media, and video.

Heather Boaz, Jacket and Shoes

Heather Boaz,  Dress, 2011

One of the most impressive offerings in the show is by the Baltimore based artist Heather Boaz.  Her artworks Jacket and Shoes combine traditional clothing with metal hardware.  The wearable sculptures brings a new perspective to the dialog between domestic objects, clothing, and femininity.  In Shoes,  the metal handles are fixed to the soles rendering the boots useless, pushing the object into a more sculptural form.

Artemis Herber, Stems, 2011

Artemis Herber constructed two sculptures Rusty Shelters and Stems.  The large cardboard constructions contain multiple parts.  The sculptures have smooth and simple lines, but their large size makes the viewer feel diminutive.  Especially in Rusty Shelters,  the combination of color with the shape and quality of the cardboard created a irresistible tactility that is rare is a cardboard sculpture.

Artemis Herber,  Rusty Shelters, 2011

Jimmy Miracle shows a group of sculptures,  but I am especially taken with his piece Meditations.  While the larger work Beam is derivative of other artists,  the small scale containment makes Meditations a original statement.  The clear plastic containers which house the multicolored string,  provide a reflective surface and allow different perspectives of the string to reveal themselves.

“Options 2011” is on view in Washington DC until October 29th.

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Olek: Astor Place Cube

Here is a video of one of my personal favorite’s Olek crocheting the cube at Astor Place.

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