Tag Archives: Art

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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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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Andy Warhol: Shadows

 

Andy Warhol’s Shadows series is on view at the Hirshhorn Museum.  The entire series is owned by the Dia Foundation and is rarely on public view in its entirety.  The 67 silkscreen paintings are based on a picture of a shadow from Warhol’s office.  While Warhol asserts that the same image is repeated 67 times,  observation reveals two variations of the shadow images.   The paintings are a typical color palate of bright primary and secondary colors.  The painting are hung side by side,  without space in-between.  This long line of repetitive images creates the illusion of one continuous work which appears more like a film reel than a traditional painting.  This appeals to Warhol’s self definition as a painter and a film maker.

In the installation there is a quote from Warhol, which clashes with his artwork’s post-mortem monetary value.  Warhol says,  “The paintings can’t be bought.  The Lone Star Foundation is presenting them and they own them” (Painter Hangs Own Paintings,  NY, Feb. 1979).  Given Warhol’s focus on commodification,  I always wonder how he would feel to know that his artworks are blue chip investments and their market value often outpace global financial markets.  While it could be argued that Warhol was more interested in fame rather than wealth, it is curious that Warhol secured the purchase of the series to the Lone Star Foundation (now the Dia Foundation).  Warhol recongnized that the strength of the series is in the multiplicity of the shadow image.  Choosing to secure the series with the Lone Star Foundation is interesting,  because Warhol often denied that the Shadow series was art.  He often refered to the paintings as ‘disco decor.’ Apart from the Andy Warhol museum in Pennsylvania,  one of Warhol’s largest institutional legacies includes objects rejects as actual works of art.

 

All 67 paintings are on view at the Hirshhorn Museum until January 15th.

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Nick Cave “For Now” at Mary Boone Gallery

Confession:  I am obsessed with Nick Cave.

Nick Cave delivers more iconic “Soundsuits” in a new installation called “For Now” at the Mary Boone gallery in Chelsea.  The suits are scaled to the artist’s body and are wearable sculpture.   This installation is particularly enjoyable because Cave continues to explore alternative materials.  The construction of the suits separate into two categories: small interwoven sticks and gaudy ephemera from a sequined childhood nightmare.

The most impressive aspect of the exhibit is the fine tuned craftsmanship.  The overwhelming materials create a sensory overload.   Despite the trendiness of themes of shamanism within contemporary art, Nick Cave presents a truly breathtaking installation.

 

“For Now” is in conjunction with an exhibition at the Jack Shainman Gallery called “Ever-After.”

The exhibition at Mary Boone is on view until October 22nd.

Expect a comparison to the show at Jack Shainman Gallery next week on Monitor.

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What is IBM’s “Think” Exhibition?

For the 100th Anniversary of IBM the company hosts an exhibition called “Think” in front of Lincoln Center.  The exhibit is nothing more than a public relations tool for the IBM Company, faceting the corporation as a global innovator for improving the lives of humans.  The feel-good exhibition used video, data visualization, and interactive media to spotlight technological advances. The entire experience compares to the Coca-Cola Corporation’s museum World of Coca-Cola, except IBM does not give out free sugary drinks at the end of the tour.

Aside from the obvious problems surrounding the quality of the information within the exhibition, the installation explores innovative curatorial practices.  The installation tracks sensors connecting to the surrounding environment to monitor traffic, pollution, and weather.  The most impressive aspect of the installation, are life sized touch activated screens, which allow the visitor to tailor the experience to their personal interests.  The interactive media broke down into clichéd categories like ‘Mapping,’ ‘Understanding,’ ‘Believing,’ ‘Seeing,’ and ‘Acting.’  The portals allowed access to sound bites of social innovators/scientists, mapping, visual time lines, and more data visualization.

This innovative viewing experience is what was lacking from the MoMA’s presentation of “Talk To Me.”  In fact, the exhibitions serve as perfect foils.  A highly interactive exhibit lacking critical content vs. An exhibition of human’s and objects with out innovative curatorial ideas to spark interaction within the exhibition.

The most telling differences between this exhibit and a museum or gallery show was the lack of credit given to the graphic designers, videographers, and curators.  When viewing the video, a small text box at the bottom of the screen invites the viewer to click and reveal the source of the video.  Sadly, instead of names the button simply revealed an IBM copyright.

But in the words of Mitt Romney, “Corporations are people too.”

“Think” is open to the public until October 23rd.

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Richard Serra: Junction/Cycle

Richard Serra’s show “Junction/Cycle” at Gagosian Gallery displays familiar curved steel plates and smooth curves.   Unlike the underwhelming drawing exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum this summer (Richard Serra’s Drawings: A Retrospective), “Junction/Cycle” reveals the continuation of the sculptures art audiences love.   The gallery is dominated by two oversized sculptures, expanding outward from Serra’s distinctive Torqued Ellipses.   Each of the sculptures had multiple pathways, entrances, and exists.  Unlike many of the Serra sculptures I am familiar with, the two sculptures allow the viewer to choose his/her own path through the work.  The element of choice allows Serra to organize the movement of people around the gallery space, but allows a personalized encounter with the sculptures.

Junction and Cycle almost invite the viewer to weave in and out of the sculpture.  The welcoming attitude of the sculptures is a marked difference from Serra’s more abrasive early work, for example Tilted Arc.  The rust of the steel made the sculptures appear more tactile, less cold.  The color of the rust provided the viewer with a less sterile experience.

The sculptures were so gigantic that they dwarfed the cavernous Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea.  The ceiling hovered above the sculptures making them seem more claustrophobic than usual, making me think that Serra based the height on the gallery space.  Despite the cramped quarters, it was a treat to see Serra’s new offerings.

Richard Serra’s “Junction/Cycle” will be at Gagosian Gallery until November 26th.

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