Thursday, October 29, 2009

Throw in the Towl?



Not a chance! The master of the "think piece," Seth Price posted an excellent essay, Teen Image, on Art Fag City last week. It's a crying shame that I only read it today. Coincidence or not, there is eerie similarity to his performance piece with Kelley Walker, Freelance Stenographer,in that the comments that trail the work are utterly terrifying. Here's his conclusion, my fav part <:-P

Art is sometimes taken to be a kind of seismograph that registers the effects of cultural change. In this view, art’s objects and gestures yield distanced reflection and insight: from the frenzy, a distillation. But the term ‘ritualized unknowing,’ used above in reference to the Internet, could also describe a response to the banal condition of trying to understand what’s happening that one finds in art discourse, which seeks to explain how art explains, to show how art shows, to suggest what art is trying to suggest.

There is a paradox in the very attempt to understand an unfamiliar art practice, which today is usually initiated through the medium of two-dimensional or screen-based images. Initially you grapple with a nebulous apparition in your mind’s eye, a suspicion that something hovers beyond with no name forthcoming, but this sense of looming energies and meaning often shrinks when you finally inspect the actual artworks, which reveal themselves to consist of mere objects or gestures, as do all artworks. No matter how powerful the work, you’re tempted to say: “But this is just Just an object, just a gesture. It would be a mistake, though, to think that your disillusionment upon scrutinizing the “actual” art is a bad thing. A gap has surely opened in your experience of the work, but art depends on this split between the fragile interiority of speculation and the more public and bodily activity of looking, which partakes of space. Your first impression, rare and valuable as it is, is only richer for the betrayal.

Frenzy might in fact be homeopathic, its anxiety-producing presence a spur, although rather than encourage the articulation of meaning, it encourages existing chains of associations to fold in a strange and unanticipated way, aligning incompatible ideas and holding them in awkward proximity.


p.s. Man sooooo, much big shit (very literally in most cases...) is going down this week, so wavy.  Retard Urs Fischer (there I said - well, wrote it) bangs (easily assaults?) the New Museum's walls with expensive objects. In time for the World Series, Fischli & Weiss load the bases at Matthew Marks. Rob Pruitt re-enacts David Kleinfeld's Long Island estate at the Guggenheim for 10 grand a table.  And I'm here trying to finish up something about 2 "paintings" by RH Quaytman that closed 3 weeks ago... so much for my hits.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ZOMG Art Safari: Highlights from Contemporary Art Daily

For most, contemporary art is a google image search. It's certainly how I get my hits! There are a handful of blogs that realize this global scopophilia and thusly dole out daily content down ever-hungry throats like there's no tomorrow. Thankfully there is always another tomorrow, hence one of my favorites being the always tasteful Contemporary Art Daily. Here are some highlights that heat up this blogger's seat...


According to the last Scorsese movie, the Irish are immune to psychoanalysis. So where does that leave the Dutch? Lily van der Stokker letting it all hang out in a group show @ Air de Paris.


FTW, peep Tuazon ditching Trader Joe's dumpster and batting like a Bash Bro @ D├ępendence, Brussels.


HOLY SHIT! The Aerosmith of neo-expressionism, Clemente drops a seriously adorable load on Thad Ropac. Don't fall off the stage!


A pearl in a shitty oyster, vintage Fecteau @ sum dum group show at Overduin & Kite.


The only "institutional critique" artist who can muster a laugh, John Knight @ Richard Telles.


Making sure no one pours milk in the radiator, my distant cousin John Miller at Kunsthalle Zurich.


Spark up a bone with Tuttle @ Stu Shave/Modern Art.


The classiest man in LA? Anthony Pearson @ Boesky was certainly one of the classiest NY shows of the year so far... Pearson shows that there's more to good photography than just tossing Chris Williams and Jan Groover into the same petri dish.


Since it's updated daily (duh...) there's a million and half more things that are worthy of a few clicks. Seeing that it's so damn reliable with supplying viewer content, CAD is the type of blog that I can only ever dream of having. Click here again to head on over!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cathedral of Shit




Caring about the British art world is like caring about Heidi Montag's BM schedule but, nevertheless, I recently came across a decent blog, Cathedral of Shit, that manages to dole out a bundle o' hot carl from across the pond, wrapped all neat and tidy in fish'n'chips foil. Perhaps those damned Britty fops feel a similar indifference with my shagg'd LFOD American style but among the *eh* gripes of this newish whine thread there are some decent jabs here or there, ones that tickle the fancy, toot the knickers, clobber the dodger, bejinx the weasel, fug the monk, crush the butler or whatever excites those jangle-toothed redcoats. Jiminy, while it's possible to polish a turd, it's far more difficult to shut it up...


Thursday, October 22, 2009

On Top of the Whale @ Mitchell Algus


Thank Jah for Friday! Shall I tickle Ree Morton's moose knuckle? Mung dog Eric Mitchell - too soon!? Open a bank account with Lee Lozano or Judith Bernstein? Before I retrace that-what-is-no-more with with posts on recently closed shows, I'd like to croak out a piece of 'web to highlight an excellent looking group show, On Top of the Whale, opening at Mitchell Algus this Friday.  Curated by Olivia Shao, the show includes a notable mix of gray balls, sylvan foxes and at least one scene alt with unexpected groupings like Genzken and Castiglioni or Slominski and "victim to the cause" D'Arcangelo pup-tenting throughout. Unlike every other group show - even those that quote the Dan or attitudinize the secondary market, I have no idea what's in store for this feeble soul come tomorrow's yonder... here's to Algus getting a new email!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm So Wavy It's Crazy...Slackin'/Comin' Soon

As this week comes to a close I'll be revisiting an old tradition of mine, reviewing shows the week (or more) after they've closed.  Expect soon: BC @ Greene Naftali, RH Quaytman @ Miguel Abreu, perhaps Tom Burr @ Bortolami. Maybe an interview????  


Friday, October 9, 2009

K8 Hardy @ Reena Spaulings



If the visits I get to my site are any indication, K8 Hardy is well on her way. Since posting a pic of her moist environs a month or so ago my hits have quadrupled. Now this either has something to do with the NY Times fashion feature on her or the fact that she's a LGBT hott posed in a way that leaves little to the imagination - a little bit of both perhaps... Her current show at Reena Spaulings, To All the G#%$! I’ve Loved Before, certainly is worth the considerable attention it has received (or, at least, what I think it has...). Though I (mostly) rescind the gentle mocking of my preview, where I wrote "RSFA finds its inner Koh with a newly realized installation of 'I remember,'" I only meant to troll Hardy's necessary careerism... It's easy to get on the case of someone who is not only one step away from having a doctorate in fine art but also whose dual involvement in the constituent practices of subcultural lifestyles and art world "celesbrity" inadvertantly paints the picture of affixing ye ol' gold umblical cord between the two (she certainly would never see it this way, see postscript). Even still, why pay antiquariat prices for 'zines that are generally traded for some poorly dubbed Team Dresch or Punch demos?


Yet it's Hardy's very immediacy/intimacy to the these sorts of "scenes" - and all the alternative politics they adumbrate - that gives the less xerox, more traditional art in her new show its IDGAF zeal. Looking at Hardy's earlier 'zine-centric work, one often feels the predictability of someone who's figured a way to cheat Kinkos for free copies, allowing them to save all of their hard-earned co-op nickels & dimes for an Irigaray tat or a licentious seitan potluck. However, with this current show, Hardy's contextual placement of a familiar art idiom - "gendered" photography - within the libinally-invested bricolage so quintessential to subcultural scene-ry gets the blood pumping more than a Judith Butler sex tape. Such results divests the semiotic chastity (or is it latent paterphilia?) of gendered politics by simply chucking a second-hand bra in its face, leaving viewers with many a Cosi Fanni Tutti wettie to be had. Very much like the press release, the work moves impishly downward from rationalized discourse to the id-fueled insouciance of a lived experience that knows better than to overdetermine (or worse, paternalize) sexuality's oceanic flows. You've probably already seen it but catch it before it closes on sunday...



p.s.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Marc Camille Chaimowicz @ Artists Space


Marc Camille Chaimowicz finally comes to the states with a new-ish show at a renewed Artists Space. A resassembled '72 piece, Enough Tiranny (MCC may have tacked on "rehashed" to the title of this 2k9 version), thoroughly takes advantage of the sq.-foot maximizing Asher-inspired renovation that the NFP just underwent (the naked studs are bit much though...). You readers may be aware that I'm not one to sweat details (I didn't study art history), so - just to let ya know - I'm not even going to bother sorting through the matters of fact of this "ephemeral" reconstruction of koi ponds and disco balls. Perhaps one reason why it's not quite worth the effort is that, thanks to the now-abstracted hubris of mechanical reproduction, MCC's scatterings feel as "timeless" as what he scatters together. 


Harlequin masks, Mick Jagger, Jean-Pierre Leaud & Juliet Berto, children's toys are always available as much as china still manufactures them or as long as you don't have to resort to rapidshit. Is "Le Gai Savoir" so timeless that an art world queering of its political airs deems remake, reboot? Is it MCC that doesn't believe in the linearity of time or the psychomachinery behind the lowballing of his detritus actually the true believer? After all MCC really means history when he says time; time is mere tautology (hence its eternities) and history is the negotiable attempt to think it otherwise. 


With this in mind, to history MCC's a serious whiz kid and a quick look back to '72 makes one realize how necessary it is to remap the historical situation of the postminimal scatter, to parse time into history not with a butcher's knife or molten lead but with plastic flowers, the Silver Surfer, Moroccan keef and music hall queenery. Through controversy, Ives' fudged dates so as to throw the bandstand - with all its maudlin affects - into the modernist blender, counterattacking the Europeans' (im)proper claim (recently Tony Conrad has accomplished a similar historical coup in order to politically redress La Monte Young's authorial claim on minimal music). Through the eternal reoccurrence (or perhaps Mike Browning's time machine), MCC - from the other side of the pond - now fudges the first mourning of such a blender so as to dab blush (in shades both flamboyant and introspective) on its "no homo" (post)industrial standard. 




Yet regardless of such necessary revisionism regarding a very specific historical site, ghosts still linger in Soho, well maybe one who used to live next door (more on that later...). MCC's sculpture as interior decor (which becomes an increasingly explicit relation in his recent, unrevisited work), which in turn seems a literal take on the theatricality Michael Fried found so disturbing of minimalist forms. This conflation of theatre with art, or more clearly, the opening up of the art object to the theatrical (which, of course, wasn't Fried's intention), in many ways invokes, to this naive mind, the 19th century gesamtkunstwerk, albeit in postindustrially nocturnal terms  - think nowadays how often one reads in a press text that the art on display is "prop-like" or a mere "theatrical stand-in" for the real thing; for the immaterial theater of life that only art seems capable of materializing.


This recontextualized GKW however deserves far greater consideration than what I can offer in this brief review (as it sits somewhere between Rosalind Krauss' expanded field and Hal Foster's ethnographic turn) but to quickly discuss: it has much to do with the expansion of art into the discursivity of bodies and publics; into an art that can potentially frame the cultural stage in its aesthetic twilight; not the synthetic expansion of art into comprehensive totality that seeks to circumscribe the entirety of the other but instead the chronicles of a subjective movement from singularity to multiplicity by any means necessary.



Ambiguously a filmmaker, dramaturge, or a performance artist yet unambiguously an artist first and foremost, Jack Smith is exemplary in this regard and serves as an interesting counterpoint to the historical site of MCC's dime-store droppings. In fact it is near impossible to view any dolled-up scatter, MCC's or not, and not think of Smith. Where MCC seems actually interested in exhibiting work, collaborating with its institutional frame as a communicative site; Smith seemed to endlessly resist such sacralized dispositifs, preferring instead the refusal of such sacraments vis-a-vis the insolvent baseness of life itself.  Yet, of course, no matter, how incorrigibly resistant, no good artist can escape hagiography, especially in a social realm that readily sacralizes the act of de-sacralizing (see the jewel-like display of Michael Asher apocrypha that greets Artists Space visitors). Smith's resistance could always be traced back to life, grafting artistic conflict christ-like onto the very body of the artist; in MCC's work such traces remain tied to art, keeping his body gingerly at recess, allowing art itself to masquerade freely without thoughts of Oberammergau.


The example of Smith's ghost, the ghost of physical refuse and refusal, is hard to forget - no thanks to its crypto-religiosity - when looking at MCC's show, a show that seems a petting zoo in comparison. I, for one, had to keep holding back the desire to see the work compete with the melodramatic extremes that was Smith's alienating stock in trade (well, that's changed recently... ). Yet in truth, MCC's shy resistance - one that doesn't go wild in the streets but invites others into its messy bedroom/stage/gallery for hippie-ish conviviality or mascara lessons- shouldn't be so readily dismissed simply for not having the histrionics of Smith's unintelligibly profound beauty school drop-out. It is as if the mid point between Smith, his nemesis Warhol, the steely dudes who never cared for either and all those longhairs is suddenly MCC's opium dream of an installation.  



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