Published—Roni Horn @ the Whitney

February 17th, 2010 § 0 comments

Roni Horn aka Roni Horn

roni horn still waterI will always be surprised by how well we remember our early influences. While I have a hard time recalling some of the artists I studied in grad school, I vividly remember those I was exposed to as an enthusiastic teenager. I remember these early artists badly in the sense that I didn’t yet grasp what they were about or why, but on a purely visual level I remember them to this day: Man Ray, Adrian Piper, John Baldessari, Sophie Calle. I recall how long it took to find a Man Ray book at the local library, trying to spell his name with a group of elderly librarians. I remember diligently watching The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari because of a piece I had made with shadows and masks, and I could not for the life of me see the connection between the two. All of them, however, settled somewhere deep in my visual memory next to those I had discovered myself: Sharon Lockhart, David Hockney, Roni Horn. I remember learning about Roni Horn at an LA museum where she had installed her Still Water images in unpredictable places. I kept running across images of dark and murky water in the stairways, elevators, hallways, and balconies. I wondered what they were, and if they were art or not. I can picture myself, fifteen or sixteen with pencil and pad in hand, determinedly demanding the name of the artist. I know I succeed in finding out her name because I have remembered it ever since.

An Endless Fascination

January 12th, 2010 § 0 comments

madonnaWho Shot Rock & Roll, on display through the 31st at the Brooklyn Museum, was surprisingly one of the best shows I saw in 2009. It was oddly underwhelming at the same time that it was deeply satisfying, in the same way that a chocolate covered strawberry never tastes as good as imagined, but in itself remains difficult to dislike. On the surface—despite the multitude of reviewers forced to discuss the deeper connections between rock & roll, celebrity and their constructed image, and the roll photography plays in mediating between the two—this show could be summed up as a crowd pleaser. While it is easy to roll our eyes at yet another Van Gogh or Dali exhibition, shows that appeal to our cultural understanding of “good art,” it is harder to make an argument against the type of images we simply can’t resist. Who Shot Rock & Roll goes deeper than this, however, not necessarily because the exhibition really is deeper, but because whatever the photographs lack the viewers make up for through the interest they bring to them.

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Accidental Admiration—The Dia Beacon

October 29th, 2009 § 1 comment

Dia Beacon

(For better or worse Robert Irwin–think Getty Garden–landscaped the museum)

I always mistakenly assumed that the Dia Foundation was founded in order to house the work of the Minimalist artists of the 1960s, and perhaps subsequently related movements. Somehow I pictured a figure such as Donald Judd arranging it. While this is not actually true, viewing the collection of the Dia Beacon, located an hour or so upstate in the run-down town of Beacon itself, rendered the mistake an understandable one. The Dia collection seemed to foreshadow the recent trend I have noticed amongst wealthy collectors showing in public spaces (Eli Broad for example), of collecting numerous works by the same artist. Never have I seen so many Judd’s, Flavin’s, Nauman’s, or Smithson’s shown together. The space itself reminds me of PS1, an “alternative” building turned into a clean, well-lit venue with huge rooms and long hallways, as opposed to the traditional museum or gallery cube. While PS1 used to be an elementary school and now haunts contemporary artwork with its institutional architecture, the Dia used to be a Nabisco printing plant built in the 1920s that now cozily embraces the geometric artwork it houses—the industrial nature of the building, all brick and cement, suits the industrial material choices of the artists inside. Dia is also a convincingly coordinated collection. While the artists are not necessarily like each other, they share the same intellectual concerns. Wandering through it feels like looking at the problems of an era dissected visually by various minds, and though the concerns were similar the individual answers appear to have been different.

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Published-Roxy on the Roof

June 19th, 2009 § 0 comments

Certainly not the second review I have written, but my second review for Whitehot is published! Here is the link to the article, and here is my neon picture on the cover. Questions, comments, concerns?


The Curse Of Craft

October 1st, 2008 § 0 comments

Trying to pick openings of interest from the vast number taking place every month is a hard task. For my reviews I want to find something unique, but with little knowledge of galleries my base for judging that is faulty. I want to find something I know about, perhaps the medium, a few of the artists, the genre, as part of my advantage seems to rest in my knowledge as a maker. Overall, as far as it has gone, my goal has been to choose shows dealing with issues that are concerned with topics or events outside of the “art world”, thus dragging art by its reluctant collar into a larger context. After Nature was loosely tied in subject to the environment and our current relations with it, my second proposals were political and, I could say, eventful–the latter being the one I fought for.

The reopening of MAD in Columbus Circle has been discussed outside of the art context because of its location, and new york seems to love architectural openings and evolutions. Though I spend a decent amount of time in the area, I read about the building long before I noticed it. A white pillar of clever design, it now stands out in the circle, perhaps because its white exterior contrasts sharply with the deep black of Trump’s phallus. It was almost an afterthought to write about the opening of the new building and museum, but the more I thought about it the more appropriate it seemed. I have, dare I say, a personal investment in the discourse surrounding art and craft, and certainly a good working knowledge of those possible distinctions. Though the six material studies grads (including myself) tried our best to remain outside the shadow of “craft” and its reputation, it is none-the-less a subject I have considered to almost annoying lengths.

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