Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Trip to the Moon / Le Voyage dans la lune - 1902

First Contact at Field Projects

Jacob Rhodes curated this fantastic group show at his new space, Field Projects! His space is on 26th street and on the same floor as Greene Naftali. This marvelous little painting was painted by Amanda Lechner.

There's a lot of current interest surrounding science-fiction in art. When space exploration became a reality in the summer of 69, artists such as Lee Bontecou were so caught up in the excitement of what was happening that they responded by creating entire bodies of work about space. It's curious to see how strong of a connection the current generation of artists feels towards science-fiction. There's so much nostalgia surrounding the sci-fi movies we grew up on, the gleaming space shuttles we visited as children, and the hideous freeze-dried astronaut food we devoured every chance we got, that it's unsurprising that science-fiction has become such an integral part of our collective memories. When I think of the famous French silent science-fiction film from 1902Trip to the Moon, it seems that there has always been and there always be a tendency for people to romanticize and mythologize space.

Hein Koh!!! Love Hein's sculpture and how it's installed, it has this bizarre surrealism that reminds me of Roberto Matta. I especially love the bottom piece with its sexy sleekness!

Micah Ganske. This sculpture was a 3-d print out. The theme of urban decay and dystopia is a common subject of science-fiction. Robert Smithson wrote extensively about science-fiction, it was the subject for much of his work. I tried to find the essay in which he compares the science-fiction genre to the horror genre, but I couldn't find it. Instead I found this gem, a Nabokov quote, "The future is but the obsolete in reverse." 

According to Smithson,  science-fiction takes on a cerebral, intellectualized stance whereas horror comes from a more visceral and irrational place. 

Man is the measure of all things, right? This was one of my favorite sculptures in the show. I love the comi-tragic contrast between the banal, frail reality of the man on his way out in relation to the sublime and infinite magnificence of the universe. I remember reading this comical Nancy Angier essay in which she was writing about the frustration astrophysicists feel when the average person on the street questions the purpose of measuring the millionth fraction of a second. We as humans definitely have a tendency to measure everything in relation to our own selves.

This sculpture also reminded me of Jake and Dinos Chapman's Ubermensch, which would also fit right in in Jacob's show. It's their sculpture of Stephen Hawking riding off a cliff with his laptop. The Dinos brothers are often hated for destroying our illusions.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Caitlin Cherry Studio Visit

Caitlin constructs these maquettes that she later paints from. This one in particular has a wonderful clumsy elegance that accentuates Caitlin's gestural precision.
This was a study for a painting that Caitlin had had in her thesis show. 

 Caitlin also designed an actual canon to go along with her paintings!

Caitlin poured resin on the surface of the painting on the left, which entailed a lot of planning and consideration in order to achieve her desired effect.  She explained her unorthodox approach to process in which she combines the intuitive and improvised nature of her paintings with a highly methodical conceptualism. It seems that a lot of artists are currently thinking about binary oppositions in their work. I wonder whether this trend is a reaction to living during a time when all forms and styles of art are equally embraced. I know that in my own practice it definitely is.

Art Institute represent!!! Always feel so much love for my Alma Mater :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

IDEAL POLE Part Three: Guy Bourdin, at Ramiken Crucible

 Guy Bourdin's drawings are on display for the first time ever at Ramiken.

Bourdin didn't view his drawings as art, drawing was something he simply did for fun.

Stellar installation! One of the best installations I've seen in quite some time. 

It was an unexpected idea to hang Bourdin's drawings over the paintings of the mentally disabled, from the last part of the show. The decision to display the works in this way, forms a dialogue between two groupings of art that would never have had an audience, had Bjarne Melgaard not intervened and given them one.

Giving this ponytail palm a platform to speak is an absurdist gesture, which reiterates the first paragraph of Melgaard's press release,

 "What is the purpose of coming up with a title for an exhibition when you have finally reached the point of believing that words don’t mean much anymore? What is the purpose of the exhibition itself when all primary channels of social communication have shown themselves to be exhausted, contaminated by commodification, and corrupted beyond repair? What is the value of relying on modes of communication that have been abused by commerce to the point of total alienation?"
The implication is that if we've reached such a point of utter exhaustion and confusion, where we no longer know what to trust or believe in anymore, we may as well hand the mike over to the ponytail palm! 

There's an eerie beauty to Bourdin's paintings and drawings. They are reminiscent of Balthus and Francis Alÿs.

Such an incredibly beautiful and subtle little painting, it seems to contain within it all the pleasures and pains of being alive.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Show at Kravets Wehby

A fantastic Charlie Roberts sculpture. It's even better in person.

The latest from Justin!!! Really love Justin's new oils, they're completely different from his acrylics. There's always such a sense of buoyancy and fun to both Justin and his work, it's impossible not to be in a good mood when in the presence of either.

Love how combatant Caitlin's paintings are! The meat hooks remind me of Rembrandt's and Bacon's gory paintings of meat, and likening an oil painting to a piece of meat is an incredibly funny idea, especially since there is something inherently fleshy about painting.

Close-up of the horrified amphibian creature, Santa, and Santa's bunny babe! Caitlin's also in our show!!! Can't wait to visit her studio next week.

Black Santa

Jesse Edwards Studio Visit

peaches and cream


Jesse's ceramics before he paints them. Jesse's blackberries are up at the Museum of Sex right now and we'll also have a few in our show. Our show is going to be wild, I'm so excited about it!

A mural Jesse did downstairs in the Hole, where his studio is.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

IDEAL POLE part two: All Words Destroy, a reality testing by Bjarne Melgaard, at Ramiken Crucible

Went to Ramiken yesterday to see the second part of the Bjarne Melgaard show. This painting was like a page out of Jerzy Kosinski!

All the works in the show were made by mentally disabled patients.

The press release was succinct and in tune with the current cultural climate. I enjoyed the Dubuffet quote Melgaard used, "those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses - where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere - are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professions. After a certain familiarity with these flourishings of an exalted feverishness, lived so fully and so intensely by their authors, we cannot avoid the feeling that in relation to these works, cultural art in its entirety appears to be the game of a futile society, a fallacious parade." 

Melgaard is essentially expounding the tenets of expressionism in the second part of Ideal Pole.  

The show is a reflection of much of what is going on now, especially towards the current resurgence of modernism and the backlash against theory. 

What's curious about the current trend towards modernism, is how different it is from the neo-expressionism that emerged in the eighties. It seems that the current generation of artists working in this mode now is reacting against the theory-laden art of the nineties and that by turning their thoughts inward, and focusing on a more personalized vision, also seem to be seeking an insular comfort from our times; a period of economical hardship and the greatest turmoil and societal unrest since the sixties.

By flipping the modernist formula around Melgaard has created a contemporary take on Art Brut. Artists such as Paul Klee and Dubuffet were studying and copying the work of the mentally ill, but there was still a stylized affectation to their work. Their faux naivety was mannered, whereas Melgaard left out his own hand and gave the patients themselves free reign.

Saturday, June 16, 2012