Saturday, January 19, 2008

El Anatsui: Zebra Crossing

(Above) Oga Cavorting in Lace, 2007
Aluminum and copper wire
111 x 111 inches

El Anatsui: Zebra Crossing
Jack Shainman Gallery
January 4 to February 2, 2008


El Anatsui

New York Times, "Art in Review"

Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century & Collage: The Unmonumental Picture

Kim Jones, Untitled, 1994-2004
Acrylic and ink on color photograph
28 1/2 x 39 in


Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century & Collage: The Unmonumental Picture
New Museum
Through March 23, 2008

At the halfway point of the New Museum's accumulating exhibition, many works stand out as some of the more transient examples of current trends in contemporary art. The first installment of this show, "The Object in the 21st Century," displays works in which underinformed notions of the role of artist as cultural commentator are toxically mixed with a low-as-high underpolished execution. As an example, "Split Endz" (1) fails almost entirely to elevate its components beyond the echelon of nostalgic thrift store articles. Not all the works in this exhibition fall into this pitfall of contemporary art. Marc Andre Robinson's "Myth Monolith (Liberation Movement)"(2) metamorphosizes a mass of chairs into a wave of motion. While it is built from refuse of contemporary life, the work propels itself beyond nostalgic reference to its materials and becomes instead reminiscent of Hokusai's most famous print from his series "Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji." Though both of these pieces certainly fit the curators' goal of "zeroing in a way that visual art can help define the moment in which we are living,"(3) I do wonder how many of these pieces will survive this moment and be revisited by future generations of artists.

From the show's second installment, "Collage: The Unmonumental Picture," the noteworthy include:
Mark Bradford, "Helter Skelter I & II"
Christian Holstead
Kim Jones
Wangechi Mutu

(1) Jim Lambie, Split Endz (wig mix), 2005, Wardrobes, mirror, belts, training shoes, and gloss paint, 72 7/16 in x 53 15/16 in x 47 3/16 in / 184 cm x 137 cm x 120 cm
(2) Marc Andre Robinson, Myth Monolith (Liberation Movement), 2002-2003, Dimensions Variable
(3) Pg. 1, Unmonumental: An Exhibition in Four Parts, No Author Given, New Museum of Art, New York, NY: 2007.

Mark Bradford at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Mark Bradford at Saachi Gallery

KIM JONES, by Peter Clothier
March 24 - May 19, 2007 at Cal State L.A., Luckman Gallery, East Los Angeles

Wangechi Mutu at Saachi Gallery

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Decrepit Birth, Hate Eternal, 3 Inches of Blood, The Black Dahlia Murder @ B.B. Kings

Decrepit Birth, Hate Eternal, 3 Inches of Blood, The Black Dahlia Murder @ B.B. Kings
January 16, 2008

A Conversation from Last Night

Me: Hello.
Nick's Mom (Hippy, in her 60s): Hi!
Me: Hey, it's just me. Nick and Lev went to the corner store. They'll be here in a few minutes.
Mom: Oh. Did you go out to dinner?
Me: No, we actually went to a concert.
Mom: Oh! What did you see?!
Me: Well, we went to see Hate Eternal, but we didn't get to see them. They had car trouble this morning on their way from D.C. There was another opening band though that was pretty good.
Nick's Dad (Also Hippy in his 60s): (What did they see?)
Mom: Gate Eternal.
Dad: Oh, Gate Eternal...
Me: No, no, HATE Eternal.
Mom and Dad: HATE ETERNAL?!
Me: Yeah, kind of an unfortunate name, but that's the genre. We didn't get to see them play though.
Dad: What happened?
Me: The sound guy said that their radiator over heated this morning on their way from a show last night in D.C.
Dad: They were consumed by the hate.
Me: It would seem that way.
Mom: So, uh... who were the other bands?
Me: The Headliner was Black Dahlia Murder, but we weren't there to see them. The band we all liked was Decrepit Birth.
Dad: (Decrepit Birth...)
Me: Yeah, they were awesome! Even though they were first and their sound was not very good coming through the P.A.
Dad: So, this sound guy was not the bearer of good things...
Me: (chuckles) No, not really.
Mom: So, the headliner was who?
Me: Black Dahlia Murder. When they went on, we decided to leave.
Mom: That bad?
Me: Well, I guess they are ok, but they are a total rip off of this other band At the Gates, right down to a t-shirt they were selling at the concert. And they aren't even half as good, so, yeah, they suck. We left.


Decrepit Birth Myspace
Hate Eternal Myspace
3 Inches of Blood Myspace
The Black Dahlia Murder Myspace

Sunday, January 13, 2008

blog.mode: addressing fashion

Simon Costin (British, b. 1963). “Incubus” Necklace, 1987. Silver, copper, Baroque pearls, and glass vials filled with samples of human sperm.


blog.mode: addressing fashion
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through April 13, 2008



Tara Donovan at the Met

Untitled (Mylar), 2007
Tara Donovan at the Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through April 27, 2008

Tucked into the soft light of the northwest cornor of the Met, at the top of the first flight of stairs connecting the Modern Wings, are ten thousand one inch two inch three inch diameter rings reflecting upon thier interiors. Veiwed from a distance, their irregular repetition froths and condenses between the two uncrossable boundries of ceiling and floor. The installation's stark and subtle game unfolds quietly, gently caressing the perception, calling it to come closer and discover the secret of its construction. Rings of mylar disguise themselves at first as a material that calls back to modernism, appearing to be welded pieces of thin metal, polished on one side and shaped into small circular rings. Closer inspection reveals the truth to be must more delicate, and contemporary. Thousands of peices of mylar tape surround the viewer, rolled into this simple shape and stuck together simply, as the material was designed to do. The adhesive underbelly of the tape surrounds its polished face, catching dust and debris from the air and the floor. The shining face of the mylar tape reflects inward, in thousands upon thousands of repititons, scattering glancing particle-waves(1) from the room across their individual interior spaces. Somehow, magically, these pieces of commercial material become organic, combinging and expanding in a pattern built by the selction of chance.

Wholey indicative of Donovan's work, Untitled (Mylar) expands upon the artist's vocabulary of ordinary, commercial materials installed in a singular chosen architectural area: a luminous ceiling of styrophoam cups(2), a pulsing wall of stacked plastic straws (3), fuzzy translucent pods of fishin wire (4), cubes of sewing pins held retaining their shape by the forces of gravity and friction(5). The pieces are singular meditations on the materials that inhabit our contemporary lives, revealing their man-made nature to be surprisingly capable of organic grace.

(1) Light.
(2) Untitled, 2003 Styrofoam Cups, Hot Glue6'(H) x 20'(W) x 19' 2"(D)
(3) Haze, 2003 Stacked Clear Plastic Drinking Straws12' 7"(H) x 42' 2"(W) 7 3/4"(D)
(4) Lure, 2004 Fishing Line2 1/2"(H) x 10'6"(W) x 26'(D)
(5) Untitled, 2001 Nickel-Plated Steel Pins Held Together by Friction & Gravity Only35"(H) x 35"(W) x 35"(D)

Tara Donovan at ACE Gallery

The Gates of Paradise: Lorenzo Ghiberti's Renaissance Masterpiece

The Gates of Paradise: Lorenzo Ghiberti's Renaissance Masterpiece
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through January 13, 2008

Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York

Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York
Japan Society
October 5, 2007 - January 13, 2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Zhang Huan: Altered States

Seen Above: Zhang Huan, Long Ear Ash Head, 2007, Ash and steel, 146” H x 133” W x 158” D

Zhang Huan: Altered States
The Asia Society, New York
Through January 20, 2008

My first introduction to the work of Zhang Huan was in Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, while it was gracing the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago.

Beth Campbell: Following Room

Beth Campbell: Following Room (Seen above)
The Whitney Museum of American Art
December 7, 2007 - February 24, 2008

In "Following Room," there are no mirrors. And yet, the tasteful banality of the objects inhabiting the installation propel the viewer into a fun-house of contemporary middle-class decor. A scene that should be all but devoid of artistic splendor is transubstantiated by the simple act of careful arrangement.

Two writings on the installations of Beth Campbell make reference to anterograde amnesia, in which the individual affected cannot form new long term memories and is thus living in a state of disorientation and repetition (1,2). Two movies, Memento and 50 First Dates, consider the pattern a life would fall into when forced to live in the shadow of this condition. The patient would be forced into a cycle of repetition. As the short term memories are continually lost, the patient reverts back to the original day and time of their accident, unable to be aware that anything has changed or that time has passed until they are notified by subtle clues in their environment, such as tattoos, videos, and newspapers.

"Following Room" is a choice example of how Campbell's work creates this disorienting sensation, similar to a hall of mirrors. It is the viewer's ability to see the subtle clues of the environment that allows him or her to detect the masterful illusion. The lack of personal reflection, the finite repetition of the scene, the ability to see other viewers walking around the exhibit, all tune the audience into the illusion. Much like an amnesiac sufferer, the audience of "Following Room" is dependent on the details to discern between illusion and reality.


1. House of Mine: Beth Campbell's Anxiety of the Antecedent. Kukielski, Tina. Whitney Museum of American Art, 2007.
2. Edward Winkleman: Artist of the Week 7/5/05

Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love

Seen above: Kara Walker, Darkytown Rebellion, 2001. Cut paper and projection on wall, 14 x 37 ft. (4.3 x 11.3 m) overall. Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg.

Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love
The Whitney Museum of American Art
October 11, 2007 - February 3, 2008