Sunday, December 14, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
The MOMA show is made up of thirteen large scale and effective pieces, including a wildly swinging fan cum pendulum, kaleidoscope rooms, long corridors in a monofrequency yellow, strobe-caught water drips, and a moss covered wall. Frequently, Eliasson's tools are utterly simple (small motors that rotate wires, strobes, mirrors), but the effects -- because of the complicated unspeakability of one's associations to light, mood, memory, damp, dark and breeze -- defy simple analysis. References abound, of course, to a generation of Southern Californian light artists (James Turrell, Robert Irwin); to Larry Bell's boxes; and even, by antithesis, to Judd and Serra (Eliasson's "1 cubic meter of light" - a misty box made of light beams), but the pieces work well without knowing any names. One finds joy (kids love chasing the swirling fan), mystery, meditation; one feels the weight of light (the yellow corridor reduces and transforms fabrics and skin into variations of tweed and plastic); one lingers and breathes.
While aspects of the P.S.1 show on the other side of the river seemed more like marginalia (and here I am thinking of Eliasson's numerous musings on geodesic domes, kaleidoscopes and filtered glass in the side galleries), the curators' use of the old public school building was brilliant: on the top floor (in the stifling heat) were placed Eliasson's luminescent pieces; on the basement floor (in the cool musty half-light) the water works. Spending time alternating from top to bottom was akin to spending time in the Russian baths: heating, exhaustion, relaxation, healing.
The P.S.1 crowd favorite was likely the gigantic foil mirror suspended and rotating above the reclining visitors, but for me the most hard hitting of the entire two-site show were (upstairs) the "Neutral Light Set-up" (a room bathed in ever changing hues of off-white light) and (downstairs) "Beauty" (a billowy iridescent curtain of mist in a dark vault).
Despite the heat, I found myself camped on the floor of the neutral light room (see video) in utter amazement of the ephemeral, the powerful emotional connotations (cloud sky sheen) of the hues and they way they painted the walls. All of a sudden, some five minutes into my meditation, perhaps under the bright white, all the floaters in the back of my eyes came into view and lingered.
If a person could marry a piece of art, I would propose to Eliasson's Beauty. The mist falls not as streams or a flattened sheet, but in a undulating pillowy-ness that catches the light on one side and shimmers in rainbow threads, while from the back the white glow lights it like a waterfall seen from cave mouth. People irresistibly need to touch the spray, some blow on it, some walk through it (from the back, the effect is highly cinematic), and from the right spot one knows what it means to love with a fire light heart.
(NB: while MOMA has a camera (no flash) ok policy, P.S.1, strangely, has a no-camera rule. Get it together guys!)
Friday, June 27, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Not so, two gallery shows currently on view in New York.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
... then sink down to the grate -- commuters on their way -- and disappear once again as a heap of discarded plastic on the city street.
You can find out a little more on Harris' work at the Wooster Collective ("dedicated to showcasing and celebrating ephemeral art placed on streets in cities around the world"): http://www.woostercollective.com/
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
- The Moebius - March 2003 (a series of unrelated events repeat themselves again and again in the Astor Place Starbucks)
- Look Up More - March 2005 (the windows of Union Square South become the site of a dance-fest)
- Cell Phone Symphony - February 2006 (the bag-check of the Strand becomes the site of a cacophonous symphony of ringtones)
I realize that my criticisms may seem to imply a infatuation with the elite, marginal and secret, but I remain thoroughly enthusiastic about a (largely youth) culture that still enjoys collective play and provocation, and that hasn't been reduced to passively consuming what big-media has prepared for them.
- the desire to participate in a marginal enterprise or secret group
- the pleasure of collusion with an inside-joke or scam
- the desire to throw a spanner in the works of big-box retailers
- the desire to "épater les bourgeois" or shock out-of-towners
- the desire to create magic or mystery in the modern city
- the hope of meeting artsy new people
- a sense of humor or mercurial exhibitionism
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
* Do you like to file? I know, it's a weird question. But if you do, I
need your help between 22 June and 8 July. My new installation
Portraits investigates the relationship of work to art in a gallery
space uptown. I'll make a portrait of you based on a filing system you
set up! Potential participants should have 2-3 free hours and love to
file and organize things - drop me an email if this is you. Of course
I'll bring beer and music! Contact Megan.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
In today's culture, it seems like synchronized dance steps occur as periodic fads (e.g. the macarena, the hustle, Gap ads with hep-cats swing dancing, Michael Jackson's zombie dance from Thriller), appropriate for large group ritualization (frat parties, prison, aircraft carriers, weddings), but the great age of "knowing the dance" appears to be gone.
NYCTV (broadcast channel 25 in the New York City area run by the city) used to have a show called "City Classics" featuring old documentaries and news reports from the municipal archives. Among the treasures, my favorite was Portable Ladders (1957, produced by WNYC), a comprehensive and exacting lesson for firefighters (wearing spats, I might add) of how to raise three different sizes of portable ladders (left foot on the first rung, hands moving up in standard alternating fashion, the "butt man" pivots as the men on the runners move up the ladder hand over hand...). The script of this educational film is amazingly explicit: no detail is spared, even when the procedure remains unchanged from ladder to ladder. What is more: there is no latitude for individual variation (lives depend on the firefighter performing these gestures mathematically); the writers have thought about the best way that this is to be done and the student must learn this method (one thinks of the mechanized gestures of gun loaders on WWII battleships). There is also this Boy Scout-esque ethic of preparedness that seems to permeate pre-sixties culture (one of NYCTV's other treasures is a Civil Defense post-nuclear attack how-to triage video): one must train and practice these gestures everyday to serve the greater community in a possible time of crisis.
Both ethics -- exacting education of "correct" technique and constant preparedness for catastrophe -- have disappeared for the most part. People dance, cook, play guitar, write their letters, polish their shoes and shave (generally) without referencing detailed (left hand, right hand, small loop, two teaspoons) instructions that have been presented as the objectively "best" way to accomplish these tasks. It's all latitude, self-expression,DIY, fuck the rules...
A couple of years ago I saw two films that prominently feature late nineteenth-century ballroom dance sequences (particularly the Mazurka): the 1963 film by Luchino Visconti The Leopard (based on Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's novel Il Gattopardo) and Alexander Sokurov's 2002 one-continuous-shot Russian Ark. Despite my DIY-punk heart, I actually found these massive group dances to be mesmerizing, and one of the reasons for this was the notion that this dancing public was not passively watching a spectacle produced for them, but participating and creating the spectacle themselves. Furthermore, unlike the waltz, tango or twist, the Muzurka sequences in these films go beyond the couple dance, and become massive groups working together in precision. This cog-ness of the individual should normally disturb me: a culture in which both man's work environment -- think of Charlie Chaplin tightening cogs at the factory in Modern Times (1936), the soulless insurance office in Billy Wilder's The Apartment (1960), or Björk working the metal press in Dancer in the Dark (2000) -- and pleasures are formalized and mechanical can, I imagine, be a culture easily coerced into boot-step marching and huge Nuremberg rallies... but one has the impression that, for the individuals in these group dances, any "aporia" of the modern that one might feel is mitigated by one's sense of collective participation. They seem to be having a great time.
Which makes the dance sequence in Bande à part so perfect (for me). The small group of three avoids the pitfalls of the soulless mega-group, and given that these outsiders are cutting a rug in the middle of a cafe - their communal and participatory becomes rebelliously fun.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
- city disposal (i.e. the trash)
- veterinary disposal - the vet disposes of the body with a cremation service
- low-cost cremation - a cremation service gives you back a representative sample of ashes from a group cremation
- high-cost cremation - a cremation service gives you back the ashes of your actual pet
- high-end pet funeral
- illegal rogue burial in the city
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Thread is an excellent medium for the o.p.o.p. artist. In Chelsea today, I saw a few intertwined thread works by Chiharu Shiota ("Waiting" at Goff + Rosenthal 537b W. 23rd http://goffandrosenthal.com/ Feb 1 - Mar 10) including an in-site installation and a number of smaller pieces, of which this was the most stunning (once again, pix taken on the run):
I like the fact that there are two light bulbs, with their creepy silhouette of a darkened heart (it's valentine's day) tangled in connective tissue, but the tangle also conjures up (for me) neural networks populated by Baudelairien spiders, all spleen and melancholy.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
- mustard powder
- allspice powder
- ground cloves
- dark cocoa
- coriander powder
- nigella sativa seeds
- psyllium seeds
- mustard seeds (black and yellow)
- poppy seeds
- spirulina (blue-green algae)
- hibiscus powder
- red peppercorns
- cardamon pods
- statice calyxes
- crushed eggshells