10.15.2009

different ways in the studios, different spaces for the resulting work.



i have been thinking throughout the preparations for this exhibition in November that perhaps when i switch gears to start work on my next exhibition (in february), i would track my efforts in writing. generally speaking, i think that it is interesting and can be inspiring to be walked through anyone's creative process. mine is certainly in evolution, and as i continue to create work that is increasingly more distilled, meditative, gentle, it might be helpful to see the actual creative thought and action that contributes to these artworks. as it is, i'm finishing up the work for PAIRS WELL WITH that opens at Aisle on November 7th (MARK YOUR CALENDARS: that night will also feature openings at semantics and U.turn, with a group show of abstract painters curated by the divine Jeff Cortland Jones, and a solo exhibition of the Miami-based Jessie Bowie at the galleries respectively. It will be a great night for art in the west end and brighton).


last night i was reminded that, whatever else it might be, the public television documentary series Art: 21 is amazing in how it fulfills that kind of curiosity that compels viewers/audiences to desire insight into the studio practice of artists. Now in its fifth season, Art:21 has done a stunning job of covering broad terrain in international contemporary art. Last night's episode included the odious Jeff Koons (responsible for some really exciting, beautiful art, but unto himself, i loathe his explanations and syrupy eloquence), the absolutely perfect Mary Heilmann (who said something to this affect in her segment after working on a painting, "I just want to sit here and think about how fabulous that painting is!"), as well as Cao Fei and Florian Maier-Aichen. Heilmann is a goddess and her segment is so chock full of wisdom, speculation and insight that I will no doubt watch it again and again. But who I was struck, nay, practically slain by is the video and internet based art by Cao Fei.


I am not sure I can even deconstruct her right now, rather, i hoped to state what an impression her work made on me and then i hope to continue to think about the work. starting off making artfully vague documentary pieces about hiphop street dancing, factory workers and cos players; she recently discovered Second Life, something i know next to nothing about except for what my pal Daniel has explained to me and the occasional references on The Office. I understand that it is an online community in which people reimagine themselves as CGI avatars. There is commerce and city structures, etc. Cao Fei began in Second Life by making a documentary, that is, her avatar made a documentary in Second Life. Her more recent project was conceiving an entire city, working with a team, and uploading this intricate settlement into the online space. They have a government and a structure, and the elaborateness of the undertaking blows my mind. She was paying attention to city planning and development and has really embraced a theoretical, if not altogether practical, inquiry into societies, cultural histories and a space that resituates and potentially collapses what, in the "real world" are (at least) two very solid trajectories of western and eastern art history. In Cao Fei's Second Life realm, the aesthetic and cultural hegemony is a fusion or even a total blending of these and other influences from "real life."
aack. it was good.







last night, Kathy Stockman, the writer and art historian behind Cincinnati Art Snob, turned me on to a project in Yellow Springs, OH called The Telephone Booth Project. Check out their blog and learn about it while I do. As I understand it from Stockman and a brief overview of their site, this is an ongoing art project in which this booth will be tasked to function as an artistic space, with imaginative takes on exhibitions or performance art. We will all have to stay posted on this. Like Cincinnati's own Symbiotic or the IMA Gallery which I have just recently been exploring. IMA is a performance based project that positions the exhibition space onto, as best as I can tell, the person of the gallery's founder. Small rooms or wearable components create the body as a location. All of these projects are rethinking and expanding the places and circumstances that art can be seen. I don't think that any have a tone that admonishes or criticizes more conventional exhibition practices, but all suggest that art need not exist only in the antiseptic 'white cube' model. Touching on Situationist or Fluxist theory and applying it to present day novelty, I think these different projects are fun and enjoyable, while underlined with a relevant inquiry.



i wanted to bring up one more interesting bit of art world news that i came into contact with this week. and that is the interesting, witty and wise decisions that went into the Obamas' picks for art to be displayed in the White House. Mostly I'll just direct you to Holland Cotter's piece in the New York Times, because I basically agree with him. I love that they chose works by well known ethereals like Mark Rothko and Richard Diebenkorn. I LOVE the pick of works by Alma Thomas, which would, incidentally no doubt hang well near Mary Heilmann. I probably wish more artists were included, but as painters go, Susan Rothenberg (who was one of their picks) is not a quick or easy artist and I think her presence in the white house could represent and inspire scrutiny, challenge, introspection, dedication, and The Hunt (like 'the hunt' mentioned in my blog title). I also agree with Holland Cotter that I would have hoped and expected that under the Obamas we would have seen the inclusion of other formidable formats for contemporary art, such as video or installation. Wouldn't Bill Viola or Jeremy Blake's inclusion in those spaces have been fantastic? While they could have taken more risks, I think they were very informed in their choices. Particularly the Ed Ruscha, which made me roll with laughter in its new context:





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