Impressions, Sights

See: Ebony Patterson, Gina Osterloh, Houseplants

Two shows I like, and one I’d like to see.

Through April 3, 2016
Ebony G. Patterson: DEAD TREEZ
Museum of Arts and Design, NYC

Ebony G. Patterson, Swag Swag Krew-From the Out and Bad Series // Source:  madmuseum.org

Ebony G. Patterson, Swag Swag Krew-From the Out and Bad Series // Source: madmuseum.org

A visually dense show of custom Jacquard tapestries embellished with glitter and toys, and an installation inspired by Jamaican dancehall dandies, shown in floral print-wallpapered galleries. There’s also a terrarium-like installation of the museum’s jewelry collection. [Full disclosure: I freelance here and helped install the show. And you know what? I really enjoyed meeting and working with Patterson—she was engaged, down-to-earth, and hardworking. Big points for learning the crew’s names and feeding us patties from Jamaica.] I’m excited about this show for MAD; I hope future programming reflects similar youthfulness, urgency, and color.

[This winter’s a promising time to visit. There are some amazing pots and insanely intricate minatures in the Japanese contemporary ceramics show. Takuro Kuwata’s pots are knock-outs.]

Through December 19, 2015
Gina Osterloh
Higher Pictures, NYC

Gina Osterloh, Press and Outline (still), 2014, b/w 16mm positive film, TRT 5:30 loop // Source: higherpictures.com

Gina Osterloh, Press and Outline (still), 2014, b/w 16mm positive film, TRT 5:30 loop // Source: higherpictures.com

[The solo show of a super talented and skilled friend from LA. She’s good; you don’t have to take my word for it.] Quiet, meticulously-crafted photos of paper-crafted sets exploring the body. A triptych of photos of hand-painted lines forming warped grids conjures an industrial bathroom floor or the subway; the queasiness of the distortion in the leftmost image seems to offer relief of the more rationally ordered grid in the right image. There’s a mesmerizing film of the artist tracing her own shadow on the wall—she’s framed at a distance, and the gestures are controlled, yet the experience is oddly intimate.

[Also, while you’re in the foyer at 980 Madision, take a minute to enjoy the large Ed Ruscha painting of three masted ships, courtesy of Gagosian.]

Through November 21, 2015
Imperceptibly and Slowly Opening
Sector 2337, Chicago

Sri Chowdhury, "Affected Painting," site specific installation, 2015. Wood, linen, oil paint, concrete, plants, light gels, shadows, ceramics, dimensions variable. Photo by Clare Britt. // Source: cocopicard.com.

Sri Chowdhury, “Affected Painting,” site specific installation, 2015. Wood, linen, oil paint, concrete, plants, light gels, shadows, ceramics, dimensions variable. Photo by Clare Britt. // Source: cocopicard.com.

If I were in Chicago I’d check out this show about how plants “trouble human structures.” It looks like a brainy show with a diverse array of approaches to this subject matter. While there, I’d also get to know Sector 2337, an artist-run gallery, bookstore, and press, as well as a modest studio residency program.

 

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​Susan O’Malley, Advice From My 80 Year-Old Self, 2015 // Source: Kala Art Institute.

​Susan O’Malley, Advice From My 80 Year-Old Self, 2015 // Source: Kala Art Institute.

Print Public
May 7 – June 27, 2015

Opening Reception: Thurs, May 7, 6-9pm
Open House: Sat, May 16, 12-5pm
Kala Art Institute, 2990 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA
Plus various events at Kala and the neighborhood

Taro Hattori
Taraneh Hemami
Susan O’Malley
Sue Mark
Swell
Imin Yeh

This is the exhibition and final phase of Print Public, a two-year place-making project along the San Pablo Avenue Corridor in Kala’s West Berkeley neighborhood.

Sights

See: Print Public @ Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA

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Sights

See: Art Season again

Though it feels like the dead of winter, there are lots of art shows and events on the horizon, on both coasts. 

Ortega y Gasset, the artist’s collective I am in, will have a new home at the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus! Exciting exhibitions are lined up for this Spring. Don’t miss them; sign up for updates!

3/13–4/12: Thinking & Touching Time, curated by Zahar Vaks, Ortega y Gasset Projects @ Old American Can Factory, Gowanus, Brooklyn

2015: Land and Sea’s project space, Oakland, CA:

AS A SPACE, LAND AND SEA WILL TAKE A STANCE TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD, BY USING OUR LITTLE PLATFORM TO PRIMARILY PRESENT WOMEN, LGBTQ AND FOLKS OF COLOR. ITS OAKLAND. ITS 2015. LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

 

Little Syria Parade, in  Lower Manhattan’s first Arab-American neighborhood, envisioning an early-20th century Manhattan skyline.

Little Syria Parade, in Lower Manhattan’s first Arab-American neighborhood, envisioning an early-20th century Manhattan skyline.

2/25: Edge of Arabia presents Brian Zegeer’Little Syria Parade, Lower Manhattan
2/27–3/27: Michelle Blade: If the Spirit Moves You @ ‘Pataphysical Society, Portland, OR

2/28: Art + Process + Ideas (A+P+I) residency Open House at Mills College, Oakland, CA

 

Works on paper by Anthony Ryan (left) and Annie Vought (right).

Works on paper by Anthony Ryan (left) and Annie Vought (right).

3/6–28: Annie Vought & Anthony Ryan @ Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, San Francisco

Through 3/8: Trajectory @ Van Der Plas Gallery, LES, NYC

Through 3/19: Hydrarchy: Power, Globalization, and the Sea @ SF State Fine Arts Gallery, organized by Mike Arcega

 

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4/4: Who We Be: Superpanel on Art, Protest and Racial Justice, with Jeff Chang, Alicia Garza, Ben Davis, Steven W. Thrasher, and Christian L. Frock, moderated by Elizabeth Travelslight, Bay Area Society for Art and Activism @ San Francisco Main Library

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Lots of strong works on view in (Im)Material, a smart exhibition exploring the visible and the invisible. Curated by Kevin B. Chen, it is on view at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Fort Barry, Marin through February 22. I loved seeing new developments by Bay Area artists alongside many artists new to me.

Soyoung Shin, Byron Au Yong, Susie J. Lee.,  Piano Concerto – Houston. Source: soyoungshin.com.

Silent, captivating video portraits of musicians mimicking a performance. Perhaps the closest I’ll experience to synesthesia. Soyoung Shin, Byron Au Yong, Susie J. Lee., Piano Concerto – Houston. Source: soyoungshin.com.

Randy Colosky, Ghost in the Machine, 2012, steel frame with 1" aluminum tubes, courtesy the artist and Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.

Love this super simple form with interesting optical effects. It isn’t any more elaborate than it needs to be, yet offers much room for perceptual discovery. Randy Colosky, Ghost in the Machine, 2012, steel frame with 1″ aluminum tubes, courtesy the artist and Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.

Detail. Randy Colosky, Ghost in the Machine, 2012, steel frame with 1" aluminum tubes, courtesy the artist and Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.

Detail. Randy Colosky, Ghost in the Machine, 2012, steel frame with 1″ aluminum tubes, courtesy the artist and Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.

Jennifer Brandon, Cast VIII, 2014, archival pigment print. Source: jenniferbrandon.com

Again, simple idea, nice execution. Strangely formal drapery images that appear solid, but are in fact pieces of plastic sheet that hang in the air for a millisecond. Jennifer Brandon, Cast VIII, 2014, archival pigment print. Source: jenniferbrandon.com

A densely layered papercut photo print using an image recovered from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Amazing craftsmanship around a very powerful history. Mayumi Hamanaka, from the Invisible Lands series. Source: mayumihamanaka.com

A densely layered papercut photo print using an image recovered from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Amazing craftsmanship around a very powerful history. Mayumi Hamanaka, from the Invisible Lands series. Source: mayumihamanaka.com

Anyone who has lost a loved one will recognize these collections of possessions as memorials to people. The futility of capturing one's loss and grief is only underscored by the objects that remain present. Kija Lucas, Objects to Remember You By: Collections from Sundown, 2014, archival pigment print. Source: kijalucas.com.

Anyone who has lost a loved one will recognize these collections of possessions as memorials to people. The futility of capturing one’s loss and grief is only underscored by the objects that remain present. Kija Lucas, Objects to Remember You By: Collections from Sundown, 2014, archival pigment print. Source: kijalucas.com.

Sights

Sights: (Im)Material @ Headlands Center for the Arts

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Sarah Hotchkiss reports on 15 new(ish) projects and spaces in the Bay Area on KQED Arts. I’m excited about the Congratulations Pine Tree podcast, and love the installation photo of José León Cerrillo’s work from Kiria Koula, an interesting new gallery.

Patricia Maloney/Art Practical suggests 15(ish) art galleries on SFist. Many of these are more established galleries, and some have recently expanded.

Good signs all around for the vitality of art in the Bay Area.

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Sights

Impressions: No More Place, Christopher Williams, and Robert Gober

Art, through a cold-induced fog.

Post-Eve Of… and pre-day-job-slam, I saw an artist-organized show in Newark, and subjected myself and GQ to the pain and pleasure of the MoMA. I have a cold that’s largely fueled by brainpower, so pardon if these impressions lean extra impressionistic.

Julie Nymann, Shreds of Laughter, 2014, 0:06:00, 9:16 HD, Vertical projection, stereo, wood shavings // Source: julienymann.com.

Julie Nymann, Shreds of Laughter, 2014, 0:06:00, 9:16 HD, Vertical projection, stereo, wood shavings // Source: julienymann.com.

Through 19, 2014
No More Place
93 Market Street, Newark, NJ
Gallery hours: M-F 1-5; Sat & Sun 3-6

No More Place is an artist-organized group show featuring 20 participants who met in the Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Artists in the Marketplace program. I made the trek to Newark to support my colleagues’ grassroots efforts,* and was impressed with several new works on view.

There’s lots of strong work displayed over two large, open floors. It ranges from painting, sculpture, video, installation, and photography, to site-specific wall drawings (notably, Margaret Inga Wiatrowski’s window project engaged Newark history, and she seemed to make a strong personal connection with passersby).

Some of the works that left the most lasting impressions on me were videos. Catherine Telford-Keogh’s video of an act of extreme intimacy—eyeball-to-eyeball contact—will haunt the squeamish. Tatiana Istomina’s edit of a film of a Ronald Reagan speech didn’t include any words by the former president. He’s shown pausing, sighing, and breathing. Yet the audience reactions sounded occasionally, at a slightly-above-comfortable volume. Compellingly, the absences became provocative.

Julie Nymann’s video installation, Shreds of Laughter (2014) was shot as a bird’s eye view of the artist hand-planing a wood panel, but the surface of the wood was replaced with a video portrait of the artist laughing (though it also seemed like crying at times). As she scraped, she obliterated her own image. The projection was in a stairwell covered in wood shavings. Viewing it offered time for reflection: Was she silencing the ego? Overcoming emotions? Facing mortality? Nymann’s technical proficiency as both a performance and video artist made it engaging, while the gesture’s poetry was satisfying.

Also mesmerizing were David Gregory Wallace’s 3-D animation using drone footage (it’s under the stairs; don’t miss it), and Brian Zegeer’s installation using macramé, bicycle tires, wallpaper, and audio. This latter work seemed the most successful in negotiating the second floor’s quirky architecture, specifically the angled mirrors chamfering the space—vestiges of once-ubiquitous retail surveillance preceding our security camera-studded present.

[*As in The Eve Of…, the artists had to change over a rough space, using time, money, and skills to make an exhibition out of an idea. I heard that Tasha Lewis took on much of the leadership and responsibility for the install. It’s challenging for one person to assume so much responsibility; but it’s also hard to know how groups of artists can distribute labor more evenly. I’ve been thinking about this a lot: how to step up and step back, and how groups of individuals equitably contribute.

I also enjoyed the chance to check out Newark’s art scene. It’s easy for New Yorkers to complain about the same old same-old; it’s harder to get off the beaten path. Crying about how you can’t see art at openings? Then make the extra effort to frequent spaces where you won’t be “seen” or “run in to” “people.”

The Newark scene seems anchored by Gallery Aferro, which made No More Place possible. In a cluster of galleries on one block, there were window interventions, a community-based art exhibition, and an exhibition of works examining queer African identity. One gallery was selling Newark-pride T-shirts, including an 80s retro overall print on a tiny crop top. It felt buoyant. Looks that sassy don’t just happen anywhere.]

Installation view of Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness, The Museum of Modern Art, 2014. Photo by Jonathan Muzikar. © The Museum of Modern Art, New York // Source: moma.org.

Installation view of Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness, The Museum of Modern Art, 2014. Photo by Jonathan Muzikar. © The Museum of Modern Art, New York // Source: moma.org.

Through November 2
Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness
MoMA

I don’t know much about Williams, but what I take away from this show is that he’s fearless. The list of things he’s not afraid of include:

  • boring subjects
  • a seemingly-random range of subjects
  • shooting in an almost-no-style style, reminiscent of any product shot ever
  • hanging things on a exaggeratedly low (48″?) centerline
  • showing only modest-sized (16×24″) prints in one’s MoMA retrospective
  • not pandering to audiences by:
    • evincing technique and craft
    • including didactic texts in the galleries
    • including a curatorial statement in the foyer
  • displaying what text there was inscrutably, running off walls like pages of RayGun Magazine, and set in McDonald’s-like yellow on red.

Indeed, it seemed like most visitors I saw didn’t “get” the Williams show—most were walking through too fast, like flicking pages in a waiting room magazine. Without wall labels to anchor the images in information, they hadn’t any signposts to orient themselves. Is that a fault of viewers or curators? Is it a sign of a poor experience, or an unusual challenge? Does everything have to be contextualized?

Robert Gober (American, born 1954). Untitled Leg. 1989–90. Beeswax, cotton, wood, leather, human hair, 11 3/8 x 7 3/4 x 20″ (28.9 x 19.7 x 50.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the Dannheiser Foundation. © 2014 Robert Gober // Source: moma.org.

Robert Gober (American, born 1954). Untitled Leg. 1989–90. Beeswax, cotton, wood, leather, human hair, 11 3/8 x 7 3/4 x 20″ (28.9 x 19.7 x 50.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the Dannheiser Foundation. © 2014 Robert Gober // Source: moma.org.

Through January 18, 2015
Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor
MoMA

The 2009 Charles Burchfield survey curated by Robert Gober blew me away, and made me re-consider this mysterious sculptor of sinks and white collar, White guy legs. Rumors of installation feats were also going around the art handler gossip mill, so I was really looking forward to this retrospective. It exceeded my expectations.

Yes, there are sinks.

They are made of wood, wire mesh, plaster, and paint. When I’ve seen them before, they looked like regular old sinks. But maybe because I am a bit more familiar with the laboriousness of actually sculpting something, or maybe because the lighting’s better, or maybe because I looked harder, the handmade-ness of these works came through better.

Yes, there are legs.

They stick out of walls, wear leather dress shoes, long grey socks, and slacks. They also wear tennis shoes and no pants. They also are burrowed out with drains, or project candles. They get whiter and whiter until they seem no longer attempt to simulate flesh tones. They evolve to include children’s legs, taking a hyperrealist-surrealist gesture further into nightmarish territories.

And, there are prints.

But they look like scraps of paper: ads, clippings, receipts. And yet they are intaglio prints, wood engravings, and unbelievably, potato prints. The absurdist rendering of one disposable thing in a labor-intensive fine art medium reminded me of works I wanted to make in grad school, which I had neither the mastery nor patience to see through.

And there was much more.

Many rooms were completely wallpapered in custom prints. Some were fun, some were trippy. There was a church-like installation, with two similar but significantly different peephole-like views. There were two rooms generously dedicated to showing other artists (no artist is an island). There were oddly rough sketches and wacky oil paintings that were strange to square against such precise realism and craftsmanship. There was, in fact, an installation feat worthy of even jaded art handlers’ gushing, and though most people had an “Oh, cool!” reaction, they missed crucial elements seen from only one view.

Throughout, Gober seems to be saying, “Look again!” Yet there were times when I also thought about Felix Gonzales-Torres, Tom Friedman, and Marcel Duchamp. The verdict? Definitely worth a visit. Be prepared to be both unnerved and amazed.

Exhibition design challenge: Compare and contrast the use of labels in the Williams show (where they were absent) and Gober show (they were informative, revealing disguised techniques and media, and ultimately, more understanding of Gober’s craft and interests). 

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Get Excited: September Exhibitions

So many shows to be excited about this fall! These are particularly promising.

Through 11/2
Intersecting Editions @ Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY
Group exhibition of artists whose work spans print and ceramic media.
Curated by fellow Bronx AIMer Sarah Rowe and Rachel Sydlowski.

Through 9/28
Chicago in LA: Judy Chicago’s Early Work, 1963–74 @ Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn
I have to catch this show before it closes!

Through May 2015
Secondhand @ Pier 24, San Francisco, CA
Group show on appropriated photography including Hank Willis Thomas and Matt Lipps.

9/5-10/11
Pablo Guardiola @ Romer Young Gallery, San Francisco, CA

9/5–1/4/15
Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot @ Asia Society, Manhattan
The venerable new media pioneer.

9/12–?
Adam Brent @ Auxillary Projects, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
One-fifth of BROLAB inaugurates the new digs of the artist-run alternative space of Jennifer Dalton and Jennifer McCoy.
See @auxproj on Twitter for more info.

9/13–10/18
Mona Hatoum: Twelve Windows @ Alexander & Bonin, Chelsea
(Full disclosure: helping out with this installation.) I think it’s an effective, provocative intervention.

[Not to mention my show, The Eve Of…, which also opens 9/13!]

9/19–20
Chashama Open Studios @ Brooklyn Army Terminal, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
A gazillion studios in these seriously massive old buildings, whose awe-inspiring scale alone are worth the trip. Also check out studios of Bronx AIMer Brian Zegeer and CCA alum Carl Auge.

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