Being an artist involves so many activities, I’ve fallen behind on seeing art. But there’s lots out there to be excited about!
Cool artists getting a cool residency in Portland, OR
ERNEST Introductions (Amanda Curreri & Llewellyn Fletcher)
c3 initiative, Portland, OR
Dec 7, 2013 – Feb 15, 2014
Opening: Sat, Dec 7, 6-9pm
Launching ERNEST’s collaborative two-year public project and partnership with Portland’s c3 initiative.
Afrofuturist aesthetics @ the Studio Museum
Including a collaborative project by Nyeema Morgan
Plus a great portrait of the artists in the New Yorker Magazine
The Shadows Took Shape
November 14–March 9, 2014
I don’t think female artists of color have enough visibility; this is a lovely move in a good direction.
A wonderfully speculative, lunar-themed exhibition in London
The preview images look so cool.
January 10-February 2, 2014
The Art Catalyst’s Republic of the Moon
Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank, London
Vacuum/plenum (the Cotard delusion, invisibility, and other gravities), by Seldon Yuan
I came across this NYC artist when I received a rejection letter and he was listed as one of the winners. But when I viewed his site, and this project in particular, the selection committee’s wisdom became apparent to me. The sting of rejection is a mitigated by intrigue of this work. I wish this project was my own. It’s brilliant.
Personal Goal Setting Advice for Artists
Love this Personal Goal Setting advice from Creative Capital’s Internet for Artists Handbook. I came across this a while ago but keep recommending it to folks. Really useful!
(I just noticed it’s written by Blithe Riley, an artist involved in interesting, radical visual art programming at Interference Archive in Gowanus in Brooklyn. Coming up this week: neat programming around Asian American struggle.)
Your turn: These Calls for Entry
Signal Fire’s spring exhibition in the New Mexico wilderness
Spring applications due December 31
Interface Gallery’s call for participatory projects
Stipends available. Applications due January 1, 2014.
Made lemons out of lemonade today: Sidelined from running, I took up biking, and I rode down to Chelsea and up to Columbia for some art shows. Perfect weather for it.
Three of the four shows I loved have to do with mirrors. So sue me.
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Luhring Augustine
Thru April 28
The Arte Povera mirror-maker depicts construction workers, bringing the past of each building these are shown in into the present. I liked these a lot. Baffled why the statement said that the images are “adhered” when the image captions, and the works themselves, suggest screenprinting as the medium. These are not my favorite Pistolettos; I liked some of the older ones at the Walker and Brooklyn Museum better, but it’s still great to see so many of them in one place. A treat.
Greg Smith at Susan Inglett Gallery
ners Banners Banners Ban
Thru May 26
GO SEE IT. ESPECIALLY THE VIDEO.
If you can’t make it, read on…. (Spoiler alert.)
I made a point of going into galleries that aren’t on my usual route, and this one paid off. There are drawings and mixed media assemblages with a harness, all very cruddy and rough. The best thing, though, is a video that documents a performance in which the artist produced and installed the works under and on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. There’s a belt of canvas that goes completely around the car, and shots of the artist operating a sewing machine while driving (not recommended!). He used copious amounts of sweetly colorful dots, and also made some fabric-and-cotton-batting pennant flags. It’s a bizarre experiment with lots of physical and legal risk for crafty, yet un-crafted, artworks. Super thought-provoking for thinking about what is at stake in a work or practice, and what is success or failure.
Grey Peak of the Wave at Harris Leiberman
Group show of European artistst
Through April 28
I love this kind of work. Subtle, open-ended, perceptual, quiet. My favorites were:
Alicja Kwade’s taped glass sheets with two lamps, one on, one off (above, on ground). In the glass’ reflection, the unlit lamp appears convincingly illuminated.
Alicja Kwade’s bent mirrors, as if drooping down off the wall like a sheet of paper (also seen above, in the rear space). Surreal. Materially simple, disguising what I’m sure was laborious or expensive fabrication. Manipulating common materials in uncommon ways never gets old to me.
Alexandra Leykauf’s wall vinyls and framed photos (also above, back wall). Who doesn’t love a b/w photo of geometric abstraction made with real objects? And then complicating commodification with both framed works and site-specific, one-use vinyl? So simple, so good.
Iran do Espírito Santo at Sean Kelly
Thru April 28
I loved this Brazilian artists’ subtle, perceptual, materially sophisticated works ever since I saw a few at Altman Siegal in San Francisco. This show is a brave selection of 3 major works: a large wall painting, a series of marble replicas of glass bulb covers, and this series of “mirrors.” In fact, these are all made with two sheets of plate glass sandwiching a reflective tint. They look like mirrors until you spend a little more time with them, and realize that they are slightly transparent. They don’t, as the press release states, look like they’re folding, the way Kwade’s bent mirrors do at Harris Lieberman. But they do achieve something else, which as to do with how the leaning piece and the floor piece allow slightly different amounts of light and reflectivity. It’s sort of like the difference between a 100% printed CMYK black, and a “rick black,” which is a mixture using more colors, and hence, more saturation. The mirror on the floor looks as if you could fall into it.
Jim Hodges (b. 1957) is an American contemporary artist based in New York, NY. I loved his work at Barbara Gladstone (both locations) a few months ago, as well as at SFMOMA and Marc Foxx Galleryin LA in the past. His materials (including mirrors and lightbulbs), and themes (happiness) overlap with those in my work. I am finally getting around to doing more research about him.
The more I learn, the more it seems that I’ve been following in Hodge’s footsteps.
Hodge’s work can be luminous or colorful, and suggestive of pleasure or happiness, but it is also characterized by themes of death and fragility. The feeling of loss made sense when I learned that Hodges was a contemporary and friend of Felix Gonzales-Torres. I was also reminded of how Tom Friedman experiments with common materials too.
Below are some photos found online, and some scanned in from an exhibition catalog. I think the dates of the works are quite telling about the artist’s development.
I suspect that Hodge’s fake flower projects started with simple material investigations: taking apart ready-made flowers, arranging and re-arranging them, which culminates in monumentally-scaled curtains that drape on the floor.
A massive curtain composed completely of fake flowers. It’s super colorful and translucent in person. It’s also very difficult to resist touching. Sometimes I think contemporary art is afraid of sentiment, but this work wholly embraces joy. Very pop.
Here’s a curious black version.
I’ve been sewing and thinking about flags a lot, so here’s one more instance of serendipity.
Immersive gold leaf.
(Works that are not quite 2-D or 3-D)
Having spent so much time obsessed with light bulbs for previous projects, it’s strange that I’m only just now coming across this work.
I love how simple yet effective this is. It’s presented in an unfussy way, yet is beautiful and works beautifully.
Works on Paper
Found this today. Oddly, I’ve also been playing with photo transparencies of kitch imagery in the studio lately.
Lift ticket for Aspen Art Museum’s partnership project. If this is not positive psychology, I don’t know what is.
For this billboard, according to the Hirshhorn:
Hodges invited international delegates to the United Nations to translate in their own language and handwriting the phrase “don’t be afraid.”
Originally used “to remind the artist to have courage in making his own work,” the phrase also takes on various political connotations.
Selections from the knock-out exhibitions at Barbara Gladstone this past winter. Rejoice, Minnesotans: these are going to be in the Walker’s 2014 survey exhibition, Jim Hodges: sometimes beauty.
Get the backstory on the monoliths at Walker Art Magazine.
Installation using light, mirrors, motors, blackened water, the entire gallery space, and then some. It’s really riveting. Have a look at the video of a performance at jimhodges.com.
It’s interesting to think about how an artist develops—starting with modest projects made alone, in a studio, using materials at hand, and then orchestrating multi-venue, logistics-laden, monumental fabrication projects. This is a particularly contemporary way for an artist’s work to mature, as the latter is only possible with market success and the support of blue-chip institutions.
Perhaps if emerging artists bushwhack their way through creative territories, established artists have to remain true to course despite siren songs of numerous pathways (sorry for mixing maritime and terrestrial metaphors). Even in his recent massive metallized boulders, I think Hodges’ work retains its elemental, experimental and experiential aspects.
This seems to be true for viewers and for artists, including Hodges. Quoted by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson of the Aspen Art Museum (HuffPo), Hodges said:
There are no guarantees [in art]. [Art] challenges and rewards. We get what we choose from it.
Surveying an artist’s life’s work is a great way to gain perspective. When I did a lot of research on contemporary artists in graduate school, I realized that of the artists whose work I love, the work they’re making their fifties is outstanding. Hodges is in his mid-fifties. (So is Cindy Sherman.) The message is to keep pushing, be patient, and never stop evolving.
I think it’s fantastic that the Walker is going to host a survey of Hodges’ work next year. Combined with the Walker’s amazing design team, I’m sure the catalog is going to be fantastic. Maybe a Phaidon monograph will be in order soon?
What I saw was a man who had something to look forward to, a man who expected things of life.
See why Millhauser’s my new favorite fablist—read the short story, “Miracle Polish,” by Steven Millhauser on NewYorker.com.
Happiness, and the difference between desire and satisfaction.
The cave; seeing things as they are or how you want them to be.
Ian Burn’s Glacier is the press image for Sensescapes at Nettie Horn (London) 2/27-3/28, a group exhibition that purports:
Despite the age and universality of this subject, our environment or “landscape” is still a source of investigation since our conscience plays a role in shaping our processes of representation of these environments. In order to develop this reflexion about how we experience “the world” around us, the exhibition will deal with the notion of “sensescapes” – a sensory experience evoking the relation between space and senses, geography and mind.
Still yet to span the gap between Oakland and the Tendernob, but Ginger Wolfe-Suarez‘ exhibition, Theory of a family, at Silverman Gallery in San Francisco 2/5-3/13 looks utterly fascinating. Sign me up.
Graham Dolphin’s work (pictured) is just some of the slightly ludicrous, Mike Kelly-ish artistic production on view in Spasticus Artisticus,
Curated by Jota Castro & Christian Viveros-Faune at Ceri Hand Gallery (Liverpool) 1/12-1/27. Can’t make it out to Liverpool? See large images of the exhibition online. Photos can’t replace first-hand experience with art objects and videos, but if the other option is missing the exhibition entirely, I’ll take the photos.
Jeppe Hein’s Millieu Social at Galleri Nicolai Wallner (Copenhagen) 1/29-3/20
This mysterious and lovely photo promoting A live situation, an ongoing project by Pierre Huyghe, consisting of a series of situations performed on 10/31/09, 2/14/10, and 5/1/10.
Hair Salon is a mirrored installation by Leandro Erlich at the Singapore Biennial — but it uses no mirrors. Brilliant! The work’s investigation of the “mutability of perception” strikes a chord with me (see my work in Activist Imagination). It’s funny how much this piece reminds me of Mario Ybarra Jr.’s New Chinatown Barbershop installation, yet with totally different aims.
Also, an unsung hero gets some recognition… Edward Guthmann wrote up a nice profile of one of the most respected, intelligent, hardworking artists and exhibition-producers I have the good fortune of knowing and working with. Check it out at “Kevin Chen’s job: to make sure show goes on,” S.F. Chronicle (October 2, 2008)