Monday, June 6, 2011

2 Days of Art

Out Of Practice - ART BLOG ART BLOG : The Art Book Club- St. Cecilia’s : Between Two Friends : Composite Factor - Interstate Projects : Shit. Free art n Good times - Cinders Gallery : MMMW Open Studios

The 54th Venice Biannale is underway. Most of the crème de la crème of the art world has scuttled off to go to parties and peruse the “who’s hot” in international art. Jealous? Just a pinch, but truly, the idea of that madness is less glamorous then it perhaps should be. The Biannale as an idea is like believing in heaven and hell, the Biannale being the Elysian Fields, it auto triggers reverent nodding without really knowing why. What is interesting is that this type of event, this critical mass of the arts seems almost redundant. There are more art fairs, biannales, triennials, greater thans, younger thans, and surveys then will ever be necessary. Everything is international and cosmopolitan, everyone is connected and not just because of the World Wide Web, but because of our supreme hygiene and commercialization of all manner of transport. No nostalgia please, it is what it is, but because of this it does make such international hubs seem very turn of the century. There is no solution or alternative per se, but in the face of the one-world-global-community smoochy smooch, one option is to turn to the local.

New York’s art world is different then most, obviously, and its intensity is based on its density. A sampling of this within two days reflects on the bigness, but also the smallness of this art mecca. Mostly this reflects that hey, I just like to go where I can see some friendly faces, drink a bit too much, and say phrases like, “you two should definitely know each other.”

Out Of Practice – ART BLOG ART BLOG – 508 W. 26th St. – New York, NY

This is a group show curated by Baltimore’s NUDASHANK Gallery and includes the work of eleven artists, not necessarily from said fair city, and it is in the temporary space that ART BLOG ART BLOG, aka Joshua Abelow, has access to for temporary duration. The show was exactly the show expected but that is not necessarily a bad thing. There is a lot of art in a certain style at the moment; canvases being used as looms or transformed into sculptures or pretending to be a skinny box on a wall. This is getting a bit momentous but hey, movements take time. What is lacking in a dynamic installation was made up for in consistency. The works fit together, but there could have been a bit more risk. This understandably may be too much to ask for such a short show with probably limited funds, but a bit more of push on that front would have been a benefit. A stand out in the show was the a piece by Noam Rappaport, apologies title unknown, it was an approximately 4 x 3 feet of raw stretched canvas with objects, small ephemeris such as wire, metal bits, those plastic tabs for bread, attached in specimen style. The small scale of each object and the muteness of color created a soothing effect. This now familiar way of constituting and fortifying the ordinary or the basic plane of the canvas feels transitional but perhaps that is the best place to be making work these days.

The Art Book Club - St. Cecilia’s - 21 Monitor St. Brooklyn, NY

St. Cecilia’s is; a church, which still holds mass; a school, now amazing studio spaces; and a vacant nun’s house. It is in the nun’s building that The Art Book Club presented a piñata of art for three days. The opening was dense, too dense, but it’s an opening so it must be endured. The first floor was promising, the room to the immediate left had some interesting sculptures, a cement cinder block in a fish tank, a cool looking sausagey weather vane like sculpture. The room to the right is a blank memory hole but vaguely left a “cool” indent. Down the hall there was the biggest room and it had an annoying cloud piece recently seen at another opening a few weeks prior, and then some things on the wall and floor but it was all sort of too nesty. Now up the stairs, there were three floors. This building was obviously built before there were fire codes because the hallways were about three feet wide. Pushing through the stylish boys and gals into small rooms that contained the work of a single artist. Some were interesting, but there was no way to tell whose was what without concerted effort. Within most of these rooms were things on walls, paintings dominated. They were minimally hung, doesn’t sparse = cool/intelligent? There were very few installations, very few framed or photographic works. Entering the rooms one after another, floor-by-floor the thought of orphans living in these cramped quarters came to mind. Finding out it was where the nuns lived makes one realize why it is a dying profession. To be fair, the architectural quirks are not to fault for the show’s cacophony. The effort was great, the energy positive and it was inspiring in its sheer volume but it must honestly be aired that it felt like a post grad MFA open studios extended tour. Not necessarily a bad thing but there that is.

Between Two Friends, Matt Jones, Matt Lillis, Amanda C. Mathis, Jon Newman, Brian Novatny, Aaron Zimmerman – 245 Varet Street, Brooklyn NY

As the title says this is a show between friends, not two but of six. Is this enough to go on for an exhibition? Usually no, but in this context why the hell not. Paintings, drawings, sketches and sculpture politely share a room. Notables were Matt Jones’ black and white obelisk that was like a Beatle Juice tome, Aaron Zimmerman’s cast of a house of horrors family portrait salon, and Amanda Mathis’ delicate but mildly deformed illustrations. The entire show had a certain kitsch-creep which could seem misplaced on a summer’s evening but this show is only trying to be a place where a group of friends can exhibit their work to each other and to some others and whose to suggest otherwise?

Composite Factor, Justin Berry, Arielle Falk, Jesse Hulcher, Alyssa Taylor – Interstate Projects – 56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn NY

It was Bushwick Open Studios this past weekend. Bushwick’s scene can be specific at times, the bikes and bros and bad attitudes can make a gal gag but its true, a lot of artists have studios out there and it is worth the trip, especially for a show where you like and know the artists. Interstate Projects’ third show includes the work of Justin Berry, Arielle Falk, Jesse Hulcher and Alyssa Taylor. The space is small, not tiny, but small, and fortunately it was installed well. The show loosely ties in ideas of erasure and reconfiguration, it is thin thread but it’s enough. Berry is a digital-clone-stamping-wiz. Taking covers of science fiction and other vintage styled novels, he removes all signifying content and makes them into seamless cover images. Easy to explain, harder to do, still cool to see. Falk made sunglasses that cover the entire face; they are very well made, stylish, Gaga like expression hiding visors. What makes these interesting versus mere props is a video showing the artist wearing and using them as if in an infomercial. Lacan, the ego, before and after shots, a soothing narrators voice, are interspersed and creates a witty humor. Hulcher has two works; one is Tolstoy’s War and Peace in Microsoft’s auto summery, it is thirty or so pages. It reads like text messages or a bad soap opera. His other piece is a video where you take the movie Jurassic Park and you can make a trailer with your family’s names and home photos. Hulcher re-inputted not his own images but Jurassic Park clips with the family script, thus creating a banal Jurassic Park trailer. Both are on the verge of clever simplicity but someone has to do it so might as well be done intelligently. Taylor has four large photographs where she burns and dodges two negatives, one of idyllic mountain paintings and the other of dark city streets. The effect is a hard to register but the idea is recognized. This is the perk and perhaps a limitation of this show, the back-story really juices up the final products, but maybe that’s better for everyone in the end.

Shit. Free art n Good times, Kyle Ranson & Sara Thustra – Cinders Gallery - 28 Marcy Ave Brooklyn, New York

Sto and Kelli of Cinders have contributed to the Brooklyn art scene in leaps and bounds. This persistent gallery has been a staple to anyone who has lived in Williamsburg for any real amount of time. A two-person show with Kyle Ranson and Sara Thustra at their new location reflects consistency to the max to the gallery’s aesthetic and ethos and this is appreciated. The show is colorful, detailed, at times illustrative, at times adolescent but very tight. There is also a game where you throw ping-pong balls into colored cups and you can win prizes at various levels. This is not a show that will redefine anything but that’s not the point. The art is evidence of a way of living life, of choosing to be in this big old thing and not giving a squat what anyone else thinks. And that kids is the point.

MMMW Open Studios – 180 Noll Street, Brooklyn, NY

In what felt like an apartment, there were six artists with one performance at the MMMW open studios. The standout of the installations was a kinetic wall piece by Ali Miharbi. It had moving parts, wires connecting this way and that and a consistent clacking sound that vibrated something deep in the ear. The full context, mechanisms and ideas are unknown to me currently, but it made one pause when near it. At 9:00pm, almost precisely, Joe Jagos performed a new audiovisual piece in the small backward. The video was projected onto a wall and it was a complex remixing of video and digital that is glitchy, but not annoyingly so. The composition has a seductive rhythm that allows it to feel loose but also expertly controlled. The images were of British royal weddings and also Second Life weddings. During the performance Jagos and his friend where in two suspended columns of semi transparent white fabric, framing the projection. Within them they played guitar and Jagos had pedal controls as well. In a nativity like hut a third person was inside with possibly a saxophone, various other instruments and a computer perhaps. The music was abstract and dense and synced with the video. The effect was very stimulating and there was no other impulse but to watch and listen. The music and the visuals combined created a hyper dystopic mirroring of our culture, of our rituals. Princess Diana's face, the history of that tale pushing in and out of images of ample breasted Second Life brides felt all too connected. Doing work that mixes multiple senses, especially harnessing the effects music has, can at times seem weak or easy but in this case it was clearly not a crutch or distraction and anyone who was lucky enough to observe it knows how good it was.