Monday, July 15, 2013

Ken Price, Jay-Z, Trayvon Martin

Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Old school Cali boys are repping hard in New York lately.  Another codified star is being spotlighted and that is Ken Price who has a show of sculptures at the Met and a show of drawings at The Drawing Center.  I went to the Met show this past weekend and it is worth the tourist flooded visit.  Ken Price makes sculpture that are distinct in form and color.  This can be said for most sculptors but there is an originality and focus that only he can do or has done.  He works with ceramic and applies layers of paint versus glazes.  He then sands down and also details his sculptures so that they become complex skins for the things he makes.  The things that he makes are charming, amorphic, biological, architectural and otherworldly.  They are usually small in scale and feel like samples from another planet or from a future time.  Most have a gap, an opening or a wound in which there is a secret hidding or a slight reveal of what is inside.  Also his titles are funny little gems as well.

Price is a master of texture and color.  It is through this that his forms become more then mere tableware or high-end nonfunctional design.  They have a luster and scaliness that imbibes the work with something organic and the works breath this possibility of life.  The work on view is a selection that date from 1959 to 2012.  The earlier works are goofy and have a more direct animal reference.  His last work done in 2012 is the largest and its skin is made out of a rubber.  It seems a pity one has to die eventually, as more of these would have been great to see. 

The exhibition was designed by Frank Gehry, a long time friend of Price.  It feels very Gerhy, it is considered and paced in just a certain sort of way.  It is in the display and installation of the space where things go awry though, at least for me.  Things feel to claustrophobic, the space feels too small and the overcrowding somehow seems to cage the works from their eccentricities, humor and repulsiveness.  Also, this seemed to be a clipped sampling of Price’s long, consistent and experimental practice.  There should have been more of everything and at least some of the things that were not included and at least three more rooms to do it all any justice.  This is not a fault but a wish, it is what it is though and it is very nice to see indeed.  

Jay-Z, Picasso Baby Video Shoot

Doesn’t this feel like it happened ages ago?  It does to me but yeah, I wanted to remark upon it just a little bit more.  Jay-Z is a rapper and he is big boss man in that industry and has expanded his empire to clothing, stadium building, and a docket of other entrepreneurial and rich people staying rich activities.  He released a new album called Magna Carta Holy Grail and this past Wednesday he shot a music video for the song Picasso Baby off that album.  It took place at Pace Gallery on 25th street and it was to be a six-hour affair in which Jay-Z lip-synced to the song for the duration of this time with a select group of art world participants; artists, critics, gallerists etc.  I wasn’t there so talking about the actual event would be all conjecture and dumb to do but I am a person involved in the art world and me and everyone else in this world had some sort of reaction to it. 

I personally think it is all so very obvious in that the art world and the celebrity world are BFFs.  This is not new but what is new is the where the meeting points are.  The art world is so desperate for celebrity in its interaction with famous people as well as to become celebritized themselves.  All those terrible (terrible) “reality” shows that Bravo has tried to shove in our faces like Gallery Girls and Work of Art: The Next Great Artist are s-a-d and cringy to watch.  It’s like watching a “You’re not the father” daytime talk show sans babies plus sort of attractive young people who were told they could draw well as children. 

Anyways, back to the Jay-Z thing.  On the other end of this meeting point is that celebrities, (these are movie stars, TV stars, and musicians, or basically anyone with a lot of eyeballs and clicks behind their projects/names), see art and the art world as a means to become high class.  The art world is a rarified place and exclusivity is still vaguely real here, even more so then fashion.  Those that can buy just about anything they want and wear anything they want and go anywhere they want need and want things too.  Art is expensive and also denotes taste, intelligence, refinement, and avant-gardism.  The ability to buy a Maybach (around $1.3 million) pales in comparison to buying a rare Warhol (around $70 million). Ha!  Jay-Z is rich and he is classing it all up and basically bragging about his art collection, knowledge of it (sorta) and comparison to it. 

What’s the point of all this?! I’m not sure.  Is it dulling art down?  No. That’s already being done in so many other ways.  Does it reflect Jay-Z’s bourgeoisie?  No.  He is talented and was once poor and now is rich and this is what rich people do, he just happens to be able to rap about it.  Is this thing sort of sad and stupid?  Yes, yes it is.  It’s not about good, bad, like or dislike.  It is the way it is and that’s just the way it will be until a war, really bad recession/depression or a devastating natural disaster occurs.  I don’t wish these things but yeah, that’s just the way it is. 

Trayvon Martin Trial

I have not much more to say about the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin murder trial that hasn’t already been said beside that it just makes me sick.  Sick in my brain and guts.  The Justice Department is going to try to bring a federal case for this but that seems like a slim possibility of winning or even going to trial.  The jury was all white women.  Totally insane.  Yes, Zimmerman is half Peruvian so many are saying it’s not about race and the jury was not allowed to take race into consideration as motive, (also insane), but this trial is most certainly about race.  Also the prosecutor is a disgrace for a lawyer.  This all seems like a farce.  The sad thing is that it isn’t.  Mind blowingly disgusting the whole thing of it and the death of a boy getting snacks.