Nobody cares about your precious objects. And while your show sits idly for a month at an empty gallery, gathering dust, 30 other shows will have come and gone. Those galleries and alternative spaces were crowded each night with provisional, experimental projects that burst open and shimmered for one day or night. They converge, rather than emerge, existing more as participatory group play done for the process, not the result. No goals loitering on the horizon. Teleological creativity is so Old Testament. Now, groups of people can join in the fun, and the art is about the doing together, rather than the done alone. So stop priming all those canvases, and put your power tools on eBay.
That seems to be a paradigm, maybe powered by the desperate instability and uncertainty of the conventional distribution system. Nothing is really selling, the gallery might not be open next month, and who can afford cadmium colors or bronze fabrication? (I mean, just look at these horrible photos. I’d like to replace my stone age Canon poop-and-shoot, but gadgets don’t grow on trees.)
Jacob Robichaux embodied an epicenter of creative activity last night at Museum 52, the cool gallery succeeding Participant, Inc at 95 Rivington, next to the synagogue that collapsed about two years ago.
Jacob’s solo debut at the gallery last year, ...bell, string, whistle, cube… featured sculptures, collages, and sculptural paintings, “painthings” (as coined by the indispensable Sam Gordon), each of which was then selected by a peer, who would enact a performance based on/inspired by that particular piece. What a smart way to ensure that dialogue circulates around one’s work, while constantly revitalizing an inevitably stationary show. Another example would be Richard Aldrich’s sound performance, which I wrote about here a few weeks ago; that exemplified collaboration and casual performance embedded in the commercial space of luxury goods. Or the current Laura Parnes show at Participant, marked by screenings and readings. Or the recent Paper exhibition at Artists Space, perforated by weekly performances. An older one would be A.L. Steiner’s panel discussion in the project room at John Connelly Presents, during her show, One Million Photos, 1 Euro Each (Minimum Order), or her co-labia-rative project co-founded with Nicole Eisenman, Ridykeulous, which hosted a freewheeling performance/exhibition night at the very same space, when it was still Participant, Inc. (Gee, Participant must be onto something!) You could note scores of other artists who insist that the gallery be a relational, performative space, and not just an exhibition room. Personally, I’m excited for TM Davy’s upcoming night at Envoy Gallery.
So Jacob’s night, DiSoRgAnIzEd, was the penultimate twinkling link in the chain of one-offs happening at Museum 52 as it leaves Rivington St, roams in a holding pattern and eventually settles into a new space, rumored to be the space formerly known as the seminal Rivington Arms. DiSoRgAnIzEd included penny cleaning, popcorn popping, web surfing, a dance class, and many other events, in the midst of casual, disheveled objects, art or art-related. For example, the accomplished and essential sculptor and painter Lucky De Bellevue hung a recent rejection letter from the Guggenheim Foundation. The work in the show was intimate and “submitted for the approval of” the immediate community/scene, compounding the communal atmosphere electrified with collaboration.
So I’m tossing out all my brushes and gesso. Objects completed in solitude are relics, while the real action is in the real action.