Posts Tagged ‘David Shapiro’

Air Rights

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Jaime Isenstein in "One Minute More" at The Kitchen

From the Gugg: “He considers visual art to be a microcosm of our economic reality, as both center on identical conditions: the production of goods and their subsequent circulation.” Is that accurate? What kind of goods? I always thought the economy operates on mass manufacturing, while art is commonly a distinct one-of-a-kind. Art is more like luxury goods, right? And that’s not really a microcosm of anything, just a mirror of excess wealth. I think McDonald’s burgers or Chevy trucks would be more of a microcosm.
“Sehgal seeks to reconfigure these conditions by producing meaning and value through a transformation of actions rather than solid materials.” Sort of like how you pay a hooker for a blowjob, rather than his/her lips. You can buy lips at the adult video store.

As of tomorrow, Friday, Guggenheim visitors will find a museum stripped bare by a bachelor.  33-year-old Tino Sehgal, younger than jesus, will take over the museum by emptying the walls and halls of artwork, staging two TBA performances, and subsidizing visiting crowds with 200 stooges hired to mingle with the tourists.  UPDATE: The NYT says he is 34.  My bad!

This show can be best understood through its influences.  He is a young artist, after all.  So art lovers seize the opportunity to list the inventory of gestures and exhibitions built around an empty space.  Artist Matthew Weinstein says on JSF (Jerry Saltz’ Facebook page), “nothing going on here is more radical then a sol lewitt drawing diagram, duchamp’s paris air ampule, and the entire career of john cage. and that’s fine. he’s working within a well established tradition, and adding to it.”

Magnus von Plessen at Gladstone

Saltz himself identified Gabriel Orozco’s Yogurt Cups, now at MoMA, as “an homage to the Empty Gallery as Work of Art.”  A few years ago, Ralph Rugoff curated A Brief History of Invisible Art.  Months ago, Adriana Lara appropriated the New Museum’s opening hours as her entry in its Younger than Jesus survey, as well as the daily ingestion of a banana by a museum guard, who would then leave the empty peel on the shiny floor.  In 2007, Urs Fischer excavated a giant pit from the poured concrete floor of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, literally ripping GBE a new hole.  Months before that, Terence Koh exhibited at the Whitney Museum a near empty gallery, occupied only by a charcoal-colored sphere and a Klieg light.  In 2003, Trisha Donnelly released I Am Taking Your Morning, a CD recording in which she describes how she steals every aspect of your morning: your bed, coffee, newspaper, cigarette break, etc.  In 2001, Simparch built a skate bowl at Deitch Projects, leaving the content of the show up to the skaters who made use of the space.  Since 1991, Rudolf Stingel has done show after show in New York of near-empty galleries.  You can find more examples of emptiness in each of the last few decades.

(detail)

So it isn’t new to vacate a gallery.  But then isn’t it ironic how a show that owes so much to art history is banishing the tokens of that history?  We can best explain Tino Sehgal by invoking his ancestors in the brinksmanship legacy of dematerialization and relational aesthetics.  That tale had been reported by DIA, but then muted, when DIA went so Minimalist that it closed shop!  Yet Sehgal’s response to inherited art history is to wipe the walls clean, deforming the Guggenheim into one circuitous tabula rasa.

No, no! We said "Rasa"

This is poignant – or not – when compared to other negations of exhibition.  The Met had to withdraw Picasso’s The Actor after a woman ran into it (literally ripping Picasso a new hole, ha ha).  Worse, the Met is hiding its depictions of Muhammad and deleting “Islamic” from the “Islamic Galleries.”  (Read David Shapiro’s razor-sharp response at Muse.)  If the Met can’t defend itself against clumsy visitors, at least it can try to avoid pissing off bloodthirsty Muslim extremists.  At the Met, art is concealed under duress and fear; for Tino Sehgal, it’s the anti-exhibition basis of an exhibition.  Rigorous?  Or decadent?

The empty museum isn’t the goal of the show, it’s just the means to the real goal, which is the interaction of the visitors with each other and with the space.  “Sehgal seeks to reconfigure these conditions by producing meaning and value through a transformation of actions rather than solid materials,” says the Museum.  But is that a myopic view?  Hysterical?  Art has often been exchanged as anticipated action instead of material.  Again, Sol LeWitt wall drawings…  Or an advance payment for a commissioned portrait of some old Queen or other.  How about Momus’ Stars Forever album, whereby interested parties paid Momus $1,000 to write a song about them?  Jeff Koons did, and he paid not for the song itself, but for the service of creating a song.  (And it’s a great one.)

Breakfast of Chomp-ions

From the Gugg: “a visitor is no longer only a passive spectator, but one who bears a responsibility to shape and at times to even contribute to the actual realization of the piece. The work may ask visitors what they think, but, more importantly, it underscores an individual’s own agency in the museum environment.”  In other words, we won’t have to stand there all day looking at some crusty old painting, or cumbersome sculpture made by some dead guy.  We will be the art! Us!  I’d better order some teeth whitener!

Spencer Tunick

After all, people are more valuable than art.  That’s why I’ll hang in a museum when I’m dead, and my bedroom will be Landmarked, like Benjamin Franklin’s phantom house by Robert Venturi.  Guggenheim also says that Tino Sehgal “considers visual art to be a microcosm of our economic reality, as both center on identical conditions: the production of goods and their subsequent circulation.” Is that accurate? What kind of goods? I am no Ben Bernanke, but I always thought the mercantile economy operates on mass manufacturing, while art is commonly a distinct one-of-a-kind. Art is more like luxury goods, right? And that’s not really a microcosm of anything, just a mirror of conspicuous consumption. I think McDonald’s burgers or Chevy trucks would be more of a microcosm.  -The End.

Robert Venturi

UPDATE 02-10-2010: I finally saw the show. It was incredible! I plan to post something later this week about my trip.

Nu MUSEO

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
KS: I’m struck by your commitment to rendering blood on the print exactly the way blood would spurt, or in the case of the vinyl floor piece, as if a body has been dragged across it. And in fact, a body will be literally dragged across it.
That’s Katie Sonnenborn talking to RObert Lazzarini in the new issue of MUSEO about his new bloodstained wallpaper prints.  The prints are the result of Lazzarini’s visual arts fellowship at the Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University.  “The deathly object is something that I think about quite a lot,” he says.  Katie asks him about this preoccupation, but Lazzarini seems more interested in formal issues.  That’s fine, for now.  It is interesting to hear him explain the decisions behind his current show at the Aldrich Museum.
We also get great interviews with Shana Moulton, and with Roxy Paine, whose giant aluminum environmental sculptures must have a great tan after laying out in Madison Square Park, and then migrating to the roof at the Met.
And the great innovation of the new MUSEO is a site-specific project curated by the marvelous Timothy Hull, artist and egyptologist, and MUSEO honcho David Shapiro.  From the curators:
“For this project, artists were asked to create “screen captures” of images using their desk-top as a substrate. It is reasonable to assume that many artists have multiple folders, images, screen wallpapers and open windows on their desktop at any given time. These ephemera of the desktop can either be functional, aesthetic, or both- constantly changing and shifting in meaning and intent as well as position. The screen capture (screen cap) is a tableau of a particular moment in time- on a very private medium: the personal computer. The purpose of this project is to either gain insight into the private, ad-hoc composition of a desktop or to push the boundaries of the discursive arrangement of images and other digital ephemera on the desktop as composed specifically by the artist.”
Fifteen artists submitted screenshots of their computers.  We get behind the scenes to see layers of windows, desktop backgrounds, google search results, and dazzling Photoshop abstractions.
Are they photographs?  But there is no object for light to sculpt.  Collage?  They are layered, but “collage” is etymologically obligated to pasting or gluing, neither of which happened here.  Maybe performance?  Process?  I like Devon Costello’s ersatz Kandinskys, Robert Melee’s couch potato, and Jimmy Joe Roche’s multimedia terrordome.

Robert Longo, The Ascension (for Glenn Branca album), 1981
Robert Longo, The Ascension (for Glenn Branca album), 1981

KS: I’m struck by your commitment to rendering blood on the print exactly the way blood would spurt, or in the case of the vinyl floor piece, as if a body has been dragged across it. And in fact, a body will be literally dragged across it.

Robert Lazzarini, blood on wallpaper (blue gingham), 2008
Robert Lazzarini, blood on wallpaper (blue gingham), 2008

That’s Katie Sonnenborn talking to Robert Lazzarini in the new issue of MUSEO about his new bloodstained wallpaper prints.  He made them during his visual arts fellowship at the Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University.

“The deathly object is something that I think about quite a lot,” he says.  Katie asks him about this preoccupation, but Lazzarini seems more interested in formal issues.  That’s fine, for now.  It is interesting to hear him explain the decisions behind his recent exhibition at the Aldrich Museum, called Guns and Knives.

We also get great interviews with Shana Moulton, and with Roxy Paine, whose giant aluminum environmental sculptures must have a great tan after laying out in Madison Square Park, and then migrating to the roof at the Met.  Check out Maelstrom.

And the great innovation of the new MUSEO is a site-specific project for the MUSEO website.  Open Apple Shift 3 is curated by the marvelous Timothy Hull, artist and egyptologist, and MUSEO honcho David Shapiro.  From the curators:

“For this project, artists were asked to create “screen captures” of images using their desk-top as a substrate. It is reasonable to assume that many artists have multiple folders, images, screen wallpapers and open windows on their desktop at any given time. These ephemera of the desktop can either be functional, aesthetic, or both- constantly changing and shifting in meaning and intent as well as position. The screen capture (screen cap) is a tableau of a particular moment in time- on a very private medium: the personal computer. The purpose of this project is to either gain insight into the private, ad-hoc composition of a desktop or to push the boundaries of the discursive arrangement of images and other digital ephemera on the desktop as composed specifically by the artist.”

Screen capture by Robert Melee
Screen capture by Robert Melee

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Fifteen artists submitted screenshots of their computers.  We get behind the scenes to see layers of windows, desktop backgrounds, google search results, and dazzling Photoshop abstractions.

Screen capture by Ben Weiner
Screen capture by Ben Weiner

Are they photographs?  But there is no object for light to sculpt.  Collage?  They are layered, but “collage” is etymologically obligated to pasting or gluing, neither of which happened here.  Maybe performance?  Process?  I like Devon Costello’s ersatz Kandinskys, Robert Melee’s couch potato, and Jimmy Joe Roche’s multimedia terrordome.

KITT to the rescue
KITT to the rescue