Posts Tagged ‘Stuart Sherman’

Weld Done

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Check out How Things Are Made, curated by Sam Gordon, at Spot Welders.  Spot Welders is a busy post-production studio in a new space designed by 1100 Architects with custom furniture by Roy McMakin.  Sam Gordon is a busy artist with shows currently up at Feature, Inc and Printed Matter, as well as a curated performance series at NADA NYC called Contemporary Dancing.


How Things are Made, Alpha at Spot Welders

How Things Are Made examines “the processes artists use to make their work and how that may reflect meaning into the results,” according to Sam, whose recent work has combined layered fabrics, clothing remnants, and studio sweepings in abstract paintings.  The exhibition will unfold in three parts, a point that uncovers the “facture” of a curated show, alongside the entries in that show.

Guyton/Walker and Magic Flying Carpets of the Berber Kingdom of Morocco at Spot Welders

How Things Are Made, Alpha includes Katherine Bernhardt, Lucky DeBellevue, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Jake Ewert, Mariah Robertson, William Kentridge, Magic Flying Carpets of the Berber Kingdom of Morocco, Boro Textiles (courtesy of Sri Threads), Guyton/Walker (courtesy of Maharam Digital Projects), Stuart Sherman & Takeshi Murata (courtesy of EAI).


Magic Flying Carpets of the Berber Kingdom of Morocco

Jake Ewert’s painted pizzas are a highlight, as are Daphne Fitzpatrick’s photos and her 3D-printed pipe miniature.  Katherine Bernhardt’s paintings interact beautifully with the Moroccan carpets arranged throughout the studio.  And Stuart Sherman’s diagrammatic performances on video embody the theme of the show.  But everything in this show is terrific and I’m seeking an internship at Spot Welders so I can see Lucky DeBellevue’s dreamcatcher in daylight, every day.

Katherine Bernhardt at Spot Welders

Lucky DeBellevue and Jake Ewert at Spot Welders

A key precedent to the show is Peter Kubelka’s infamous beer commercial, described this way:

“In 1957, Peter Kubelka was hired to make a short commercial for Scwechater beer. The beer company undoubtedly thought they were commissioning a film that would help them sell their beers; Kubelka had other ideas. He shot his film with a camera that did not even have a viewer, simply pointing it in the general direction of the action. He then took many months to edit his footage, while the company fumed and demanded a finished product. Finally he submitted a film, 90 seconds long, that featured extremely rapid cutting between images of dimly visible people drinking beer and of the froth of beer seen in a fully abstract pattern.”

Daphne Fitzpatrick at Spot Welders

A Pop Up “Souk” and opportunity to tour the exhibition takes place Friday, May 10th, 3-6pm at Spot Welders, 44 East 32nd Street, 5th Floor.

All of the above images are by Steven Probert!


Monday, July 13th, 2009

“Performance is for me related to the very literal use of the term. You have to perform an act to give form to an intent. That relates to what I do very strongly.” -Stuart Sherman

Stuart Sherman at 80WSE Gallery
Stuart Sherman at 80WSE Gallery

Beginningless Thought/Endless Seeing: The Works of Stuart Sherman is a comprehensive archive and survey of the late artist’s videos, poems, collages, drawings, stage performances, and signature “spectacles.”

Stuart Sherman at 80WSE Gallery
Stuart Sherman at 80WSE Gallery

Curators John Hagan, Yolanda Hawkins, and John Matturri present the prolific Stuart Sherman as a disciplined, studious artist with philosophical leanings.  He worked every day and followed a natural logic that guided him from writing, to drawing, to performance, and to video.  He appears as an earnest collaborator and sensitive reader, and ascetic in the ways he subsumes himself to his conceptual goals.  Paradoxically, by suppressing his performative persona, he reveals a more permanent personality.

Though he earned his merit badges in the avant-garde scene around Charles Ludlam, the influence on Stuart Sherman from the Conceptual Art undertakings preceding him is apparent.  His performances and videos feature repeated tasks, verbal instructions, minimal inflection, and geometric trajectories.  “I find that in art in general, whatever the discipline, there’s too often a fascination with the material aspects of the medium, the sensuous properties of the medium with too little attention to the ideas that form the material.”  Right!  And like many other conceptual artists working before him, Stuart Sherman relentlessly interrogates written language in his ink drawings and found photo collages, many of which diagram the alphabet and select words that are incidentally loaded with pathos: “DRAMA,” “SCREAM.”

Most of the drawings look schematic, like tic-tac-toe games, semaphore messages, or dance instructions.  He described them as “ideographic” and it’s tempting to identify figures among the dots and dashes.  For example, we start to see in many drawings a large X topped with an O, which seems to correspond to the man/men noted in their respective titles.  We also spot recurrent rings that signify the sun, and menacing zigzag lines, often red, that signal agitation or chaos, as in Orgy.

Stuart Sherman, Sunergy Pregnant with Chair

Beyond linguistic knob-twiddling, Stuart Sherman dissects and disperses the body and senses into his environment.  In the videos, staccato editing and rebus-like montages establish analogies between his body parts and inanimate objects.   Eating, in his words, “demonstrated most patently…the conversion of a physical act into language.”  It also projects his face and open mouth onto the facades of a series of restaurants and diners.  His “punctuating mouth” claps shut like a clapboard slate.  In Portrait of Benedicte Pesle, the artist stands in a telephone booth, only to be replaced by a stack of white pillows.  Baseball/TV stars a television-headed effigy, and in Theater Piece, he alternates between himself and a 2D cutout of his body – both strategies would appear later in his work.  Finally, Discovery of the Phonograph establishes the transitive mechanics between field of vision, a spinning record, and bodily movement.

Chairs recur in Stuart Sherman’s imagery.  As a poet, he loved word play and puns.  I wonder if the Dr. Frankenstein in him recrafted the chair to stand in for him.  One drawing mingles “chair” and “man” into the sequence “Chair Manned,” “Man Chaired,” until they amalgamate as “Chair Man/Man Chair.” Is it a coincidence that “Chair Man” sounds a lot like “Sherman?”  Like Marcel Duchamp and “Marchand du Sel?”

Cooler than Kosuth

Maybe we’ll find more clues in Nothing Up My Sleeve, the group show that just opened at Participant, Inc, which I hope to cover next week…

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