Posts Tagged ‘Urs Fischer’

Will the Real Sean Landers

Sunday, July 4th, 2010
But is Sean Landers really a slacker?http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/sean_landers1  The daisy chain of slackers in the Richard Linklater film are determined to withdraw, to sit it out, to pass.  They are immobilized by the repetition and interchangeability of themselves and the world around them, where they find only morbid indifference.  Hence, the script swipes Joyce: “If he had smiled why would he have smiled? To reflect that each one who enters imagines himself to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one, each imagining himself to be first, last, only and alone whereas he is neither first nor last nor only nor alone in a series originating in and repeated to infinity.
And when the world stirs from its frozen disregard, it responds with hostility.  In Slacker, men will traumatize women, women will fuck over men, war is inevitable, travel is dangerous.  Everyone else just trades in his soul for work in one assembly line or another, either for Ford Motors or for Subway sandwiches. “Every single commodity you produce is a piece of your own death.”
Sean Landers, on the other hand, gets in the ring and wants to participate.
“My original idea was to make conceptual art entertaining, sloppy, emotional, human and funny. Over the years I got so far out on this conceptual limb that I went around full circle until I was a traditional artist again. I tried to be ironic about it but eventually became sincere. Now I�m a happy victim of my own charade. I figure that it’s better to be a sucker who makes something than a wise guy who is too cautious to make anything at all.” http://www.absolutearts.com/artsnews/2004/08/30/32319.html
His world still hasn’t acknowledged its greatest living artist, him.  It is the bouncer not letting the rockstar into the hotspot nightclub.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdcsJakmUfY  Through his prolific output of paintings, drawings, writing, sculptures, and videos, his rants, diatribes, and ramblings have  produced a cacophonous echo chamber of fanatic opprobrium.  The razor-edged tool he uses to relay his chronic skepticism works more like a boomerang than a frisbee.  He has devalued the world around him – “us” – for neglecting his genius, but then defames that same genius with the fervor of a chimp grooming Pigpen.
He is both the Garry Kasparov of self-flagellation and the Wile E. Coyote of grandiose delusions.   In either mode, he is not a representative of the shambling black hole of slackerhood, which absorbs and then annihilates everything in its orbit.
He is the hyperactive narcissist who presaged status updates, tweeting about shopping.  This is the chief reason we should get a Sean Landers retrospective.  His text-based work is primary, but we can’t banish the oddball paintings that disappointed many of his fans in 1999, who hoped to see more writing.  Those absurd demi-Disneys are proof of the outlandish extremes required to distract Sean Landers from himself, just the way you can cover your ears and hum to drown out unsavory news from a friend.  The videos recently exhibited at Friedrich Petzel are like the solitary soliloquies we find on youtube, with overopinionated brats pontificating about trivia.
Our celeb-obsessed TV/magazine culture is another reason.  Celebutard heiresses and movie stars are safely nestled within layers of publicists and handlers paid to speak for and protect them.  We don’t get the real person, we just get the branded icon.  Sean Landers, however, takes us into the tumultuous interior of a culturemaker, resulting in TMI-related embarrassment and unease.
His text-based paintings elbow their way in between Mel Bochner, Ed Ruscha, Tracey Emin, and early John Baldessari, helping to escort in Cary Leibowitz and David Shrigley.  Maybe even Josh Smith.  Connect his thought-webs with the maps of Mark Lombardi and Beth Campbell.  His figurative paintings are Currin, Condo, and Weird Al.  A ten-minute jam session will stir up kindred sculptors all over the place.
Which NYC museum could take it?  MoMA might be too square.  And he’s too funny for the Whitney, right?  New Museum seems close, but maybe too close since Sean Landers bought his loft from the estate of Marcia Tucker, the museum’s founder (who once curated a show on Bad Paintinghttp://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/26_.  Spiraling toward the heavens, the ramps of the Guggenheim would herald the advent of the self-identified greatest artist of all time, and the sense of infinitude when combing through his endless volumes of legal-pad works –
while mimicking the downward spiral of too much introspection,
P.S. Another quote from Slacker: “Because I mean, like it’s some sort of spiritual hell to parody yourself at the hight of your ridiculousness.  So the guy’s got to get up every day, get as fat as he was, and just make fun of himself all day long.  isn’t that a killer job – don’t you think that’s what all old people do…once they get over twenty-eight?
“To those human beings in whom I have a stake, I wish suffering, being forsaken, sickness, maltreatment, humiliation–I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, and the misery of the vanquished: I have no pity for them because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not–that one endures.”

Is the impresario of Slacker art really a slacker?

Rob Pruitt,
Rob Pruitt,

The daisy chain of slackers in the Richard Linklater film are determined to withdraw, to sit it out, to pass.  “Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy,” they chant.

Sean Landers,
Sean Landers,

The slackers in Slacker are immobilized by the repetition and interchangeability of themselves and the world around them, where they find only morbid indifference.  Hence, the script swipes Joyce: “If he had smiled why would he have smiled? To reflect that each one who enters imagines himself to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one, each imagining himself to be first, last, only and alone whereas he is neither first nor last nor only nor alone in a series originating in and repeated to infinity.”

And when the world stirs from its icy disregard, it responds with hostility.  In Slacker, society entails that men will traumatize women, women will “fuck you over,” travel is dangerous, and war is so inevitable that activists can’t keep up with their protest graffiti.  Everyone else just trades in his soul for work in one assembly line or another, even just to make Subway sandwiches. “Every single commodity you produce is a piece of your own death,” hisses the creepy chainsmoker straight out of prison.

Alex Barry,
Alex Barry,
Sean Landers, on the other hand, gets in the ring and wants to be heard!

Sean Landers,
Sean Landers,

“My original idea was to make conceptual art entertaining, sloppy, emotional, human and funny. Over the years I got so far out on this conceptual limb that I went around full circle until I was a traditional artist again. I tried to be ironic about it but eventually became sincere. Now I’m a happy victim of my own charade. I figure that it’s better to be a sucker who makes something than a wise guy who is too cautious to make anything at all.”

His world still hasn’t acknowledged its greatest living artist, him.  It is as frustrating as the bouncer not letting the rock star into the hotspot nightclub.   Through his prolific output of paintings, drawings, writing, sculptures, and videos, Sean Landers has vented his rants, diatribes, and ramblings.  The result is a cacophonous echo chamber of fanatic opprobrium.  The razor-edged tool he uses to relay his chronic skepticism works more like a boomerang than a frisbee.  He has devalued the world around him – “us” – for neglecting his genius, but then defames that same genius with the fervor of a chimp grooming Pigpen.

He is both the Garry Kasparov of self-flagellation and the Wile E. Coyote of grandiose delusions.   In either mode, he is not a representative of the shambling black hole of slackerhood, which absorbs and then annihilates everything in its orbit.
For one thing, his early persona is too insane to be a slacker.  Slackers are well-educated suburbanites all too familiar with reality – it bites.  And the later Sean Landers, more neurotic and terrified of what’s at stake, is too career-oriented to be a slacker.

Eponymous
Eponymous
But he IS the hyperactive narcissist who presaged status updates, tweeting about shopping, and editing your profile via iPhone.  This is the chief reason we should get a Sean Landers Museum retrospective.  St. Louis gets one, so why doesn’t New York?  His abundant text-based work is primary, but we can’t banish the oddball paintings that bummed out, man, some of his fans in 1997, who hoped to see more writing.

(l-r) Currin, Landers, Condo
(l-r) Currin, Landers, Condo
Those absurd demi-Disneys are proof of the outlandish extremes required to distract Sean Landers from himself, just the way you can cover your ears and hum to drown out unsavory news from a friend.  The 90s videos at Friedrich Petzel in 2008 are like the solitary soliloquies we find on youtube, where overopinionated emo-geeks pontificate to their webcams all night.

Compare to Josh Smith
Compare to Josh Smith
Second: he invented the text cloud, which topographically arranges the relevances of key words and thoughts.

Landers is
Landers is
Finally, our celeb-obsessed TV/magazine culture is starving for a look inside.  Celebutard heiresses and movie stars are safely nestled within layers of publicists and handlers paid to speak for and protect them.  We don’t get the real person, we just get the branded icon.  And that only happens when the star has a movie or album coming out.  Sean Landers, however, takes us into the tumultuous interior of a culturemaker, resulting in TMI-related embarrassment and uneasy grimaces.  A PR maven would freak out!

Landers tops Bochner
Landers tops Bochner
His text-based paintings elbow their way in between Mel Bochner, Ed Ruscha, Tracey Emin, and early John Baldessari (“I will not make any more boring paintings”), helping to escort in Cary Leibowitz and David Shrigley.  Maybe even Josh Smith.  Connect his thought-webs with the maps of Mark Lombardi and Beth Campbell.  His figurative paintings are Currin, Condo, Saul, and Weird Al.  A ten-minute jam session will stir up kindred sculptors all over the place.

Tim Noble & Sue Webster (l) VS. Sean Landers (r)
Tim Noble & Sue Webster (l) VS. Sean Landers (r)
Which NYC museum could take it?  MoMA might be too square.  And he’s too funny for the Whitney, right?

Candles: Urs Fischer in
Candles: Urs Fischer in

New Museum seems close, but maybe too close since Sean Landers bought his loft from the estate of Marcia Tucker, the museum’s founder (who once curated a show on Bad Painting).  Spiraling toward the heavens, the ramps of the Guggenheim would herald the advent of the self-identified greatest artist of all time, and the sense of infinitude when combing through his endless volumes of legal-pad works – while mimicking the downward spiral of too much introspection.

P.S. Another quote from Slacker: “Because I mean, like it’s some sort of spiritual hell to parody yourself at the hight of your ridiculousness.  So the guy’s got to get up every day, get as fat as he was, and just make fun of himself all day long.  isn’t that a killer job – don’t you think that’s what all old people do…once they get over twenty-eight?”

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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.

His and Urs

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
The talk of the town – in the WSJ, the New Yorker, New York Magazine – is Marguerite de Ponty, the solo show “introspective” of Urs Fischer at the New Museum.  The artist takes on the three floors (and ceilings) of exhibition space.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704024904574475312171391366.html
The mouthpiece of the show – and organizer – is Massimiliano Gioni, Director of Special Exhibitions and cocurator of “Younger than Jesus.”  The show originated from “Jet Set Lady,” the 2005 solo show of Urs Fischer at the Trussardi Foundation, where Massimiliano Gioni is artistic director, alongside Laura Hoptman, a Trussardi advisory board member by night, Senior Curator at the New Museum by day.
The main attraction is A technical tour de force that required more than 25,000 photographs and over twelve tons of steel, ” according the the New Mu.  It includes about 50 shiny stainless steel boxes bearing silkscreen prints on all visible sides.  It’s an assortment of objects depicted from all three Cartesian axes, x y and z.
The boxes, engineered in Zurich, are immaculately seamless and the prints masterfully applied.   There seems to be no room for error, and one wonders how the printmakers juggled the images, which demand vertical and horizontal orientations.  Moreover, how did the photographers shoot, scan, and splice these dimension-defying captures?  It’s especially excited in the photos of photos, such as the Installing the heavy cubes required wizardry, too: preparators were not allowed to touch the sculptures.  So they unsheathed them from their crates and slid the plinths from underneath.  But how did they mount the vertical “chain” piece to the ceiling?
Meanwhile, the monumental molten crags on the third floor reveal seams where the component pieces conjoined.  Why would a precisionist perfectionist like Urs Fischer permit this?  Don’t we lose our illusion when we see the stitching?  Maybe it’s a trick to remind our eyes that the towering turds are more than surface, even if that battered surface fascinatingly reports the thumb impressions that shaped it in its fetal stages.

Dearth 'vator
Dearth 'vator

Opening today is the new hotness, Marguerite de Ponty, the solo show “introspective” of Urs Fischer at the New Museum.  The artist has his way with the three floors (and ceilings) of exhibition space.

The showman, mouthpiece, and organizer is Director of Special Exhibitions and cocurator of “Younger than Jesus,” Massimiliano Gioni, 35, older than Jesus.  The show originated when Gioni and Fischer erected Jet Set Lady, Fischer’s seminal 2005 solo show at the Trussardi Foundation, where Gioni is artistic director, and where Laura Hoptman, Senior Curator at the New Museum, is a Trussardi advisory board member.

This is a good time for Gavin Brown.  Fischer is the second artist from Gavin Brown’s Enterprise to have a solo show at the New Museum.  Brownian Jonathan Horowitz just concluded And/Or at P.S.1 and his soul- and gallery-mate, Rob Pruitt, is hosting the First Annual Art Awards this week at the Guggenheim.

P.S. Wish “good luck” to SVA alumni “and/or” faculty who are nominees: Elizabeth Peyton, Mary Heilmann, and Jerry Saltz.

Urs Fischer at New Museum
Urs Fischer at New Museum

The main attraction ($$$) of Marguerite de Ponty (a pseudonym used by Mallarmé when writing on fashion) is “a technical tour de force that required more than 25,000 photographs and over twelve tons of steel,” according the the New Mu. Sounds pretty MACHO for an institution founded by feminist Marcia Tucker.

Cary Leibowitz, Marcia Tucker Puffy Print, 2007
Cary Leibowitz, Marcia Tucker Puffy Print, 2007

It includes about 50 splendid stainless steel boxes, silkscreened on all visible sides with photos of an assortment of objects, depicted from all three Cartesian axes, x through z.  Despite the roid-rage marketing, the installation invokes non-Hulk Hogans: Guyton/Walker + John McCracken + Warhol + maybe Cady Noland in a good mood.  -And Robert Morris cubes, Judd boxing, Picasso cubism, Duchamp readymade, Dutch still life. With flat images adhered to flat, reflective boxes that all share axes, it’s a vista without perspective – no transverse lines, like drawing with an Etch-a-Sketch.

Artists Frank Benson and Xavier Cha
Artists Frank Benson and Xavier Cha

Only 40 visitors are allowed in at once, but it’s worth the wait in line, because population control is to labyrinths what rent control is to apartments: you feel good about staying for a long time.

The boxes, engineered in Zurich, are immaculately seamless.  There seems to be no room for error, and one wonders how the printmakers, in Austria, juggled the tumbling vertical and horizontal orientations.  Does this site help us? The effect is especially exciting in the photos of photos, such as the giant Ashanti, who looks real from the front, but surprises us as a cardboard cutout.  Look closer, and the cardboard’s crumbled corners and scored surfaces revolt against the surgical, sterile surfaces.

Hunk Hendrik Gerrits with Peres Projects' Sarah Walzer
Hunk Hendrik Gerrits with Peres Projects' Sarah Walzer

Preparators were not allowed to touch the sculptures, so they unsheathed them from crates and slid the plinths from underneath.  But how did they mount the vertical “chain” piece to the ceiling?  If you see Hendrik Gerrits, who oversaw the installation, you should ask him.  He looked really relieved last night.

His and Urs
Sincerely Urs

In contrast to the rigid order below them, the monumental molten crags on the third floor are all accident.  Yet they reveal seams where the component aluminum sections conjoined.  Wouldn’t that bother a precisionist perfectionist like Urs Fischer?  Don’t we lose our illusion when we see the stitching?  Maybe it’s a trick to remind our eyes that the towering turds are ugly on the inside, too – even if we want to stay with the fascinating thumb impressions on the surface.

Now that's what I call ART
Now that's what I call ART

That’s right, foxy; I’m talking to YOU!

IMAGES: Michael Bilsborough

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