Saratonin:art:blog


Merry Christmas
December 25, 2009, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Books, Collaborative, Design, Installation

My brother knows me well. This morning he gave me two interesting nuggets.

The first covers a topic that has been running useless circles around my head since I first started working with advertisers: the relationship (and potential relationship) between true creativity and commercial agenda (perhaps they can can be symbiotic, after all?) Interesting so far. I hope it’s enlightening.

I also received this one.

The former is a commentary on how to salvage creativity and convey a message while working as a commercial artist. The latter suggests bypassing commercial agenda and conveying a message any way you wish. Hmm…



Mark Bradford & Kara Walker
October 28, 2009, 4:53 pm
Filed under: Collaborative, Installation, Painting/Drawing, Sculpture, Video

Sept. 10 – Oct. 17 2009
Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
530 W. 22nd Street New York, NY

I was impressed with these two artists ability to use shape and negative space to create vivid portrayals of misogyny, racism, and violence. Mini-narratives lay everywhere, in text, in image, and sometimes in texture, hidden under a monochrome layer of paint. These paintings and objects were beautifully tied together with videos by Walker using silhouette puppets, paper sculptures, and other media. This exhibit was aesthetically and conceptually intricate and provocative.



Live Feed: 1972 -1994
May 31, 2009, 4:44 am
Filed under: Installation, Sculpture, Video

Nam June Paik
April 14th – June 6th, 2009
James Cohan Gallery
533 West 26th Street, NY, New York 10001

Discovering the work of Nam June Paik while in college, among other discoveries, such as Bruce Nauman’s Live-Taped Corridor, Rhizome, and  Eyebeam, launched me into my current obsession with Digital Art as Fine Art. There is nothing more satisfying to me than manipulating reality through technology, and manipulating technology for the sake of art. Therefore, I was immensely happy to find that James Cohan Gallery in Chelsea was showing his TV sculptures. This show was the best eye candy I have seen in a while.

Though I loved everything there, my favorites were TV Bed, Living Egg Grows, and Watchdog II.

NamJunePaik3

TV Bed consistes of an angled metal bed frame holding a bed of televison monitors, depicting images of a cellist, crawling soldiers, toy soldiers crawling on a nude, a nude cellist, crawling soldiers carrying cellos, a woman playing a soldier like a cello, a woman playing a stack of TVs like a cello, and other combinations of cellos, soldiers, women, and TVs, combining imagery of war, sex, and entertainment into a colorful, quickly changing collage of footage. A nude wooden doll and and soldier doll carrying a cello are positioned as if they were crawling up the bed.

NamJunePaik1

Living Egg Grows is a series of angled televisions ordered smallest to largest with a video of a nude woman in an egg shape, interspersed with glowing white eggs, and ending with three smaller stacked eggs, seemingly narrating the birth and reproduction of a woman through television.

NamJunePaik2

Watchdog II is a humorous TV sculpture of a dog, with a video camera on its tail providing sideways live feed for its snout. The televisions feature colorful distorted video, and loud speakers are transformed into the dog’s ears.

NamJunePaik4

And, it wouldn’t be a Nam June Paik show without Enlightenment Compressed, or TV Buddha, where a Buddha figure sits on part of a monitor and meditates on live feed of himself shown on a small television in front of him.



Catching up
October 21, 2008, 1:37 am
Filed under: Art, BlogTalk, Collaborative, Installation, Photography, Programming, Sculpture, Video

Due to a recent cut in my free time, I am trying to spend what little is left making my own work rather than writing about others’. Therefore, I am going to hold off on my analysis of each, and instead create a list for later reference.

Eyebeam:
Untethered
– Various Artists

Smack Mellon:
Decoded Love – Shin Il Kim
Oh, Very, Yes! – Kwabena Slaughter

Klompching:
Doppelganger – Cornelia Hediger



After Nature
August 30, 2008, 1:51 am
Filed under: Art, Installation, Sculpture

The New Museum
235 Bowery, New York, NY

I recently payed a long past due visit to the New Museum (its been a few years).  The current show was “After Nature,” and it was full of many intriguing pieces, though I was particularly interested in two bodies of work:

The first was Paweł Althamer’s sculptures, which he created from grass, hemp fiber, animal intestine, wax, and hair.  The characters’ bodies looked as if they had been decaying for years, yet they held video cameras, and wore glasses.  All of the figures were nude, and several were self portraits of the artist.  These sculptures brought together the archaic and the modern; putting everyday life in perspective of the entirety of time, calling to question our everyday activities, and reminding us that we too someday will be ancient history.

The second piece that caught my attention was Maurizio Cattelan’s, Untitled, 2007, which consisted of taxidermied horse skin, and fiberglass resin. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time when I saw this.  The way the horse is positioned, high above the viewer with its head seemingly through the wall, makes one wonder what kind of violent force could have put it there.  Yet its positioning is very out of the ordinary. Rather than mounting the animal’s head on the wall, as many hunters do with game they kill, the artist mounted the body instead. Because horses are such large, domestic animals, it is odd to mount one at all, let alone with the head missing and the body dangling out of the wall; the result is sadistically hilarious.



Waterfalls
August 26, 2008, 4:45 am
Filed under: Installation

Waterfalls
Olafur Eliasson

This controversial public art project is one I see on a regular basis, as I work In DUMBO (and acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, which I was standing on to take this picture). I am normally a huge fan of public art in general; however I have my doubts as to how well Eliasson’s (theoretically great) idea was executed, especially considering the price tag ($15 million).

When I first saw the Waterfalls, I couldn’t get over how incredibly industrial-looking, and LARGE, the supporting structures were. Though admittedly one can get a good view of the waterfalls from the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges (and probably from the ferry boats), those on the shore are left staring at a large metal frame, getting lightly salted with a mist of questionable East River water, which The Brooklyn Paper accuses of killing nearby trees.

However, I do admit I enjoyed my trip across the bridge to see them; and no doubt they are helping local businesses by attracting more tourists.



Burt Barr
August 1, 2008, 3:22 am
Filed under: Art, Installation, Photography, Video

Burt Barr
June 12th – July 25th, 2008
Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
530 W. 22nd Street New York, NY

“For this exhibition Burt Barr returns to his guiding premise, “that black & white are the only two colors I’ll ever need.” A believer of the single take – no matter its length – Barr’s work is the antithesis of most modern day film and video. All works were shot by Barr and mastered by his longtime editor, Steve Hamilton. The videos are all projected directly on the wall and looped for continual viewing. Using bare necessities to convey movement they hang much as paintings or, more appropriately, black and white photographs (press release).”

Though all of the pieces were intriguing, I gravitated towards ‘Donkey and Lightning,’ a two video installation piece in the back of the gallery. One wall displayed an ambiguous, darkened image of a donkey, which occasionally becomes illuminated. The opposing wall displayed a blank night sky, with occasional flashes of lightning. When the lightning flashed, the donkey image became illuminated.

It takes a few minutes to figure out what is going on in this piece. A viewer cannot see both videos at once due to the setup of the room. Looking at the image of the donkey, one would have to wait for it to become illuminated to discern what it is. Looking at the donkey while it is illuminated, one would not be able to see the lightning flash on the wall behind them. Only by watching the videos separately can one determine the relationship between the two. In this way, two simple videos, when combined, become synchronized in an installation that tests one’s awareness.