Saratonin:art:blog


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.

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Memory Boxes
June 13, 2009, 4:57 am
Filed under: Art, Sculpture

Jerry Meyer
May 14th – June 20, 2009
Denise Bibro Fine Art
529 W. 20th Street 4W New York, NY

MemoryBoxes

Using images and artifacts that seem as if they could have come from my grandparent’s attic, Jerry Meyer created muli-layered and multi-textured light box collages that combined perfect amounts of nostolgia, humor, craft, and aestetic. These pieces create disjointed narratives, allowing us glimpses of the lives and minds of unknown characters, but leaving ample ambiguity for viewers to derive their own meaning from the works.



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.

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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.



Wallowing
July 21, 2008, 12:14 am
Filed under: Art, Sculpture, Video

Jack Strange
June 19th – July 31st, 2008
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
521 West 21st Street, New York, NY

“In his sculptures, drawings, collages and videos, Strange recontextualizes and re-imagines the functions of everyday objects and ideas in a manner that is humorous, clever, surprising and at times revelatory. Creating unexpected relationships between commonplace materials, Strange offers a perspective on their uses that can open up new worlds of meaning. A comparison to Surrealism might be appropriate based on this description, but the unusual juxtapositions in Strange’s work are oddly comfortable, and somehow appropriate. While the viewer acknowledges the silliness of combining a lighting fixture and a coat hanger to make a face, as in ‘Another One Again,’ installed in the side gallery, the materials are easily recognizable in their new incarnation. Sometimes, in Strange’s words, ‘the logic of no logic can be quite logical after all.’ With this sophisticated yet direct approach, Strange makes work that transforms the mundane into the marvelous while both formally and thematically addressing issues of creative identity, repetition, perspective, language, technology, biology and nature (ArtSlant).”

Though every piece was intriguing in its own way, what particularly stuck out for me was ‘For The Greenmen (With The Curst Sons, Alpha, Giovanni Manzini and Mr. Clack).’ Four monitors hung along a wall, displaying a looped clip from Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk” film. Each monitor had a different soundtrack, which he commissioned from musicians, including a 14 year old DJ, a classical pianist, a hillbilly rock group and an electronic noise artist. It was interesting to hear how changing a soundtrack can completely change the mood of a movie, and brought to mind William S. Burrough’s ‘The Invisible Generation,’ which describes in comical detail how what we see can be determined by what we hear.



Play Offs
July 11, 2008, 11:54 pm
Filed under: Art, Sculpture | Tags:

Dario Escobar
May 22nd – July 3rd, 2008
Josee Bienvenu Gallery
529 West 20th St., New York, NY

“In Play Offs, the artist pursues his ongoing investigation of the semiotics of the object in the arena of sports. Confiscated, manipulated and reconfigured, sport objects stop being part of identifiable structures to become symbols that question the dynamics of power and challenge notions such as competition, success and failure, virility, social status, and national pride.” – Play Offs 2008

In this exhibition, Guatemalan Artist Dario Escobar transforms recreational objects into sculptural forms, in most cases rendering their former functions obsolete. Several crippled skateboards adorn the floor in various contortions, accompanied by tennis balls turned to disks, a flaccid-looking baseball bat, two carved decks of cards, a deformed ping-pong raquet, bike tires clinging to the walls like vines, and pool queues forming a skeletal tepee surrounded by scattered pool balls. Two walls display groupings of baseball bats, individually lacquered with automotive paint, simulating flames commonly painted on cars. On another wall hang framed oil stains collected from leaking cars.

Escobar transforms objects that are revered by society for the excitement and trill of competition, agility, and speed, depriving them of their use and inviting the viewer to look at them objectively.