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TOM MOODY WEBLOG TOP TEN 2004
1. Site Specific Art is Dead; Long Live.... According to this text from the year 2035, the dinosaur finally died when artists ran amok in the Saarinen airport terminal; meanwhile, the small mammals of wireless and GPS-based art stirred at Spectropolis 2004 and the psy.geo.CONFLUX.
2. Diana Kingsley at Leo Castelli. This artist's subtle humor has been evading the New York art world for years. The New Yorker is the latest not to get it.
3. Ross Knight at the Sculpture Center. More art too subtle for Saltz and the pros.
4. The Infinite Fill Show at Foxy Production. Disclosure: yrs truly was in this show (along with 92 other artists).
5. Four-way tie: Banks Violette at Team, John Parker at Front Room, Joe McKay at vertexList, Paper Rad at Foxy Production (and online).
6. Loretta Lux. Powerful images of ideal children combine painting, photography and digi-manipulation, made even more meme-worthy by resizing at a web-friendly 300 x 300 pixels.
7. Chris Ashley, Jan - December 2004. Abstract painter moves to web, uses your browser to make paintings, blows away competition.
8. SCREENFULL, July - December 2004. If Sigmar Polke were in his 20s today and/or Richard Prince surfed the net instead of painting, this is what they'd be doing. If only it could be commodified...
9. Michelle Handelman in Bryant Park. The performances were memorably quirky, the summer day was beautiful, Bryant Park was beautiful...
10. Duncan Hannah at JG Contemporary/James Graham & Sons. Weirdly affectless Hopperesque work by one of New York's best painters, whose work has long been too subtle for...oh never mind.
Honorable Mention: The art world's efforts to end the Iraq War and throw the current bums out of office, even though both have so far failed.
Diana Kingsley, Court Disaster, 2000-04, still from 2.5 min. loop, DVD on video monitor
New York artist Diana Kingsley, who I've I've written about a few times, just concluded a show at Leo Castelli, after earlier appearances at Derek Eller and Bellwether. The New Yorker reviewed it during its July/August run, and this week, Artnet observes: "With its visual reductiveness, Kingsley's work has the starkness of pulp fiction, where bare facts and descriptions set a mood more than they add up to a story. Her video narratives are tenuous, threatening to wink out and leave us with still imagery." To which I would add that the videos, like her still imagery, seem calm and innocuous at first but each contains some hint of the ominous, a mini-disaster waiting to happen.
From the New Yorker, a review of a show mentioned on this weblog a few weeks ago:
DIANA KINGSLEYWell, "cute" is in the eye of the beholder, especially when a show is viewed selectively. Factual corrections: when a moth hits window glass, it's smashing (to the moth), and the tennis player falls three times if you watch the entire (two and 1/2 minute) loop.
“Isle of August” is a collection of videos and photographs of a well-heeled summer world. A tennis player, seen only from behind and the waist down, is oblivious to her flapping, untied shoelaces in “Court Disaster.” A stack of gilt-edged china plates teeters precariously in “Fair field full of dainty,” and a moth lured by a yellow flower bumps endlessly against a window in “buster.” But nothing smashes, no one falls, and the over-all effect is cute rather than menacing. Through Aug. 5. (Castelli, 18 E. 77th St. 212-249-4470.)
Artist Diana Kingsley, who was the subject of an earlier post here, will be showing video works at Leo Castelli Gallery from July 7 to August 5 (18 East 77th St., NYC 10021, 212.249.4470). Here's the press release:Leo Castelli Gallery is pleased to present "Isle of August," an exhibition of video works by Diana Kingsley. The New York-based artist is known for her still photos, consisting of crisp, highly composed images where the subjects are undone by subtle flaws: an open fly on a nattily-dressed male model, ink from a name tag smearing the blouse of a bosomy conventioneer, a chocolate delicately placed on a hotel pillow but left too long in an overheated room.
Her videos keep the focus on the little things that sow the seeds of chaos. In Eat in, a piece projected from the ceiling onto the floor, ghostly takeout menus are slipped under an imaginary apartment door until they begin to pile up on the floor--an unceasing, almost stalker-like intrusion from the outside world. In buster, a gorgeously assembled image of an apartment interior is marred by a large, colorful lantern fly beating endlessly against the window glass, trying to make its escape. In Court Disaster, the viewer nervously watches the legs and backside of a female tennis player as she hops around a grass court, oblivious to the untied laces of one shoe threatening to wreck her game. The sumptuously-lensed works combine the rigor of minimalist design, the angst of an existential one-act, and the humor of a Chaplinesque slip on a banana peel.
Artist Diana Kingsley uses a Hasselblad camera to make her images; she's as picky and exacting as a high-paid product photographer, but instead of putting all that energy and care into the service of crass commercialism, she takes the little slippages that drive art directors crazy and turns them into content. Her photos have that creamy, so-seamless-as-to-be-slightly-otherworldly look common to high-end retail catalogs (and Robert Mapplethorpe), but there's usually something wrong with them. To her credit, the "errors" (and they're not just photography errors, but screw-ups suggesting a whole range of human dysfunctions) don't leap out at you like Mad magazine gags. They're subtle, so subtle that you sometimes don't even see them.
In Net, 1997, a woman in tennis whites has collapsed face-down on the court, ball resting near her head. She's wearing a red wig, and in a detail that's barely visible in the photo (and completely invisible online), the hair is parted to reveal a kind of netting--a super-tacky echo of the unseen tennis net and racket. In Sensitive Son, 1997, the "error" is more obvious: a cute kid in a knit cap who might or might not be a sportswear model posing for the perfect catalog shot sheds an unfortunate (time-, film-, and money-wasting) bead of sweat. The offending fluid is shaped like a teardrop, suggesting a subliminal, Oedipal message to a pushy off-camera stage mom.
Ultimately, the "errors" occur within a much larger comedy of visual manners. In Diane, 2001 (below), a female conventioneer has a name tag with ink smeared so badly it slides onto the fabric of her top. This is a joke at her expense, but then she's not really a person in the photograph, just a superlative pair. One of the more amusing features of the picture is the water bottle in her hand--a sexual pun, of course, given its location in the picture, but also a sly comment on contemporary mores. Everyone seems to be carrying around quarts of Evian and Poland Spring these days: at what point did they not become ridiculous?
Diana Kingsley, Diane, 2001, lambda print, 30" X 30"