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About a year ago I posted a link to Eric Fensler's remixed GI Joe PSAs. Those links now redirect to his main page. I hadn't looked in a while, but he's added a few new ones. They're on this video page, which includes all 25. "Pork chop sandwiches!"..."Stop all the downloading!"..."It's such a wonderful experience here with the Indian"... Relive these moments from the magical year of 2003. And be sure to play PSA 25!
My 54th Street (Hell's Kitchen) studio, ca. 1998. Left hand image(s): Pipes 2, 1998, laser prints and linen tape, 88" X 78", previously exhibited here. The work on the right is untitled, same media. Each piece is essentially a giant paper quilt made of approx. three by five inch rectangles of xerox-printed paper taped together on the back (the linen tape is starchy and moistened when applied; when it dries it forms a "kite frame" of plaster-like strips that give the piece a sense of volume perceptible from the front). The big one hangs loosely on the wall, the small one is folded around a stretcher. Perhaps you can see where a group exhibition of black and white, repeating, Op art-like patterns, computer-made, with a kind of "jenky" outsider craft focus, would interest me. The "pipes" were originally intended to be cut out and used as struts or sticks for the molecules I was making, but I discovered that when placed side by side, they created intense, fairly painful optical vibration (not visible in these polaroid scans). These, and the allover patterns of spheres I was doing simultaneously, are what lead to my investigation and reworking of Op art rhetoric and ultimately my involvement in the "post-hypnotic" exhibition.
"p-h" traveled around the U.S. but never made it to NY. It would have been a hard sell here. I knew the idea of a (multiply-recontextualized) Op pseudo-revival was doomed when I read Roberta Smith's review of the Bridget Riley show at Dia. I'm paraphrasing here, but Smith basically said that Riley was tainted by her association with artists who would be forever on the margins, "especially in anti-Op New York." Wow, opposition to Op art is institutionalized here! Or was that another way of saying "anti-Op Roberta"? Considering the predominance of Op-like patterns in "The Infinite Fill Show," I guess it took the "teen bedroom angle" to override Roberta's dislike of the form and/or perception that it was discredited. Or, less cynically, maybe it was just the overwhelming evidence that artists find it more interesting than she does. [reposted from a few days ago with modifications.]
Work in progress; the back side of a piece prior to taping. It looks kind of elegant as a drawing.
Wishful thinking (?) by Steve Gilliard: "Bloomberg isn't going to risk a riot in Central Park. And if he tries to arrest people for that, he knows that is exactly what will happen. Forget the paranoid fear, a riot in New York during the RNC would be a nightmare for Bush and Rove. They don't want the attention taken away from the President and the party and this will do just that. UFPJ is families, is middle class people with kids. It is not the Ruckus society. If the cops go haywire on them, the whole city will react badly. Bloomberg's popularity isn't high now, chasing yuppie families down 79th St is not something people want on TV or on the cover of the Daily News."
M. Night Shyamalan's The Village is terrific; I like all his movies. There's a deconstructive element at work in them (I know, that word)--an emphasis on social subtexts and relationships to other films that takes them out of the simple O. Henry/Twilight Zone realm. Unbreakable focuses on the warped power fantasies of the invisible comic book fan who ultimately drives the superhero script; Signs presents another kind of script, the near-impossible chain of coincidences required for a lapsed believer to regain faith.
The Shyamster (as one smartass critic called him) is a master of the subjective POV, showing you only what he wants to show you and keeping you in a state of nervous tunnel vision throughout. Inexplicable imagery or behavior is explained eventually, sometimes immediately. This is highly manipulative but so what? I like the way gradually-introduced information from outside the frame changes the meaning of what's perceived, all within the filmic atom of "the shot."
Rather than give away The Village's plot, let's just say there's a constellation of supernatural or "artificial" works about America's small town past into which the movie could be inserted: The Crucible, The Lottery, Dogtown, A Boy and His Dog, Our Town, Signs. (And of course, Children of the Corn--just kidding.) There's a love story, and a larger enveloping story that is quite creepy and melancholy and gives you something to think about after the movie's over. Oh, and the lead actress is good--I found out afterward she's Ron Howard's daughter. Another surreal, small town connection: Mayberry RFD.
Aya T. Kanai, "Polaroids Tokyo/NYC," 2004, spectra polaroid photos, from "The Infinite Fill Show." Web layout (rephotography, slight cropping of installation views) by Tom Moody.
Just walked past Madison Square Garden, and they're getting it all spruced up for the big übermenschen rally later this month. The place is already swarming with cops, and construction crews are building a big pedestrian skyway/habitrail thing arching over 8th Avenue, which will presumably allow bigwigs to go back and forth from the Garden to the old Post Office building across the street (some kind of temporary VIP headquarters?), without mingling with the hoi polloi. Incredibly intrusive and ugly, the skychute is a windowless, blue-painted wood and metal structure raised up on temporary girders, with the logo of a stars-and-stripes bedecked Empire State Building and "2004" emblazoned on the side. No Republican-specific signage yet, but I couldn't help but laugh at the several-stories-high banners currently on the sides of the Garden, featuring pictures of nasty, chitinous monsters and the inscription "Alien vs Predator: Whoever Wins, We Lose."
Still more thoughts on Infinite Fill. The so-called Bedroom shows Roberta Smith talks about in her review--she mentions Dearraindrop but Scott Hug's and Daniel Reich's shows also come to mind1--are mainly of sociological interest (collectives arise to challenge the hegemony of the individual genius, only to eventually be beaten down by the art world's need to market solo work--my cynical prediction), and backward-looking to the extent that they stand for some "rejuvenation of painting" discourse. The Providence collectives didn't invent the "colorful room full of manic cartoon imagery"--arguably that was Kenny Scharf's contribution to art...20 years ago. Whereas there is something larger at stake in IF, which is the merger of so-called new media art with traditional gallery exhibition practice. If art is to avoid shriveling into some finicky "cult of the hand," it's going to have to reconcile itself to technology, and eventually something interesting will emerge from what they used to call the "dialectic" between the two arenas. In Infinite Fill, the monochrome grid is the level playing field where the two opposed forces meet, intuitively connecting Sol LeWitt, needlepoint, and video games in an easy to read, "anyone can play" matrix. Also, as Sally McKay suggests in the comments to a previous post, "Infinite Fill" is a pun--it's about a computer filling up space and artists filling up a room with work. So far, none of the Bedroom Gang has come up with anything that elegant or concise, theory-wise.
1. I would exclude Paper Rad here, since their Foxy Production show was fairly tightly organized, with different walls devoted to different themes. I missed the Dearraindrop extravaganza at Deitch but friends said it wasn't so good--too much wall space to fill with manic creative activity. I did see their previous floor to ceiling effort at John Connelly, and like most people thought Billy Grant's video was the best part. You don't need a Soho barn for that, though--just a TV!