Tuesday, July 30, 2013

James Turrell at the Guggenheim

When I first experienced a James Turrell exhibition in Chelsea in 2004 it captured my imagination immediately.  I'd never experienced anything like it, so when I heard of his show at the Guggenheim I hit it up.  If you are a New Yorker you have no excuse, you must go and see this for yourself even if you know nothing about contemporary art.  

Experiencing James Turrell's art is a spiritual experience.  His terrific blend of aesthetic and science creates art that is similar to the beauty and power of the natural world.  Just like Andrew Goldsworthy, James Turrell has an incredible talent for making art that is selfless and profound, simple and awesome.

The main attraction of this exhibition is his Aten Reign.  It's a surreal experience especially if you're familiar with the interior of the Guggenheim.  At once he both desecrates the architecture and honors it.  This tunnel of light completely alters the interior yet adroitly reflects it's unique form... It's kind of like he destroyed the space in a kind of sacrifice only to re-create it in a purer form of its original self.  As a side note, while gazing upward at the changing light I couldn't help but to think of Georgia O'Keeffe's abstract flower paintings... 

The other works that James Turrell is showing at the Guggenheim are very special.  His drawings possess an inner glow that I've never seen before, his projected rectangles of light are striking in their simplicity and the illusion of space they manifest, and in darkness the rectangular cutout in the wall of the upper gallery recalls to mind the starkness and ascetic space of the The Rothko Chapel.  His work at the Guggenheim is sublime, conceptual, challenging, and diverse.  Go experience it!

Here is his biography...

Born in Los Angeles in 1943 to a Quaker mother and a father who was a school administrator, James Turrell attended Pomona College, where his studies concentrated on psychology and mathematics. He later received a master’s degree in Art from Claremont Graduate School. Turrell’s work has been widely acclaimed and exhibited since his first showing at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1967, which established him a leader in the nascent Light and Space movement

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Andrea Wolf: AIM Biennial at Wave Hill

I went for a visit to Wave Hill on one of their "Summer Wednesdays" in order to cool down from the intense heat of the city.  There, I visited "Bronx Calling: The Second AIM Biennial" at their terrific Glyndor Gallery.  One artist caught my attention above the rest... Andrea Wolf.  She had four pieces being shown there... each one slightly different from the next.  They all were small scale and composed of video projection onto flat rectangular surfaces.  The videos from each were "unextraordinary" as if random uninteresting snippets were selected from your parents Super 8 footage of a trip they took 40 years earlier.  But there was an undeniable charm to these four pieces.  They were nostalgic, curious, and entertaining.  Not to mention that each was created with great care and craftsmanship... especially the tiny video projectors that jutted out from the wall which oddly added to the interest of the work as if they were intended to be sculptural components.

I found Andrea Wolf's website and thought that I might share the link with all of you http://memoryframes.org/andreawolf/.  Take your time exploring her wide range of work.  The first three images below were taken at Wave Hill, while the rest of the images were selected off of her website.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Paul and Damon McCarthy: Assholes, Blowjobs, Incest

 Well, I just had to do it.  I've known about Paul McCarthy's work for some time but never made it to any of this shows.  I pretty much hatted his work before I stepped into Hauser and Wirth, and I still more or less hate it after I've seen his nasty art in person.  But as always when you experience something first hand you take away with you more than if you just read about it in a magazine or saw a clip of it on-line.  I have to admit that McCarthy has won my respect as an artist even though this exhibition made me want to puke.  

In a nutshell his show will leave you with a taste in your mouth probably not dissimilar to anal discharge.  If you want to spend your afternoon feeling as if you just licked a McDonald's toilet bowl in Tijuana after two gay men rammed each other up the ass then you'll love Paul and Damon McCarthy's "Rebel Dabble Babble" at Hauser and Wirth.  It's a multimedia spectacle of incest... Complete with brother/sister blowjobs, intercourse, bitch slapping, incessant cursing, old man asshole, husband/daughter humping, and repulsive gooey yellow fluids.  For how completely disgusting this show is, dare i say it is done with artistry and thoughtfulness.  

Below is a video of Paul and Damon McCarthy speaking about their work on this project, and here is a link to an Art21 video on Paul's work http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/paul-mccarthy.

According to the Hauser and Wirth website...
‘Rebel Dabble Babble’ is a large and complex installation and video projection work originally inspired by both Nicholas Ray’s 1955 classic Hollywood film ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ and the furious rumors that swirled around the off-set relationships between its director and his stars James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo. This densely layered opus confronts definitions of power and role-playing, and expands far beyond the ’50s movie and related legends. Ultimately, ‘Rebel Dabble Babble’ is a meditation upon the archetypes and Oedipal tensions that define family dynamics as they have been played out in private homes, in the evolution of art history, and in the role of the entertainment industry in shaping our expectations and self-images. 

(Read more of the press release at http://www.hauserwirth.com/exhibitions/1731/paul-mccarthy-and-damon-mccarthy-rebel-dabble-babble/view/)

Paul McCarthy might be commenting on the "quasi-incestuous affairs between Ray and his actors" in the entertainment industry and "the archetypes and Oedipal tensions that define family dynamics" and that's fine and well that he does... but you have to question why Damon McCarthy and Paul McCarthy (who plays both Nick Ray and the father of Jim Stark in "Rebel Without a Cause") seem to so authentically enjoy this carnival of debauchery.  And that's precisely why his work is so controversial and powerful... because Mr. McCarthy is one hell of a creepy guy, so much so that to even go to one of his exhibitions you feel as though you're participating in an act of abomination. 

And lastly, I dedicate this post to the poor gallerinas that have to sit at the front deskat Hauser and Wirth and hear the "hullabaloo of clanging and clamor, yelling and coital grunting" day in and day out.  My heart goes out to you!

***FYI all images were found on-line

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Andy Goldsworthy's "Storm King Wall"

So much art exhibited in galleries and museums across the globe asserts the individual and the power of the ego.  I think this is a good thing considering that our everyday lives in society cannot always accommodate the individual's eccentric and sacred self expression.  But in the art world where the status quo is exactly that, it is rare to find art that transcends the individual consciousness and touches upon something greater... more graceful and meditative than the self.  Andy Goldsworthy is one such artist of this type among others like James Turrell, who is now showing at the Guggenheim.

Andy Goldsworthy's "Storm King Wall" and "Five Men, Seventeen Days, Fifteen Boulders, One Wall" at Storm King is a masterpiece.  Being outside viewing art seems so natural... and when you're out there in the midst of it all it feels like the obvious context for experiencing it... I think it's interesting we've become so accustomed to looking at art in white walled cubes that outdoors seems like a treat.  He has two wall pieces there that were constructed 10 years apart from one another.  I'm not sure if they connect, but the both of them together dodge trees, boulders, go up and down hills, into bodies of water, across flat ground, and end at a highway.  I fell in love with this simple and yet very complex take of his on the traditional stone walls that you find up and down the Hudson River Valley region.  It's interesting that for every natural feature it dodges or crosses or scales it gives life and recognition to those features that you might otherwise be only slightly aware of.  If you're in NYC take a trip up river and experience this fabulous park and work of art.