Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sean Landers: Woke or Willing

The pale yellow with blue lines of a legal notepad are printed onto twelve canvases before it is stretched over bars and ready for Sean Landers to paint on. Except that the printed canvas is of archival quality it’s much like a jumbo size of the real thing—an existing surface for Landers to apply his thoughts. This easily recognizable background references some paintings and work on paper from earlier in his career, but does little else for this selection of work. The integrity of this work is in the painted text and cartoony imagery that Landers’s applies as if with a permanent marker. In black strokes the artist’s flushes out with what he grapples, his role in and concern for the present social and political climate. Landers literally presents his inner dialogue to the viewers, blurring his personal stance with public concern in a public manner. What comes across a sincere awareness of his white male privilege and consciousness of his success as a middle-aged artist captivates the viewers’ attention and keeps it so that one reads every word on each of the twelve paintings. The message is what people want to hear, and it’s genuine. As a viewer I was nodding, thinking this dude is woke. It was disappointing to learn that the truths Landers painted in these twelve paintings were reiterated in ten other paintings also from 2017. These were presented at the ADAA Art Show in conjunction with this gallery exhibition, as if to differentiate the legal notepad paintings as lesser. In this other series the canvas is covered in paint (i.e. no printed canvas) and more physical labor was involved. The text appears to be carved in the bark of birch or aspen trees, another throw back to earlier works. This referencing to earlier artworks and reiterating of truth makes me think Landers is aware and willing to play into a saleable market instead of argue a point.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Review: Beryl Korot: A Coded Language

                    Beryl Korot uses computer language as material in her art practice, combines elements of weaving, painting, video projection and photography to shape a space that confused me whether I am in the real world or the machine world.
                    Because of the development of computer networks, "data" has become a distinctive feature of this era. Data can be used as an object of artistic creation and can be visualized in a "visual" way. 
                    In Korot's works, she uses computer data as the primary material and visual element to materialize the data in the real world poetically. She uses the coding language from the machine with weaving, a very traditional handicraft technique. The information in machine data and weaving is encrypted by line. The pattern on the loom is placed line by line, and machine data is also displayed line by line. By grafting machine data into the weaving linen, thus showing a sense of extreme contradictions between humane and rational. From the relatively cold tone she used on the linen, we can clearly sense the rational metaphor of the machine. 
                  Traditionally, we use brushes, paints, brains, eyes, and hands to organize information, present a world of visual images on paper or canvases; in the mechanical era, we can use machines, films. In the digital era, we began to use a new device—computers—to enter mathematic languages into computing systems and output a brand new image world through the screen. 
                  Looking at her work is easy to think about whether she is trying to explore or praise the beauty of machine data because she presents the data in such a delicate way. But from one of her work named Babel, we can learn exactly her attitude towards machine language is critical. On the one hand, I think she regards machine code as a language, on the other hand, she thinks that this language, like other languages, has lost information in translation or conversion. This language also has the privilege of dividing human civilization into upper and lower levels, since the acceptance of this language also depends on the class attribute in the real society.

Beryl Korot uses computer language as material in her art practice, combining elements of weaving, painting, video projection and photography to shape a space that confuses the real world and the machine world.
Due to the development of computer networks, "data" has become a distinctive feature of the present era. Data can be used as an object in artistic creation and can be visualized.
In Korot's works, the artist materializes the data in the real world poetically. Compared to just watching one of the works, the exhibition let us feel the fictional abstract space created by her works. She combines the coding language of the computer with weaving, a very traditional handicraft technique. Thus she invented the first computer that uses Jacquard loom. The information in the computer data and weaving is encrypted line by line. The pattern on the loom is placed line by line, and machine data is displayed line by line. Grafting the machine data into the weaving linen thus shows a sense of the extreme contradiction of the perceptual and the rational. From the relatively cool color threads she uses on the linen, we can sense the rational aspect referring to lifeless machines.
Traditionally, artist use brushes, paints, brains, eyes, and hands to organize information and present a world of images on paper or canvases. In the mechanical era, the artist can use cameras, films. In the digital era, we began to use a new device—computers—to enter mathematical languages into computing systems and output brand new image world through the screen. 

Looking at the Korot's work, it is tempting to consider whether she is trying to explore or praise the beauty of data because she presents it in such a delicate way. However, from another of her works, named "Babel," we learn what her attitude towards to machine language is. On the one hand, I think she regards machine code as a language, and on the other, that she thinks that this language, like other languages, loses information in translation or conversion. 

James Hoff at Callicoon Fine Arts

In his show In the Swim, multidisciplinary artist James Hoff seeks to explore how data does not flow as streams of information, but rather, through technology the flow of data has become like an unrelentingflood. Hoff’s show features seven paintings. Each painting in theexhibit begins traditionally enough – with paint on a canvas. Hoff then takes the work and digitally photographs it. From there, Hoff
takes the digital image and corrupts it using malware.  The corrupted image is then printed on aluminum. The paintings possess flatness and a glow. The brushstrokes undulate from all angles and are layered, capturing the energy and power of atumbling tsunami. The image corruption software usedappears to separate the color layers of the image and make themvibrate, with the result looking something like a 3D image wouldwithout glasses.
The flood serves as a metaphor for the constant, overwhelming
bombardment of information we receive daily through technology. By
taking a painting and subjecting it to digital manipulation and then
returning it back to its original physical form, Hoff explores how the
digital distorts and redefines our perception of the physical. To further explore this juggling act between physical and
digital, Hoff projects the Google maps street view of the location of the where the work is being exhibited onto the paintings.

Using the idea of the flood as a metaphor, Hoff seems to be suggesting that in the
seemingly endless search for information, humanity has gotten more
than it bargained for. By allowing his artwork to succumb to the effects of malware and with titles such as Our Crime Was Our Curiosity and Uninventing Understanding, the work suggests that through our quest for more – more data, more information, and more connectivity – 
we have created tools that have put us on a trajectory towards a redefined reality.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Gordon Matta Clark @ The Bronx Museum


       Philip Johnson once said that architecture is the art of how to waste space. Gordon Matta-Clark has quite obviously mastered such art, with his signature site-specific cuts and slices through abandoned buildings. The conical holes in a pre-bulldozed 17th-century Parisian townhouse and the rectangular cutouts through floors of many Bronx buildings are best examples of such artistic talent. Many people question whether or not he is an architect. I believe that he is more of a protest artist: like the title of the show "Anarchitect", he is a rebel that uses buildings as a medium for the expression of his political views. Visible on his floor plans and perspectives are remarks of protests against political corruption, goodwill for homelessness and defend against injustice to low-income households. 
        Matta-Clark's works are difficult to display in a museum due to their ephemeral and site-specific nature. The modestly sized Bronx museum underplayed the retrospective as it tries to incorporate too many works in its limited floor plan. However, the museum's close proximity to the sites of some of Gordon’s most prominent works in the Bronx adds immediacy to the exhibition. Walking through the 3 or 4 rooms, we can luckily see partial remedies of the actual artwork displayed. A chunk of wood from his Bronx Floors piece is displayed under photos of the work. Placed on a black pedestal, the chunk of blue wall-papered wood with sections of substrate still attached stands firmly against museum’s polished floor, and the juxtaposition calls for a displacement of time and space, adding another layer of meaning to the original intent. 
         The last room of the exhibition highlights two of Gordon’s most influential works- the Conical Intersect of 1974 in Paris and Day’s End of 1975 in Chelsea. The absence of the original work asks for a more well-rounded display of the piece through other mediums, such as videos, photographs, and paintings. As we understand that the original works do not exist anymore, the exhibition attempts to reconstruct the memory. Then the act of walking through the Bronx museum ultimately becomes a reconstruction of the destruction. 

Met Breuer Like Life Marco Lorenzetti

Met Breuer
Like Life
Marco Lorenzetti - New version #2

After walking down from the astounding review of Leon Golub, slightly in a daze from the monumentality of his work, I arrived at the entrance of “Like-Life: Sculpture, Color and the Body". The show is a broad scope of how the body was used and rendered throughout history in different mediums, stylistic approaches and applications of color. It was the clash of so many different genres and figurative artworks created, spanning from the 13th century to contemporary works that made such an impact on me. Interesting pairings allowed for conceptual and visual connections to be made. In the first room to the left was Koon's Michael Jackson with pet monkey piece next to highly elaborate Rococo porcelain scene of a bucolic pasture, painted to an extraneous degree. These two pieces offered interesting commentaries on excess and lavishness, orbiting embracing these morals and also poking fun at the irony it plays within our own culture currently.
Each room was labeled in regards of an overall theme that tied the pieces in the space together there were eight different sections. A jarring and spectacular room titled "Color" included works that dealt with the self portrait or face mask created throughout history in different media. The piece by Marc Quinn was striking. A frozen face mask in silicon created from 8 pints of his own blood. Exiting the show through the last room I was confronted by the most bizarre pieces I believe to have been included in the show. Among them was Maurizo Cattelan's wax John F. Kennedy in a casket. In its entirety it truly is a show that cannot be missed. I do hope you do see it before it closes.

Danh Vo “Take My Breath Away” at the Guggenheim

Danh Vo “Take My Breath Away”- #3

This show did indeed take my breath away. It stuck with me for awhile afterword’s. It’s the idea of framing an idea in such a way, an orchestration of context that was so impactful to me. Vo does it in many ways. Often it is the nature of the contrasting elements within his work, re-contextualizing objects and perhaps changing or broadening their meaning. A piece like “Your mother sucks cocks in hell, 2015”. A line taken from the film The Exorcist. After watching many talks with Mr. Vo, I couldn’t help to be further affected by the level of detail but also and air of something magical, like pieces or ideas at times would fall into his lap. I recall a video of him recounting how he obtained a large amount of whale bones. His childhood was a tumultuous one, strewn with the presences of war and having to abandon one’s home and find a new one at a young age. The work wasn’t boisterous, loud, or in your face. My personal favorites were the combine sculptures, where specific works from history were dissected and made anew. I think the Guggenheim museum is a space that many artists find their work looking or reflected upon disagreeably because of the architecture of the space. This is due to the slanted nature of the building and the ascending or descending effect of how you travel through the museum. Because Vo did not overfill the space, there were vacancies of space between each work that were extremely important. I would highly recommend the show.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Danh Vo: Take My Breath Away

The thing that strikes me in the exhibition and Vo’s work is the continuity of his work through in his art career. He is extremely sensitive and able to extract, collect, and select ready-made objects, as well as familiar objects that contain symbolic meanings, representations, and even historical meanings from different places and time periods. Danh Vo's philosophy is not "creating" an object to make art but presenting something already powerful but sometimes hard to noticed or easily ignored without his manipulating.

He makes work by reconstructing, deconstructing, and presenting ready-made objects. In his work, We the People (detail) (2011–16), Vo disassembles a one-to-one replica of the Statue of Liberty, regarded as the symbol of America. The reproduction of the Statue of Liberty is not a ready-made object but does have meaning, as the Statue of Liberty

Some works evoke history museums instead of art museums. For example, A Group of 4 Presidential Signing Pens (2013) simply shows four pen heads that were used to sign a bill that affected the Vietnam war. Evidence of a significant event, it raises a question to the viewer: "The pen heads are here but where are the people who used them?" Vo’s work Two Kennedy Administration Cabinet Room Chairs (2013) shows exactly what the title indicates. These two chairs may have historical value like objects in museums, but Vo collects them and presents them as his own artwork. I think one fascinating thing in the show is that you can stand in front of something that has been through important moments in history. These objects help you visualize and connect back to these moments. Vo's exhibition creates a space in-between a history museum and an art museum asking whether it can be both of them at the same time.