Destiny 2014, by Dave Hardy, is exhibited in the biannual Queens International exhibit at Queens Museum, New York. Destiny is a sculptural assemblage consisting of foam (soaked in concrete), glass and other found materials pressed into the foam’s surface. They are stacked into a formation, at the base, rectangular volumes resemble a pair of legs and indicate the center of gravity and stability of the piece. The upper portion transcends into more curved and haphazard sections, yet equally securing the positions of neighboring pieces, which almost resembles an anthropomorphic form or the skeleton of something else. Hardy truly conveys the
significance of sculptural materials – if, when, and how materials matter.
The artist questions the nature as shapeable matter or found commodity, its historical and cultural semiotics or transcendence thereof. It reflects upon the movement of Arte Povera at the beginning of the late 1960s. In particular- Robert Morris’ Felt Pieces, where he invited the material’s properties to take central stage, in his case, gravity combined with the weight of the fabric, allowed the felt to drape and take form organically. Hardy touches on the industrial and architectural, experimenting with a play of extreme opposites. His use of malleable materials such as foam and concrete may appear industrial and harsh however, it is this challenge of finding equilibrium between the two concepts that I find compelling about his artworks. The materiality and physical aspects of his works conveys an embodied bodily function, almost creating a ‘skin-like’ material. I believe Hardy’s sculptures draws the viewers attention with the tactile qualities as opposed to merely visual appeal or use, its existence in time and possible demise, its function in shaping and withdrawing monetary or cultural value, and its very role in shaping the identity and definition of what art is. Even though Hardy’s work questions the use of traditional craftsmanship, the use of materiality truly ties in his unique imagination with technique and places the viewers in center stage within the play of space of materiality and perception.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The Belgian conceptual artist and poet Marcel Broodthaers had an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The show consists of around 200 films, sculptures, poem, photographs and installation for Broodthaers’s first New York retrospective. He used words and text as materials in his wide-ranging conceptual works and ready-mades is also placed at the center of his work. The most identified with his sculptures, made out of mussel and egg shells are well represented at MoMA.
In addition to his sculptures, the intriguing part of the show is how he conceptually explored the idea of absence. Broodthaers was deeply influenced by French Symbolists Stéphane Mallarmé, as well as the surrealist painter René Magritte, who gave Broodthaers a copy of Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem Un Coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard (A throw of the dice will never abolish chance) in 1945, which would become an important inspiration for Broodthaer’s own art making practices. He engraved Mallarmé’s poem on aluminum plates and redacted words with black rectangles on transparent paper. In his further visual representation of the poem, he explored the relationship between the words and the blank space, transforming the words into an abstract image of the poem. The contents are now missing, the viewer only can have sensory experience with the pure image of text. His idea of absence is embedded in material forms, which represents his poetic sensibility, just like an empty egg shells.
Etching. Marcel Broodthaers. Un Coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard. Artist's book on twelve aluminum plates.
Thirty four artists who work in Queens participate this biannual group show in Queens Museum. The show presents a huge variety of material, presentation, and the idea. The mixture of the artwork represents a situation of the circumstance that combines with divergent elements. However, personally I think the show is hard to enjoy.
The space is too crowded. In Taiwan Gallery, all the artwork are squeezed into this narrow space. The space between each piece is clearly not enough. Since each individual piece has a strong volume, they are basically eliminating each other because of the lack of distance. Moreover, according to the variety of the selection, the artwork aesthetically failed to support each other. Some of them are dominating in the sizes, meanwhile the others are just ignorable. Some of them are yielding at my face, meanwhile the others are just whispering. Those are parts(artwork), but they do not fits each other to compose the machine(the show). From the curatorial point of view, the arrangement of the space is very unsuccessful to me.
Queens Museum April 10 – July 31 2016
To be very objective, the Queens Museum Biennial is a great show. Most pieces in the exhibit successfully address issues like physical territory, migration, artistic transgression, linguistic and ideological divisions, digital and human interfaces, and prescriptive narratives of the past, present, and future.
A Third Space by Kerry Downey is an animation that explores haptic encounters with people, histories, objects, and spaces through the fluidity of colors, shapes and gestures that it portrays. The video shows abstractions that derive from the physical confrontation of materials: ink and water mixing within time, pieces of paper moving with wind, while stories of obsession form a audible narrative.
The Iranian artist Shadi Haroumi shows a video called The Lightest of Stones. It was shot in an isolated black mountain pumice quarry in Iranian Kurdistan. The men in the film critique and empathize with the sanctions against Iran, they talk about labor, ISIS, dragons and Jennifer Lopez, while the artist digs into a rocky wall with her bare hands in an impossible attempt to make a path through the mountain.
The British artist Freya Powell created Omniscience and Oblivion. The sound piece explores the way individual memories can speak to shared experiences. For the project, Powell created an online audio archive were participants shared anonymously one memory they would like to keep forever and one they would like to let go. Individuals were recorded reading a stranger’s memory which are mediated and reconstructed as ideas disconnected from the people they once belonged.
The Biennial is very fortunate in showing the work of artists working or living in Queens. Compared to other shows like Greater New York at MoMA PS1, it seems to have more cultural diversity, depth and focus. The works in the exhibition are politically engaged. They also manage to keep focus on delicate subjects. The general aesthetics is coherent and the use of technology in some pieces helps to maintain the aim of the discussion in issues yet to come.
On February 14th, MoMA opened the first retrospective of Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers in New York. He might be the most well-know artist you don’t know before. Broodthaers was a militant poet before. In the year of 1964 he decided to turn himself into a visual artist. This Retrospective covers the whole art career of Broodthaers and contains more than 200 pieces of works.
Marcel Broodthaers’ works have characters of both poet and artist. In his early works, he used the elements mussel shells and egg shells very often. For example the work Moules sauce blanche (Mussels with white sauce) and Armoire Blanche et Table Blanche(White closet and desk). The use of symbols in these works also has some kind of surrealism associations, so he also got called the “Romantic –Realist”. A big part of this show is his work Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles, which is a fictional museum. In this piece, Broodthaers played many roles, such as curator, museum director and art historian. It is very critical about the art world at that time. It showed that the museums were full of unspoken ideology. Most of his works are installations and videos.
I think this retrospective is successfully showed us the importance of Marcel Broodthaers in the art history, and this show will give him a deserved place in the art world.
Moules sauce blanche (Mussels with white sauce)
Armoire Blanche et Table Blanche(White closet and desk)
Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles
Edagar Degas’ study of body movement.
Edagar Degas, one of the most important artists in impressionism, was born in French 1834. Before seeing a lot of monotypes work, one would might expect about his color pallets. However, I could feel power of movement without colors. The exhibition includes 120 monotype prints and 60 pieces of different works.
In the exhibition, we could imagine how much he was interested in ballet, which probably showed the best beautiful body movement. He used strong line and rough line in drafts. It seemed to move a ballerina even though it was a painting. There were several magnifying glasses because MOMA might wanted to look into his powerful line. However, there were gigantic people in the show, so I could not focus on the point. That made me feel inconvenience.On the MOMA website, they mentioned that “captivated by the monotype’s potential, he immersed in the technique with enormous enthusiasm, taking the medium to radical ends”. Most of his works in the MOMA, people could see his desire thought works, and it made me thinking about research of artists. Through his life, he tried to study and draw human body. These study helped him to be one of the best artists in impressionism, even in the world.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
The Ramones’ first album released forty years ago in 1976. To honor the Ramones who are originally from Forest Hills, Queens, the Queens museum presents Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk, about the Ramones’ groundbreaking punk influence.
The exhibition initiates with their first encounter with each other at Forest Hills High School in the late 1960s. Tommy (Tome Erdelyi) realized the potential in the four original Ramones as a musical group. By the early 1970s they started performing at CBGB, a biker bar on the Bowery, New York City. CBGB was their initial public platform to declare what punk meant. The exhibition epitomizes their public yet personal lives. Joey (Jeffrey Hyman) ’s high school doodles embody naïve and fun characteristics of his. Along with the Ramones’ belongings such as clothes, handwritings, and instruments, the exhibition features album covers to passports.
The show concludes with the Ramones’ performance screening in their most glorious days. Because the generation of punk was before my time, I only have an idea of the impact they made in the world. The finale of the exhibition lets viewers experience emotion and tension of the Ramones. Although it was indirect, I was able to feel their impression in the society in their time.