Friday, March 27, 2015

Tania Perez Cordova's work in the New Museum
            The exhibition 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience is held from the 25th of February till the 24th of May. The exhibition investigates the impacts of an undeniably joined world both on our feeling of self and way of life and also on artistic expression and bigger social part. The presentation takes a gander at our prompt present, a period when society has ended up more permeable and incorporating and new contemplations about workmanship's part and potential are surfacing. Specialists are reacting to these advancing conditions in various courses, from ascertained apportionments to basic cross examinations to strange or wonderful proclamations. It features the works of 51 artists. Tania Perez Cordova has also presented her works on the exhibition.
            The artist creates sculptures that show lives of everyday objects. She displays them from the typical environment and puts into interaction with the world. Meeting A Stranger, Afternoon, Cafes is an installation which is made of fired terracotta. The borrowed iPhone 5 sim card is input into terracotta. It has been inspired by Pompeii. The installation 0  is made of a piece of volcanic rock with glued to it resin and contact lens. One lens will be worn by the performer from time to time. The other lens is put into water. Chasing, Posing, Waiting is an installation which shows the ashtray made of black marble. Bird droppings, cigarette ash and makeup blush are inside of the ash tray. Tania Cordova’s installations depict meditations about past and future, obsolescence and innovation, endurance and resistance. 

ENTANG WIHARSO at Marc Straus Gallery

Indonesian artist Entang Wiharso’s first solo exhibition in New York was showcased in Marc Straus Gallery. The highly figurative work included high relief sculptures made with cast metal and colored resin along with mural-like large scale paintings.  The artist had mixed traditional Indonesian style with Pop Art and Surrealism. The work mostly involved depiction of a family (possibly his own); husband, wife and two children attached to each other with various connecting devices including stems of vines, network of veins, cable wires and tubes of sorts.
To me, this content immediately hinted towards dependency on technology to communicate with each other, even family members living in the same house. Struggling figures composed with weapon like objects appeared to be symbols of the violent perseverance required to deal with contemporary life. The most impressive piece Inheritance was a life size cast of a family of four at a dining table on top of which lied a massive silver carp with red splotches. The inscrutability of this piece attracted me and it felt intentional on the part of the artist. Perhaps his intention was to create ambiguity and leave an open ended interpretation of the audience.

Using his personal experiences, the artist tried to start a larger conversation on multiple issues like the stress caused by global economy, multi-cultural ethnicities, historical baggage and the co-existence of the old and new.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2015 Triennial: Surround Audience

The New Museum exhibition 'Surround Audience' presents a collection of works by 51 young artists, most born in the 1980s. The building-wide exhibition encompassed various artistic practices, including sound, installation, sculpture, painting and video. As a person living in the digital age, this exhibition was interesting to me because art and technology are inextricably linked these days. My favorite piece in this exhibition was "The New Psychology" series (2015) by Mexican artist José León Cerrillo. This series was a site-specific structure that transects the space and its walls. In his work, the interesting point was that visitors can view the work of other artists' piece through a negative space of frames. I liked mysterious feeling that this work exists, but at the same time it doesn't exist. Also, I liked shadows and forms that looks different depending on position. 

However, after seeing whole floors, the feeling I got from this exhibition was that although the entire exhibition was filled with various genres of works, if anything the exhibition space ironically felt somewhat empty. It was difficult to shake off the ambiguous feeling of being uncertain what message the exhibition was trying to convey. It was a regretful feeling to wonder what the exhibition would have been like if, in the planning stages, more research was done on the artists in order to make conceptually clearer divisions of the pieces.      

More Questions than Answers at Situation: Art School

I came away from the “Situation: Art School” feeling uncomfortable. The event was billed as a symposium in which “notable artist-educators [would] discuss the values that inform the higher education of artists in today’s challenging global environment.” The first panel was to answer, “what are we preparing art students for?” Instead the speakers waxed poetic about their careers and projected conceptions of themselves as progressive educators. Saul Ostrow, famous for too many accomplishments, put an awkward stop to that, interjecting that they still hadn’t answered the question. I didn’t get the sense that they were doing anything particularly risky, daring, or experimental in their institutions, but actually were keeping to the art school education formula.

The second panel was tasked with answering, “what is the role of an art school in a market driven art world?” Nayland Blake stated with conviction, “If you really believe that the market controls the art world, either grab the wheel or stop buying them gas.” He provided examples of alternative success. However, an audience member brought the symposium back to the fiscal realities of being an arts student and the need to make a living. Although the speakers attempted to get to the heart of the query, I left with more questions than answers and still feel very unsettled.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Half Empty at Brennan & Griffin Gallery / Revision

Brennan & Griffin Gallery presented Half Empty an exhibition of works by Dan Finsel, Naotaka Hiro, and Mateo Tannatt. Among them, Mateo Tannatt's sculpture 'Untitled' was the most interesting piece to me. The work was a mixed-media sculpture that combines a painted canvas, a rag and a cast chicken head positioned on a wooden pallet.

Matteo Tannatt
Untitled, 2015
Wood, canvas, rag, plaster cast
30 x 36 x 8 inches 

The show included only one piece of his work, so it was necessary to look up his previous works to be able to understand his world of art works. The materials for his piece include everyday objects such as a carpet and a mannequin. His works are minimal and meticulous arrangement with a sensitivity to material texture and geometry. I think setting feeble materials up against a wall, or installing an object in a risky manner that leans two thin wood together, or arranging dissonant objects intrigues viewers and invites their concentration his work. Perhaps, his work is completed by the participation by viewers instead of a visible piece if work itself? I am looking forward to his new works in the future. 

Distant Feel at 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience

The New Museum 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience is a building-wide exhibition that encompasses a variety of artistic practices.  A piece that stood out to me was New York-based French artist Antoine Catala’s Distant Feel, which was a rather weak attempt at devising a more effective expression of the feeling of empathy, which he symbolizes using two “E”s facing each other. It is difficult to tell whether the piece is an installation or a sculpture, but Catala and The New Museum calls it a “communication campaign”. 

In the piece, the two “E”s are submerged under water in a fish tank and live coral are growing on it, in an attempt to literally give it life, which I find it to be a shallow method for executing the concept.  The piece is accompanied by a website located at, which is supposed to act as complementary material, but again the concept has been cut short by poor execution.  The problem with the complementary website is the way the idea is presented – there is too much reading involved, and the message is too direct for the viewer to actively participate in the formulation of ideas.  I understand that ad campaigns are supposed to be direct, and maybe the campaign was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I wish the project was executed better. 

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Museum's Triennial: Surround Audience's Oliver Laric, Untitled.

Empathy is key in art history. To place oneself into the historical context of an artwork creates levels of awareness of the development of its society, but what about the experience of raising awareness of the realities of your own time? The New Museum's Triennial, Surround Audience, raises a jarring level of consciousness of the present digital age, immersing viewers with potently experiential works from 51 artists.

The monumental piece among the expansive displays of work was Oliver Laric’s video, Untitled. Laric takes recognizable characters from media and loops them into shape-shifting characters, blending quickly and hypnotically as a dramatic orchestra of music plays in the background. The gallery had many colorful installations, but his piece took the attention of the vast majority who stepped into the room, including myself. The characters faded into one anther quickly, mirroring the fast changing attention span of society within the digital world. The rhythm of shifting characters created a pulse that reminded viewers of the life within our media and constantly developing world. The Triennial and Laric's piece acted as a jolt of our most current state, is this a world we all want to be in? This question among many more important lines of inquiry these artists explore are crucial for not only the New Museum's certainly overwhelmed audience, but also all members of society today.

Guan Xiao, "Documentary: Geocentric Puncture" at the 2015 Triennial of The New Museum

    “Surround Audience,” the 2015 Triennial at The New Museum, features fifty-one artists from over twenty-five countries. The exhibition takes on the new challenge of how artists address questions of identity, of the self as well as in a larger social content. These innovative artistic experiments of the show range from critical interrogations and culture investigations to technological contributions and material evolvement.
    Guan Xiao is a Chinese artist whose work is presented in front of the third floor elevator. Three giant photographical settings with symmetrical patterned backdrops and the overlapping of objects caught my attention immediately. Carefully observation of Guan’s work, Documentary: Geocentric Puncture (2012) (fig.1), reveals that Guan uses everyday objects, such as tripods, camera lenses, security cameras, and buckets with a handmade sculpture of a snake eating itself, handguns and a human head, and a classic column respectively.
   By detaching and reconstructing all those symbolic objects, Guan recreates a different body of knowledge about how things should be read. She takes ready-made and hand-made objects and displays them in her work, not so much for their value as three-dimensional, decorative elements, but to construct new meaning by layering them. For instance, the image of a snake eating its tail (fig.2), often known as Ouroboros; the double handguns displayed upside down as a frame within a frame on top of the Easter Island stone head (fig.3); and the security camera, which is pointing to another security camera (fig.4), can be read together as the cyclicality of life.
    Although there is no certain logic in Guan’s work that people can follow to be able to understand their meaning, the aspect of listing the historical and cultural elements does illustrate a genre with the infinite possibilities of the universe.





Friday, February 27, 2015

Petzel Gallery: Yael Bartana / Revision

Petzel Gallery presented the ambitious work of Yael Bartana including her latest films, photos, and neon-text-installation. There were two rooms, one for each film: Inferno and True Finn. Auditorily, a heavier sound drew me first into the room, which was running Inferno. The Hollywood-blockbuster-like super-high quality resolution, grand sound, and extensive ending credits of Inferno were overwhelming, but also revitalizing. This technical grandeur amplified the sacrosanct atmosphere and helped the viewer’s immersion into the story.

High Priest
2014, LED light box with inkjet print on backlit film, 47.24 x 31.5 inch

Inferno, a 22-minute film includes many contradictory and contrasting aspects: modern city verses ritual tradition, people’s jubilation verses sorrowful and epic music, and reconstruction verses downfall. In the film, the citizens of Sao Paulo go towards a new temple, the replica of an ancient church in Jerusalem, to celebrate its inauguration. Three helicopters carry sacred golden relics towards the temple with citizens’ expectations and blessings. After a drag-queen-priest starts the ritual, a sudden conflagration happens; but the priest escapes from the disaster by abandoning all dying people. Finally, the temple is destroyed like the demolition of the wall in biblical Jerusalem.

2013, Alexa camera transferred onto HD, 22 minutes

In the last part of the film, people enjoy talking about the tragedy, taking photos in front of the remaining wall, referring to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, and worshiping the debris that had become a tourist attraction. Bartana’s film resonates with the futility and the absurdity of human. The artist reminds viewers of the hypocrisy of religion, as well as the forgetful and repetitive habits in human history. It’s powerful enough to make sheep-like viewers reflect upon the present age within the repertoire of history.