“Off The Wall: Part One,” focuses on artists using the human body to act as a performance. The show works hard to live up to its name. Figures walk on walls, cameras are positioned in ways to disorient the viewer, and artwork lies on the floor. Beginning with Yoko Ono’s “A painting (Work) To be Stepped On” we see this thematic thread of interactive work on the ground. This continues as we encounter Carl Andre’s “Twenty-Ninth Copper Cardinal,” a series of plates on the floor. Then on to Andy Warhol’s “Dance Diagram, 5 (Fox Trot: The Right Turn Man),” which although encased in glass, might still beckon some viewers to dance. Several other themes seemed somewhat obvious, for example a wall of artist’s portraits, each theatrically dressed to alter their appearance.
Some of the most successful pieces seem to be video installations that were given the space they demanded. Dara Friedman’s video installation “Bim Bam” was enthralling. Consisting of a split screen image of the artists silhouette repeatedly slamming doors to jarring sounds that are not in sync with the visuals. This piece seemed to be complimented by Dennis Oppenheim’s “Echo” in which hands projected around the viewer sporadically slap the walls. While these succeeded, some works seem like relics of a bygone era when artists were desperately seeking radical theories and new mediums that broke from tradition and challenged people’s notions of art. I began to wonder if some of these provocative pieces/performances that have been re-created or captured through a lenses still have the intended impact in this incarnation in this time and place.