Thursday, September 23, 2010

Off The Wall: Part One

“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.


  1. I like that you suggest that some of the older works in this show might not be as jarring today as they were 30-40 years ago. In that respect, I think the last line of your editorial could use a bit more clarification. Perhaps you could instead say, "A few of these performances, though once considered provocative, seem to have less impact on today's audiences..." and then you could list the reasons why you think the works are less forceful. It would also be helpful if you could explain in more detail why you thought certain aspects of the show were successful. What was it in particular about Friedman's video installation that resonated with you? How, in your view, was it complemented by the Oppenheim piece? How did these works, in conjunction, fulfill the goal of the exhibition?

  2. I think you do a great job of describing the overarching theme and directly relating the pieces to one another, but I think adding more visual description in the first paragraph would help. You touch a bit on several pieces, but I think if you delve a little more on one piece, the reader will be better situated in his/her imagination of the space. Understandably, you don’t have all the space/time to write your heart out so I think it’s important to carefully choose what to explain, and describing the video installations as “successful” and having “succeeded” really intrigues the reader, so I think a more in depth explanation of why those videos were successful is necessary.