Friday, March 30, 2012
Soto's Kinetic sculptures/paintings are investigations of new ways of participation. He forces the audience to change the way we view art. One must move from side to side to see the vibration of Soto's pieces. One cannot fully enjoy a Soto piece just by standing still and starring at it. Once you begin to move around each piece the many layers of lines begin to visually vibrate. This effect is intense almost too much to handle because it tricks your eye and mind into thinking the piece is in motion. The layering of vertical line over horizontal line creates vibration and movement.
One of the biggest pieces in this show is Mural 1961. Paint on wire, wood, and mixed media, (109 1/2 x 194 x 24 3/8 in.) seems to be a mix of all his experiments into one large piece. On the right side of Mural the background is painted solid black, with white vertical lines painted over the black with many wires jolting out of the painting to create a large sculpture. The use of horizontal lines placed on top of vertical white lines creates an optical illusion of vibration. The piece almost seems to breath as you pass by it. The left side of Mural is painted flat black with many wires, tar, and engine parts attached to it. The vibrations of each piece is an exciting experience and forcing the audience to have to participate in art is always a nice touch.
Grey Art Gallery at NYU is showing a collection of two decades of Jesus Soto's experimental paintings and sculptures. Each piece requires participation from viewers which in turn causes physical displacement. The vibration and movement of each piece can make one nauseous. His use of simple colors schemes black and white with some hints of blue in conjunction with horizontal lines interacting with vertical lines causes visual vibration. His use of materials and the construction of each piece paired with participation is important. The viewer must move around each piece to understand it allowing our minds to connect what is real and what is just a visual trick.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
The 2012 Whitney Biennial, presenting a wide variety of artists, offers access to performance-based work in an interactive and immersive way. The Whitney dedicated 6,000 square feet of their fourth floor to performance, the most space the museum has ever offered to the medium. Artists in residence Sarah Michelson and Michael Clark are currently occupying the fourth floor, while also offering events after hours for an additional fee to the cost of museum admission. But during regular open hours, museum-goers can find dynamic performances that change throughout the day. During my visit, I witnessed a performance that seemed like preparation for a performance to come: dancers in gym clothing stretched and rehearsed on a white painted floor depicting a diagram of a floor plan. One dancer listened to headphones while warming up, another stretched on the ground near the audience with an open gym bag and towel beside him. Viewers watched from risers on one side of the space, or from behind, where one can also find the artists' dressing room. In the dressing room, enclosed by translucent, lattice-like walls, the artists are on view as they put on their make-up and costumes, which include horse-head masks and simple white clothing. The viewer-as-voyeur is given the choice to watch the dancers as they prepare themselves. The organization of the fourth floor makes the entire performance process transparent, but might leave the viewer wishing for more action and excitement.
Resident artist, Dawn Kasper has moved her studio onto the Whitney's third floor as part of her Nomadic Studio Practice Experiment. Costumes, books, drawings, musical instruments, art supplies and electronics fill the cluttered space. An unstretched canvas hangs on the wall with painted black lettering that reads: THIS COULD BE SOMETHING IF I LET IT. Kasper can be found inside her installation or wandering the museum during open hours, and invites guests into her public studio. She says, "I'm inviting people to come and interact with me. People can come in… and draw with me, or do collage, or even bring their computer[s]". Whether Kasper is enacting a planned performance or simply working in her studio, she is always performing and encourages her audience to join her. Unfortunately, she wasn't in her studio during my visit, and without her presence, her installation left me uninterested.
The Whitney Biennial is not a static museum experience but instead is dynamic, as performance artists shift and move about, continuously in motion. Resident artists carry out their work on site and challenge the traditional concept of performance by taking it off stage and behind the scenes. While this unusual curatorial approach may be interesting conceptually, the performances themselves can be dull and uneventful depending on when you happen to catch them.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
This year’s Whitney Biennial features many artists who combine sculpture, painting, and photography in their work. Artists Matt Hoyt and Liz Deschenes explore the intersection of different media in their work and create relationships between traditional media that disrupt our expectations and engage us as viewers.
Deschenes combines photography and sculpture to create immersive works that respond to both the body of the viewer and the architecture of the Whitney Museum’s Breuer building. The first consists of a pair of large white frames, each containing a dark reflective surface set at an angle slightly off register from the angle of the frame. The work resembles a minimalist sculpture and references the window shapes of the Breuer building. The list of materials used in the work reveals that the glossy material inside the frame is silver-toned gelatin emulsion, or a photograph. The way in which Deschenes incorporates photography into the work disrupts one’s expectation of what a photograph represents. Instead of representing light and time, the photograph is used to represent perspectival space, thus the decision to use a large-format view camera typically used for architectural photography. The second piece is a set of vertical panels, each a silver-toned gelatin silver print. Unlike the first piece, this work has no frame, it exists as both sculpture and photograph at a slightly larger than human scale. Deschenes’s work allows us to experience the intersection of media that in combination have the ability to expand our sense of the architectural space of the Breuer building.
The work of Hoyt and Deschenes engages the viewer and disrupts one’s expectations through the use of unexpected relationships between traditional media.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
If one could be transported from this installation into the New Museum, where Tsang’s “Full Body Quotation” is being screened in the basement, the contrast would shock. The auditorium is huge and dark, mirroring the empty warehouse floor in the film, whose corners recede into shadows. In this space, Tsang and a handful of other actors in black leotards cycle through a non-linear combination of monologue, dialogue and chorus. The film loops almost seamlessly. As the actors trade fragmented tirades on race, sexuality, gender, and class, they engage in a series of body movements, one moment standing aggressively in a line, the next, collapsed in a collective heap on the floor. Occasionally, the theatricality of the performance is uncomfortable enough to break the tension; but mostly, the power of the words and the conviction of their delivery induce chills. This time, we are not confidants, but isolated audience members, powerless against the outpouring of negative emotion. Though this piece and its counterpart at the Whitney embody contrasting feelings, whether warm or pugnacious, Tsang is a master at drawing his audience deep into the lives of characters many of us might otherwise find barely relatable.