This month marks One Review a Month Dot Com’s three year anniversary. To celebrate I am doing the opposite of everything I set out to do, instead of one well-researched and well-thought out review I bring you the antipodean. 200 words on what was on view in 7 locations.
Still from Oliver Laric’s “Versions”
Facts about the Past: a video screening of works by Aleksandra Domanovic, Lenox-Lenox, and Oliver Laric.
This September extra extra hosted a pleasant mindfuck of three videos that mirrored our current relationship with the state of history. Oliver Laric‘s “Versions”– a visual essay bent on investigating the re-appropriation and manipulation of images in our culture, opened the half-hour. The highlight of the montage was a play-by-play of the similarities in Disney animations. Christopher Robin on one side and Mowgli on the other– both walking the same walk with no differences save for the background. The comparison makes you feel like you are staring down the rabbit-hole of an X-files sized conspiracy theory.
Aleksandra Domanovic, a berlin-based artist who works primarily on the Internet, followed with what turned out to be a factual documentary on Turbo Sculpture that I assumed was mockumentary. In light of my assumption Lenox-Lenox‘s final video was completely horrifying. During what seems like a tour of a 3-d rendering of a sculptural exhibition you are continuously confronted by a computer generated voice quoting Aldous Huxley– “What I’m going to tell you now may sound incredible. But then, when you’re not accustomed to history, most facts about the past do sound incredible.”
See the films now in the order they were shown:
Lenox-Lenox (not the same video, but very close)
Installation view, “Mobile Device”
Mobile Device: works by Artie Vierkant, Calla Henkel, Charlotte Houette, Derek Frech, Georgia Gray, Joel Holmberg, Jason Hwang, Lindsay Lawson, Max Pitegoff, Melanie Matranga, Mia Goyette, Stewart Uoo, Travess Smalley, Valentin Boure, Will Simpson, Zoe Wright
Bodega asked three artists to make a work and share it with an artist of their choosing, these artists were then asked to show the work they created to another three artists. . . “underwhelming” might be the best way to describe Bodega’s current re-hashing of the game telephone. The word “cute” also comes to mind as a descriptor for this type of group show.
While it might have been amusing to be involved with “Mobile Device” on the artist side, as a viewer I find it difficult to take seriously. The objects created by the project look very much like art and could have been made for any reason under the sun. This exhibition is an exercise between artists, hopefully someone made a surprising discovery or created something they otherwise wouldn’t. I can’t see what other good could come of this.
A much more thoughtful review written by Matt Kalasky can be read at The Nicola Midnight St. Claire.
Eastern Interior, 2010
Isaac Tin Wei Lin
Ink on Photograph
Here and Now: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs by Ten Philadelphia Artists: works by Astrid Magdalen Bowlby, The Dufala Brothers (Steven and Billy), Vincent D. Feldman, Daniel Heyman, Issac Tin Wei Lin, Virgil Marti, Joshua Mosley, Serena Perrone, Hannah Price, and Mia Rosenthal
Even though “Here and Now” is only a tiny showing of lesser works from artists most persons who make the scene in Philadelphia are already aware of, it is hard not to be a cheerleader for them being shown at the PMA. I will smile and say It is good thing this exhibition happened because there is nothing really wrong with it aside from its taking no chances and being a bit dull. I won’t mention that the selection from some artists seems all-over the place (*cough* Virgil) or that the curation strategy seems a bit transparent (whoop-de-do the museum has found and recognized ten artists from Philadelphia that it likes!).
“Here and Now” is a good thing and the up-coming exhibitions featuring Zoe Strauss and Tristin Lowe will be even better. Great! Wonderful! Spectacular! (Please keep it up PMA and don’t revert to being a stuffy mausoleum–plus could you work it out so that there are more free days and I dunno, maybe invite the public to your openings?)
For a review that actually addresses the work in the show, I suggest reading Daniel Gerwin’s piece for Title Magazine.
work from “i heart postdemocracy” by Anita Allyn
i heart postdemocracy: Anita Allyn; Work: James Johnson; Motion Pictures: Bonnie Begusch; Something Something Panorama: Claudia Weber
I almost wish I hadn’t stepped into Vox Populi. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t be forced to express just how much I dislike Anita Allyn’s vacuous “i heart postdemocracy”. Perhaps Allyn’s carefully positioned “abandoned” mylar protest signs sans slogans are meant to mirror back to me my own apathy towards what may be a government evolving into an Aristocratic regime, but I don’t think that is an excuse for it’s being created. I am angry now just thinking of it, so maybe Allyn will take that as a compliment.
Claudia Weber’s “Something Something Panorama” seemed equally shallow if not as distressing. Bonnie Begusch’s work in “Motion Pictures” was alright, if maybe a little flat, and I would welcome seeing more from this artist. The only joy in the gallery came from viewing James Johnson’s tiny window cut into the gallery wall (“Town”) and pondering for a moment if the stack of bills displayed cut into the wall on the opposite side (“Old Money”) was real and if someone might try and steal it. (If this was a longer review I might wonder if he deserved to have it stolen for flaunting his grant/prize money.) Johnson’s display is well-done and effortless-looking.
Installation view, “Accents for the Self-Made Man”
Certain Things: Dan Murphy; Accents for the Self-Made Man: Nick Paparone
In “Certain Things” Dan Murphy’s collages of both 2-d and 3-d materials read as homage altars, mostly to bike culture–and at least one contains references to this blog. The collages are warm and friendly enough, but I miss seeing more of Dan’s photographic work in the mix.
Nick Paparone’s “Accents for the Self-Made Man” comes complete with a preview and PowerPoint presentation on external hard drives but neither contains any information that’s likely to be considered illuminating. On view are several of what appear to be sets that contain one each; rug, pineapple lamp in various heights, and digital print that reads as a sort of painting framed in a shiny metal frame. The color is very primary and garish.
Charline von Heyl, Igitur, 2008, acrylic on linen, 82 x 74 inches. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Enid A. Haupt Fund, 2010.
Charline von Heyl: Charline von Heyl; Bill Walton’s Studio: Bill Walton; Blowing on a Hairy Shoulder/Grief Hunters: works by Ron Amir, Boaz Arad, Yochai Avrahami, Ronnie Bass, Guy Ben-Ner, Corrinne Day, Carson Fisk-Vittori, Oliver Husain, Dionisis Kavallieratos, Asaf Koriat, Amit Levinger and Lior Waterman, Tamir Lichtenberg, Harel Luz, Mark Manders, Uri Nir, Eli Petel, Gilad Ratman, Ariel Schlesinger, Dash Snow
The re-creation of Bill Walton‘s studio would be welcomed as a piece in a larger survey of the artist’s work.Viewing only the studio, I feel like I am holding one bit from a large jig-saw puzzle that I am deeply interested in seeing completed.
Now-guest curator Jenelle Porter has a gift for making us re-examine the prejudices against certain art-forms we have been trying to shake off since graduating art school. She has done it with clay and dance and she is currently attempting it with painting through the first museum survey of the work of Charline von Heyl. The survey does not have me completely convinced that painting isn’t dead, but I’m willing to think about it. I hope Jenelle tackles public murals next.
Video, drawing, sculpture,and photo mix freely in “Blowing on a Hairy Shoulder/Grief Hunters” , a show that deserves more words then the fifty or so I have left. Two videos really stand out—Lior Waterman and Amit Levinger’s “Plazma”, which seems like a kitschy look at contemporary culture until it twists, and Oliver Husain’s “Stimulation”, which features monks flashing mirrors at a peacock. The Dash Snow photograph sticks out like a sore thumb in this sea of interesting artists, and a small drawing by Dionisis Kavallieratos (“The Tree of Innocence from Inside the Cave”) gets a best in show award.
See Lauren McCarty’s review on “Bill Walton’s Studio” for Title Magazine.