Los Angeles

Eleanor Antin: Passengers at Diane Rosenstein Fine Art

Passengers
where are you going?
from here to there?
do you ever get there?
i don’t know
why not?
i’m only a passenger—just like you
(from an Egyptian tomb)

As you round the corner of the entryway at Diane Rosenstein where this phrase is visible, the first works on view in Eleanor Antin’s Passengers are two massive photographs from her 2004 series Roman Allegories. Going Home is almost 9 feet wide and 4 feet tall. It depicts a very blonde girl seated on a suitcase plastered with travel stickers, looking off to the right of the camera, smiling in a forced, staged manner. She sits as though posing for a children’s clothing catalogue, but is dressed in Hellenic Roman garb and is surrounded by vague Roman detritus (pieces of columns, an urn, vague statues), a crow, and five adult figures all dressed similarly with their backs to the camera, facing the ocean. All of the characters hold umbrellas as if waiting for a deluge while already knowing their fate.

Eleanor Antin. Going Home from Roman Allegories, 2004; Chromogenic print; Edition of 4; 47 ¾ x 102 ¼ inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Diane Rosenstein Fine Art, Los Angeles.

Eleanor Antin. Going Home from Roman Allegories, 2004; chromogenic print; edition of 4; 47 ¾ x 102 ¼ in. Courtesy of the Artist and Diane Rosenstein Fine Art, Los Angeles.

This piece works as a kind of beginning and ending, encapsulating the feeling inherent in Passengers—an existential question about life, death, culture. and the point of it all—with a humorous spin. Passengers is a retrospective of Antin’s work, but not in a way that I expected at all. Anyone familiar with Antin’s oeuvre knows that she was a pioneer of early conceptual and performance art. She created and developed characters—Nurse Eleanor, the black ballerina Eleanora Antinova, and the King of Solano Beach—but very few references to her work with the self exist in this show. In a separate small room toward the entrance of the gallery, all fifty-one photographs from her 100 Boots series are on display. This is the piece that made her famous in her 1973 MOMA show and it is one of the earliest examples of narrative conceptual art. Antin photographed 100 boots in various locations and mailed them to 1,000 people and institutions over two years. She conceived of this project as a sort of “pictorial novel” in which you can see the boots on a long journey. They begin at the sea (100 Boots Facing the Sea), do some mundane chores (100 Boots at the Bank100 Boots in the Market), commit their first crime (100 Boots Trespass), go to work (100 Boots on the Job), head east to New York, and eventually end up at the museum. In my favorite, 100 Boots on the Porch, Antin’s playful humor is evident: Some are lazing, some are daredevils perched on a ledge, while others are casually standing, facing each other—one can almost hear them talking to each other about the day’s events. This is a classic piece, one that is great to see in person and within the conceptual framework of this show.

Read More »

Share

New York

Carrie Mae Weems: The Museum Series at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Currently at the small Studio Museum in Harlem, visitors will find several black-and-white photographs by Carrie Mae Weems, each of which captures the artist dressed in a simple, long black dress. Her pose—tall and regal, with strong shoulders and a long, straight spine—rhythmically repeats itself throughout the gallery. These photographs depict Weems standing outside some of art’s most celebrated institutions, including the Louvre, the Tate Modern, Project Row House in Houston, and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome.

Carrie Mae Weems. British Museum, 2006; Digital Chromogenic Print; 72 x 60 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

Carrie Mae Weems. British Museum, 2006; digital chromogenic print; 72 x 60 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery.

In each image, the positioning of Weems’ body conveys a stillness. She faces the museum buildings at a distance; the camera captures her small, placid-looking figure from far behind. This casts the structures as monstrous and impenetrable, and sets Weems apart from both the museums and the few tourists that flit through the photographs. Most often, the other visitors appear blurred, caught in the act of entering or leaving the museum. Most often, they are white.

Read More »

Share

San Francisco

Interview with Matt Lipps

Today from our friends at Kadist Art Foundation we bring you part one of a two-part video interview with artist Matt Lipps. Lipps has a solo show, The Populist Camera, at Jessica Silverman Gallery, now on view in San Francisco. In his talk with Kadist’s Director of Collections, Devon Bella, Lipps explains, “I effectively broke every rule of Photoshop that I have my students not do.”

 

 

Share

Hashtags

#Hashtags: Rebel Rebel

#transgender #LGBTQ #counterculture #scarcity #precarity #pop

As a young art-school graduate trying to understand the artist’s life that I had chosen, I could have had no better tutor than Leee Black Childers, who died April 6 at age 68. Childers, photographer and minder for rock stars and transgender icons, led the sort of life that the rest of us only read about. His generation, in the East Village and elsewhere, lived with a precarity and an immediacy that somehow produced enormous creativity. The rewards of that artistic output accrued unevenly to its creators, such that I came to know a man who had worked intimately with Andy Warhol, David Bowie, and Iggy and The Stooges as a colleague at what was, for me, a transitory job at a photography lab while I worked out bigger plans. Reflecting, I am reluctant to romanticize an era that left such crucial participants a hair’s breadth from mainstream celebrity yet financially destitute, but I’m awed by the tenacity and fearlessness that they brought to their art and to their lives.

Leee Black Childers. Andy Warhol Interviews Jackie Curtis at the Factory, New York, 1970. Digital C-print.

Leee Black Childers. Andy Warhol Interviews Jackie Curtis at the Factory, New York, 1970. Digital C-print.

Childers stage-managed and documented performers at the start of the 1970s who would shape the coming punk-rock revolution, including Warhol superstar Jackie Curtis and underground rock star Jayne County, in productions at the Theater of the Ridiculous that pioneered a model of sexual-revolution-as-Grand-Guignol performance art. This mode of performance, which was deeply rooted in the burgeoning LGBTQ visibility of the 1970s, was copied by Andy Warhol, who absorbed Childers et al into his stage play PORK and into his orbit. Speaking of this time, when superstars Curtis, Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn, and County all lived at his tiny one-bedroom apartment, Childers told me the hardest part was that he could never get a chance to use his own bathroom, which had the only mirror. His combination of lightheartedness and insight is undoubtedly what carried him through nearly seven decades of glamour and excess as well as poverty, homophobia, and the AIDS crisis. Read More »

Share

Shotgun Reviews

Malick Sidibé at Jack Shainman Gallery

Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Bansie Vasvani reviews Malick Sidibé’s photographs at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City.

Malick Sidibé. Pique-Nique à la Chaussée, 1972/2008; silver gelatin print, 17 x 17 in. (image size). Courtesy of the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Malick Sidibé. Pique-Nique à la Chaussée, 1972/2008; silver gelatin print, 17 x 17 in. (image size). Courtesy of the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Malick Sidibé’s photographs of Mali, Africa, at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, are an ethnographic tour de force. Taken soon after the country gained independence from France in 1960, the compelling black-and-white images from the 1960s and 1970s capture the significance of music and dance in Malian culture.

In Regardez Moi (1962), Danseur Méringué (1964), and Dansez le Twist (1965), the impact of Cuban music, which became extremely popular in Mali in the 1960s, is apparent. Felt mostly in the francophone African countries that had historical ties with Cuba, the music was returning to its roots. Sidibé’s frames portray movement and energy from salsa or merengue in such a way that the viewer can feel the rhythm of the music and the pulse of the beat. The dapper dancers display an exaggerated sense of mobility as they commingle traditional cadence with modern movements, making a new pastiche. Time and again Sidibé, who was born in Mali in 1936, documents the spirit of this recently liberated, prosperous generation with the intimacy of an insider whose comfort with his subjects is palpable.

Read More »

Share

Elsewhere

Arlene Shechet: Meissen Recast at RISD Museum

Today from our friends at Big Red & Shiny, we bring you a review of Arlene Shechet‘s new works in porcelain at the RISD Museum. Notes author Anya Ventura, “Shechet frees the medium from its servitude to the decorative, allows it to be matter again, draws it back to the body, and puts it in play as a sculptural element.” This article was originally published on April 2, 2014.

Arlene Shechet, Overflow, 2012. © Arlene Shechet. Courtesy of the artist.

Arlene Shechet, Overflow, 2012. © Arlene Shechet. Courtesy of the artist.

In Arlene Shechet’s Meissen Recast at the RISD Museum, strips of clay lie in slag heaps atop intricately painted ceramic vessels. A delicate foot protrudes from the frilly underside of a petticoat. A figure lies trapped beneath a white kiln brick, splatters of pale blue and brown glaze leaking out like blood. There are endless strange protrusions and spillage, small feet and heads half-emerging from shapeless masses.

These works are the products of the artist’s residency at the Meissen factory in Germany, a palace of production whose 18th-century origins can be traced to the king of Poland’s insatiable desire for exotic porcelain. Created with the factory’s original molds, Shechet’s amorphous pieces are not quite vegetable, animal, or mineral, but something in between. The creations are exhibited alongside the museum’s collection of Meissen tableware and figurines, in both the contemporary gallery and in the period rooms of the museum’s Pendleton House.

Shechet’s work explores the dialectic exchange between the raw and the refined. Industrial excess is fused with the delicate and decorative; the result is a postmodern visual scramble of the original 18th-century Meissen pieces. Shechet uses glazes instead of acrylic paint to “fuse the skin with the body” in the process of firing. In her pieces, clay retains the memory of itself, preserving a sense of soft malleability. Her wild splotches of color, in the traditional Meissen palette, are punctuated with gold touches that recall Lynda Benglis as much as the gilded Baroque.

Read the full article here.

Share

San Francisco

On Laboring for Love

Today from our partners at Art Practical, we bring you another installment from their excellent issue on valuing labor in the arts. In this essay, author Elyse Mallouk (also an artist) notes, “While artists struggle publicly to make the value of art work visible, they are bound as a corporate body by the uncertainties and sacrifices they share in common… Artists can gain power by making their deliberations transparent to each other, especially their mixed feelings about their own artistic labor and its value.” This article was originally published on April 3, 2014.

Shannon Finnegan. 8 Hours of Work, 2012 (performance still); Saturday, June 9, 2012, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Presented by Recession Art in conjunction with Everything Is Index, Nothing Is History at the Invisible Dog, Brooklyn. Courtesy of the Artist.

Shannon Finnegan. 8 Hours of Work, 2012 (performance still); Saturday, June 9, 2012, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Presented by Recession Art in conjunction with Everything Is Index, Nothing Is History at the Invisible Dog, Brooklyn. Courtesy of the Artist.

Published in Slate in January 2014 and widely circulated on social media, the article “In the Name of Love” argued that an often repeated phrase, “Do what you love; love what you do” communicates an “anti-worker ideology.” The problem with the adage, the author contended, is that it devalues the vast majority of work (the tedious kind) while elevating the type of work—that of a designer or executive, for example—that feeds on the unfulfilling labor of others. In effect, the article reasoned, the phrase divides work and the workforce into “two opposing classes: that which is lovable (creative, intellectual, socially prestigious) and that which is not (boring, unintellectual, undistinguished).” Beyond reinforcing the aphorism’s oversimplifications, the essay neglected a whole group of workers—contemporary artists and cultural producers—who often undertake one type of work to enable another, and experience conflicted feelings about both.

Read the full article here.

Share