Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

Resist: Inauguration at Una Gallery
Early February links
First Thursday Picks February 2017
Dead tree media & dead horse flogging news
Post Snowpocalypse Weekend Picks
More Disjecta'd
New Year opportunities
Monday Integrity Links
First Thursday Picks January 2017
Jason Berlin + Alanna Risse at Rainmaker
Saying goodby to 2016
Mid December Links

recent comments

sheriff jeff
TylerGreen

categories

 

Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Essays
Interviews
News
Openings & Events
Photoblogs
Reviews
Video
Links
About PORT

regular contributors

 

Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman

archives

 

Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us

 

Contact us

search

 


syndicate

 

Atom
RSS

powered by

 

Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a

 

Creative Commons License

Sunday 08.07.05

« If you do one thing this weekend... | Main | Golden advice on gallery hunting »

Fletcher's Palenque

palenque.jpg

Robert Smithson, whose prolific writings and early death in 1973 contributed to his postmortem presence as a figure meriting cult-like adoration among a generation of art students and critics, has again inspired a host of new discussion with the recent retrospective of his work, originating at MOCA last year and currently on view at the Whitney. Appropriately, Harrell Fletcher launched week two of Taking Place last Monday with a "cover" performance of Smithson's slide lecture on the Hotel Palenque.

Smithson's well-documented lecture on the architectural highlights of a dilapidated hotel in Mexico was first given in front of a class of architecture students at the University of Utah in 1972 and lives on as both a transcript (published in Parkett several years ago) and an audio recording of the original lecture. Smithson details the decrepit spaces of the hotel, conceiving of the aesthetics of neglect in a mock-academic fashion. Although his offhand comments ludicrously elevate this crumbling hotel to monumental status, Smithson's fascination with entropy, monuments and contemporary ruins lend a certain ambiguity to the lecture, as the Hotel Palenque embodies the notion of a living contemporary ruin.

Fletcher has presented Smithson's lecture several times and documentation of Smithson's piece is cited as part of Learning to Love You More, Fletcher's ongoing collaboration with Miranda July. Fletcher's interest in re-presenting this lecture is not surprising, since much of his artwork and collaborative ventures involve excavating art from everyday life. Throughout the lecture, Smithson lingers over such details as the "spiky, irregular, cantilevered effect" of rebar jutting out of a partially demolished wall; an empty chair in a deserted dance hall "suggesting the transitoriness of time and the universe" and also providing "a better view of the scaffolding in the roof"; and "the dried pool with the suspension bridge going across it."

What did surprise me was Fletcher's insistence in the post-lecture chat that he was presenting the lecture in a neutral manner in order to allow the audience members to decide for themselves whether or not Smithson gave his slide presentation as a mockery of academia or a sincere tribute to these contemporary ruins. Fletcher read the lecture quickly and without intonation, and many of Smithson's spontaneous and humorous comments were lost because of this. While critics tend to note the tongue-in-cheek nature of the recording of Smithson's lecture, Fletcher, by "neutralizing" the piece, seemingly attempts to imbue the piece with newfound sincerity. It was disappointing that Fletcher so strongly disavowed his power to retranslate this piece either in terms of contemporary practice or within his own set of artistic vocabulary and the performance seemed to be no more than a nod to an art hero, perhaps a tribute better served by his inclusion of the transcript on the Learning to Love You More website.


Posted by Katherine Bovee on August 07, 2005 at 15:29 | Comments (2)


Comments

I somehow like this idea of someone 'covering' an artist's slide lecture.

Posted by: TylerGreen [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2005 08:59 AM

The Smithson show at MOCA last year was by far the best solo exhibition I've seen in the last few years and this slide lecture with a recording of Smithson was a revelation. Smithson's writings always seemed intentionally obscure but the audio component with the slide lecture really brought his focus on the "other" and the beauty of decadent decay home for me. Although, I didn't hear Harrell's lecture I think he was trying to summon some of Smithson's penchant for negation.


call it a non-lecture as a riff on Smithson's "non-site"


Whether it was successful in the flesh or not I think conceptually it works because Fletcher is allowing Smithson's presence to be taken out of this key part of his ouvre. Still if someone is going to manifest an idea the manifestation should be held accountable for how it adds or decreases the richness of the idea that germinated it.

In other cases some have tried to cover famous performance art pieces and it just comes off as pretentious and underdeveloped.... more like having one's picture taken next to a cardboard cutout of Acconci, Alys or Kosuth for their resume than anything with internal validity. Sure it can be "authentic", just like a cubic zirconia is an authentic c.z.... it's only purpose is to act as a cheaper imitation.

I'm waiting for somebody to throw themselves out of a window to replicate Yves Klein... a similar adventure and record of something attempting to touch the nothing.


Posted by: sheriff jeff [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2005 11:34 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee