Here is are some worthy things that come down shortly:
Emin at PNCA
At PNCA's current Feldman
show, Habit Forming (reviewed previously here
Tracey Emin's "It Doesn't Matter My Friend, It Does Not Matter (To Cry
is Beautiful)" stood out as my favorite thing on view this month.
This surprises me as I generally can't stand neon word art that is not by Bruce
Nauman, Joseph Kosuth or the late Jason Rhoades (it's just too easy for any hack
to use some wry but obliquely evocative words). Long ago, I added Emin to my
"real deal" list, but just couldn't admit it publicly. In this case, Emin's
work isn't derivative and acts as a kind of open emotional wound
isn't as vulnerable as it first appears. I want to write her off as a mess but
actually she's a bit of an emotional alchemist who creates inoculations against
personal vulnerabilities by confessing (and weakening) those sad, embarrassing
moments of sincerity in a way that draws the viewer's reaction into the piece.
Related to Beuys, it's a kind of oblique emotional shamanism that calls its empathy
and public embarrassment into question.
By "making a scene" as public art spectacle the tabloid fodder personal
content becomes a bit more universal and It's thrilling to see how Emin works
with an empathetic/pathetic language that has become so influential with younger
artists (though they generally lack her complexity). Emin exploited the bad
girl image to frayed but not unintelligent ends, exposing the human obsession
with the pressured emotional control of women. She's found a way to have her
cake and eat it too, with the artwork as a more concrete and totemic form of
public outburst. Her art is partly about surviving her own formidably messy
image and this piece does just that. Emin's best works make the sentimental provocative
and complicated in its near universal emotional liscense. Is it F'd-up humanism?
Maybe it's the kind of humanism we deserve?
Shapiro's Point of Purchase at PNCA
Nearby at PNCA's Isquerdo gallery Nathan Shapiro's Point of Purchase was very
well installed and in its best moments complicated shopping, craft and privacy.
Though a little too literal the; shirts, dresses, belts and purses made from
receipts and credit cards had an expert presentation and execution. Still we
have seen this idea before and its only the superior execution that makes it
stand out. The two chair pieces had a similar literalness that looked great
that also seemed to keep them from really coming alive.
Shapiro's Hot Seat
Still, the Hot Seat is the most successful work in the show, a kind of commodified
rebel furniture moment. The chairs though related to the clothes didn't seem
to belong in the same room either, effecting the show's nearly pulled off coherence.
Shapiro is a formidable new artist on the scene but he's still in search of
his voice, maybe it is still out there somewhere between rebellion and shopping
but that's a cluttered field.
Seattle's Tivon Rice at the Art
Institute of Portland
had similar problems. His "Apotheosis" (I'll forgive
the bad grad school title since he is a recent MFA grad) was mostly one or
two ideas presented very well in a too literal fashion, then repeated over and over
again. Without the repetition it would have simply been curious, instead it is ambitiously redundant which ultimately stifles the curiosity factor of his
CRT based work. Also, aren't CRT's a little dated already? He's young so there
is promise here but artists like James Turrell, Nam June Paik, Yayoi Kusama,
Dan Flavin, Mona
, Erwin Redl
(my GF but please forgive because it is relevant here), Olafur
, and Bruce Nauman all do more with less to create fascinating light
driven environments. Apotheosis is a flawed but promising introduction piece, the
question is whether to go more pop or minimal from here?
Book Art at NAAU
Lastly, the By
All Means: Artists' Books and Objects show at the New American Art Union
featured a very coherent, museumy installation. Definitely worth a look, this
show brought up the question that nearly every book art show raises, "does
the typical presentation of books in glass cases overshadow and or render the
books as too precious?" I'm not suggesting if you've seen one good book
art show you've seen em all, but this show inherits the anonymizing tendency
of the genre.
Tetenbaum & Abel's Weather Report at NAAU
One piece, "Weather Report" by Barbara Tetenbaum and David Abel, which hangs from the ceiling,
gives a semiotic antidote to the problem. I've seen similar presentation approaches
by Liam Gillick etc. but I like how their piece incorporates strange punctuation
combinations turning the space around it into nonlinear visual text. Words are
overrated and this piece drove that point home.
Also, make certain to check out the
warehouse show, I'll have a review on that soon.