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Friday 02.10.12

« Bailey Winters & Jenny Vu at PSU | Main | Monday Links »

Indispensable Replica Links

Did you catch this interesting article by Christopher Knight about replicas being used for exhibitions?

I feel it very much depends on the artist and the work. For example there was Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau that recently went on tour, where everyone was very up front about the fact that they were exhibiting a reconstruction (in the case of architectural installations this seems perfectly acceptable when done with such care). This was also one of the main discussion points of the Donald Judd conference and exhibition we put on in 2010... the elephant in the room being Count Panza's having Judds fabricated from schematics but not using fabricators that Judd had approved of. Ironically, Panza died the day of the conference. Rather than being about perfection, Judd's work was explicitly about how the surfaces operated and if they were damaged or done in too fussy (or not fussy enough) way Judd felt parts of or the complete piece could be simply refabricated because the damage destroyed how the piece worked. He wasn't sentimental about it being made by his hand because he delegated fabrication to others. I don't think Goldstein had as radical an attitude as Judd had but it was certainly influenced by it, to what degree is a question that would take some research and be important to this discussion.

I feel the Goldstein case is very different from the something like the Lascaux Cave replicas since the anonymous artists' hand and the rocks themselves can be simulated but never truly replicated. In the case of Lascaux the original is an archive, for Judd, Carl Andre and perhaps even Goldstein there was a tremendous impulse to keep art from becoming artifact or a a precious keepsake whose life and age was to be recorded in the way the piece aged. Goldstein certainly chose materials similar to Andre (perhaps too similar). Let's also remember that words like replica, simulacra, example, copy, clone and edition are not interchangeable and the subtle differences make a huge difference here.

In other news, the 10th NW Biennial has been reviewed or talked about by everyone from The Stranger, Tacoma Weekly to (my favorite) the Senior Scene (art isn't just for young hipsters trying to hook up, it's often for very old hipsters trying to hook up too). Yes, intellectuals of all ages are always invited of course... Embarrassingly, there has been nothing on it from Portland since the show opened, despite the fact that Portlanders dominate the exhibit by participation #'s and press attention.

I can't really write anything about its flaws because I'm in the show (smooth move by curator Rock Huschka, because there are things that do and don't work well and I'm tough on those things) and perhaps the flaws are nothing new (except perhaps I am one of the flaws eh)? I know we think Tacoma might just be The Couv II and we care more about which Portlander is showing in in Rio or London but c'mon.

Oh and there is the Portland2012 biennial with many of the same artists as the TAM biennial with its Antione Predock designed building, they have announced their venues/lineups. The multiple venues definitely weakens the effort as some places will be seen as a kind of tacked-on ghetto venue and ultimately makes the artist choices seem less committed (a big problem in the Northwest). Just choose fewer artists and put them in one building so a cogent curatorial thread can emerge. We already have lots of unrelated group shows all over the city every month with openings that don't coincide. When you choose a ton of artists and venues it emphasizes the brand of the show over the actual exhibition and the artists. That works for a massive retrospective look like LA's historic Pacific Standard Time, not so much for a series of group shows of people who have been in other recent group shows.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 10, 2012 at 12:49 | Comments (0)


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