Epistemologically speaking, there are many instances wherein text is not the most suitable format for reception. Critics of the hegemony of text, such as the writer, might find more instances than most. With so many untapped visual, aural, and performative resources for expressing complex, subjective, and impacting ideas, it would behoove the cultural arbiters out there to employ them with more fervor. This is the space that the arts have carved out for themselves, or at least, it should be. We could view the arts as simply an opening up. I call for a turn towards the democratic potential within a multiplicity of mediums in favour of their (sparsely) textual counterparts. We would do well to remove the fashionable fluff and the art-therapy-esque works from the spectrum. There are two shows opening in the next few days that operate in just the way contemporary art exhibitions ought to. Leaving the viewer with takeaways that have the potential to reconfigure their orientation to the everyday. If it's not already glaringly obvious, these are two exhibitions that I've been looking forward to for some time and it pleases me to introduce them here.
p. 221, Marianne Wex's Let's Take Back Our Space: "Female" and "Male" Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures, 1979
The taxonomic work of Marianne Wex interrogates the force of gender on the body's presence. Appropriating found imagery from magazines and the like, she classifies the documents according to the positioning of the subject's hands, legs, feet, etc. To throw a wrench in it all, she supplements her study with candid shots taken of folks on the streets of Hamburg. In this way, her survey is at once an encyclopedia of posture and a portrait of popular poses from the north of Germany in the 70s. Among hundreds of orchestrated sets, it's easy to uncover some exceptions to the 'rules', such as men taking on effeminate knee-bends or the artist inserting a break in her own mediated continuity. Roughly 2/3 of her archive have been selected by the artist to be on view at YU beginning this Friday. From YU: "At the center of both the panels and the book is a wide disputation about how we create and present ourselves, and the degree to which gender-specific conditioning and hierarchies are reflected through everyday pose, gesture, and pre-verbal communication." To accompany the exhibition, the film Self Fashion Shown(1976) by Hungarian artist Tibor Hajas will be on loop in their brand new theatre during open hours. Tibor Hajas, acting as amateur anthropologist, films passerby on the street prompting them to find the posture that suits them most.
October 12–December 15
Opening Reception | October 12 | 6:30 PM
Yale Union (YU) | 800 SE 10th Ave
Still from Roy, Three channel video, 2012
As a stylistic gesture, 'appropriation' is a method of reorganization - a movement. It is distinguished from similar notions, such as arrangement, recomposition, bricolage and others for its relationship to property. For many, it connotes a casual degree of theft. It comes from the Latin verb appropriare, 'to make one's own,' - further segmented as ad, meaning 'to' as in 'towards', and proprius, 'one's own, permanent, special, peculiar'. Inappropriate Appropriation is a group show curated by RECESS co-director and local artist, JP Huckins. The exhibition showcases talented up-and-coming artists who take appropriation, already ubiquitous in our technologically-mediated society, to its limits. Huckins writes, "the artists might not have the answers, they might be pointing at something, or they may be suggesting or nudging you in a certain direction. IA is about seeing things anew that you may have taken for granted before; it's about appropriating inappropriately so that we might appropriate appropriately." While there, be sure to ask where the inspiration for the images on Kulei's hubcaps came from and don't be too quick to dismiss Clay's La Llorona Makes Guest Appearance at Candlelit Vigil as crude culture jamming.
Inappropriate Appropriation (IA) | Featuring: Crystal Baxley, Paul Clay, Sam Guerrero, Rochelle Kulei, and Kesheena Jean Doctor
October 8th - October 24th
Opening Reception | October 11th | 5-8 PM
Littman and White Galleries | Second floor of the Smith building @ PSU