It is the 11th day of 2011 and, so far, I haven’t made a single 2k11 post here. I will blame part of this on being depressed because central Illinois’s winters are fucking dismal and lead to rampant alcoholism, but mostly I have to admit that my lack of engagement has been due to the fact that I’ve been completely incapable, basically, of reading anything but art books & occasionally a couple pages of Danielle Collobert. I’ve been kicking around with the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of Black Warrior Review at work, too, because lit mags are the best bathroom reading material.
When I get tired of staring at a computer screen I’ve been cutting photocopies into pieces, gluing them back together, and then painting neon paint on top of them. I am refusing to acknowledge this as anything other than “productivity.” But that’s not the point. I wasn’t quite sure what the point was when I started writing this post, but I think the point is going to be “here are some artists I’ve been obsessed with lately, check them out.” And by artists I mean “artists & things tangential to art” (because didn’t you hear? curators are the new artists are the new whatevers, etc).
GAY TORTURE & DREAMY INTERIORS
At 2TheWalls, our blog author couples an article on socialite art dealer Andrew Crispo being cleared of “kidnapping and sex-torture,” images of Crispo’s interiors from Architectural Digest, and soundtracks it to Hole’s “Asking For It.” I just discovered this blog via a facebook friend, but I am very interested in what’s going on here.
IMPOSSIBILITIES OF SPACE
Filip Dujardin is a Belgian photographer who manipulates the shit out of architectural photographs to create absolute magick. I mean, I’m sure you could theorize the hell out of it, and it’d be really fun too, but right now I can’t really get past the point of “OH MY GOD THIS IS AWESOME.”
Back in the real, non-internet world, I’ve been working my way through every single one of my library’s books on Robert Morris, who is someone you learn about briefly in general contemporary art history classes and then immediately forget because most people refuse to focus on his work that is TOTALLY AWESOME. Because I am a giant fag, I feel the need to point out that it was Morris’s infamous poster for a New York show (a poster that features two of my favorite things: rough-trade dudes & labyrinths) that found me looking into his work (the poster is “infamous” because it reportedly inspired Lynda Bengalis’s response, which, and now we’re entering fun art world gossip territory, inspired Rosalind Krauss & her intellectually inspired coherts to leave Art Forum to found October, which is actually a much better magazine despite having severely fewer images). His sort of late-80s and 90s works are a little “too much” for me still, but his early works and his works through the 60s and 70s are almost unmatched in their refusal to abide the rules of both minimal & conceptual art. There is a remarkable lack of good images of Morris’s more interesting work on the internet. I am particularly fond of his “In the Realm of the Carceral” series of prints, which I actually discovered on eBay.
COLORS AND POETRY
Once every 10 years I manage to actually visit a museum or art gallery outside of DeKalb, and sometimes I get REALLY REALLY EXCITED. I got to go to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art while I was cold-chillin’ in SF over the holidays, and I was ridiculously lucky enough to see an exhibition called “New Work” by R. H. Quaytman while I was there. It’s only up until the end of this week, and I highly recommend if you live in the area you check it out. I’d really like to see it again. This exhibition excited & “inspired” (I hate that word) me more than almost anything I’ve seen as of late. Not only was the work aesthetically perfect, it was also remarkably conceptually engaging &, oddly enough for silkscreens, experiential in its own right. I will quote from the pamphlet I picked up:
R. H. Quaytman’s paintings on beveled wood panels proffer richly conceived, multilayered subjects. The artist considers each body of work a new “chapter” in an ongoing investigation of the interrelationship of site, history, and object. Over time these chapters, each structured around a specific theme or concept relating to the site in which it is displayed, collectively develop a loose narrative thread. (–Aspara DiQuinzio, Assitant Curator, Painting and Sculpture)
Quaytman herself told the curator that the new works were “haunt[ed]” by Jack Spicer. I haven’t read much (if any, now that I think about it) of Spicer’s poetry, but after seeing this works & reading Kevin Killian’s brief article on the connection, I’m certainly planning on checking it out.
For today’s final artist of note, and so I can have a nice arbitrary number like “5” for this post, I present my good friend D-L Alvarez, who was actually my host & tour-guide for the aforementioned San Fran visit. But, more to the point, he gave me a copy of a recently-released collaborative artist book he participated in, That’s When the Rabbit Taught the Eagle a Lesson With a Smith & Wesson. It’s a beautiful book, and the format, almost entirely devoid of words, combined with an impressively attentive sequencing, lead to me sort of devouring the book in the same method I would use to eat a comic book, following images with mental tangents, imposing narrative, and then, moving from artist to artist, seeing what conclusions could be drawn. All of the work in here is great, but I’m privileging Alvarez ‘cos he’s my pal.
D-L caught my attention a few years ago while I was browsing his gallery’s website and noticed that he had work pertaining to Alain Robbe-Grillet, specifically Robbe-Grillet’s novel Jealousy. This was before Art Forum wrote their big retrospective on his films, before the man had died, before Dennis Cooper had announced that Reflections of the Golden Triangle was one of his favorite novels, before any of his movies were on DVD (even before his movies were available on torrent sites), basically, in the void of the mid-00s (not too long ago, really), when Robbe-Grillet was even more of an obscure figure than he is now. Thus, the presence of Robbe-Grillet within a show as a sort of guiding principle to approach various visual works struck me as something particularly worth paying attention to. So, I did.
I don’t really have a conclusion, I just wanted to talk about cool art shit.